On the morning of the third day, underneath the bright skies, the group of Foundation Establishment cultivators slipped out of their residence with utmost stealth and headed towards the Starry Sky Palace.
As the enforced curfew had just ended, there were only a few cultivators roaming through the early morning sky. Hence, the seven were even more careful. Each of them nervously went along their way with lowered heads. However, the embroidered-robed man in the lead vigilantly examined his surroundings as they flew.
The journey to Starry Sky Palace was very smooth. Nothing happened to them as they flew to the forty-ninth floor of Sage Mountain. When they arrived at the Starry Sky Palace, their expressions were relaxed and filled with relief.
But at that moment, the embroidered-robed man in front suddenly stopped in the air with a shocked expression. He raised his arm with a solemn expression, performing a strange hand gesture. When the others behind him saw this, they abruptly halted and became vigilant.
The embroidered-robed man stared at an empty location and spoke with a heavy tone, “For what reason has Fellow Daoist blocked our path?” At that same moment, he began to reach for the storage pouch at his waist.
The empty area in front of them flashed with azure light to reveal an azure-clothed cultivator standing there with his hands behind his back. He slowly spoke with a hoarse voice, “Hehe, there is no need for you Fellow Daoists to be afraid. Although I’ve been waiting just for you, I mean no harm. I merely have something to request of you.”
Once the party clearly felt his cultivation, they were filled with alarm and surged with wariness.
The man was also a peak Foundation Establishment cultivator at false core stage.
With a cold glint flashing from his eyes, the embroidered-robed man calmly asked, “What is your esteemed name, Fellow Daoist? How can we help you?”
The azure-clothed man casually said something that made the seven cultivators pale, “My name is Crooked Soul, a mere vagrant cultivator. Aren’t you heading to the Starry Sky Palace? Could you bring me along? I also wish to head to the Outer Star Seas.”
When the embroidered-robed man heard him, his expression fluctuated. He was silent for a moment before he widely smiled and said, “So it’s Fellow Daoist Crooked Soul, but what do you mean by Starry Sky Palace and the Outer Star Seas? Our group is only going to attend to a few personal matters, and we just happened to pass here along the way. We have no business with the Starry Sky Palace. Fellow Daoist is mistaken.” The embroidered-robed man came to a decision that regardless of this Crooked Soul’s intention or how he managed to find out about their plans, there was absolutely no way he would easily agree.
The others remained silent as well as if they were leaving the matter entirely up to the large man.
‘Crooked Soul’ chuckled and casually said, “There is no need for Fellow Daoist Yi to be so suspicious. Since I’ve already arrived here, how could I be fooled just like that?”
The embroidered-robed man’s heart trembled and he snorted, “Humph! So it seems you know my identity and have a clear understanding of our plans.” He then unconsciously clutched his storage pouch with veins protruding from his hands.
Having received an unknown command, the other cultivators suddenly dispersed in great coordination and surrounded the azure-clothed man.
The azure-clothed man ignored their movements and spoke with great leisure, “You don’t want to try and kill me. I don’t mean to boast, but with my cultivation, you wouldn’t be able to kill me quickly. If I were to yell and call for the Star Palace, I wonder what would happen?”
After that was said, the group of cultivators glanced at each other before turning their gazes to the large, embroidered-robed man.
The large man’s expression became unsightly. Although he had yet to reach Core Formation, he had always boasted of his exceptional shrewdness making him a menace among Foundation Establishment cultivators. However, he clearly understood that the man’s threats were no joke.
After a moment of deliberation, he could only suppress his anger and coldly ask, “What does Fellow Daoist want us to help you with. We’ve already said that we would take only seven people. Moreover, the transportation formation can only take seven cultivators at a time. They would certainly refuse if we were to add another.”
The azure-clothed man smiled, “Be at ease, I won’t make things hard for you. So long as I enter the hall, I’ll have my own methods for persuading them. If an agreement can’t be reached, I will neither force the issue nor ruin your fortuitous affair.”
“Only that?” The large man frowned and wore a trace of doubt.
“Only that!” The azure-clothed man spoke with certainty.
The large man muttered to himself for a moment before eventually gritting his teeth, “Fine, if it’s only to give you an introduction, then we’re willing to agree, if only barely.”
With a calm expression as if having anticipated the large man’s concession, the azure-robed man saluted and said, “Then I must give you my thanks!”
The shriveled man raised his head to look at the sky and anxiously urged, “Since Fellow Daoist wishes to head to the Starry Sky Palace, let us go quickly. We’re already running late. They may become impatient.”
The azure-clothed man glanced at the shriveled man in silence, but the embroidered-robed man wordlessly raised his hand and they continue on their way.
They moved in a formation that kept the azure-robed cultivator at their center. It seemed they were quite wary of him. Still, the azure-clothed cultivator calmly followed after them. Of course, this azure-clothed cultivator was actually Han Li. He had restrained his magic power fluctuations to the level of a peak Foundation Establishment cultivator and had disguised his appearance.
The remaining distance from the Starry Sky Hall wasn’t long. After only a short moment, the party arrived in front of the Starry Sky Palace. At that moment, the shriveled man suddenly increased in speed and shot forward, arriving at the hall first.
The embroidered-robed man and the others didn’t find this odd in the slightest. After all, the shriveled man was the one who had relations with the Starry Sky Palace in the first place. Now that they arrived, it was only natural that he led the way, lest any misunderstandings occur.
After entering, the party tried their hardest to maintain a calm expression, but a trace of apprehension was betrayed on their faces. Having entered the Starry Sky Palace, their lives were now in the hands of the other party.
However, everything seemed to be going as expected. The restrictions that should’ve been there were absent, and it seemed the managers of the palace had disabled them ahead of time.
When Han Li saw this, a strange expression momentarily appeared on his face.
But what comforted the party the most was the sight of two white-clothed Star Palace Core Formation cultivators waiting for them in the hall with the transportation formations.
When the shriveled man saw the two, he immediately broke into a smile and walked forward several steps to respectfully greet them, “Senior Gu, Senior Qian, we’ve arrived. Have you finished the preparations on your end?”
Among the two, the bald old man nodded his head, slowly saying, “We’re ready on our side. Hand over the spirit stones, and we’ll give each person a displacement talisman. You can leave as soon as soon as possible, but the spirit stones had better not be short.”
The embroidered-robed man stepped forward and respectfully said, “Be at ease, Senior, we’ve brought along the agreed amount of spirit stones.”
The bald old man examined him several times before speaking with a polite tone, “So, you’re Fellow Daoist Yi. As expected, your cultivation is exceptional!” But when his sights fell upon Han Li, his expression sunk.
The bald old man’s expression became gloomy and his voice was filled with suspicion, “Didn’t we agree that it’s supposed to be seven? Why is there another person here? This Fellow Daoist also seems to be at the false core stage. May I know who you are?”
“He’s…” The embroidered-robed man bitterly smiled, wanting to give an explanation.
Han Li smiled and interrupted the large man, “I am Crooked Soul, a vagrant cultivator that also wishes to head to the Outer Star Seas. I’ve heard that Fellow Daoist Yi and the others had a connection, and chose to deliberately seek them out. I hope you two Seniors don’t take offence. If these Seniors are willing to accomodate me, I am willing to pay double their rate for the use of the transportation formation.”
“Double?” The bald old man was shocked for a moment before turning his head to look at the scholarly middle-aged cultivator at his side.
The middle-aged man frowned and slowly said, “Even if you pay double, the largest number of people that can be sent in a single teleportation is seven. Also we can only use the transportation formation once, so it is impossible to allow a teleportation for your use alone. Otherwise, it will be difficult to conceal our activities from the upper echelon.”
“Junior has considered that, so he won’t make it difficult for Senior,” Han Li smiled and suddenly turned to the side, speaking without a trace of politeness, “Therefore, how about Fellow Daoist temporarily hand over his spot?”