Chapter 475: Wolf Head Puppets
Han Li and the others were currently walking through a maze-like series of intersecting stone passageways. Each intersection had a stone gate inscribed with strange talisman characters.
These stone gates were identical in size: over thirty meters wide and in the shape of a square. They would always point in the directions of either north, south, east, or west, seemingly at random. However, they all radiated a faint white light. They were clearly affected by some sort of restriction.
Although he would only encounter a crossroads after a long distance, Han Li reckoned that during their entire time in the Inner Halls, they’d already encountered at least eight different stone gates. Each time, they neither changed direction nor entered the stone gates.
They eventually arrived at an intersection that caused Han Li’s expression stir.
The gate there slightly differed from the other ones. Although the talisman characters and structure was the same, it was completely devoid of light as if the restriction on it had been extinguished. As a result, Han Li further studied it with a strange expression.
Wu Chou saw Han Li’s expression and spoke to him with a familiar tone, “Junior Martial Brother Han, this stone gate has already had its treasure seized by others. What is worth seeing? If it weren’t for the fact that each person could only use a single Heavenvoid map fragment before being teleported out, I would’ve also thought to pick a stone gate and hastily see what was within. Once a Heavenvoid Map fragment was used to open a stone gate, one is unable to leave until the treasure is acquired. As Core Formation cultivators we are only be able to acquire treasures on the first floor. Picking a room on the later floors would be the same as suicide.”
‘Junior Martial Brother Han?’ When Han Li heard Wu Chou address him as such in a voice transmission, he felt disgust spread throughout his body.
When Han Li eventually managed to recollect himself, he replied with a beaming smile, “Then why isn’t Brother Wu choosing a gate on the first floor? Would it not be a waste of an opportunity to wait until you’ve arrived at the second floor or higher?”
“Sigh! I wish I could, but my esteemed grandfather has repeatedly warned me that I must stay by his side on this treasure hunt as I may prove useful.” Wu Chou wore a reluctant expression as he glanced at the stone gate. A trace of greed flickered in his eyes.
Han Li slightly smiled and swept his gaze across the stone gate. So long as he entered and acquired the treasure it contained, he would be teleported outside. He would be keeping this in mind. Who knew whether or not he could use this as a method of escape?
At that moment, the group passed through another intersection and into the passage ahead of them. That same moment, a heavy, muffled thud came from their front. The sound continued as if something huge was slowly heading towards them.
Zenith Yin and Qing Yi’s expressions slightly changed and they halted, staring into the passageway ahead of them with grave expressions. In contrast, Man Huzi chuckled and revealed a trace of excitement. At the same time, his body flashed with golden light and a layer of golden scales suddenly covered his entire body. He had activated his Heavenbearing Devil Arts.
This was the first time Han Li had seen the bizarre appearance of the Heavenbearing Devil Arts up close. He couldn’t help but take a curious look at Man Huzi’s transformation.
Man Huzi keenly felt Han Li’s stare and turned his head around, giving Han Li a sinister grin. The expression on his face covered in small scales made for a frightening sight.
Han Li’s heart dropped, not knowing what he had meant by it. But he still forced himself to return the smile.
Fortunately, after Man Huzi smiled, he immediately turned his gaze back.
The approaching thuds were now only about a hundred meters away.
But as the passage across from them was pitch-black, Han Li wasn’t able to see anything within it. There were still restrictions in place inside the Inner Hall that restrained a cultivator’s spiritual sense.
Still, Han Li noticed the cold glint from the old eccentrics’ eyes. It seemed they were able see what was coming.
Without waiting for Zenith Yin and Qing Yi to act, Man Huzi deeply roared, flying into the passage as a streak of golden light. A series of loud impacts followed afterwards, along with deafening clangs of metal.
When Zenith Yin and Qing Yi saw this, they couldn’t help but look at each other in dismay.
Han Li was at a loss when a huge rumble sounded out as if something had been cleanly split into fragments.
Han Li’s mind stirred and something came to mind.
In the next moment, only the sounds of Man Huzi’s wild, carefree laughter could be heard.
Zenith Yin seemed to have thought of something and couldn’t help but laugh. “Let’s go! It is no longer a problem. We’ve already forgotten that we no longer have the same cultivation as we did three hundred years ago. The guards on the first layer are no longer a threat to us.”
Qing Yi chuckled with a relaxed expression, “That’s right. This old man had nearly forgotten this as well. The last time I came here, I had just entered the Nascent Soul stage, and the guards left far too deep an impression. It was good that Brother Man had taken care of it with his Heavenbearing Devil Arts. Else, we would’ve spent too much effort on them.”
Afterwards, the two began to take the lead with Han Li and Wu Chou closely following after them. The Bone Sage, who had originally been expressionless this entire time, wore a trace of disdain as he calmly followed them in the back.
After walking about thirty meters, Han Li saw Man Huzi in front of them with his hands behind his back. He was standing on something that was shining with silver light.
When Man Huzi saw Zenith Yin, he stretched his neck and indifferently said, “Not bad! This served quite well for a warm up. The Heavenvoid Hall this time around is truly interesting. However, it wasn’t nearly as formidable as rumors had made it out to be!”
“It’s because of the incredible force of Brother Man’s Heavenbearing Devil Arts. Other cultivators had to use magic treasures in such a narrow area, so they had experienced a bit of trouble.” Layman Qing Yi said with a smile. When Man Huzi heard his flattery, he chuckled but said no more. The golden scales on his body quickly faded away, and he indifferently took the lead. It seemed the previous fight had left him unsatisfied.
Zenith Yin and Qing Yi glanced at each other with a smile. Since Man Huzi was so willing to lead the way, they were more than happy to quietly follow after him.
When they walked past the silver item, Han Li stopped and lowered his head to look at it.
‘A mechanical puppet!’ Han Li was astounded. It was indeed a puppet, but what grade of puppet was this to have not been instantly destroyed by a mid Nascent Soul stage cultivator?
Most of what was scattered across the ground were pieces of an unknown silver metal. Apart from this, there was a ruined half of a golden wolf’s head, and several pieces of jet-black, thick and reflectioness blades, as well as an assortment of several other oddities.
As the Bone Sage quickly passed him by, he indifferently said without turning his head, “Don’t bother to look at them. While these items are certainly rare, they cannot be used to refine any magic treasures. Those that entered here long before have already tried.”
Han Li was surprised by this, but he continued to look at the ground as if he hadn’t heard. His gaze fell upon a sparkling, dark-green gem on the ground. Its extremely cold aura gave Han Li a remarkable impression.
After muttering to himself for a moment, Han Li immediately placed these items into his storage pouch with a sweep of his hand before rejoining the others.
Han Li’s thoughts were quite simple. Even if these items were truly useless, he could learn a bit about the ancient cultivator’s achievements in puppet techniques from the puppet’s composition and the refinement techniques used to create them. After all, the highest grade puppets in his Puppet Sutra were grade four puppets, equivalent to only late Foundation Establishment cultivators at false core stage. This was the huge tiger puppet that consumed an entire mid-grade spirit stone with a full powered strike.
The puppet with the golden wolf head was stronger than an early Core Formation cultivator. Although Man Huzi dealt with it like child’s play without using any powerful magic treasures, Zenith Yin’s and Layman Qing Yi’s serious attitudes towards indicated that it was unordinary.
With such good items at hand, it was only natural for Han Li to want to leave and research it. But as things stood, there would be no such opportunity for him to slip away into a stone gate and escape with a treasure as well. He understood all too well that despite walking ahead of him, the three Nascent Soul eccentrics were watching his every move through their spiritual sense. Wanting to stealthily slip away through a stone gate was merely wishful thinking.
With Han Li’s temperament, it felt somewhat intolerable to leave such a treasure trove empty handed. For now, he could could these puppet fragments as a consolation prize from the Inner Halls. As for the treasures of the Heavenvoid Cauldron, Han Li knew better than to have such fanciful expectations!