Chapter 263: True Strength
Han Li took a look at the warrant in his hand. It was a conscription order for all traveling disciples, signed by every sect master. He felt extremely depressed!
The conscription order had to be genuine as the sect masters’ spirit emblem wasn’t something that could be forged. However, he truly did not want to follow these orders!
From the other party’s words, Han Li had learned about the Six Devil Dao Sect’s invasion and the great, unavoidable calamity that was about to fall upon the State of Yue’s cultivation world.
Regardless of whether or not the Seven Sects of the State of Yue could resist, innumerable cultivators were certain to die. Even Core Formation Experts would have their core destroyed and perish in no small number.
Thus, when Han Li learned of this astonishing information, what he wanted to do the most was to immediately return to his Immortal’s cave and seclude himself for several tens of years.
However, he also knew that this was merely a pipe dream. As a disciple of the Seven Sects, how could he so easily escape from this great inferno?
While Han Li thought about this, he had already been conscripted by the Masked Moon Sect cultivator in front of him. At this moment, the Masked Moon Sect cultivator said with a smile, “Has this Junior Martial Brother clearly read it? Could Junior Martial Brother state his name and cultivation? We will be working together in the future, so the more we know about each other’s capabilities, the better!”
Han Li composed himself, looked at this person, and then looked at the thirty-plus cultivators behind him. Among these cultivators, there were three late Foundation Establishment cultivators. The rest were Qi Condensation disciples. This caused Han Li to be slightly at ease. At the very least, it didn’t seem this assignment was going to be very difficult.
With this thought, Han Li cupped his fist and said, “Yellow Maple Valley’s Han Li! Early Foundation Establishment!”
Although the Foundation Establishment cultivators could clearly see each other’s cultivation, it was a matter of courtesy. Han Li sincerely carried this out. After all, the other party included late Foundation Establishment disciples with cultivation bases far greater than his own. He wasn’t willing to rashly offend them. Soon after, Han Li asked with misgivings, “Brother, why do you not suspect my identity? Right after you stopped me, you immediately showed me the conscription warrant. Surely you didn’t rely solely on my Yellow Maple Valley uniform?”
When Han Li originally saw this group of Saber Transformation Dock and Masked Moon Sect cultivators, Han Li originally planned to flee. However, he didn’t think this fellow with amazing eyesight would flash several times and appear in front of him, blocking his way and announcing that he was being conscripted.
“Hehe! In the last Trial by Blood and Fire, this one had previously seen Junior Martial Brother! I didn’t think that several years afterwards, Junior Martial Brother Han would actually reach Foundation Establishment. This is truly a matter worth celebrating!” This male Masked Moon Sect cultivator who appeared thirty years old said this with a slight smile, causing Han Li to feel great surprise.
“Who is your esteemed self?”
Upon hearing the other party’s words, Han Li began to feel that he felt somewhat familiar. It seemed that the man really had seen him at the Trial by Blood and Fire!
“This one is Xuan Yue, a steward of the Masked Moon Sect. Last time, I accompanied Martial Aunt Ni Chang’s squad. There, I saw the shocking scene of Junior Martial Han’s great harvest with my own eyes!” The man lightly chuckled, saying this with deep meaning.
At this moment, Han Li suddenly realized something. This person was one of the four Masked Moon Sect Foundation Establishment leaders from that time. Han Li hadn’t paid much attention to him, so he only remembered a vague impression. But after some further thought, he became slightly shocked. He had been in a hurry just now, but this person was actually able to recognize him with a glance from such a far distance. This was truly incredible.
“This one knows that Junior Martial Brother Han had been hurrying on his journey and certainly had some urgent matters. However, this one is truly lacking manpower for this mission and had no better option than to have Junior Martial Brother provide a bit of assistance,” Xuan Yue politely explained.
When Han Li heard this, the corner of his mouth twitched, and he couldn’t help but bitterly smile, thinking, “This late Foundation Establishment cultivator, you already took out the conscription warrant. How could I possibly refuse! I can’t say no unless I want to be branded for being insubordinate.”
As Han Li thought this, he took another look at the other three Foundation Establishment cultivators behind him and could only summon the courage to say, “Since Senior Martial Brother Xuan explained this, I will naturally follow your commands! However, this one must report an important matter to his sect master. I hope that Senior Martial Brother Xuan’s sect members will deliver this information!”
Han Li then systematically narrated what had occurred at Yan Ling Castle in full detail. Naturally, Han Li had left the details of his escape ambiguous.
As such, when Xuan Yue and the others heard of this, they turned pale with fright. They hastily sent two Qi Condensation disciples to each sect to deliver this information. Then with unsightly expressions, they continued on their way with Han Li.
Considering their current strength and the collusion between the Yan Clan and the Devil Dao, they didn’t dare to criticize him for leaving the others behind. They could only pass this scalding hot potato to the Seven Sects by dispatching messengers to them. Naturally, the validity of Han Li’s information would be verified by the upper echelon.
As they journeyed on route, Han Li eventually learned of their assignment from the other cultivators. They were being sent to reinforce the garrison of a particularly large spirit stone mine. The original security assigned there was fundamentally incapable of resisting a minor Devil Dao raid.
Knowing that his assignment wasn’t to become cannon fodder in an upfront melee against the Six Devil Dao Sects, Han Li finally let out a sigh of relief.
In truth, even if he returned to Yellow Maple Valley, he was likely to be immediately be dispatched on a mission. Furthermore, his assignment might not necessarily be better than this one.
Although this assignment was slightly dangerous, so long as he was a bit careful, the possibilities of making it through in one piece was rather high. After all, this spirit stone mine of theirs was only somewhat large, spanning over ten mountains. If the enemy wanted to mount a raid on the seven sect’s spirit mines, it was likely they would target the largest mines first.
With this thought, Han Li’s conflicted mood faded away as he became much more familiar with Xuan Yue and the other cultivators throughout the following days.
Several days later, the group of cultivators finally arrived at a large wasteland within the borders of the State of Yue. That spirit stone mine was located within a huge canyon in the wasteland that was more than three hundred meters deep.
Under Xuan Yue’s guidance, they flew into the canyon, which was concealed by a formation spell. At the same time, several Seven Sect cultivators came out to greet them.
The leader of the original guards of the spirit stone mine was an old man at early Foundation Establishment wearing Heavenly Imperial Fortress clothes. Besides him were five or six Qi Condensation disciples.
With such weak guards, it was no wonder the upper echelons of the seven sects had anxiously dispatched support.
The old man who called himself Yu Xing led them into a huge cave dwelling inside the canyon. There, he gave Han Li and the others a detailed explanation on the circumstances of the spirit stone mine.Then, Xuan Yue swiftly and decisively arranged their defenses.
He took out over ten formation flags and formation disks and had the male cultivators arrange an autonomous attack formation named the "Four Fiend Formation" underneath the illusion formation. He also had Han Li and the other cultivators divide into groups to take turns patrolling and standing guard near the spirit stone mine in order to prevent enemy raids. Cultivators not on duty could meditate and cultivate their magic power.
Han Li was very pleased with Xuan Yue’s arrangements.
Like this, Han Li would be able to compensate for the deficiencies in his strength!
From what he experienced from his fight with the Ghost Spirit Sect, Han Li had come to understand that his previous manner of relying on strategy and nimble movement to deal with the enemy was fundamentally incapable of dealing against enemies with large disparities in strength. Upon meeting a ferocious character like the Ghost Spirit Sect’s young master, everything he could possibly muster had appeared powerless before him. Even the treasure talisman he had put high hopes in had almost been snatched away. He was no longer able to once again fix his problems with a single blow.
If it weren’t for the surprising effects of the poisonous fog released by the “Azurefire Miasma”, he would have long been buried underneath the yellow earth. Even his very own soul may have been collected by his opponent and tormented in more than a hundred ways. When he thought of that dreadful fate worse than death, Han Li felt chilled to the bone!
A great fear of that top-grade Devil Dao secret technique, the Great Blood Spirit Arts, had been born in Han Li’s heart!
He clearly understood that if he were to come across the Ghost Spirit Sect young master again, it was likely he would only be able to resign himself to death against his opponent’s secret techniques. Unless he cultivated the Azure Essence Sword Art to Core Formation, its divine abilities fundamentally wouldn’t be able to contend against that opponent.
During the Six Devil Dao Sect’s invasion of the State of Yue, the Seven Great Sects had vigorously struck back during the confusion, so melees between cultivators became commonplace. During this time, long-term plans had become secondary in favor of quickly increasing one’s strength, allowing a cultivator to preserve his life in this period of chaos.
Thus, his original plans for cultivation must adapt!
The Azure Essence Sword Art would be set aside for the time being. He would first cultivate the “Great Development Technique” to substantially increase his strength.
Having previously seen the overbearing power of mechanical puppets, Han Li was convinced that even if he could only cultivate the first layer of the Great Development Technique, he would have enough power to defend himself. After all, he already had several tens of mechanical puppets on hand.
Naturally, he would have to study those puppet sutras and hope he would be able to create a few simple mechanical puppets in the short term. With that along with the “Great Development Technique” he would have a continued source of strength throughout his time in Foundation Establishment.
After repeatedly pondering over this several times, Han Li felt this decision was correct and cultivated the “Great Development Technique” during his time off duty. At the same time, he also used a few simple materials he had on hand and started attempting to create elementary mechanical beasts, devoting his energy to creating puppets similar to his figurines.