The Old Man Wen looked at Han Li and his cheek twitched. Then with a hurried salute, he said, “Senior had said that there is an expert visiting our sect, but I didn’t expect that it would be a Nascent Soul cultivator! It was truly disrespectful of me to not personally welcome you.”
When Yue Zhen heard Old Man Wen, he was greatly shocked. With the last traces of doubt in his mind disappeared, he looked at Han Li with awe. Nascent Soul cultivators were an unapproachable existence to the current Heavenly Talisman Sect.
“I was entrusted with something and I’m here to deliver it. There is no need to be reserved,” Han Li then paused before continuing, “This item has been entrusted to me for some time and since I’ve found myself in the Huayuan Province, I thought I’d take the opportunity to return it. However, it was mentioned that I was only to give this item to the sect master."
With that said, he slapped his storage pouch and placed a square bone case onto the table.
Old Man Wen was alarmed to hear this and tactfully said, “Martial Nephew Yue, you heard him. Why don’t you go ahead and look at the item he’s brought?”
“Yes, Martial Uncle.” Yue Zhen respectfully replied. Then, he took the bone case into his hands and curiously opened it, revealing several pieces of bone with tiny characters carved into them. He picked up a piece and asked, “What’s this?
Han Li simply smiled as he waited.
Then after Yue Zhen looked through them, he excitedly shouted, “The Spirit Subjugation Talisman! This is the refinement method for the Spirit Subjugation Talisman! The writing belongs to Martial Senior Yun!”
“Senior Martial Brother Yun? Are you sure?” Old Man Wen’s expression turned solemn.
“Completely,” Yue Zhen instantly replied, “The sect master’s study is filled with personal writings of Martial Senior Yun. How could I be mistaken?”
The other two cultivators in the room wore an expression of shock.
Han Li indifferently added, “That’s right, this is something that Fellow Daoist Yun had given to me. The Spirit Subjugation Talisman should be one of your sect's three secret talismans.”
“Of course, but when did you see Senior Martial Brother Yun? Before I condensed a golden core, Senior Martial Brother had disappeared when he journeyed overseas. It has been tens of years since we’ve last heard of him. Is he alright?” Old Man Wen asked with concern.
“He should be fine. But in truth, I only met him by chance decades ago; at the time...” Han Li gave a vague explanation of the ghost mist and the Umbra Realm. Of course, he left out mention of the umbra beast gems and other sensitive matters.
Old Man Wen felt his heart run cold after hearing of this land. “So there was such a dangerous place in this world? That is truly hard to imagine. It is no wonder there would be cultivators that occasionally disappear along the coast... It was due to that ghost mist.”
Han Li’s eyes stirred and he smiled, saying, “That’s right, I had to expend quite a bit of strength in order to escape. The box was something Fellow Daoist Yun had entrusted me to give back to his sect if I had the opportunity. However, I am quite interested in the Dao of Talismans and have done a bit of research on the Spirit Subjugation Talisman. I hope you won’t take offense at this.”
Old Man Wen said with a respectful expression, “It is already an enormous kindness of Senior to personally return the Spirit Subjugation Talisman to the sect. How could we have such poor judgment over this matter? Although the Spirit Subjugation Talisman is one of our sect’s secrets, it would’ve been lost to us forever if you hadn’t returned it. Naturally, we will not take offense.”
Yue Zhen agreed as well.
Han Li nodded with satisfaction and then promptly stood up. “I am grateful at how open-minded you are, but now that I’ve brought this back to you, I must take my leave. I have an important matter to attend to.”
Although Old Man Wen was perfectly happy with receiving the Spirit Subjugation Talisman previously lost to them, he wasn’t about to ignore the expert that had suddenly appeared before them. He quickly said, “Senior, we’ve yet to repay you for bringing this back to us. Wouldn’t it be better to stay at the sect for a few days and have us as a host?”
So long as they were able to befriend a Nascent Soul cultivator, the Heavenly Talisman Sect’s position as a small sect would massively rise. Even the great problem raised by their rival sect would be easily resolved.
“Then I’ll stay for a moment more.” Han Li said wearing a mysterious smile.
Yue Zhen blinked and then added, “Isn’t Senior Han interested in the Dao of Talismans? Our sect may lack in other areas, but we do have a bit of knowledge in that regard. Our predecessors have collected various records relating to talismans. If Senior would like, he may take a look at them and perhaps provide us with a bit of guidance in passing.
“Records of talisman refinement?” Han Li felt his heart stir in surprise.
Old Man Wen was stunned for a moment and nodded.
Ever since Han Li learned the Spirit Subjugation Talisman, he was greatly interested in the other secret talismans of the sect. As such, he eventually nodded and said, “Alright, as I am interested in talisman refinement, I will remain at your sect for a few days.”
Old Man Went rejoiced and said, “That is great! Our Sect is honored to have you, Senior. Would you like to first take a rest?”
“There is no need. Go ahead and lead me to your records hall.” Han Li shook his head. At his current cultivation, it would only take a moment’s time for him to restore the magic power he used when travelling.
Old Man Wen smiled and pointed to the middle-aged man at the corner. “Good. Martial Nephew Yan will guide you to our records hall.” He then looked at the man and said, “If Senior has any commands, follow them to the best of your ability."
“As you bid, Martial Uncle Wen. Senior Han, please follow me.” The middle-aged cultivator respectfully accepted his orders and guided Han Li out.
Old Man Wen waited a long while after Han Li left the hall before letting out a sigh. “I didn’t expect that Senior Martial Brother Yun was actually trapped in such a cursed land. It is no wonder he disappeared. It is quite fortunate that we were able to reacquire the Spirit Subjugation Talisman though.”
One of the other cultivators in the room slowly said, “But if we have the opportunity to befriend this Senior Han, the problem with the market will be easily solved, let alone anything else.”
Yue Zhen wryly smiled and said, “With a Nascent Soul cultivator backing us, the Spirit Wind Sect should withdraw. Even the Yang Fiend Sect wouldn’t provoke a Nascent Soul cultivator over a trifling market city... But from Senior Han’s tone, it seemed that he only had an ordinary relationship with Senior Martial Brother Yun. Given his identity, there is no reason for him to help us. Even if we tried to curry favor with him, there is nothing in the sect that be of interest to him, yet it would be too pitiful to waste this opportunity.”
“This is somewhat troublesome...” Old Man Yun said with a frown.
The other cultivators in the hall glanced at each other with worry.
At that moment, Han Li was following the middle-aged cultivator to an unremarkable building.
That building was three stories tall and covered in a faint blue barrier. When they went inside, Han Li saw an old man inside, sitting cross-legged on a mat. He had a jade slip in his hands and appeared to be reading through it.
The middle-aged man glanced at the man and immediately commanded, “Martial Nephew Li, come greet Senior Han.” He then turned to Han Li and said, “This is Martial Nephew Li. He is responsible for taking care of this place and should know much about the records it contains.”
At that moment, the old man was awakened by the middle-aged man’s voice and hastily put away the jade slip before quickly standing up. He had a wrinkly face and thin eyes that appeared quite sly.
“So it was Martial Senior Yang. I hope you’ll forgive me for not coming out to welcome you... And this must be S-Senior Han!” After smiling at the middle-aged man, he looked at Han Li and his expression froze.
“Martial Nephew Li?” Han Li looked at the old man’s face with a strange expression and widely opened eyes.
“Does Senior recognize this disciple?” The middle-aged cultivator asked in surprise.
Han Li quickly regained his composure and faintly smiled, saying, “It’s nothing, just that this Fellow Daoist looks similar to an old friend of mine. But after a closer look, I found myself to be mistaken.”
The middle-aged cultivator didn’t believe him, but he didn’t dare to question him. He simply chuckled and said, “So that’s the case... Martial Nephew Li, come with me. This Senior will be staying here. You won’t be needed.”
Han Li smiled and then he took a deep look at the old man. “There is no need. Since this Fellow Daoist Li understands much about the records in this building, I may have use of him. Let’s have him accompany me over the next few days.”
Although the middle-aged man appeared puzzled, he was somewhat envious that this Martial Nephew Li was able to stay together with this Nascent Soul cultivator over the next few days. With hardly any effort, Han Li could provide vast benefits to any low-grade cultivator. He sighed and said, “Since that is what Senior wants, I will naturally comply. Martial Nephew Li, you have quite a bit of luck. You must follow Senior’s orders.”
However, Han Li word’s clearly stated that he wouldn’t be staying here for long. After giving the old man a few orders, the middle-aged cultivator took his leave.
Han Li watched him depart from the building and then looked at the old man with a deep smile.