Han Li had already bought a map of the sea in advance. He followed a path that cultivators rarely traveled and found a small uninhabited island a month later.
The island was only twenty square kilometers and had a small, unremarkable spirit vein that spanned four kilometers.
If the spirit vein was closer to the mainland, it would be certainly occupied by a small clan, but no small clan would dare to move into the sea where demon beasts roamed with the vein’s current location. As for the higher-grade cultivators from larger clans, they would find the spirit vein to be of little interest. Additionally, the island wasn’t near any traveled sea route and was far from any human contact.
Han Li found the island to be quite satisfactory and immediately flew to a small mountain at the center, releasing his flying swords to cut a flat surface before summoning his Hidden Fortune Mansion on top of it. In just a moment, it expanded into a small exquisite Immortal abode.
For the sake of carefulness, Han Li placed a concealment formation not only around the residence, but he also placed one around the small mountain, summoning a white mist five kilometers surrounding it.
With these preparations done, he then placed his medicinal plants and spirit beasts inside their appropriate rooms. He also put the Armored Earth Dragon under a restriction before placing it into one of the beast rooms. As for the large number of materials he carried, he put them all in his hidden chamber.
After Han Li entered, he took off the bamboo tube from his back and placed it in front of him, calmly saying, “These materials are only enough for one attempt. If there are any errors during the refinement process, there won’t be enough time to find a substitution. I also have no grasp on the chances of success.”
Monarch Soul Divergence replied, “I am well aware. Before you refine it, I will give you a detailed explanation of the refinement process and repeatedly test your understanding after. Only once you’ve truly grasped the process will I have you start. Before we start, you should take a look at this jade slip. It has some general information about my puppet.” A white jade slip flew out from the bamboo tube with a slight bang and into Han Li’s grasp.
“Since Senior has thought much over the matter, I am relieved.” Han Li nodded and then promptly sat down before immersing his spiritual sense into the jade slip.
As time slowly passed by, Han Li’s expression continued to change from amazement to excitement and finally, complete shock.
After an unknown amount of time, Han Li let out a long sigh and withdrew his spiritual sense from the jade slip, even though he continued to sit in place as his mind wandered. After a quarter hour, he finally opened his eyes and muttered, “Not bad. If I succeed in refining this puppet, its might will be unrivalled. Provided enough spirit stones, it will be able to rival a late-Nascent Soul cultivator. However, there is something I’m unsure of.”
Monarch Soul Divergence promptly said, “Since I’ve already given the puppet formula to you, there is no point in being reserved. Go ahead and ask.”
Han Li frowned and solemnly said, “In that case, I’ll be blunt. According to the puppet formulas I’ve learned in the past, the higher the grade of the puppet, the stronger the soul that is needed to fuse with it. But I feel that a demon beast’s soul isn’t suitable for a puppet of this strength. Even the grade-eight Scarlet Flood Dragon’s soul won’t be enough to use it. And I’m left somewhat confused since Senior never mentioned the matter of a soul before. Could it be that you have something else in mind?”
Monarch Soul Divergence chuckled and said, “So it was that. I also had this problem when I was researching it. I was already planning on giving you an explanation on this, or you wouldn’t be able to refine the puppet with confidence.”
Han Li let out a dry laugh and casually said, “Senior must be joking. To display the true might of this puppet, it will require the soul of a grade-nine demon beast. I truly doubt Senior has a way to resolve this.”
With this question still in mind, Han Li grew vigilant. He wasn’t about to abandon his ever-cautious attitude because of his relationship with Monarch Soul Divergence as both student and friend.
With a deep voice, Monarch Soul Divergence nonchalantly said, “There is no need for any demon beast soul. When the time comes, just use my soul to refine the puppet.”
“Use Senior’s soul?” Han Li spoke with a tone of complete shock.
Monarch Soul Divergence indifferently said, “What? Do you think my soul is inferior to that of a grade-nine demon beast?”
“Of course not,” Han Li hesitantly said, “Senior originally had the cultivation of late-Nascent Soul stage and cultivated the Great Development Techniques as well. Your spiritual sense would rival even that of a Deity Transformation cultivator. But, do you have no intention of reincarnating? Once your soul is fused with the puppet, you’ll lose your sense of self.”
Monarch Soul Divergence chuckled and boldly answered, “Of course I plan on reincarnating, but there is no guarantee I’ll set foot on the path of cultivation once more!”
“What do you mean? If I understand correctly, Senior plans to fuse his soul with the puppet but is unwilling to lose his chance at reincarnating. Could it be that Senior has a technique that can accomplish this?”
Monarch Soul Divergence clearly explained, “Youngster Han, that is exactly right. Because I used the Soul Attachment Technique to a puppet, I was trapped for thousands of years and had little else to do but research a method that would be able to use a soul's power to control a puppet rather than magic power. That research had resulted in failure, but I had discovered a technique to divide one’s soul in the process. This soul division technique is quite different from ordinary soul splitting techniques. This is genuine division of one’s soul! When the time comes, I will split my soul into two. One of the halves will carry a majority of my soul’s power and will be fused into the puppet. The other half will carry my memories and emotions, allowing me to enter the cycle of reincarnation once it disperses.”
When Han Li heard this, he astonishedly said, “But will that method be appropriate? Dividing one’s soul can’t be easy.”
“Don’t worry,” Monarch Soul Divergence reassured, “I will only be dividing the power of my soul. It won’t obstruct the cycle of reincarnation. The strength of my soul would dissipate regardless if I were to simply die from age.”
“So it was like that... Then I am relieved.” After some thought, Han Li had no further questions and nodded with reassurance.
“Good. Now that there are no problems, I will begin to explain the various refinement process of each of the parts and areas you should take particular note of. I will first explain the puppet’s body. It consists of a dozen core parts and their required materials are...”
With roused spirits, Han Li completely focused on the explanation.
As time slowly passed by, he rarely emerged from the hidden chamber and would control his huge ape puppets to handle the affairs in the mansion such as the taking care of the medicinal plants and spirit beasts.
The dozen Six-winged Frost Centipedes were not only fed more Rainbow Skirt Grass, but in a flash of insight, Han Li decided to have them fed Snow Soul Pills. After all, the pills had a great effect on his Purple Apex Flames and should also have an effect on the centipedes’ frost Qi.
As a result, Han Li discovered that while he needed four months to refine a single Snow Soul Pill, the centipedes only needed one. Furthermore, there was a clear improvement in the power of their glacial Qi, much to Han Li’s delight. Leaving behind the Snow Soul Pills for his own use, he had his ape puppets feed the rest to the centipedes.
As for the Gold Devouring Beetles, he continuously fed them with Rainbow Skirt Grass. Although they hadn’t displayed the slightest change during this time, Han Li could only be patient and wait.
One day, he had just finished refining one of the puppet parts and had arranged an assortment of materials in front of him as per Monarch Soul Divergence’s directions. His face wore an odd expression.
“You said these items will enter the puppet?” Han Li asked with a frown.
Monarch Soul Divergence calmly said, “That’s right! I’ve only recently thought of using them. They will definitely increase the puppet’s power by an entire level.”
Han Li raised his hand and pointed to two of the materials. With slight confusion, he asked, “In the past, you did mention you could refine the Devil Essence Diamonds into a weapon, but I don’t understand why you’d use these other two materials. Even I have yet to understand how they can be used.”
The items he pointed to were the silver chains that had been used to restrain the Cadaver Demon and the unremarkable stone tablet fragments that he found in the abyss of devilish Qi.
“As you’ve said, I had thought of a way to use the Devil Essence Diamonds when you found them. Although I’ve said that this is the sole material used to refine a Devil Dragon Blade, it will be greatly powerful if used to refine a different Devil Dao Treasure. I’ve now thought of a treasure that can be refined and is suitable to act as the puppet’s killing move. When you mentioned that these chains can block the attack of flying swords infused with Auric Essence, my heart had stirred. Although I didn’t know what they were refined from, they are infused with a bit of Tailstar Silver. It can be used as a protective shield for the puppet. As for the stone fragments, I’ve just realized what they were a few days ago.” After saying this with a heavy tone, Monarch Soul Divergence paused.