The two high grade spell warriors at the black figure's side whispered something as if discussing how to destroy the grand formation ahead of them. Once the two finished their discussion, the oddly tall, shriveled cultivator blurred out of side and reappeared at the side of the black-robed figure while wrapped in azure light.
"Sir Heavenweep, shall we start? The grand formation here should prove to be more powerful than the last. I've also heard that there should be a few Nascent Soul cultivators there. I fear that it will take quite some time."
"There is no need for us to attack first." tThe black-robed spell warrior shook his head. "They have already decided to emerge. Let's first see how powerful these cultivators are before we decide what to do." He spoke hoarsely and unclear almost as if he didn't have a tongue, much to the unease of those who heard him.
When the lanky spell warrior heard this, he blinked in surprise and glanced down towards the green mist. As expected, a previously still area of the green mist suddenly began to roil and split into two with flickers of light that could be seen from within.
Soon after, seven streaks of light shot out from within. They circled once around in the sky before revealing themselves — they were the party of five Nascent Soul stage and two Core Formation stage cultivators.
Under the bald man's command, there would be no low grade cultivators following them with the exception of the Core Formation cultivators from Sky Terrace Valley and Chong Xuzi.
Han Li stopped in the air and glanced across the army of spell warriors. Of course, the ten spell warriors leading them had attracted his attention, particularly the sinister black-robed figure. He wasn't able to stare for long as he unconsciously averted his gaze.
When he saw this black-robed figure, he was immediately reminded of the Bone Sage, Xiao Cha.
'Could it be this person was also a ghost Dao cultivator?' Han Li's heart trembled and he grew vastly more diligent.
Before the Bone Sage seized Crooked Soul's body, his material form was dense with Yin and ghostly Qi. However, there was something slightly different with the black-robed figure's aura that Han Li couldn't describe for the time being.
As Han Li and company arrived, the spell warriors above began to stir. The spell warrior with the python wrapped around him suddenly transformed into a huge ball of light as it shot down towards the cultivators. When Han Li and company saw this, they coldly watched in silence, revealing not a single trace of panic.
So long as that spell warrior wasn't seeking his own death, he wouldn't dare to take the initiative to attack alone. As a result, the group of cultivators simply watched with hostile gazes as the huge fireball arrived twenty meters away from them. The flames emitted a scorching heat even from a distance, to the alarm of the many cultivators before them.
A silhouette leaked through the flames, followed by a thunderous voice that shook the very air nearby, "I am the Fire Rite Tribe's Great Sage Ku Yao. Since you've arrived, you must be planning to first test our skills. How do you intend to have a competition? One on one? Or a melee?"
The bald man glared at the fireball and icily replied, "One on one. May the Heavens decide who survives."
Ku Yao wildly laughed from within the fireball, "Good, that's just what I wanted. I will be the first of your opponents. Prepare someone to come forward."
The cultivators were furious by this, but Old Man Ma was particularly sullen. With an expression filled with killing intent, his body transformed into a streak of white light and he flew forward. The bald man hesitated for a moment, but he didn't stop the old man and silently allowed him to be the first to battle.
From his point of view, he had no idea who amongst them possessed the greatest strength. Of course, he hadn't considered Han Li, who had just recently entered Nascent Soul stage.
When Ku Yao saw the streak of white light fly forward, he silently flew back and Old Man Ma followed until they were at the center between the spell warrior army and the green mist. In this manner, both of them would be able to act without any need to hold back or fear of a sudden ambush from either side.
The bald man turned to look at the horse-faced cultivator and solemnly asked, "What are the abilities of this Moulan Sage? Does he have any particular techniques?"
A trace of resentment appeared on his face as he answered, "His fire attribute techniques are incredibly powerful. The flame python on his body is particularly nimble as well — it is difficult to defend against. A fellow Core Formation guard of Sky Terrace Valley had been turned to ashes by that python after being caught."
"Oh, it was like that!" The bald man then turned to the side and doubtfully said, "Brother Gu, if I remember correctly, the Grand Pavilion's Grand Righteousness Arts is impervious to heat and flame, not to mention ghosts and wickedness. He should have an advantage against this spell warrior."
With a hesitant expression in his eyes, Gu Shuangpu slowly said, "It's hard to say. If they're common fire attribute techniques, the Grand Righteousness Arts would be able to deal with them without a problem. But if it's against a spell warrior's techniques that display the three essences of worldly spirit flames, I fear it would be beyond the scope of the Grand Righteousness Arts.
Regardless, Fellow Daoist Ma is still the most suitable among us to fight this person. Even if his Grand Righteous Arts are unable to suppress the flames, they should be able to withstand the devilish influence of the flames. There won't be any worry of inner demon backlash."
When the bald man heard this, he felt his thoughts were certain and he relaxed for a moment before breathing out a long sigh.
Han Li glanced at the fire python that laid within the huge fireball and he felt his heart stir. With blue light flickering from his eyes, an odd expression was momentarily betrayed from his face.
At that moment, Old Man Ma held his hands together in an incantation gesture and a layer of soft white light began to glow from his body. At that same moment, he opened his mouth and spat out a silver speck of light the size of a walnut. In a large gust of wind, the silver light transformed into a ruler. It trembled for a moment before flickering with a thousand silver lights and releasing a cry similar to the holiest phoenix of the highest heavens.
Rather than act, Ku Yao remained still and indifferently glanced at the old man with folded arms with a sneer on his face. This display had inspired fury in Old Man Ma, and he coldly snorted before deciding to take the initiative to attack.
At that moment, he suddenly heard a faint voice transmission in his ear, so faint it was nearly inaudible but clear nonetheless. Old Man Ma was alarmed by what he heard, and he bewilderedly glanced around before his gaze fell onto Han Li.
Han Li gently smiled at the old man in response. With both amazement and doubt in mind, he turned his gaze back to Ku Yao and his expression sank.
Old Man Ma's gaze flickered several times and he sullenly said, "That fire python of yours isn't an ordinary spirit beast!"
Ku Yao paused for a moment before sneering, "Oh? So you have some judgement after all. My fire python is formed from a worldly fire spirit. It isn't comparable to a spirit beast in the slightest."
His body trembled for a moment and the fire python on his body brightly shined with red light before taking to the skies. A horn suddenly emerged from the python's head and fierce claws grew from its body, revealing its form to be a fire flood dragon with sparkling red scales. It roiled in a fierce display as it flew above Ku Yao's head.
"Transformed fire spirit!" The bald man couldn't help but shout from his alarm. As for Gu Shuangpu, his expression grew unsightly.
Old Man Ma felt his heart drop. His opponent's flame techniques had reached a stage where he could refine and transform fire spirits. This wasn't something an ordinary Nascent Soul stage spell warrior was capable of. There was going to be a fierce battle ahead of him.
With that thought, Old Man Ma erased his original plan of only using seventy percent of his strength to fight the enemy. He took a deep breath and widely swept his sleeve, summoning an item that was wrapped in a rainbow glow. It circled once around his head and stopped a meter above it.
At that moment, the cultivators below and the spell warriors in the distance both watched with curiosity. A treasure that was able to flicker with rainbow light was likely something of exceptional quality.
Han Li also glanced at this item. The item was round and slim, a meter-long faintly yellow scroll. The scroll faced Ku Yao and slowly unrolled itself as Old Man Ma began to gravely chant a incantation. As a result, the scroll revealed a drawing of an ordinary eight trigram diagram.
Old Man Ma then struck the scroll with a seemingly basic spell seal and had the scroll shine brightly, suddenly releasing astonishing fluctuations from the diagram.
When Ku Yao saw these fluctuations, he knew things were far from good and immediately pointed at the old man. The fire flood dragon floating above his head suddenly opened its mouth and spouted an unending stream of scarlet flames, instantly engulfing Old Man Ma and the eight trigram diagram in a sea of flames.