A month later, within the Xuan Wu Hall of the Great Truth Sect, which is the self-proclaimed number one righteous sect in the Heavenly South Region, there stood an elderly Daoist priest with a set of infantile facial features, yet hair and beard that were completely white. He was staring at the white jade slip in his hand with furrowed brows, and there was an indecisive look shimmering in his eyes.
A short while later, he heaved a long sigh and called out, "Come!"
As soon as his voice fell, two middle-aged Daoist priests walked in from outside the hall.
The two Foundation Establishment Daoists priests bowed, and asked, "What can we do for you, Sect Master?"
The Daoist priest handed over the jade slip with a grave expression, and instructed, "Send this invitation to the Golden Iridescent Valley. Tell them that a fourth great cultivator has appeared in the State of Xi, and that the Drifting Cloud Sect has extended invitations to their celebratory ceremony. Ask the grand elder if he's going to attend the ceremony in person or if other seniors will be attending in his stead."
The two Daoist priests' expressions changed slightly upon hearing this before both of them said in a respectful manner, "Yes, Sect Master. We'll be sure to deliver the message."
The two of them then took the jade slip and left the hall as two streaks of light.
At the Heavenly Yang Pond, a renowned restricted area of the Harmonious Bond Sect. This was not a very large pond; only several thousand feet in size. However, the pond was enshrouded under dense mist all year-round, and no one was allowed to enter the mist without permission, even the Nascent Soul Stage elders of the sect. Normally, there would be barely any people around in a radius of 10 kilometers around the Heavenly Yang Pond. However, at this moment, there were five or six cultivators standing side by side over 100 feet away from the mist. All of them wore different attire, and there were both men and women among them, but the one thing they had in common was that all of them were looking at the mist before them in silence.
"The fourth great cultivator, eh? That Han brat sure is progressing quite fast in his cultivation. I knew that he would get to this point sooner or later, but I didn't think that he would ascend to the heights in just a century. Seeing as this is the case, it looks like I'll have to attend this celebratory ceremony in person," a faint sigh sounded from within the mist.
The cultivators outside the mist continued to stand rooted to the spot, and none of them dared to say anything in response.
On a certain island among the Seven Spirit Islands, there was an azure-robed elderly man with a set of plain features standing at the edge of a cliff. His hands were clasped behind his back and he had cast his gaze out calmly across the boundless ocean.
However, in one of his hands was a white jade slip that was shimmering with faint spiritual light.
Within a pavilion on the State of Beiliang's Gemcut Mountains, there was a man with a set of refined features sitting across from a portly elderly man, both of whom were seated in wooden chairs.
The elderly man wore a careful expression as he asked, "Senior Wu, will you be attending the Drifting Cloud Sect's celebratory ceremony in person? That man has reached the late-Nascent Soul Stage at such a young age and with his remaining lifespan, he'll be able to stand at the pinnacle of the Heavenly South Region for seven to eight more centuries. If we re-establish good relations with him, then our six sects have nothing to worry about."
"What do you suggest, Martial Niece Lei? You've taken over the sect, so you want to invite that man back to your valley?" the man asked in an indifferent voice.
"You're misunderstanding me, Senior. With his current lofty status, how would be willing to return to our measly Yellow Maple Valley? However, he does have some ties with our valley and if we can strengthen those bonds, it would undoubtedly be beneficial to our six sects."
The man was silent for a moment before saying expressionlessly, "Don't expect me to be able to contribute to this matter. I was once rather close with Junior Martial Sister Nangong, but I've never contacted her again ever since she left with that man. However, I'll be representing the Masked Moon Sect to attend this ceremony."
"It would be great if you'd be willing to make the trip in person, Senior Wu." The elderly man was ecstatic to hear this.
"Hmph, it's no wonder that your Yellow Maple Valley is so nervous about this man. Ever since Fellow Daoist Linghu passed away, no other Nascent Soul cultivator had appeared in your valley. If it weren't for the fact that Fellow Daoist Linghu once made an agreement with this man and notified our five sects about it, your Yellow Maple Valley would've most likely been banished from the Stage of Beiliang already," the man chuckled.
"I apologize for our incompetence, Senior." An awkward look appeared on the elderly man's face upon hearing this.
Within a span of two months, the entire Heavenly South Region had erupted into a frenzy.
All of the cultivation sects of decent scale in the entirety of the Heavenly South Region had received the invitations sent out by the Drifting Cloud Sect. They were claiming that one of their elders had reached the late-Nascent Soul Stage, and they were holding a grand ceremony to celebrate this event, which was why these invitations had been sent out.
It wasn't made clear on the invitation which elder they were referring to, but Han Li had established himself long ago as the number one cultivator in the Heavenly South Region beneath the late-Nascent Soul Stage, so it wasn't difficult to guess that Han Li had to have been the elder in question.
Thus, all of the sects were in a state of uproar.
Some of the sects were completely overawed and immediately agreed to attend the ceremony. Some of the larger sects were rather suspicious about the authenticity of this news, but they also all agreed to send at least an elder to attend the ceremony.
Thus, Han Li's name shook the entire Heavenly South Region once again. Regardless of whether one was an itinerant cultivator who had been dwelling in seclusion for many years or a member of a prominent cultivation sect, it was extremely likely that they had heard Han Li's name at one point or another.
Everyone was discussing spiritedly about the fourth great cultivator of the Heavenly South Region, who had ascended to the late-Nascent Soul Stage at such a young age.
Thus, three months passed, and the Drifting Cloud Sect's ceremony was held.
There were over 100 Nascent Soul cultivators in attendance, and several times that number in Core Formation cultivators who had also arrived at the Dreamcloud Mountains.
The star of the show, Han Li, only appeared for a short while on the first day of the ceremony and delivered a simple address before inviting the dozen or so elders from all of the sects, who were at the mid-Nascent Soul Stage or above, to a smaller gathering in an obscure hall within the Drifting Cloud Sect. Among them, there were two late-Nascent Soul great cultivators, namely Old Devil Concord of the Harmonious Bond Sect, and Wei Wuya of the Flowing Mind Sect.
After three days and three nights, all of these Nascent Soul cultivators finally re-emerged from the hall, all of them with horrified expressions on their pale faces. Wei Wuya and Old Devil Concord were also quite disheartened and wore strained expressions on their faces.
Some of the cultivators present at the ceremony naturally noticed this, and tried to inquire about what had happened during their gathering. However, the Nascent Soul cultivators being questions either remained silent with wry smiles on their faces, or shook their heads with fearful expressions, or completely ignored the questions being directed toward them in general.
That made all of the cultivators even more curious.
The ceremony lasted half a month, during which time Han Li made no further appearances. To everyone's surprise, the dozen or so most powerful Nascent Soul cultivators present took no offense to this whatsoever and as soon as the ceremony came to a conclusion, all of them fled the Drifting Cloud Sect as if they were escaping from something extremely fearsome.
Thus, all of the remaining cultivators were even more curious about what had taken place in that obscure hall. What could have possibly petrified so many powerful Nascent Soul cultivators to such an extent?
Even though none of the Nascent Soul cultivators in question were willing to disclose any information to those who had attended the ceremony, all of them had a few close friends and relatives whom they revealed the situation too. Thus, the news that everyone had been dying to hear was leaked in the end anyway.
However, the contents of the news shook the entire Heavenly South Region again.
It was revealed that this new great cultivator of the Drifting Cloud Sect had challenged Wei Wuya and Old Devil Concord to a sparring match during the small gathering. This was quite a normal request. After all, this Elder Han had just reached the late-Nascent Soul Stage, so he was taking this opportunity to test out his abilities as well as to intimidate all of the other mid-Nascent Soul cultivators.
However, what came as a surprise to everyone was that he had challenged both Wei Wuya and Old Devil Concord at once.
Furthermore, the result of the sparring match had everyone even more flabbergasted.
Han Li unleashed several incredible techniques and summoned a few absurdly powerful treasures to easily defeat the two great cultivators.
Wei Wuya and Old Devil Concord had stood at the pinnacle of the Heavenly South Region for several hundred years, yet even after joining forces, they were still swept aside with ease by Han Li, and both of them had sustained some injuries during the sparring match.
What was even more astonishing to everyone who had witnessed the match was that Han Li didn't even appear to have unleashed all of the tricks up his sleeve.
All of the Nascent Soul cultivators were completely speechless.
During the remaining time, Han Li held a discussion with all of the Nascent Soul cultivators about cultivation experiences and insights. However, all of them felt as if they were sitting on a bed of nails the entire time, and the last thing they wanted to was to remain in Han Li's presence for any longer.
Thus, all of them fled the obscure hall at the conclusion of the three days, looking as if they had just seen a ghost.
This astonishing news spread like wildfire and it was naturally the case that most people didn't believe this to be true. However, the news continued to spread and all of the Nascent Soul cultivators who had been present during the sparring match chose to remain silent, and not even a single one of them stepped forward to refute these claims.
Only then did everyone realize that this news could indeed be true, and the entire Heavenly South Region was completely stunned.
Thereafter, anyone who discussed any topic concerning Han Li spoke in hushed tones, regardless of where they were and to whom they were speaking, and they didn't dare to extend any disrespect toward Han Li with their words.
Thus, Han Li's reputation as the number one cultivator in the Heavenly South Region slowly began to spread.
In the air above the sea close to the Seven Spirit Islands, a middle-aged Daoist priest with pristine and translucent skin was facing an azure-robed elderly man from afar. Both of them wore dark expressions and remained completely silent.
After a long while, the azure-robed elderly man stirred as he broke the silence.
"Why have you suddenly come here and invited me to this place through voice transmission, Brother Sunreach? You're not here to challenge me to a staring contest, are you? If you have something to say, then just say it." This azure-robed elderly man was none other than one of the three great cultivators, Wei Wuya.
"Brother Wei, why are you asking a question that you already know the answer to? Can you not guess why I would invite you to meet me out here?" the middle-aged Daoist priest asked calmly.
"Hehe, looks like even you can't sit still any longer after hearing the news, Brother Sunreach!" A hint of a deriding sneer appeared on Wei Wuya's face.
A grave expression appeared on the Daoist priest's face as he asked, "Does that mean the rumors are true? You and Old Devil Concord really did fall to a disadvantage against that man?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter