He looked at the badge, then at the bewildered expressions on the faces of the other stewards, and a wry smile appeared on his face as he said, "It's a voice transmission talisman from the grand elder commanding us to gather all of the materials stipulated in the jade slip within three days. From the sounds of it, it appears that the grand elder is going to be using these materials for tool-refinement purposes, and they seem to be rather uncommon. Senior Martial Brothers, it looks like we'll have to drop everything for now and fulfill the grand elder's orders first."
All of the other cultivators were startled to hear this.
"If this is an order from the grand elder, then we'll naturally have to prioritize it. Check the list of materials in the jade slip, and if we have them, bring them out of our storage unit right away. If not, immediately head to the Ancient Sword Sect and Hundred Possibilities Pavilion to see if they have them. In particular, the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion cultivators are very proficient in tool-refinement, so they should have any materials that we're missing. This must be rather urgent or the grand elder wouldn't be giving us only three days to gather everything," an elderly man in grey robes instructed in a decisive manner.
The other cultivators all nodded emphatically in response.
After delegating some duties among themselves, the Foundation Establishment stewards all leaped onto their treasures and flew out of the pavilion, hurrying away to gather the materials detailed in the jade slip.
Three days later, the blue-robed cultivator arrived at the interconnected peaks with a bulging storage pouch filled with the required materials, but was naturally kept out by the restriction around the peaks.
This Foundation Establishment disciple released a voice transmission talisman before waiting on the spot, holding the storage pouch in both hands in a respectful manner.
After roughly 10 minutes had passed, the mist that had been manifested from the restriction suddenly began to tumble and surge, immediately following which a burst of azure light shot forth from within.
Spiritual light flashed, and the storage pouch in the blue-robed cultivator's hands was swept away.
The blue-robed cultivator's heart stirred upon seeing this, and he hurriedly bowed several times toward the mist before flying away atop his treasure.
Peace and tranquility resumed over the interconnected peaks, as if nothing had ever happened.
In his cave abode, Han Li stowed away his humanoid puppet before using his spiritual sense to assess the contents of the storage pouch in his hand.
A short while later, a content expression appeared on Han Li's face as he murmured to himself, "Not bad; they really did manage to get everything. Looks like these sect stewards are quite capable."
"You're the grand elder of the Drifting Cloud Sect, so they naturally wouldn't dare to delay in executing your orders. I'm rather surprised that you asked them to bring you the materials required to refine the Fire Spirit Threads as well, though. You have to remember that you're not using a fire-attribute cultivation art." The small child's figure surfaced again, and he turned to Han Li with a perplexed look.
"I'm naturally aware of that. However, I have something that can refine the Fire Spirit Threads in my stead even though I don't have much fire-attribute spiritual power within my body. This thing originates from the treasure that gave rise to the Fire Spirit Threads, so it's very appropriate that I'm using it to refine the Fire Spirit Threads now," Han Li replied calmly as he patted the storage pouch hanging from his waist, upon which a small red cauldron flew out from within before hovering in front of him.
The small child's eyes narrowed as he examined the fire cauldron, and he didn't say anything, but he nodded slightly to himself.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face as he tipped over the storage pouch in his hand.
A flash of white light erupted, and about a dozen or so jade and wooden boxes of different sizes appeared on the ground.
Han Li raised a hand and pointed a finger at the fire cauldron.
The crimson lid of the cauldron flew soundlessly into the air, following which a ball of crimson flames emerged from within the cauldron amid a loud boom. In the blink of an eye, the flames had manifested into a dozen or so crimson Fire Ravens, all of which began to fly around the cauldron.
"Those flames have manifested a spirit! This treasure's power isn't all that remarkable, but it is indeed an extremely pure fire-attribute treasure, so it'll be quite suitable to refine the Fire Spirit Threads in your stead. Even so, these Fire Ravens were born from the cauldron and not created by your magic power, so it's going to rather difficult to accurately manipulate them. You're going to pay a lot of attention to this process; any lapse in concentration could result in all of your efforts going to waste," the small child warned.
"Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Endless Sky, I have nothing if not patience," Han Li chuckled nonchalantly.
The small child naturally wasn't going to try and dissuade Han Li any further after hearing that.
Thus, Han Li made a hand seal and cast an incantation seal onto the fire cauldron.
The cauldron revolved in the air before swelling drastically to several times its original size in the blink of an eye.
Only then did Han Li sweep his sleeve through the air, and a semi-transparent object shot forth from within, quickly disappearing into the cauldron.
A loud boom erupted within the cauldron and balls of crimson flames appeared on its surface while flames also rose into the air from within. The semi-transparent substance was barely discernible within the flames, and was soon pushed by a few Fire Ravens to the top of the fire.
A focused expression appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this, and he flicked his 10 fingers in quick succession, blasting forth a dozen or so incantation seals of different colors onto the bodies of those Fire Ravens.
The ravens stirred as they blasted flames out of their beaks toward the semi-transparent object in a frenzy.
In contrast, that substance seemed to be able to absorb the flame of the Fire Ravens and as it was being scorched, its surface gradually reddened, and its shape began to change.
Han Li feigned a grabbing motion toward one of the jade boxes on the ground, and the lid flew off on its own, revealing a small blue paste-like substance within.
He pointed a finger at the box, and the substance immediately flew into the cauldron, transforming into blue liquid upon making contact with the flames before being completely absorbed by the semi-transparent substance.
Han Li was elated to see this as he withdrew his hand seals. Immediately thereafter, strands of azure threads shot forth from his fingertips and into the crimson flames.
The fire immediately rose by several feet and at the same time, a rumbling cry rang out from within the cauldron, in response to which Han Li's expression remained extremely serious and focused.
Two months later, a streak of azure light flew directly toward the main peak of the Drifting Cloud Sect. The azure light disappeared in a flash as it landed in front of the large hall at the foot of the mountain, upon which Han Li's figure was revealed.
The dozen or so Drifting Cloud Sect disciples guarding the hall were immediately overawed to be in Han Li's presence, and all of them rushed forward to extend respectful bows.
However, Han Li merely waved his hand and raised a leg, upon which he completely disappeared from the spot, reappearing in the next instant within the hall.
The disciples were naturally startled upon seeing this, and they all turned their attention toward the interior of the hall.
The could see that Han Li had clearly only taken a few steps, yet he had already disappeared from the corridor following a few flashes.
The disciples were stunned to see this, and their awe and veneration for this grand elder grew even further.
When Han Li appeared within the hall, Lü Luo was already there, and he was pacing back and forth with an urgent look on his face.
"You've finally come out of seclusion, Junior Martial Brother Han. Looks like you've received the voice transmission talisman I sent out as well." At the sight of Han Li, a joyful expression replaced the urgent one on Lü Luo's face.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face and his body swayed as he appeared in front of a wooden chair, sinking down into it calmly as he said, "The voice transmission talisman tells me that Martial Niece Song and the others have disappeared in the Devilfall Valley. This is quite suspicious and it involves Peiling and that in-name disciple of mine as well, so I naturally had to come and ask you for some details."
"This incident is indeed quite suspicious. It's been half a year since Martial Niece Song and the others have traveled to the Devilfall Valley, and they definitely should've returned to the sect by now. However, according to the disciples I sent out to search for them, there are only cultivators who have seen the three of them enter the valley, but none who saw them emerge from there. There were also some cultivators who encountered them in the outer valley, but they disappeared from the Devilfall Valley soon after that. I suspect that the three of them may have..." Lü Luo's voice suddenly cut off here.
"Could it be that the three of them have ventured into the inner valley and encountered some sort of dangerous situation or were trapped somewhere?" Han Li finished the sentence for him. As he did so, his expression remained very calm and it was impossible to glean his thoughts.
"That's exactly what I was thinking. The inner valley of the Devilfall Valley is still very dangerous, but you're a great cultivator now, and you've explored the inner valley once before, so it shouldn't be a problem for you to search for them in there, right?" Lü Luo asked in a rather hesitant manner.
"The spatial rifts in the Devilfall Valley's inner valley don’t pose much of a threat to me and as long as I don't venture into any of the extremely dangerous locations, I should be fine. I've recently concluded my tool-refinement anyway, so I'll make a trip there," Han Li replied without any hesitation.
"That would be best. I'll leave it to you, then, Junior Martial Brother. However, keep in mind that you're the grand elder of the sect now the prosperity of our sect rests on your shoulders, so your safety is the number one priority," Lü Luo cautioned with a serious expression.
"Rest assured, Senior Martial Brother Lü. There should be no one in the Heavenly South Region who's capable of harming me, and I'll also do my best to stay out of harm's way," Han Li replied with a nonchalant smile, but his thoughts had strayed to the Sovereign Devil Corpse that he had lost many years ago in the Devilfall Valley.
Could it be that this devil corpse had something to do with the trio's disappearance? That thought abruptly occurred to Han Li for no reason whatsoever.
Even though he was feeling rather perplexed, Han Li's expression remained quite calm and he only left in an unhurried manner after chatting with Lü Luo for a while longer.
Two days later, Han Li visited Nangong Wan in the restricted area before leaving the Drifting Cloud Sect on his own and heading for the Devilfall Valley.
Over a month later, three streaks of light were flying extremely quickly through the air over the Chang Province in the State of Dongyu. All of a sudden, they circled around an unknown mountain before landing to reveal three brawny men. The three of them were all very tall and broad with two flying crosses of different colors strapped to each of their shoulders. Their physical appearances were also very similar, and they appeared to be triplets.
Meanwhile, there were three other cultivators already waiting on the summit of the mountain. One of them was an elderly man, another was a middle-aged scholar, and the final one was a young man with a smile on his face.
"Haha, I hope you didn't wait too long, Brother Hou! My brothers and I had some business to take care of on the way here, so please don't blame us for our tardiness! Huh? Are those two disciples of your sect as well?" The eldest among the three brawny men laughed heartily as he turned toward the elderly. However, as he swept his gaze across the young man and the middle-aged scholar, a hint if befuddlement flashed through his eyes.
He discovered that both the elderly man and the middle-aged scholar were standing on either side of the young man with respectful expressions on their faces. Even after the elderly man heard his greeting, he only responded with a subdued smile, and didn't dare to strike up a conversation with the three of them.
This naturally came as quite a surprise to the three brawny men. They swept their spiritual sense toward the young man, and waves of shock surged through their hearts as they discovered that the young man's body was seemingly made from illusionary mist, rendering their efforts to ascertain his cultivation base completely ineffective.
The three men's expressions changed drastically upon making this discovery!Previous Chapter Next Chapter