Guang Gui City was located in the southernmost part of the Lan Province. Not very large in size, the city contained only a few hundred thousand people, one fifth that of Jia Yuan City. However, this place was surrounded by mountains from three sides with the fourth side against a lake. Unlike the rich nobles’ vacationing destinations, this graceful environment facilitated the growth of several rarely-seen fruits, a local specialty that caused this small city to have quite a reputation.
Great South Mountain was located not far west of Guang Gui City. It stood three thousand meters high as the Lan Province’s fourth tallest mountain and was enveloped in mist all year long. On the mountain’s peak, there was a moderately sized temple, Great South Temple. Because this temple’s divinations were quite accurate, every year a few high ranking officials and nobles went out of their way to come pray, giving large amounts of monetary offerings to the temple. As a result, it earned a widespread reputation for burning incense without interruptions at its temple front.
Currently, in the woods down at the base of Great South Mountain, a person was sitting in the dense undergrowth beneath a huge tree. His hands grasped a flickering red light that was pressed up against his Dantian as it repeatedly rocked back and forth.
Suddenly, this person’s body shook, and he let out a gloomy groan. He lowered the shining red object in his hand, exposing its true appearance. It was actually a top-quality fine azure jade. Not only was this fine jade completely pure, there were also several faint traces of red light seeping out from within the depths of the jade. Upon seeing this, any passerby could make out this jade was no mundane object and held considerable value.
This person slowly withdrew the azure jade from his abdomen and raised his head to look at the sky, showing that he was a common male youth. He was precisely Han Li, who had disappeared from Jia Yuan City.
Han Li then lowered his head and looked at the object in his hand. His face could not help but expose a cheerful expression.
Ever since the day he obtained this Precious Warm Yang Jade, it had continuously extracted the cold Yin poison from his body. As a result, the poison was completely extracted only after half a month. Even so, it had not been easy. When drawing out the poison, Han Li greatly suffered from an aching itch that entered his bones. He still had lingering trepidation every time he remembered the experience.
However, this Precious Warm Yang Jade was truly a treasure. It actually contained Spiritual Qi, expelling his poison to great effect and with much ease. He feared if he had not acquired this, he would need tens of days to thoroughly remove his body’s poison.
Thinking of this, Han Li returned the precious jade into the wooden box beside him, which he then carefully hid it away on his person.
As Han Li stood up and moved his stiff limbs about, his thoughts drifted back to his experiences these past two months.
After Han Li had finished making his arrangements, he went to the Mo Estate the following day and obtained information on Ouyang Feitian and the Hegemon’s Villa. He then rode on a precious horse gifted by the Mo Estate and hastily journeyed day and night, eventually arriving at the Hegemon’s Villa within ten days.
After several days of continuous spying and infiltration, Han Li acquired a golden opportunity and sent out his precious talisman towards Ouyang Feitian, who was admiring the full moon all alone. Sacrificing a use of his sword talisman, he beheaded him in a moment and took his life.
The course of events went by exceptionally smoothly. Not a wave of commotion arose, nearly causing Han Li to suspect that the person he had killed was perhaps a fake. Afterwards, he inspected the dead body on several places, finding Ouyang Feitian’s personal scar and birthmark and confirming that he did not kill the wrong person. Han Li then sighed and brought the head back to Jia Yuan City.
After he returned to the Mo Estate and gave Ouyang Feitian’s severed head to Lady Yan for inspection, she told him that Ouyang Feitian practiced Jiang Hu’s top defensive technique, “Overlord’s Armor”. He had long since trained his entire body until was impervious to sword and spear, reducing the sharp edge of a blade to something like mud; it would be difficult to even cause the slightest wound. Nevertheless, she hadn’t expected Han Li to actually bring back his head.
Only now did Han Li understand that this Ouyang Feitian had most likely considered his sword talisman to be a concealed weapon. As a result, he did not dodge, letting Han Li dispatch him in such an effortless manner.
The remaining matters were simple. After Lady Yan finished confirming the identity of the severed head, she brought out the precious jade and exchanged it for Han Li’s antidote. Although Han Li obtained the precious jade, Lady Yan urged him to stay, only to be met with denial. He was not in the mood to exchange pleasantries with the people of the Mo Estate. He then immediately departed from Jia Yuan City once more and rushed over to Great South Mountain.
On the way, Han Li cured his poison while thinking of how he should befriend the cultivators of Great South Valley.
Because Han Li didn’t know whether the other party was evil or just, he did not plan to bravely come knocking on their door. In case the cultivators were evil and demonic, he did not want to voluntarily deliver himself to their door like a dish to be swallowed in a single bite!
As a result, just as Han Li reached Great South Mountain, he went to the neighboring villages to ask about Great South Valley and listened to a few anecdotes and a few queer and bizarre matters.
According to the villagers, the northern side of Great South Mountain faced a very mysterious mountain slope covered year long by a dense fog. Travelers who entered it wouldn’t be able to see their five fingers in front of them.
It was reasonable to say that for the Great South Mountain to have some mountain fog was quite ordinary. However, such a thick mountain fog enveloping an area year round was quite a bit inconceivable.
As a result, a few of the more courageous villagers had already braved the fog several times. But what was astonishing was that every time someone entered, they would unwittingly lose their direction. Not long after, they would unintentionally move away from the mountain fog and arrive where they had started, causing people to feel amazed to no end.
Because this mountain slope was so queer and that people could enter without any sort of consequence, even more villagers happily and tirelessly rushed in, wanting to unravel this riddle. However, the villagers had somehow provoked the anger of the mountain slope’s dense fog. Ever since an unknown day, all the villagers that entered the strange slope did not immediately exit the dense fog, but were instead trapped for two to three days, completely weakened by hunger. Only then were they able to walk away from the fog.
Thus, no one had dared to rush the strange mountain slope ever again. The villagers eventually became accustomed to that place and turned a blind eye to it.
After Han Li heard this, he was overjoyed.
Han Li knew this strange mountain slope was most likely the place he was looking for. Furthermore, even if this place wasn’t that Great South Valley, it was certain to be the residence of some cultivators.
What Han Li was most happy about from the villagers account was that the temperament of the mountain slope’s master could not at all be regarded as malicious. He shouldn’t be a cultivator that would immediately kill him should they meet. Hence, there should be much leeway in meeting him.
Although that was the case, Han Li still wouldn’t pay a visit without a plan. Instead, he would stay in the woods. Only after he completely prepared his body’s concealed weapons would he go and pay a visit in his peak state. That way, if something were to go wrong, he was quite certain that he would be able to escape.
After Han Li thought of this, he planned to lodge in a villager’s house, eat some food and stay the night. The day after he would go visit that strange slope.
Thus, Han Li walked away from the woods towards the nearby small village.
Just as he was about to enter the small village, Han Li saw a fifteen to sixteen year-old youth wearing white clothes. He stood at the village’s entrance with several villagers around him, joyfully talking about something.
Han Li was slightly surprised that an outsider had appeared here at this moment. It was quite possible that this was no ordinary person, so naturally, Han Li took a glance at him with the Heaven’s Eye Technique.
With just a look, Han Li’s heart was overjoyed. It turned out that this white clothed youth’s body was enveloped in a faint spiritual light slightly lesser than his own. This youngster was also a cultivator.
The youngster in the distance seemed to have sensed someone looking at him and turned toward Han Li. Once he saw Han Li, his face immediately lit up with a happy expression, and hehastily ran over in an instant.
“Is this brother also heading toward Great South Valley? Brother, I am Wan Xiaoshan of the Dry Precipice Mountain’s Wan Clan! Want to go together to pay our respects?” This youth ran until he was panting and without waiting for his breath to steady, he impatiently said this to Han Li.
(TL: ? Wan of the Wan Clan literally means ten thousand. “Xiaoshan” means Little Mountain)
Han Li glanced at the youngster’s delicate features and delicate skin, all of which were characteristics belonging to an influential family’s Young Master who lived like a prince.
“Of course we can. However, do you know where Great South Valley is located?” After Han Li heard his request, Han Li said this while remaining completely calm.
“Hehe! I’ve only heard my clan members say that Great South Valley was on Great South Mountain’s northern face. Its gate is covered in dense fog all year long. However, I don’t know the specifics. I’ve asked a few of the villagers where Great South Valley is located, and they also don’t know! But Brother is sure to know, right?” Somewhat embarrassed, the youth scratched his head before looking at Han Li with a hopeful gaze.
“Little Brother, is this the first time you’ve journeyed abroad?” When Han Li heard the other person’s words, he suppressed the happiness in his thoughts and asked with a smile.
“Big Brother guessed correctly! This is my first time traveling so far from home.” The youth somewhat bashfully nodded his head.
“Alright then, follow me! I will bring you along.” Han Li hadn’t been completely certain that the strange slope was the Great South Valley he was trying to find, but now that he heard the youth’s words, he was completely certain.
“That’s great! This time I can learn and experience quite a bit!” When the youth heard Han Li’s words, he could not help cheerfully say this with excitement.
Seeing the youngster like this, Han Li faintly smiled. From the words that had just left the youth’s mouth, he was able to understand a bit more about cultivators.
“What do you want to learn and experience by going to Great South Valley?” Han Li slowly walked to the strange slope with the youngster. The place had long been secretly scouted by him several times, and he had remembered the place very clearly.
“There’s too much to say. I want to look at the secret arts and magic techniques belonging to other clans and schools. I also want to trade with them for things that I like.” The youngster spoke without thinking.
“Oh!” Han Li softly agreed. However, his mind was somewhat puzzled. When he heard the youth’s voice, he felt that this Great South Valley wasn’t just a gathering of numerous cultivators. Could it be that some greater event would later occur?
Han Li grew anxious at this thought.