A hint of surprise flashed through the monk's eyes upon seeing this, and he immediately swept a sleeve through the air, releasing a burst of energy fluctuations that severed the enormous suction force being released by the golden vortex. "Please have mercy, Fellow Daoist Han. You've already passed the test, and those eight ghost monarchs are still useful to me, so please spare them."
Upon regaining their freedom, the eight ghosts let loose low roars before disintegration into specks of black Qi.
"Rest assured, Fellow Daoist, I wouldn't have actually attacked those eight ghosts; I was merely curious and wanted to examine their power," Han Li chuckled in response.
The projection and golden vortex behind him then vanished in unison, but an inky-black ball had appeared in his hand, and he was appraising it in an intrigued manner.
This was none other than the Infernal Netherworld Wind that he had gathered with his Revolving Golden Light.
However, the wind had been compressed into this ball by his enormous magic power.
"Your powers far exceed my expectations, Brother Han. It seems that the rumors were true and I was foolish to have implemented this test," the monk said.
"Seeing as I've passed your test, can we move on to the topic of discussion?" Han Li asked.
"Of course, you have the right to hear what I have to say. I'm sure you're already aware of who I am," the monk replied.
"If the woman outside hadn't lied to me, then you should be the manager of the He Lian Trade Guild on the Blood Sky Continent, which would make you equivalent in status to Fellow Daoist Ming Zun," Han Li said.
"That's correct, but how much do you know about our He Lian Trade Guild?" the monk asked.
"I'm afraid I don't know too much; all I know is that the trade guild is extremely powerful and is one of very few super organizations that span across all three continents," Han Li replied with furrowed brows.
"In reality, our guild is quite a loose organization. Aside from the branches on each continent that were set up to facilitate easier exchange of resources and information, there are no set rules and duties. Generally speaking, whenever conflicts arise, the panel of Grand Ascension Stage elders in the guild will pass down their judgment; I was assigned the duty of temporary manager of the guild on this continent by the elders. If any Grand Ascension Stage fellow daoists wish to join our guild, they'll generally become guest elders.
"This role won't affect their daily cultivation, nor their status in their own respective races, and they'll get to enjoy many incredible benefits; their only duty will be to assist the guild in times of peril," the monk said in an unhurried manner.
"Why are you telling me this, Fellow Daoist?" Han Li asked.
"I want to formally invite you to join our trade guild; would you be interested?" the monk asked as a smile appeared on his face for the first time.
"Did you invite me here and conduct that examination just for this?" Han Li asked in a calm manner.
"Of course not, but if you can become a member of our guild, I'll have fewer qualms about sharing what I'm about to discuss with you," the monk replied.
"I have some interest in the He Lian Trade Guild, but I still want to hear what you want to discuss with me first before I make any other decisions," Han Li replied.
"Alright, in that case, I won't force the issue. How much do you know about the Infernal Realm and the Netherworld, Fellow Daoist?" the monk asked.
Han Li was rather taken aback to hear this. "The Infernal Realm? I often hear about it, but I've never heard of anyone who's actually seen it. As for the Netherworld, its existence is nothing more than an unverified legend. At the very least, I'm unable to confirm whether it exists or not. Does our topic of discussion have something to do with those two places?"
"That's right. Over 100 years ago, our guild unintentionally discovered the entrance to a new small world while exploring a certain spatial rift on the Blood Sky Continent."
"A new small world? Is that true?" Han Li was quite stunned to hear this.
"100%. Even though it's a new small world, it's most likely already existed for many years; it's just that no highly intelligent life forms have been born in that world, and it's never been discovered before. Just as our guild was preparing to dedicate a massive amount of resources to develop this small world, we discovered that beings from another realm had also infiltrated the small world." A reminiscent look appeared in the monk's eyes as he spoke.
He then continued, "As soon as we clashed with these new enemies, we were all given quite a fright as these were all ghostly beings like the ones you had just battled. Their powers vary drastically, with the weakest ones only roughly equivalent in power to Qi Condensation Stage beings, while the most powerful ones could compare with Body Integration and Grand Ascension Stage beings of our Spirit Realm. That Infernal Netherworld Wind was something I managed to collect after facing a powerful ghostly being in battle, and the eight ghost monarchs were also manifested from the auras that I extracted from those ghostly beings.
"Of course, I was only able to imitate their form; their actual power is incomparable to that of true ghost monarchs. The most powerful Infernal Ghost Monarchs are beings that can rival the likes of you and me in power. According to these beings, the realm they come from is known as the Infernal Realm, and they serve the 10 Monarchs of the Netherworld. Our trade guild clashed with these ghostly beings in several major battles over this small world, but neither side could gain the upper hand, and countless casualties arose.
"In order to avoid further casualties for both sides, we made a pact with those ghostly beings, arranging a match between the most powerful beings of our two sides to decide how much resources each side can claim from that small world. I want to invite you to participate in this match as one of our guild's representatives. Of course, if you could join our guild, then your inclusion would be more justified. Regardless of the outcome of your battle, as long as you participate, our guild will be sure to reward you handsomely," the monk revealed.
"I see. Is this Infernal Realm the actual Infernal Realm in the legends? And what type of beings are those 10 Monarchs of the Netherworld? Will they be participating in this match?" Han Li asked.
"Our guild conducted an investigation into this, and even though we don't have much evidence, we believe this realm isn't the true Infernal Realm. Instead, it's most likely just another realm suitable for powerful ghostly beings to inhabit. As for the 10 Monarchs of the Underworld, they are formidable beings who are even more powerful than the ghost monarchs, and it's most likely the case that they'll participate in this match," the monk replied.
"It's a pity that this isn't the true Infernal Realm; I had thought that I would finally get to explore the secrets of reincarnation," Han Li said as he stroked his own chin in a disappointed manner.
"This realm may not be the true Infernal Realm, but the abilities cultivated by those ghostly beings are vastly different from ours, and they're fundamentally different life forms, so perhaps you'll be able to glean some of the secrets of the dao of reincarnation through battling them," the monk said with a smile.
Han Li offered no response to this, and only after a long while did he ask, "Where and when is this match being held? And how many battles will be in this match? Aside from myself, which other fellow daoists will be representing the trade guild?"
As opposed to being displeased by Han Li's thorough line of questioning, the monk's eyes lit up as he hurriedly replied, "The match will take place in three years in that new small world, and there will be a total of five battles. Aside from myself, the other participants will be a fellow daoist from the guild's Thunder Continent branch, a guest elder from the panel of elders, and a top-tier Blood Dao powerful being from the Blood Sky Continent. If you decide to participate as well, then our lineup will be complete.
"Rest assured, these battles are only sparring contests, so even if you lose, your safety won't come under any threat. On top of that, if you can secure a victory, I can allow you to enter our guild's Heaven Scaling Pavilion to choose any one immortal secret technique from the True Immortal Realm on top of the predetermined reward."
"A secret technique from True Immortal Realm? Did I hear that right?" Han Li was very surprised to hear this.
"That's right. Our guild possesses several immortal secret techniques, and not many people know about them, but it's not the best-kept secret, either. The seniors who founded our trade guild were descendants of true immortals that were left behind in the Spirit Realm, and the trade guild was once an extremely secretive investigative organization set up by the True Immortal Realm in the Spirit Realm, so all of its important members were also direct lineal descendants of true immortals. As such, it's no surprise that they possess some immortal secret techniques.
"However, due to the spatial storm, all realms suddenly lost contact with the True Immortal Realm, so our seniors were forced to recruit some powerful outsiders into the organization, and that's how our trade guild came into existence. As such, not only is our organization a trade guild that spans across the three continents, it's also responsible for ensuring the safety of this realm in the shadows, battling against threats that arise against our realm. For example, our trade guild had sent some Grand Ascension Stage fellow daoists into the Elder Devil Realm to slay the Stemborer Queen.
"Unfortunately, all of them were trapped in that seal before they had a chance to do anything, and it was all thanks to you that they were rescued, so technically speaking, you're a benefactor to many of the elders of our trade guild," the monk explained with a smile.
A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face upon hearing this.Previous Chapter Next Chapter