Suddenly, a strange scene occurred as the transparent liquid began to split into six thumb-sized silver beads that slowly swiveled in the air.
Han Li let out a deep breath before suddenly biting the tip of his tongue and spitting a cloud of blood essence onto the beads. They cleanly absorbed the entirety of the blood essence, turn them into pure gold.
His spirits were roused at the sight and he spat out a streak of azure light. The light circled once around him before stopping, revealing itself to be a sparkling inch-long sword surrounded by azure mist.
Han Li pointed to one of the purified beads of Auric Essence and had it cover the surface of the sword in a perfectly even layer. The small sword immediately began to flicker with a dazzling golden light.
Han Li raised his brow at this and pointed at the ground several times, summoning several of the supplementary materials to fuse with the flying sword. He then beckoned to the flying sword and it instantly flew into his palm where it became embroiled in azure Nascent flames.
Han Li slowly shut his eyes and used his spiritual sense to control the Nascent flames and begin the tempering. This process would only be completed when the blood essence infused Auric Essence merged completely with the flying sword.
Day after day passed, and Han Li refined each of the Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords without a single moment of rest. Were it not for the Myriad Year Spirit Milk, Han Li's magic power wouldn't have been able to persist.
As time drew closer to the black-robed man's appointed date, those who knew of the matter grew anxious but the most worried of them all was Senior Martial Brother Cheng. On the day before the deadline, someone delivered a jade slip to the Drifting Cloud Sect using a flying sword. The jade slip detailed the precise location for the coming appointment.
Not only was the terrain dangerous, but it was even somewhat far from the Dreamcloud Mountains. If Han Li did not leave seclusion soon, he may not have enough time to make it there.
As the silver-haired old man restlessly walked in circles inside the official hall, Han Li silently appeared at the entrance. The old man saw that Han Li arrived and shouted with delight, "Junior Martial Brother, you've finally arrived! Have you finished tempering your magic treasures?"
Appearing more confident than he was a month ago, Han Li sullenly responded, "I've managed to somehow finish refining the treasures. Senior Martial Brother, I heard that another jade slip has been sent explaining the meeting place. Is that true?"
"That's right. He wishes to meet you at the peak of Heavenpillar Mountain. Here's the jade slip that he sent." Senior Martial Brother Cheng nodded and handed over a green jade slip.
Han Li took it and quickly read through it with his spiritual sense.
With a snort, a stern expression appeared on his face as he said, "He wants me to come alone and bring the Golden Lightning Bamboo magic treasure. It seems he's investigated me quite well. He even knew of my relationship with Wan'er, or else he wouldn't have been able to use it against me."
"With his vast abilities, it should prove to be an easy task to stealthily look into the matters between Junior Martial Brother Han and Little Sister Nangong. After all, low-grade cultivators are completely helpless against powerful Devil Dao cultivators. Junior Martial Brother, I can't have you face this danger alone so I've already contacted the Child Fire Dragon and six other Fellow Daoists. When you take off, we'll follow closely behind you. As soon as that person appears, we'll surround him and will be certain to keep him trapped. We'll make sure he knows that he can't do as he wishes in our State of Xi." Senior Martial Brother Cheng declared with a resentful tone.
"Senior Martial Brother's methods are quite good, but this man will most likely be on guard. However, it's fine if Senior Martial Brother and his companions follow me. If he is careless and arrogant, it will spell his death." After a moment of thought, Han Li agreed. Help was exactly what he was looking for.
"Good, it's settled. Although Heavenpillar Mountain is extremely tall, it may as well be flat to cultivators like us. I will put a marker on your body and we will use that to follow you. If the opponent truly isn't someone you can fight, you only need to buy some time for me and my friends to arrive."
"I must thank Senior Martial Brother for his troubles, and I will be sure to return the favor." As Han Li seldom accepted help from others, he spoke these words with complete sincerity.
Senior Martial Brother Cheng smiled and chuckled as he said, "Junior Martial Brother Han is part of our Drifting Cloud Sect so we can't treat you as an outsider. The arranged time is soon to come. You must hurry with your preparations and leave tonight, or you might not have enough time to arrive at Heavenpillar Mountain."
Han Li nodded in agreement and quickly departed.
Senior Martial Brother Cheng sighed with relief after Han Li departed and wore a knowing smile. From Han Li's promise of paying back this favor, he knew that his efforts had not been in vain. Once he reached the end of his lifespan, he knew that his Junior Martial Brother Han would do his best to repay the Drifting Cloud Sect.
Tension leaving the old man's heart, he slapped his storage pouch after a moment more of thought and took out several talismans. He then flung them in the air before they flew out of the hall in streaks of red light. After doing this, the silver-haired old man sat in his chair with a pensive expression and pondered over what had just happened.
These sound transmission talismans would soon summon his good friends who had been staying at the sect's guest hall over the past few days. Two hours after Han Li departed, Senior Martial Brother Cheng and them set off after him.
In order to preserve his magic power, Han Li only flew in an ordinary streak of light and while flew he fiddled with the three-inch-long sword in his hand. It was one of the thirty-six swords that Han Li had infused with Auric Essence.
For some unknown reason, the flying swords had turned gold after being infused with Auric Essence. If he guessed correctly, the change in appearance was only temporary; once the Auric Essence had truly merged into the magic treasure, it's original appearance would be restored. But when he saw that the thirty-six swords still retained their golden luster after fully refining them, he felt completely baffled.
However, the effect the Auric Essence had on the swords appeared to be even greater than the legends had described. From his tests, the flying swords were at least thirty percent more powerful and their sharpness far surpassed what they had before. Han Li was confident that if they clashed with any magic treasures that were made from inferior materials, his flyings swords would likely cleave through them.
However, there were some misgivings that accompanied his delight. He eventually recalled the main material of the flying swords, the Golden Lightning Bamboo, and the refined crystal that he had used to first temper them. Could it be that when these incredibly rare materials merged with the Auric Essence, they underwent some sort of unfathomable evolution? After some long thought, he found this to be the only explanation.
Since this change was for the better, he wasn't willing to spend too much effort investigating the matter. Instead, he placed his mind on the Aureate Sword Formation. Han Li didn't need to specifically cultivate it in order to use it. In fact, he had easily activated it while in seclusion to test its power.
The sword formation's amazing power served to verify the words of the golden page. Although he was only able to form a simple version of the Aureate Formation, it already displayed a marvelous power that bolstered Han Li's confidence in facing the black-robed man.
He needed to dispel Nangong Wan's Soul Seal Curse, but if he didn't possess the Aureate Formation, Han Li definitely wouldn't have obediently sent himself off to death.
Of course, Han Li hadn't ever fought against a late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator and he couldn't truly know how well he would do. But he had fought against mid Nascent Soul-stage cultivators, and reckoned he would have at least an eighty percent chance of trapping and killing one. With such power, he should have more than enough ability to contend against a late-Nascent Soul cultivator.
However, it would prove rather troublesome to acquire the method of dissolving the Soul Seal Curse from his opponent. Han Li will need to use his own discretion once he met the black-robed man and carefully navigate the situation.
Han Li sighed and the small sword in his hand disappeared from his sight. He then swept his surroundings with his spiritual sense, discovering no trace of his Senior Martial Brother or his allies but wasn't surprised. They were sure to be hiding in the distance from fear that the black-robed man would discover them since their opponent was possibly a late Nascent Soul cultivator.
Heavenpillar Mountain was an isolated, steep mountain tens of kilometers tall located to the west of the Dreamcloud Mountains.
From a distance, it appeared extremely steep with a third of the mountain reaching beyond the clouds. There were only a few short hills surrounding the mountain, allowing the surroundings to be clearly seen from the center of the mountain. This was also probably why the black-robed man had selected it.
But when Han Li arrived fifty kilometers away from the mountain, he suddenly felt his spiritual sense roil. While his spiritual sense was at the level of a mid Nascent Soul-stage cultivator, he didn't dare to let down his guard. Who didn't know whether or not the black-robed man was deliberately hiding something in order to lull him into a false sense of security.
As a result, Han Li simply had his spiritual sense probe his surroundings while feigning ignorance about being watched as he flew towards the peak of the mountain. At nearly the same time, a black-robed man sitting on the peak opened his eyes and stared in the direction of Han Li.
He muttered, "You've come. It seems the information I acquired was correct, and your relationship with that woman is quite deep."
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