To the incoming attack of swordlight, the puppet simply pointed to the silver shield in front of it and did nothing else. In a flare of light, the shield grew several times thicker before flying forward to meet the attack.
The swordlight struck the silver luminescent shield with full force, resulting in a resounding explosion as flashes of white and green light coloring the sky, but the shield stood as firm as a mountain against the raging tide.
Old Man Bitter Bamboo grimaced at the sight and a trace of astonishment appeared on Han Li’s face.
Monarch Soul Divergence said in voice transmission, “It appears the might of the Tailstar Shield is above what was expected. Despite being a newly refined magic treasure and having yet been tempered, it has absolutely no problem blocking the strikes of ordinary magic treasures. However, I suspect only the puppet is able to bring out this degree of power. If you were to control the shield, you would only be able to display half as much might.”
Han Li bluntly replied, “Of course, the degree of power one can display from a magic treasure depends on its might, the amount of time tempered, the total magic power channeled into it, as well as one’s control of spiritual sense. Storing spiritual power as magic power is the foundation of cultivation. This puppet is refined from rare materials and can pour three times as much magic power into the shield than I can.”
Having spent so many days under Monarch Soul Divergence’s personal guidance, his grasp of puppet techniques had reached a profoundly high level. Monarch Soul Divergence may still prove his superior by far in this regard, but there are no others in this world that could hope to best him in puppet techniques.
Monarch Soul Divergence chuckled and added, “Although the Tailstar Shield was something that you refined and gave to the puppet, it was created with its characteristics in mind. It is quite different from an ordinary magic treasure. Even if you channeled as much magic power into the shield, you still wouldn’t be produce as much of its strength as the puppet.”
Han Li nodded and said little else, turning his attention back to the battle.
At that moment, Old Man Bitter Bamboo gave his swords another order. Seeing that they were helpless in the face of that shield, he had them create another sword formation above his head in preparation for an attack.
After pointing to the formation, the swords let out a ring and began to spin around in the air. In a flash of light, they formed a three-meter-wide wheel.
He struck the wheel with several spell seals, causing it to rotate with increasing speed. Blinding green light then blazed at its center and concentrated in a beam of energy, fiercely striking at the silver shield.
A muffled bang sounded out, and a ball of green light erupted from the shield. The ball was massive and caved in the center of the shield of light. The depression quickly grew deeper as if it were on the verge of collapse.
At that moment, the puppet pointed to the shield and it began scattering into specks of white light. Then, the huge ball continued its overbearing charge forward and directly struck the physical shield behind it.
The silver shield trembled violently against the strike, but rather than shattering, it suddenly flowed with intermittent light and the surface become reflective like a mirror. Under the silver glow, the ball of light intensely quaked and began to decompose into countless smaller balls, shrinking down to less than half its original size as they scattered away.
Then, the shield tilted and burst with silver light, repelling the remaining attack before it ruptured in the air and disappeared.
Old Man Bitter Bamboo let out a deep sigh and was unable to conceal his shock. He stared at the puppet across from him with a grave expression.
Although that previous strike hadn’t displayed the sword formation’s full might, the shield was still able to block such a heavy attack with ease, revealing an unfathomable defensive capability. As he pondered about activating the sword formation’s final ability, hesitation lingered in his mind.
Monarch Soul Divergence then said with a pleased tone, “Alright, since the Tailstar Shield is this powerful, the elemental barrier won’t need to be tested. Created from the Elemental Jade, its might won’t be any lesser. Now let’s test the puppet’s attacks.”
“Got it,” Han Li calmly replied.
Purple light began to glow from the puppet’s eyes and it silently twisted its hands, producing a ball of faint red light. Then in a blinding flash, it turned into a several-inch-long red bow. It had an exquisite appearance with the carving of a flood dragon and sparkling red scales.
“A Dragon Piercing Bow!” Old Man Bitter Bamboo immediately shouted.
The puppet remained expressionless as it uttered, “This is a Thunderfire Bow, not a Dragon Piercing Bow. I must warn you that it’s refined from the tendons of a flood dragon, and its might is even greater.” The old man immediately felt his heart sink.
Soon after, the puppet summoned an emerald green arrow to its other hand in a clap of thunder.
It quickly muttered an incantation, and the miniature bow and arrow began to brightly shine with light before expanding to a normal size. Talisman characters flickered on the surface of the bow as scarlet flames wrapped around it. As for the green arrow, it shined with golden light and released several arcs of lightning, followed by pangs of thunder.
The puppet nocked the arrow and slowly pulled back the bowstring. Lightning and flames had already begun to fuse together around the arrow before release, letting out deafening booms.
Then, an overwhelming spiritual pressure was released from its body.
When the distant Core Formation-stage observers felt this spiritual wave, the air grew heavy as the light barriers protecting their bodies began to waver. Those with particularly weaker cultivation began to turn tail with fearful expressions.
After sensing the puppet’s spiritual Qi, Old Man Bitter Bamboo paled and loudly shouted, “Stay your hand! The competition ends here! I forfeit!”
Although he said this, he hadn’t overlooked his defenses. With a flip of his hand, a triangular pendant shot out and began to surge with green, red, and yellow light, forming a strange barrier in front of him. Then, he waved at the sword wheel spinning in the air, dissolving it and having them revolve around him in a protective formation.
Han Li was surprised to see him take such drastic measures. He frowned, asking, “Is the might of the Thunderfire Bow so great that it can inspire such fear?”
“With the massive spiritual power of a late-Nascent Soul cultivator, any magic treasure would be fearsome. With the addition of a bow refined from the very bones and tendons of a Scarlet Flame Flood Dragon, your arrow refined from Golden Lightning Bamboo, and the complex fusion of their powers, it is no surprise he felt such danger. After all, he isn’t a late-Nascent Soul cultivator. If you were to use the puppet’s full power, there is a forty percent chance of slaying him in a single strike. Do you have an interest in killing him?” Monarch Soul Divergence asked with a cold laugh.
Han Li inwardly shook his head and said, “Forget it, I’m not particularly interested in slaughter and the Black Phoenix feathers take priority. If the strike fails to kill him and he activates the island’s restrictions, it will be trouble. And given his grand reputation, he should have a method to preserve his life as well and the attempt could spectacularly backfire. It seems we won’t be able to test the puppet’s true offensive power.”
Monarch Soul Divergence sighed and muttered, “It is no matter. I’ve already personally witnessed the puppet easily suppress a cultivator at the peak of mid-Nascent Soul stage. It clearly illustrates that its abilities are no lesser than that of a late-Nascent Soul cultivator. I no longer have any regrets now that I know my life’s efforts weren’t wasted.
When Han Li heard this, a trace of sadness was betrayed from his face.
The astonishing spiritual Qi from the puppet’s body slowly disappeared. In a flash of light, the arrow and bow returned to their original size and both elements had faded away.
Old Man Bitter Bamboo was relieved to see this, but he still felt cold sweat line his back. In the instant he was targeted, he sensed that his life in danger and immediately conceded. From the abilities and spiritual pressure that his opponent had displayed, there was no longer any doubt that he was a late-Nascent Soul cultivator. It appears that it was a wise decision to come out of seclusion to deal with these people. He didn’t believe that the island’s Myriad Tree Formation would be able to stop the wrath of a late-Nascent Soul eccentric, not to mention that he had a mid-Nascent Soul cultivator following him as well.
He put away his own magic treasures as well and then beckoned the two to meet him again at the tree hall.
This time, he spoke to them with an exceptionally polite attitude. He handed a magic tool to his old steward and commanded him to pluck off several of the phoenix’s feathers. Then, he began to chat with them to see if he could ask about their origins. After all, the puppet’s appearance didn’t match the description any of the late-Nascent Soul cultivators on the continent.
While Han Li had a lively chat with Old Man Bitter Bamboo, the puppet remained deathly silent. After talking for a long while, the old man hadn’t found any relevant information. He could only wryly laugh to himself as he was helpless to find any further information.
A quarter hour later, the steward came back with a jade box and respectfully presented it to his master.
Old Man Bitter Bamboo glanced at the two visiting cultivators and with a sweep of his sleeve, he tossed the box over to Han Li. He was now able to see that although this Cultivator Li seemed unwilling to deal with others, so he tactfully handed it over to Han Li.
Han Li bluntly took the jade box and opened it to reveal a line of dazzling red feathers. After he examined them with a squint, he couldn’t help but smile.
Half a day later, Han Li and the puppet left Bitter Bamboo Island in two trails of light.
In the blink of an eye, they disappeared from the nearby skies.