Chapter 1976: Liao Ying

Silvermoon opened her mouth to say something, but swallowed her words in the end, and replied, "Yes, Grandfather."

Just as Patriarch Ao Xiao was about to say something further, his expression suddenly changed as he cast his gaze toward the gate of the pavilion.

Moments later, the sound of footsteps rang out, and a young female servant appeared outside before informing in a respectful voice, "Master Ao Xiao, there are two elders of the island here to see you."

"Oh? They sure aren't wasting any time. Tell them to come in," Patriarch Ao Xiao instructed as his expression eased slightly.

The servant gave an affirmative response before departing.

A short while later, the white-haired elderly man and the man with the Xu surname strode into the room, and they immediately extended respectful bows at the sight of Patriarch Ao Xiao.

"We pay our respects to Senior Ao Xiao. What would you like us to do for you?" Elder Xu asked.

"There's no hurry; take a seat first," Patriarch Ao Xiao said with a smile as he pointed at the chairs beside him.

The two elders naturally didn't dare to raise any objections, and they expressed their gratitude before taking a seat as they were told.

"Come to think of it, both of you have some ties with me. One of you is a descendent of an old acquaintance of mine, while the other is Fellow Daoist Mo's in-name disciple. I have something important that I need to have done, and I only feel comfortable entrusting this task to you two," Patriarch Ao Xiao said in a benevolent manner.

The two elders were clearly quite flattered to hear this, and Elder Xu immediately said, "Please tell us what you'd like us to do, Senior."

"I heard from Fellow Daoist Mo that when he's not on the holy island, the onus of leadership falls upon you, Fellow Daoist Luo. In that case, I need you to search for some treasures and materials for me. These items are all quite rare; we have leads on the whereabouts of some of them, but you'll have to search for the other ones. My only requirements are that these things have to be gathered in secret, and that they be gathered as quickly as possible," Patriarch Ao Xiao replied.

The white-haired elderly man faltered slightly upon hearing this before immediately nodding in agreement. "I'll send out some trustworthy people to gather the items right away, and we'll make sure to keep things strictly confidential."

"Good. Here is a list of what I want." Patriarch Ao Xiao raised a sleeve as he spoke, and a jade slip flew out from within.

The white-haired elderly man immediately stood up and caught the jade slip before stowing it away up his sleeve without even looking at it, showing through his actions that he was going to do his best to track the items in the jade slip regardless of what they were.

A pleased look appeared on Patriarch Ao Xiao's face upon seeing this, and he turned to Elder Xu next. "Junior Xu, I need you to take a trip to the primordial world to meet a few mighty figures from the other races. As for what you need to do after you meet up with them, that's all recorded in this jade slip. Make sure to keep what you're doing a secret from the rest of the island as well."

"I'll be sure to do so," Elder Xu replied in a respectful manner as he also rose to his feet.

"These two tasks concern the three devilish patriarchs, and Fellow Daoist Mo is aware of them as well. I'll only give you a maximum of five years to complete these tasks. If you exceed that time limit, severe consequences could follow, do you understand?" A serious look appeared on Patriarch Ao Xiao's face as he spoke.

The two Body Integration Stage elders were ecstatic to hear that countermeasures were being prepared against the devilish patriarchs, and they exchanged an elated glance before vowing, "Rest assured, Senior, we'll be sure to complete the tasks in time even if it costs us our lives!"

"Alright, that's all for now; go and get started on that right away, and make sure the tasks are completed as soon as possible," Patriarch Ao Xiao instructed as he raised a hand to toss another jade slip toward Elder Xu.

The two elders didn't dare to say anything further, and they both extended respectful bows before departing from the pavilion.

Following their departure, Silvermoon's brows furrowed slightly as she asked, "Grandfather, are those two trustworthy? Aren't there already devilish spies who have infiltrated the holy island?"

"Hehe, if even these two are untrustworthy, then no one is trustworthy. They were recommended to be by Mo Jianli as neither of them have left the holy island in the past 1,000 years. Besides, if they really were devilish spies, do you think I would've failed to identify them? At the very least, there shouldn't be any major issues with the holy island elders that we saw earlier, and that's already very good news," Patriarch Ao Xiao replied with a faint smile.

Silvermoon's expression eased slightly upon hearing this, and she extended a curtsey toward Patriarch Ao Xiao as she said, "In that case, it seems I was overthinking things. I'll be going to rest now."

Patriarch Ao Xiao nodded with a tender look in his eyes. "Go on. We've been traveling for several months, so you're indeed in need of some rest."

"You have some rest too, Grandfather. You only just recently recovered from your tribulation transcendence; don't pile too much work on yourself," Silvermoon replied.

"Haha, do you really think I've become a useless old man?" Ao Xiao chuckled in a nonchalant manner.

Silvermoon smiled, and said, "Not at all! With your current appearance, no one would bat an eyelid even if I were to claim that you were my brother; you're far from an old man!"

After that, she turned and strode out of the room, and her spritely footsteps indicated that her mood had improved significantly.

Following Silvermoon's departure, Patriarch Ao Xiao's smile faded, and he sighed to himself, "I really hope she doesn't decide to cultivate that Art of Indifference."

Despite what he was saying, he displayed no intention to go after Silvermoon and merely closed his eyes as he began to meditate in his chair.

After a while, he opened his eyes, and suddenly said, "Show yourself!"

"I pay my respects to Master Ao Xiao!"

A female voice rang out nearby, and spatial fluctuations erupted, following which a semi-transparent figure appeared several tens of feet away from Patriarch Ao Xiao.

The figure then gradually became clearer and revealed itself to be a slender woman in a tight-fitting black robe.

She wore a copper wolf-head mask, and her hands were also sheathed in a pair of black gloves, so she wasn't revealing even a single sliver of skin.

"Welcome back, Liao Ying. Even after so many years, this get-up of yours still hasn't changed at all," Patriarch Ao Xiao said as a hint of amusement appeared in his eyes.

The woman extended a respectful curtsey as she replied, "You also look like you haven't aged a single day, Master. I had been concerned for a long time after I heard that you had been injured during your tribulation transcendence; it's quite a relief to see that you're safe and well."

"Hehe, a mere heavenly tribulation isn't enough to kill me. Alright, setting aside the pleasantries for now, I ordered to stay on the holy island in secret as a safety precaution. Now, I need you to give me a specific run-down of the situation on the holy island. I'm going to be staying here for some time, so I have to familiarize myself with the true situation on the island," Patriarch Ao Xiao said as a serious look appeared on his face.

The woman immediately did as she was told and commenced her report. "The current situation on the holy island is not very optimistic, and that's mainly due to the devilish..."

Patriarch Ao Xiao listened intently to her report and asked questions for further elaboration whenever there was something that he didn't quite understand.

The woman would give an answer if she had one, or merely shake her head in response to the questions that she didn't know the answer to.

At the conclusion of her report, the woman abruptly fell silent, while Patriarch Ao Xiao sat in his chair with a contemplative expression.

Finally, Patriarch Ao Xiao nodded with a pleased expression before continuing, "You've done very well, Liao Ying; the years you spent on the holy island certainly haven't gone to waste. Is there any update on the person that I asked you to look into last time?"

The woman's brows furrowed slightly, and she was silent for a moment before replying in a truthful manner, "I've done my best to gather information on that man, but he hasn't ever set foot on the holy island, and there are many rumors about him, but very little detailed information that I could find. On top of that, he seems to be very focused on his cultivation and rarely interacts with anyone, which is probably why he was able to make such extraordinary progress in his cultivation base in such a short time. I've already organized all of the information that I have on him; would you like me give it all to you now? Most of the information I have are unsubstantiated rumors, so do take care when reading through it."

"Regardless of whether the information is real or not, I have to take a look at it. It's only been less than 2,000 years since he ascended to the Spirit Realm, and he's already forged such a resounding reputation for himself. Most importantly, he's the main factor behind the flaws in Ling Long's mental state; let me see exactly what makes him so special!" Patriarch Ao Xiao said as a cold look appeared in his eyes.

The black-robed woman gave an affirmative response before raising a hand to release a ball of azure light.

Patriarch Ao Xiao made a grabbing motion and to draw the ball of azure light into his hand, then injected his spiritual sense into it.

After a short while, he finished examining the information, but seemed to be rather displeased by what he had seen. "Why is there so little information? And most of this stuff is downright absurd! You're telling me that he was able to match a late-Body Integration cultivator in battle at just the early-Body Integration Stage? Do you even believe this yourself?"

"I've merely gathered all of the information on him that I could find; you'll have to decide whether the information is real or not. After all, you never ordered me to track him in person to gather more information, and now, it's too late; he was hunted by devilish beings not long ago and has since disappeared," the woman replied in a serious manner.

"He disappeared? Is that true? Hmph, what a lucky little brat. His name is Han Li, right? How dare a mere ascended cultivator like him disrupt Ling Long's mental state? Because of him, she's been unable to make a breakthrough that should've come easily to her. He deserves to be killed thousands of times for what he's done!" Patriarch Ao Xiao said as a hint of killing intent flashed through his eyes.

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