Chapter 413: Refinement
The lives lead by mortals differed greatly from those lead by cultivators. Mortals lives were brimming with joys and sorrows, where the old withered and life was born anew.
In a few short years of observation, Han Li began to recall feelings that he had long forgotten, both positive and negative. Regardless of the emotion, they still caused Han Li’s mind to stir, allowing him a chance for introspection and to now understand these emotions from a cultivator’s perspective.
Likewise, his comprehension of formation spells and his skill in tool refinement gradually improved over a long period of time. Most notably, Han Li’s store, the Small Green Bamboo Pavilion, had developed somewhat of a reputation in the area over the span of just two years.
This was because cultivators were able to purchase a few inexpensive yet functional magic tools at Han Li’s store. A few of the luckier customers were even capable of purchasing a few rare intermediate grade talismans at the store.
After this news spread locally, a few low level cultivators immediately scrambled towards Han Li’s shop.
These magic tools and talismans had obviously been personally crafted by Han Li. Ever since he entered Core Formation, he was finally able to grasp the mid-grade magic techniques that he long desired. Although they were the lowest among mid-grade techniques, Han Li was still very satisfied with them.
However, intermediate talisman weren’t something that could be refined using common talisman paper. They could only be crafted using by using the hide of rare demon beasts, but not just any hide would suffice. Each intermediate talisman had their own unique requirements regarding demon beast hides.
Fortunately, Han Li had thought of this before he sold off his demon beast materials and had kept a large quantity of talisman materials. Otherwise, he would have had no way of refining the talismans despite grasped their magic techniques.
Han Li first practiced using the lesser quality demon beast skins. After feeling that he was capable enough, he then moved on to refining a few particular talismans using rarer materials.
The talismans that he practiced creating were all attack type magic techniques. Every month or so, Han Li would put one or two of them up for sale in his shop and sell them to the first buyer.
To a Core Formation cultivator like Han Li, these talismans were of little value as their power paled in the face of magic treasures. As such, he had no purpose to preserve them.
However, Han Li had clearly underestimated the allure his intermediate talismans had to Qi Condensation and Foundation Establishment cultivators. Even after raising the price of these talismans several times, these cultivators continued to readily spend their spirit stones without hesitation, allowing Han Li to accumulate a small fortune.
But it was a pity that intermediate talismans were extremely difficult to create. Even with the many demon beast skins that Han Li had on hand, his rate of success was pathetically low, failing thirty times for every successful talisman he managed to create.
When compared to his rate of success with low grade talismans, Han Li could only bitterly smile.
Otherwise, he would’ve accumulated a much larger fortune by selling intermediate talismans.
In addition, Han Li’s skill at refining tools also increased, causing quite a few mid and high-grade magic tools to appear in his shop. As a result, the Small Green Bamboo Pavilion’s reputation became increasingly well-known. Fortunately, his resounding reputation had been restricted to a small circle of low level cultivators, so Han Li didn’t have to worry about provoking any trouble.
But at the start of the ninth year, Han Li started to refine formation flags and discs by applying his understanding of a few simple formation spells.
Because of the complementary insights provided by Qi Yunxiao and Xin Ruting, Han Li was able to avoid making many mistakes and managed to grasp a few minor but crucial skills. But he still ended up fumbling around through trial and error as he tried to refine a set of formation setup tools for the first time. The refinement was extremely difficult, and it consumed a large portion of his time before he managed to produce results.
However, Han Li wasn’t impatient. Now that he had reached core formation, he had plenty of time to slowly accumulate experience and understanding.
But most importantly, he had obtained some understanding in the refinement method of the “Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords” as he practiced refining items, hopefully ensuring his success in his first attempt. After all, he wouldn’t have enough materials leftover for a second attempt.
With Han Li focused on refining magic tools and studying formation spells, time quickly passed, day by day.
With departing springs and incoming autumns, Han Li’s somewhat renowned Small Green Bamboo Pavilion had unknowingly existed for over twenty years. Han Li now had the appearance of an old man above the age of fifty.
This obviously wasn’t Han Li’s true appearance, but a measure he had taken in order to conceal his eternally youthful appearance. Due to the passage of time in the mortal world, Han Li had no choice but to turn his appearance into that of an old man.
As of now, Han Li was standing in the residence at the back of his store and looking around with a peculiar emotion.
On the day before, he had passed on the store to someone else and concluded his immersion in the mortal world. This was due to having finally matured the long anticipated sixth stalk of Gold Lightning Bamboo to full maturation.
Having lived here for over twenty years, Han Li’s heart was without disturbance, but he felt a slight feeling of nostalgia upon leaving. His experience in the market city had been a rare period of peace in his life.
At that moment, he heard noisy shouts from his neighbor, and Han Li couldn’t help but smile upon hearing it. He didn’t need to use his spiritual sense to know that the store owner was spouting out recommendations to his customers, trying to sell off his store defining treasures that hadn’t sold for the past eight years.
When Han Li had originally arrived, the shop was managed by an old man. He had retired four years ago and now his son watched over the business. Although his son had a fiery temperament, he treated others sincerely. But when he was doing business, he would often loudly brag about his store’s goods, stunning many foreign cultivators.
Han Li sighed and shook his head before leaving the Small Green Bamboo Pavilion with Crooked Soul. Not long after, the two had completely disappeared from the city market.
Upon entering his cave dwelling, Han Li immediately brought many tool refinement materials into his hidden room and set down a small magic formation that he had comprehended during the last few years. The formation spell served no other purpose than to conceal Spiritual Qi fluctuations. As such, it was quite suitable for Han Li to use as he refined his magic treasure. He didn’t want others to peak at him halfway through the refinement.
Han Li quietly meditated in his hidden room for three entire days so that both his spirit and magic power were in peak state before starting the refinement.
First, he took out the jade paste box from his storage pouch and gently placed it in front of him. He then opened the box, revealing the six emerald-green stalks of Heaven Lightning Bamboo.
Han Li solemnly gazed at the bamboo and took a deep breath before lightly touching a stalk of the green bamboo. The foot-long Heaven Lightning Bamboo suddenly flew out of the box and quickly stopped, motionlessly floating in front of his chest.
With a serious expression, Han Li formed an incantation gesture with his hands, causing glistening light to flow around his face, gradually forming a layer of azure light.
As the azure light grew increasingly dense, Han Li opened his mouth and spouted out a thin thread of azure core flame towards the Heaven Lightning Bamboo before him.
Crackle. An arc of faint golden lightning arced from the bamboo, forcefully stopping the core flame from approaching any closer.
Han Li’s eyes lit with consideration. The azure core flame immediately grew several times thicker and enveloped the bamboo and its lightning, starting the long process of refinement.
Using one’s core flame consumed a considerably large amount of spiritual power, but fortunately, Han Li came prepared. As he was releasing his core flame, he held onto a deep azure spirit stone and absorbed its Spiritual Qi. When the spirit stone started to insufficient, he casually took out a medicine pill and swallowed it.
Although the medicine pill didn’t immediately transform into magic power, it contained a great amount of spiritual power, giving Han Li the peace of mind of knowing that he was prepared for the coming war of attrition.
After three days passed by, the Heaven Lightning Bamboo’s lightning had disappeared due to the lack of spiritual power from its main body. Without anything left to obstruct the azure core flame, Han Li started the process of smelting the Heaven Lightning Bamboo.
After several more days, the bamboo began to show signs of dissolution. Portions of its trunk began to emit a faint light, releasing densely packed, numerous, small drops of variously colored liquids.
Over ten days later, the Heaven Lightning Bamboo was finally dissolved of all its impurities, leaving a fist-sized ball of concentrated, dark green liquid. It appeared to be incredibly dense.
Having seen this small amount of liquid, Han Li could only let out a deep sigh. He had to put in quite a bit of effort just to refine the Heaven Lightning Bamboo.
Han Li then withdrew his core flame and put away the spirit stone in his hand. Afterwards, he extended his ten fingers and shot out ten thin threads of Spiritual Qi from his fingers, penetrating into the green liquid.
Soon after, Han Li started to shift his fingers, causing the spirit threads to rotate and deform the ball of liquid.
Under the manipulation of the spirit threads, a small ball of green liquid separated from the main body that floated nearby.
A second ball separated, then a third ball, and...
After Han Li finished the last division of liquid, there were twelve equally sized green balls of liquid arranged into a circle.