Chapter 1589: Sentient Puppet

"Xian Xian," Han Li murmured to himself before nodding as he said, "Seeing as I don't have to venture deep into the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges and the holy-grade devilish beast has been severely debilitated, this is a risk worth taking. However, let me make this clear; if things aren't as you say they are or I find that the undertaking is somehow riskier than I expected for whatever reason, I'll bail out right away. Also, on the day that the mountain ranges open up, I want you to come with me in person and lead the way. Lastly, if the holy-grade devilish beast really does possess the bloodline of a Giant Mountain Ape, you have to split half of its true spirit blood with me. If you don't agree to any of the aforementioned conditions, then the deal is off."

Han Li adopted quite a serious expression as he spoke.

Xian Xian contemplated his conditions momentarily before nodding as she replied, "Alright, I accept those conditions."

A smile appeared on Han Li's face in response to her prompt agreement. Thus, he spoke no further as he flicked his wrist, and a storage bracelet instantly flew out of his sleeve.

He pointed a finger at the bracelet, and a swath of azure light instantly swept forth, following which a dozen or so vials and boxes of different sizes and materials abruptly appeared in mid-air.

On top of that, there were also several tens of top-grade spirit stones that were shimmering with lights of different colors.

"At your current cultivation base, these pills and medicines should be enough to support your cultivation until the low and intermediate tiers of the upper race, and they can even assist you in breaking through bottlenecks. However, their effectiveness will differ from person to person. As for these materials, I expended a lot of effort to collect them; take a look and see if they're to your liking," Han Li said in an indifferent voice.

Many of these pills had been consumed by Han Li in the past, and he'd even brought out his remaining two vials of True Toad Liquid, so he wasn't afraid that the woman would be discontent with his offering.

As for the materials, those were of a slightly lower caliber, but they had been obtained from the two Spatial Tempering Stage demon beasts that he'd slain back in the Flame Coral Islands, so they were also extremely precious and rare.

In contrast, the top-grade spirit stones really had been quite difficult to come by, even for him, and bringing out so many at once was far from a pleasant experience for him.

As expected, after examining the pills and materials, a hint of elation appeared on the woman's face.

"All of these items are quite precious, and along with those top-grade spirit stones, they're certainly enough to exchange for this suit of devilish armor," the woman said with a smile as she stowed everything away.

"I'm glad to hear that. We have a deal, then. I'll leave you with a Myriad Distance Talisman, and I won't be leaving Cloud City anytime soon. When the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges are about to open up, you can inform me using that talisman." Han Li smiled as azure light flashed from his storage bracelet at his behest, following which a palm-sized jade badge flew out from within.

The storage bracelet then flew back as a streak of azure light, fitting itself around Han Li's wrist in a flash.

"Alright, I'll remember to use the talisman when the time comes." The Crystal Woman nodded with a smile as she caught the jade badge.

Han Li didn't say anything further as he made a hand seal and began to chant something.

The golden projection and the suit of purple armor that it was wearing both disappeared in the flash, and at the same time, the Nascent Soul within Han Li's dantian smiled as a purple suit of armor appeared over its chubby body.

The rest of the process was quite simple. The woman teleported the two of them back to the shop using her formation plate, and Han Li immediately departed.

He then visited some other shops that caught his interest, most of which were specialty shops that sold items like materials, treasures, and talismans.

He did manage to find some noteworthy things in those shops as well, but of course, none of them could compare with the Heavenly Devilish Armor he'd just obtained.

Han Li stayed on this street for an entire day, and he only hailed a beast-drawn carriage to return to the inn after night had already fallen.

In the half a month or so after that, Han Li did nothing aside from visiting these streets and hundreds of shops in Cloud City.

Thus, he managed to gain a rough understanding of the various places across the city.

At night, Xiang Zhili would occasionally visit him for a conversation. During this period of time, the city appeared to be on high alert, but its inhabitants were actually quite relaxed, seemingly completely unfazed by the fact that the city was potentially going to come under attack soon.

Perhaps this was due to the fact that they were already accustomed to attacks from the Jiao Chi Race or perhaps they simply didn't think that the army of the Jiao Chi Race would make it to Cloud City.

On this day, Han Li emerged from the inn as usual, but he didn't visit any more shops. Instead, he hailed a carriage and asked the driver to take him to Radiant Cloud Mountain.

The beast-drawn carriage immediately began to race down the street, and it had to travel through most of Cloud City before finally arriving at the designated destination.

Han Li disembarked from the carriage and looked up at the colossal mountain before him through narrowed eyes.

This was a lush mountain that was over 30,000 feet tall with a burst of pure spiritual Qi emanating from it. It seemed to possess a top-grade spirit vein.

Han Li looked around to find that there were seven mountains of a similar size in the nearby area, and these eight mountains formed the renowned Eight Cloud Mountains of Cloud City. 

It was said that a long time ago, a few unfathomably powerful beings in the city had unleashed extraordinary abilities to forcibly transport these eight mountains from the ground down below all the way up to Cloud City. They then also captured eight top-grade spirit veins and placed them into the mountains, thereby creating these eight spirit mountains that were not inferior to any on the ground below.

These eight spirit mountains were also the only places in Cloud City where outsiders could permanently reside, and there were many cave abodes of different sizes on the mountains.

None of these cave abodes were owned by a single being, and all of them were available for rent. Of course, the rent was extremely expensive, and the lease period was based on centuries.

Even so, most of the cave abodes on the eight mountains had been rented out, and there were even instances where demand exceeded supply.

The temporary cave abode that Jia Tianmu had in Cloud City was situated in this Radiant Cloud Mountain.

Han Li rose up onto the mountain as a streak of azure light, heading toward the address that Jia Tianmu had given him.

The Eight Cloud Mountains were also the only places in Cloud City where beings were permitted to fly and use magic power.

The reason why Han Li had come here was naturally for the so-called sentient puppets that had been promised to him by Jia Tianmu.

During this period of time, Han Li had learned a lot about the Myriad Ancient Race. Even though this race was only ranked somewhere around the middle of the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races, their mastery of puppetry and puppet refinement had reached an incredible degree.

It was said that they were one of the three races on the Thunder Continent that were most proficient in the art of puppetry.

Han Li was initially rather confused as to what these sentient puppets were, but after reading through some relevant tomes and learning about them from Xiang Zhili, he finally understood what they were.

These puppets all had to possess Deity Transformation Stage power at a minimum, and they also possessed certain levels of spiritual nature. Even without having to inject spiritual sense into them, these puppets could carry out some simple instructions, so they were quite extraordinary indeed.

On top of that, it was said that the spiritual natures of these puppets could evolve given the right conditions, and they could even develop a high level of intelligence.

Of course, that was only a rumor. The Myriad Ancient Race had never released an official statement to support or refute this claim, so these sentient puppets were given an extra layer of mystery and intrigue.

Even for the Myriad Ancient Race, these sentient puppets were quite difficult to refine, and they weren't sold to outsiders under normal circumstances.

The few that did manage to somehow make their way out of the Myriad Ancient Race were all highly sought-after items, and each puppet could be sold for an astronomic sum.

Han Li was quite proficient in the art of puppet refinement himself, so he was naturally very intrigued by these extraordinary sentient puppets.

Furthermore, he had some other objectives as well, and that was why he had decided to come to this place in person.

After flashing through the air a few times as a streak of azure light, Han Li descended onto an obscure location halfway up the mountain.

There was an ordinary-looking mountain face not far ahead of him, upon which a stone gate that was several tens of feet tall could be seen.

Han Li didn't directly knock on the gate. Instead, he swept a sleeve through the air, and a ball of light flew out from within, then disappeared into the stone gate in a flash.

Not long after that, white light flashed from the surface of the stone gate, and it slowly opened of its own accord.

Jia Tianmu emerged from within with a smile on his face, and greeted, "Haha, it really is you, Fellow Daoist Han. What took you so long? I've been waiting for quite a few days already."

Han Li smiled, and replied, "Apologies for the delay; I had some matters to attend to, so I ended up coming a little later than expected."

Jia Tianmu nodded before extending a warm invitation. "I see. Come into my cave abode and we'll talk in there."

"I'd be glad to." Han Li accepted the invitation and strode into the cave abode.

Jia Tianmu's cave abode wasn't very large. After passing through a short passageway, the two of them arrived in a hall that was over 300 feet in size.

The decor was quite unique and elegant with a few shimmering beads embedded onto the roof, along with a table, two smaller side tables, and a few chairs in the room.

There was nothing else in the hall aside from that, and even the walls had only been paved with the most ordinary bluestone.

"Take a seat, Fellow Daoist Han," Jia Tianmu offered after sitting down on the main seat.

Han Li nodded before taking a seat beside him.

Before even saying anything, Jia Tianmu suddenly clapped his hands together twice, and footsteps sounded from a side door, thereby drawing Han Li's attention toward that direction.

Moments later, a beautiful woman who appeared to be in her twenties emerged into the hall. She was wearing a yellow palatial dress and was holding a long wooden box as she strode into the room in an elegant manner.

The woman made her way to the center of the hall, then placed the wooden box in her hands onto the side table in front of Han Li before standing off to the side in a respectful manner.

Han Li merely took a cursory glance at the wooden box before turning his attention to the woman with a peculiar look in his narrowed eyes.

"Has my servant caught your eye, Fellow Daoist Han? If you like her, how about I give her to you?" Jia Tianmu chuckled upon seeing this.

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