Several hours later, Han Li finally emerged from the ice rift, but he immediately withdrew the azure light around him and hovered in mid-air amid the bone-chilling winds.
Within the inner valley, his spiritual sense was still quite significantly restricted, so it would be very difficult for him to search through the air with his spiritual sense alone.
After contemplating the situation for a short while, Han Li patted the spirit beast pouch hanging from his waist.
The sound of loud buzzing immediately rang out as countless Gold Devouring Beetles swarmed out of the pouch, forming a cloud of golden beetles that revolved in the air above his head.
He rapidly made a series of hand seals and cast several incantation seals into the swarm of beetles in the quick succession. He then sat onto the ground with his legs folded and slowly closed his eyes.
The cloud of golden beetles split up of their own accord, transforming into countless golden flowers that shot forth in all directions, disappearing in the blink of an eye.
Han Li had divided his spiritual sense into countless strands to search for the three women.
Given that the three women were only at the Core Formation Stage, and none of them were rash individuals, Han Li's thought process was that even if they had ventured into the inner valley, they wouldn't have gone very far into its depths.
As such, he was only searching through a relatively small area initially. After failing to discover any leads within that area, Han Li flew several tens of kilometers further into the inner valley before releasing his Gold Devouring Beetles again.
As such, Han Li was naturally able to easily discover some traces left behind by the three women on the mountain where the three women had been searching for Illusionary Spirit Herbs. Upon making this discovery through the use of the Gold Devouring Beetles, Han Li was ecstatic and he immediately headed over to that place in person for a closer inspection.
As a result, he discovered some signs to verify that the three women had indeed entered the inner valley, and that they had stayed on this mountain for a substantial period of time.
However, when he expanded the scope of his search again, there were no further leads to be discovered. In the end, Han Li returned to the summit of the mountain and fell into deep thought.
After a period of contemplation, he suddenly let loose a long cry and all of the Gold Devouring Beetles in a radius of several tens of kilometers came flying back toward him before they were stored away into his spirit beast pouch again.
However, Han Li then immediately pulled out another pouch, from within which 12 snowy white centipedes flew out.
They were none other than his Six-Winged Frost Centipedes!
Han Li made a hand seal and the 12 centipedes dispersed at his behest, transforming into 12 gusts of glacial wind that disappeared in different directions in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, Han Li remained rooted to the spot.
After an indeterminate period of time, Han Li's stirred as he transformed into a streak of azure light and flew back in the direction that he had come from.
A short while later, he discovered a snowy white centipede circling over a certain spot in the air, uttering a low screeching sound as it did so.
Han Li's eyes narrowed slightly as he immediately flew over to the snowy white centipede.
He looked down toward the ground, only to discover a long and thin black object down below.
This object was lying in a patch of grass, making it appear as if it were a completely nondescript black branch, so it was no wonder that his Gold Devouring Beetles hadn't discovered it earlier.
Han Li's brows furrowed as he raised a hand, and the branch-like object was sucked into his hand.
He inspected the object carefully, upon which his expression changed minutely.
This wasn't some branch; it was clearly a small section of a feeler. Furthermore, from the glacial Qi that this object was exuding, it was none other than the feeler of a Six-Winged Frost Centipede.
However, Six-Winged Frost Centipedes had pristine white feelers, yet this one was as black as ink, and the dark aura emanating from it was also something that Han Li was very familiar with.
This was none other than Profound Yin Devilish Qi! Furthermore, this devilish Qi seemed to be even purer than that used by Zenith Yin.
Han Li stroked the small section of the feeler and waves of shock surged through his heart.
One had to realize that Profound Yin Devilish Qi could only be cultivated using the Profound Yin Arts, and aside from Zenith Yin and Wu Chou, both of whom had fallen by his hands, most of Zenith Yin's other disciples hadn't been given the entirety of this cultivation art. As such, there was no way that they would be able to cultivate such pure devilish Qi and travel to the Heavenly South Region.
Han Li's expression was quite befuddled as he fell into deep thought.
"Wait, there's something else that knows all of the mantras in the Profound Yin Arts and has cultivated the Profound Yin Devilish Qi! It seems like it would also be able to cultivate this devilish Qi to such a high degree of purity." A thought abruptly occurred to Han Li as a peculiar look appeared on his face.
"Could it be that the Wood Spirit Nascent has also returned to the Heavenly South Region?" Han Li murmured to himself as he looked up into the sky.
He had always hung up on this missing second Nascent Soul.
After returning to the Heavenly South Region, he should've set off immediately to search for this Nascent Soul, yet Nangong Wan was still yet to break out of the ice wall, and his concern for her dissuaded him from embarking on such a long journey.
Furthermore, so many years had already passed and if this second Nascent Soul was able to attain sentient will, then it would've done so long ago. As such, it didn't really matter when he set off to search for it.
As such, he had set this matter aside completely and decided to take a trip to the Moulan Plains several years down the track. However, it appeared that this second Nascent Soul had returned to the Heavenly South Region of its own accord, and was hiding within the Devilfall Valley.
In that case, it most likely had something to do with the disappearance of Mu Peiling's trio, which ironically meant that they were most likely still safe.
After all, the Nascent Soul had completely replicated his memories and emotions. Even if its personality had been altered after all these years, it was still very unlikely that it would kill those three women in cold blood.
Han Li wore a grave expression as he considered all of the possibilities involved.
After so many years had passed, the second Nascent Soul would've most likely possessed a body of its own already. Furthermore, from the moment that he had entered the inner valley, he hadn't sensed any trace of the Sovereign Devil Corpse, which he had planted a wisp of his spiritual sense into. With that in mind, it appeared that the devil corpse hadn't been subdued by the second Nascent Soul; it had to have been possessed instead.
Countless thoughts flashed through Han Li's mind as he placed himself in the second Nascent Soul's shoes, and the truth was soon made apparent to him.
He stroked his chin and heaved a long sigh.
Right at this moment, the remaining centipedes all flew toward him from different directions, and it didn't appear as if they had discovered anything.
Han Li wasn't very surprised to see this.
The reason why he withdrew the Gold Devouring Beetles and released the 12 Six-Winged Frost Centipedes instead was naturally because Liu Yu was carrying Six-Winged Frost Centipede with her as well. Even though her spirit insects were of a far inferior grade compared to his own, it was possible to find the three women through a connection between the spirit insects.
However, seeing as the perpetrator here was most likely his second Nascent Soul, it would definitely have taken measures to prevent this method from working.
Han Li stowed away the centipedes and contemplated the situation in silence with a dark expression on his face.
"It appears I'll have to use that method to track them. I attained this secret technique after it went missing, so there's no way for it to take measures against this technique. It's just that I'm going to have to expend some blood essence now," Han Li murmured to himself reluctantly, seemingly rather unwilling to resort to this method.
However, he still patted the storage pouch hanging from his waist in the end, upon which a white jade plate and a small crimson flag appeared in his hands at the same time. He tossed the two items into the air and they flew upward as two streaks of light, one white and one red, before hovering in front of him.
Han Li then opened his mouth and a ball of azure light enshrouded the formation plate. He then slit a finger over the wrist of his other arm, inflicting a thin gash following a flash of azure light. A few drops of blood essence then flowed out of the gash on his wrist.
Han Li blew on the drops of blood essence, and they immediately disappeared into the white jade plate.
Han Li then pointed a finger toward the small crimson flag, and it flew directly above the formation plate at his behest. The flag then tremored slightly before transforming into a ball of crimson mist that enshrouded the jade plate within.
Han Li began to chant something, and the jade plate also began to glow with a crimson light, following which bursts of crimson mist materialized from his blood essence began to emerge. The crimson mist then merged to form a single cloud of blood mist in the air.
At this point, Han Li suddenly let loose a low cry and azure light flashed from his eyes as he pointed a finger toward the jade plate.
Brilliant crimson light immediately radiated from the jade plate, giving it the appearance of a crimson full moon, and in just a few flashes, it had absorbed all of the blood mist wafting around it.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, Han Li let loose a low cry as he stabbed his finger toward the jade plate again.
A pillar of green light then shot forth from his fingertip before disappearing into the center of the jade plate in a flash.
A loud ringing sound rang out from the blood moon and it began to tremor violently, as if it were going to rise into the air and fly away.
The light in Han Li's eyes dimmed slightly as a wry smile appeared on his face.
"This is the first time I'm using the Blood Moon Spirit Seeking secret technique from the Great Development Treasure Scriptures; I wonder if it's actually going to be as effective as the scriptures proclaim it to be. Only one way to find out, I guess. If it weren't for the fact that I kept a few drops of Mu Peiling's blood essence when I was setting up the spirit restriction in her, I wouldn't even be able to unleash this secret technique," Han Li murmured to himself as he swallowed a pill before sitting down on the spot with his legs crossed.
When Han Li opened his eyes again an hour later, he was back to his prime condition.
He immediately cast an incantation seal toward the jade plate, upon which the blood moon transformed into a piercing streak of crimson light as it flew into the distance.
Han Li's body swayed and his body also transformed into an azure streak of light, flying behind the crimson light in hot pursuit.
Within the blink of an eye, the two streaks of light had completely disappeared from view.
The crimson ball of light flew along at an even pace, and Han Li also followed closely behind it.
After flying for close to half a day, Han Li was led by the crimson ball of light into an extremely barren and secluded basin.
A burst of scorching heat immediately came rushing toward him.
Han Li's expression changed slightly, and he discovered that everything within the basin was either black or red. On the outskirts of the basin were spherical black rocks, while a crimson lake of lava was situated at its center. The scorching temperatures emanating from the lava lake was making even the air above the basin shimmer and warp, creating a rather twisted and ethereal scene to behold.
The ball of crimson light was revolving in the air above the lava lake, emitting a sharp screeching sound at the same time, looking as if it wanted to descend, but it didn't dare to do so.
Han Li stroked his chin and looked at the lava down below as a cold smile suddenly appeared on his face. "Hehe, it really does know how to find good hiding places. If it weren't for the guidance of the secret technique, I really wouldn't have been able to find this place. However, now that I know this is where they are, some lava isn't going to be able to stop me."Previous Chapter Next Chapter