The middle-aged man glared at the woman upon hearing this before transmitting his voice to all of the cultivators present.
"Don't speak nonsense like that! That man is a late-Nascent Soul cultivator and his spiritual sense encompasses a far greater area than you can imagine! What you say next could still be sensed by him."
The seductive woman was given a fright upon hearing this and immediately fell silent.
The brawny man and the azure-robed man exchanged a glance with one another and also remained silent.
The middle-aged man sat in his chair with his head lowered slightly and a cold light flashing indistinctly in his greyish-white eyes.
Ten minutes later, the light in his eyes receded as he said, "He should be over 500 kilometers away now, so he won't be able to detect what's going on here anymore. However, it's still better to be safe than sorry." As his voice fell, he flicked a finger and a spot of green light shot forth, disappearing into a thick pillar nearby.
The pillar emitted a rumbling sound as faint green light appeared over its surface. The pillars nearby also began to resonate with that pillar, creating a barrier of green light that encompassed the small area within which the four cultivators were situated.
"We can say whatever we want now!" The middle-aged man's expression finally eased after doing all that.
"You sure are cautious, martial uncle." The seductive woman gave a wry smile.
"When dealing with such a fearsome being, you can never be too safe," the middle-aged man harrumphed coldly.
"Martial uncle is right. It's also often the case that cultivators of that level have rather peculiar personalities. If we unintentionally offend him with our words, then our entire sect could be destroyed in a fit of rage. Come to think of it, I can't seem to recall these two among the renowned Nascent Soul cultivators in our Scattered Star Seas, but that man seems to have extensive knowledge of our Scattered Star Seas, so he doesn't seem like a foreigner. Perhaps he really has been in seclusion for a long time," the brawny yellow-robed man mused hesitantly.
Meanwhile, the azure-robed man's brows were tightly furrowed and he remained completely silent with his head lowered.
The middle-aged man noticed this, and asked, "What are you thinking, Shi Xuan?"
"I have a feeling that this man is rather familiar, as if I've seen him somewhere before," the elderly man raised his head and said in a slow voice.
"You've seen him before?" Everyone turned to him with surprised expressions upon hearing this.
"His appearance was very ordinary; could it be that you're mistaking him for someone else?" the seductive woman asked.
"His looks are indeed quite plain, but I'm sure I've seen this man a long time ago. I've got it! His surname is Han and he was the man who was being hunted down by the Starfall Coalition all those years ago!" The elderly man finally managed to identify Han Li.
The middle-aged man was initially stunned to hear this before his expression darkened, and he asked, "The Starfall Coalition was hunting down a Nascent Soul cultivator? Why do I not know of this?"
"You're misunderstanding me, martial uncle! At the time, they were hunting down a Core Formation cultivator, not a Nascent Soul cultivator. You were away at the time, while Junior Martial Brother Quan and Junior Martial Sister Jing hadn't yet reached the Core Formation Stage. As such, Senior Martial Brother Ma and I were responsible for looking after the sect. We didn't think this was an important matter at the time, so we didn't report it to you. This was close to 200 years ago; I still have the wanted jade slip with me," the elderly man was sweating profusely as he explained. He rummaged through his storage pouch before producing a jade slip, which he handed over to the middle-aged man.
"Nonsense! You're telling me this man went from the Core Formation Stage to the late-Nascent Soul Stage in less than 200 years?" The middle-aged man's expression only grew darker upon hearing this. However, he still accepted the jade slip and used his spiritual sense to scan through its contents, upon which an incredulous look immediately appeared on his face.
There was a projection hovering within the jade slip depicting a man in a set of azure robes with a faint smile on his face. It was completely identical to Han Li in every way, and there was absolutely no chance that it was someone who merely resembled Han Li.
Waves of shock immediately surged through the middle-aged man's heart. He read through the accompanying message in the jade slip before withdrawing his spiritual sense. A contemplative look appeared on his face as he sat in silence.
The three Core Formation cultivators also remained silent at the sight of the grave expression on the middle-aged man's face. They were waiting for a verdict from the latter.
A decisive look finally appeared on the middle-aged man's face as he instructed in a cold voice, "Looks like I really did aim a false accusation at you, martial nephew. The man wanted by the Starfall Coalition really is that man. Listen up; keep this matter strictly confidential. The Starfall Coalition is a colossal force, but this man isn't the Core Formation cultivator that he once was, either. I don't want our sect being swept up in their conflict. Otherwise, we could easily be crushed by either side."
"Yes!" the three Core Formation cultivators hurriedly replied.
The middle-aged cultivator seemed to have gone through a period of extensive contemplation before he delivered a series of instructions, "The three of you are prohibited from leaving the sect for 30 years. Go back and focus on cultivation. I have a really bad feeling about this. Two great cultivators have suddenly appeared and one of them has bad blood with the Starfall Coalition. The Scattered Star Seas is most likely going be plunged into even more chaos from now on. Tell all of the other disciples to exercise more restraint as well, and tell them not to leave the island unless they absolutely have to. Our sect has to go into hiding for now!"
The other three cultivators were stunned to hear this, but they could only do as they were told.
After that, the three of them left the hall to enact his orders.
The middle-aged man was the only one left sitting in the hall. His expression was extremely conflicted and indecisive, as if he were grappling with a difficult decision.
After a long while, a self-deprecating look appeared on his face as he sighed, "So be it. Even if he really is the cultivator who obtained the Heavenvoid Cauldron all those years ago, and that giant cauldron really is the Heavenvoid Cauldron, what does it have to do with me? There are perhaps people in this world who can take treasures from great cultivators, but I'm certainly not one of them. If I were to spread news of this, I would most likely be killed!"
He then swept his sleeve through the air and disappeared as a streak of blue light.
The hall was completely empty again.
At this point, Han Li had already left the island and he was naturally unaware of the fact that a mere Yellow Sand Sect had managed to identify who he was, and that the middle-aged cultivator had even managed to determine that he was in possession of the Heavenvoid Cauldron.
However, this made sense as the fact that the Heavenvoid Cauldron had been taken was not well-known among normal cultivators, but the news had spread like wildfire among Nascent Soul cultivators.
If it weren't for the fact that Han Li had teleported into the Umbra Realm and just so happened to return to the Heavenly South Region thereafter, he would have most likely been hunted down by a bunch of Nascent Soul cultivators had he remained in the Scattered Star Seas.
As for the Starfall Coalition's attempts to hunt down Han Li, that was simply borne from the frustration of Zenith Yin and the other old monsters following their fruitless search. They wanted to force Han Li to reveal himself, but he had already left the Scattered Star Seas, so their plans naturally concluded in failure. After the passage of so many years, the events surrounding the Heavenvoid Cauldron had already become myths and legends. The order to hunt down Han Li had never been withdrawn, but everyone had already forgotten about it.
However, news of the Heavenvoid Hall's appearance still quickly spread through the Scattered Star Seas.
It turned out that the vast majority of the cultivators who had witnessed the phenomenon on the Bitter Gate Island were nondescript low-grade cultivators, but there were two Core Formation cultivators who were passing by and just so happened to have seen a passage about the Heavenvoid Hall in a tome they had read. As such, they naturally spread this news.
As the rumors began to spread, the story naturally became a little shaky over time. For example, the story about the Ice Phoenix slaying the Nascent Soul cultivator in cold blood transformed into a version where Old Devil Hun had just endured a grueling battle before being slain by two Nascent Soul cultivators together.
Thus, this piece of news was still quite shocking, but nowhere near as impactful as the true sequence of events.
In contrast, Han Li attracted a lot of attention as he had been seen manipulating the giant cauldron that was suspected to be the Heavenvoid Cauldron, thereby influencing many people to draw a connection between him and the man from all those years ago.
As such, many Nascent Soul cultivators were itching to spring into action.
Han Li wasn't even aware that an order to hunt him down had been passed by the Starfall Coalition, nor did he know that most Nascent Soul cultivators possessed a portrait of him. Otherwise, he would've altered his appearance and traveled in a more secretive manner.
At his current power level, he naturally wasn't afraid of being attacked by ordinary cultivators, but he didn't want to draw any trouble to himself either as that would be a waste of his time.
At present, he was flying toward the Heavenly Star City as a streak of azure light according to the map in his hand.
Han Li passed by several islands along the way and on each occasion, he had exchanged for all of the high-grade spirit stones on the island using treasures or rare materials. In doing so, he had obtained over 20 high-grade spirit stones.
Han Li was naturally ecstatic and was even more eager to reach the spirit stone mine.
Han Li also encountered many cultivators along the way, but most of them were low-grade ones and none of them dared to get in his way, so he was granted free passage for the entire journey thus far.
Among those cultivators, there were only two or three of the more powerful ones casting confused glances toward Han Li. Aside from that, no one else paid him any heed. Most of them were oblivious to the fact that they had just flown past a late-Nascent Soul cultivator.
After flying for over a month, a black spot appeared on the horizon. After flying for a few more hours, Han Li finally saw the Heavenly Star city in the distance, extending all the way into the clouds, and a smile appeared on his face.
Right at this moment, a dozen or so streaks of light suddenly hurtled toward Han Li from the distance.
Han Li scanned through these approaching streaks of light with his spiritual sense, and he was rather surprised by what he discovered.
The streaks of light were all cultivators and in the oncoming group, there were four or five Core Formation cultivators and even an early-Nascent Soul cultivator. Furthermore, the aura of the Nascent Soul cultivator struck him with a sense of familiarity and a suspicious look immediately appeared on his face. However, he chose to remain standing on the spot and didn't take any evasive measures.
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