A pillar of azure light with a diameter comparable to that of a large bowl shot forth from the round disk.
Han Li's expression remained calm as he allowed the light to shine on him.
On one hand, he lacked the ability to take evasive measures, and on the other hand, he could sense that this beam of light was for detection purposes rather than an attack unleashed against him.
The pillar of light receded, but the round disk itself suddenly began to glow with brilliant light. The young man looked down at the disk before suddenly yelling to the people behind him with a stunned expression.
His cry of surprise created a stir among the group behind him as well. The man middle-aged man with the scar on his face yelled a few questions at the young man before also turning to Han Li with a hint of surprise in his eyes after hearing the young man's answers.
The middle-aged man then made his way over to the young man beside atop his giant wolf steed. He then asked Han Li a few questions, but Han Li naturally had no idea what he was saying.
The middle-aged man stroked his chin before switching to another language. Han Li stirred slightly upon hearing this language. Even though it was still unintelligible to him, it sounded somewhat familiar, as if it were similar to a certain type of ancient language used in the human world.
The middle-aged man was ecstatic to the see the change in Han Li's expression, and he hurriedly switched to a few more languages, in response to which Han Li continued to shake his head with difficulty.
The middle-aged man was at a slight loss for what to do now. He hung his weapon down the side of his massive wolf steed's body before pulling out a yellow wooden box and removing its lid.
A thumb-sized yellow bead was revealed within, and it was shimmering with faint spiritual light.
A slightly reluctant look appeared on the middle-aged man's face as he looked down at Han Li again. He then turned his gaze back to the bead with an indecisive expression before finally gritting his teeth, seemingly having arrived at some kind of decision. Immediately thereafter, he flipped over a hand and a peculiar ring appeared over his palm. There were a few types of runes carved onto its surface, and a pesized green jewel had been embedded into the ring.
The man pressed the bead down onto the jewel, upon which scintillating light abruptly erupted from the bead.
The man then immediately tossed the jewel toward Han Li without any hesitation. As soon as this object came into contact with Han Li, it disappeared into his body without a trace.
Han Li faltered slightly upon seeing this, and his heart jolted as a burst of cold energy suddenly emerged from the bead, flowing directly toward his brain. If he still had his magic power, then he could naturally expel this object at a whim. However, that was not the case, and he was completely immobilized, so he was powerless to do anything.
Thankfully, this group of people didn't seem to bear any ill will toward him, and Han Li wasn't overly flustered by this development.
The burst of cold energy swirled through his brain before disappearing. However, Han Li was suddenly struck by a sharp headache as a vast stream of information tried to forcibly inject itself into his mind.
Even though Han Li was unable to release his spiritual sense out of his body, there was no doubting the fact that it was extremely powerful. As such, his expression only changed slightly before his spiritual sense absorbed all of this information, thereby instantly allowing him to master a foreign language.
This language was none other than one of the tongues spoken by the middle-aged man earlier.
The man was rather surprised to see Han Li absorb the bead with such ease, and he asked, "You can understand what I'm saying now, right? Who are you and why are you here? This place is really deep into the Azure Sifting Desert; no normal person would ever come here."
"Azure Sifting Desert? I've never heard of it. Truth be told, I ended up here due to an accident, and the method through which I arrived was rather special, so I don't know what this place is. I'm only an ordinary mortal and I don't have any valuable information to offer. You may call me Han Li," Han Li replied with a wry smile.
"A special method? Did you also come here through a spatial rift? Don't be alarmed, this is an area that's rife with spatial rifts, so it's often the case that complete strangers would be swept here from vast distances away." The middle-aged man seemed to have already grown accustomed to such occurrences.
Han Li was a little speechless upon hearing this. He had devised an entire story to try and mislead these men, but it appeared that he wouldn't be able to use this story.
"Hehe, you don't look like an ordinary mortal. In any case, as long as you're not the human form of some beastly being, your origins don't really matter to us. However, your situation is rather perilous at the moment. The scorpion tide season will be coming up in the Azure Sifting Desert in a few days, and if no one saves you before then, you'll be dead no matter what tricks you have up your sleeve. How about signing a contract with our Heavenly East Enterprise? We can take you with us, but you have to serve our enterprise for 20 years in return. You'll only be able to leave after you serve your 10-year stint with us." A hint of a sinister smile appeared on the middle-aged man's face.
Han Li only hesitated momentarily before agreeing, "20 years? Alright, I'll do it."
"Alright, then sign this blood curse contract." The man laughed heartily before gesturing toward one of his companions.
The knight pulled out a thick stack of paper and picked one at random, then bit open his finger and wrote some things onto the paper with his blood. He then jumped down from his giant wolf steed and made his way over to the middle-aged man.
The latter accepted the piece of paper before showing it to Han Li.
However, Han Li's brows furrowed as he stared at the sheet of paper, and he didn't say anything, even after a long while.
A thought suddenly occurred to the middle-aged man, and he asked, "Have you not seen a blood curse contract before?"
"This is indeed the first time I've seen one. Can you tell me what it does?" Han Li replied truthfully.
From what he could see, this was not a contract; it was clearly a talisman.
He recognized all of the runes on the talisman as they were an ancient type of runes used in the human world. However, this was the first time he had seen these runes used in this combination, and it created a rather peculiar sight to him.
"You haven't even seen a blood curse contract before? Did you come over from the east? So be it, let me tell you about this thing. It's very simple; if you agree to the contract terms and willingly drip a drop of your blood essence onto the contract, then it will take effect. If you try to revoke the contract, the power of the blood curse would take away part of your soul, and you'll wish that you were dead! Hehe, this contact was invented by the Blood Curse Sect, and unless you possess the abilities of a god, you won't be able to escape its power after you sign it," the middle-aged man explained patiently.
A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face. He still hadn't figured out how this blood curse contract worked, but he could tell that the runes used weren't very complex at all.
Even though he couldn't decipher them right away, he would definitely be able to do so once given some time. Furthermore, from the level of complexity of the runes, it appeared that this contact would only be able to bind Foundation Establishment cultivators. Cultivators at the Core Formation Stage above would be completely exempt from its effect.
Even though he couldn't muster up any magic power, the enormous energy within his Nascent Soul had been injected into his body, so there was no way that this blood curse could bind him; its power would most likely be dispelled as soon as it entered his body.
This item was rather similar to the Underworld River Page used by the elderly man with the Fu surname in the human world. Of course, there was no way that the two could be compared to one another.
The Underworld River Page could even bind Nascent Soul cultivators to a certain extent, whereas this blood curse contract was most likely something used between mere mortals. Furthermore, it sounded as if this was a commonly used item around these parts.
A series of thoughts flashed rapidly through Han Li's mind as he read through the contract terms. These people were indeed extending a helping hand toward him, but he had to work for them for 20 years.
"I agree to the contract terms, but I can't move at the moment," Han Li replied, but he feigned a reluctant expression, making it appear as if he were scrambling for an excuse.
The middle-aged man chuckled coldly as he waved a hand toward the knight that had drafted the blood curse contract. "Give him a hand, Little Seven."
The knight who had just been referred to as Little Seven placed the blood curse contract on Han Li's chest before grabbing onto one of his wrists. In his other hand, he held a sharp dagger that was several inches in length, and he slit Han Li's wrist without any hesitation.
However, a metallic clang rang out as the dagger struck Han Li's wrist, and his skin remained completely unscathed.
Everyone was shocked to see this. The knight who was holding the dagger was completely rooted to the spot.
The middle-aged man came to his senses before a serious look appeared on his face, and he asked, "Did you cultivate the Profound Armor Technique or the Vajra Arts? Have you mastered the second layer already?"
"I've cultivated the Vajra Arts, and I've mastered the third layer already." Han Li gave a calm reply upon hearing this, but he was ecstatic internally.
He was finally able to verify that this was indeed the Spirit Realm as only a mortal of the Spirit Realm would be aware of the existence of the Vajra Arts.
The middle-aged man exhaled to recompose himself before tossing a short sword toward Little Seven as he said, "The third layer, eh? That means you can already fight low-grade demon beasts. Looks I've really stumbled across a treasure. It's no wonder that Little Seven's mortal dagger can't hurt you; try my Golden Luster Sword. Even though it's only a low-grade spirit tool, as long as you don't activate your Vajra Arts to try and defend yourself, it should still be able to draw blood."
"A spirit tool?" Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
Little Seven caught the sword before drawing it from its scabbard, upon which a burst of golden light instantly erupted forth. Han Li's eyes narrowed upon seeing this.
It appeared that this so-called spirit tool was seemingly no different from an ordinary treasure. Could it be that even mortals of the Spirit Realm could use treasures?
However, upon closer inspection, Han Li finally noticed the only point of difference; there was a golden spirit stone embedded onto the hilt of the sword. This spirit stone was a mid-grade metal-attribute spirit stone, and it was around one fifth the size of a spirit stone in the human world.
Just as he was contemplating these thoughts, Little Seven pulled out a beasthide glove before slipping it onto his hand. Only then did he grab onto the hilt of the sword with his gloved hand. Runes flashed over the surface of the glove, and there were also pesized spirit stones of different colors embedded into the glove.