A majority of elemental high grade talismans actually weren't particularly powerful, and were inferior to magic treasures. This often resulted in the abandoned pursuit of five element magic techniques once a cultivator achieved Core Formation.
This, however, did not mean that all high grade magic techniques were useless. To Han Li's knowledge, there were many five element magic techniques that were powerful to the extent that even Nascent Soul cultivators wouldn't dare to directly block them. However, these magic techniques were incredibly difficult to cultivate while comprehending them was rather complicated, and they were even more inconvenient to use. In the time it took to employ them, it would be better to use magic treasures to attack.
However, Han Li had heard other cultivators mention that the Moulan spell warriors broke through these limits and researched many powerful 'spirit techniques' that could be deployed in an instant, enabling their low grade spell warriors to rival enemy cultivators of a similar level without the use of talismans or magic tools. As for their high grade cultivators, they were able to combine their spirit techniques with their magic treasures for double the lethality; this allowed them to overcome similar grade cultivators without problem.
It was these capabilities that forced the several superpowers in the Heavenly South to unite against the Moulan Tribes. Even then only self preservation was possible; they were unable of truly defeating the enemy.
Ever since Han Li had condensed a Nascent Soul, he began to study the shallowest high grade magic techniques in acknowledgement of his shortcomings. However, the speed with which he could employ these few high grade techniques could only be described as tragic. The only way he could see himself utilizing these techniques was if he were merely smashing through a tortoise's shell. In half the time it took to cast the technique, a cultivator at the same stage could've already killed him eight times over.
Nevertheless, a simultaneous attack from a high grade talisman and magic treasure makes for an extremely deadly combination. If those talismans were able to be used like low grade ones in a barrage of thirty at a time, even late Nascent Soul cultivators would have no choice but to flee the battle. After all, this would be equivalent to the simultaneous strikes of thirty Nascent Soul cultivators. Even if the target cultivator had defenses that were heaven-defying, they were still bound by the limits of the Nascent Soul stage and be incapable of receiving such an attack.
However, this tactic could only remain imaginary as no one would be so wasteful as to consume several hundred thousands of spirit stones in a single attack. Moreover, high grade talismans weren't something that could be purchased in the cultivation world, and a majority of them were auxiliary in nature, not offensive.
As Han Li mused about this, he walked the streets of the market city and continuously browsed through the larger magic tool and mixed good stores. Normally, only the larger shops would have top grade talisman brushes for sale.
There was no need for him to consider the smaller shops. They weren't likely to have anything apart from ordinary magic tools, let alone top grade ones.
While there was a slim possibility of a small store carrying such a rare item, Han Li was unwilling to waste the time necessary to search through each one. With so many shops in Soaring Heavens City, he simply didn't have time to go searching through all of them.
In addition to Han Li, there were many other cultivators walking down both sides of the street and purchasing their own desired items. While a majority of them were at the Foundation Establishment stage, there was also an occasional Core Formation cultivator. As for Qi Condensation cultivators, there were hardly any of them apart from the city's natives.
Han Li concealed his cultivation as a mid Core Formation cultivator while he browsed through the markets, merely attracting a few respectful glances from Foundation Establishment cultivators. As for Core Formation cultivators, they simply ignored him after a glance when they didn't recognize him. He was able to avoid much attention in this manner and was could take his time browsing through each of the large stores.
Just as Han Li left another pavilion feeling disappointed, he discovered that most of the day had unknowingly passed.
With darkness falling, the various stores began to successively place down moonlight stones. After a moment of hesitation, Han Li decided to look through two more stores before returning to his residence.
Right after coming to this decision, he heard the sounds of a quarrel not far away from him. There were a group of cultivators that had curiously gathered around the source of the noise.
Han Li frowned as he immediately placed his hands behind his back, before he expressionlessly turned around and began to walk back to his residence.
As he took his first step, he heard a fierce and resentful voice, "What, are all of you Drifting Cloud Sect cultivators merely thieves? You want to just walk away after ruining my talisman?"
A young man's voice loudly refuted him with an angry tone, "It isn't that I don't want to pay, but that I am short on spirit stones since I've just bought other items. Also, this is only an elementary mid-grade firecloud talisman. How could it possibly cost three hundred spirit stones? It should only cost a hundred spirit stones at most. Moreover, didn't I offer to leave my sect medallion here as collateral? I'll return once I've borrowed some spirit stones from my sect members at the inn."
Han Li ceased his steps as the man's voice seemed familiar. It seemed to be someone he recognized from the Drifting Cloud Sect.
Han Li rubbed his chin and pondered for a moment before heading in the direction of the dispute. Regardless of who it was, he was a grand elder of the Drifting Cloud Sect after all. It was unbecoming of him to feign ignorance and walk away.
A short moment later, Han Li found himself looking at a small miscellaneous goods store from a distance. There seemed to be several cultivators standing in front of it in confrontation. Amongst them was a heroic black-clothed figure, Firecloud Mountain's Sun Huo who Han Li had last seen at the Sword Trial Assembly.
In a short twenty years, this youth had experienced a vast increase in cultivation despite the little change to his appearance. He was currently being confronted by three cultivators with unfriendly appearances who seemed to be the shopkeeper and his assistants.
At that moment, the short-bearded shopkeeper glared at Sun Huo and said, "A single worthless medallion is useless to me. You can simply return to the Drifting Cloud Sect and leave it behind, but I can't track you down all the way over to the State of Xi. So quit talking nonsense. Since you don't have any spirit stones, lay out the items in your storage pouch and I will hold them as collateral. As for that Firecloud Talisman, you believe it to only be a mid grade talisman but it is actually a quality good refined by a talisman grandmaster of our Soaring Heavens City. As such it's already generous to only charge three hundred spirit stones. Could it be that all Drifting Cloud Sect cultivators are such scoundrels?"
Once that was said, the shopkeeper glanced at the wooden box in his assistant's hands and revealed a regretful expression as if he had suffered a great loss.
Sun Huo unexpectedly responded to these words with a smile, "Fine! The things are yours. If you say it, then so be it. This ordinary Firecloud Talisman was refined by a talisman grandmaster."
"What? Are you able to tell whether or not it was refined by a talisman grandmaster? Do you simply wish not to pay us back? In that case, don't blame me for notifying the city's enforcers." The shopkeeper coldly laughed and bluntly threatened him.
Sun Huo's face turned white then red as there was little question as to which party the Nine Nations Union enforcers would favor. Moreover, this matter was vague and unclear so he was all but certain to lose the dispute!
His expression wavered for a long while before he stepped forward. He slapped the storage pouch at his waist and took out a bundle of talismans.
Sun Huo gritted his teeth and said, "Although these talismans aren't of a high grade, they are worth at least three hundred spirit stones."
The shopkeeper's expression relaxed and he reached out to take the talismans, "This will do!"
"Yi! Not this one!" Before the shopkeeper took the talismans, Sun Huo swept his gaze over them and his expression vastly changed as he pulled back the talismans. He immediately took the half-torn yellow talisman back before handing over the rest of the talismans.
The shopkeeper was stunned for a moment before sneering, "Humph! You're so nervous over a torn piece of blank talisman paper? Are you Drifting Cloud Sect cultivators really so poor?" He then reached once more to take the talismans.
But at that moment, a figure suddenly appeared between the two in a blur.
Sun Huo felt his heart drop while the shopkeeper hastily took several steps back and furiously shouted, "Who are you? What do you think you're doing?"
The cultivator that interrupted them expressionlessly responded, "It's nothing. I merely overheard our Drifting Cloud Sect being mentioned in a certain way three times in a row. How about your esteemed self say it to my face?"
Once that was said an astonishing pressure was released, causing the nearby cultivators to recoil in shock. A few of the cultivators with shallower cultivation felt as if Mount Tai itself now weighed down on them and they immediately kneeled.
The two Core Formation cultivators that happened to pass by fared somewhat better but their bodies were also shaken. One of them became panic-stricken and they cried out, "Nascent Soul cultivator! Senior, you..."