The large-headed eccentric promptly led his group of three, including the disguised Elder Devil, towards the steps of the Devil Suppressing Pagoda.
The square-faced middle-aged cultivator saluted the scholar before equipping the Overflowing Sky Bracelet. Then, with a blur, he rushed up the centermost steps towards Kunwu Hall.
The scholar didn’t immediately depart. Instead, he waited until both the eccentric and the square-faced cultivator faded away into the white mist, then turned to an old man at his side, “Esteemed Nephew Feng, do we still have any formation tools leftover?”
The old man respectfully replied, “As per your orders, I’ve placed down a spell formation at every restriction we’ve broken. The only one left is the Sevenstar Myrtle Formation that we purchased for tens of thousands of spirit stones.”
The scholar commanded, “Place it here, and release the two Vampiric Bats and the swarm of Tiger Wasps into it.”
“Yes!” The old man slapped his storage pouch and took out a set of purple formation flags before walking to the side of the plaza.
The scholar then turned to look at the mountain down below. His expression softly wavered as he silently pondered.
Two hours later, they also entered.
Far below the mountain, Han Li’s party had finally arrived at the Myriad Cultivate Gate. The Ye Clan had placed a profound illusion there, powerful enough to trap Core Formation cultivators for several days at the very least. But when faced against a large number of Nascent Soul cultivators, it was easily disposed off in only a short amount of time.
When they clearly saw the huge decorated archway of the Myriad Cultivator Gate, all their doubts about Kunwu Mountain were dispelled and they grew greatly excited.
The ragtag party of cultivators then hastily made their way up the mountain.
As a result, they now encountered the other restrictions the Ye Clan had placed behind them. This hadn’t discouraged them, but only drove them forward.
But it was clear to see that with each restriction encountered, they grew ever more powerful. Although the party all possessed great cultivation, they resorted to brute force to break each one and became more delayed.
An entire day passed before they arrived at the huge stone hall with the many puppets.
Hua Tianqi glanced at the building with a solemn expression, “Fellow Daoists, be careful. I fear it will be troublesome if there are any restrictions present. The party of cultivators ahead of us must be quite wealthy to be in possession of so many sets of formation tools. It’s likely that they either belong to one of the ten great clans or are a faction of equivalent strength.”
Old Devil Qian coldly snorted and said, “None of those ten are capable of fielding this many high-grade restrictions, especially the Absolute Ice-Fire Formation. I am truly curious about the identity of those ahead of us.”
With a confident tone, Hua Tianqi proclaimed, “In any case, much to our convenience, these people had broken through the restrictions of Kunwu Mountain. Even if they placed a few interim blocades in their place, we will soon overtake them.”
“I hope that is the case,” Old Devil Qian spoke indifferently.
With that said, the group rushed into the large stone hall.
They saw remains of stone puppets litter the floor, and couldn't help but stop and gander.
Hua Tianqi swept his spiritual sense past the stone hall and hesitantly said, “There aren’t any fluctuations of a restriction. How surprising, they didn’t leave any behind.”
Old Man Fu chuckled, “This is to be expected. I reckon that those people ran out of formation tools.”
When the large vagrant cultivator swept his gaze past the hall, he frowned and said, “I’ve never heard of stone puppets.”
“They aren’t, they’re stone spirits. Though a secret technique, demon beast souls were forcefully fused into these statues. This was particularly prevalent during ancient times, but for some unknown reason, it was later lost.” The voice belonged to the taciturn Han Li. He was sifting through some of the stone on the ground and examining it.
Hua Tianqi glanced at Han Li with an odd glance, “Oh, Fellow Daoist Han knows about such an ancient technique?”
“I just did a bit of probing on puppet techniques. It is a pity that these are all damaged, or I would’ve been able to research them.” With that said, Han Li tossed away the stone in his hand, having it roll several times on the ground.
His investigations divulged that the remains of these spirits were made of common stone. They were peculiarly refined, but there were the strange markings of a spell formation carved on their surface. He wasn’t able to clearly read them as they were fragmented.
“If Fellow Daoist Han wishes to acquire one intact, he simply needs to look at the collapsed corridors. Perhaps a few survived!” One of the cultivators spoke to Han Li with a cheerful voice.
When Han Li looked over, he found the speaker to be a middle-aged man with an honest appearance, Master Scatterwind.
As he wasn't from the Great Jin, he didn’t know the about the man’s infamy, but he wasn’t one to judge by appearance. Han Li smiled and thought to say something when Old Devil Qian suddenly shouted, “Evil creature! You’re courting death!”
The cinque devils then raised their hands and released beams of grey light to a seemingly empty space.
With a series of explosions, purple light flared to reveal a four-winged hawk with a lion’s head. It was glaring at everyone present.
The beast had stealthily arrived nearby at an unknown time and laid eyes on ambushing Old Devil Qian’s cinque devils. While no one present would know of its significance, its half-severed claw had been completely restored.
The Lion Hawk seemed to have learned from its previous experience and immediately unfolded its wings upon being exposed. It flew back in a mist of azure light and out the hall in the blink of an eye. The others had been astonished by its sudden appearance and hesitated to act.
“A Lion Hawk! There was such a monster here?” Hua Tianqi gasped and wore a gloomy expression.
If he was by himself, he feared he would’ve met a gruesome end.
Old Man Fu and Bai Yaoyi exchanged a glance of alarm. They already knew that an even deadlier Silver-winged Nightfiend was lurking about. However they had kept quiet about the matter for their own reasons.
The others paled at the sight of this.
That fearsome ancient bird was an existence that matched late-Nascent Soul cultivators. It wasn’t something that should be provoked.
But now that it was gone, Han Li’s original thoughts to look in the corridor were abandoned.
Since the mountain also had a Silver-winged Nightfiend, it was safer to travel together.
After leaving the hall, the Lion Hawk circled down the mountain. After flying for an hour, it arrived beside a massive tree and let out a harsh and howling screech.
“I got it, Stop shouting! Did you want me to take revenge for you? It's not like I wanted to do this. After being trapped for countless years, it wasn’t easy for me to escape, and I’d rather not provoke more trouble. Furthermore, it seems there are two groups of cultivators, all at Nascent Soul stage. This won’t be easy.” These words spoken with the voice of a cracked gong, followed by a flash of green, revealing a three-meter-wide hole in the tree. A black-clothed woman walked out with an annoyed bearing.
She had a wide girth, tan skin, a bun of jet-black hair wrapped around her head, two several-inch-long white horns protruding out from her hair, and an appearance that could only be described as hideous. Red light gleam from her eyes as if filled with anger at the bird’s screeching.
The woman put her hand on his hips and gritted her teeth. “Easier said than done. You were too careless and had half your talon cut off. Why should I take revenge? And didn’t the descendants of the Three Masters here trap us here to guard this mountain on their behalf? I don’t want to follow their wishes.”
A man’s voice than sounded out, “But if we don’t kill them, they will enter Kunwu Hall and take out the four spirit medallions there. I fear we may fall under their control.” In a flash of azure light, the Silver-winged Nightfiend made an appearance.
The woman snorted and indifferently said, “That’s if they can. Do you think the restrictions aren’t sufficient? The Greatnorth Essence Lights in particular are impossible to deal with. Anybody wishing to enter Kunwu Hall is seeking death.”
The Silver-winged Nightfiend calmly said, “Fellow Daoist Gui, that isn’t certain. The Greatnorth Essence Lights may be fearsome, but they have late-Nascent Soul cultivators amongst them. One of them could have a magic tool that could control it. And don’t you want to take this opportunity to take those control medallions? Although we emerged from the Spirit Prison Formation, we still won’t be able to take a step outside this mountain.”