Although the master of the Daoist monastery was a mortal, he knew a few things of the cultivation world and could faintly guess Han Li's identity. As such, he hadn't disturbed him when he stayed in his room for an entire day.
When Han Li finally opened his eyes, he wore a trace of disappointment.
With a helpless tone, he muttered, "The Glacial Quintessence is incapable of being merged with the Purple Apex Flames. It appears that it can only be used as a material for refinement or enhancement." Then, he spat out a clear, luminous pearl into the air — the Snow Crystal Pearl — and had it float a meter above him.
As he watched it, he waved his hand and took out the small bottle of Glacial Quintessence.
He brushed his finger past the bottle and sent it into the air. Then with his other hand, he slapped the bottom of the bottle and a drop of Glacial Quintessence shot out before disappearing into the Snow Crystal Pearl.
Forming an incantation gesture, he spat out a thread of azure Nascent Flame and it quickly wrapped around the pearl.
After watching the flickering inferno for a time, Han Li closed his eyes. The Snow Crystal Pearl's refinement should finish by the time the grand auction convened.
With that in mind, he controlled the thread of Nascent Flame and slowly refined the pearl.
Elsewhere, there was a frail azure-robed youth that was strolling around a magnificent garden with a pleased expression. He was currently inside of a grand mansion in the imperial palace to the north of the Jin Capital.
At that moment, his expression stirred and he suddenly turned around, revealing a face almost exactly like Han Li's. The only difference was that his eyes were particularly cold and emotionless.
Footsteps came from the entrance of the garden to reveal an old man wearing a black hat and embroidered robes. When he met the youth's bitter eyes, he couldn't help but tremble.
The youth withdrew his gaze and strolled over. He then calmly said, "So it was Fellow Daoist Yun Yi. Why have you come to find me?"
Yun Yi let out a dry laugh and walked over. "Elder Han, we've recently acquired some information from our people that may be of interest of you."
"Information?" Elder Han coldly uttered, "I have little interest of things outside from myself, nor am I responsible for any specific matters. I will not take action towards anything without Elder Ye's command." He then turned his head over back to look at the garden.
Yun Yi chuckled, not seeming to mind Elder Han's cold attitude, and said, "I wouldn't dare to disturb your cultivation if it was something else, but this information is closely related to you."
"...Could it be you've found that person?" The youth narrowed his eyes and his expression turned frigid.
"That's right. It is reported that a few cultivators in the Yin Sifting Sect are secretly looking for him through the markets in the Jin Capital. This is a portrait of his face and appears the same as what Elder Han had described. How about you take a look for yourself?" A white jade slip then shot out from the old man's sleeve.
Elder Han gloomily raised his hand and caught the jade slip.
The youth's face twitched as he quickly read through it with his spiritual sense. Then, he coldly asked, "That's right, it should be him. Do you know why the Yin Sifting Sect is looking for him?"
"Not yet, but the their Elders in the capital have suddenly begun to gather together. Elder Han, you've said that this person who shares your name is a great enemy. As such, the second elder has made the decision to let you handle him. So long as you don't disturb the grand auction, you may use any method to deal with him. There are a few items being sold that the Ye Clan must acquire at all costs and we can't have you causing a disturbance. Elder Ye also doesn't wish for anything mishap to occur."
Elder Han coldly snorted, "So long as this information is accurate, I'll have him disappear from this world. Do you know how long it will take until the clan can help me find those devilish artifacts? Before I enter the imperial clan and follow your orders, my conditions will have to be fulfilled."
"Don't worry, Elder Han. We've already found the whereabouts of several of them. We did help you find one, but the others will be more difficult and will take some time," the old man calmly explained.
Elder Han curled his lips and a cold light flickered from his eyes. "I don't care how you do it. I agreed to serve the Ye Clan for twenty years, so you must help me find them."
"Of course, we won't go back on our word. We already have someone looking into more concrete information and you will be the first to know when we get it." The old man saluted him and then took his leave.
After Elder Han watched the old man's silhouette disappear from the flower garden, he coldly laughed as something came to mind. With a wave of his sleeve, a sword with golden flickering light appeared in his hand.
The small sword had threads of black Qi swirling around it, and it trembled as if attempting to shake off the substance, but no matter how hard it tried, the black Qi firmly held.
Elder Han frowned and he suddenly spat out a mouthful of black blood to cover the golden sword. It let out a wail and its spiritual light immediately dimmed, but it continued to endure as it cried out.
"This is truly troublesome," he muttered with impatience, "How is it so difficult to erase the spiritual nature of a sword from the mortal realm? If it wasn't refined from golden lightning bamboo, there would no need to go through such efforts.
"But since he's already in the Jin Capital, this is a seldom opportunity. Not only can I take revenge on him for destroying my main soul and denying my full cultivation, but the flying swords will immediately become masterless and I'll be able to take control of them after his death." A trace of hostility was betrayed from his face and his pupils became pitch-black, shining with purple light. His entire body began to show monstrous transformations.
In a building at the remote corner of a mansion, there were two men and a woman sitting at a table and having a chat.
One of them was the old man with a black hat that had just returned from speaking with Elder Han. The other man was middle-aged, possessed a dignified appearance, and wore a jade belt around his waist. As for the beautiful woman, she was the one who had spoken to the head nun at Royal Serenity Monastery. But this time, her expression was sullen as she listened to the old man's account of his conversation with Elder Han.
The middle-aged man appeared pensive after hearing him and said, "You mean to say that Elder Han immediately agreed?"
"That's right. As soon as he heard that this person had appeared, a trace of killing intent was betrayed from his face. It appears his hatred for him is genuine."
The beautiful woman raised her brow and said, "But not only are their names the same, but their appearances are as well. Furthermore, this Han Li had infiltrated the Royal Serenity Monastery not long ago. It was unsure what his objective was; he possibly meant to harm our clan. And now there are Yin Sifting Sect members secretly tracking him down. I can't help but feel that something is wrong."
"While there are certainly matters that we don't understand, we don't need to delve too deeply into it. So long as this Elder Han isn't a spy for any of the major factions and will help our clan, that is all that matters. Not only does he possess great cultivation, but his knowledge of ancient secrets has proven to be essential to our cause over the last few years. We must win him over with all our might. As for the man who shares Elder Han's name, we must pay particular attention to him. Since he was able to provoke the Yin Sifting Sect to such a degree, he can't be an ordinary character. And since we suspect him to be hostile towards our Ye Clan, we should assist Elder Han in disposing of him if the opportunity arises."
The old man then said, "The second elder's words are reasonable. However, this Elder Han is from an evil sect and I feel that he is concealing his true power from us. We don't know what he is thinking for us to gather these self-harming devilish artifacts for him. We must be more cautious."
With a grave expression, the middle-aged man said, "Little Brother Yun Yi, don't worry too much about him. Apart from the core elders of our Ye Clan, we cannot afford to trust any outsiders and have them reveal our true plans. The upcoming grand auction is particularly crucial. The auction will have several items that we require, but we can't have the other powers discover we are bidding on them. Otherwise, they may see through our plans. Since this cannot happen, you must make proper arrangements to acquire them. There can be no mistakes. If we cannot refine those magic tools, our journey to acquire the treasures in several years will prove very difficult."
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