Zhu Guo'er stuck out her tongue in a sheepish display upon hearing this before falling silent.
"The other reason I let Bao Hua go is that I don't want to continue to be caught up in her mess. Even though Liu Ji and Lan Pu retreated earlier, there's a very good chance that they'll come after Bao Hua again. Even though I foiled their plans, I'm sure they'd prioritize hunting down Bao Hua over coming after me. After that ordeal, Bao Hua will only become more cautious, and it'll be very difficult for Liu Ji and Lan Pu to corner her again," Han Li explained in a calm voice.
Zhu Guo'er's eyes immediately lit up upon hearing this. "Your wisdom is truly unmatched, Senior Han! We can take advantage of their conflict that they're preoccupied with to return to the Spirit Realm!"
Meanwhile, Daoist Xie remained standing in one corner of the flying carriage in complete silence.
"Let's continue onward. I'm assuming Liu Ji and Lan Pu will go after Bao Hua, but it's not entirely impossible for them to come after us instead," Han Li said as he injected his magic power into the flying carriage again, and it began to fly toward the edge of the forest.
Meanwhile, countless kilometers away, Bao Hua was standing on the peak of a nondescript mountain. Her complexion had returned to normal, and there were no signs to indicate that she was injured in any way.
Standing behind her was the black-armored Hei'e. His aura was rather feeble, and his complexion was quite pale, but he was still standing tall like an immovable stone pillar.
The two of them stood on the mountain peak for over an hour without displaying any intention of leaving, seemingly waiting for something.
After almost another hour had passed, spatial fluctuations erupted in the distance, and a gust of yellow wind swept toward the mountain.
Bao Hu's expression changed slightly upon seeing this, and in the next instant, the yellow winds subsided, revealing a humanoid figure that was enshrouded in yellow light.
"I pay my respects to Mistress Bao Hua! I came here as quickly as I could, but I was still late by one day; please forgive me for my tardiness," the yellow figure said in a fearful manner as he extended a deep bow toward Bao Hua.
"You're not to blame; I originally had something else that I wished to discuss with you, and I didn't think that I would fall into Liu Ji and Lan Pu's trap. I'm going to have to hide in your abode for now. Your cultivation base has improved quite significantly since the last time I saw you; you're only one step away from becoming a Sacred Ancestor," Bao Hua remarked in an indifferent voice.
"If you hadn't saved me all those years ago, I'd already be dead; it's an honor for me to be serving to you, Mistress. Liu Ji and Lan Pu are a pair of wily old foxes, but they definitely wouldn't suspect me. During these past years, I've intentionally been expressing constant hostility toward you, and I've always been on very good terms with those two," the yellow figure said in a respectful manner.
"Looks like I made the right choice to summon you here. Let's go to your cave abode; I'm sure Liu Ji and Lan Pu wouldn't give up so easily," Bao Hua said with a faint smile.
"Yes, Mistress! Please come and rest on this flying treasure of mine; I'll take care of anyone we encounter along the way," the yellow figure replied as he raised a hand to release a medium-sized flying boat.
The boat was as pristine white as jade and was extremely intricately crafted. The identity of the boat's owner was also depicted through several extremely eye-catching golden devilish characters on one side of the boat.
Bao Hua took a glance at the flying boat before giving a pleased nod, then flew into the cabin on the boat with Hei'e, upon which both of them began to meditate.
Even though some time had passed since their last battle, both of them were severely taxed and injured, so they naturally had to make use of all the time they possibly could to rest and recover.
The yellow figure also flew onto the boat, following which it flew away as a streak of white light, vanishing into the distance after just a few flashes.
Less than half a day later, spatial fluctuations erupted atop the same hill, and five people emerged out of thin air, two of which were none other than Lan Pu and the Liu Ji clone.
The two people beside Lan Pu bore a strong resemblance to her, and both of them were wearing robes of the same style, although one was red while the other was yellow.
Behind Liu Ji stood a short dwarf-like man in a set of daoist robes. He had a long goatee that was around half a foot in length, and a red wooden sword strapped to his back.
As soon as the five of them emerged, Lan Pu swept a sleeve through the air, releasing a ball of white light, within which was a small white leopard.
The leopard quickly flew around the mountain peak, sniffing around with its nose before flying back to Lan Pu and uttering a string of cries.
"So Bao Hua really was here. On top of that, there was someone else with her aside from that black crocodile," Lan Pu said in a solemn voice as she stowed the small leopard away.
"There was someone else? Could it be that the human brat came back to meet Bao Hua?" Liu Ji asked as her expression darkened slightly.
"It's not him; my Spirit Detection Leopard would've been able to identify his aura. Whoever it was, they used some type of secret technique to conceal their aura, but my Spirit Detection Leopard was still able to sense a faint residual aura that's somewhat familiar, so it should be someone I've met before," Lan Pu replied.
"Someone you've seen before? That means they're most likely one of Bao Hua's past allies from our holy realm. In that case, it'll be quite troublesome to track her down," the short daoist priest standing behind Liu Ji said in a concerned manner.
Due to his short stature and long goatee, his appearance was rather comical, but everyone took him very seriously, and Lan Pu replied in an earnest manner, "Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Fu; Bao Hua activated her Profound Heavenly Spirit Domain earlier, so she would've been taxed even further, and there's no way she'd be able to recover her powers in the near future. As long as she hasn't left our holy realm, it's not a matter of concern that she's hidden herself somewhere. She must currently be in hiding with the new person who's appeared, and the fact that her ally was able to arrive here so quickly indicates that they're most likely a high-grade devilish being in the nearby area; I should be able to track them down with an exhaustive search."
"Indeed, Sister Lan. Fellow Daoist Fu is my most trusted subordinate, and his powers are no lesser than those of this clone of mine. On top of that, you've brought along two of your most powerful clones as well, so there's no way Bao Hua will be able to escape from us again. This time, we have to make sure to hunt her down no matter what. Who do you plan on investigating first, Sister Lan? This is an extremely important matter, so I'd rather employ a guilty until proven innocent system rather than risk letting the culprit run free," Liu Ji said as a cold look appeared in her eyes.
"We'll naturally have to start with those who've had some ties to Bao Hua in the past; they'll be the prime suspects," Lan Pu immediately replied, having clearly already considered this subject.
"I'll have to trouble you to deploy more of your subordinates to temporarily shut down the teleportation formations in the important cities in this nearby area. Without any teleportation formations available, even if Bao Hua were to try and escape, she wouldn't be able to get very far," Liu Ji suggested.
"That's a good idea; I'll have it arranged right away. I have some connections with all of those who are in power in the nearby cities, and they should heed my call. Of course, if you were to apply pressure to them as a devilish matriarch, they would be even more inclined to follow our instructions," Lan Pu replied.
"That's not an issue; I'll enclose my own message with the messages that you'll be sending out to those cities," Liu Ji immediately agreed.
"Alright, then let's set everything into motion right away. There's a devilish lord residing near this area who's a very prominent suspect; we'll begin our investigation with him. Hopefully, we'll find Bao Hua in his cave abode," Lan Pu said as a frosty tone crept into her voice.
After that, she swept a sleeve through the air to release a burst of blue light, and all five of them vanished on the spot.
Half a year passed by in the blink of an eye.
On an undulating mountain range situated in a secluded region of the Elder Devil Realm, there was a mountain that was surrounded by walls that were over 1,000 feet tall.
This was a stronghold that spanned an area in excess of five kilometers, and resembled a small city.
Standing atop the walls were groups of armed patrols, and judging from the lights of different colors flashing around the stronghold, it was clear that many formations and restrictions had been set up within it.
High up above the stronghold was a vast expanse of black devilish clouds, from within which astonishing energy fluctuations were being released.
Zhu Guo'er was situated on a small mountain close to 100 kilometers away, staring into a copper mirror before her in a stunned manner. "Has there been some type of mistake, Senior Han? Didn't you say that this node would only be loosely guarded?"
The image on the surface of the copper mirror depicted none other than the giant stronghold, as well as the area around it.Previous Chapter Next Chapter