(TL: Treasure Talisman – > Artifact Seal)
Chapter 322: Liu Jing's "True Seal"
Han Li felt furious!
His anger wasn't due to the fact that he had saved Senior Martial Brother Wang in a moment of benevolence, or even because he had to fully utilise his Shifting Smoke Steps. Han Li's anger was due to the fact that Liu Jing and the others were squandering this opportunity to eliminate the three transforming Blood Servants. Once the three Blood Servants finished transforming, a huge dilemma would await them.
Han Li was reminded of Senior Martial Brother Wang's kind assistance during his fight with Qing Wen, and thus, when Han Li noticed that Senior Martial Brother Wang was on the verge of falling in the Ice Demon's scheme, he instantly flashed forward into order to save him.
Enraged from Han Li's intervention, the Ice Demon immediately pursued him, forcing Han Li to deal with him. But soon after, Han Li felt that this Ice Demon would prove extremely troublesome for his fellow sect members and decided it would be better for him to take care of it alone. After all, if even more of his fellow sect members died, they would be lacking in numbers for the upcoming battle.
However, during his fight with the Ice Demon, he didn't expect that the others would just stare blankly. They were actually squandering this great opportunity to attack the three remaining light cocoons!
Even so, Han Li had a faint feeling that the others didn't even know this opportunity existed due to their fear of the Ice Demon's ambush. Although they realized that having to deal with the fully transformed Blood Servants would be even more troublesome, they were still hesitant and slightly desired to retreat.
In reality, Han Li didn't come here in order to eradicate the Black Fiend School but rather for another predetermined objective. As such, he was unable to run away in a rash manner. Ever since the half-transformed Ice Demon left his cocoon, he had been trying to kill Han Li. But Han Li found that so long as he was a bit careful, the demon did not pose much of threat to him. In fact, he felt that the large bald man was significantly harder to handle in comparison to the demon.
Following the transformation, the Ice Demon acquired a transparent body, exceptional speed, and some control over cold Qi. Thus, he was now able to utilise his speed to create an illusion of invisibility similar to that of the Shifting Smoke Steps. But due to the Ice Demon's transparent body, he became even harder to detect.
Since this strange movement technique could only be displayed on land, as long as they were above ground, they could force the Ice Demon to reveal itself by using large scale magic techniques. After all, his high speed movements were only deadly within a short distance. It was unable to keep up with a cultivator's flying magic tool.
Because Liu Jing and company had never experienced this kind of close combat, they felt that their opponent was extremely monstrous and difficult to engage. Fortunately, Han Li had often fought in this manner and naturally held greater experience in fighting such battles.
With that in mind, Han Li suddenly repelled the demon's sharp claws with a wave of his silver sword. He stood still, becoming visible as he loudly yelled, "Everyone, fly to the skies and continue to attack the other three Blood Servants. I will prevent this demon from attacking you!" Following these instructions, Han Li's figure suddenly flickered, disappearing from sight once more.
It was not surprising for Han Li that the silver sword—which had been looted during the Trial by Blood and Fire—was able to withstand the demon's sharp claws. The fact that caused Han Li to become astonished was that the claws were also undamaged.
When Liu Jing heard Han Li's instructions, he immediately understood what Han Li intended. Even so, he remained hesitant and felt extremely conflicted.
Although Liu Jing originated from a large cultivation clan, he had been captured by evil cultivators during his childhood. During that time, he suffered from extreme, agonizing torment to the extent where he had almost lost his life. It was only afterwards that he was rescued by his clan and was apprenticed to Li Huayuan.
Due to the trauma he had experienced in his childhood, Liu Jing held deep hatred toward evil cultivators. As a result, he followed an iron-blooded policy to kill all evil cultivators on sight, refusing to allow any evil cultivator from escaping his grasp, regardless of what freakish techniques they practiced.
Much to his delight, these actions rewarded him with great popularity among other cultivators, even causing a few Seven Sect cultivators with higher cultivation than him to look at him with a trace of admiration.
Although Liu Jing continued to appear unfazed on the outside, his heart gradually began to indulge in these feelings of admiration. In fact, he later took the initiative to root out evil cultivators from every direction mostly for the sake of seeing others gaze upon him with admiration.
Naturally, Liu Jing hid this fact in the depths of his heart with extreme care and conducted himself as though he were a moral paragon. Thus, Liu Jing became known as an enemy of evil, the "iron-blooded" Senior Martial Brother Liu.
Now that another evil known as the Black Fiend School had appeared, he was compelled to eliminate it. However, they were the strongest evil cultivators he had ever encountered. He wasn't completely confident that he would be able to rely on his normal magic tools to eliminate the three remaining blood servants. His attack power was lacking and would only serve to end their transformations earlier, resulting in three more half-demons to fight.
One half-transformed demon was already very difficult to handle. They did not know if they could handle additional half-demons or if they would just be throwing their lives away.
But if they were to retreat now, they would have just scared the Black Fiend School away, resulting in the complete failure of their mission. If they allowed the Black Fiend School to disappear without a trace and conceal themselves once more, Liu Jing's painfully nurtured reputation would be thoroughly and irrevocably destroyed.
The thought of others looking upon him with contempt caused Liu Jing to feel winded and extremely depressed.
Han Li's exhortation had forced him to make a choice.
"Senior Martial Brother Liu, should we retreat?! The Black Fiend School is far stronger than we've imagined. If we're going to retreat, we must do it now or else it will be too late!" Senior Martial Brother Wang softly said after approaching hesitantly.
Liu Jing could clearly see cowardice from Martial Brother Wang's shifting gaze.
'Retreat? If I retreat now, then I'll appear just as cowardly!' Liu Jing thought with a bitter smile.
"Everyone, fly to the skies and protect me as I cast my magic. Let me deal with the three Blood Servants!" Liu Jing instructed.
At the same time, he thought, 'It seems I'll have to use my life-saving measure in this fight! Otherwise, I won't be able to win and preserve my reputation!'
"Senior Martial Brother Liu, you want to deal with the Blood Servants by yourself?"
However, when the others heard Liu Jing's words, they all looked at him in disbelief, causing Liu Jing to feel a bottomless ache in his heart. But still, his appearance remained calm. Without speaking, he flew directly to the sky on a magic tool as he solemnly retrieved a fire-red jade box from his storage pouch.
At this moment, Liu Jing had completely recovered his calmness as if he were in complete control. When the surrounding disciples saw this, they glanced at each other and felt slightly more confident as they followed after him.
A reluctant look covered Liu Jing’s face as he stared at the jade box in his hand. But soon after, his expression became resolved and he placed his hands on the box.
In an instant, the jade box shattered apart into miniscule pieces, revealing a peculiar talisman covered in red light.
A fire-red flame bird was inscribed on the talisman; it incessantly flapped its wings as though it was flying freely like a real bird. The bird's glowing blue eyes even occasionally shifted.
The most astonishing fact was the scorching Qi the talisman emitted; it caused the temperature within thirty meters to abruptly rise, leaving his allies parched from the scorching heat.
Song Meng and the others approached and saw the astonishing scene of the talisman unfold.
"Artifact Seal!" Song Meng exclaim upon seeing the talisman.
"No, this isn't a common artifact seal. This is…. a true seal!" After seeing the talisman's strange appearance, Senior Martial Brother Wang cried out as if he had just seen a ghost.
Those who knew of this "True Seal" were dumbstruck.
While this so-called "True Seal" was considered an artifact seal, it was completely different from a common artifact seal.
First of all, common artifact seals only contained a tenth of the original magic treasure's might at most. However, a true seal defied this convention, allowing it to contain a third of a magic treasure's might!
Secondly, true seals could only be refined with the bloodline of the magic treasure's master. As a result, only descendants of this specific bloodline would be able to activate and make use of this true seal. If someone else were to attempt to use it, the true seal would destroy itself.
With such great benefits, there naturally had to be some significant disadvantages; otherwise, all the elders would leave their later generations with only true seals.
While true seals contained several times more power than an ordinary talisman treasure, its greatest flaw was that it could only be used once. This single use would display the entirety of its might without restraint and leave no second use. As a result, it was far less practical than common artifact seals.
Additionally, there was another reason as to why so few true seals were passed down.
After a magic treasure went through the process of bloodline refinement in order to produce a true seal, the magic treasure would suffer permanent and irrecoverable loss in strength. After knowing these restrictions, elder cultivators felt it would be far better to leave behind several ordinary artifact seals for their descendants rather than ruining their own magic treasures which were as precious to them as their own lives.
Thus, many cultivators joked that there were several times more magic treasures in the cultivation world than true seals. Although these words were slightly exaggerated, they weren't far from the truth!
Chapter 323: Demon Execution
True seals were several times more difficult to activate compared to common seals. As a result of this, Liu Jing asked his fellow sect members to protect him as he did not wish to meet the same tragic end as his Junior Martial Sister. Finishing his instructions, Liu Jing protected himself using his yellow ring magic tool before he sat down cross-legged on his flying magic tool. With a calm heart, Liu Jing began to pour magic power into the fire-bird true seal.
As the fire-red talisman's glow gradually intensified in Liu Jing's hand, the inscribed fire-bird's wings became increasingly nimble and lively. It seemed as though the fire-bird would suddenly materialize and fly out from the talisman at any moment.
Although Han Li was engaged in battle with the Ice Demon on land, he felt at ease knowing that his fellow sect disciples were taking action. He had feared that his fellow sect disciples would cower and run away in defeat. If he were left alone, Han Li would be unable to obtain the item he desired from the Black Fiend School Master.
No longer worried about being deserted, Han Li wholeheartedly focused on the enemy before him. Even as a mid Foundation Establishment cultivator, the Shifting Smoke Steps still placed a significant burden on his body. Thus, he couldn't let this battle of extreme speed drag on; he had to risk an all out assault.
With that in mind, Han Li incessantly flickered about while brandishing a silver sword in one hand, suppressing the Ice Demon and leaving him winded. With Han Li's other hand, he silently summoned an item from his storage pouch and wound it around his ring finger.
Killing intent flashed through his eyes; Han Li charged forward at a fearsome speed, sword grasped in both hands. He suddenly made a vicious attack, inspiring fear in the ice demon. The Ice Demon hastily fell back and raised his sharp crystal claws in defense.
Dāng. The ice demon coldly laughed. Taking advantage of the strike's momentum, the Ice Demon flew backwards and increased the distance between him and Han Li. At that moment, a slight sneer appeared on Han Li's face.
When the Ice Demon saw this, he felt extremely uneasy. Han Li let go of his sword with one hand and pulled.
In turn, the Ice Demon felt an indescribable force halt his retreat and could no longer avoid Han Li's fierce strike. At that moment, Han Li grasped the sword in both hands once more and expressionlessly moved to strike.
When the Ice Demon saw this, he turned pale and hastily started struggling with all his might. Unfortunately, it was already too late. In the blink of an eye, Han Li had already appeared before him. Han Li's sword blurred momentarily and countless silver streaks assaulted the Ice Demon as they flashed past each other. At the following instant, two figures appeared beneath the moonlight: Han Li standing with a sword in his grasp and the Ice Demon falling to the ground.
Having clearly seen this, Song Meng and the others couldn't help but feel extremely nervous.
The Ice Demon staggered to his feet and looked at Han Li's back with an evil grin. As he thought to say something, his expression suddenly froze.
The sound of a series of sharp ruptures could be heard, revealing countless fine cracks on the Ice Demon's transparent body. As the sounds continued, the cracks grew larger, eventually turning the Ice Demon's body into a pile of broken, translucent ice.
As the translucent crystals broke down, a complete undamaged claw weakly reached out with its sharp tips still emitting dense cold Qi. This was the only thing to survive Han Li's rapid cuts; it was also left completely unharmed.
Han Li dispassionately looked at the Ice Demon's remains. Then he turned his gaze toward the dazzling three light cocoons, wrinkling his brow.
He silently pulled his hand, causing the ice claw to fly toward him.
From the reflection of the moonlight, a thin transparent thread could be faintly seen between the sharp claw and Han Li. This was precisely the Ice Demon's cause of death.
Taking advantage of their close distance during the previous strike, Han Li had controlled the transparent thread on his ring finger to stealthily wind around his claw. Unfortunately, while the demon transformation left the Ice Demon's body transparent and strong, it had also dulled his senses, allowing Han Li to succeed in taking his life.
Han Li lowered his head to look at the ice claw, and after a moment of hesitation, he threw it away.
Since the ice claw was able to withstand his silver sword without harm, he understood it was certain to be exceptionally good material for refining magic tools. But with the knowledge that it was originally a person's hand, his heart shivered and he was unable to overcome his disgust.
He walked to the side of the Ice Demon's remains and casually slashed at the ice pile a few times with a silver sword, fishing out a storage pouch from within. After taking a quick look at it, he carefully put it away. He then silently flew to the sky, wanting to see how his fellow sect members would deal with the three transformed blood servants.
Han Li didn't know that during the moment that the Ice Demon had lost his life, a middle aged man in meditation suddenly opened his blood-red eyes and muttered to himself, "Ice Demon has already died? That's fine. It'll save me the effort of dealing with him in the future."
With that said, he calmly closed his eyes as if nothing had happened.
A shriveled corpse laid before him. From the clear outlines of the bone, it appeared that there was no flesh underneath the skin. The corpse was wearing the clothes of a Yellow Maple Valley cultivator.
Han Li flew to the sky and before he opened his mouth, Song Meng and the others had surrounded him. With expressions of admiration and shock, they all showered him with praise. Their words even held a trace of reverence. Senior Martial Sister Xue Hong's pair cultivation partner was flushed with thankfulness toward Han Li.
Han Li said a few humbling words. He then noticed the blinding red talisman in Liu Jing's hand and curiously asked about it.
Someone immediately gave Han Li an explanation about "True Seals", causing Han Li to feel overjoyed and relieved.
Naturally, Han Li had heard of true seals before. However, he hadn't expected that Senior Martial Brother Liu would have such a treasure and would be willing to use such a critical life-saving measure.
Han Li hadn't known Liu Jing for long and had no way of knowing about Liu Jing's complicated dilemma over paying such a heavy cost to preserve his reputation.
In Han Li's case, he basically didn't care how others looked at him. So long as his own reputation didn't get in his way of his rewards, he didn't care.
Naturally, if Han Li had the opportunity to leave a good impression without expending much effort, he would be quite willing to do it. But to use something as precious as a "True Seal" in order to maintain his reputation, Han Li wouldn't be willing to do such a foolish thing even if he would be killed.
Even so, Liu Jing's action had truly left an impression on Han Li. He even doubted the validity of his long held belief. If there were those in this world that truly acted to exterminate evil, then what would that make him? Could he be considered a "good person"?
Just as Han Li was feeling slightly ashamed, he suddenly heard a ferocious roar filled with the desire of blood and massacre from below.
Han Li and company hastily looked down in alarm.
One of the three light cocoons had undergone a huge change, appearing as if the Blood Servant within was about to emerge.
Han Li's heart trembled. It seemed he would have to fight another Blood Servant in order to buy time for Senior Martial Brother Liu to finish!
With that in mind, Han Li started to take action but was interrupted by a tranquil voice from behind him.
"Everyone, step aside. Allow me to eliminate those three demons."
Upon hearing this, everyone revealed joy.
Han Li hastily turned around and saw Liu Jing looking at them with a smile. He had a small, exquisite red bird in his hand. It fluttered about and appeared extremely adorable. Additionally, the scorching Qi in the vicinity had disappeared without a trace at an unknown time.
'That is the appearance of the true seal?' Han Li looked at the small red bird with astonishment.
"Thank you very much for protecting me, everyone!"
Liu Jing flew to the front of the group in a relaxed manner. Under the gaze of the others' amazement, he acted without the slightest hesitation and lightly blew at the small bird in his hand. With a clear chirp, the small fire-bird quickly flew forward from Liu Jing's hand.
At that moment, a light cocoon beneath them had finished its transformation. Puchi. A demon wrapped in azure light emerged from its cocoon. Its shape was quite similar to the half-transformed Ice Demon however, its appearance was a deep azure.
From the demon's appearance, once could clearly tell that it was Daoist Priest Qing Wen. But at this moment, he appeared completely crazed as if he didn't possess the ability to think.
He let out two mad roars and raised his head to look at the small fluttering fire-bird. His body immediately grew still and the insanity displayed on his face was restrained, revealing an expression of great fear.
He then lost himself to panic and looked around him. He suddenly flew to the skies covered in azure light; it seemed he wished to escape.
But at that moment, a fierce explosion erupted from the small red bird, changing it into a large blazing bird about three meters wide. It spread its wings and traveled over thirty meters in an instant, appearing before the demon-transformed Qing Wen. With its sharp red beak, it lightly pecked at him.