Han Li swept his gaze around him before flicking a finger, upon which a burst of azure sword Qi flew toward a rock on the lakebed.
A loud thump rang out and before the sword Qi had even struck the rock, a layer of faint blue light appeared down below, keeping the sword Qi at bay.
However, this layer of blue light was extremely feeble and only lasted a few seconds before it was sliced open by the sword Qi. The entire barrier of light the disintegrated into spots of light before disappearing.
Down below, the rock disappeared in a flash as if it had merely been an illusion. However, a five-colored barrier of light took its place, encompassing an area with a radius of over 1,000 feet on the lakebed. Spiritual light of all types of colors surged erratically over the surface of the light barrier, making it impossible for anyone to identify what lay beneath the barrier.
Han Li could detect immense spiritual power emanating from the light barrier and his eyes narrowed as he stroked his chin.
That blue light barrier was just a simple illusionary restriction. That one had most likely been set up by the three Core Formation cultivators recently, while this five-colored light barrier down below was a restriction that had actually been put in place by Man Huzi himself.
At the time, Man Huzi only had a Nascent Soul left and was rushing to pass on to the afterlife, so he naturally didn't have time to tell Han Li the method to get past this restriction.
It appeared that he would just have to break through it with brute force.
However, it was quite apparent that this restriction had been materialized using the power of the five elements, so even with his powers, it would still be a slightly troublesome prospect.
With that in mind, Han Li didn't hesitate any longer. He made a hand seal and the silver light flashed within the storage pouch hanging from his waist, following which a humanoid figure emerged behind him.
It was none other than that humanoid puppet!
36 golden flying swords then shot forth from Han Li's sleeve before converging amid a ringing sound, forming a massive golden sword that was over 100 feet in length.
An incantation seal was cast onto the surface of the giant sword.
A loud rumbling erupted as an arc of golden lightning as thick as an arm surfaced from the giant sword. The lightning circled around before transforming into an extremely life-like lightning python.
The python revolved around the giant sword several times before raising its neck and emitting a hissing sound, creating quite a formidable sight to behold.
On the other side, the humanoid puppet raised a hand to summon a red bow, while its other drew the bow with a small green arrow already nocked on the bowstring.
A loud thunderclap erupted as a golden arc of lightning also surfaced over the small arrow, flashing and writhing in an erratic manner.
A serious look appeared on Han Li's face as he pointed his finger toward a certain direction. The giant sword then began its descent at his behest, crashing straight downward amid a burst of thunderous rumbling, as if it were a mountain-splitting divine weapon.
Almost at the exact same moment, the humanoid puppet released the bowstring and a green arrow intermingled with wisps of golden light shot forth.
An earthshattering boom rang out as the surface of the light barrier tremored violently. It was then engulfed by countless arcs of lightning, and the nearby water in the lake tumbled and surged violently, creating a vortex that rose straight to its surface.
Han Li stood at the center of the vortex in a completely stationary state, appearing as if he were an immovable structure amid the chaos.
The light finally began to recede as the golden arcs of lightning disappeared.
Han Li looked down below him and a smile appeared on his face.
The five-colored light barrier down below had already vanished, revealing a small and faintly shimmering formation spell that was over 100 feet in diameter.
The green water in the lake surged toward it in a frenzy, only to be kept at bay by the white light emanating from the formation.
This formation had been refined using some kind of special material, thereby making it waterproof.
A hint of surprise flashed through Han Li's eyes as he raised a hand to stow his puppet away. His body then swayed as he appeared directly above the formation.
He wasn't in a hurry to descend and approach the teleportation formation. Instead, he decided to carefully inspect it from up above.
A short while later, he nodded as he patted the spirit beast pouch hanging from his waist. Most of the Six-Winged Frost Centipedes that he had just stowed away were release once again, and he delivered instruction to them through the use of his spiritual sense.
The snowy white centipedes immediately burrowed into the lakebed surrounding the formation at his behest.
Only then did Han Li decide that it was appropriate to cast an incantation seal toward the border of the formation, which immediately activated the formation.
White light abruptly began to flash and Han Li disappeared into the formation.
In the next instant, when he recovered from the discomfort of teleportation, he looked around to find himself situated within a stone chamber.
The stone chamber wasn't very large and it was completely empty. However, there was a bluestone door up ahead, and it was slightly ajar.
After a brief moment of contemplation, Han Li sat down with his legs crossed and released his spiritual sense.
His spiritual sense slowly crept beyond the stone door before fanning outward to assess the room on the other side.
After a short while, Han Li's expression eased upon verifying that he was the only cultivator in the cave abode and that there weren't any other cultivators lurking in the shadows.
Having been reassured by this discovery, Han Li rose to his feet and made his way over to the stone door. His body swayed and he disappeared into the passageway on the other side.
Half a day later, a burst of piercing azure light erupted from the lakebed. Following a few flashes, the azure light disappeared into the distance.
Han Li was situated within the azure light with a smile on his face, fiddling absentmindedly with a faint golden ore fragment in his hands.
His trip to Man Huzi's secret cave abode had proven to be quite a fruitful one.
Man Huzi's collection was far more plentiful than he had anticipated. Regardless of whether it was those materials and treasures that were worth several million spirit stones each, or those priceless tomes and secret techniques, many of them were prized treasures that Han Li had only ever heard, yet never had the chance to witness in person. As such, he was overjoyed by his bountiful trip. However, the treasure that excited him the most among Man Huzi's collection was a fist-sized fragment of Auric Essence.
In the Great Jin, Han Li had already collected most of the Auric Essence required to refine the remaining half of his flying swords. With the addition of this fragment of Auric Essence from Man Huzi's collection, e had gathered all of the materials he required and could add Auric Essence into all of his flying swords.
As such, he would finally be able to set up the complete Aureate Sword Formation with all 72 flying swords.
In the past, Han Li had set up half of the sword formation with 36 flying swords, and that had already been powerful enough to pose a serious threat to a late-Nascent Soul cultivator.
If he were to complete the entire sword formation, it would definitely be unimaginably powerful.
It was no wonder that the creator of the Azure Essence Sword Art had proclaimed that anyone who mastered the Aureate Sword Formation would be invincible in the human world.
Han Li was very much looking forward to witnessing the power of the completed sword formation.
He exhaled gently and flipped over his palm, upon which the Auric Essence disappeared, having been stowed away into the storage pouch.
After that, he continued onward at a leisurely pace. Han Li wore a contemplative look for a while before suddenly opening his mouth to produce a small cauldron that was roughly an inch in size.
It was none other than the Heavenvoid Cauldron!
Han Li raised a hand and the cauldron hovered over the center of his palm. He made a hand seal with his other hand and cast an incantation seal onto the cauldron's lid.
All of a sudden, azure light began to shimmer over the surface of the cauldron as the lid was slowly lifted, opening up a small sliver of space.
Golden light flashed and a talisman shot forth from within.
Han Li was already prepared for it in advance and a burst of azure light was blasted out of his mouth, striking the talisman with unerring accuracy.
The golden talisman immediately shuddered before its light dimmed. It was then immobilized by the azure light, having been forced to a standstill by Han Li's immense spiritual power.
Han Li quickly reached out and grabbed the talisman before carefully inspecting it.
This was none other than the strange talisman that Patriarch Golden Flower had used on multiple occasions during their battle earlier. Not only could it grant one instantaneous teleportation abilities, it could also transform into golden flowers and wasps, thereby proving itself to be a very powerful and versatile artifact.
It appeared that this was a unique talisman crafted by Patriarch Golden Flower.
Han Li found it to be very intriguing, and he couldn't help but summon it for inspection and research.
At first glance, the talisman appeared to be very ordinary and mundane. Han Li recognized most of the runes on the talisman, and all of them were very common runes. The only things that set it apart were those silver ancient runes inscribed on the four corners and at the center of the talisman.
This type of ancient text was very mysterious, and Han Li could sense a strong primordial aura just by looking at it.
Han Li inspected the text several times before finally determining that they were definitely different from any of the ancient texts he had witnessed in the past. Furthermore, they seemed to be completely independent with zero ties to other ancient texts.
On top of that, there were many tiny spots of golden light shimmering over the surface of the runes, and they all appeared to be living creatures, whizzing around sporadically over the runes, giving off an air of mystery and intrigue.
Han Li stared intently at the golden talisman as his brows furrowed unconsciously."Hmph! You think cultivators like you from the human world can decipher this type of beveled silver text? You should just conserve your energy and give up now!" All of a sudden, the tender voice of a child rang out from within the Heavenvoid Cauldron, and the owner of the voice seemed to be very disdainful toward Han Li.
As opposed to flaring up with rage from hearing this belittling voice, Han Li smiled and said, "Oh? Sounds like you recognize this type of text."
"Hmph, even in the higher realm, there won't be many people capable of comprehending this text. If it weren't for the fact that I once engulfed the soul of a human cultivator who just so happened to understand this text, I wouldn't be able to identify it, either," the tender voice replied.
A slightly grave look appeared on Han Li's face as he looked at the Heavenvoid Cauldron, and said in a cold voice, "Why are you suddenly talking to me today? I thought you were just going to stay in the Heavenvoid Cauldron forever, and never come out."
"In the past, you were just a measly cultivator from the human world who hadn't even reached the Deity Transformation Stage; why would I possibly want to talk to you? But it's different now; you've obtained the feather of a Heavenroaming Kun Peng[1. A Kun Peng is a legendary bird of Chinese Mythology that is said to have a bird form as well as a fish form.] now, so of course there's a reason for me to talk to you now. I can also offer you a deal," the small child in the cauldron replied.
"Heavenroaming Kun Peng? You mean that massive demon bird that attacked from another world?" Han Li's expression immediately changed as he recalled back to the incredible battle he had witnessed in the Outer Star Seas.
"Hehe! Demon bird? That's something that you can only say in the human world. If you were in the Spirit Realm and the worshippers of the Kun Peng, the Tian Peng race, were to overhear you, you'd be in a lot of trouble," the small child chuckled.
"Tian Peng race?" Han Li's heart stirred upon hearing that.
"There's no point in telling you about things in the Spirit Realm now. If you can ascend to that realm, then you'll naturally figure out all of these things for yourself. If you fail to do so, then providing an introduction would just be a waste of my energy," the small child said in a disdainful manner.
"You sure can talk big! Even if you were once an exceptional demon cultivator in the Spirit Realm, here in the human world, your power level is only comparable to that of an eighth grade demon beast. Who knows how long it'll take before you recover to the Deity Transformation Stage again!" Han Li jeered.