Chapter 502: Questioning
The battle at the harbor didn't continue for long. As the red barrier released glimmers of light from the impact by the multi-colored barrage, an immense grey radiance brimming with evil Qi suddenly struck it.
With the assistance of the dense bombardment of magic tools and techniques, the great formation eventually began to waver. With a series of booms, the red barrier violently flickered and eventually ruptured with a sharp explosion.
Unknown whether it was due to the formation spell's might or the Star Palace's own doing, the fragments of the red light barrier slowly spread through the sky in a final burst of radiance, sowing chaos throughout the ranks of the Star Defiance Coalition. As if having planned for this, the Star Palace cultivators took advantage of the opportunity to escape.
Among the escaping cultivators, there were those that shot out of the harbor at exceptional speed. They seemed to be the high grade cultivators that had remained on the island.
At nearly the same time, over ten streaks of similarly powerful light shot after them in close pursuit. In the blink of an eye, the streaks of light had disappeared without a trace.
It seems the upper echelon of the Star Defiance Coalition wanted to get rid of all of the Star Palace cultivators on Southclear Island in one clean swoop, without allowing even a single to escape.
At that moment, the many cultivators of the Star Defiance Coalition began to slowly descend from the sky. From their clothes, it was clear to see that the group consisted of people from two different sects. One of the uniform consisted of silver robes lined with gold while the other was completely green robes. It appeared that both the Righteous and Devilish Dao were acting together.
Han Li felt quite surprised at how quickly the battle had concluded, but he soon made sense of it. There was a vast difference in power between the defenders and attackers. While the Star Palace had done their utmost, their will alone couldn't compensate for the sheer lack of numbers.
As Han Li was wondering whether or not he should take advantage of the disorder to escape from the island, an old man flew out from the group of green-robed cultivators. When Han Li swept his spiritual sense past him, he perceived the old man to be an early Core Formation cultivator.
The man calmly flew above the spectators by the harbor and swept his gaze over them. He then said with a deep voice, "Listen well, Fellow Daoists. Under the orders of Elder Wang of the Star Defiance Coalition, I, Enforcer Cang Yunlong, announce that the Star Palace has been routed from the island. In order to to prevent any misunderstandings, I hope none of you will hastily attempt to leave the island. For the next four hours, we will be pursuing the remnants of the Star Palace forces. Everyone may leave after that. I ask that everyone please remain calm. Our alliance only holds malice towards the Star Palace and their allies. We won't act against any other Fellow Daoists." Although his voice wasn't very loud, it was clear and resounding, allowing all of the nearby cultivators to hear him clearly.
The cultivators that were concealed nearby couldn't help but look at each other. Since no one took the initiative to spread or to stir up any trouble, the following moments were filled with complete silence.
When Han Li heard this proclamation, he felt relieved. It seemed that in order to win over the hearts of others, they were unwilling to treat neutral cultivators unfairly. If he was going to be somewhat late, then so be it. Even if he were to leave now, it was still uncertain whether or not he would be able to sneak into the city.
Just as Han Li thought this, the green-robed old man wordlessly flew back. When Han Li saw the old man disappear, he didn't immediately take action.
Perhaps due to the old man's words or their missions, the other cultivators also didn't depart from the port. Instead, they closely watched the actions of the Starfall Coalition.
At that moment, the silver-robed cultivators were dismantling the formation in an orderly fashion and started to place down their own formation spell. As for the green robed cultivators, half of them stayed near the harbor on guard while the the others flew right past Han Li towards the center of the island. It appeared that Southclear Island was about to become the beachhead through which the Coalition would launch their attacks on Heavenly Star City.
Seeing these cultivators silently carrying out their orders with such discipline was quite a shock to Han Li. It seemed the Righteous and Devil Dao had long planned for their rise to supremacy in the Scattered Star Seas. After all, training such disciplined cultivators wasn't a matter of only a mere several tens of years.
However, Han Li felt quite baffled that the Star Palace would choose to passively wait for the Starfall Coalition to attack. Were they so weak that they couldn't counterattack or was the Star Palace merely stalling for time so the Heavenly Star Sages could have a chance to leave seclusion?
Han Li felt quite puzzled by this, but after some more thought, he broke out into laughter. Regardless of what plans and hidden intrigue the Star Palace and the Starfall Coalition may have in store, they had absolutely nothing to do with a rogue cultivator such as himself. So long as he went out of his way to be careful, there shouldn't be any way for him to become wrapped up in their schemes.
With that thought, Han Li regained his calm once more.
After patiently waiting for four hours, the green-robed old man and three more Core Formation cultivators returned to the harbor.
As the old man floated in mid-air, he said with a clear voice, "Fellow Daoists, if you wish to leave the island, you merely have to either display a token of your identity or show us your cultivation art. If you do not wish to leave, then you may continue to stay here. So long as you possess no enmity with the Starfall Coalition, you will be treated fairly."
After these words were said, there was a moment of uproar before silence returned. Although the words sounded polite, no one wished to reveal themselves.
Righteous Dao cultivators were particularly disinclined to reveal themselves to these Devil Dao cultivators as their previous relations weren't particularly great. If they had made a previous indiscretion and caused offence, they would be damning themselves by moving forward! Although the possibility was quite small, they didn't wish to test the waters themselves and would rather have others brave the risk instead.
Han Li also remained still as he wasn't about to make himself stand out either. As the opposition was only Core Formation cultivators, he could remain concealed with ease as their spiritual sense was incapable of detecting him.
After a long moment of silence, when the green-robed man started to appear gloomy, a white streak of light eventually flew towards him.
A young man obediently flew before the old man and respectfully saluted him, "Junior is the Sky Opening Sect's disciple Xin Ming. I've seen Senior before. This is my token of identification, a white water sword." He then took out a sparkling white sword and handed it over to him.
After the old man examined the sword, his face relaxed and he handed it back to the young man. "Oh, the Sky Opening Sect! I've indeed met Esteemed Sect Master Daoist Liu before. This magic tool is held by all Sky Opening Sect disciples. You may go."
The young man then smiled and respectfully bid his farewells before flying out of the harbor. Not a single cultivator from the Starfall Coalition blocked his way.
Seeing that the young man had managed to leave the island without any difficulties, others began to fly towards the old man and reveal themselves.
The old man seemed rich with experience. Regardless of what token or cultivation art they revealed, the old man was able to identify it at a glance, much to the surprise of Han Li.
When Han Li saw a Core Formation such as himself be allowed to leave, he began to feel impatient. He then revealed himself and flew towards the sky as a streak of azure light.
"Who might Fellow Daoist be?" When the old man saw that Han Li was a Core Formation cultivator, his tone became slightly more tactful.
"I am the guest elder of the Exquisite Sound Sect. This is my sect token. Please, have a look!" On the day that Fairy Violet Spirit had deemed him an elder, she had given him a badge. Han Li took it out and handed it over to the old man without hesitation.
The old man carefully examined the token and stared at Han Li as he said, "Exquisite Sound Sect? The guest elders of your sect should be named Han Li and Crooked Soul, both of whom are often in secluded cultivation and rarely seen. Which one of them are you?"
Han Li's heart trembled, but he wore a calm smile instead, "My name is Han Li! I didn't expect that Fellow Daoist would know the name of a fameless vagrant cultivator such as myself. Impressive!"
The old man chuckled and spoke with an unexpectedly polite tone, "Hehe, it was nothing. Your esteemed sect is famous throughout the Scattered Star Seas, especially your sect's Fairy Violet Spirit. Our clan's young master has long wished to see her exceptional beauty. I hope Fellow Daoist can pass those words along."
Shock momentarily appeared on his face before he hesitantly asked, "Young master? Who might you be speaking of...?"
"My sect's young master is the sole descendant of the great ancestor. Although few know of his name right now, it will later reverberate throughout the Scattered Star Seas."
Han Li was inwardly flabbergasted, but he agreed, "Alright. If I come across the sect leader, I will be sure to pass those words on!"
The old man appeared quite satisfied with Han Li's response. After fumbling with the token for a moment more, he gave the token back to Han Li and said, "Good! As there is nothing wrong with your token, you may go."
After Han Li saluted him, he unhurriedly flew off.
The old man revealed a strange expression as he watched Han Li fly off towards the horizon.