A cultivator with an elderly appearance twirled the beard in his hand and said, "Oh, I am rather interested in these puppets. It is a good life-saving item to give to my youngest disciple, but what does Daoist Heavencrystal want for it?"
Daoist Heavencrystal calmly said, "Hehe, this humble Daoist is looking for particularly rare items from the time of antiquity known as soul stones. Each soul stone may be exchanged for a single puppet beast. These puppets were personally refined from cultivators of antiquity. I reckon that there are no other high grade puppets in the entire world."
'Soul stone?' Upon hearing this unfamiliar name, the cultivators present wore doubtful expression. This was something they had never heard of before.
Daoist Heavencrystal wasn't surprised by this. He slapped his storage pouch and summoned a thumb-sized jade-green gem into his palm. At first glance, it appeared similar to be wood-attribute spirit stone, but once the cultivators swept their spiritual sense past it, they discovered that the spirit stone emitted an unfathomably cold fluctuations, completely different from that of a wood-attribute spirit stone.
With the gem in his hand, the old Daoist slowly said, "Perhaps there are a few Fellow Daoists that possess this item, but hadn't known of its name. I happen to have one in my possession so that you may recognize it."
A Devil Dao cultivator wrapped in black Qi yelped in astonishment, "How odd! It seems similar to ghost energy, but it is far more pure."
Daoist Heavencrystal straightforwardly replied, "I don't know what it is that the stone contains, but it definitely isn't ordinary ghost Qi. Else, I wouldn't be willing to exchange a single stone for one of these puppets."
"Oh! That's true." The Devil Dao cultivator tactfully dropped the subject.
When Han Li clearly saw this gem, his expression underneath the mask vastly changed and his eyes flickered.
If he saw correctly, this soul stone was clearly the umbra beast crystals that he obtained from the Umbra Realm. Of course, beast crystals was merely the name used by the natives. Its true name as the cultivators of antiquity called it seemed to be soul stones.
Han Li pondered, 'This Daoist Heavencrystal not only took out those puppets but he also gathered many soul stones. Both appeared at Heavenvoid Hall. It seems this person..."
The soul stones were clearly rarely seen items. After a long while, only a single cultivator hesitantly took one out and traded it for a single beast puppet.
Daoist Heavencrystal called out several more times, but no one stepped forward. He couldn't help feel somewhat disappointed despite having predicted this.
Just as he was about to put away the beast puppets, someone suddenly stood up. The old man's spirits were roused and he glanced at this person with delight, "Fellow Daoist, do you also have soul stones?"
Han Li silently flipped his hand and a green gem appeared in his hand.
This gem was the size of an chicken egg, far larger than the thumb-sized gem that the old Daoist took out. Its icy Qi could be seen by the naked eye.
Daoist Heavencrystal was shocked by the sight and grew vastly delighted, "Fellow Daoist, it is truly rare for a soul stone to be so powerful. How about Fellow Daoist pick two of the puppets? I definitely won't have you suffer loss."
Han Li shook his head with a faint smile.
Daoist Heavencrystal wasn't angered in the slightest and amiably asked, "What? Does Fellow Daoist think this is too little? How many would you like?"
Han Li calmly asked, "How about for all of the puppets?"
The old Daoist frowned and gloomily said, "For all six? Doesn't Fellow Daoist feel this is too greedy?"
"Hehe, not at all! You should know understand this from the soul stone's size alone. Moreover, to you, such a large soul stone would..." Han Li stared at Daoist Heavencrystal and abruptly stopped his words.
When Daoist Heavencrystal heard this, his expression changed and gave Han Li and deep, appraising stare. After a moment of silence, he said, "Alright. Such a large soul stone is truly rarely seen. I am in urgent need of this item so I will exchange all of them."
The other cultivators in the room were shocked by what they heard and couldn't help but take a look at the egg-sized gem in Han Li's grasp. A person capable of exchanging for so many rare items as once was certainly someone to take note of.
With an entirely calm expression, he handed over the gem with a lowered head and swept his sleeve over the table, instantly taking the puppets into his storage pouch.
However, the other cultivators didn't notice that Han Li's lips had moved in the instant he lowered his head. A bewildered expression flickered from Daoist Heavencrystal's face when he heard of this and his eyes brightly shined. At that moment, Han Li had already returned to his original position with the puppets in his grasp.
Next, Daoist Heavencrystal announced an end to the trade meet and the many cultivators began to leave.
When Han Li's party left the pavilion, no one spoke until they arrived two streets away. The Child Fire Dragon bluntly spoke with an elderly tone, "Fellow Daoists, I will not be able to accompany you. I have another appointment."
Lu Luo smiled and said, "If Brother Lan has matters to attend to, please go. Our residences are near each other. There will plenty of chances to meet again."
"Yes, I'll be taking my leave!" The Child Fire Dragon bid his farewell without any reservations and walked towards another street."
As Han Li gazed at him from a distance, he smiled and said, "Fellow Daoist Fire Dragon is truly a wonderful person!"
"Because Fellow Daoist Lan mistakenly ate a strange plant when he was young, his appearance is generally that of a child. However, he is forthright and outspoken, and is one of our friends from outside the sect. He is also the sole Ancient Sword Sect elder that is friendly with our Drifting Cloud Sect.
When Han Li heard this, he frowned and said, "You mean to say the elders of the Ancient Sword Sect don't have a high opinion of the Drifting Cloud Sect?"
After taking a glance around, Lu Luo said, "That's right. Junior Martial Brother Han, do you have any plans? Are you going to return to take a rest or will you be purchasing some other items?"
Han Li honestly replied, "There are a few particular materials that I need to buy. I plan on taking a look at the nearby markets alone and seeing whether or not I can obtain unexpected gains."
When Lu Luo heard that Han Li wished to go by himself, he raised no objections and said, "Just as it so happened, I also plan on purchasing some items as well. Let's part ways for now."
As a result, Han Li and Lu Luo immediately split up.
The markets of Soaring Heavens City were countless times larger than the market city of the Dreamcloud Mountains.
Han Li was walking down a road of the city's western market as he examined the streets on either side. The words Han Li said to Lu Luo weren't false. He did plan on purchasing a few rarer talisman refinement materials in preparations to refine a few high grade talismans.
Although he still possessed some spirit beast hides and blood from his time in the Scattered Star Seas, he lacked supplementary materials such as high grade talisman paper and cinnabar. He needed to raise his skills by an entire realm in preparation to refine the Spirit Subjugation Talisman.
Although he hadn't carefully researched the Spirit Subjugation Talisman, the boneshard that recorded it mentioned that its might was truly powerful. As something that would be able to use it to save his life during a crucial moment, Han Li wasn't about to easily relinquish it.
However, this talisman was far more complicated and difficult than refinine ordinary elemental talismans. He had to improve his odds of success by not only improving he talisman refinement abilities but also acquiring a new talisman brush. His original brush was no longer useful.
Unfortunately, while the talisman refinement materials were readily purchasable, a satisfactory brush was hard to come by. He already had encountered two stores before that were selling top grade talisman brushes, but after he examined the, he could only shake his head and depart. While these talisman brushes could be used to refine ordinary high grade talismans, they lacked the ability to refine a secret talisman on the level of the Spirit Subjugation Talisman.
Talisman brushes were only spirit tools that were used by talisman masters, and weren't commonly seen. Most of them were of low or mid grade quality. If a talisman master lacked the magic power, forcibly using a high grade talisman brush would only increase their odds of failure.
Additionally, talisman masters were often too dedicated to their talisman refinement techniques and didn't spent much time increasing their cultivation, resulting in a cast majority of talisman cultivators being below Core Formation stage. In the entirety of the Heavenly South, there were only a sparse few Core Formation stage talisman refinement masters.
As for any Nascent Soul stage, there were no such abnormal characters as far as Han Li was aware of. A majority of cultivators that reached Nascent Soul stage were specialized talisman refinement masters.
Nascent Soul cultivators were also diverse in their talisman refinement techniques. Most of them would only be able to refine one or two types of high grade talismans for their own use, but because high grade spirit beast hides and high grade beast blood was rare, they couldn't be refined in great number. As for the success rate, it was beyond poor as one could imagine.
This led to single high grade talismans occasionally being worth quite a bit more than a top grade magic tool.