Han Li felt numbed as fear, regret, and helplessness filled his heart. Despite trying to delay the inevitable, he was still unable to figure out how to extricate himself from this predicament, and as a result, he grew panicked.
He was, after all, still very young, unable to win against Doctor Mo’s vast years of experience in Jiang Hu. Doctor Mo could most likely counter any cunning and ruthless method that Han Li came up with. Feeling as exposed as a paper tiger, Han Li started sweating profusely.
Doctor Mo took note of the myriad expressions that flashed past Han Li’s face and was immensely satisfied with the pressure he caused. From his experiences, only when one was unsettled and confused would it be easier to extract the truth.
“You really think that I was delaying my cultivation on purpose?” Han Li was surprised that Doctor Mo came to this conclusion.
“Obviously. It’s already been two years and yet you weren’t able to reach the fourth layer? You really think I can’t read what you’re thinking? In the past, you only spent 3 years reaching the first three layers so even if the fourth layer was difficult to cultivate without the aid of spiritual herbs, it would impossible for you to have no progress in your cultivation,” Doctor Mo explained as his eyebrows arched up, emitting a killing intent. It was as if all the dissatisfaction that he ever felt was bubbling out to the surface today.
“Seems like no matter how I try to explain, Doctor Mo will never believe me.” Han Li smiled bitterly. Never would he have thought that because trying to hide the progress of his cultivation would lead him into a deeper hole filled with Doctor Mo’s endless suspicion. He really kicked the stone on which he had placed himself.
(TL: “kicking the stone on which he had placed himself” = digging your own grave)
“Enough! I have no wish to listen to any more of your bullsh*t. I shall give you one more year. Do you think you will be able to reach the fourth layer by then?” Doctor Mo coldly laughed as he stared icily at Han Li, waiting for his answer with a serious expression on his face.
Han Li’s mind was very clear. He knew his answer would not only affect Doctor Mo’s life but also his own survival.
“I should be very clear that there is no way I will be able to say no. Come, unlock my acupoints.” Han Li relaxed as he accepted the inevitable.
After Doctor Mo heard his words, his face recovered slightly as praise reflected in his eyes. However, he did not unlock Han Li’s acupoint immediately. Instead, he took out an exquisitely carved seal boxed from within his robes.
“I can’t be assured by your words alone. What would happen if you say one thing but do another; if you refuse to invest any effort in your cultivation, there would not be any difference from now. Because my own life is at stake, I have to add another layer of insurance,” stated Doctor Mo in an icy tone.
Before opening Han Li’s acupoints, Doctor Mo had to take extra measures to ensure his success. He cautiously unsealed the box, removed a white pill and placed the pill in the center before unsealing Han Li’s acupoint. Before Han Li could move, Doctor Mo already placed the white pill in front of him.
“You are an intelligent person. There is no need for me to waste time talking too much, you should know what to do.” Doctor Mo looked at him, harboring malicious intents in his heart.
Han Li moved his numbed limbs about, and without saying anything, he took the white pill out from the box. In front of Doctor Mo, Han Li immediately placed the white pill inside his mouth and swallowed it, unwilling to show any signs of weaknesses.
Clap clap! “ Excellent! He who suits his action to the times are great men indeed. As long as you help me return back to normal, I will reward you greatly. There is already a rift between us, so it is impossible for me to accept you as my disciple and pass onto you other techniques, but still, granting you a life of wealth is still possible for me.” Doctor Mo clapped his hands as he sincerely promised Han Li his reward.
“Now, you should be able to tell me the effect of the pill I just consumed in case I accidentally overstep the restrictions and lose my life,” Han Li expressionlessly asked Doctor Mo.
“Keke, the name of this pill is the Insect Corpse Pill. It’s concocted from pure herbal components but in addition, the recipe requires different poisonous worm eggs. After being consumed, it will incubate inside your body for a year. You can rest assured, though. In this one year, I can guarantee that it will not affect you. After one year, once you consume the antidote, the pill will melt away, leaving no traces behind. However, if you do not consume the antidote after a year, the worm will hatch within your body and consume your innards for nourishment, eating you from inside out and leaving you in so much pain that you would rather die than suffer the agony. The pain will last for a total of three days and nights, and you will slowly die an agonizing death.” Doctor Mo slowly explained the effects of the pill as he silently warned Han Li.
After Han Li heard the effects of the pill he just consumed, shudders involuntarily spread throughout his body as his expression changed for the worst. Anger inflamed his heart, but before he could do or say anything, Doctor Mo unleashed his trump card.
“Oh right, I heard that your family is living pretty well thanks to you. Do they have enough silvers to spend? If not, just let me know. Since you’ll be doing me a great favor, I will specially take care of your family members for you.” Doctor Mo smiled as he patted Han Li’s shoulder.
Han Li froze as his face turned green. Doctor Mo’s words made it impossible for his spirit to be calm and still.
Using the last vestige of his determination, he gritted his teeth and forced himself to keep silent. He was worried that he would say something to Doctor Mo that he might regret. Han Li understood that there was no way Doctor Mo would not use his family against him.
“Don’t worry, Doctor Mo. I promise to reach the fourth layer within a year.” Without a choice, Han Li bit his lips as he assured Doctor Mo.
Under Doctor Mo’s threats, Han Li could only submit. He was still unable to sever the last trace of humanity in his heart and disregard the life and death of his parents.
Now, Han Li's weakness had been grasped by Doctor Mo, and even if he wished to die, he would still have to seek the approval of Doctor Mo. Han Li knew that he had been thoroughly defeated this time.
After Doctor Mo heard Han Li’s words, he released a sigh of relief. His nervousness was not less than Han Li’s, but Doctor Mo’s face was akin to a stone mask as he had managed to keep his emotions under tight control.
“This Eternal Spring Arts in indeed extraordinary. This young brat is still so young but is already difficult to handle.” Doctor Mo did not know whether he felt envy or jealousy in his heart.
Actually, the effects of the Eternal Spring Arts varied for those who cultivate it. As for Han Li, he had already been quite intelligent since he was young, so after cultivating the Eternal Spring Arts, his wisdom grew beyond his peers.