Chapter 1150: Exchange

"Man Huzi!"

Only then did Han Li notice the physical appearance of the Nascent Soul, a discovery that he was quite shocked to make.

If his memory served correct, Man Huzi had almost reached the end of his lifespan when Han Li last saw him. Now, close to 200 years had passed by, so he should've passed away already. So how was it that his Nascent Soul continued to exist, and how had it been captured by Zenith Yin?

In his confusion, Han Li set aside his intention to kill Zenith Yin right away. Instead, he began to carefully assess Man Huzi's Nascent Soul.

All of a sudden, he raised a hand and feigned a grabbing motion.

A large azure hand appeared above the Nascent Soul before swooping down like lightning, immediately ensnaring the Nascent Soul between his five fingers.

Spiritual light was shimmering over his hand, and the Nascent Soul was completely unable to move.

"There's no need to be so cautious, Fellow Daoist Han. In my current state, I won't even be able to use any teleportation techniques; how will I be able to escape?" Man Huzi wasn't making any effort to try and struggle free from Han Li's grasp.

"Hmph, that may not actually be the case. I didn't think that you would survive for this long. I recall that back in the Heavenvoid Hall all those years ago, you seemed to have harbored ill intentions against me as well. Are you appearing before me now so I can send you on your way as well?" Han Li asked with a dark expression.

"You've already reached the late-Nascent Soul Stage, so if you'd like to exact your revenge for what happened in the Heavenvoid Hall, then you have every right to do so. However, you were only a mere Core Formation cultivator back then; I think anyone in my situation back then would've tried to hunt you down. Even if you don't kill me, I've already expended the last of remaining energy to break through that restriction just then, so my time in this world is very much limited." The Nascent Soul didn't appear to fear death at all.

Han Li was silent for a moment before saying something that came as a huge surprise to Man Huzi. "That's certainly true! In your current feeble state, it won't be long before your Nascent Soul dissipates. I'm not an ungrateful person; even though you did harbor animosity toward me in the Heavenvoid Hall, the Royal Scale Plate you gave me saved my life once. As such, I won't put an end to your life here. Neither of us owes the other anything now!"

Man Huzi faltered initially upon hearing this before a wry smile appeared on his face as he replied, "I didn't give you that treasure out of generosity or kindness; I was merely trying to use you! You don't need to pay that any heed."

"I don't care what your intentions were; the fact of the matter is that the Royal Scale Plate really did save my life once. However, don't expect me to save you, either. Whether you survive or die here will be entirely up to you." Han Li waved a hand, and the large azure hand in the air disappeared, freezing Man Huzi's Nascent Soul once again.

He then turned his attention to the massive block of ice off to the side.

Man Huzi's Nascent Soul took a deep breath before glaring at the frozen Zenith Yin as he asked again, "Fellow Daoist Han, I have a blood feud with this Zenith Yin. Could you leave him to me and grant me my final wish to kill him before I die?"

"I also have a vendetta against Zenith Yin, so I'll be the one to put an end to him. There's no need for you to intervene," Han Li immediately turned him down.

"I'm willing to offer some rare materials and my own secret technique tome in exchange for this opportunity." Man Huzi suddenly became extremely flustered upon hearing this and he hurriedly offered a reward to try and change Han Li's mind.

Han Li turned to look back at the Nascent Soul, and a faint smile appeared on his face.

"Tell me what your true intentions are. I'm not naive enough to believe that you'd be willing to pay such a heavy price just for revenge. If you tell me your true intentions and your plan isn't detrimental to me in any way, then I might agree to let you do the honors. Also, I'm very interested to hear how you were able to survive until this point and how you ended up in Zenith Yin's hands. I hope you can impart this knowledge upon me," Han Li said in a slow voice.

Upon hearing this, the urgent expression on the Nascent Soul's face slowly disappeared and was replaced by a hesitant look.

Man Huzi heaved a long sigh and finally made up his mind. "So be it; there's no need for me to keep this a secret from you. Let me tell you everything."

"I'd be honored to hear it!" Han Li replied calmly.

He then waved a sleeve toward the block of ice, upon which all of the golden flying swords were withdrawn by a burst of azure light before disappearing into his sleeve in the blink of an eye.

Man Huzi began to tell his story through gritted teeth. "You're actually aware of this already, Fellow Daoist Han; back over 100 years ago, I was already about to reach the end of my lifespan. I managed to obtain some pills and medicines that could extend my lifespan in the Heavenvoid Hall, but that was only delaying the inevitable. The only reason why my Nascent Soul still exists is because Zenith Yin used a cruel secret technique to completely overexert my Nascent Soul's latent potential, thereby forcing me to survive through his torture. As a price for extending my lifespan, when my spiritual power runs out and my Nascent Soul dissipates in the end, my soul won't be able to exist in this world, so there's no chance of reincarnation for me."

Han Li didn't say anything in response. He knew that Man Huzi was only building up context for the rest of his story.

As expected, Man Huzi required no encouragement as he continued, "Back then, I obtained the Heavenmend Pill from the Heavenvoid Hall and lived the good life for a while. No one was actually going to challenge me just over a pill. However, good times never last. Just as I was about to reach the conclusion of my lifespan, the Archsaint of the Six Paths came to my residence and asked me to give my body to him after I died so he could cultivate his devilish arts with it. I naturally refused and in the end, I was severely wounded by his Six Apex Devils Art. Thankfully, I was able to unleash a secret technique and escape, but along the way, I bumped into that accursed Zenith Yin. This bastard saw through the fact that I was severely wounded and immediately attacked me. We battled for three days and three nights, but I succumbed to my injuries in the end, and my body was destroyed. That was how my Nascent Soul ended up in his hands. He had always yearned for my collection and that Heavenmend Pill, so he imprisoned me for interrogation, all the way until now." 

"Interrogation? Why didn't he use a soul search technique on you?" Han Li was slightly surprised to hear this.

Man Huzi chuckled coldly before replying in a proud manner, "Hehe, if this were any other cultivator, even a late-Nascent Soul great cultivator wouldn't be able to avoid the fate of having their soul forcibly searched. However, the Heavenbearing Devil Arts that I cultivated makes me immune to soul search techniques. With it, I can guard my spiritual sense resolutely within my soul, making it very difficult to forcibly extract. If he increases the power of his soul search technique, then my soul will be destroyed. He was never going to be able to find out my secrets!"

"Such a secret technique exists?" Han Li raised an eyebrow upon hearing this. He was rather interested in such a technique.

"Of course! Do you think the Heavenbearing Devil Arts has a false reputation? It's just that I never made this known to the world. Zenith Yin couldn't do anything to me, so he could only use his corpsefire to torture my Nascent Soul from time to time. Hehe, my I won't fold that easily. In any case, even if I did tell him everything, I would only be destroyed anyway. However, it's been over 100 years since my Nascent Soul was forcibly enhanced by his secret technique, and I really am at the end of the road. Unless I unleash a secret technique to devour another Nascent Soul, reincarnation will definitely be beyond me. Even if I do manage to engulf a Nascent Soul, it's still yet to be seen whether I'll have a chance for reincarnation." At the conclusion of his story, Man Huzi turned to glare at the frozen Zenith Yin, looking as if he wanted nothing better than to sink his teeth into Zenith Yin's flesh.

"I see. So you're planning to engulf Zenith Yin's Nascent Soul for a chance at a second life. I've heard of a secret technique like this, but it really is impossible to verify whether it's actually effective" Han Li murmured as he stroked his chin.

"Regardless of whether it works or not, it's my only opportunity, so I must at least try it. In any case, someone else may take my collection after I die anyway, so why not use it to exchange for a ray of hope for myself?" Man Huzi heaved a resigned sigh.

"That is indeed true. Do you still have that Heavenmend Pill?" Han Li asked.

"Not anymore. I took it as soon as I got out of the Heavenvoid Hall, but unfortunately, it didn't have much of an effect on me at all. Zenith Yin could see that my cultivation base hadn't improved, so he thought that I never took the pill in the first place, and had constantly been interrogating me about its whereabouts. Otherwise, he may not have had the patience to interrogate me for so long," Man Huzi replied in an honest manner.

"Oh? Is that really the case?" A hint of surprise flashed through Han Li's eyes.

Back when he had taken his Heavenmend Pill, it had had an extremely pronounced effect. However, Man Huzi had already been reduced to such a pitiful state, so he most likely wasn't lying. As such, it appeared that the Heavenmend Pill's effect on Nascent Soul cultivators was negligible. Of course, that could also be because the aptitude of Man Huzi's spiritual roots was quite good to begin with, so there wasn't much room for improvement.

Han Li contemplated the situation for a while before giving his response. "I can allow you to do as you please, but you have to give me a copy of the Heavenbearing Devil Arts first. After that, I'll leave Zenith Yin to you. I'm rather interested in the soul-locking secret technique you were referring to earlier. After you devour Zenith Yin's Nascent Soul, you can tell me about where the rest of your collection is."

"No problem!" The Nascent Soul was overjoyed to hear this.

Han Li nodded in response, but he could see that the Nascent Soul was very feeble. As such, he made a few hand seals and cast a few incantation seals onto the Nascent Soul's body in quick succession.

Spiritual light of different colors shimmered over the Nascent Soul's body, upon which it was significantly reinvigorated.

"Thank you, Fellow Daoist Han!" Man Huzi was very grateful for Han Li's gesture.

Han Li waved a hand before tossing a blank white jade slip through the air.

The Nascent Soul hurriedly opened its little mouth to expel a burst of faint golden light. The jade slip was swept up in the golden light before rapidly shrinking to a size that could fit in the Nascent Soul's hand.

After that, it lowered its head and began to replicate the devil arts.

This was something that he had completely committed to memory, so replicating it was a piece of cake.

10 minutes later, the Nascent Soul opened its eye before raising a hand into the air. A streak of white light was sent flying toward Han Li.

Han Li caught the white light and spiritual light flashed as the jade slip reverted back to its original size.

"You haven't tampered with this, have you, Brother Man?" Han Li glanced at the jade slip before a half-smile appeared on his face.

The Nascent Soul didn't know whether it should laugh or cry upon hearing this. "Surely you jest, Brother Han. With your current late-Nascent Soul cultivation base, you'd be able to easily ascertain the authenticity of a cultivation art. Besides, I'm already in such a pitiful state, why would I do something that harms you and doesn't benefit me in any way?"

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