Following a fierce cry, a jeg of black flames shot forth, transforming into a glistening inky-black bird that was around 10 feet in size.
The bird was able to cover a distance of over 300 feet simply by spreading its wings, upon which it appeared directly behind the elderly man and pounced.
The black-robed elderly man was clearly no ordinary cultivator, either; he knew exactly what was happening behind him without even turning his head, and he immediately let loose an almighty roar. He swept a sleeve behind him while laying his other hand over the top of his head. A small grey flag and a green jade fan immediately appeared behind him in unison, transforming into two robust barriers of light, one grey and one green, which shielded the man's body within.
However, an incredible turn of events then unfolded!
As soon as the massive black bird crashed into the light barriers, it transformed into a vast expanse of surging black flames.
The seemingly robust light barriers were immediately reduced to nothingness by these black flames, as if they were papier-mâché structures. Immediately thereafter, the protective spiritual light around the elderly man's body was instantly incinerated by the black flames as well, transforming it into an unsettling pitch-black color.
The elderly man didn't even get a chance to utter a single sound before his body and his Nascent Soul were reduced to ashes within the flames.
The black flames then swept up into the air, transforming into a huge black bird again before flying back the way it had come.
At this moment, spatial fluctuations suddenly proliferated from several hundred feet away beside the purple-robed man's body. A lithe and graceful figure then emerged, seemingly out of thin air, before waving a hand toward the approaching black bird.
The bird immediately transformed into a plume of black smoke that disappeared into the bracelet around her wrist.
This person was none other than the young woman from the Black Phoenix Race who had just departed.
She took a cold glance toward the distance where the elderly man had perished, then cast her gaze toward the corpse hovering before her, and a deriding sneer appeared on her face.
"To think that a pathetic Dark Corpse Valley Nascent Soul cultivator would dare to follow me when he's no match even for my spirit beast! He's not entirely useless, though; the Corpse Transformation Technique of the Dark Corpse Valley is quite intriguing. I can make use of this rejuvenated corpse for myself," the young woman murmured to herself before opening her mouth. A fist-sized ball of black light immediately shot forth from within, then disappeared into the purple-robed man's body in a flash.
The young woman immediately made a hand seal thereafter and began to chant something.
A few moments later, a layer of black light abruptly surfaced over the corpse before disappearing again.
The purple-robed man's body swayed before it landed on its two feet in front of the young woman. However, its eyes were completley blank and devoid of any soul.
The young woman flipped a hand over, and that crimson bead appeared once again. She raised a hand, and the bead flew directly toward the purple-robed man, only for him to open his mouth in a robotic manner before swallowing the bead.
A hint of surprise appeared on the young woman's face upon seeing this. She opened and closed her mouth a few times, but didn't say anything.
Almost at the exact same moment, the purple-robed man before he adopted the same expression that was on her face, and he opened his mouth to speak in her stead in an identical voice to the one he used when he was still alive. "Not bad. As long as no Nascent Soul cultivators appear, there should be no one who can notice anything amiss with this body. It can act as my avatar and take care of everything for me."
The women giggled to herself in a rather unsettling manner before vanishing on the spot again.
The purple-robed man was left standing by himself in the middle of the forest.
After a while, the man suddenly began to walk away, and disappeared into the forest in the blink of an eye.
Thus, peace and quiet quickly settled over this area again, as if nothing had ever happened.
At the same time, in Mistress Fang's Wooden Cabin, Han Li had already heard her description of the duty that was to be assigned to him, and he currently wore a contemplative look on his face.
"So you're asking me to accompany Immortal Qin to a demon beast nest to secure a Seven-Leaf Yin Blood Clover, but a restriction has been set up on the only passageway leading to the spirit herb. As such, you need a powerful body refinement warrior to break that restriction, is that correct?" Han Li asked in a slow voice.
"That's right, Brother Han. Even though cultivators like us can also forcibly break through this restriction, there's a good chance that the guardian demon beast there will notice us if we were to use our magic power, and it'll consume the herb itself rather than allow us to take it. As such, we can only enlist the help of a mortal without any magic power. Of course, I won't be asking you to take this risk for me free of charge, Brother Han. I'll be sure to reward you handsomely after the event," the brocade-robed man replied in an earnest voice.
"A handsome reward, eh?" A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face.
"That's right. Have you heard of our sect's Nine Profound Brightjade Pond, Brother Han? The water in the pond possesses some kind of incredible power. It isn't very useful to us cultivators, but it's extremely beneficial for mortals cultivating body refinement arts. It can stimulate the entire body and assist one in making a breakthrough. Of course, this effect is only applicable once per person. After you use it once, it won't work again no matter how long you bathe in it. This is why many body refinement warriors are quite friendly with our sect, and there's no lack of high-grade body refinement warriors among them. If you can help me secure this spirit medicine, my martial brothers and I will request for an opportunity for you to bathe in that pond. What do you think, Brother Han?" The brocade-robed man turned to him with an expectant gaze."The Nine Profound Brightjade Pond? That's the first time I've heard of it." A hesitant look appeared on Han Li's face.
"That's no surprise, seeing as you seem to have come from a faraway land, Brother Han. Our Golden Jade Sect isn't an overly large sect, but all of the body refinement warriors in the surrounding area are aware of our sect and our pond. You'll only have to ask around to verify the authenticity of my offer," the brocade-robed man said with a smile.
Han Li fell silent again upon hearing this. Only after a long while did he ask, "I'll only be responsible for breaking the restriction, right? My services won't be required in any other areas?"
Han Li was expressing a degree of interest toward the offer, and the brocade-robed man was ecstatic to see this. "Of course. We're requesting for your assistance specifically to break that restriction; you can leave everything else to myself and my martial brothers. The Beast Torrent has just subsided, so the number of normal beasts around the demon beast nest must've suffered a sharp decline. This will be the perfect opportunity for us to infiltrate the nest and take the herb."
Han Li nodded with a contemplative look upon hearing this. In all honesty, if any reward other than a chance to bathe in the Nine Profound Brightjade Pond had been offered to him, he would've turned down the proposal. After all, there really was no reason for him to help a few Foundation Establishment Stage juniors secure some spirit herb. However, this was a reward that could help him make a breakthrough in his body refinement arts, and that was a very tempting prospect as it would save him over 10 years of arduous cultivation.
For Han Li now, he had to get stronger as soon as possible in order to bolster his chances of survival in this world, so the opportunity to completely master the Vajra Arts was a very tempting one indeed. For a formation spell master like him, any restriction set up by some low-grade demon beasts would surely pose no challenge at all. "Alright, if you can convince me that I'll be assured of an opportunity to bathe in the Nine Profound Brightjade Pond, then I'll agree to secure the herb with you." Han Li had made up his mind, so he cast aside all pleasantries and cut straight to the point.
This brocade-robed man had clearly already detected that he was no ordinary body refinement warrior, so there was no need for him to hide anything anymore.
The change in Han Li's tone of voice came as a slight surprise to both Mistress Fang and the brocade-robed man. However, Mistress Fang was an extremely intelligent woman, and she quickly grasped the reason behind Han Li's shift in demeanor. Even so, she merely smiled while remaining, refraining from making any interjections."It's understandable that Brother Han would want a guarantee from me. Bring out that thing." The brocade-robed man laid a hand on the storage bracelet around his wrist, upon which a white jade pendant appeared over his palm.
The pair of young Golden Jade Sect cultivators also brought out identical items.
The brocade-robed man collected all three jade pendants before handing them over to Han Li.
"What's this?" Han Li's brows furrowed slightly as he glanced at these jade pendants.
"An incantation seal has been cast onto these jade pendants, so they each contain a wisp of our souls within. These pendants were all made in pairs, and if any sect disciple departs from the sect, the other pendant has to be left in the sect. That way, if we encounter any trouble or life-threatening danger, the seniors of our sect will be able to track us down using these pendants. Of course, if these pendants were to be destroyed, our cultivation bases would be negatively affected as well. I'm offering them to you now as a sign of good faith and sincerity. If you still don't believe me, then I can't really do anything else to try and convince you."
"I trust you, Brother Qin. We'll do as you say." Even though Han Li was unable to release his spiritual sense, his eyes had been cleansed countless times by the Brightsight Spirit Water, so even without any magic power injection, he could see the spiritual power imbued within the jade pendants. As such, it appeared that the brocade-robed man was telling the truth.
Thus, he pocketed the jade pendants with a faint smile on his face.
Even if these jade pendants turned out to be counterfeit after all, he could easily take care of a trio of small fry like them if they were to try and revoke their promise.
The three cultivators were all overjoyed that Han Li had agreed to this proposal. Thus, they decided to set off for the spirit herb the day after the next, and after chatting for a while longer, all of them departed from the wooden cabin.
Han Li was settled into a nearby wooden cabin that was slightly smaller so he could rest and prime himself into his best condition.
A night and a day passed uneventfully in the blink of an eye, but when night fell again on the second day, this makeshift human settlement suddenly erupted into activity.
This as because the lord of An Yuan City had appeared completely unscathed in their settlement. This development naturally created a stir throughout the entire encampment.
Even Mistress Fang left her wooden cabin to visit City Lord Zhao in person.
After hearing about this, the image of Dai'er flashed through his mind before his heart settled into tranquility once again. She would be safe now with her grandfather.
However, not long after that, someone was sent to Han Li's cabin.
It turned out that City Lord Zhao was planning to take his granddaughter to a friend of his in Heavenly Origin City, but Dai'er insisted on seeing Han Li again before she left.
City Lord Zhao also seemed to be interested in thanking the savior of his granddaughter in person.
As such, Han Li made his way out of the wooden cabin after a brief period of contemplation.Previous Chapter Next Chapter