“No! It’s just that he looks very similar to an old friend that I haven’t seen in a long time.” The strange expression in Celestial Nangong’s eyes disappeared, and she recovered her clear, cold gaze.
This sentence caused Han Li’s heart to feel a tart, slightly bitter taste.
“Oh, then this is really coincidental!” Li Huayuan gently laughed and said, sizing up Han Li once again. However, Han Li’s face was as calm as water, not revealing even the slightest odd reaction.
The other cultivators glanced at each other once; although they all revealed knowing expressions, only the heavens knew how much they truly believed!
This Celestial Nangong also knew that these words were unlikely to obtain the trust of the others; however, she still offered no defense and floated away. The remaining people all gazed at Han Li with deep meaning before saying their goodbyes to Li Huayuan and his wife.
The smile on Li Huayuan’s face slowly disappeared after sending off all the guests. He knitted his eyebrows, then turned around and said to Han Li indifferently:
“Follow me into the room, I have some things to ask you!”
Seeing this, Han Li bitterly complained to himself, but he could only agree. As for his master’s young wife, she gently assured Han Li with a few sentences, then followed him into the room.
When Han Li walked into the guest lobby, Li Huayuan was sitting on the chair, appearing very thoughtful.
“You and Nangong Wan of the Masked Moon Sect know each other?” Li Huayuan, upon seeing that Han Li was in front of him, stopped his contemplation and directly asked Han Li this without beating around the bush at all.
Han Li was silent for a while upon hearing this, weighing his options in his heart many times. He knew that Nangong Wan’s strange behavior had definitely been noticed by his master and that he would have no way of making something up to get by; thus he could only nod his head in acknowledgement:
“This disciple truly had a fateful encounter with this Martial Aunt Nangong once!”
Upon hearing Han Li confess this so easily, Li Huayuan actually felt that it was somewhat strange, and the expression on his face immediately became warmer.
“Can you tell me what exactly happened?” The young woman’s curiosity was greatly aroused upon hearing these words from Han Li, and she couldn’t help but ask this question. Just then, Nangong Wan had directly denied that she and Han Li knew each other, yet now this disciple suddenly said that they did know each other; there definitely would be some interesting stories involved.
When Li Huayuan heard his wife ask this, he also nodded his head and gazed at Han Li; it seemed that he also wanted to know the whole story.
“Master, please forgive me. Because this matter involves some of Martial Aunt Nangong’s personal matters, this disciple once promised her that I would absolutely not leak this matter; please forgive me, Master and Master’s Wife!” Han Li tactfully refused, having long prepared a completely fair excuse.
Hearing these words, Li Huayuan and his wife were incredibly astonished; after glancing at each other, Li Huayuan thought first before slowly speaking, as if he were deliberating over something.
“Since you made an agreement with her, I naturally cannot force you to break that promise. However, Master would like to remind you that it’s best to limit contact with this Celestial Nangong! One should know that the charming techniques of the Masked Moon Sect are quite impressive, and I’m worried that you will fall under her Dao without even realizing it or are even blatantly ignoring it. But since you appear to be clear-minded and are clear with your words, I am somewhat more assured.”
Han Li’s heart relaxed upon hearing this. He repeatedly said “yes” in agreement.
The last shreds of unease in Li Huayuan’s heart disappeared upon seeing Han Li’s respectful expression and attitude. He even happily gave Han Li some pointers and answered his questions on cultivation; Han Li naturally listened extremely attentively, not willing to let a single one of Li Huayuan’s sentences slip by.
After asking some questions about Han Li’s experiences while cultivating for a long while and being quite satisfied with Han Li’s responses, Li Huayuan suddenly said something extremely surprising.
“Han Li, right now I have a personal matter that I would like you to take care of. Are you willing take up the task?”
Han Li was surprised in his heart, but he immediately answered without reserve:
“If Master has something on his mind, you can just tell me. This disciple will naturally do his best to complete it!”
Li Huayuan was very pleased with Han Li’s lack of hesitation and stood up, pacing a few steps before saying in a deep voice:
“In reality, it isn’t something that’s too dangerous! I just want to ask you to temporarily act as a bodyguard, ensuring the safety of a family member!”
“Bodyguard, protect someone?” Han Li felt somewhat stunned, but he still silently awaited Li Huayuan’s next words.
“We originally wanted your Fourth Senior Martial Brother Song Meng to go at first, but recently I heard that you killed many Devil Dao cultivators, which greatly shocked both me and my wife! I never expected that such a fierce individual could emerge from under my tutelage; I also heard that even people from the other six sects often talk about you! Because of this, I would feel more at peace if you were the one to go!” Li Huayuan gently laughed; one could see that at this moment, his mood was very good.
At the same time, the young woman to the side similarly said, smiling:
“In addition, Song Meng has stayed in the Green Ripple Cave ever since he was young and hasn’t gained much outside experience. His worldly experience is greatly lacking, This alone is one reason why you must be the one to go! After all, the person you must protect is a mortal from the secular world.”
Upon hearing the words of praise from Li Huayuan and his wife, Han Li wore an extremely shy expression and laughed, slightly embarrassed. However, with regards to them wanting him to protect some commoners, although Han Li’s expression appeared normal, in his heart he was still somewhat depressed.
What kind of dangers would an ordinary commoner encounter? Randomly sending a Qi Condensation disciple was more than enough to act as a bodyguard; why would they want him, a Foundation Establishment cultivator, to go?
Perhaps Li Huayuan guessed Han Li’s misgivings, because he gave both an explanation and a narration:
“The person I want you to protect is a descendant of my Senior Martial Brother, who once saved my life. However, his only son was a mortal with no spiritual roots; with no way to cultivate, he can only stay in the secular world. Thus, before he died I promised that as long as I lived for one more day, I would definitely ensure the safety and prosperity of his descendants! I’ve secretly supported this family for the past hundred or so years by providing many riches and completely eliminating any dangers.”
Li Huayuan stopped speaking, as if he were thinking on past matters. But afterwards, he collected his expression and said:
“However, I received notice in the past few days that the Six Devil Dao Sects may send out a few low-level disciples and mix them into this state’s secular world and then clean up some of the people that our Seven Sects are secretly supporting. They want to damage the supply of basic materials that the secular world supplies to our Seven Sects. Because of my relationship with this family, they will most likely also be taken out by the Devil Dao’s cultivators. Thus, I must have a representative who can go forwards to preserve the safety of this family when the storm hits. Of course, if the Devil Dao cultivators don’t go looking to start trouble with them, all the better.”
After hearing this, Han Li respectfully nodded his head, indicating that he understood.
“Okay, I will write a letter to the current clan leader to tell them your identity and situation; he is also the only person who knows about the matter between me and the previous Martial Ancestor. I have also already told others that during this period of time, your trip will count as a mission. This way you don’t have to worry about being punished. In addition, this jade slip contains detailed information on the entire clan. Bring it with you when go back to your lodgings and pack your bags. You will depart tomorrow morning, lest the situation suddenly change if you wait!” Li Huayuan ordered after thinking for some time.
“As you command!” Han Li bowed, then gently answered.
Han Li sat on the Divine Wind Boat, flying tens of feet above the ground at full speed.
His current destination was not the location of the clan that he was supposed to protect in the capital of the State of Yue—Yuejing; rather, he was flying directly towards the State of Yuan Wu.
Taking advantage of the somewhat increased freedom of this mission, Han Li was hurrying to make the meeting that he and Qi Yunxiao had set. In addition, he wanted to see if that formation master was able to repair the damaged ancient teleportation formation.
If the Seven Sects were to face a great defeat in a battle, this would be his last resort for escaping. Otherwise, if the Six Devil Dao Sects were to have their hands suddenly freed, he could only do his best to survive under their suppression and encirclement; how could he have any time to continue his cultivation in that situation?
Han Li estimated that if no accidents occurred on this trip, a short duration of twenty days would be more than enough to take care of his business without delaying the mission Li Huayuan had given him. Thus, he could continue to move forward assuredly.
Qi Yunxiao and Han Li’s meeting location was in a certain teahouse in a small city in the State of Yuan Wu.
Based on what Qi Yunxiao said, the teahouse was opened by one of his subordinates; so once Han Li found that location, he could easily contact Qi Yunxiao.
Han Li moved as fast as lightning the entire way; even if he occasionally encountered a few other cultivators, he would just brush past them without paying them any additional attention. He had no intentions of chatting with them. After flying nonstop for seven or eight days, Han Li finally arrived at the small “Golden Horse City”.
In order to not create a commotion, Han Li landed and put away his magic tools a few kilometers away from the city. Then, he walked slowly towards the city gate.
Although this Gold Horse City was not large, the outside of the city door was bustling with people coming and going, seemingly very busy.
Han Li’s appearance was plain, and the robes he wore had long since been exchanged for a worn-down Confucian robe. When squeezed in the midst of all the people entering the city, he did not draw attention whatsoever; in this way, he followed the flow of the people into the city.
This teahouse’s reputation was not small; Han Li randomly found a child to inquire about the location of the “Clear Spring Teahouse” and actually easily got the answers he was looking for. He then walked towards the place.
Naturally, when Han Li was standing in front of this “Clear Spring Teahouse”, he began to assess it with great interest.