When Han Li heard the Heavenly Talisman Sect Elder carefully mention this proposal, his cheek twitched before he faintly smiled.
“How did you think I would respond to your request of becoming the guest elder of your three sects?”
Old Man Wen’s apprehension calmed after seeing that Han Li wasn't angry and he hastily explained, “We understand that small sects like ours do not have the qualifications for Senior to enter our employment, so we only need you to settle a dispute of ours and allow us to use your name as protection. We wouldn’t dare to trouble any further.”
Han Li blinked and said, “You mean to say that I’ll only have to act once and I’ll have no need to look after you in the future?”
“That’s right. Of course, we won’t have Senior act for nothing. Since you are interested in talisman refinement techniques, our Heavenly Talisman Sect is willing to bestow the Spiritform Talisman technique to you. The Gold Mist Mountain and Bright Yang Sect will also hand over their legacy techniques to you. Additionally, we’ve prepared tens of thousands of spirit stones. We hope Senior will accept them.”
Old Man Wen knew that he would only anger Han Li if he tried to be clever, so he spoke with a direct tone instead.
“Tens of thousands of spirit stones?” Han Li asked with a smile.
“It is truly too few spirit stones, but we’ll be able to continue offering a sum of spirit stones every year. Additionally, we are willing to bestow the Spiritform Talisman that our founder had originally refined over to you. Senior should have the ability to refine such an item.” Old Man Wen spoke with gritted teeth as if it was the final condition he could offer.
“Your founder? Do you mean Daoist Heaven Talisman?” Han Li’s expression began to stir.
Sect Master Yue Zhen then took the initiative to say, “That’s right. I must tell Senior that although the sect founder was able to display its great, it was a pity that the later generations of our sect weren’t capable enough to refine the item. As such, out sect passed the talisman down for countless years and witnessed the treasure’s spiritual nature gradually fade over time, but we were helpless to do anything. If Senior is able to make use of it, it will solve this problem as well.”
“Your sect still possessed such a treasure? I want to take a look!” Han Li said with a trace of excitement.
Old Man Wen rejoiced at seeing Han Li’s interest and hastily commanded, “Martial Nephew Yue, take out the talisman and let Senior look at it.” Although he possessed the highest cultivation in the Heavenly Talisman Sect, the founder’s original Spiritform Talisman was something that was only kept by the sect masters.
“Yes, Martial Uncle!” Yue Zhen immediately slapped his storage pouch and summoned a yellow wood case, then presenting it over to Han Li with both hands.
Han Li simply waved his hand when he saw this and summoned the case into his hand. Then, he lowered his gaze and examined it.
The wooden box was unremarkable and rather plain apart from the shining golden talisman sealing it. Han Li raised his brow and brushed his hand against the box, causing the talisman to float off in a flash of light.
The three Core Formation elders were particularly alarmed, but the other cultivators seemed unphased.
Being able to use spiritual power to take off a sealing talisman wasn’t something that ordinary cultivators could do. Not only did their cultivation have to be immense, but their control of magic power must reach an unfathomable stage. They had only heard of this ability from hearsay, but now that they saw Han Li calmly display this, they viewed him with even greater respect.
The box opened to release a cloud of sparkling azure light composed of pure wood-attribute spiritual Qi.
Han Li was deeply shocked. According to what Old Man Wen said, this talisman had been losing its spiritual nature for many years, but it was still clearly very powerful. But what made him even happier was that this Spiritform Talisman was actually a wood-attribute talisman, something that would greatly complement his cultivation technique. It would make it much easier to nurture.
With that in mind, Han Li began to examine the glowing talisman.
The talisman was the size of a hand and was emerald green, but golden and silver characters faintly surrounded it in a mysterious display. However, what attracted Han Li’s attention was a small ball of faint purple light faintly revolving around the center.
Han Li covered his hand in a layer of azure light and reached out for the talisman. Then in a flash of light, the talisman trembled and streaked out from the box.
Han Li’s expression sank upon seeing that it escaped. He then formed a fist and an illusory hand grabbed the talisman mid-air. Before the other cultivators could show their surprise, the hand of light had disappeared and the talisman was in Han Li’s grasp.
Han Li stared at the squirming talisman in his hand and chuckled. “So this is the Spiritform Talisman! It is quite impressive. I heard that Daoist Heaven Talisman was a late-Nascent Soul stage cultivator. Given the cultivation that was used to nurture this talisman, it wouldn’t be easy for ordinary cultivators to refine it. And even if it is fully refined, its might will greatly decrease and will require further nurturing. This isn’t something that can be done in a few short decades. If done improperly, it could take over a hundred years.”
Old Man Wen and the other exchanged a glance when they heard this. With a sullen heart, he asked, “Does Senior think this talisman...”
“That... would be what an early-Nascent Soul cultivator would say. Since I’m at mid-stage with a wood-attribute cultivation art, I would have an easier time refining this talisman.” Han Li spoke indifferently, but in truth, there were quite a few things Han Li didn’t say. Although it would take quite a while for him to hone the talisman, with further tempering the talisman would certainly surpass its original strength.
“So Senior agrees?” Old Man Wen happily asked. The other cultivators in the hall looked at Han Li with hopeful faces.
“Not yet. First, tell me about this problem you want me to resolve. I could accept if it isn’t too troublesome,” Han Li said. Then with a shake of his hand, the talisman returned to the wooden box and was sealed once more.
Old Man Wen was overjoyed to hear that Han Li would consider the matter and quickly began to explain, “Of course. In truth, the matter should be only a trivial effort for you. This matter is related to a market that we share. Over the past few days...”
Han Li calmly listened to him and a quarter hour later, he flew out from the sect and headed north.
Several days had passed and an affair of moderate importance in the Huayuan Province had occurred. The Heavenly Talisman Sect’s Guest Elder Han suddenly arrived at the Devil Dao’s Yang Fiend Sect. Given his vast abilities and cultivation, he was able to easily defeat the sole Nascent Soul elder of the Yang Fiend Sect and quickly departed afterwards.
The next day, the Spirit Wind Sect who previously had the backing of the Yang Fiend Sect suddenly relocated their market to a faraway region.
Not only this but the other small and mid-sized sects were alarmed by what they heard and they all abandoned the nearby region, giving the Heavenly Talisman Sect and their allies complete control.
For the time being, the three sects felt triumph. The three elders in particular felt that their investment had paid off. With the name of the mid-Nascent Soul guest elder protecting them, they reckoned they’d be able to surge in strength over the next hundred years.
At that moment, the Huayuan Province’s top sect — the South Sea Sect — had called together the flood dragon extermination hunt. Over a few short days, they managed to gather over two hundred Core Formation cultivators and ten Nascent Soul cultivators. Afterwards, they split into different squads to sweep various areas of the nearby sea for the hidden flood dragons.
They would occasionally find a few low-grade demon beasts and exterminate them. Eventually, the human cultivators surged in momentum and planned to complete the hunt in a single move.
However, the flood dragons were quite cunning and when they saw that something was amiss, they hid deep in the sea for several months. With no further trace of them, a portion of the cultivators lost their patience and abandoned the hunt.
As further months passed by, there were now only about a hundred cultivators in the hunt. As for the Nascent Soul cultivators, their numbers were now seven.
With these amount of cultivators, they were no longer able to act in great force and the flood dragons saw an opportunity. They immediately began to move. Not only did they begin to attack lone cultivators, but the grade-eight blue flood dragon began to occasionally launch attacks on the squads of cultivators.
Although these squads would have Nascent Soul cultivators leading them, the grade-eight flood dragon possessed great abilities and its ice evasion techniques have reached perfection. After each attack, it would immediately escape any further conflict. As a result, it was able to devour many Core Formation cultivators without injury.
The remaining cultivators were thoroughly struck were fear and the South Sea Sect found themselves between a rock and a hard place. They could only continue to gather more cultivators so that they may resume the hunt.
One day, a group of a dozen Core Formation cultivators being led by a Nascent Soul cultivator was slowly flying across the sea. They had carefully released their spiritual sense around them, taking extra care to look into the sea below them.
Among these cultivators was Han Li, who was disguised as a pale middle-aged man. He was flying at the back of the group with a calm expression, contrary to the irritation he felt.
When the flood dragon extermination was called, Han Li entered their ranks as a Core Formation cultivator, hoping to take advantage of the situation. But he didn’t expect that he wouldn’t make any gains during this time.
Ever since the flood dragons had resurfaced, all squads that went out on patrols were ambushed once or twice. The squad he joined was the only one that hadn’t encountered a single one.
This caused Han Li to be speechless. He truly didn’t know if his luck was amazing or utterly terrible.