"Putting yourself in danger over a woman? It seems I've overestimated you." The black-robed man muttered to himself and turned to look at the simple transportation formation next to him.
When he sensed that Han Li was only a few tens of kilometers away, he stood up and walked towards the transportation formation in large strides. A moment later, he disappeared in a flash of white light.
At that moment, Han Li felt the black-robed man suddenly disappear. Alarm ringing through his head, he thought, "What use is there in using a concealment technique? Is he plotting against me?" He then continued onward with complete vigilance.
"This is..." When Han Li arrived at the top of Heavenpillar Mountain and saw the eye-catching transportation formation placed there, his expression changed. His gaze then turned to the boulder at its side, which had the words, "Do not be late," carved into it.
When Han Li read these words, his expression grew unsightly and he cursed his enemy's cunning.
Although he was able to see that it was a simple transportation formation that couldn't travel far away, if he took it he would fall right into the enemy's trap. Even worse was that he couldn't know whether or not Senior Martial Brother Cheng's party would follow him.
From what was carved in the stone, it was clear to see that the black-robed man wasn't willing to meet with him and give him the opportunity to negotiate. If Han Li delayed for too long, the black-robed man may decide to leave and he couldn't afford to take that risk.
If Han Li wanted to find the method to dissolve the Soul Seal Curse, he could only take the risk of using the formation.
Han Li's expression wavered for a time, before he eventually came to a decision. He first swept the nearby area to see whether or not there were any devil cultivators hiding nearby. Then, he took out a sound transmission talisman and whispered into it before tossing it into the air, launching it through the sky in a streak of red light.
Afterwards, Han Li took the spirit beast pouch from his waist and summoned its contents into the air. Black-tainted Gold Devouring Beetles that just appeared then swarmed around him and transformed into a tri-colored suit of armor covering his body.
With a fling of his sleeve, he summoned a small blue shield in front of him and in a flash of white light, an embroidered scarf appeared in his hand.
Han Li lowered his head to look at the embroidered scarf and a strange expression appeared in his eyes. The embroidered scarf was a protective treasure that Nangong Wan had given him, and he stroked its smooth cloth as he silently stood there.
A moment later, Han Li raised his hand and placed several protective barriers on his body before finally stepping into the transportation formation. He then took a deep breathe and raised his hands, striking at the corner of the formation with a spell seal. White light flashed and Han Li disappeared without a trace.
At the center of a nameless island in a small lake several thousand kilometers away from Heavenpillar Mountain, Han Li appeared in a flash of white light.
In the moment he arrived, he disregarded the discomfort from the teleportation and ordered his blue shield to enlarge and cover him, protecting a majority of his body. However, Han Li didn't detect any attack and had the time to glance around him instead.
"There is no need to worry. I wouldn't go so far as to launch a sneak attack against an early Nascent Soul cultivator like you, although I do hear that you are a rather extraordinary cultivator." A strange voice spoke from close to him.
When Han Li heard this voice, his heart trembled. This wasn't the voice of the Yin Sifting Sect Master. Could it be that this was another Devil cultivator? Astonishment on his face, he turned to look in the direction of the voice.
He saw a black-robed youth that looked to be in his twenties standing a hundred meters away with his hands behind his back, staring at Han Li. Although Han Li hadn't seen the true face of the Yin Sifting Sect Master, this man's body and voice were completely different from what he had seen.
Han Li looked at him, unable to see through his cultivation. With narrowed eyes and a wary heart, he snorted and mockingly said, "If you won't perform a sneak attack, then why did you need to place the Soul Seal Curse on my Dao Companion?"
After saying these words, Han Li took in his surroundings. He was at the edge of a swamp with muddied waters and damp air. He could hear the sounds of a lake and see a short grove close to them.
Han Li frowned for a moment before regaining a calm expression. He felt that there were strange spiritual Qi fluctuations around him and realized there were restrictions placed around them as he had expected. Although he reckoned they weren't formidable spell formations, they were certain to put him at a disadvantage considering that he was forced here.
The youth chuckled and leisurely said, "I won't be needing to use them since Fellow Daoist Han has obediently come. Although I possess some abilities, it isn't to the extent that I would be able to resist your entire sect."
Han Li glared at the youth and asked, "You truly aren't the Yin Sifting Sect Master?"
"What? Do I look like my sect master?" Asked the black-robed youth with a chuckle.
"No. But you were able to easily sneak into the Drifting Cloud Sect and safely leave after injuring someone. I don't know who else aside from your sect master who could've done it. Also, I don't recall ever seeing you before; did you not appear during the great battle?" Puzzled, Han Li spoke as if musing to himself.
The youth smiled and wore an odd expression as he said, "Although I do wish to give Fellow Daoist Han an explanation, I did not invite you here to explain myself. Did you bring the Golden Lightning Bamboo magic treasure?"
When Han Li heard this, he glared at the youth in silence.
The youth sighed and confidently said, "If Fellow Daoist Han wishes to drag this on, I fear he will be disappointed. I specifically refined the transportation formation so that it will only work twice. After two uses, the other end of the transportation formation will destroy itself and your friends wouldn't be able to get here in less than half a day. I believe that will be more than enough time to settle the matter between us."
A cold glint appeared in Han Li's eyes and he snorted, speaking with an emotionless tone, "You wish to know whether or not I have the Golden Lightning Bamboo treasure on hand, but how about telling me the method to dissolve the Soul Seal Curse first?"
"The method to dissolve the Soul Seal Curse is inside this jade slip, but let me take a look at the Golden Lightning Bamboo treasure first. I am not like my sect master, and I only want the Golden Lightning Bamboo. I have no intention of trying to avenge his dead Dao Companion." The youth's smile disappeared and he revealed a jet-black jade slip in his hand then deeply stared at Han Li.
With raised brows, Han Li firmly said, "Of course. Although the Golden Lightning Bamboo treasure is valuable, it isn't nearly as important as my own Dao companion." He placed his hands on his chest and then slowly drew them away. In a clap of thunder, golden lightning jumped out as a small azure arrow appeared in his hand. Holding it with two fingers, Han Li expressionlessly glanced at the youth.
When the youth saw this, greed momentarily appeared on his face. Then after a moment of thought, he flicked his wrist and sent the black jade slip flying towards Han Li at an incredibly slow speed as if it were being dragged through the air by a rope.
Han Li immediately understood what he intended. Without speaking another word he flung the small arrow over, making it travel through the air at a similar speed.
Although the two were controlling each of the items, their gazes were fixed on each other's faces. By the time the two objects arrived in front of each other, Han Li and the youth both let out sighs of relief. The two took the exchanged items into their hands and quickly looked them over, only to find themselves wearing a bitter smile.
"This is your Golden Lightning Bamboo magic treasure?" The black-robed youth coldly smiled and pinched the small azure arrow in his hand. In a silver-white fire, it turned into ash.
"I've also never heard that the simplest of the five elements techniques was capable of dissolving the Soul Seal Curse." Han Li grasped the jade slip in his hand and burned it with blue flame, causing it to freeze and shatter into glistening light.
The black-robed youth wore a stern expression and he snorted as traces of fiendish Qi began to emerge from his body. "It seems neither of us trusts the other. However, that doesn't matter. I will ask you one last time whether or not you are willing to exchange the Golden Lightning Bamboo treasure. So long as you hand it over to me, I will give you the method to save your Dao Companion and leave. Otherwise, I will just seize the treasure after killing you. Since it isn't an ancient treasure, you must be carrying it within your body."
With a light sigh, Han Li icily said, "As it just so happens, my plans are similar to your own. Since you're the caster of the Soul Seal Curse, the method to eliminate the curse must be within your mind. Once I kill you, I will perform a soul search on your primal soul and acquire what I want to know."
"You will perform a soul search on me? You are the first person to dare say that to me for several hundreds of years. I will honor your audacity by leave your corpse intact." The black-robed youth smiled in fury before he raised his hands and shot several spell seals all around him. Then with a series of hums, seven pillars of blinding white light shot into the air. At the same time, silver-white flood dragons emerged from each of the pillars of light, roaring towards the skies.
"Not good! The Seven Pillar Dragons! Master must quickly leave." Before Han Li could clearly recognize the pillars, he heard Silvermoon's terrified voice in his ear.