Chapter 935: Unexpected Encounter

A day passed, and Han Li emerged from the stone room to depart from the mountain, heading to the eastern half of the Jin Empire, where the largest city of the mortal world was located — the Jin Capital. 

With quite a bit of time left before the trade fair started, Han Li leisurely flew at the speed of an ordinary Core Formation cultivator to avoid suspicion.

Soon, he left the Long Province and entered the neighboring territory without a problem, then taking out the Wind Riding Chariot and flying off at immense speed in a streak of white light.

As he flew, he faintly revealed the aura of his Nascent Soul cultivation and the few low-grade cultivators he occasionally flew across respectfully kept their distance.

A month later, Han Li entered the Jinjiang Province adjacent to the Jin Capital. He put away the Wind Riding Chariot and once again flew with restricted speed and aura.

After all, there were sure to be many high-grade cultivators in the heartland of the Great Jin Empire. He didn’t wish to attract unnecessary attention.

...

Two weeks later, Han Li was wearing azure Confucian robes as he rode on a worn cart pulled by a sickly old horse. 

At that moment, he was sitting at the front of the raggedy cart and his body shook along with it. His eyes were half closed as if he were nodding off. In truth, he was secretly refining the Soul Snow Pill [1] he took from several days before.

After he emerged from the spatial pocket in Devilfall Valley, he had already taken over a dozen of them.

The pill was worthy of being from antiquity. He clearly sensed an enhanced purity in the Celestial Ice Flames and Six-winged Frost Centipedes’ glacial Qi that he previously refined. Even the trace of impurities that remained in the Purple Apex Flames began to slowly disappear, producing a significant increase in their potency.

It was only quite unfortunate that the medicine pill wasn’t easy to consume. Each one would take anywhere from three to four months to refine inside of him, much to Han Li’s disappointment. If he was able to consume a pill every month, he reckoned that in a hundred year’s time, his Purple Apex Flames could reach the legendary stage of sealing a thousand kilometers of land in ice. 

That being said, the Purple Apex Flames currently was no lesser than the peak techniques of the Devil and Righteous Dao. There didn’t seem to be an ability that would able to truly restrain them.

As for why Han Li was travelling across the land on this worn carriage, it was because the Jin Capital was the mortal capital of the empire. The Great Jin cultivation world had an unwritten rule that forbade combat and flying five hundred kilometers within the Jin Capital, signifying a trace of respect towards the Great Jin’s imperial government as cultivators and mortals had a certain degree of codependency in the Great Jin. However, Nascent Soul and even Core Formation cultivators skilled in evasion techniques would turn a blind eye to this rule.

After all, as the only ones patrolling the Jin Capital were often vagrant cultivators hired by the Great Jin’s imperial government, their cultivation usually wouldn’t be very high. So long as they didn’t discover anybody violating the rules or didn’t brazenly fly at low altitudes in plain sight, they often wouldn’t raise a problem.

Han Li also viewed this rule with disregard, but because he had ample time and wished to finish refining a Snow Soul Pill, he dropped to a small village a hundred kilometers away and bought an old horse and cart before leisurely making his way to the capital.

Han Li encountered a few low-grade cultivators along the way that were using horseback and carriages to head towards the capital. However, he didn’t wish to be disturbed and completely restrained his magic power, making himself appear like an ordinary mortal. As a result, none of these low-grade cultivators had bothered Han Li in the slightest.

And because his cart wasn’t going particularly fast, he had been passed by at least ten different caravans. Though Han Li simply minded his own business on the road as he refined a Soul Snow Pill, he frowned when heard a storm of thunderous horse hooves in the distance.

With an unchanged expression, he opened his eyes and pulled at the reigns in his lap. The old horse obediently pulled over the cart to the side of the road.

Han Li lazily turned his head over and saw a cloud of dust surging from behind him. There were banners fluttering within the dust as if in a display of might.

As the dust cloud approached him, he could faintly see cavalrymen clad in silver armor within them, each of them with bows hanging on their backs and sabers on their waist.

These soldiers appeared rough and weathered, and they were led by a middle-aged man wearing embroidered robes and a longsword at his waist. He carried a large banner at his back with the word “King” boldly written on it. At the middle of the cavalrymen, there were several jade carriages faintly shining with spiritual light, being swiftly pulled by many fine steeds. The carriages  didn’t appear to be shaking despite the great speed they were travelling at.

“Magic tools?” When Han Li saw the carriages, his eyes turned wide with astonishment. He swept his spiritual sense past them and found all carriages were filled with luggage apart from one that carried the faint aura of cultivators. Although the aura was quite weak, it was quite surprising for common cultivators to mingle amongst these soldiers.

He then pulled at his reigns and had his cart come to a complete stop, yielding to the group.

The army of cavalrymen appeared to number about four hundred, but when they passed him by, they seemed to shake his cart in a storm of wind produced by their astonishing momentum.

Han Li’s eyes flickered and noticed that these cavalrymen all carried baleful Qi on their body, from fighting presumably. These weren’t ordinary city guards, but rather frontier vanguards that would often take part in bloody melees.

He heard that the Great Jin were bordered by other unsavory civilizations in the southeast and northwest and that mortal natives would often wage war with them. Only true bloodied soldiers would appear in these chaotic areas.

Just as Han Li thought this, the jade carriages passed him by. Someone within one of the carriages happened to catch sight of him from the window’s narrow opening and they let out a slight yelp.

Han Li seemed surprised by this reaction and he couldn’t help but raise his head, catching sight of a pair of eyes that seemed familiar. Just as he wondered who that person was, they had already traveled into the distance.

After observing the squad of soldiers that passed him, Han Li grew pensive and eventually shook his head, abandoning his thoughts of searching the carriage with his spiritual sense. The carriage had a few simple isolation restrictions placed on it, and he would be detected by whoever was inside if he attempted to pry. Additionally, they were cultivators only at the Qi Condensation cultivation. He didn’t want to be bothered because of a few low-grade cultivators.

After seeing the cavalrymen travel far into the distance, Han Li resumed his journey on the main road.

He traveled for five kilometers before he arrived at an intersection in the road. A large verdant forest grew at the side of the road and there were a few simple tea shops that were set up next to it. There were many carriages that had stopped here, whose owners entered these simple shops for tea and food.

After all, this place was the sole stop before one would arrive inside the Jin Capital. Most travellers would stop by for a moment of rest.

Han Li’s gaze swept around and saw that the silver-armored cavalrymen had dismounted from their horses and were resting at the side of the forest. The several jade carriages had stopped as well, but one of them was opened and empty. As for the silver-robed middle-aged man in charge, he was also absent.

Han Li frowned and unconsciously swept his spiritual sense past the many tea shops nearby. Soon after, he urged his horse to continue on the road.

But at that moment, one of the soldiers saw his cart and walked towards him in stride, blocking the cart to Han Li’s surprise.

The cavalryman saluted him and asked with a neutral tone, “Young Sir, are you surnamed Han?” 

“That’s right. My surname is Han. Do you have any business with me?”

“Since it truly is Young Sir Han, my clan’s young mistress would like to have a chat with you over some tea.”

Recalling the pair of bright eyes he saw earlier from the jade carriage and pondering for a moment, Han Li nodded, “Your clan’s young mistress? Oh... Alright, I’ll go.”

“Young Sir, my clan’s young miss is in the tea shop over there. Please follow me.” The soldier spoke in a deep voice and beckoned to the side of the forest. Then, two other soldiers came over and took care of Han Li’s cart.

A short moment later, Han Li entered the shop and came across two women and one man. The man was the embroidered-robed middle-aged man he saw from before. He had long facial hair and a calm, powerful demeanor. As for the other two young women, they were cultivators at the seventh and fifth layer of Qi Condensation.

The man remained motionless at Han Li’s entrance, but when the two women saw Han Li enter, they exchanged a glance. The woman with the lesser cultivation bit her lip and then spoke with some joy, “Brother Han, it has been many years since I’ve seen you! I didn’t think I’d be able to meet you again. I will never forget the kindness you showed me with your cultivation guidance.”

Surprised, Han Li smiled and said, “So it was Young Miss Cao. This is truly a coincidence. I hope you didn’t take offense at my sudden departure.”

This woman was the county officer’s daughter, Cao Mengrong, who he had met when he entered the Great Jin several years prior.

“I’m sure Senior Han had urgent business at the time, so I could hardly blame you. Ah, that’s right, I should introduce you. This is Senior Martial Sister Wang. She had taken care of me when I was still in my sect. We are nearly as close as blood sisters. And this is Senior Martial Sister Wang’s uncle, a general renowned as the illustrious pillar of the southern empire. He has received orders to pay audience to the emperor.” 

[1] An ancient pill formula that requires equivalently ancient and rare medicine herbs. In Chapter 856, Han Li finds these herbs in a spatial pocket in Devilfall Valley. They are able to enhance the glacial power of a cultivator’s ice techniques (making them colder and more powerful).

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