Chapter 1996: Heavenly Halberd Talisman

"The Sacred Ancestor clone that's ruling over the devilish army outside has never shown itself, so we don't know much about its powers and abilities. However, according to the information we've managed to gather, it should be no more powerful than the clone that you were pursued by. These two clones both stem from that Sacred Ancestor Xue Guang, so even if there are some disparities between their abilities, they should all be somewhat connected. Having faced a clone of Sacred Ancestor Xue Guang already, it should be easier for you to face this clone compared to clones of other Sacred Ancestors," the white-robed elderly man said.

"Oh? Are you planning to get me to face this Sacred Ancestor clone, Brother Gu?" Han Li asked in a calm manner, seemingly unsurprised by this arrangement.

"Indeed, Fellow Daoist Han. Under normal circumstances, I definitely wouldn't ask you to take such a huge risk, but the devilish army outside is extremely powerful, and just the number of devilish lords in the army alone is almost twice the number of elders in the city. The other elders and I have racked our brains to try and come up with a strategy, but the Sacred Ancestor clone is going to be more powerful than even the average late-Body Integration cultivator; there really is no good way for us to counter it. If it were to force its way through a weak point in the city's defenses and allow the devilish army to storm into the city, we would be in a dire situation," the white-robed elderly man replied.

Han Li was silent for a moment before suddenly asking, "How was the panel of elders initially planning to address this Sacred Ancestor clone? Don't tell me you had no plans at all!"

"What plans could we have other than to rely on our advantage in numbers and our restrictions? Our initial plan was that once the battle commenced, we would send someone to lure the clone into a formation that we had prepared in advance, then trap him in the formation. We wouldn't be able to kill it that way, but at the very least, we'd be able to keep it out of the battle for a while. Unfortunately, the plan sounds simple, but it's actually very difficult to execute, so the chances of success are not very high," Buddhist Monk Jin Yue explained.

"Indeed. All of the Sacred Ancestor clones are extremely cunning; luring one into a formation certainly wouldn't be an easy task," Han Li replied with a solemn nod.

"That's right. Fellow Daoist Jin and I had planned to ask you to lure the Sacred Ancestor clone into the formation, but with your past cultivation base, the plan was too risky for you, so we didn't propose it to you. However, now that you've progressed to the late-Body Integration Stage, there's no need for such concerns. We're not asking you to defeat the Sacred Ancestor clone, Brother Han; all that we ask is that you keep it occupied once the battle begins so it can't attack the city's restrictions. As for the devilish army and devilish lords, our panel of elders will face them. The survival of the city is at stake here, so please don't turn us down, Brother Han," the white-robed elderly man said in an earnest manner.

Han Li pondered this for a moment before replying with a smile, "I agreed to do everything in my power to help the city ward off the devilish army, and I'm certainly not going to eat my words. If all I need to do is hold off the Sacred Ancestor clone, then that should be within my capabilities; leave the Xue Guang clone to me."

 The white-robed elderly man was ecstatic to hear this. "Thank you for being so selfless, Brother Han! If we can ward off the devilish army, we'll definitely reward you handsomely for your efforts."

"It's alright, I'm just doing what's expected of me. The fate of the entire human race hinges on this battle, so I'll naturally be giving it my all. If that's everything that needs to be discussed, then I'll be taking my leave now. I only recently completed my breakthrough and still need to consolidate my cultivation base," Han Li said as he rose to his feet.

The white-robed elderly man and Buddhist Monk Jin Yue were rather surprised by this, but there was no reason for them to keep Han Li any longer, so they accompanied him out of the hall.

Following Han Li's departure, Buddhist Monk Jin Yue's smile faded, and he asked, "Brother Gu, why didn't you try to recruit Fellow Daoist Han to join our city? That was a great opportunity just now."

"Do you think there's any point in doing so? I was holding onto some hope, but as soon as I saw Fellow Daoist Han today, I knew that there was no way he would agree to join any power. With his current powers, how do you think he ranks among all of the late-Body Integration cultivators of our two races?" the white-robed elderly man asked.

Buddhist Monk Jin Yue's heart stirred upon hearing this, and only after pondering the question for a long while did he reply, "I've met all of the late-Body Integration Stage fellow daoists of our two races, but none of them have been unfathomable to me as Fellow Daoist Han was. On top of that, he slew multiple devilish lords at the mid-Body Integration Stage and even faced a Sacred Ancestor clone; judging from all that, I would speculate that Fellow Daoist Han is already the most powerful being among our two races aside from Senior Mo and Senior Ao."

"There you go. With Fellow Daoist Han's powers, why would he bind himself to any power for no reason? Also, what can our Deep Heaven City offer to tempt someone of his powers? I would only risk offending Fellow Daoist Han by trying to recruit him to join our city again, so I naturally decided against it," the white-robed elderly man said with a wry smile.

"That's true. It's incredible to think that someone who was an ordinary guard of our city less than 2,000 years ago has since surpassed us on the path to pursuing the Great Dao," Buddhist Monk Jin Yue sighed in a slightly wistful manner.

"Hehe, life is always unpredictable. Alright, this isn't the time for us to be discussing something like this; let's continue where we left off before. I still think that we should set up those powerful treasures atop the city wall to repress those low-grade devilish beasts..." the white-haired elderly man said in a serious manner.

However, Buddhist Monk Jin Yue immediately shook his head in response. "Those treasures are trump cards that we refined after expending extensive painstaking efforts; we can't use them on devilish beasts. Once we expose them, the devilish army will know what to expect, and their potency will be greatly hampered..."

"But there are simply too many low-grade devilish beasts; if we don't use them..."

Thus, the two of them began to debate the topic in the hall.

Han Li was naturally completely unaware of this, and he immediately flew back to his own abode.

He would have to expend quite a bit of time to truly consolidate his late-Body Integration Stage cultivation base, so the more time he had to cultivate prior to the commencement of the battle, the more he would be able to consolidate his powers. Furthermore, after reaching the late-Body Integration Stage, he was close to attaining full mastery of his Provenance True Devil Arts, and there were also some powerful abilities that he would finally be able to unleash.

However, if he wanted to use these abilities in battle, then he would have to take some time to familiarise himself with them first.

Thus, he had immediately chosen to depart after his conversation with the two elders.

After returning to his abode, Han Li issued a few instructions to Qi Lingzi and the others before entering his secret chamber again.

He sat down with his legs crossed on the futon at the center of the secret chamber, but instead of going into a meditative state, he flipped a hand over to produce a pair of thumb-sized white jade badges that were covered in silver runes.

These were none other than the two outer pages of the Golden Jade Tome that Han Li had obtained back in the human world.

One of the pages contained the refinement method for several types of profound talismans, while the other contained the Hundred Meridian Refinement Mantra.

The pages weren't complete, but through his own research, Han Li had managed to refine most of the talismans. Now, there was only a Heavenly Halberd Talisman that he was still yet to refine.

This was the final talisman recorded on the outer page, and it was also the only offensive talisman. Apparently, it was incredibly powerful, but unfortunately, it was several times more difficult to study this talisman than the previous ones.

If it weren't for the fact that Han Li had encountered many talisman masters of foreign races and exchanged a lot of ideas and experiences with them, it would be virtually impossible for him to refine this talisman.

Han Li had already mastered the refinement method long ago, but the materials required were quite difficult to find, and there was also an astonishing demand on the level of magic power of the person refining the talisman.

Back when Han Li was at the mid-Body Integration Stage, he didn't possess enough magic power to refine this Heavenly Halberd Talisman, and that had been very frustrating to him.

However, it did make sense. Considering how fearsome the description of this talisman made it out to be, it was most likely quite a renowned talisman even in the True Immortal Realm, so it was only normal that beings of lower realms like himself would find it extremely difficult to refine such a talisman.

Thankfully, he had assigned the task of gathering materials to his disciples, and they had managed to gather all of the materials over the past several centuries.

Now that he was at the late-Body Integration Stage, he possessed sufficient magic power to support the refinement of this talisman, so he was planning to refine it during this period of seclusion.

As for the Hundred Meridian Refinement Mantra enclosed in the other outer page, that was a body refinement method of the True Immortal Realm that allowed one to refine their physical body like a treasure.

Unfortunately, this secret technique had extremely high demands on one's physical body; Han Li had only been able to just barely cultivate some of the secret technique after cleverly refining the Extreme Essencefused Mountain and some other treasures to become a part of his body.

However, this wasn't sustainable, and at his current cultivation base, the enhancements brought to his body by those treasures were no longer sufficient to satisfy him. Thus, he was planning to pick up the Hundred Meridian Refinement Mantra again and truly cultivate it this time.

With his current physical constitution, he would naturally be able to cultivate this secret technique without any issues.

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