Han Li faltered upon hearing this. A hint of befuddlement flashed through his eyes, and he couldn't comprehend why the Endless Sky Beast was saying this.
"This cultivation art originates from Buddhist origins, but its something that everyone uses in the Spirit Realm. It's even more popular than the basic cultivation arts of the five elements used by Qi Condensation cultivators," the small child explained.
"Everyone uses this cultivation art? Could it be that you're also referring to..." Han Li was starting to read between the lines, and a hint of surprise appeared on his face.
"This Buddhist cultivation art can even be used by mortals in the Spirit Realm who possess no spiritual roots. If a mortal reaches the third layer or above in this cultivation art, then obtains some special weapons, they'll even be able to combat low-grade cultivators and demon beasts. If they can reach the fifth layer or above, hehe, even mid-grade cultivators and demon beasts wouldn't dare to mess with them for no good reason, then," the small child chuckled coldly.
Han Li was flabbergasted to hear this, and only after a long while did he respond in an incredulous manner, "Surely you jest, Fellow Daoist Endless Sky! You're telling me that mortals can combat us cultivators?"
"Hehe, you haven't ascended to the Spirit Realm yet, so there's no point for me tell you too much about it, but this is something that I wouldn't mind disclosing to you; in the Spirit Realm, the mortals are an extremely important force in the human race. Furthermore, there were some exceptionally intellectually-endowed figures among the mortals who studied some basic cultivation arts used by cultivators and demon beasts, and managed to discover ways to refine their own bodies using the spiritual Qi from their environment without having to rely on spiritual roots. In the end, they managed to devise a unique set of cultivation principles. There are even some particularly outstanding warriors among the mortals who have slain high-grade cultivators and demon beasts; this is not something that's uncommon in the Spirit Realm. The cultivation art I'm referring to is known as the Vajra Arts, and it's one of the cultivation arts used most regularly among the mortals."
"Even so, surely mortals still can't compare with cultivators. After all, the vast majority of cultivation arts and treasures are still unusable to them," Han Li countered with furrowed brows.
"Of course. Mortals are still mortals in the end, and no matter how powerful they become, without spiritual roots, they're still unable to pursue the Great Dao. Their lifespans reach a mere 100 years, and even if they can obtain some treasures or medicines that can extend their lifespans, it'll only give them 100 more years to live at most; that's their maximal limit. However, in the Spirit Realm, the postnatal acquirement of spiritual roots is possible. Among the three human sovereigns, the Heavenly Yuan Holy Sovereign was once an extremely prominent and renowned mortal. Only after encountering a miraculous opportunity was he able to attain a spiritual root and become a cultivator, but in terms of power and abilities, he's not inferior to his other two counterparts at all." The small child's expression became rather solemn as he spoke.
Han Li stroked his chin and was at a loss for words.
"Don't think too much about this matter. The mortals in the Spirit Realm are only able to achieve all of this due to the fact that the spiritual Qi density in the Spirit Realm is far superior to that of lower realms. Your human world has endured a devilish tribulation long ago, and the spiritual Qi density here is far inferior compared to the other lower realms. Even if mortals were to obtain the cultivation arts from the Spirit Realm that I mentioned, they wouldn't be able to absorb the world's origin Qi into their bodies anyway, so there's no way that they'd be able to cultivate," the small child explained.
"Other lower realms? Does that mean there are more lower realms than just the human world?" Han Li was very surprised to hear this.
A peculiar look appeared on the small child's face as he said, "Of course! There are hundreds, if not over 1,000 lower realms beneath our Spirit Realm. All of the most exceptional cultivators from these lower realms would ascend to the Spirit Realm, and barely any have ascended from the human world in the past years. However, there have been many cultivators ascending from other lower realms that haven't been invaded by elder devils. I decided to send my avatar to the human world, firstly, because the spiritual Qi is very sparse here. That makes it more difficult for my avatar to descend into this realm, but it makes it easier for me to avoid my great tribulation. Secondly, this is a realm dominated by the human race, so no one would suspect that I would send my avatar to this realm. Otherwise, if my enemies were to learn my backup plan and destroy this avatar of mine, all of my efforts would've been in vain."
Han Li was speechless once again.
He had always thought that the human world was a unique existence, which was why the Spirit Realm had gone to the effort of deploying cultivators into the human world to combat the invasion of the elder devils. However, after hearing the Endless Sky Beast's words, it was clear that there were other factors behind that decision.
"Alright, that's enough about the Spirit Realm. It won't benefit you to learn too much about it for now. Let's talk about the Vajra Arts first. This cultivation art can be used even by mortals without spiritual roots, but it's also renowned in the Spirit Realm for being extremely difficult to cultivate. There are very few people who can reach the third layer, let alone the fifth layer; most of the mortals in the Spirit Realm have only reached the first layer, which will somewhat enhance their bodies, but the effects won't be very useful. Reaching the second layer of the cultivation art requires the cleansing of the marrow, which is an excruciating process that not many people can withstand. However, there are many mortals within the Spirit Realm and reaching the second layer would allow one to become as powerful a low-grade demon beast, so there are always some who are willing and able to endure the painful process. I've never heard of your Brightjade Arts, but I'm sure it's very much related to this cultivation art. After all, there are only a handful of Buddhist body refinement cultivation arts, and this is most likely the only one among those cultivation arts that can be used in the human world." The small child was very confident in his judgment.
Han Li also felt like that was a very plausible notion, and he nodded as he said, "Perhaps that's true. It's indeed been rather difficult for me to cultivate the Brightjade Arts."
"Give me a jade slip; I'll give you a copy of the Vajra Arts for you to examine. If it's the same cultivation art as your Brightjade Arts, then it won't do you much good, but if they're not the same thing, you can choose one between them to cultivate." The small child was suddenly being very generous.
"Hehe, I'll have to thank you in advance then, Fellow Daoist Endless Sky." Han Li certainly wasn't going to decline such a tempting offer. A faint smile appeared on his face, and he flipped his hand over to produce a jade slip before tossing it to the small child.
The Endless Sky Beast caught the jade slip before slowly closing his eyes to replicate the cultivation art.
The smile on Han Li's face faded, and his brows furrowed as memories of a copper plate and another cultivation art surfaced in his mind.
They were none other than the Sacred Provenance Plate, as well as the Heavenbearing Devil Arts that he had obtained from Man Huzi.
There was nothing to be said about the Sacred Provenance Plate; he was already certain that this demonic cultivation art and the Brightjade Arts had both originated from the Elder Devil Realm. Furthermore, they were, respectively, the cultivation art required to unleash the technique, and the mandatory basic body refinement cultivation art. Unfortunately, there was a missing link in the middle, and that was the cultivation art for the transformation ability.
When he had obtained the Heavenbearing Devil Arts from Man Huzi, he had only inspected it briefly before ascertaining that this cultivation art was that missing link. He didn't know how it had become a top-grade devilish art, but that didn't really matter.
What was important was that he had somehow gathered the complete set of cultivation arts. Furthermore, the fact that the Nine Gale Transformations that Han Li wanted to cultivate required progression in the Brightjade Arts made him feel as if there were some kind of profound greater power at work, trying to make him cultivate the Sacred Provenance Plate.
A series of thoughts flashed through Han Li's mind and after about 10 minutes, the small child sitting atop the cauldron suddenly opened his eyes before raising a hand, sending a burst of yellow light flying toward Han Li.
Han Li immediately swept a sleeve through the air, catching the yellow light to reveal the jade slip within.
"The cultivation art has been recorded in there; you can have a look at it first," the small child said in a calm voice.
Han Li nodded and immediately seeped his spiritual sense into the jade slip to examine the cultivation art within.
After just a short while, Han Li heaved a faint sigh and withdrew his spiritual sense.
The small child's expression remained unchanged as he asked in an indifferent manner, "Is the same as your Brightjade Arts?"
Han Li was silent for a moment before replying, "It is. There are some additional spiritual Qi absorption methods detailed in the Vajra Arts, but everything else is completely identical."
The small child seemed to have expected this result, and he waved the aged hide book in his hand as he said, "That's settled, then; if you want to cultivate the Nine Gale Transformations, you'll have to progress to the third layer of the Brightjade Arts first. During that time, I'll alter the Nine Gale Transformations so it becomes suitable for you to use. The Thunderstorm Wings are only a pair of treasures, and not real wings, after all, so some adjustments to the cultivation art will be required. Don't forget that you promised to lend me the Golden Jade Tome after this."
Han Li smiled and pointed to the three container treasures before him as he said, "Rest assure, Fellow Daoist Endless Sky, I won't go back on my word. Before we begin, are you not going to consume any more of this Imperial Elixir?"
The small child glanced at the treasures before shaking his head as he replied, "The Imperial Elixir is indeed a fantastic medicine; it can help demon beasts develop intelligence, and is of the utmost importance for demon beasts going through metamorphosis to attain a human form. For human cultivators, consumption of the Imperial Elixir can also expand the meridians and greatly enhance the body. However, it's not advisable to consume too much of it at once, and it can't be stored for more than a month, so it's currently useless to me. Seeing as you're planning to cultivate the Brightjade Arts, this will be quite useful for you."
"If that's the case, then I'll be taking these for myself." Han Li smiled as he swept a sleeve through the air, upon which the bowl and the jade vial disappeared in unison, leaving only the gourd remaining on the ground.
He then made a hand seal and a faint light shimmered in his eyes. All of a sudden, silver light flashed from beside one of the walls of the secret chamber, and another "Han Li" appeared out of thin air.
As soon as this "Han Li" appeared in the secret chamber, it immediately feigned a grabbing motion toward the gourd lying on the ground. The treasure was instantly sucked into his grasp, and silver light flashed again as "Han Li" disappeared into the wall.
A hint of surprise appeared on the small child's face upon seeing this, but he didn't say anything. Instead, he merely cupped his fist toward Han Li as a salute before also vanishing into the cauldron.
Han Li took a glance at the jade slip in his hand before joining his palms, upon which the jade slip disappeared.
He then slowly closed his eyes and began to meditate in a seated position.
Almost at the exact same moment, a streak of silver light shot forth from the main peak that Han Li's cave abode was situated on. Following a few flashes, the silver streak of light had already disappeared into a certain restricted area within the Drifting Cloud Sect. Not long after that, the streak of silver light flew out from within the restricted area again and returned to the interconnected peaks.
Han Li continued to remain in the secret chamber, yet during this time, a streak of silver light would occasionally fly out from his cave abode before disappearing into the distance. However, the streak of silver light would always return to the interconnected peaks following intervals of several days to around a month, and no one knew what it was up to.
Time passed in a flash, and two years flew by in the blink of an eye.