Chapter 377: Pill Formulas and Demon Cores
The large, curly-bearded man waved his hand, speaking casually, "Although our Six United Palaces didn't enter the Four Great Merchants Alliance, we have quite a lot of prestige in the Scattered Star Seas. These two items are rare, but they are beneath our notice. Please allow our Six United Palaces to present the Spirit Snow Ice and Liquid Heavenfire to Fellow Daoist Crooked Soul as our early congratulations for your core formation."
Han Li didn't feel any excitement. Instead, he inwardly frowned, refraining from having Crooked Soul take them.
'You would give such previous items as a gift? I am not convinced there is such a great thing in this world. Since Crooked Soul is at what they call false core stage, could it be that they have hidden intentions for currying favor in such an excessive manner?' Han Li became increasingly cautious with that in mind.
Crooked Soul then shook his head and sternly said, "That won't do. There is no reward without cost. These two items should be sold for what they're worth. I have the spirit stones for them! Or is there something that you two are too embarrassed to say?" After saying this, Crooked Soul revealed a mysterious smile.
Seeing that Crooked Soul was so guarded against against such a great gift, Cao Lu and the curly-bearded man couldn't help but give each other a mutual glance after a moment of astonishment.
After meeting each other's gaze, Cao Lu dryly coughed and said, "It seems we've made fools of ourselves. Since Fellow Daoist Crooked Soul understands, I will tell it as it is! Our Six United Palaces do have a few matters that require your assistance. These two spiritual items are a kindly advance. If this affair is concluded, our stores will give you a great award." Cao Lu spoke rather cordially while the curly-bearded man revealed embarrassment.
Han Li inwardly sneered and had Crooked Soul tactfully decline while wearing a faint smile, "I won't conceal this form you two. Currently, I am entirely focused on forming my core and have no inclination for any other affairs. I am truly sorry, but it would be best for you to find someone else.
"Crooked Soul" didn't have any interest in listening to the matter and put a stop to the conversation.
Cao Lu and the curly-bearded man didn't take offense at his response and revealed smooth smiles instead.
"Hehe, since Fellow Daoist Crooked Soul's Core Formation occupies his mind, he should definitely lend a hand! After this matter is concluded, our Six United Palaces will reward you with a Dustfall Pill. It is of great assistance towards Core Formation and will certainly increase the odds of successfully forming your core!" The curly-bearded man said with a chuckle.
"Dustfall Pill?" Crooked Soul muttered to himself with slight surprise.
Cao Lu replaced his smile with a solemn expression and said, "That's right. This matter requires six cultivators at False Core stage, and we just need one more. Fellow Daoist's arrival is extremely timely. All of the cultivators who participate will be given a Dustfall Pill as payment."
The "Dustfall Pill" was an item of great renown in the Scattered Star Seas. However, Han Li, who had remained in isolation since initially arriving on the island, had no idea how wondrous the pill was rumored to be.
After muttering to himself for a moment, Crooked Soul solemnly asked, "Could you tell me the concrete details of the task I am to assist with before making my decision?"
"Of course we can. It isn't a complicated matter. It is just that our stores have discovered a grade six demon beast and wish to acquire its demon core. As a result, we thought to invite some outsiders to assist in the hunt!" Cao Lu chuckled and played it down.
"Grade six demon beast?" Crooked Soul bitterly smiled. Han Li had nearly stood up to loudly curse at them. The grade four mantis demon beast had nearly claimed his life, and now, they wanted to fight a grade six demon beast. Did they want to send these cultivators to their deaths?
Having seen Crooked Soul's doubtful expression, the curly-bearded man quickly gave an explanation, "Please be at ease, our stores have come up with a complete plan which significantly lowers the danger. Apart from having two of our store's Core Formation elders act, we will also place down a "Six Flowing Ripples Formation". Six False Core Formation cultivators will be enough to maintain the formation."
"A Six Flowing Ripples Formation!" Han Li felt that the name of that formation sounded quite familiar, as if he had heard it before in formation spell insights that Xin Ruyin had previously given to him.
Han Li then willed Crooked Soul to delay his decision, "Because of the importance of this matter, please give me two days to consider. Will it be acceptable if I give you my answer then?"
Crooked Soul's vague words left Cao Lu stunned, but he soon agreed with a wide smile.
But when Han Li and Crooked Soul left, Cao Lu and the large, curly-bearded man had them take the Spirit Snow Water and Liquid Heavenfire along with them. With a few polite words, they said that even if Crooked Soul later refused, it wouldn't matter, and that they were to be treated solely as gifts.
Crooked Soul faintly smiled in response to his coaxing words, but he didn't refuse, taking the jade boxes with him. After a few polite words, he then left the palace pavilion with Han Li.
After leaving the White Water Pavilion, Han Li turned around to take a look at the pavilion. He lightly shook his head before finding his way out of the plaza.
Since these six palace pavilions formed a single group, Han Li naturally wouldn't visit the other stores to haggle over any prices. After all, he had already taken the items they had given him for free. As a result, he bluntly intended to visit the surrounding shops for a few other items he wished to acquire.
Apart from the Spirit Snow Water and Liquid Heavenfire for Core Formation, he also wanted to purchase a few materials to create grade two puppets. Although he had already grown the most important material, the several-hundred-year old ironwood, he still needed to buy large quantities of secondary materials such as source iron and cloud essence stone.
He also needed a few materials to refine the "Spirit Feed Pill". After refining these pills, he would be able to formally train the white spiders.
With these thoughts in mind, Han Li entered a small store with miscellaneous goods, managing to buy a majority of what he needed. The rest of the items he required were rarer and would require visiting several other stores to acquire them.
As he was browsing through the many stores, he mostly focused on the stores that sold ancient records of medicine pills and cultivation arts. After all, he had nearly used all of his pill formulas and wished to acquire one or two more.
As for cultivation arts, although their prices were unreasonably high, they would provide him with an explanation of the types of cultivation arts used in the Scattered Star Seas.
After completing a round trip, Han Li felt amazement!
While having Crooked Soul wait outside, he entered a medicine pill shop, asking if they had any Foundation Establishment stage pill formulas for sale. The shop assistant unexpectedly showed him several tens of pill formulas, causing Han Li to nearly bite his tongue in shock.
Although he couldn't bring himself to believe it, he still carefully examined the pill formulas and the outcome was complete shock.
Regardless of whether the pill formulas used rare or common materials, they all required demon beast cores instead of spiritual herbs. The rarer medicine pills even required the inner core of sixth and seventh grade demon beasts.
While these pill formulas also required spiritual herbs that were several hundreds of years old, the spiritual herbs used in the formulas were only auxiliary ingredients; they could be replaced with other spiritual herbs instead.
As such, Han Li acquired a thick stack of pill formulas and remained dumbfounded for a long while.
Under the baffled gaze of the store assistant, he had casually bought several usable formulas at a low price and walked out in a daze.
A short moment later, he felt somewhat unsatisfied and ran over to several other medicinal pill shops, discovering that apart from low grade Qi Condensation pill formulas, all other pill formulas required demon beast cores.
Finally, Han Li's couldn't help but make a careful inquiry to a shopkeeper about whether there were any high grade pill formulas that didn't require demon beast cores. The shopkeeper looked at Han Li as if he were an idiot for a long while before saying, "What else would you use to refine a high grade medicine pill, if not a demon core beast?"
Han Li then dejectedly walked out of the store and completely gave up on the matter.
It seems that the Pill Dao of the Scattered Star Seas followed a different path than that of the Heavenly South Region. They used the cores of demon seabeasts as the central ingredient of medicinal pills rather than spiritual herbs.
After some careful thought, Han Li found this to be quite reasonable. The sea was vast and without end, containing a countless number of demon beasts. With their ancestors incapable of causing a complete extinction of resources, the circumstances in the Scattered Star Seas was far better than that of the Heavenly South Region. It seems that these pill formulas had been passed down since ancient times!
As Han Li was thinking while standing on the remote corner of some road, he carefully looked through his collection of recently purchased pill formulas for one with the name of "Foundation Establishment Pill".
The pill formula was mostly the same as the one as Han Li had remembered. However, the heavenly spiritual medicines that were found only in the blood-red forbidden area were instead replaced with grade five demon cores.
When Han Li saw this, he put away the pill formulas and folded his arms before entering deep contemplation.
Chapter 378: Going out to Sea (1)
After a long while, Han Li finally awoke from his contemplations with a plan in mind.
Nothing appearing out of the ordinary, he proceeded to visit the shops selling ancient records of cultivation techniques. This trip didn't result in any surprises. He was quite familiar with the cultivation arts and Five Element Techniques being sold as they weren't much different from those in the Heavenly South Region.
Though it should be said that the water attribute magic techniques were more plentiful. There were even a few new techniques that he hadn't heard of before.
Han Li bought these new magic techniques along with a book he accidentally found, Pill Dao Evaluations. The reason he bought this book was because it contained an expert's description and commentary of the "Dustfall Pill". Han Li intended to carefully study it before coming to a decision about the Six United Palaces' request.
With no interest in buying anything else, Han Li and Crooked Soul left the Sky Capital Market along with the city.
Not long after they left Stalwart Star City, Han Li and Crooked Soul took to the skies and flew toward the Gu Clan Estate.
About half a day later, Han Li gazed at the somewhat familiar scene of the Gu Clan Estate's earthen walls. But instead of immediately descending towards the Gu Clan Estate, he decided to first land at the small hilltop to the side of the estate and take a look at the small wooden house he had constructed.
The small wooden house still stood in its original location; however, it was clear that it had greatly aged, and some areas had blackened from rot.
When Han Li saw this, he lightly sighed before opening the door and entering the house.
"Huh?!" Han Li was surprised.The room wasn't covered in a layer of dust nor was there the rotting scent he had expected. Instead, the room was swept clean, the table, chair, and bed didn't have a single speck of dust. There was even a pot of blue flowers on the wooden table.
Han Li was at a loss for a moment, but he couldn't stop himself from breaking out into laughter. "It seems the Gu Clan had put quite some thought into this!" Han Li stroked his nose as he muttered to himself.
Afterwards, Han Li left the wooden house without any feelings of attachment and left Crooked Soul on the hilltop, slowly walking towards the Gu Clan Estate by himself.
Han Li had no intention of hurriedly flying towards the Gu Clan. Although the Gu Clan's spell formation posed no problem to him, the Gu Clan Master could be considered an old friend; naturally, it'd be better to be polite.
But when Han Li walked in front of the Gu Clan's gate, two imposingly strong gate guards had noticed him. One of them suspiciously asked, "Who are you? What brings you to our Gu Clan?"
Han Li smiled and spoke in a soft voice, "Tell your clan's master that an old friend surnamed Han has come."
"Our clan's lord doesn't see outsiders. Wait, Han?… Could it be that you are Immortal Master Han?" The large man had initially rejected him, but after sizing up Han Li, he suddenly revealed doubt.
"You know of me?" Han Li made a slight frown.
"So it really is Immortal Han! Please wait for a moment, Immortal Master. I will send a report to the Manor Lord!" The large man spoke no further and ran towards the manor.
Han Li expressionlessly looked towards the manor and spoke no further.
Not long after, a large group of people left the manor. The old man that was leading them smiled widely upon seeing Han Li and loudly shouted, "Immortal Han, you've finally returned! I've waited for quite a few years!"
Afterwards, the old man hastily walked forward to salute Han Li. The others followed suit, each respectfully saluting Han Li.
Han Li attentively gazed at the old man's familiar face. This was definitely the Gu Clan Master, but his hair was now white and his face was decrepit.
"Mister Gu, I trust that you've been well?" Han Li asked with a relaxed expression.
Under Master Gu's respectful welcome, Han Li entered a huge residence at the center of the Gu Estate.
After entering a room, Master Gu took the initiative to hand over a large sack of spirit stones to Han Li without waiting for him to say anything. In addition, he gave Han Li a cordial introduction to a few of the young children of the Gu Clan. He particularly made an effort to introduce his eldest son, a thirty-year-old youth named Gu Kai.
How could Han Li not see what the Gu Clan Master intended? The Gu Clan Master knew that the end of his life was drawing near, and he wished for Han Li to continue providing some assistance to his clan after his passing.
Han Li faintly smiled and said some casual promises for the sake of their past friendship.
The Gu Clan Master felt great joy and immediately called for a feast on behalf of Han Li; however, Han Li tactfully declined.
Following, Han Li had a chat with the Gu Clan Master before swiftly departing from the Gu Clan Estate.
After leaving, Han Li fetched Crooked Soul from the hilltop and flew towards a small, nearby village. Han Li quickly found an inn and spent the night studying the "Pill Dao Evaluations" without any sleep.
On the next day, Han Li had a general understanding about the medicine pills of the Scattered Star Seas. As for the Dustfall Pill, he had examined its description several times.
In accordance to the book, the Dustfall Pill not only required the cores of several uncommon demon beasts, but it also required a large amount of rarely seen spiritual herbs to refine. It was an undoubtedly precious item.
The pill really does have the wondrous effect of increasing the odds of Core Formation. Although the increased odds couldn't be considered to be much and it can only be taken during the formation of one's core, it is seen as a treasure to cultivators on the verge of Core Formation. To cultivators wishing to form their core, any items capable of raising their odds of success by even a single percent were greatly coveted but extremely rare.
Nevertheless, Han Li understood that since the six palaces were offering this rare medicine pill as payment, the task wouldn't be nearly as easy as maintaining a formation. There would certainly be a large amount of danger if he went, and only the Heavens would know what troubles he would encounter.
However, Han Li truly thirsted for this "Dustfall Pill". After all, both he and Crooked Soul were soon facing Core Formation.
Leaving his own poor odds aside, Crooked Soul's Fiend Core was said to have a one-third chance of Core Formation. As the probability of failure was so high, he was unable to feel at ease. He needed to acquire the Dustfall Pill!
After sinking into bitter contemplation for a long while, he eventually came to the decision to face the unknown danger. After all, both he and Crooked soul were late Foundation Establishment cultivators. If any danger arose, he should be able to protect himself without problem.
In addition, it appeared that the Six United Palaces held a significant amount of power. Forming a connection to them now, should prove to be rather useful while in the Scattered Star Seas.
However, he must first make some discreet inquiries about the reputation of the Six United Palaces. If relations were to turn sour immediately after the matter is concluded (like a certain ‘q’ company that reposts this series without permission), he'd greatly suffer.
Having come to a decision, Han Li brought Crooked Soul back to Stalwart Star City.
Half a month later, an extremely huge ship sailed into the port of Stalwart Star Island. After a short moment, two streaks of light, one white and one blue, shot towards the boat from a faraway placed and boarded it without any hesitation.
After the light faded away, three people appeared on board the ship: a lofty, and strong but ugly man, a youth with a common appearance, and an odd middle-aged man with an aged appearance.
A wide-eyed man with thick eyebrows walked out to respectfully greet the robust man and youth, "Welcome to our ship, Immortal Masters. I am the ship's captain, Luo Zheng. The other Immortal Masters are on already board. I will now bring everyone to the general location of the demon beast."
The Immortal Masters he addressed were naturally Crooked Soul and Han Li. As for the middle-aged man, he was the shopkeeper of the White Water Pavilion, Cao Lu.
"Fellow Daoist Crooked Soul, take care! I must return to take care of a few matters." After exchanging a few polite words, Cao Lu flew off.
The thick-browed man lowered his head, before saying, "Please come in, we've already prepared rooms for you. The ship will soon depart."
Han Li gazed at the ship as he silently entered its hull with Crooked Soul. As for Luo Zheng, he followed right behind them.
At this moment, the huge ship slowly began to move once more.
Upon entering the hull of the ship, Han Li was surprised by what he saw. It wasn't at all like the small passageway Han Li had imagined. Instead, there was a luxurious hall that spanned over forty meters.
Embroidered carpet covered the hall's floor and a long sandalwood table embedded with gold and silver was at the center of the room. There were over a dozen chairs around it, occupied by several people chatting. Once Han Li and Crooked Soul entered, several icy, stern gazes swept past them.
Their gazes merely swept past Han Li before focusing their eyes on Crooked Soul.
Crooked Soul blurred and covered Han Li's front. He then expressionlessly said, "I am Crooked Soul. This is my Martial Nephew Han Li! What are you Fellow Daoists called?"