Ning Bi, Yao Qing, and Jin Shu. The three disciples of Han De were summoned by Long Juan, the grandmother of their master. It had been 23 days since they left the Han family realm. Although they met a few of Long Xiu’s cousins before, this was the first time they were meeting an elder of the Long family.
The Han family and the Starfall Mountain sect were still on the celestial ship that the Long family provided. Due to some reasons unknown to Han De’s disciples, they remained in low orbit below the Long family realm.
Han Wei and Han Shan were waiting at the observation platform. It was hard to guess what this father and son duo was thinking about. Both of them watched the disciples with curious eyes as they got closer.
|That boy really knows how to pick disciples...|
The disciples involuntarily shuddered when they heard Han Shan speak. His words had unquestionably authority. Ning Bi and Jin Shu had no idea, but Yao Qing knew this was the result of ascension. Han Shan, had become a higher being. A different form of life!
“”“Disciples greet the Sect Masters!”””
Han Wei waved his hand at the deeply bowing girls.
“Raise your heads. We don’t need formalities between each other. You’re probably curious about why you were summoned...”
Ning Bi immediately asked a question.
“Is the master found?”
Han Wei didn’t mind getting interrupted by this girl and smiled instead.
“Not yet, but this is related to it. You will see when you get there. And…”
Han Wei looked at Jin Shu. There was some concerning news about this girl. At first he wanted to solve it himself, since Jin Shu was part of the Starfall Mountain sect after all. However, after learning of Han De’s instructions, and the unexpected enthusiasm from the Long family side, he reluctantly stopped himself.
Jin Shu met Han Wei’s gaze with ease. If it were before, she would’ve felt some worry, but she had a master she could rely on now. She certainly didn’t expect to hear news about her ex-fiancé a week after arriving at the Long family realm. But that thanks to her master’s influence, and some advice from her sister disciples, she was able to solve the matter.
“It is only a trivial issue. Sect master doesn’t need to intervene.”
Han Wei and Han Shan nodded with approval. They thought the way she handled the matter was exemplary. Truly befitting of a disciple of their family, thorough and vicious. They were qualities that one wouldn’t expect from a young cultivator.
Yao Qing was still a bit unsure whether economically destroying the sect, and all related families were enough. Would the ex-fiancé be able to feel enough hopelessness now that everything he held dear was in shambles? This was a tough call, and most likely would require few more interventions in the future.
Meanwhile, Ning Bi was fuming. She strongly advocated for killing the trash and being done with it once and for all. However, her suggestion was ignored in favor of demonstrating the immensity between heaven and earth. Ning Bi promised herself, that if the trash ever bothers her sister Jin Shu again, she would go ahead and personally kill him!
Ning Bi’s silent rage didn’t go unnoticed. Everyone on the platform knew how vindictive this little girl could be. Thankfully Long Xiu arrived with the power of space right at that time.
She didn’t say anything, nor did she greet anyone. For a few moments, Han Wei and Long Xiu looked at each other's eyes. Evidently, they exchanged some information with voice transmission, but the disciples obviously couldn’t hear any of it.
Long Xiu gave a long and deep sigh. She didn’t have any expression and her eyes were lifeless. Having spent time with her in the past, the disciples were able to guess the severity of the situation. She finally broke her silence as the disciples wondered what had happened in this past month.
“I will take everyone to my mother’s pavilion. Keep your mind clear, the grand array here is different than what you were used to.”
All it took was a wave of hand from Long Xiu. Everyone, including Han Shan, was transferred to the Long family homeworld. One second they were looking at the iridescent planet from the celestial ship, the next they were staring at a jade forest lit only by starlight.
Han De’s disciples felt like their bodies were divided into innumerable chunks and were put together again. Before they could collect themselves, they heard an unusually powerful voice, and felt immediate relief.
|Oh, you are just in time.|
The owner of the voice was Long Juan. She broke her lotus formation and smoothly landed on the ground. As she walked, the disciples felt something was off. It was as if her every move was made with frightening precision. Even Yao Qing couldn’t understand the reason, and only guessed it was an unknown ancient martial art.
|I see these little girls are not suffering from side effects. As expected! Your cultivations have improved quite a bit since the last time I’ve seen you three! How exciting!|
Long Juan widely smiled as she inspected Han De’s disciples. Her expression turned serious when she switched her gaze to Han Shan. She gently nodded at him, and Han Shan gently nodded back. Long Juan then appeared in front of Han Wei, held him from his shoulders and carefully inspected him. Half a minute later, she widely smiled and patted the shoulders of the confused Han Wei. With that, Long Juan’s attention was finally locked on to her daughter.
|Xiu Xiu! Don’t give me that long face. The matriarch came out of seclusion and gave me permission. Relax! You’ll see your son soon enough! Don’t even think about holding a grudge!|
Long Juan bear-hugged her daughter. The atmosphere didn’t improve, it dropped even further instead. Although she was expressionless, the disciples could tell that Long Xui was nearing the point of no return. Long Juan’s smile got wider.
|It’s the Blood-Devouring Great Unconstrained God Resonator.|
Yao Qing’s heart rate nearly went out of control. She felt relieved, excited, and surprised at the same time. Her outward performance was nearly perfect, but she couldn’t hide anything from higher beings like Han Shan and Long Juan, who immediately noticed the changes in her. Long Juan gave a mischievous side glance at Yao Qing and deliberately changed the subject.
|His fiancé was finalized too. The Han family can continue the migration with the full support of the Long family.|
Long Xiu deeply frowned and spoke with a dangerous tone.
“Since when my son’s marriage was uncertain?”
|Hahahaha… I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have laughed. Ehm. Hehehe. Sorry… Alright alright, stop condensing your Qi. He’s not going to marry the Shi family princess. The matriarch decided to marry him to the Wen family heir instead. Everything was handled already. Shi and Wen families agreed!|
Long Juan thoroughly enjoyed her daughter’s reactions. She even dispersed Long Xiu’s Qi, as the latter was too dumbfounded to do it herself.
Yao Qing smiled on the inside. Her initial guess was the Li family. The possibility of the Wen family never even occurred to her due to the circumstances between Wen, Shen, and Long families. Still, this was good news!
Long Juan naturally noticed this change in Yao Qing, but just like the last time, she decided to keep silent. She kept silent, because the events were interesting!
|See? Everything is fine! Are you still thinking of holding a grudge?|
Long Xiu regained her calm and answered without hesitation.
Long Juan seemed happy with her daughter's response and she merrily changed the subject.
|The Blood-Devouring Great Unconstrained God Resonator, or blood resonator for short, can work with 2 generations, but it’ll give the best result when the blood of the Focus is present. I assume you haven’t kept Han De’s blood for obvious reasons, but even a drop would work wonders here.|
Due to the unique situation of the previous Han family homeworld, they purposefully didn’t take a vial of blood from Han De. In fact, anything that could be used for divinations was outright banned. Therefore, Long Xiu and Han Wei shook their heads. Long Juan nodded and started her calculations. She heard a tiny voice a few seconds later.
“I-I have a drop of master’s blood… It was sealed by a senior.”
Ning Bi took out a wool handkerchief from her storage ring. There was a small, bright red dot on it.
Long Juan undid the seal without a word. She didn’t know why this girl had the blood of her master, and why it was sealed, and stored inside her personal storage ring. Those were details she could slowly savor later. The important thing was, this sample was genuine. Long Juan was a higher being, and on top of that, she was an elder of the Long family. Identifying the blood of her descendants was child’s play for someone like her.
Han Wei and Han Shan were also in the dark. Father and son couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. Since Long Juan didn’t say anything to the contrary, that assumed that blood really did belong to Han De.
Long Xiu and the disciples naturally knew of the blood’s origin. It was supposed to be sent to Long Xiu to investigate Han De’s bloodline, but after everything that happened, that blood sample became useless. Han De turned out to be impossible to divine, and the surviving Transcendent experts’ unanimous testimony confirmed that Han De did not have a bloodline. The case was closed, and the sample was no longer needed.
Long Juan ‘secretly’ gave a side glance at Yao Qing, then patted on Ning Bi’s shoulder.
|This will help greatly. Your master is lucky to have a disciple like you!|
Han De had bled a lot on that spiritual boat, but the mountain of bloody bandages disappeared along with the spiritual boat. Naturally, no one felt the need to collect those bandages and keep them on their person at all times. That little handkerchief, was the only remaining evidence of Han De’s communication with the void beings.
* * *
‘How can it be a big fat nothing? How can anyone be this thorough?! My F#$%&@ god!’
After gathering all the available data from the Silent Silhouette sect disciples, Han De naturally wanted to confirm, and do some independent investigations of his own. And yet, he couldn’t get a single good reading through divination!
The entire sect worked like a giant jamming station against divinations. The black paint of the buildings was made from the blood of netherdemons. Specifically, those with near Transcendent Realm cultivations! Vast quantities of this high-quality blood introduced so much noise, that divinations using the buildings as conduits became useless.
From Han De’s perspective, paint was paint, he never would’ve guessed someone would be able to develop anti-divination paint! It took him an hour of trial and error to even find out the function of the black paint!
Then, there was the fact that the most important buildings were missing. Apparently, elders would take their buildings with them whenever they left the sect! None of the structures that were left behind had the strong presence of a single person. There was no special cultivation spot, no special training grounds to sniff around with divination arts. No special belongings meant no tracking.
Han De found the entire sect to be a deeply, deeply disturbing place. Truly, this was the work of a madman. This level of thoroughness was disgusting enough to impress Han De the Divination Grandmaster.
Due to the Primordial Whatever Dragon bloodline, he didn’t need to worry about divination countermeasures. However, after spending all night with failure to get any reading, he couldn’t help but start taking mental notes.
‘Netherdemon blood wouldn’t work on other places though. Isn’t this place near a breach point? Red Stone Basin had at least dozen sizeable netherworld invasions over the years. This place is saturated with energies similar to the blood used in the black paint. No wonder it doesn’t stand out.
A Xianxia camo paint huh… Not a bad idea honestly. I’ll have to figure out something that provides the equivalent effect when I make a lair.’
Sun had already started to go up by the time Han De finished his fruitless investigation. The last stone unturned was to ask Sebastian to interrogate everyone. Unfortunately, after being thoroughly defeated by the Silent Silhouette’s craftiness, Han De didn’t think even Sebastian could produce results. Not without leaving the seal anyway.
‘Well, for better or worse, all immediate problems are now officially solved, or shelved. Nothing dangerous should happen, as long as I don’t encounter a wild MC, that is. I can finally build a lair and live a life of excess!’
Han De decisively ignored the possibility of his family finding him. First, he couldn’t do anything about it, since it was all up to them. And second, which was far more important, if his family did find him, they would most certainly pull a Ning Bi and destroy the planet to undo the seal.
<|Young master, two cultivators are approaching towards our location. One Immortal Realm, and one Qi Condensation realm disciples.|>
‘… No way. No way they are the same duo, right? Hmm. Maybe the Immortal Realm experts are starting to get new disciples. Yeah, that shoul-’
<|They were also present during young master’s meal.|>
<|Should I annihilate their souls, young master?|>
<No, no. No need for that. Leave them be.>
‘There’s nothing else to do here anyway. Better not to get involved.’
Han De mildly nodded to himself. For safety’s sake, he went over his mental flow chart, which was based on ‘How to Deal with Enemy Sects: Template F, Variation 2 (Potentially Irreconcilable Version)’ series of plans.
Earlier, and the most complex parts of the flow chart were about the sect and/or the MC seeking revenge. Those were no longer relevant, but the chart didn’t stop there. The last section had a major fork.
Is the enemy sect demonic?
‘That’s a yes.’
What kind of demonic sect is it? Freedom focused? Atrocity focused? Hybrid?
The cockroach had plenty of skills and techniques that were clearly on the Atrocity side. Han De had visited all important locations inside the sect, and there was no evidence of secret torture chambers anywhere. However, this sect being so mindful of divination techniques, he couldn’t rule out the possibility of black sites.
Han De thought about it and decided to delegate this to Sebastian instead. The status check function didn’t work on anyone present, and most of their library was empty. The simplest and safest choice was to rely on the leviathan.
<Sebastian, do these people practice techniques that steal, change, or harm other’s life force?>
The answer came immediately.
<|All of them have foreign life force incorporated into their bodies, tempered by resentful souls. The technique isn’t efficient and requires a steady supply of Vital Qi from certain types of culti-|>
Sebastian bowed once again and internally readjusted its demeanor. It had to be much more concise in the future!
Han De went back to his flow chart. Of the three branches, freedom focused was the leanest, while the hybrid focused was the heaviest.
‘Well, this looks like Atrocity focused. S#$%…’
Does the existence of the enemy sect have a negative impact on the local population?
‘Most definitely yes.’
Does the enemy sect have a backup?
‘A solid no.’
How many unknown powerful freaks are there in the area?
‘0, with >99% confidence.’
Are there any known MCs associated with the enemy sect?
The status of the associated MCs?
‘Dead, with >99% confidence.’
Chances of MC resurrection?
‘0, with 75% confidence.’
Is the enemy sect a branch of an ancient/powerful sect?
Will there be personal intervention?
Can the enemy be taken out with a clean one-shot?
‘Yes, with >99% confidence.’
Chances of random retaliation in the future?
‘Unknown. Hmm, I should probably add a divination section to these charts later. I didn't have a divination scripture while making this...’
Will leaving the sect alone cause wide-scale suffering?
‘… A solid yes.’
Select the first doable option in ascending order.
Route 1: Burn the souls of the sect members simultaneously.
Route 2: Completely eradicate the sect members simultaneously.
Route 3: Refer to the ‘Long term options for Demonic Sects’ chart.
Optional: Have a third party take responsibility.
Han De had a feeling that he would arrive at this section the moment he realized this was an Atrocity-focused demonic sect.
He had barely stopped himself from killing and/or torturing these people out of personal revenge, and now his own flow chart was telling him to burn their souls anyway. This clear conflict of interests wasn’t accounted for in his charts. A profoundly serious mistake in hindsight.
Han De made a mental note to modify his pre-made plans to include a personal revenge section. A few months ago, the very idea of seeking revenge was a silly notion in his eyes. He would rather live a peaceful life in some unknown lower realm than to seek death, he thought at the time. It appears that there were some lines that even Han De thought were unacceptable.
‘Hmm… Almost as if I’m having MC-level thoughts…
When Han De dealt with the Meng Empire's demonic forces, they weren’t enemy sects. They were random demonic sects that had clear, established negative effects towards not only the local population, but on a local MC as well. Therefore, he could afford to cripple some of them and burn the souls of the more dangerous ones.
‘Personal feelings or not, leaving these people on their own will cause suffering to others. I’ll deal with the fallout later if it ever arrives.’
On a developmental level, this was a positive outcome as well. This way the demonic forces wouldn’t be able to pollute the petri dish.
<Sebastian, burn their souls. Make sure not even a sliver of them can enter the cycle of reincarnation.>
<|By your will, young master.|>
‘Should I take care of the incoming duo too? They shouldn’t be sec- !??’
A woman suddenly materialized in front of Han De. Not 'appeared’ out of nowhere, or ‘teleported’ in from somewhere, but materialized. Those were Han De’s first thoughts after seeing her.
Han De’s heart rate began to climb rapidly after the initial shock. His first reaction was to run away and tell Sebastian to nuke the place at the same time. In those few seconds of indecisiveness, Han De noticed that he could see through the woman, just like the illusions he experimented with. She kept staring at him while standing perfectly still.
‘O-Oh… She’s an illusion… F#$% I almost had a heart attack...’
Noticing the woman’s clothes gave another slight shock. Ever since Han De came to this Xianxia universe it was just one Daoist robe after another. Even the mortals on this planet only wore martial clothing and totally-not-a-Daoist-robe robes. The woman in the projection though, was wearing a European medieval-style gown, full of laces and frills. Rather than a cultivator, she looked like a duchess that was about to attend a medieval ball.
‘Probably not an illusion, there are no traces of spiritual energy disturbance… Can she see me? Maybe she can’t see me? Maybe if I move away slowly she won’t notice…?’
The woman smiled.