The young man was none other than Han Li, who had disappeared for several years following the conclusion of the Myriad Treasure Convention, and the little girl beside him was naturally none other than Bai Guo'er.
She had already been taken by Han Li as an in-name disciple, and she was entirely dependent on Han Li to repress the glacial poison within her body to ensure her survival, so she naturally followed him wherever he went.
A stir ran through the Gu Family cultivators as they caught sight of the figures in the air above, and many of them conjured up layers of protective spiritual light as they stared up at Han Li with wariness in their eyes.
Han Li cast his gaze downward, and after catching sight of the young woman, he smiled, and said, "Sorry to keep you waiting, Fellow Daoist Xiao Feng; I encountered some minor troubles on the way here, so I'm a little late."
A layer of azure light then appeared over his body, and it swept up Bai Guo'er before he descended onto the ground near the young woman.
"Not at all, Senior, you've arrived right on time; we were just too early. I must express wholehearted gratitude on behalf of our Gu Family that you came to meet us as agreed. This is Elder Xiao of our Gu Family, and the two of us will be leading our Gu Family during this true spirit ceremony." A hint of elation appeared on the young woman's face as she hurriedly introduced the yellow-haired elderly man to Han Li.
"Pleased to meet you, Elder Xiao." Han Li could sense that this Elder Xiao's cultivation base wasn't inferior to that of Fairy Xiao Feng, and he cupped his fist in a salute toward the elderly man.
The elderly man was still rather skeptical about Han Li's powers, but he naturally didn't dare to show this skepticism, and he adopted a respectful demeanor as he said, "The pleasure is all mine, Senior Han. I've heard much about you during these past few years, and all of us can heave a massive sigh of relief now that you're here to support our Gu Family."
At this point, all of the other Gu Family cultivators had naturally also realized that Han Li was the powerful ally they had been waiting for, and they were quite stunned by his youthful appearance.
"There's no need to be so rigid and formal, fellow Daoists; we are only working together as part of a mutually beneficial exchange. Now that I look at it, the grand elder of your family, Fairy Tian Li, doesn't seem to be present. If I recall correctly, this wasn't what you told me would happen, Fairy Xiao Feng. Could it be that Fairy Tian Li left for the true spirit ceremony ahead of all of you?" Han Li asked as he appraised the surrounding Gu Family cultivators with furrowed brows.
An awkward and resigned look appeared on the young woman's face. "I'm afraid Grand Elder Tian Li won't be able to represent our Gu Family during this true spirit ceremony."
"What do you mean by that?" Han Li asked as his expression darkened slightly. This wasn't what they had initially agreed on.
"Our sincerest apologies, Senior, but our grand elder has been forced to pull out of this ceremony due to an incident. You see..." the elderly man hurriedly began to explain the situation at the sight of Han Li's displeased expression.
"Fairy Tian Li is currently in seclusion to recover from an injury she sustained in the primordial world? I see. It is indeed not a simple task for cultivators of our caliber to recover from injuries. In that case, won't things be a little troublesome for your Gu Family during this ceremony?" Han Li nodded as a slightly concerned look appeared in his eyes.
Fairy Xiao Feng seemed to have considered this matter carefully already, and a solemn look appeared on her face as she said, "Seeing as our grand elder is unable to participate in the ceremony, our agreement for you to improve our Gu Family's ranking during the ceremony is naturally revoked. On this occasion, all you have to do to fulfill your side of the deal is to ensure that our Gu Family's ranking is maintained."
Han Li's expression eased slightly upon hearing this, but there was still a hint of reluctance in his eyes. "Even so, that'll most likely be quite a difficult task. I've only just reached the Body Integration Stage, after all, so I certainly can't make any promises."
The young woman hesitated momentarily at the sight of Han Li's hesitant expression, then suddenly pulled a storage bracelet out of her sleeve before handing it over to Han Li. "As long as you do everything in your power to assist us, our Gu Family is willing to offer you a sum of top-grade spirit stones on top of what we originally promised you as compensation."
Han Li's heart stirred lightly as he accepted the storage bracelet before injecting his spiritual sense into it, upon which a hint of surprise flashed through his eyes.
After a brief moment of contemplation, Han Li stowed the storage bracelet away before replying with a smile, "To think that you're willing to offer me such an astronomical sum; looks like it really is very important for your Gu Family to do well during the true spirit ceremony. In that case, I'll be sure to do my best for you."
"Your presence is certainly a very reassuring one for our Gu Family, Senior Han. This place is still around a month's journey away from the Myriad Spirit Platform where the ceremony is going to be held, so it would be best for us to set off right away. Elder Xiao and I will be explaining the specific details of the ceremony along the journey."
"That would be best." Han Li naturally had no objections to this.
Thus, the Gu Family cultivators rose up into the air and flew into the distance in a line with Han Li among their ranks.
The Heavenly Horse Plains consisted of a massive section of barren land on the border of the Tian Yuan Region.
It was said that the plains were so vast that even a Deity Transformation cultivator would have to fly non-stop, day and night for around a month to cross through it.
On top of that, this place was rife with sandstorms and completely devoid of greenery and spirit veins, so rarely did cultivators ever visit this place.
Even if there were the occasional cultivators who had no choice but to pass through these plains, they would fly through without any pause.
On this day, there were a dozen or so human cultivators situated deep within the plains. They had arranged themselves into a circular formation with their backs facing one another, and they were hovering at a low altitude.
All of them had summoned their most powerful treasures, which had transformed into bursts of light that enshrouded their bodies, yet they all wore panicked expressions on their faces.
Among these cultivators, the one with the highest cultivation base was a mid-Spatial Tempering Stage burly man in a set of brocade robes. He was holding a blue bead in one hand and a white flag in the other. He was situated at the center of the formation with an even more pronounced look of shock and rage on his face than that of his companions, and his eyes were constantly darting around the formation.
Right at this moment, a gust of yellow wind suddenly blew past one of the male cultivators in the group, and he reflexively blinked. In that instant, a pristine white hand reached out of the yellow wind like lightning, and the protective spiritual light around the man's body was torn apart with ease, following which the white hand passed punctured through his chest without any impediment.
Before the man could even cry out, a white ice flower had bloomed in front of his chest, and he was instantly frozen into an ice statue, following which the white hand instantly vanished.
The nearby cultivators were all extremely alarmed by this, and they hurriedly unleashed the powers of their treasures to attack the assailant, but all they achieved was reducing their frozen companion into pulverized ice, while his killer was nowhere to be seen.
At the same time, the Spatial Tempering Stage brocade-robed man suddenly let loose a loud roar, and a pillar of piercing blue light erupted from the bead in his hand.
The pillar of light shot forth through the air like lightning, striking the gust of yellow wind in a flash. White light immediately flashed, and an indistinct figure was forced to reveal itself, trapped within the ball of blue light.
Without requiring any instructions from the brocade-robed man, all of the cultivators in the group immediately focused their attacks on that indistinct figure, and their attacks surged forth as a wave of five-colored light.
The figure was instantly torn apart by the five-colored light amid a dull thump, seemingly having been completely unable to offer up any resistance.
Cries of elation immediately rang out, and all of the cultivators were ecstatic to see this.
However, a bewildered look had appeared on the brocade-robed man's face, and he suddenly made a grabbing motion to draw a fragment of the destroyed figure into his hand, only to find that it was a piece of pristine white hard shell. The shell was extremely cold, and rapidly melted into water in his hand.
"Don't let your guard down! That thing's still alive!" the brocade-robed man roared as his expression changed drastically, and he immediately brandished his white flag to protect himself.
However, it was already too late. A sharp piercing cry suddenly rang out within the brocade-robed man's ears, following which an icy cold sensation surged over his neck, and his head was decapitated by a pair of snowy white scimitar-like pincers.
Immediately thereafter, a massive snowy white centipede projection appeared behind his headless body without any warning.
This centipede was around 50 to 60 feet in length with six pairs of semi-transparent paper-thin wings on its back. Its eyes were as red as blood and gave off a cold and menacing light. In the instant that it reappeared, it opened its massive mouth to expel a burst of white glacial Qi.
Several of the cultivators who were closest to it were completely unable to react, and they were swept up by the glacial Qi in an instant. Their bodies and their treasures were then reduced to extremely life-like ice statues amid a flash of white light.
The remaining cultivators were absolutely petrified by this harrowing sight, and someone suddenly yelled in a panicked manner, "Run!"
Everyone immediately dispersed and fled in all directions, but the snowy white centipede was completely unbothered. It merely flapped its six wings in unison, and its wings suddenly disappeared as six projections.
Moments later, the remaining few cultivators, who had fled to over 1,000 feet away, let loose anguished cries in unison, and their bodies were sliced in half without any resistance by streaks of white light.
Immediately thereafter, their Nascent Souls were also destroyed by the white light.
The six streaks of white light then returned to the snowy white centipede projection before instantly reverting back into its wings.
All of a sudden, piercing white light erupted from the centipede projection's body, and it quickly began to shrink.
After all of the white light had faded, an expressionless white-robed young man with strange golden and silver patterns on his face appeared in place of the projection.
He inspected his surroundings in a cold manner before abruptly thrusting a hand into the air, sending forth a burst of white Qi that swept up the brocade-robed man's severed head.Previous Chapter Next Chapter