The higher-ups of the Star Palace were almost sure that this had something to do with Han Li. After all, they had all seen the interaction between Elder Ximen and Han Li in the stone palace.
Anyone could tell that this great cultivator had a vendetta against Elder Ximen.
However, despite their suspicions, all of the Star Palace elders simply pretended to not suspect anything and none of them went to interrogate Han Li.
He was a great cultivator whom no one wanted to mess with, and most importantly, they couldn't find any evidence that Han Li was the culprit behind all this. Instead, there was strong evidence suggesting that he hadn't actually been responsible for this incident.
During the time period in which Elder Ximen had perished, Han Li had been discussing cultivation insights and experiences with Elder Zhao the entire time. Of course, it wasn't difficult to tell that this was a smokescreen intentionally set up by Han Li to prevent anyone from being able to aim a convincing accusation against him.
Despite knowing the truth, it was still an extremely harrowing notion to all of the Star Palace elders that Han Li could wipe a Nascent Soul cultivator off the face of the world without even having to go after him in person.
If he were a normal cultivator, they could naturally disregard all evidence and capture him before using a soul search technique to confirm everything. However, who would dare to do that to a late-Nascent Soul great cultivator? Even the elders who had been quite close with Elder Ximent knew better than to kick up a fuss.
Furthermore, the Star Palace had to rely on Han Li's powers to carry them through this crisis, so they absolutely couldn't afford to get on his bad side. Thus, Ling Yuling and all of the Star Palace elders could only pretend that they had no idea who the culprit could be.
After discussing cultivation experiences and insights with Elder Zhao for about half a day, Han Li returned to his silent cultivation chamber. Almost immediately thereafter, Elder Zhao received news that Elder Ximen had passed away, and he was rooted to the spot for a long while. In the end, he could only give a wry smile with a resigned expression on his face.
After that, he departed from the cave abode and left two Core Formation disciples there in his place.
Han Li could kill a Nascent Soul cultivator even without leaving the cave abode, so it was just a waste of time for him to remain behind and keep an eye on Han Li anyway. It was much wiser for him to get out of there as soon as possible in case Han Li decided to kill him as well.
As such, a peculiar sequence of events unfolded.
A Star Palace elder had clearly just perished, yet this incident was completely glossed over, and it seemed that none of the higher-ups of the Star Palace wanted to mention anything about it. Even the words "Elder Ximen" had become a taboo phrase that could only be mentioned in hushed whispers. Instead, everyone was focusing their attention on making preparations for the upcoming battle.
Five days later, Han Li emerged from the silent cultivation chamber and arrived at the sacred palace again. On this occasion, there were more than 30 Core Formation cultivators also gathered here on top of the Star Palace elders.
Most of these cultivators were at the late-Core Formation Stage, so their powers were only just below that of the Star Palace elders.
When Han Li slowly made his way into the hall, all of the cultivators turned their attention to him in unison. Most of them wore expressions of awe and veneration, while some were quite fearful of his arrival. However, one thing remained constant, and that was no matter which direction Han Li cast his gaze toward, all of the cultivators gathered there would immediately lower their heads and avoid his gaze.
Using his humanoid puppet to take care of an early-Nascent Soul cultivator was an extremely simple task for Han Li, but in doing so, he had intimidated the entire Star Palace.
In the past, all of these Star Palace cultivators only knew that Han Li was a great cultivator, but no one had seen him in action, so they couldn't help but be skeptical about whether he would actually be able to hold off Wan Tianming.
After all, Wan Tianming had slain many Star Palace elders in the past several decades, and his reputation was second to none in the Scattered Star Seas. Ironically, Han Li's assassination of a Nascent Soul elder instilled everyone with a lot more confidence in his abilities. That was something that neither Han Li nor Ling Yuling had anticipated.
Of course, Ling Yuling was naturally very glad that their morale had been boosted, while Han Li simply didn't care.
"Please take a seat, Fellow Daoist Han. I'll start organizing the preparations for the upcoming battle right away," Ling Yuling said in a respectful voice.
Han Li nodded as he took a seat before producing a white jade slip to read, completely ignoring everyone else in the process.
Ling Yuling merely smiled upon seeing this, but her expression instantly became quite grave after turning to the rest of the cultivators and delivering a series of instructions.
Even though most of Han Li's attention was focused on the jade slip, he wouldn't actually completely ignore what Ling Yuling was saying.
The Star Palace's plan was very simple. Even though the Heavenly Windfire Formation was comprised of 108 Windfire Pillars, they were only planning to attack the 36 Windfire Pillars surrounding Heavenly Star City.
According to the analysis from several of the Star Palace's formation spell masters, these 36 pillars were the most important ones, and as long as they could destroy most of those pillars, the formation would be vanquished as a result. Of course, the formation core that Wan Tianming was guarding had to be conquered by the Star Palace before that.
Thus, one Nascent Soul Stage elder and Core Formation cultivator after another rose to their feet at Ling Yuling's behest, and all of them wore serious expressions as they listened to the duties being delegated to them. A sense of fierce killing intent had spread through the entire hall.
Before long, all of the cultivators present had been assigned to attack a certain Windfire Pillar. However, the distribution of high-grade cultivators was rather uneven; there were two or three Nascent Soul cultivators in some groups while in others, there wasn't even a single Nascent Soul cultivator.
Han Li was rather surprised by this arrangement. However, he quickly understood why such arrangements had been made.
There were most likely Star Palace spies in the Starfall Coalition as well, so they must've already ascertained the forces guarding each individual Windfire Pillar, and were delegating troops accordingly.
Even though Han Li continued to focus his attention on his jade slip, a faint smile had appeared on his face.
Ling Yuling delegated duties very quickly, and after just a short while, almost all of the cultivators in the hall had been assigned with specific roles.
Finally, her voice faltered as she turned to Han Li, and a smile appeared on her face as she said, "Fellow Daoist Han, you, Elder Zhao, Elder Ma, and I will be responsible for attacking the formation core that's being guarded by Wan Tianming, is that alright?"
Han Li raised his head and replied nonchalantly, "Sure. However, I'm only responsible for taking on Wan Tianming. I won't attack any other cultivators unless they attack me."
A hint of surprise appeared in her eyes at the sight of Han Li's carefree expression, but she was naturally quite glad that Han Li had accepted her arrangement.
Even though she had heard some things about Han Li from the Heavenly Star Sages, she didn't actually know if Han Li was all that powerful among late-Nascent Soul cultivators. She was really worried that Han Li would underestimate his enemy and fall on his own sword, so she elaborated on some of Wan Tianming's signature abilities and treasures in order to help Han Li prepare for the upcoming battle.
Han Li's expression remained quite nonchalant as he listened to her description.
Ling Yuling could only heave an internal sigh upon seeing this, and she repressed the urge to ask Han Li what chance he thought he had of victory. In any case, defeat was not an option for the Star Palace.
"Let's go!" After one final instruction, all of the cultivators in the palace instantly rushed out from within.
All of the low-grade Foundation Establishment disciples had already gathered at all four of Heavenly Star City's gates, and they were primed to attack as soon as the Core Formation cultivators arrived to lead them into battle.
Han Li glanced at the jade slip in his hand before closing his palms together, upon which the jade slip abruptly disappeared.
The jade slip contained the cultivation art for the Divine Essencefused Light, and it was indeed quite profound and complex; even after several days of arduous observation, he had only made a little progress. He was very curious about just what kind of extraordinary existence the Divine Essencefused Mountain was to be able to assist in the mastery of this cultivation art.
Han Li was considering these matters in a rather absentminded manner as he also exited the stone palace along with the other elders.
Much to Han Li's surprise, there was a massive carriage over 100 feet in length parked outside the palace.
The entire carriage had been constructed from some type of unidentifiable green wood, and all types of runes had been carved onto its surface. It was quite apparent that this was an extremely intricately and painstakingly crafted carriage. However, what was even more noteworthy was that the carriage was being drawn by four demon beasts several tens of feet in length, all of which were of the same green color as the carriage itself.
This was the first time that Han Li had been flabbergasted following his arrival in Heavenly Star City.
The four green demon beasts only appeared to be at the fifth or sixth grade, but they were most definitely flood dragons.
If he recalled correctly, flood dragons were extremely protective of their brethren. The Star Palace was indeed very powerful, but how could they use actual flood dragons to draw their carriages? Weren't they afraid of drawing the ire of the entire flood dragon race and bringing disaster to the Star Palace?
At the sight of rare expression of surprise that had appeared on Han Li's face, Ling Yuling smiled, and asked, "Is there really a need to be so surprised by a few low-grade demon beasts, Fellow Daoist Han?"
A blue light flashed through Han Li's eyes, and he suddenly said, "Wait, these demon beasts possess the bodies of true flood dragons, but their souls seem to be rather strange."
A hint of admiration appeared in Ling Yuling's eye as she explained, "You really do have a good eye, Brother Han! The souls in the bodies of these demon beasts are indeed not the souls of flood dragons. Many years ago, when my father was traveling through the outer seas, he won a few low-grade green flood dragon carcasses from the Golden Wyrm King in a bet, then used a secret technique to inject the souls of Marine Spirit Pythons into their bodies, thereby creating these demon beasts."
"I see, but why have you placed this carriage here? Will we be using it in our attack?" Han Li's brows were still furrowed with confusion.
"Hehe, you won't be aware of this, Brother Han, but this carriage was personally crafted by my father. Aside from these demon beasts, the carriage itself is also very special and will be quite effective against our enemies. If it weren't for the importance of this battle, I wouldn't even be using such a precious treasure." Ling Yuling raised her eyebrows as a mysterious look appeared on her face.Previous Chapter Next Chapter