"You have a sharp discerning eye, Senior Han. Unfortunately, I've been stuck at this cultivation base for several hundred years already. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to take that final step before my lifespan runs out," the Daoist priest replied with a wry smile.
Han Li gave him a faint smile in response, and didn't say anything. He pulled the red jade slip off the small golden sword before examining its contents with his spiritual sense.
The other three cultivators waited patiently off to the side.
Moments later, Han Li withdrew his spiritual sense from the jade slip and uttered the name of a place.
"Floating Dawn Swamp!"
"What? How could it be that place?!" Zhuo Chong exclaimed upon hearing this. Dongguo Feng and the Daoist priest were also shocked by this development.
"Why? Is there something wrong with that place?" Han Li asked with furrowed brows.
"That's an understatement! That place is regularly frequented by beings of other races, and many of our fellow Daoists perish there every year! It's an extremely perilous place," Zhuo Chong explained in a grim voice.
"And we'll be the only squad patrolling this place?" Han Li asked with a hint of surprise on his face.
"That most likely won't be the case. The Floating Dawn Swamp is an extremely massive place; even if we fly non-stop, it'll still take us half a month to fly a lap around it. Generally speaking, there would be four or five squads patrolling the place at once," Daoist Priest Ma explained.
"If we're not the only squad there, then we have nothing to complain about. We'll just need to take extra care," Han Li said in an indifferent voice.
"Senior Han, you won't be aware of this, but two years ago, Leader Xuan Guang of the 12th squad was attacked by Shadow Tribe beings in the Floating Dawn Swamp, and he perished on the scene along with two of his companions; Senior Xuan Guang was already a mid-Deity Transformation cultivator at he time!" Dongguo Feng explained with a fearful expression.
"Is that so?" Han Li's expression finally changed slightly upon hearing this.
Right at this moment, the sound of footsteps rang out from the passageways on either side of the hall as a few more people emerged.
Among them were five men and a woman, two of which were elderly men, two of which appeared to be a middle-aged couple, and the remaining two were a young man who appeared to be in his late teens, as well as a boisterous-looking burly man.
These were clearly the squad members who had been meditating in the silent cultivation chambers, and they had emerged clearly because they had somehow been alerted to the arrival of the messenger sword.
All of them were naturally rather surprised to see Han Li before extending respectful bows toward him following introductions made by Zhuo Chong.
Han Li naturally responded politely in kind.
After sweeping his spiritual sense through these squad members, he took an extra glance at the teenager, who introduced himself as bearing the Ying surname.
This was at the pinnacle of the late-Nascent Soul Stage, just like Daoist Priest Ma and Zhuo Chong.
Surprisingly, the two with the lowest cultivation bases were the pair of elderly men.
After learning of the fact that they were being deployed to patrol the Floating Dawn Swamp, all of them also became quite concerned.
"Alright, we can't change the orders issues by our higher-ups, so we'll just have to be more careful in the next few years. Let's set off tomorrow; make sure you're all prepared for our journey by then." Han Li issued a few instructions before making his way into one of the passageways.
He then found a silent cultivation chamber for himself and settled in there. Han Li's nonchalant reaction made all of the cultivators present even more concerned. Everyone turned to Zhuo Chong in the end.
The young man who appeared to be in his teens asked, "Brother Zhuo, did you inform Senior Han of the perils of the Floating Dawn Swamp?"
"Of course I did, but it appears that he hasn't really taken me seriously." Zhuo Chong heaved a faint sigh.
"We have no choice in the matter anyway. The order was issued by the panel of elders; what are we going to do? Resist the orders?" the woman among them said in a resigned voice.
"Obviously we can't resist the order, but we have to at least alert Senior Han to the perils of the swamp so he can treat the situation with more caution. If we really encounter those powerful beings from foreign races, we have to at least be prepared," Daoist Priest Ma said with a concerned stroke of his beard.
Zhuo Chong was silent for a moment before saying, "There's no need to be overly concerned, everyone. The Floating Dawn Swamp is indeed quite a perilous place, but truly powerful beings from foreign races are still quite rare there. On top of that, due to how dangerous the swamp is, we'll receive a handsome reward for our efforts, and we'll be able to take a long rest after this patrol mission. As long as we can survive these next few years, we'll most likely be assigned to less dangerous areas thereafter. You've all heard what Senior Han said; go back and make preparations for our journey tomorrow."
No one else had anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion, so they could only depart amid a rather gloomy atmosphere.
At this moment, Han Li was seated with his legs crossed within the silent cultivation chamber, and there was faint golden light shimmering all over his body. He appeared to be in deep meditation, but there were golden halos flashing erratically behind his head, creating a rather bizarre sight to behold.
A day passed by in the blink of an eye.
When Han Li opened his eyes again and emerged from the silent cultivation chamber, Zhuo Chong and everyone else was already waiting there for him. All of them immediately rose to their feet and extended respectful salutes at the sight of Han Li.
Han Li waved a hand before turning his gaze toward a beautiful female cultivator.
This woman appeared to be in her twenties, and her pristine fair skin was almost translucent. Her eyes were shimmering like a pair of bright stars, and Han Li was struck by a sense of familiarity when he looked at her, as if he had seen her somewhere before.
A hint of surprise flashed through Han Li's eyes upon making this observation.
"Senior Han, this is Fairy Xu; she's the direct lineal descendant of an ascended cultivator," Daoist Priest Ma introduced with a smile.
Han Li's heart stirred upon hearing this, but he merely nodded with a calm expression.
The female cultivator also seemed to have a rather cold and aloof personality, and she only extended a clipped greeting toward Han Li before falling silent.
"If everyone's here, then let's set off."
Han Li didn't delay any longer as he led everyone out of the hall, heading directly toward a teleportation stone hall nearby.
This hall was guarded by another group of cultivators, and there was a golden ark situated within the hall, but there was no need to make use of that treasure seeing as the teleportation was only going to be over a relatively short distance.
After handing over his identification badge for examination, their squad split up into groups of three or four to be teleported in separate bouts.
Amid three successive flashes of white light, all 11 members of the squad were teleported out of Deep Heaven City and appeared in an unfamiliar place. After shaking off the rush of dizziness from teleportation, Han Li inspected his surroundings, and his brows furrowed slightly.
They were situated within a small stone chamber with a one-way teleportation formation underfoot. There were all types runes carved into the walls, all of which were flickering and seemed to have been enshrouded under a restriction.
Daoist Priest Ma and the other cultivators that had been teleported to this place in advance were waiting for them outside of the formation.
Han Li made his way out of the teleportation formation in an unhurried manner before striding toward the door of the stone chamber. He then pulled out his azure jade pendant and waved it at the door.
A burst of azure light immediately shot forth, and the runes on the door flickered before it was slowly opened, revealing a passageway leading upward that was around 10 feet wide.
Han Li immediately shot forth into the passageway as a streak of azure light.
His 10 subordinates also hurriedly unleashed their movement techniques in pursuit. Not long after the final person left the stone chamber, spiritual light flashed from the door, and it slowly sealed shut again. Meanwhile, Han Li had already emerged from the passageway and was standing in the air above a small mountain, surveying his surroundings from his vantage point up above.
They were currently situated within a set of bleak and barren mountain ranges. Around 50 kilometers behind them, a vast expanse of white light could be seen, beyond which lay a massive city wall. Even from such a long distance away, everyone could still see the astonishing spiritual light flashing from the runes on the city wall.
Han Li appraised the city wall for a long time with a contemplative look on his face.
As far as he was aware, the wall of Deep Heaven City that was facing the primordial world had no gate. Any humans or demons wishing to access the city from this side had to do so through the teleportation formations within the city.
With this arrangement, the restrictions placed on the city wall would prevent beings of foreign races from being able to infiltrate the city.
However, Han Li wasn't interested in that. Instead, he turned his attention toward another direction.
There, he was greeted by the sight of a string of lush mountains, all of different sizes. A scene of peacefulness and tranquility was portrayed, making it quite difficult to believe that the place was situated within the primordial world.
According to the map, the so-called Floating Dawn Swamp was around 5,000 kilometers away from this place. Due to the special terrain there, cultivators' spiritual sense were impaired, which made it the perfect place for spies from foreign races to survey Deep Heaven City from afar.
As such, Deep Heaven City had no choice but to deploy groups of cultivators to regularly patrol the area. However, all of the spies from the foreign races were quite powerful and were especially proficient in concealment techniques. As such, many humans regularly fell prey to these beings and perished within the swamp.
This was why it was regarded as one of the most dangerous areas to be assigned for patrol duties, and all cultivators on patrol duty prayed that they weren't assigned to this accursed place.
However, Han Li had been deployed to this area, so he had to take extra care during the next few years.
With that in mind, he glanced at the group of cultivators behind him as he instructed, "Let's go."
Thus, their squad of 11 flew into the distance as streaks of light.
A distance of just over 5,000 kilometers was certainly not difficult to cover for a group of cultivators at or above the Nascent Soul Stage. As such, it didn't take long before Han Li caught sight of their destination in the distance.
A turbulent green light appeared in his field of vision first.
After drawing closer, Han Li managed to identify that this was not some green line; it was instead a vast expanse of murky mist.
He slowed down slightly as he flipped over a hand, upon which a special formation plate appeared over his palm.
Han Li pointed a finger at the formation plate, and a layer of red light immediately lit up over its surface. At this moment, all of the cultivators behind him also brought out identical formation plates and did the same thing.
These formation plates were known as Foreign Spirit Plates, and were treasures assigned to all cultivators from Deep Heaven City on patrol duty. The treasure could allow them to detect the presence of beings from foreign races within a certain distance.
The limitation of this plate was that its detection effect was only applicable toward a single direction, but with so many plates summoned at once, all of which were focusing on different directions, they proved to be quite useful.
Thus, Han Li and his group carried the formation plates in their hands as they slowed down and carefully ventured into the mist.
Soon, all of them had disappeared.Previous Chapter Next Chapter