When the two acknowledged Han Li, he felt an indescribable feeling well up inside him. After a moment of silence, he slowly said, “On the year I left the village to pursue the Dao, I didn’t expect for the Han Clan to become such an influential clan. It seems the saying is true. The affairs of the world are truly hard to predict! Stand up, you two. With the many years I haven’t returned home, I can be considered a complete stranger to the Han Clan. There is no need to be so polite.”
The middle-aged scholar stood up and spoke with great reverence, “Great Uncle’s words are untrue. Had we unfilial descendants known that you were still alive, we would’ve certainly sent men to fulfill our filial duties.”
Han Li waved his arm and calmly said, “Filial duties! There is no need. I’ve come only to take a look. I won’t be staying long. As a pursuer of Immortality, it is better for me to have fewer ties to the mortal world.”
The scholar spoke with alarm, “Great Uncle, you are leaving so soon? Will you not stay awhile and take a look at the other Han Clan juniors in the castle?”
Han Li sighed and regretfully said, “When I arrived, I flew over the Han Clan Castle and swept my spiritual sense past everyone inside. Unfortunately, while there are many Han Clan members none of them possess any spiritual roots. They have no fate with me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t mind taking one or two clan descendants along with me on the path of cultivation.”
A trace of disappointment appeared on the scholar’s face as he bitterly smiled, “It seems despite our clan’s prosperity, none have the fate to follow Great Uncle on the path of Immortality.”
Han Li shook his head and said, “Only those who possess spiritual roots may become Immortal cultivators. Such a person might not even appear once among ten thousand. For the several hundred Han Clan members to possess no spiritual roots is to be expected. Besides, from the way I see it, it would still be better for the Li and Han Clan to remain out of the cultivation world. As of current, the cultivation world is chaotic where even entire clan exterminations are possible. It would be terrible if the Han Clan were to be implicated.”
The scholar was initially surprised and sincerely replied, “This one acknowledges all Fourth Great Uncle has said.”
Han Li’s gaze then turned to the large man with thick facial hair, “Which generation of Li Feiyu’s descendants are you? What’s your name?”
The large man hurriedly bowed his head and replied, “Junior is Li Feng. I am an eleventh generation descendant of Li Feiyu. I pay my respects to Great Uncle Han.”
“Given the close relationship I had with Lei Feiyu back then, I find it acceptable for you to call me ‘Great Uncle’. You were rather protective of Tianxiao just now. It seems in these past years the Li Clan has shown our Han Clan much consideration. As the younger brother of the Han Clan Ancestor, I naturally won’t treat you unfairly. Here are some medicine pills, they will be of great use to martial artists. They will be able to save your Li Clan youth much effort in their cultivation of inner strength. Accept them for the time being.” Han Li slapped his storage pouch and took eight various colored bottles into his hands before offering them to the large man.
The large man was overjoyed and hastily accepted the small bottles with repeated thanks. Although Jianghu Martial Artists cultivated inner strength and it wasn’t as drawn out as cultivation spiritual power, they spent much of their youth in dedication to this pursuit. With these medicine pills, a large number of experts would emerge from the Li Clan.
The middle-aged scholar felt happy for his good friend, but his gaze towards Han Li unconsciously revealed a slight hint of expectation as well.
When Han Li saw this, he faintly smiled and calmly took a spirit beast pouch off from his waist and lightly slapped it. A short moment later, over a thousand black-tainted Gold Devouring Beetles were released and formed a dazzling three-meter-wide cloud of black, silver and gold. It appeared almost as if specks of sunlight had appeared before them.
The scholar and the large man were left completely amazed.
Without any further words, he pointed to the insect swarm above him and had them concentrate into a tri-colored sword. Han Li then extended his arm and had the sword fall into his hand with a buzz.
This strange scene left the two at an even greater loss for words.
Han Li caressed the sword while his expression wavered for a long while. Then with a sigh, he spat an azure mist onto the sword. In a flash of azure light, a simple green scabbard appeared on the sword’s blade. Han Li then horizontally held the sword in front of him with both his hands and took out a piece of fine, polished jade.
Han Li gravely said, “This sword is something I refined from spirit beetles. It is capable of killing others of its own accord. I will be leaving it inside the clan shrine in case the Han Clan one day faces extermination. The Han Clan will be able to hide inside the shine and rely on this sword to escape calamity. However, you had best remember that this sword isn’t something that I personally control. Once the sword is drawn, anybody outside of the ancestral shrine that is within a five kilometer radius will be killed. As such, you must treat it with the utmost caution.
This is a jade pendant that holds a sliver of my essence. Without it, the sword cannot be drawn. Leave the jade pendant in the care of the Han Clan’s later generation clan lords.”
Having seen this inconceivable event occur before him, the scholar no longer held a trace of doubt towards Han Li. He hastily replied with delighted surprise, “This nephew will commit Great Uncle’s instructions to memory!”
Han Li smiled in response, but he didn’t immediately hand over the sword and the jade pendant. Instead, he continued speaking with a solemn tone, “There is something else you must remember. Because the scabbard sealing the sword is made from spiritual Qi, the Gold Devouring Sword may only be drawn three times. The scabbard will thin with each use and disappear on the third. Afterwards, the sword will turn back into spirit beetles and disappear. I’m sure that giving the Han Clan three opportunities to escape calamity is a worthy gift as your ancestor’s younger brother. After all, there are no fortunes in this world that last eternally. In order to prevent the sword from being used for any evil intentions or opportunistic tricks, the sword will be incapable of leaving the ancestral shrine while it is sheathed. Else, it will disappear from existence. As such, I hope you will properly use this sword to allow the Han Clan to flourish for many years to come. Even if the Han Clan were to later return to their status as commoners, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.”
Once that was said, Han Li handed the sword and jade piece over to the scholar.
The scholar repeatedly uttered his thanks and accepted the items with a bowed head. He carefully placed them at the center of the memorial table before returning to await further instructions from Han Li.
Han Li was rather satisfied by the scholar’s deferential attitude. After some thought, he took out two faint yellow medicine pills and handed one to both the scholar and the large man. He smiled upon seeing their surprise and said, “Those two items were left for the Han and Li clans. Since you two are also my juniors and have personally recognized me as your great uncle, it can be considered that you have some fate with me. I will also give you two a few benefits as well. While these two bottles of medicine pills have no effect on me, they will extend the lifespan of mortals who take them and strengthen their bodies. When you two take them, you will both live to at least a hundred years.”
“Many thanks Fourth Great Uncle!”
“Many thanks Great Uncle Han!”
When the scholar and the large man heard this, they accepted the small bottles with repeated thanks. They both appeared pleased beyond expectation.
Han Li nodded his head and took another look around. Then with a curious expression, he asked, “From how you two recognized me, it seems there should be a portrait of me left behind. If it is in the ancestral shrine, could you let me take a look at it and tell me who drew it?”
The scholar immediately replied, “The portrait is actually on this floor. Please wait a moment.”
He walked up to what seemed to be a common wall and gave it a push. With a creak and a thud, a portion of the wall flipped over to reveal six suspended silk portraits.
Han Li stepped forward and examined the portraits with complete stillness. He saw the image of a smiling seventeen year old youth. It was a portrait of Han Li from long ago.
The middle-aged scholar stood behind Han Li and gave an explanation with a soft voice, “It was said that this portrait was given to our Han Clan by the deceased Li Clan Ancestor. However, no one knows of its creator.”
As if he hadn’t heard, Han Li’s gaze shifted several times and it fell on to a portrait of Han Li’s father wearing noble clothing. Although he appeared far more aged than when Han Li left the village, he appeared completely happy.
A trace of sadness appeared on Han Li’s face. He then swept his gaze past each of the other portraits.
The other portraits where all of white-haired old men. It took him quite some effort before he could match their appearances with his brothers as he remembered them. He felt a flood of emotions storm within his heart as he stood in place.
The scholar and the large man both tactfully kept silent. Some time later, Han Li began to mutter to himself in a whisper.
The two wished to hear what he had to say, but the two were blinded by a sudden surge of azure light. By the time they refocused their gaze, Han Li could no longer been seen, but his voice echoed in their ears.
“Although I am a rather capable Immortal on this continent, I also have many ferocious enemies. Do not speak of today’s matters with anyone else. So long as this matter does not spread and you do not allow the Gold Devouring Spirit Sword to be seen by outsiders, those from the Immortal world will pay you no notice and will not bother you. I will now absorb myself in the pursuit of the Great Dao and Immortality, so I won’t be involved with the affairs of the Han Clan. Take care of yourselves!”
Once that was said, Han Li’s voice came to an abrupt end, leaving behind what seemed to be echoes.
The scholar and the large man were left staring at each other in dismay.