Han Li shook his head and slowly said, “There is no need. If I’ve guessed correctly, his cultivation will be profound, and he’ll be a character on par with the Moulan Divine Sages. If common cultivators encountered him, they wouldn’t be able to deal with him and they would only bring about their own deaths. Besides, he possesses the Soul Seal Curse’s removal method. I don’t want to scare him off.”
Senior Martial Brother Cheng shouted in alarm, “On par with a Moulan Divine Sage! Could he be a late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator? If that’s the case, Junior Martial Brother definitely can’t take him on alone. It will be too dangerous, so let’s request some help from Long Han and Feng Bing.”
With a deep sigh, Han Li calmly said, “Although they will be able to deal with this person, they will need at least four months to arrive; it will be too late. The black-robed man is only giving two months of time past the assault. It seems he’s calculated when I would return, but he didn’t anticipate that I could travel so quickly. This will give me some time to consider how to properly deal with him!”
Most importantly, I will need to find out how to acquire the method to dissolve the Soul Seal Curse.”
Senior Martial Brother Cheng could only nod in agreement. “Alright, if Junior Martial Brother needs any assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask. The sect’s disciples are at your disposal.”
“Many thanks, Senior Martial Brother. According to the jade slip Wan’er left behind, she is able to postpone the activation of the Soul Seal Curse for nearly a hundred years, but in truth, this had never been tested before, so I can’t help but worry!” Han Li glanced at the girl in the wall of ice with worry.
After a moment of thought, the old man consoled, “There is no need for Junior Martial Brother to be so anxious. From what I see, she should be able to survive and pass this trial. How about this? In the next few days, I’ll go and look through a few ancient records and see if there are any methods of dissolving the curse, resolving any need to go seek out the black-robed man.”
Han Li forced a smile and said, “Thank you for the trouble, Senior Martial Brother. If you have no objections, I wish to be alone here for a while. I hope you don’t take offense.”
“Of course, of course. I’ll be heading to the records library now. Please keep your wife company.” Senior Martial Brother Cheng responded with a tone of empathy and he promptly left, leaving Han Li alone in the room.
Han Li then turned his attention to the ice wall, his face wearing a lonely expression as he let out a long sigh.
After an entire day, Han Li had yet to leave the room.
When Senior Martial Brother Cheng returned from the records library and saw that Han Li still remained inside, he couldn’t help but worry. After half a day more, he felt the need to check up on him. But just as he thought to enter, Han Li suddenly emerged from the room.
“Junior Martial Brother Han, has anything happened?” The old man asked with bewilderment.
Han Li’s heart warmed, seeing the old man was waiting for him outside the door. He apologetically said, “It’s nothing. I was only thinking of my plans on how I should deal with the enemy. Sorry for making you worry. There is still a month left before the deadline. I must prepare to enter seclusion. You won’t need to bother me if there isn’t anything important.”
“You’re going to enter seclusion? What can you do in such a short amount of time?” Senior Martial Brother Cheng appeared baffled.
Han Li vaguely replied, “I’ve acquired a bit of Auric Essence since I’ve been gone. I was prepared to further temper my magic treasures, but in such a short amount of time, I’ll only be able to strengthen them somewhat.”
The old man suddenly came to an understanding and said, “So it was like that. Please go ahead Junior Martial Brother. I’ll make sure none of the sect disciples will bother you.”
Han Li solemnly added on. “There is still something else. Since the ice wall is formed here, I cannot stray too far. Otherwise, something could happen to it. However, I can place several more spell formations to surround it and better protect Wan’er. I will have to trouble Senior Martial Brother to attend to it.”
“Please don’t worry, Junior Martial Brother. Fellow Daoist Nangong was attacked while within the domain of our Drifting Cloud Sect, and as such, I bear the responsibility. I’ve already had this place classified as a forbidden area. There will be no disciples wandering over here. There will be no problem with your wife’s safety.” The silver-haired old man replied instantly as if having already considered the problem.
A bright glint flashed through Han Li’s eyes. “Since that’s the case, I am relieved. With no time to lose, I’ll first place down the spell formations before entering seclusion.”
Leaving the old man behind, he returned to his cave residence, surprised to see that Mu Peiling was waiting for him there. A trace of astonishment flickered from his eyes but he still welcomed her inside.
Once Mu Peiling entered the hall, she worriedly asked, “Is Big Sister Nanlong alright? I heard that she was wounded, but I didn’t receive any precise information. I’ve been worried.”
Han Li took a seat and calmly asked, “Huh? You have a good relationship with Wan’er?”
Mu Peiling promptly replied, “We get along well. Big Sister Nanlong’s temperament is quite good. While my Lord was away, she gave me much guidance with my cultivation. I am indebted to her.”
After a moment of silence, he wore a bitter smile. “I should be happy from what you said. However, Wan’er has suffered from the Soul Seal Curse and has sealed herself, so I can take joy in what you said. But in the several months I haven’t seen you, your cultivation has clearly risen. I am pleased that you haven’t been slacking in your cultivation. As for me, I will have to spend the next month in seclusion, making preparations to dissolve Wan’er’s curse.”
Mu Peiling couldn’t help but ask, “Soul Seal Curse? That Devil Dao curse will be troublesome. My Lord, do you have a way to solve it?”
A harsh expression suddenly appearing on his face, Han Li gloomily said, “Solve it? I can only defeat the person who placed down the curse and acquire the method to dissolve it from his felled body.”
When Mu Peiling heard this, she could only frown.
At that moment, the disciple who Han Li had picked up out of convenience, Liu Yu, came to visit him. In addition to sending her regards to her master, she also came to ask about Nangong Wan. As a clever person, she had befriended Nangong Wan, her master’s wife.
When she arrived, Han Li gave her a short summary of what had happened, including to mention the Soul Seal Curse. This had worried Liu Yu, but given her lacking experience and cultivation, there was nothing she could do.
With no intention of continuing to chat with the two women, Han Li escorted them out. Naturally, the two didn’t raise any objections and obediently left.
But just as the two left the cave residence, Liu Yu eyes flickered and she smiled at Mu Peiling. “Fellow Daoist Mu, while you are the Master’s concubine, it seems that you are still a maiden and are treated only as a guest. Could it be that your beauty doesn’t move him? Or is there some other reason? With Lady Nangong’s beauty being above yours, you had better shape up.”
“You mean...” Mu Peiling blushed as soon as she realized what Liu Yu meant. Then with a smile, Liu Yu shot into the sky in a streak of light. After blankly standing in place for a moment, she immediately flew off on her magic tool.
When Han Li saw the two women depart, he checked the medicine garden and the insect room to see they were all doing fine. Then after bringing a few tool refinement materials into a sealed room, he began to use Nascent flame to temper the Auric Essence into his thirty-six flying swords.
In addition to the pieces of Auric Essence he had acquired from Master Sunreach and the Moulan, he was given another piece of Auric Essence from Long Han on behalf of the Heavenly Dao alliance. As a result, he had more than enough Auric Essence to fully temper his thirty-six flying swords.
Tempering additional materials into completed magic treasures wasn’t a complicated task. However, it was rather pressing to do this is only in a month. Han Li could only sit down and do his utmost to temper his swords until they could form a minor version of the Grand Aureate Sword Formation, allowing him to battle against a late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator.
As for the person who placed the Soul Seal Curse on Nangong Wan, he should most likely be the Yin Sifting Sect Master. He needed to acquire the method of dissolving the curse, and the minor form of the Aureate Sword Formation would be his way of getting it.
With those thoughts in mind, Han Li placed his hand against his storage pouch and summoned several various-sized pieces of Auric Essence on the ground. He then summoned the supplementary materials from his storage pouch by their side.
Han Li sat down cross-legged and pointed to the smallest piece of Auric Essence. The faintly golden stone floated in the air and slowly flew towards Han Li.
Han Li stared at it unwaveringly and waited until it was a meter in front of him before it stopped. Then with his hands held in an incantation gesture, he spat out a dazzling azure Nascent flame.
With a light bang, it struck the Auric Essence and instantly enveloped it.
Han Li slowly began his incantation and the azure Nascent flame suddenly flared, glowing ever brighter, slowly melting the stone inside. He stared at it with a stern expression.
After an hour had passed, a majority of the impurities dripped onto the floor as quite liquid. The rest of the Auric Essence remained in the fire as a translucent liquid. Once Han Li saw this, he flung his sleeve and swept up a jade box from the ground. It instantly opened itself to reveal a fine silver powder.
The powder was then swept into the liquid Auric Essence in a streak of silver light, roiling the azure flames. The transparent liquid then began to shine with silver light, and after striking it with several spell seals, it was entirely absorbed.