There were also several hundred cultivators battling at an altitude of tens of thousands of feet, and on one side was a vast expanse of baleful Qi, within which were countless ghostly shadows, while on the other side, several small formations had been set up, and all types of treasures were unleashing their powers.
The most powerful beings among these cultivators was a pair of Core Formation cultivators, while the rest were mostly at the Foundation Establishment Stage.
"As expected, these sects have played an important role behind the turmoil of the Great Jin. Regardless of who gets the last laugh, it looks like the imperial family of the Great Jin is about to be dethroned," Han Li sighed as he looked on from a white cloud in the sky.
All of his experiences in the Great Jin were still as clear in mind as if they had taken place yesterday, but in reality, most of his acquaintances and even many of the sects that he was familiar with had most likely ceased to exist by now.
This battle was naturally not of much interest to Han Li, and after lingering nearby for a short while longer, he made a hand seal and vanished on the spot.
Within the restricted area in the southern region of the Great Jin, groups of cultivators wearing attire from a range of different sects were routinely patrolling a giant black mountain that extended all the way up into the clouds.
An extremely powerful flight restriction had been set up here, so aside from the most powerful Nascent Soul Stage beings in this realm, no one would be able to reach the mountain through an aerial route.
Many years ago, this mountain had been the center of extensive conflict, and even many high-grade cultivators had perished on it.
In the end, it had been sealed and was being guarded by several major sects, all the way until today. At this point, most of the treasures on the mountain were already gone, so no high-grade beings were interested in it anymore.
As such, even though the mountain appeared to be extremely tightly guarded, all of the guards were simply going through the motions and not taking their duty seriously.
All of a sudden, a faint shadow vanished into the black mountain in a flash, completely bypassing the restrictions and guards.
Around an hour later, Han Li appeared over 1,000 feet above the summit of the mountain, and with his enormous spiritual sense, he was able to instantly inspect every single inch of the mountain despite the many restrictions in place.
A complex look appeared on Han Li's face as he appraised this mountain that was both extremely familiar, but also completely alien to him.
"Seeing as Kunwu Mountain is no longer the place it once was, there's no need for it to continue to exist; allow me to erase you from this realm," Han Li sighed as he rose up higher into the air as a streak of azure light.
Moments later, a gargantuan azure hand that was over 10,000 feet in length appeared above the mountain amid a burst of spatial fluctuations, and the palm came crashing down amid an earth-shattering boom.
Countless layers of restrictions were instantly activated, but they didn't even manage to slow down the giant azure hand in the slightest as it razed the mountain to the ground, leaving only an extremely deep massive crater in its place.
The patrolling guards were all astonished to see this, and they couldn't help but wonder if they were in a dream.
Shortly thereafter, some Nascent Soul cultivators who had been notified of the situation quickly arrived on the scene.
However, after an investigation, they were unable to detect anything aside from some residual spiritual power in the area, so they could only depart with even more questions than they had come with.
After that, this event became one of the 10 most incredible legends of the Great Jin, and it was discussed by countless cultivators over many years to come.
However, as time passed, the tale began to die out, and after 10,000 years had passed, there were only some brief mentions of Kunwu Mountain that could be seen in some ancient tomes.
At this moment, Heavenly Star City of the Scattered Star Seas was extremely lively and bustling, and countless boats of different sizes were converging toward it from all directions.
Countless Foundation Establishment and Core Formation cultivators had gathered in the city, and occasionally, a Nascent Soul cultivator or two could be seen flying toward the top of the Star Palace.
This day was the 2,000th birthday of Patriarch Ling, the master of the Star Palace, and all of the powers in the entire Scattered Star Seas had begun preparing presents over 10 years ago. This was all in an effort to appease Patriarch Ling so that the Star Palace would continue to protect them.
At noon, several tens of Nascent Soul cultivators had gathered in the Star Palace, and all of them were appraising the woman on the main seat with respectful expressions.
The woman wore a white palatial dress and had skin as fair as jade. She was extremely beautiful, and as she cast her gaze around the hall, all of the Nascent Soul cultivators whom her gaze fell upon immediately lowered their heads as a gesture of respect.
Not only was this Patriarch Ling the only early-Deity Transformation cultivator in the entire Scattered Star Seas and the master of the Star Palace, she had managed to somehow break through the lifespan limit for cultivators in the human world, allowing her to live to this point, and for these reasons, she was very much deserving of such respect.
Once spirit fruits and tea had been brought to all of the Nascent Soul cultivators by some female servants, Patriarch Ling said, "It's about time; let's begin the ceremony."
Someone immediately gave an affirmative response, yet just as the commencement of the ceremony was about to be officially announced, a male voice suddenly rang out outside the hall.
"Hehe, looks like I came at just the right time. Surely you have some wine to spare for an old friend, Fairy Ling." As soon as the voice trailed off, Han Li appeared outside the hall before making his way into the room with a faint smile.
All of the Nascent Soul cultivators present immediately swept their spiritual sense toward him, only to find that he was giving off no spiritual power fluctuations whatsoever, as if he were a mere mortal.
A hint of bewilderment appeared on Patriarch Ling's face upon hearing this voice, and upon seeing the owner of the voice, she immediately rose to her feet in an astonished manner as she said in a trembling voice, "How could this? How could you still be in this realm?"
"I have some matters to attend to in this realm, so I had no choice but to come. I must congratulate you on reaching the Deity Transformation Stage following my departure, Fairy Ling," Han Li replied with a faint smile.
"Everyone, please vacate the hall; I wish to speak with this old friend in private," Ling Yuling suddenly instructed in a cold voice.
All of the Nascent Soul cultivators in the hall had no idea what was going on, nor this new arrival was, but they didn't dare to object and could only take their leave.
Thus, Han Li and Ling Yuling were soon the only ones left in the hall.
Following everyone's departure, Ling Yuling immediately activated a restriction in the hall, then asked in an elated manner, "Fellow Daoist Han, did you descend from the Spirit Realm?"
"I did. However, that's a long story that I can tell you about in detail later. It's been many years since I left the human world, so there are some things that I need to ask you about," Han Li replied in an unhurried manner.
"Rest assured, Brother Han; I've rarely ventured out of the Scattered Star Seas during these past years, but I know everything that's been happening in the human world like the back of my hand," Ling Yuling said as a complex look appeared on her face.
"That's good to hear. I haven't met any of my past acquaintances aside from you during this trip, and all I want to know about is how my past acquaintances and the powers I was once associated with have been doing, " Han Li said.
After that, Han Li stayed in the hall with Ling Yuling for half a day before the restriction around the hall disintegrated, and a streak of azure light shot out.
"I hope to see you again in the Spirit Realm someday, Fellow Daoist Ling."
After that parting sentence, Han Li vanished into the distant sky.
Inside the hall, Ling Yuling was still seated on a chair, holding a jade slip in her hand with an excited expression.
Meanwhile, Han Li was already tens of thousands of kilometers away, pondering what Ling Yuling had just told him.
It turned out that the island that he and Nangong Wan had left behind in the Scattered Star Seas had become the base for a major power, led by his disciple, Tian Qin'er, and several other juniors of theirs. Technically speaking, the members of that power were granddisciples of his.
There was no lack of Core Formation and Nascent Soul cultivators among their ranks, including one of the Nascent Soul cultivators attending Ling Yuling's birthday ceremony.
Ling Yuling had taken good care of them in Han Li's absence, and they were developing smoothly, so Han Li decided not to go and meet them.
Tian Qin'er herself had failed to transcend her Deity Transformation Stage tribulation many years ago and perished as a result. Thankfully, she had made some preparations beforehand, allowing her to preserve a part of her soul, so there was still a chance that she could be reincarnated.
As for Shi Jian, the disciple of his who had inherited the teachings of the Monarch of Soul Divergence, he had perished at the Nascent Soul during a battle against a powerful enemy.
However, prior to his death, he had taken several disciples with great aptitude. As such, not only had the teachings of the Monarch of Soul Divergence not gone into decline, it had experienced a resurgence of late.
The Yellow Maple Valley and Drifting Cloud Sect, the two sects that Han Li shared close ties with, had also been thriving during these past years.
At the time, the Yellow Maple Valley had been facing a major crisis, but since then, it had taken several extremely prodigious disciples, most of whom had become Nascent Soul cultivators.
As a result, the Yellow Maple Valley had enjoyed a resurgence and was now a major sect in the Heavenly South Region.
As for the Drifting Cloud Sect, it had a massive foundation forged for it by Han Li, and following his ascension, one Nascent Soul Stage elder after another had emerged within the sect, transforming it into a true powerhouse that had dominated the entire Dreamcloud Mountain Range ever since Han Li's departure.
In contrast, the major sects of old, such as the Ancient Sword Sect and Hundred Possibilities Pavilion, had mostly been replaced by newer sects.
Han Li was struck by a sense of mixed emotions upon hearing about all of this, but there was nothing he could do aside from give a wry smile.Previous Chapter Next Chapter