He felt as if he had some recollection of that formation flag. He seemed to have possessed a treasure like this once upon a time, but had since given it to someone else. However, that wasn't a cause for alarm. For low-grade treasures like this, as long as one had mastered the refinement method, refining an identical one would be an easy task.
Even so, Han Li had still developed an interest in that Core Formation Stage woman. Their group had seemingly disappeared into thin air, but such a mediocre concealment technique was completely useless in the face of Han Li's spiritual sense.
Thus, a blue light flashed through his eyes, immediately piercing through the layer of grey Qi obscuring the woman's face.
"Huh? That's..." A peculiar expression instantly appeared on Han Li's face.
Right at this moment, two streaks of light, one azure and one yellow, shot forth from the Starry Sky Palace. A certain restriction seemed to have been triggered and the sound of footsteps erupted from behind the palace doors, following which a white-robed cultivator slowly emerged from within.
This was a tall and thin man who appeared to be over 40 years of age. He wore a slightly dark expression on his face and was a Core Formation cultivator.
This man was clearly the Star Palace cultivator tasked with guarding this palace. He emerged from the palace and looked around, only to discover that there was no one in the general vicinity. Upon making this discovery, his expression darkened further with a hint of displeasure on his face.
Yellow light flashed and that Core Formation Stage man from earlier voluntarily showed himself. The grey Qi over his face also faded, revealing a set of graceful and refined middle-aged features.
The man cupped his fist in a salute as he asked in a respectful voice, "Brother Zhang, have there been any mishaps? Will my wife and I be able to teleport away tonight?"
"Fellow Daoist Tian, as long as you have enough spirit stones with you, teleporting your group away is naturally just a piece of cake. All of the guardians of the teleportation formation have done the same thing at some point; are you worried that I would go back on my word and refuse to grant you access to the teleportation formation?" The Star Palace cultivator's expression eased after the man appeared, but he still spoke in a rather cold and impolite tone.
"Of course not; I have absolute trust in you, Brother Zhang. It's just that my daughter really has fallen seriously ill and we have to head out to the outer seas to find the White Yang Demon Fish's demon core to save her life. The situation is extremely urgent and we can't afford to be delayed," the graceful man said with a smile. He then waved his hand toward a certain direction behind him.
A spluttering sound was heard, following which a ball of yellow mist dissipated, revealing the remaining members of the group. The Foundation Establishment cultivators had all revealed their faces, leaving only the female Core Formation cultivator and a thin and frail female Qi Condensation cultivator with their faces still concealed under grey Qi.
"This must be your wife! I've heard much about you, Moon Maiden."
The Star Palace cultivator completely ignored the other Foundation Establishment cultivators as his attention was drawn to the female Core Formation cultivator. His gaze scanned across her face several times and he even put on a rare smile for her.
"Thank you for doing this, Fellow Daoist Zhang. I am forever grateful to you!" The female cultivator's voice was very gentle and delicate, yet she spoke in a manner that was neither haughty nor humble.
"It's a shame that Moon Maiden refuses to show your face here. I must say, I'm a little disappointed. Come with me." The Star Palace cultivator chuckled as a slightly wistful look appeared on his face. However, he then immediately turned and strode into the palace.
The graceful man exchanged a glance with that female Core Formation cultivator, before also entering the palace with the Qi Condensation Stage woman sandwiched between them.
The four Foundation Establishment cultivators were clearly their disciples, and they also hurriedly rushed in in pursuit of their masters.
Of course, none of the cultivators noticed that an azure light suddenly flashed outside the palace again. In the instant right before the restriction was reactivated, a faint figure, whom they were completely unable to detect with their cultivation bases, strode in along with them. The figure moved in a completely soundless and stealthy manner, as if he were nothing more than a wisp of smoke.
After passing through a convoluted system of corridors, everyone arrived in a hall, within which were many teleportation formations. There was an elderly man with a face as tender as that of an infant waiting inside.
Once the group of people walked in, a cold light flashed through the elderly man's eyes before instantly receding again.
"That's everyone, right? Seven people is just the right number for a single batch!" the elderly man remarked indifferently.
"Indeed, they are the fellow Daoists wishing to be teleported away this time. Fellow Daoist Tian, which island would you like to travel to?" The Star Palace cultivator answered the elderly man's question first, before turning to inquire the man behind him.
"We'll go to Silver Shark Island. Due to the fact that a high-grade mine was discovered there, most of the cultivators in the outer seas have gone to that island. Perhaps we'll be able to find a White Yang Demon Fish's demon core there," the man replied after a brief hesitation. At the same time, his gaze swept over the row of teleportation formations before settling on one of the formations.
"Brother Huang, deactivate the restriction on that teleportation formation. Fellow Daoist Tian, it's time for you to pay up," the Star Palace cultivator said to the graceful man expressionlessly.
"Of course!" After the elderly man cast a few Celestial Techniques to withdraw the barrier of white light around the teleportation formation, the graceful man's heart danced with elation. He immediately pulled off a storage pouch hanging from his waist and tossed it to the Star Palace cultivator.
The latter caught the pouch and scanned through its contents with his spiritual sense, upon which a content expression appeared on his face.
"The amount is just right. Here, these are you teleportation talismans." After verifying the number of spirit stones in the storage pouch, the Star Palace cultivator didn't delay any further as he pulled out seven teleportation talismans.
The graceful man accepted the teleportation talismans before distributing one each to everyone in his group. They were then led by the Star Palace cultivator toward the teleportation formation that his gaze had rested on before.
This teleportation formation was already shimmering with faint white light and everything appeared to be normal.
"You sure have some guts! How dare you teleport people away to the outer seas behind my back? Are you not afraid that the Enforcement Hall will put you through the torture of the lightning whips?" All of a sudden, an enticing female voice erupted. The voice wasn't very loud, but it exploded like claps of thunder in the hearts of all of the cultivators present.
The Star Palace cultivator and the elderly man's faces immediately turned deathly pale. The graceful man and the female Core Formation cultivator were momentarily stunned before abruptly turning around. Light erupted from their bodies, wrapping up the frail female Qi Condensation cultivator in a cocoon of light before the two of them transformed into streaks of light, one red and one blue, as they hurtled directly toward the teleportation formation.
A cold harrumph rang out!
A vibrant streak of light suddenly flew through the air from one corner of the hall, appearing in front of the formation in the blink of an eye. Spiritual light swept through the air, swatting the blue and red streaks of light aside with ease.
The two streaks of light were sent flying for 70 to 80 feet before dissipating, revealing the disheveled figures of the graceful man and the female Core Formation cultivator.
Both of them had also turned deathly pale and they opened their mouths in unison to throw up mouthfuls of blood essence. In contrast, the Qi Condensation Stage woman that they strove to protect was completely unscathed. At this moment, the grey Qi obscuring the faces of the two women disappeared at the same time, revealing their true features.
The female Core Formation cultivator appeared to be around 25 or 26 years of age with skin as fair and fine as warm jade. She was an exquisite beauty. The Qi Condensation Stage woman beside her appeared to only be around 15 to 16 years of age with a sickly yellow pallor, and an extremely thin figure. However, upon closer inspection, one could see that her features bore a startling resemblance to those of the female Core Formation cultivator. Furthermore, her eyes were as clear as water and even in such a dire situation, there wasn't much panic or alarm on her face.
"We pay our respects to the palace master!"
The two Star Palace cultivators were completely petrified after seeing that streak of light and they immediately fell to their knees.
The two Core Formation cultivators glanced at each other upon hearing that, and both of them could see their own shock mirrored in one another's eyes. They were initially holding onto some hope that they would be able to escape from this woman, but that hope had been completely dashed. They stood rooted to the spot, unable to even muster up the courage to flee.
Right at this moment, light flashed in the corner as a lithe and graceful figure emerged before hovering toward the center of the hall.
This was a white-robed woman wearing a white scarf that obscured half of her face.
Her eyes were as bright as stars and her brows were thin and long. This was clearly another stunning beauty.
However, this woman didn't even look at the cultivators gathered around the teleportation formation. Instead, she turned her attention toward the entrance of the hall, and said, "Fellow Daoist Han! Why are you sneaking around in the presence of these juniors? Would you be so kind as to reveal yourself and have a chat with me?"
Her words immediately sent waves of shock surging through the hearts of the other cultivators present, and they all turned toward the direction she was facing in unison. In their eyes, there was nothing but empty space there; how could there possibly be anyone there?
Just as everyone was caught in a state of suspicion and bewilderment, a gentle chuckle was suddenly heard from that spot.
"I didn't think that I would encounter one of the Heavenly Star Sages here. You didn't come here just to meet me, did you?"
As soon as that voice fell, azure light flashed and an azure-robed cultivator emerged from thin air. He had his hands clasped behind his back and was looking at the woman before him with a hint of a smile on his face.
This man was none other than Han Li!
The woman scanned over Han Li's body with her spiritual sense, upon which her expression changed drastically. A wave of incredulity swept through her bright eyes as she exclaimed, "Late-Nascent Soul Stage!"
This woman was naturally the woman in the cave of the sacred mountain.
Everyone else in the hall was flabbergasted to hear the words "late-Nascent Soul Stage".
Half of them were Core Formation cultivators, but encountering a Nascent Soul cultivator was still a rare opportunity for them, and encountering a late-Nascent Soul cultivator was something that almost never happened. However, not only had one of the Heavenly Star Sages just revealed herself to them, another unknown late-Nascent Soul cultivator had also appeared. This made everyone feel as if they were stuck in a dream.
Among those cultivators, the Core Formation Stage woman referred to as Moon Maiden was more stunned than everyone else to see Han Li. Her mouth gaped open in shock and when she heard that Han Li had become a late-Nascent Soul cultivator, she was completely rooted to the spot in astonishment.
Under normal circumstances, her reaction would've drawn the attention of the people beside her. However, all of the cultivators were completely focused on these two late-Nascent Soul cultivators, so no one had the spare mental capacity to pay any heed to her reaction.
Funnily enough, the young Qi Condensation Stage woman was the first and only one to notice her stunned expression. Due to the fact that her cultivation base was pitifully low, the Core Formation and Nascent Soul Stages were too far beyond her to evoke any reaction within her. After taking in the Core Formation Stage woman's reaction, she couldn't help but take a curious glance at Han Li.
"Are you really Han Li?" The Heavenly Star Sage's calm and collected expression had already faded, and was replaced by a particularly grave one.
"Do you think you were waiting for the wrong person this entire time?" Han Li didn't give a direct reply. Instead, a smile appeared on his face as he looked at the woman before him.
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