Chapter 457: Heavenbearing Devil Arts
Just as Han Li sat down, he heard a sonic boom from the distant sky. Wan Tianming and the other two Nascent Soul Righteous Dao cultivators appeared and descended onto the ground..
When they spotted Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi, they sneered and gathered at another location. They were whispering to each other, discussing some secret matters.
When Zenith Yin saw this, he snorted and soon closed his eyes shortly after.
It was impossible for Han Li to be as calm as Zenith Yin. Instead, he turned his eyes elsewhere as if he were observing something. However, if someone were to attentively examine Han Li, one would find that his gaze was unfocused and that he was completely inattentive.
In the time it took to finish a meal, six more cultivators arrived in succession.
The two white-clothed Star Palace elders had also rushed over. Now, there was only one Nascent Soul cultivator that had yet to arrive, Man Huzi.
In the next hour, Man Huzi had yet to appear, causing Wan Tianming and the other Righteous Dao cultivators to look at Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi with strange expressions. Despite this, they both still appeared calm.
As Han Li was closer to the two, he was able to see a trace of apprehension in their eyes. Man Huzi's absence clearly worried the two Devil Dao eccentrics, as they would prove to be no match against the Righteous Dao without him.
As time slowly passed, Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi were no longer able to maintain their calm facades. Their expressions grew stern as they began to repeatedly gaze towards the sky.
Although the sky didn't show any indication of time passing and was eternally bright, Han Li supposed that the day was about to come to an end.
'Could it be that Man Huzi, the top figure of the Devil Dao, met with some mishap in the Heavenvoid Hall?' Han Li wondered.
Under the circumstances, would this prove to be favorable or disadventageous for him?
With the Devil Dao cultivators growing uneasy, the Righteous Dao cultivators grew increasingly malicious. Soon, piercing whistles reached them from the distant sky. These whistles were extremely loud and became more frequent and shrill as time passed by, causing all the nearby cultivators to appear at a loss.
But when Zenith Yin and the Confucian-robed old man heard this, their expressions relaxed and they looked at each other with a smile.
The Confucian-robed old man smiled and softly said, "It seems that Man Huzi's mood is quite good. He should've acquired an unexpected harvest."
"Humph! What would be unexpected? At most, he would've plucked Genesis Fruit without any complications!" Zenith Yin shook his head and spoke without concern.
Layman Qing Yi smiled, but when he thought to say something, a ball of yellow light flashed in the distant sky and streaked towards them like a shooting star. In an instant, everyone was gazing at the sky.
A strange expression was revealed in Han Li's eyes, looking at the light sphere with hidden apprehension.
Han Li couldn't help himself. The other cultivators that saw the might of the Heavenbearing Devil Arts for the first time also revealed expressions of shock.
Under the cover of the yellow light sphere, Man Huzi appeared extremely strange, resembling a terrifying demonic god. Not only was his body emitting a blinding golden light, but his skin was densely covered in coin-sized golden scales. The scales appeared as luminous as pure gold and shined with a grand, chilling light, leaving an impression of being eternally indestructible.
To Zenith Yin's side, Wu Chou gasped and spoke in a daze, "That's the Heavenbearing Devil Arts? It seems truly fearsome!" It seemed he was quite in awe of Man Huzi's appearance.
Zenith Yin coldly glanced at Wu Chou and said with slight annoyance, "Humph! It's merely a tortoise's shell! When I have refined the Profound Yin Arts to perfection realm, they will be no weaker than the Heavenbearing Devil Art."
This suddenly caused Wu Chou to recall that his own ancestor was on bad terms with Man Huzi. Wasn't his praise of Man Huzi deliberately provoking Zenith Yin? He then repeatedly praised his master with an embarrassed appearance before keeping silent.
In the sky, Man Huzi swept his gaze past them and immediately caught sight of Zenith Yin and the others. He dropped down towards them, causing the nearby ground to tremble upon landing.
After landing, Man Huzi's scales retracted from his body, and his golden light gradually faded away.
"It seems Brother Man had a very successful harvest! Why else would you be so happy?" The Confucian-robed old man cupped his hand towards him with a beaming smile.
Man Huzi excitement disappeared upon hearing the old man's question. He answered without hesitation, "Hehe! I've made a few gains. I killed an Ice Striped Toad near the Genesis Fruit Tree. Its inner core will prove to be very beneficial towards my Heavenbearing Devil Arts." Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi found this contrary to expectation. They looked at each other in dismay, not knowing whether he was speaking the truth.
After a moment's pause, Layman Qing Yi's previous smile was restored, and he said, "Then I must congratulate Fellow Daoist Man. If your Heavenbearing Devil Arts progresses, you will have the same strength as the Archsaint of the Six Paths and the Heavenly Star Sages."
Afterwards, Zenith Yin also congratulated him with a calm expression.
Man Huzi chuckled and was about to say something, but he appeared slightly baffled when his eyes fell on Han Li. He remained slightly baffled before his eyes strangely glinted and released a trace of astonishing pressure.
Bearing the brunt of this pressure, Han Li instantly felt his body tense, incapable of moving as if each of his limbs were being weighed down by a thousand kilograms. But what was most shocking to Han Li was the feeling of Man Huzi's icy gaze seeing past both his mind and body.
Han Li's complexion became deathly pale, and he reacted by circulating the Great Development Technique. After a moment, his mind stabilized, returning a bit of blood to his face and restoring control of his body back to normal.
"Yi!" Man Huzi couldn't help but be astonished. He soon revealed a trace of pleasant surprise, but when he thought to do something else, Zenith Yin blurred and appeared in front of Han Li.
Zenith Yin offsetted Man Huzi's imposing pressure and calmly asked, "Brother Man, what are you doing? Why are you bullying my junior disciple?"
"Junior disciple?" Man Huzi blankly stared for a moment before appearing gloomy.
After disdainfully glancing at Wu Chou, he bluntly said, "Zenith Yin, are you making fun of me? Apart from that Youngster Wu Chou, what other disciples did you bring to the Heavenvoid Hall?" He appeared as if he planned to attack if he were to be corrected.
"Hehe, Man Huzi, you misunderstand. Young Friend Han Li has been taken in as a disciple by Fellow Daoist Wu just today. It's no wonder why Fellow Daoist Man didn't know of it." Layman Qing Yi hastily gave an explanation from the side. Currently, Han Li was very important to them. It was natural for him to prevent any mishaps from occurring.
"Zenith Yin, did I hear correctly? You took in a disciple while here?" Man Huzi expressed shocked and sized up Han Li twice through.
"Although he is only an in-name disciple as I've yet to conduct a formal apprenticeship ceremony, Young Friend Han Li is now a member of Zenith Yin Island. I hope Brother Man won't treat me too harshly!" Zenith Yin spoke with a slight smile.
Man Huzi blinked a few times, staring at Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi for a moment before turning his gaze towards Han Li. He then laughed and said, "Good, very good! This disciple of yours is quite good. Needless to say, his spiritual sense is several times greater than that grandson of yours. If you carefully foster him, he will have great prospects in the future! Hehe, great prospects indeed!" That last sentence of his seemed to possess a deeper meaning.
Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi were at a complete loss and looked at each other in confusion.
Zenith Yin frowned and slowly asked, "What does Brother Man mean?"
"There is no meaning. Your in-name disciple is quite good. Are you interested in giving him to me? I feel like this youngster is quite suitable for cultivating my Heavenbearing Devil Arts." Man Huzi spoke without care, but those words greatly frightened his fellow Devil Dao cultivators.
Layman Qing Yi hastily changed the subject. "Brother Man must be joking! Young Friend Han has already become a disciple of Zenith Yin. How can he be so casually changed."
Man Huzi grimly laughed and stroked his beard. He suddenly spoke with a cold tone, "Hehe! If you aren't willing, then let's forget about it. To tell the truth, accepting a disciple is far too troublesome for me! However, why did Fellow Daoist Qing grow so anxious for a disciple of Zenith Yin Island? Could it be that this youngster has something that can't be revealed?"
After this was said, the old man's expression momentarily changed before calmly glancing at Zenith Yin.
Chapter 458: Path of Ice and Fire
Zenith Yin's expression slightly changed. After a moment of silence, he calmly said, "Brother Man, since you have doubts, I won't conceal anything. My junior disciple will prove quite useful during our treasure hunt in the Inner Halls. I hope you will forgive him if he has offended you."
Zenith Yin's words caused Han Li to be extremely annoyed. When could he have possibly offended Man Huzi? Was it not Man Huzi who had forcefully seized the jade pillar from him and left him with a bellyful of anger?!
Naturally, Han Li didn't dare to say this and the words remained in his mind.
With a wave of his arm, Man Huzi lazily said, "Offend? I don't even recognize this youngster. There was no offense! I merely saw that his cultivation technique was quite interesting and I wanted to test it. But, how can a Core Formation cultivator be useful in the Inner Halls? Are you duping me?"
Zenith Yin frowned and hesitated for a momen. Afterwards, he gave Layman Qing Yi an indicative glance. Layman Qing Yi faintly smiled and sent Man Huzi a sound transmission.
Seeing the two's secretive manners, Man Huzi revealed slight disdain. But after he heard the transmission, his expression suddenly changed, and he looked at Han Li in shock.
Man Huzi then asked the old man a few questions with sound transmissions and came to a sudden realization, revealing an icy expression.
Man Huzi narrowed his eyes and stared at Zenith Yin with a sharp gaze. He said in an imposing manner, "Zenith Yin, I was wondering why you would inexplicably take in a disciple. So it turned out you… humph! You sure came up with a good plan!"
"There is no need to be so angry, Brother Man. If you came across a similar matter, perhaps you would've used a similar method. In addition, we've revealed the matter to you and have no intention of monopolizing the harvest. We'll be relying on Brother Man in the coming treasure hunt." Zenith Yin calmly said.
After a moment of thought, Man Huzi's expression grew calm, and he said, "If I don't take action, Wan Tianming and his group of hypocrites wouldn't give you a chance to take the treasure. So let's get the business out the way first. If you get the treasure, how are we splitting it?"
"How about we split the treasure into four? Including Young Friend Han, each person will get a share." Layman Qing Yi had long considered this question and immediately answered.
This answer caused Man Huzi to become angry. With a derisive expression, he said, "Qing Yi, do you really think I'm so easily swindled? Do you really think that you'll be able to handle Wan Tianming when the time comes? And you actually want to split it evenly amongst us?"
The old man sighed and responded with a chuckle, "Don't be angry, Brother Man. It's true that my thoughts aren't entirely fair. How does Brother Man feel it should be decided?"
Man Huzi spoke with a serious expression, "I don't care how much you all receive, I require half of the treasure. After all, Wan Tianming alone is more than enough to deal with the both of you. If I'm going to take him on, then it is only fair that I get half."
Man Huzi's words weren't surprising to Zenith Yin and the old man. They had clearly expected him to make large demands.
Zenith Yin unhurriedly said, "An entire half? Brother Man's appetite is truly great. But don't forget that without my junior disciple's assistance, our odds of acquiring the treasure are pathetically low. My disciple also requires a share."
"Humph! A Core Formation cultivator also gets a share among us?" Man Huzi disdainfully glanced at Han Li.
Han Li's expression stirred for a moment before calming down.
"Hehe! If he were only a rogue cultivator, he obviously wouldn't be entitled to a share of the Heavenvoid Cauldron's treasures. But since he is my disciple, he will get one." Zenith Yin was unwilling to back down.
A stern expression appeared on Man Huzi's face. Just as he thought to say something, the old man rushed to propose a compromise, "There is no need to fight. How about this? When we acquire the treasure, we'll split the treasure into five. Two shares will go to Brother Man and the other three will go to the rest of us. Surely, that is fair?"
Man Huzi blankly stared for a moment, before stroking his beard in silence.
Zenith Yin immediately declared his position with a heavy voice, "I find these conditions acceptable. What do you think, Brother Man?"
"Fine! Although I am not still not satisfied, it is better than the previous proposal." Man Huzi wrinkled his brow and spoke with an annoyed tone.
He had already figured out that Zenith Yin and the old man had joined hands, and that the proposed conditions were likely their bottom line. As such, he was unable to pressure them too strongly.
As the Devil Dao eccentrics were discussing how to split their not yet acquired treasures, Wan Tianming and the Righteous Dao cultivators were also having a secret discussion about the treasures.
"Sect Master Wan, how certain are you that your Gold Threaded Silkworm will be able take out the Heavenvoid Cauldron? There have been many experts in the past that thought to acquire this treasure, but not one of them were successful. I fear we will also be unsuccessful." Daoist Priest Tian Wuzi spoke with worry.
Wan Tianming calmly said, "Be at ease. While my Gold Threaded Silkwork doesn't have high odds, we did acquire the Sky Azure Flower. So long as I feed it to the silkworm when we acquire the treasure and overexert it, we will have at least a four percent chance of success. That can already be considered high."
"This humble Daoist also knows of this. I merely felt ill at ease when thinking of this matter. I am ashamed. It seems my own cultivation is lacking and my mind must be further polished." Tian Wuzi spoke with slight embarrassment.
Wan Tianming chuckled, "Hehe, I am also deeply worried that those two old freaks, the Heavenly Star Sages, would acquire the treasures of the Heavenvoid. It is only human nature. As we are mere cultivators, we aren't desireless like true Immortals."
The old farmer then said, "However, Sect Master Man had better keep watch on those Devil Dao cultivators. They are secretly talking about something. They seem to have just had some internal strife, but now they are bantering as if nothing happened. Are those Devil Dao cultivators scheming something?"
Having heard this, Wan Tianming looked at the Devil Dao cultivators in the distance who had finished their negotiations and scoffed.
Then with a solemn expression, he said, "While the techniques and might of the Devil Dao are powerful, their temperaments are easily distorted. A few strange displays isn't out of the ordinary. There is nothing to make a fuss about! Even if we fail in our attempt, we must also make sure that the Heavenvoid Cauldron doesn't fall into the hands of the Devil Dao. After all, Zenith Yin's mutant fire serpent is also a spirit beast capable of acquiring the treasure."
"Sect Master Wan speaks truly! If the Devil Dao acquires it, they will flourish. With the current weakness of the Star Palace, we cannot allow the Devil Dao to replace the Star Palace as hegemon of the Scattered Star Seas." Tian Wuzi repeatedly nodded his head.
Wan Tianming was very pleased and thought to say something more when the blue-red light from the huge mountain suddenly flourished. The walls near the entrance to the canyon started to tremendously shake, splitting open two separate passageways. It seemed that they lead into the canyon.
A meter tall stone slab emerged at each of the entrances with the words "Path of Profound Crystal" and "Path of Molten Rock" in ancient characters.
Suddenly, the cultivators closest to the entrances hurriedly took a step forward.
Those that approached the entrance to the Path of Molten Rock grew light headed and felt their mouths dry from the gust of scorching heat that flew past them.
As for those near the entrance to the Path of Profound Crystal, it continuously emitted a white, ice-cold aura. The faint whistling of harsh winds caused one's heart to grow cold.
Upon seeing the white path ? "Han Li, lets go. We will gather up again on the other side of the paths of ice and fire. Although I am incapable of personally bringing you through them, I will give you a treasure to resist either the cold or heat depending on what path you choose."
When Han Li was traversing the ghost mist, he had been informed about the paths of ice and fire by Fairy Violet Spirit.
He knew that after setting foot in the passage, he would be teleported to a predetermined area in the canyon. There was very little chance that he would be teleported together with others as had been reaffirmed by Zenith Yin.
After some thought, Han Li slowly said, "I will walk the path of molten rock. I happen to possess some fire resistant clothes that might prove to be useful.
Zenith Yin took out a deep blue jade pendant from his storage pouch without hesitation and handed it over to Han Li. "Alright, take good care of this. With this item, you should have no problems passing through the trial, given your cultivation."
When Man Huzi saw this, he insincerely smiled and said, "This is truly unexpected. Such a miserly person as Zenith Yin actually showed a moment of generosity. Isn't that your White Rhino Emblem?"