Lu Luo wore a pensive expression upon hearing Han Li and faintly recalled something.
Long Han slowly asked, “What is this material? Please tell us, Fellow Daoist Han.”
“I need Auric Essence to refine my magic treasure. The more, the better. But don't worry, I am willing to trade items of equal value for it. I will not take it for nothing. The alliance only needs to use their resources to help me collect the Auric Essence, or perhaps find its whereabouts.” Having been unable to acquire a large amount of Auric Essence and refine the Aureate Sword Formation, Han Li felt extremely frustrated by the matter. Now that this opportunity had presented itself to him, he wished to use it to its fullest.
“Auric Essence!” Those present all revealed unconcealable shock upon hearing Han Li. This illustrious treasure known as ‘Honed Gold’ was about what they had expected, but they were stunned by hearing such a heaven-defying material, nonetheless.
Old Man Kuang frowned and wore a puzzled expression as he said, “Fellow Daoist Han, the magic treasure you wish to temper requires such a vast amount of Auric Essence? Do you know how much a magic treasure’s power increase after only infusing a small quantity of it? And if you add too much, it won’t have any further effects.”
Han Li calmly said, “Don’t worry. I already know this. I merely wish to ask whether your alliance would be able to gather a certain quantity of this item.”
Long Han shook his head with a sigh and said, “Since Fellow Daoist Han is willing to evenly trade for it, we can certainly be on the lookout for any information to help you gather together the material if we can. However, when such items are acquired, they are normally consumed immediately. From your tone, it seems you require much of it. I fear this will be quite difficult to do. Even if information on Auric Essence exists, their masters may keep quiet on account of wishing to acquire it themselves. It will be difficult to find. That is why only such a small amount was found at the recent trade meet.”
When Han Li heard this, his heart sank. He had already considered the problems, but he had no methods of dealing with them; he was at a complete loss over the matter. If he truly couldn’t acquire a large amount of Auric Essence in the Heavenly South, he may have to travel to the rumored Jin Empire or other great continents in his search.
Since the Jin Empire was about ten times larger than the Heavenly South, perhaps he would be able to find a large amount of Auric Essence there. Not to mention that he still had the bone case he had received in the Umbra Realm that contained the refinement method for the Spirit Subjugation Talisman. If he returned to the Jin Empire, he would naturally want to return it to the Heavenly Talisman Sect.
Han Li felt a wave of gloominess upon hearing this. Seeing Han Li’s hesitant expression, Lu Luo couldn’t help but console him, “Junior Martial Brother Han, let’s change the condition. Auric Essence isn’t something that can be easily sought.”
Han Li unconsciously frowned when he heard him. After a moment of thought, he shook his head and said, “Regardless, Auric Essence is extremely important to me. Even if the chances are slim, I still want the alliance to agree to this matter.” Once this was said, he wore a resolute expression.
Seeing that Han Li had made up his mind, Long Han eventually nodded. “Since Fellow Daoist Han has decided, I will order the alliance’s disciples to spare no effort on this matter. However, please don’t regret this decision if we aren’t able to find even a single piece of Auric Essence.”
Despite how great of a superpower the Heavenly Dao Alliance may be, the most it could do was order its low grade disciples around, and pay particular attention to any news that may surface. Since this matter wouldn’t prove particularly draining, Old Man Kuang and the others raised no objections.
However, they also felt that this alone wasn’t enough compensation. They promptly took out a bag of over a hundred mid-grade spirit stones as well which Han Li took with a smile.
With this resolved, a friendly atmosphere appeared in the hall.
The Heavenly Dao Alliance cultivators then chatted for a time. Eventually, detailed questions about the battle at the Yellow Dragon Mountains were being asked, particularly about the black-robed man and the Moulan Divine Sage.
With no intent to conceal anything, Han Li answered their questions once through. Of course, he brushed past any mention of his techniques and treasures, and Long Han and the others didn’t press him.
However, they were doubtful when they heard that the black-robed men weren’t heretical demon or ghost cultivators. Long Han was particularly surprised to hear that they were merely Devil Dao cultivators.
When a half day had passed, Han Li and Lu Luo eventually took their leave.
Shortly after they departed, a voice transmission talisman suddenly shot towards Lu Luo’s hand.
Lu Luo gave Han Li a helpless smile and said, “I have urgent business to attend to so I’m afraid I can’t continue to keep you company. Junior Martial Brother Han should take a stroll around the city. Let us have a proper chat when night comes.”
Han Li kindly smiled in response, “Senior Martial Brother Lu, please don’t mind me. I also wished to take a look around the city alone!”
Feeling relieved, Lu Luo saluted Han Li and hastily flew off in a streak of light. The sudden matter seemed truly important.
As Han Li watched Lu Luo depart, he shook his head, but after some thought he smiled instead. He pondered for a moment as he looked at the sky before heading towards the city’s central district. But after taking a few steps, he stopped and slowly turned around to face Mountain Lord Song, who stood at the entrance of a nearby alley. She stood there with bit lips and a hesitant expression.
Han Li blinked and waved at the woman. With a moment more of hesitation, she walked over with lithe steps.
The beautiful woman respectfully shouted, “Junior pays her respects to Martial Uncle Han!”
“How long have you been waiting here?” Han Li looked at the woman’s face with his hands behind his back.
The woman lowered her head and softly replied, “It has been about an hour already.”
Han Li glanced around and calmly said, “It seems you have something you wish to say to me. However, this isn’t a good place to talk. Follow me.” Without waiting for her reply, he began walking. The woman’s expression wavered for a moment before she closely followed after him.
Once Han Li brought her to a secluded place, he turned around and said, “What is it that you wish to say?”
The woman kept silent for a moment before taking a jade slip from her robes and handing it over to Han Li, “Someone had this Martial Niece pass on a letter to Martial Uncle. They wish to see you.”
“A letter?” Han Li wore a face of surprise and swept his spiritual sense past the jade slip. However, he didn’t immediately sink his spiritual sense into it. He stared at the woman and asked, “Who gave this to you? You must know.”
With the jade slip no longer in her hands, she managed to regain her calm. “It is a good friend of mine. She says that she knows you and wishes to pass something on to you.”
“She knows me?” Han Li narrowed his eyes and his expression stirred. After pondering with a tilted head, he eventually pressed the jade slip against his head and looked into it. A short moment later, he was wearing an odd expression on his face as he said, “Where is she? Bring me to her.”
The woman blinked and astonishedly said, “Martial Uncle truly recognizes my friend!”
Han Li casually said, “That’s right. There is some friendship between us. I didn’t think that Martial Niece Song would know her.”
Spirits roused, she sweetly smiled and said, “I met her in only the last two years. I originally believed it to be a joke that she knew you and didn’t think that it would be true. I’ve arranged an empty place for her outside of the city. I’ll bring you to her right away.”
Afterwards, Han Li and the woman walked towards the city gate together. After they left Skyfirst City, the woman took to the skies and led Han Li south. They traveled tens of kilometers before arriving at a small, uninhabited valley.
The entrance of the valley was enveloped in a pure white mist, concealing its interior from sight. The woman surnamed Song silently waved her hand as she grabbed onto a command talisman. A streak of red light then shot into the mist and caused it to roil away and reveal a narrow green path.
The woman respectfully stood to the side and said, “Martial Uncle, please go first!”
With Han Li’s current spiritual sense, he clearly saw everything within the valley. He wore a slight smile and walked down the path.
The exquisite valley wasn’t large. It was a mere three hundred meters in area with nothing aside from several small buildings at its center, making it appear as a temporary residence. Yet, it was completely clean near the buildings with not a single weed to be found.
However, someone in the room was alarmed by the formation being broken. In a blur, a gorgeous, yellow-robed woman emerged from the building.