Master Sunreach sullenly said, "We are well aware that there is something suspicious about this, but the Moulan had captured many cultivators on their warpath, a majority of them being Nine Nations Union cultivators. And in the process of providing assistance, many of sect disciples have also been captured. The envoy stated that they have about a thousand captives in total."
In his alarm, Old Man Kuang immediately asked, "What did they say? Are they going to execute the captives if we do not agree to their conditions? Are the Moulan not afraid of our retaliation?"
Master Sunreach quickly replied, "The envoy didn't state as such. However, he did speak of a chance to rescue these cultivators. In addition to the materials that were wagered for each of the ten wagered battles, each battle will wager the freedom of a hundred captive cultivators."
The eccentrics in the hall looked at each other in dismay. A thousand cultivators aren't particularly many and they will most likely be low grade cultivators. There wasn't a need to save them, but if someone were to propose to abandon them, they would become the butt of criticism.
While these cultivators didn't personally care about these captives, they were the representatives of various sects and clans of all sizes. There were particularly many cultivators that were captured in an attempt to slow down the Moulan armies. If they didn't rescue them, the morale of their forces would plummet, and the low grade cultivators were feel particularly disappointed and few of them would fight with all of their strength. The other cultivators inwardly swore at the Moulan for their cunning.
Long Han agreed with a sigh, "Who would thought these grassland savages would be able to act so cleverly. They hardly used any strategy in their previous invasions, but now they act with complete guile. We can't help but feel somewhat uneasy at this sudden change."
Master Sunreach swept his gaze across the room and solemnly said, "It seems that everyone realizes that this battle is something that we cannot refuse. Regardless of what they are planning, we must defeat the spell warriors in this battle, else it will strike at our morale. Moreover, this wagered battle seems to lack any tricks. They most likely hold other intentions. As a result, you Fellow Daoists need not worry about suffering any unexpected mishaps. If you have any doubts, we'll personally put a stop to these battles. Of course, since this is a battle to the death, we will not force anyone to join."
'This is voluntary?' When the eccentrics heard this, they coldly smiled and their eyes glinted as they remained silent.
Nobody was so foolish to accept. Even if there was nothing suspicious about these wagered battles, there were none wished to fight to the death. After all, one had to strenuously cultivate for several hundreds of years in order to reach this current stage of cultivation. They wouldn't easily expose oneself to danger.
Han Li also remained silent. Although he didn't mind exerting a bit of strength to fight in the war, he didn't wish to brave any unnecessary risks. In that last battle at the Yellow Dragon Mountains, he had nearly lost his life; he didn't wish to relive the experience.
Old Devil Concord grew sullen at everyone's silence and coldly snorted. The bone-chilling sound caused the seated cultivators to feel a chill down their back. However, these cultivators still decided to remain silent.
Master Sunreach shook his head at the sight and also revealed a trace of helplessness. Wei Wuya also narrowed his eyes and said not a word.
Master Sunreach didn't allow this awkward silence to continue and said, "Before we arrived, we had a bit of a discussion. Since these wagered battles will prove dangerous, we have decided that any of the spoils gained from these battles will belong solely to the victor. Doesn't this somewhat make up for the danger?
To the best of my knowledge, you Fellow Daoists should be lacking some rare materials, materials that you've been unable to find. We have some in our collection that we are able to persuade you with." Once this was said, his gaze swept past the room once more and his gaze stopped upon Han Li.
Han Li felt his heart tremble and he felt somewhat puzzled. The other cultivators in the room felt the same. Although the sword-bearing Daoist had mentioned some alluring conditions, much to the temptations to those present, none took the initiative to step forward and participate in the wagered battle.
But at that moment, Wei Wuya suddenly turned his head towards Daoist Shattered Soul and began to send him a voice transmission. The despondent Daoist Shattered Soul suddenly sat straight and wore an expression of delight. He then began to silently move his lips and converse with Wei Wuya through voice transmission.
A short moment later, Daoist Shattered Soul's expression wavered with hesitation. At that same moment, Devil Concord began to send a voice transmission.
Devil Cloudpart appeared completely aloof since he had entered the hall, but when he heard his sect's grand elder's voice transmission, he immediately frowned with a gloomy expression. It was unknown what was said to him.
After a moment of thought, Daoist Shattered Soul eventually said, "Fine. So long as you uphold what was agreed. I don't mind braving danger just this once." When the others heard this, they were absolutely stunned.
Then, Devil Cloudpart said, "Since Fellow Daoist Shattered Soul is participating, I will go as well. It would be truly unfortunate if these rare materials were lost to me." The old devil coldly smiled, but a trace of anger could faintly be seen from his face.
The other cultivators glanced at each other. Although they didn't say anything, they were deeply startled. Regardless of what had convinced the two, it caused all the others to feel ill at ease.
As expected, the three great cultivators each began to send voice transmissions to cultivators in the hall one after another. Most of these cultivators would happily or worriedly agree to fight in the wagered in the battle. There were only two that coldly shook their head and refused.
When Han Li saw this, various thoughts began to swirl through his mind. But at that moment, Master Sunreach's voice had reached his ear. "Fellow Daoist Han, I heard that you were currently searching for a large quantity of Auric Essence. Is this true?"
When Han Li heard this, he felt his heart pound. It was no surprise that he knew of this. His request of the Heavenly Dao Alliance's search for auric essence wasn't a secret affair.
After calming his heart, Han Li said, "That's right. I require some Auric Essence in order to refine my magic treasure. Could if be that Fellow Daoist Sunreach has a large amount of it?"
Master Sunreach chuckled with a grin. "Fellow Daoist Han guessed correctly. Fellow Daoist Wei and I have each acquired a large chunk of Auric Essence. Its quantity should be enough for Fellow Daoist to use. Are you interested?"
After pondering to himself for a moment, he non-committedly replied, "I would like to first see if the Auric Essence is to my satisfaction before I consider fighting."
Master Sunreach agreed with a smile. In such a brief amount of time, five cultivators had agreed to fight. They were all like Han Li. It was only after some thought that they readily agreed. But even as hesitant as they were, their responses were to Master Sunreach's satisfaction. He then promptly ceased his voice transmissions and began to make arrangements with how the Moulan armies should be dealt with.
In spite of the clamor of the eccentrics speaking of how to make use of spell formation tools and deal with the troublesome spirit technique formations of the Moulan, Han Li's mind had already wandered off as he pondered about the Auric Essence.
To tell the truth, Han Li had been dissatisfied with the might of the Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords. It wasn't that his flying swords were inferior to the might of his fellow cultivators, but rather they were too weak in the face of the enemies that he had encountered.
If he faced weak opponents, he wouldn't have to use them. He would use the Azure Essence Swordstreaks to deal with them. But against towering opponents, his flying swords would prove quite meager.
But with the Azure Essence Sword Art's last recorded divine ability, the Aureate Sword Formation, Han Li's Bamboo Cloudsward Swords would be able to contend against a late Nascent Soul cultivator for some time, even if he could only muster a small portion of its complete power.
As for the Heavenvoid Cauldron, he hadn't personally witnessed any of its actual power. As he only heard endless praise of it from Silvermoon, he started to grow doubtful of it.
Because the Aureate Sword Formation was a great divine ability that would allow him to establish himself in the cultivation world, he needed to acquire a large quantity of it in order to make use of the formation. However, Han Li felt uncertain about participating in the wagered match for it. With some thought, he decided to first see how much Auric Essence was being offered before deicing. If it was enough Auric Essence for him to refine the Aureate Formation, he may find himself agreeing.
So long as his opponent wasn't one of the Moulan Divine Sages, he felt he had nothing to fear. Even if the Moulan were to engage in any trickery during the wagered battles, he would be able to escape the trifling barrier with his Thunderstorm Wings and his Purple Apex Flames.
With this thought over, Han Li felt calm once more and began to listen to what was being planned.
This meeting was held for nearly two hours under the guidance of Master Sunreach. While Old Devil Concord occasionally added a few words in, Wei Wuya remained completely silent on the matter.
Something worthy of note was how both Master Sunreach and Devil Concord had highly valued Long Han. Whenever a matter related to the Heavenly Dao Alliance came up, they had always asked for his opinion. It appeared to be true that Long Han was able to contend against the three great cultivators together with his wife.
Just as the discussion was about to come to a close, the cultivators who weren't participating in the wagered battle were given a few specific duties. Afterwards, Master Sunreach called the end of the meeting and bid everyone farewell, wishing them to properly prepare for what was to come. However, there were still three cultivators that hadn't left, one of them being Han Li.
As for the other two, they were Devil Cloudpart and a gorgeous woman with a bloodless complexion. The woman had remained silent in the previous discussion as Han Li did.
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