Once again, Han De immediately reflected on his faults.
'Bringing them together wasn't such a good idea, but, it still kinda worked out in the end. Once I leave an Ice element method to the girl, I'll accumulate many units of gratitude over time. Hmm, I don't think I ever lied once. Not bad…
Yu Xian didn't seem offended too. I didn't even need to bulls#$% about purposefully sending him to train. That stack of attack talismans should wipe away whatever doubt he had. I'm just a little eccentric but benevolent expert that was passing through. Perfectly normal, everyday Xianxia occurrence...
Not bad. All is fine. Right?'
Though everything felt fine, Han De still felt stuffy for some reason. As if he had forgotten something very important to his survival!
'Must be because of that girl's skill. Right, I had to overwork my brain for the whole duration...'
Stuffiness didn't go away, rather, intensified instead. Han De's first thought was poison, but that was impossible. As usual, he status-checked every single bite of food. Just to be safe, he popped up a filthy-rich grade panacea and immediately absorbed its effects. 10 minutes later, everything was the same.
Could it be indigestion? Could a Nascent Soul expert really suffer from indigestion? Not to mention the fact that Han De had practiced body cultivation before, he even underwent a half-baked evolution. Surely, problems like indigestion were a thing of the past…
Was it a problem with his soul? Han De once again immediately entered a deep meditative state. Just like the last time, his soul was stable. Nothing major had happened.
Han De was inside one of the numerous random gardens near the noble's district. He had used Through the Starlight at full capacity to give the sense that he teleported away. The distance to his original target was at an all-time low. Only a few minutes of slow-paced walking was required. He sighed, then stood up. Maybe some exercise would make him feel better.
Right at that moment, Han De felt a mosquito-like energy signature appear out of nowhere. He immediately frowned and rechecked his senses. The whining 'sound' couldn't be detected with his normal senses, which meant that it was the Reality Sense that was picking it up.
'... Is that Long Ai?'
The timing… was really unfortunate. If only he had his lackeys with him, he wouldn't have wasted so much time farming gratitude!
The 'sound' disappeared after getting louder and another energy signature replaced it. Which allowed Han De to finally determine its direction.
That direction, was up. The energy hovered far, far above the ground level. Though it was far away, Han De was reminded of the short-lived rebellion of the Zhou family. That was the first time he had met Treebeard, his Immortal Realm lackey.
'F#$%, this could be someone unrelated to the Long family. There's no way she would send an Immortal level dude after saying she would pick me up...'
* * *
The whining 'sound' that Han De detected was the primordial celestial ship, and the Immortal Realm expert that rose was Wen Jiayi. She stored the ship on her storage ring after arriving at her destination.
Before the voyage, she thought it was a shame to return the ship once she broke the engagement. After spending nearly a day inside the thing, she started hoping she would never have to see it again. Her patience was at its limits.
The ship had locked on to the coordinates provided by the Long family. Wen Jiayi expanded her immortal sense to the area below. The so-called 'Immortal Sense' was just regular spiritual sense. After her ascension to Immortal Realm, Wen Jiayi sometimes referred to the spiritual sense as immortal sense to emphasize the qualitative difference. Strictly speaking, it was just spiritual sense.
The spiritual energy of this world was rich enough to make her raise an eyebrow. Among this level of 'noise', finding someone would be difficult if they didn't want to be found.
Fortunately, Wen Jiayi was able to spot a dense concentration of Sword Qi, right after she disembarked. Upon a second look, she realized it wasn't Sword Qi, but some form of Light Qi instead. She already knew about Han De's sword art and correctly assumed it was left by him.
A quick scan of the surroundings near the sword art energy revealed that this world used a different language. Wen Jiayi spent some effort and learned it in under a minute. This wasn't her first time visiting a primitive world, after all.
'So he left this place just like that? Was the sword energy some sort of beacon?'
Since she couldn't use divination to find him, Wen Jiayi inspected the surroundings. Soon she found traces of the same sword art. Normally these traces should've dissipated, but somehow they were intact. Clearly the result of an intentional design. As if Han De was saying 'come and find me' to whoever found this place.
Wen Jiayi followed the trails and spotted a bathtub on the wide-open plains. Someone had gone through marrow cleansing and left their dirty rags. She knew Han De had a talent for attracting talent, and ignored the scene.
The trail disappeared on top of a small settlement. Wen Jiayi immediately searched through the place with her 'immortal' sense. A Nascent Soul cultivator couldn't detect any of her actions, which was the reason why she didn't restrict herself.
Only a few minutes had passed since her arrival in this world, and she was able to find Han De. Just like that. Though she didn't thoroughly inspect him, there was no doubt of his identity. It was quite fortunate that she disembarked so close to him.
Wen Jiayi frowned.
'Meeting' Han De was just giving face to the Long family. The pride of an ancient family couldn't be trampled by simply refusing an already accepted deal. As the future head of the Wen family, she had to act with decorum. Now that she had found him, it was over.
However, that wasn't enough for Wen Jiayi. Since the engagement was decided without her input, needless to say, she wasn't happy with the behavior of the Long family. Though she didn't want to offend them, that didn't mean she was afraid of offending them. If the Long family had their pride, so did she!
'Hmph. I could kill him, but that would bring no benefits. I will remember this...'
She used her immortal sense to take a look at his physical appearance, then, she froze. This man wasn't Han De!
The bottomless black pupils were looking at the horizon with unfathomable intent. The sword-like eyebrows were subtly scrunched, giving a sense of incomprehensible danger. His flawless skin made Wen Jiayi jea…
'Wait, this IS Han De!'
In her mind, Wen Jiayi took in the visage of Han De and overlaid it with the images she got from the Long family. They were the same person, but the still images were incomparable to the real thing. Her mind considered the possibilities and settled on the most obvious one. A ploy from the Long family.
'Underselling their merchandise to increase its impact later? As expected of the Long family...'
The entirety of Wen Jiayi's immortal sense descended on Han De. Almost immediately she recognized that he had a fortuitous encounter recently. His cultivation was clearly in the Nascent Soul realm, yet if one looked at the pathways between meridians, it was almost as if he was an Immortal Realm expert in disguise!
Wen Jiayi frowned once again.
'No, his soul clearly hasn't reached unity level. It seems its balance was thrown off too. Was this a fortuitous encounter or heavenly punishment, I wonder...'
Wen Jiayi's own body constitution was about to become a source of headaches. The cost of her increased cultivation speed was the hidden erosion of her soul!
As an Immortal Realm expert, she would never ignore her intuition. And that intuition right now, was saying there could be a clue within Han De. There was no basis for this hunch, but the feeling was simply too strong to disregard.
However, she also knew it wouldn't do her any good to peer too deep into this matter. Han De was affiliated with the Long family, after all.
'Hmm? Why is he sweating? Is there something wrong in his body?'
She observed him with her vast immortal sense, but couldn't find an issue.
'Oh? Maybe his intuition is this strong? He can't find anything odd but still can't help but feel threatened? No wonder I didn't want to peer too deep...'
Wen Jiayi retracted her immortal sense and chose to passively observe instead. Though there weren't any changes in his body, she could tell Han De was a little more relaxed.
The intuition of a cultivator was something no one could ignore. As a cultivator increased their realm, their connection with the world around them would be strengthened. They could affect others, and be affected by others. Intuition wasn't always right, but it always represented a change. Being in tune with the slight changes of one's fate was the hallmark of a great expert.
Therefore, Wen Jiayi didn't ignore her intuition. And yet she also wanted to avoid sowing karma.
After thinking for a few minutes, she retrieved a treasure she seldomly used.
The clay lump that hovered in the air was actually an extremely difficult to refine Ancient Realm artifact. After finding it, Wen Jiayi had to cut it in half to prevent an artifact embryo from being formed. The damage ended up reducing the treasure's power by two major realms.
The lump of clay first completely enveloped her head, then spread throughout her body. In an instant, Wen Jiayi was no more. Her light pink hair and brilliant pink eyes were now ordinary black, her skin had lost its luster, freckles replaced her beauty mark in the corner of her right eye, deep black robes turned dull yellow, and most importantly her face structure completely changed. Only an Ancient Realm expert could detect the abnormality of the treasure, and even then, they couldn't discern her real looks.
Now she truly looked like an ordinary cultivator. Maybe just a tad above the average, but still ordinary!
The ordinary Wen Jiayi used the power of space and walked out of an inconspicuous alley. Even if Han De's spiritual sense was active, it wouldn't have mattered, there was no way he could detect her!
Once she physically got close enough, Han De opened his eyes and looked at her, wordlessly asking a question.
At the same time, Wen Jiayi skillfully stumbled.
Wen Jiayi had first seen the word 'Kyaa' in the graphic novel. Later she observed and even experimented with other women and confirmed that 'Kyaa!!' really did exist and really did catch the attention of everyone around. A novel invention for someone like Wen Jiayi, since she never needed to scream for help.
The ordinary-looking Wen Jiayi 'crashed' a few steps away from her oblivious ex-fiancé, Han De the Early-Stage Nascent Soul cultivator. She raised her head and looked at Han De with an expression that was a perfect mixture of fear, pain, and sensuality.
At the same time, the command she previously gave to the clay treasure activated. Instantly, her cheeks and ears reddened, and moisture appeared under her eyelids. Truly, her tactical blush would put Fan Cai to shame!
"S-sorry mister. This Qiao Qing didn't mean to disturb your cultivation. I… couldn't find… the..."
Her voice became a whisper by the end, and she lowered her gaze.
Though this was the first time she had done such an act, for someone of her talent, she would naturally be flawless at anything as long as she put her mind into it. She couldn't find any flaws in her acting after a short self-introspection!
'Interesting, his Light Qi displays strange properties when agitated. If he wasn't from the Long family I wouldn't have to use indirect methods like this. A pity...'
Wen Jiayi internally clicked her tongue. Surprise and agitation did produce a reaction on Han De's Qi, just as she had expected. Though the result was interesting, it wasn't what she was looking for. The quality of the Qi was too different and independent from the imbalance in Han De's soul.
In Han De’s case, the issue was his roots. In Wen Jiayi’s case, the issue was her constitution. Different problems showing similar symptoms, that was her final assessment.
Her small experiment was over, but her actions had unexpected effects.
Han De's heart started pumping blood at an exaggerated rate. His muscles tensed, his Qi became turbulent. A typical reaction, produced by none other than fear. At the same time, some of the blood started flowing towards his nether region.
She immediately went over her act but found nothing suspicious. There was no way for him to know her true cultivation. He didn't possess any treasures of that nature, and Wen Jiayi was too talented to make blunders of that size. The cause of sudden fear and arousal wasn't her performance.
'Could he be… that inexperienced?'
The Long family record included someone called Chu Chen. Han De's chase of her didn't result in anything. There were also some doubts about his sincerity, since after getting injured not only he stopped, but even displayed intense dislike towards her.
'If… this was an inner demon, surely his family would've known. He wouldn't have a physical reaction either...'
Wen Jiayi felt speechless. Years ago she had said she wanted her fiancé to be 'pure'. This devilishly handsome 'man' in front of him was as pure as they come. A bit too pure in fact...
'... Did they groom him specifically for me? No, that's not possible...'
* * *
While Wen Jiayi was thinking, Han De was beyond terrified.
Thanks to his Reality Sense he was able to follow everything from the beginning.
This person's cultivation level was far, far lower than Sebastian's, but still much higher than the Nascent Soul realm. That was strike one. This caused Han De to operate his footwork technique at full power, and 'meditate' inside the poor district. He wanted to appear as unthreatening as possible!
Han De didn't know why he could detect her from a huge distance. When he was with Sebastian his range seemed normal. He could tell everyone's true cultivation, but they had to be close. The first idea that came to mind was noise. Perhaps because this world had no powerhouses, spiritual waves could travel farther? Unfortunately, he didn't have time to ponder this in detail.
Within minutes of their entry to the planet, the Immortal Realm expert had found and arrived at Han De's location. However, there were no attempts of communication. That was strike two.
This person clearly didn't belong to Long or Han families. Thankfully Han De hadn't killed anyone, so there was no reason for this person to be pissed! He adopted an ignorance approach and started to review his delaying tactics.
Then, an enormous pressure started weighing down on him. It was unlike anything Han De had experienced. He guessed it was this guy's spiritual sense because his body didn't have any reaction at all. If he hadn't experienced the effects of Reality Sense before, Han De would've thought he was going insane.
Suffering through the non-existent but still very real pressure was one thing. This act revealed another problem appeared.
Enveloping someone with spiritual sense was one of the worst non-violent things a cultivator could do. That level of disrespect could only be next to demanding someone to kowtow.
Han De broke into a cold sweat. Maybe he had spent all his luck already. His mind went into overdrive. Was this person sent by the Shen family? Did they sneak an Immortal Realm expert to kidnap him?!
Thankfully, after a while, the foreign spiritual sense went away and gave Han De some breathing room.
While Han De was reviewing his contingency plans, the Immortal Realm expert teleported just 10 meters away from his location. Han De's eyes opened out of reflex once he realized the expert was getting closer.
Before he could process that the expert was a she…
A beautiful girl stumbled and crashed only a few steps away from him. Han De's mind went blank once she raised her head and stared at him with a picture-perfect sensual gaze.
Going from completely disregarding Han De's privacy, to making a 'theatrical' attempt at seduction… did not make any sense…
"S-sorry mister. This Qiao Qing..."
It was as if a lightning bolt had struck Han De!
'Hold up. I see where this is going.
She is trying to steal either my spiritual roots or my cultivation.
The purity of my current spiritual roots shouldn't be that high, but that doesn't rule out Scenario A. Purity depends on the context.
The more likely scenario is that she is one of those cultivators that use sexual techniques to rob the cultivation of others. Since she is an Immortal Realm expert already, a Core Formation guy like me won't be able to satisfy her. But, she must have many junior sisters in her sect practicing the same arts... Which means…'
Why else would a 2000+ years old Immortal Realm expert even deign to make an attempt at seduction? Could she have fallen in love with Han De at first sight? Out of the question. Han De subscribed to realism, not narcissism.
In a world of Xianxia, benefits ruled absolute.
"...didn't mean to disturb your cultivation. I… couldn't find… the..."
The legendary lightning-fast thinking technique had manifested on its own and caught Han De off-guard. He finally took in the appearance of the Immortal Realm expert.
It all came down to one word. Hot. She was hot.
Han De wasn't delusional enough to believe he had an iron will. Not to mention, aphrodisiacs did exist in the world of Xianxia. Even if he could somehow expel the aphrodisiac, he probably wouldn't be able to deal with seduction at the same time.
It was a lost cause from the beginning. Han De guessed that the only reason she was acting this way was to make him easier to control.
'I see. So it has finally come to this. I knew it. I knew something like this would happen someday...'
Getting kidnapped by a man-devouring sect, was well within his expectations.
Fortunately, his kidnapper was hot. Following the basic mitigation strategies thanks to that!
Han De was really thankful that he had a thing for evil female characters. And freckles! He was also thankful for his cultivator senses, specifically his nose. The scent of the kidnapper was quite unique. An exotic flowery scent that made Han De's mind wander with possibilities.
Even though she was an Immortal Realm expert, and could kill Han De with a flick of her sleeve, he didn't find it hard to get excited. This was the 'Delay Plan C' of the 'Solving Hydration Issues in a Xianxia' series. Displaying fear with a mixture of arousal. Though the latter was a little forced, the former was definitely genuine.
Earlier steps of the plan were already achieved, and backup was already on its way. All Han De needed to do was to play hard to get and delay as much as possible. Arousal and fear were the bait. Designed to instill a sense of excitement so that the target would start 'playing with their food' and delay their plans.
The worst reaction he could show right now was outright disinterest. Han De wanted to avoid challenging the kidnapper as much as possible. Between getting teased and getting full-on seduced, he definitely preferred the former.
'I still can't believe she actually kyaa'd… What the F#$%...'
Han De took a deep breath to gather his courage, chose the most straightforward response possible, and averted his gaze as if he were too shy to directly look at her.
"Fairy, this place can be dangerous even for a cultivator..."
He concentrated on the light breath of the woman and let his imagination go wild. Truly, a cultivator's hearing was a god's gift to mankind. His own breath became slightly heavier from an awkward mixture of terror, and erotic thoughts. Han De gave himself a mental +1. He truly was doing his best under the circumstances. And then...
Yu Xian? Thank F#$%&@ god!! Dude I'm gonna give...'
'you a billion spirit stones just for the timing alone!!'
*Crash* *Crash* *Crash*
Han De felt the spiritual waves much earlier than the cascading sounds. Naturally, he recognized the quality of the energy discharge and realized it came from the talismans he gave to Yu Xian. He only gave those for show, not because he thought Yu Xian would use them. But that wasn't important right now. Favorability points of the Imported MC rose by a hundred points.
Han De's spiritual sense raced towards the direction. The Immortal Kidnapper displayed a picturesque shock before sending her own massive spiritual sense after Han De's.