When the three girls saw that Han Li and the middle-aged man named Ma Yulin were about to fight, they all unconsciously took a step back and held their breaths.
In their point of view, a battle between two high-layer Qi Condensation cultivators was something rarely ever seen; but to Han Li, dealing with a Qi Condensation cultivator was hardly worth any interest. He simply stood in place with his hands behind his back as he waited for his opponent to attack.
Ma Yulin grew furious upon seeing Han Li's careless attitude and raised the small pitchfork in his hand, muttering an incantation and forming a hand gesture with his free hand. Then after a moment, the small pitchfork trembled several times before releasing a flash of light as it shot towards Han Li in a yellow streak.
Han Li's expression remained calm and showed no intention of using a magic tool. Instead, he raised his hand and released a dozen talismans, each of them combusting into a fist-sized fireball as they charged towards the yellow streak.
When Ma Yulin saw this, he inwardly sneered. The Yellow Wind Fork was a mid-grade magic tool that his master had personally given him. A few fireballs weren't going to be able to block it.
Despite these thoughts, he wasn't willing to meet the attack head-on and potentially damage his magic tool. He promptly formed an incantation gesture and had the yellow streak made a sudden turn and avoid the fireballs in an arc before streaking back to attack Han Li.
Han Li smiled and pointed at the fireballs. Suddenly, the fireballs came to a stop and condensed together to form a cloud of flame the size of a wheel. It promptly turned into a three-meter-long fire snake and shot towards the flying pitchfork, coiling around it and completely restraining it.
Ma Yulin was greatly shocked and hastily poured the entirety of his magic power into the magic tool in an attempt to break it free, but as a result, the pitchfork simply glowed with brilliant yellow light and became further tangled with the fire snake. As the struggle continued, the magic tool suddenly dimmed and released a series of hums, a clear omen of its destruction.
The middle-aged man saw that things were turning for the worse. Unwilling to have his magic tool destroyed, he quickly shouted out, "Stop! Fellow Daoist's magic power is outstanding. I concede defeat!"
When Han Li heard this, he smiled and pointed at the fire snake, having it relax its grip before disappearing into embers of flame.
Han Li's effortless battle against an opponent of seemingly higher cultivation came as a delightful surprise to the three women in the pavilion.
Wu Xiaoyu wore an unsightly expression when he saw this and hesitantly muttered, "Senior Martial Brother Ma, this..."
"Enough, Junior Martial Brother Wu!" Ma Yulin quickly interrupted, "You've clearly seen that I am no match against him even with my Yellow Wind Fork. The life of your nephew has been decided."
He retrieved his magic tool and felt relieved after finding that it wasn't damaged. However, he now had a newfound fear towards Han Li's abilities and was unwilling to meddle with him any further.
Wu Xiaoyu was brimming with resentment upon hearing this, but if his eleventh layer Qi Condensation Senior Martial Brother didn't prove to be Han Li's match, then he wouldn't either.
Afterwards, there was nothing to say and the two Sharp Spirit Sect disciples flew off the mountain with anger in their hearts. As for the other three women, they had gathered around Han Li and were asking him about the magic techniques that he used.
He gave them a practiced excuse, explaining a bit about the small tricks he used to control the low-grade magic techniques. Then, the two senior martial sisters sincerely requested Han Li to answer a few questions about their cultivation problems, to which he casually agreed.
As time slowly passed by and the day turned to night, the three found it awkward to stay and reluctantly departed.
When the three women returned together on the next day, they found that Han Li had disappeared, only to leave behind a letter of farewell. After Cao Mengrong read the letter, she blankly stood in place. For some unknown reason, Han Li's sudden departure had caused her to feel an indescribable pain.
When her two senior martial sisters saw this, they couldn't help but look at each other in dismay.
Over a hundred kilometers away, Han Li was slowly flying through the air on a flying magic tool and was chatting with Monarch Soul Divergence with his spiritual sense.
"Youngster Han, have you truly decided to first head to the Guanning Prefecture and open the Feng Clan's secret cave?"
"Of course," Han Li replied, "I don't know when the Pestilence Demons Soullock Seal will stop being effective. Naturally, I will first need to find a Buddhist technique to dispel my baleful Qi, or else the matter will always be lingering on the back on my mind and I won't be able to focus on restoring my magic power."
"I urge you to not put too much hope into this." Monarch Soul Divergence indifferently said, "I don't fully believe that a trifling small clan of Buddhist cultivators could possibly possess a high-grade technique to dissolve baleful Qi."
Han Li frowned and replied, "I know, but the Feng Clan's secret cave is the easiest way. It would be for the best if I happened to find it there. Otherwise, I'll have to head to a famous Buddhist Sect, and with my current cultivation, it will be quite difficult to resolve the matter there."
Monarch Soul Divergence snorted several times in succession and said, "After your cultivation dropped, these many simple matters have become far more complicated. If you still had your mid-Nascent Soul stage cultivation, you could've found a Buddhist Sect and have them sell you such a technique on behalf of your status as a Nascent Soul cultivator."
When Han Li heard this, he could only shake his head with a bitter smile.
It was said that Buddhist Sects are prejudiced against outsiders. Even if he was still a mid-Nascent Soul cultivator, how could the sect easily allow their high-grade techniques to leave the sect? If it truly couldn't happen, he could only infiltrate a Buddhist sect and see whether or not he would be able to steal the technique he needed.
However, when he thought of the oaths and shaved head he needed to enter a Buddhist sect, he felt somewhat gloomy.
'Perhaps it would be easier to find a method to dissolve the baleful Qi in a Confucian sect,' he sullenly thought.
The Liao Province's Wuyuan Prefecture was on the west border of the Guanning Prefecture. As a result, it only took Han Li a couple of weeks before crossing into the Guanning Prefecture.
Along the way, he hadn't encountered any high-grade cultivators. He only saw a few Qi Condensation and Foundation Establishment cultivators flying from a distance. He didn't have any reason to call out to them, so he kept his distance and focused on his journey.
After flying for a few days, the mortals became less frequently sighted and the land became wild and overgrown as though uninhabited. But two days later, Han Li arrived at Falcon Cloud Village and descended from his flying magic tool before slowly entering on foot.
The village was far more crudely constructed than the other villages he had seen on his way. Not only was it smaller but also only had four roads crossing one another. The buildings were also all constructed from yellow mud and scorched wood.
He frowned and glanced around him as he walked on the road.
As of that moment, the weather was exceptionally chilly, but he simply strode in with his neat Confucian robes. The mortals didn't appear particularly surprised when they saw this.
Han Li wore a pensive expression, and just as he felt that something was odd, his expression stirred as a pair of white-robed men approached him, one tall and one short. They were both around the age of twenty, but their bodies possessed spiritual Qi fluctuations, displaying cultivation at the eighth and seventh layers of Qi Condensation.
When the two saw Han Li, their expressions revealed a trace of alarm and approached him until they were ten meters away.
The tall, skinny youth respectfully saluted him and asked, "Might I know Senior's esteemed name? Surely he must've come to participate in the Grand Assembly."
Han Li was stunned for a moment before speaking with obvious surprise, "The Grand Assembly? I'm not aware of it. I'm only in the area in search of spiritual herbs."
"Didn't I say?" The taller white-robed youth said to his shorter companion, "The assembly had started yesterday. If Senior wished to take part in it, he would already be at Snowmound Mountain. It seems he was only passing by."
"That doesn't matter!" The shorter youth said, "Senior still has the time to enter the Grand Assembly. This assembly is being jointly conducted by the three great clans of the Guanning Prefecture. Not only are there many common spiritual herbs on sale, but also many that are several of hundreds of years old, and there is even a thousand-year-old Wild Monarch Ginseng on sale. The gathering should be about halfway through and the final auctions are about to begin. Surely this will be much better than trying to find herbs on a barren mountain. There are also many loose cultivators and a few small sects trading medicine herbs and materials as well. Our three clans doesn't place taxes on any of the revenue."
Due to Han Li's many storage pouches at his waist and his Foundation Establishment cultivation, the two white-robed youths didn't dare to slight him.
Han Li's eyes flickered and he asked with surprise, "The three great clans? Could they be the Kong, Zhao, and Dong Clans?"
"That's right," the taller youth said with a smile, "We are disciples of the Kong Clan. We are here to receive any cultivators that were rushing over. Originally, we didn't think that there would be more guests and were thinking of participating in the gathering ourselves, but it turned out Senior just happened to arrive on time."
Instead of agreeing, Han Li glanced around and asked, "This village is already under the direct supervision of the Kong Clan? These mortals seem rather accustomed having cultivators nearby. This is quite rare."
The taller youth explained, "Senior is quite intelligent. Six years ago, the village entered the ownership of our three clans and was filled with our clan's mortal descendants. As a result, they don't hold much fear towards cultivators like us."
"So it's like that. This will be troublesome." Han Li muttered, revealing an unsightly expression.
The shorter youth's expression stirred and he eagerly asked, "What? Does Senior have some other affairs? Could he tell us? Perhaps we can be of assistance!"
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