Chapter 567: Heavenly Omen
Yuan Yao looked at the sky before turning her head to Han Li. In a sincere tone, she said, "In four hours time, the Yin Qi will be at its strongest. That's when I'll begin to use the Soulrise Technique. The entire process will take three days so during that time, I will have to trouble you to guard me."
Han Li nodded and looked around the valley. He frowned, asking, "Apart from the illusion formation, there seems to be nothing else. Won't it be dangerous if a strong enemy were to fully occupy my attention and leave you vulnerable?"
Yuan Yao bit her lip and spoke with a hint of helplessness, "I know, but I don't possess anymore powerful spell formation tools, and didn't I have much time to prepare. So it's a risk I have to take."
Han Li crossed his arms and held his chin in his hand, before saying, "In that case, leave the spell formations to me! I still have a few sets of spell formation tools that hold decent strength. Although they are by no means exceptional, it's still better than leaving you undefended."
Since he had already decided to help, he may as well do his best!
When Yuan Yao heard him, her eyes shined delight as she said, "Brother Han, you're proficient in the Dao of Formation Spells? Since that's the case, I will feel much more at ease when I'm undergoing the ritual. Thank you for your troubles!"
Han Li silently smiled in return and then took off to the skies and examined the valley's surroundings.
He slowly descended back onto the island a short moment later as he thought thought, 'Since time is short, I should start putting down the formations right away!'
With that, Han Li began to wave his arms and produced slivers of consciousness, summoning over a dozen huge ape puppets at his side. He then took out many sets of spell formation tools and handed them to the puppets. Han Li stood there and used his spiritual sense to control the puppets and had them start laying down formations around the valley.
Yuan Yao curiously gazed at the puppets' movements for a moment, but then began to hurriedly make her own preparations. The Soulrise Technique was no trivial affair! To fully employ the technique, it required extremely careful preparations. Additionally, one needed to test the formation on the ground to avoid any mistakes from occurring part way through.
Elsewhere on the island, Han Li managed to place down five moderately powerful spell formations within two hours with the aid of his ape puppets. Although they wouldn't be able to withstand persistent attacks from a Core Formation cultivator, they would be more than enough to deal with any Foundation Establishment cultivators.
At the heart of the valley, Yuan Yao finished placing down all of the spirit stones for the spell formation, and struck the crux of the formation with an incantation seal, activating the spell formation. In response, the spell formation began to hum and flicker with a jet-black light. Eerie strands of black Qi suddenly began to appear around the formation, converging towards the glacial jade coffin at the center.
Yuan Yao revealed satisfaction at the sight and hastily struck the formation with another incantation seal, stopping the spell formation.
Yuan Yao walked out of the spell formation and turned to Han Li, while happily saying, "There doesn't seem to be any problems. The spell formation is working as expected."
After seeing her cheerful smile, Han Li slowly said, "Fellow Daoist Yuan! Have you thought this through clearly? After shattering your core, your path to immortal cultivation will cease. It will be nearly impossible to climb back up to Core Formation stage."
Yuan Yao's smile disappeared and after a brief moment of silence, she calmly said, "If it ends, then let it end. The only reason I was able to live until now was so I could accomplish this." Yuan Yao then combed a strand of loose hair from her face to the side and emotionlessly said, "Brother Han doesn't know what relationship I had with my Senior Martial Sister. I grew up with her ever since I was small and for tens of years, we lived together, ate together, and cultivated together in our sect. We may as well have been true sisters. When we killed the Azure Yang Young Sect Master, she blocked a retaliatory strike aimed at me and perished as result. As such, it is only right that I suffer from the Soulrise Technique for her. So long as Senior Martial Sister's primal soul doesn't perish and she regains her fleshly body, a shattered core is a trivial cost."
An odd expression momentarily appeared on Han Li's face. After muttering to himself for a moment, he nodded his head and no longer tried to dissuade her.
Yuan Yao returned to the center of the spell formation and sat down in front of the glacial jade coffin while waiting for the optimal time to start.
Not a word was spoken until she eventually looked at the skies and slowly stood up.
"It's time. Let's start! Regardless of whether or not the Soulrise Technique succeeds, I will always remember your kindness, Brother Han, and will be forever grateful." Yuan Yao gracefully saluted Han Li before activating the formation beneath her without any reservations.
Han Li sighed and slowly walked out of the valley. A moment later, the surrounding Yin Qi began to flow towards the formation. Even with his current cultivation, he didn't wish to be near such a vast quantity of Yin Qi.
Han Li stopped once he left the valley and turned around.
Yin winds began to gather around the spell formation and a faint layer of black light had begun to cover the area as ghostly wails filled the air.
Han Li then expressionlessly sat down outside the valley entrance and began to slowly release his spiritual sense, keeping the entire island and the nearby seas within his sights. As he remained motionless, he frowned and revealed a bitter smile.
At that moment, Han Li realized why Yuan Yao had requested him to act as her protector. Her previous description of the Soulrise Technique's external impact during the ritual was a vast understatement!
Han Li came back to his senses with something of a headache.The Yin winds had already obstructed most of the valley from view while sand and stones filled the air as they blew all over. Ghostly sobs reverberated throughout the valley. The heart of the formation was shining with blinding black light and was surrounded with Yin Qi so dense that the very sight of it inspired fear.
What Han Li found most shocking was the black cloud that had appeared five kilometers in the air at some unknown time. It roiled with Yin Qi and released startling claps of thunder as it started to take the form of a cone pointed downward at the valley.
This was clearly the sign of a heavenly omen. Any cultivators living in the nearby seas were certain to be shocked. After all, this astonishing scene wasn't normally accompanied by a treasure, but by a human performing a heretical act that defied the Heavens. Such a scene would arouse a great curiosity in anyone who saw it.
Furthermore, who knew whether or not this would provoke a fearsome character?
As Han Li inwardly considered this, his expression stirred while he gazed into the distance.
Eight streaks of light were approaching the island from the southwest. In an instant, they had stopped five kilometers away from the island, revealing a group of male and female cultivators. They were led by an old grey-haired Foundation Establishment cultivator, while the rest of them were youths that were only at the eighth layer of Qi Condensation at most.
From their matching blue robes, they appeared to all be from the same sect.
The old man in charge gazed at the heavenly omen with a doubtful expression as his expression fluctuated.
A twenty year old female cultivator saw that the old man that was gazing at the island in silence and couldn't help but quickly propose, "Martial Uncle Zhao, let's quickly see what's happening on the island. Maybe a treasure has emerged!"
The old man glanced at the woman and rebuked her, "Hui Ling, you are far too rash. Look at the signs. Even if a treasure emerged here, it would be devilish and cursed. Moreover, it is quite possible that an expert is either refining something or employing a devilish technique. If you were to rush in there and cause disturbance, you'd only be seeking death."
The woman revealed a trace of dissatisfaction, but didn't dare to further speak.
One of the older male disciples glanced at the black clouds above the small island and asked, "Martial Uncle! What are we waiting around for?"
"Be at ease. With such a large disturbance, it's all but certain for others to be around. Action will only be taken after the situation is fully understood. Remember, our Grand Sun Sect has only lasted until now due to the cautious discernment of its inner disciples. Never make any rash decisions. Even with such potentially gargantuan profits before us, we must also consider whether or not we can preserve our lives." The old man lectured the disciples behind him as he stared at the small island.
The rest of the young disciples naturally agreed.
Not long after the old man spoke, a green and a yellow streak of light approached the island from a different direction. They discovered the old man's party and stopped about three hundred meters away from them.
The light faded away to reveal a black-robed man that appeared about forty years of age with a stiff face, and an elegant woman beside him that appeared to be in her late twenties. With a pleasant voice, the woman warmly asked the old man, "So it's the Grand Sun Sect's Fellow Daoist Zhao. Do you know what is going on at the island? Why has a heavenly omen appeared?"