Han Li didn’t pay any mind to Crooked Soul’s alarm and scattered the azure light that enveloped the Soul Guiding Compass. Dāng. Han Li tapped his finger against the bell, causing it to lightly ring.
Thud. Just as Crooked Soul thought of using this opportunity to escape, he fell to the floor on his back.
“A life origin magic tool! You have the life origin magic tool for this body!” Crooked Soul shouted with fear.
“It’s good that you know! If you don’t want to suffer then you had best give me an explanation of your origins. I am quite curious. How were you able to invade this body? Aren’t cultivators unable to possess the bodies of mortals?” Han Li asked with a calm expression and a flat voice as if he were chatting with a close friend.
When “Crooked Soul” heard this, he couldn’t help but tremble. Cultivators that possess bodies were loathed in the cultivation world. While it isn’t to the degree where they would be exterminated on sight, they absolutely wouldn’t be looked upon favorably. With the addition of Han Li’s strange behavior, he couldn’t help but feel perturbed while vainly dreaming of escaping.
“Fellow Daoist, please forgive me. I was previously a Foundation Establishment cultivator, but I lost my body in a war against an enemy clan. As a result, I had no choice but to occupy this body.” Instead of answering Han Li’s question, he stood up and gave this explanation with a smile.
“Really?” Han Li indifferently commented.
In truth, Han Li was somewhat surprised to hear that he was a Foundation Establishment cultivator.
However, when Crooked Soul was unable to make out Han Li’s thoughts through his indifferent appearance, he couldn’t help but become scared and hastily plead, “Although this one’s cultivation had dropped to the low levels of Qi Condensation, I still retained a few magic tools and spirit stones. So long as Fellow Daoist doesn’t pursue this matter, I would be willing to gift them to you!” He had spoken humbly; he clearly understood that he had no choice but to yield while under Han Li’s control.
However, Han Li didn’t pay attention to his seductive words and asked after a moment of contemplation, “Are you a cultivator of the Seven Sects?”
Han Li appeared to have casually asked this. According to his knowledge, very few Foundation Establishment cultivators existed outside of the Seven Sects within the State of Yue. Only a few large cultivation clans would possess a number of Foundation Establishment cultivators, the Yan Clan for example.
“Seven Sects… Ah, yes. I am a cultivator of Spirit Beast Mountain. Could it be that Your Esteemed Self is also a Seven Sect’s cultivator?” Crooked Soul said these words calmly, but Han Li was able to spot a trace of fear within his eyes, causing Han Li to feel great suspicion.
“So it turns out that Fellow Daoist is from Spirit Beast Mountain! How is Young Mistress Han Yunzhi1 doing?” Han Li asked with a faint smile.
“Han Yunzhi… I am truly sorry. This one had been in secluded cultivation for so many years and thus has no recollection of the younger disciples.” After being surprised momentarily by Han Li’s question, he made a forced laugh and self-mockingly said.
“You aren’t familiar with her? Then how about Fellow Daoist tell me the names of a few disciples that you do remember. This one knows many Fellow Daoists from Spirit Beast Mountain. Perhaps I might know a few!” Han Li flatly continued with his close questioning.
“This…” Crooked Soul appeared somewhat panicked and began shifting his eyes in every direction. His expressions were more honest than his words.
Seeing that this person had failed to answer, Han Li’s expression grew dark and cold.
“Fellow Daoist, you truly disappoint me! You are still hesitating and now I must force you.” Han Li said bluntly. With a blur, his body flashed forward and back.
Crooked Soul remained motionless in his original location. However, a “Soul Lock Talisman” was now attached to the center of his chest, removing any opportunity for him to act. With a panicked appearance, he hastily shouted, “Fellow Daoist, what is the meaning of this? We can talk about this…”
When used on mortals, a Soul Lock Talisman was capable of completely locking down their bodies to the point where they wouldn’t be able to speak. But when used against cultivators who possessed magic power, its efficacy was somewhat lacking. Although there were other methods to immobilize weaker cultivators, there were few that left them capable of speaking and expressing emotion.
At this moment, Han Li paid no mind to any of his shouts and took out a pitch-black alms bowl from his storage pouch.
Once it appeared, a sinister Qi filled the air, causing the nearby temperature to drop several degrees. Shortly after, the alms bowl released a ghastly wail and surrounded itself with a strange black fog, causing its ghostly aura to thicken. This was the “Soul Congregation Bowl” that Han Li had recently acquired.
Single-handedly grabbing the magic tool, Han Li ominously glared at Crooked Soul as he approached him.
As Crooked Soul stared at the strange alms bowl, he appeared bewildered. But he then immediately thought of something and his expression became nervous. He forced himself to say, “What do you plan on doing? Don’t tell me you plan on using a soul refinement technique?”
When he said the words “Soul Refinement Technique”, his eyes revealed extreme fear.
The “Soul Refinement Technique” was a notorious, fear-inspiring magic technique in the cultivation world. Some cultivators would even swear death-oaths under threat of this wicked magic technique.
All of the sects and great clans have specialists that would learn this technique in order to deliver the harshest of punishments to set an example for traitors. This practice had gained it much infamy due to the cruelty involved.
It was said that practitioners of this technique were capable of extracting one’s soul and using specialized magic techniques to torment them. Rumor has it that direct suffering inflicted on a soul for even a short moment was unbearable even to those with adamant wills. Furthermore, the stronger the cultivator’s soul, the greater suffering they would feel. These gruesome details would cause cultivators’ faces to pale when they spoke of them.
Rumors of the Soul Refinement Technique have spread all across the cultivation world. The best known among them was the rumor that cultivators capable of the Soul Refinement Technique were able to cultivate a “Soul Tool”, a tool inseparably linked to their own souls. Only with such a magic tool would the user be able to fully utilize the Soul Refinement Technique and damn the target’s soul to suffer a fate worse than death.
Not many cultivators had personally seen a soul tool, but it was said to release a dense, sinister and ghostly aura. Its description closely matched the appearance of the “Soul Congregation Bowl”, a magic tool that had held the souls of over a hundred cultivators.
Thus, with the threatening appearance of the alms bowl and Han Li’s previous threats, this person had mistakenly believed that Han Li was capable of using this “soul tool” to perform the dreadful “Soul Refinement Technique”.
It was no surprise why he thought this. When someone thought of soul torture, the first thing that came to mind was the Soul Refinement Technique. How could he not have been scared out of his wits?
When Han Li heard Crooked Soul’s words, he remained expressionless despite the surprise he felt.
In fact, Han Li hadn’t thought of using the “Soul Refinement Technique” to threaten him. He only wanted to use the dark, icy Qi of the alms bowl to submit his soul to a bit of suffering. But now that Crooked Soul believed that Han Li was capable of using the Soul Refinement Technique, Han Li was prepared to take advantage of his misconception.
“I’m going to ask you one more time. Tell me about your origin and why you have impersonated a Spirit Beast Mountain cultivator.” Han Li coldly responded with a question of his own, not bothering to answer whether or not he intended to use the Soul Refinement Technique.
Han Li’s evasive answer caused this person to be more convinced of his previous assumption. With a distressed expression, his lips trembled but no words came out.
Seeing this, Han Li didn’t continue to talk nonsense. Instead, he started to vaguely mutter an unknown incantation and moved the Soul Congregation Bowl closer to Crooked Soul’s face.
With regards to the alms bowl’s sinister Qi, even Han Li, a Foundation Establishment cultivator, coldly shivered upon contact with it. As a Qi Condensation cultivator, Crooked Soul would be affected far more strongly.
Thus, as the alms bowl was placed in front of him, he felt his body break out in a strange, extreme chill as if needles of steel had pierced through the depths of his soul and frozen it stiff.
After a short moment, he was no longer able to endure the pain and screamed with a twisted expression.
“Don’t be so hasty, I haven’t even used any magic yet. Then, the pain will be a hundredfold more!” Han Li suddenly whispered these fleeting words in his ear.
“A hundredfold?” When Crooked Soul heard this, he nearly lost himself to fear.
He was unable to endure the current pain for even a short moment. To endure a hundred times the pain would cause his soul to disappear in anguish. Having suffered, Crooked Soul was completely certain that this was the rumored, “Soul Refinement Technique”.
Thus, when he saw Han Li form an incantation gesture, he hastily changed his words to avoid further pain, “Fellow Daoist, please forgive me. I will speak. Please put away your soul tool and refrain from using the Soul Refinement Technique!”
Because of the penetration of the alm’s bowl’s cold Qi, he stuttered, repeating his words as he shivered. Were it not for the protection of the Spiritual Qi in his body as well as the extreme strength of Crooked Soul’s body, he would have long been frozen stiff.
“Had you been so tactful earlier, you could’ve avoided a bit of pain!” Han Li casually moved to put away the alms bowl and spoke as if Crooked Soul had been the one to bring this upon himself.
In fact, he inwardly let out a sigh of relief.
Because he wouldn’t talk, Han Li put away the Soul Congregation Bowl shortly after. This was also because Han Li was no longer able to endure the cold, dark Qi of the magic tool, having directly held it in his hand.
When Crooked Soul saw that Han Li had truly put away the magic tool, he took a deep breath.
“It would be best if you didn’t think of deceiving me. I will naturally be using magic techniques to test the truth of your words. I hope your esteemed self isn’t so stupid as to keep your secrets. Otherwise, I will scatter your soul and ensure that you will never reincarnate.” Han Li spoke with a tone colder than ice.
Having just suffered greatly, Crooked Soul involuntarily shivered and his expression became extremely unsightly upon hearing those words.
1. A recurring character. She was first introduced in Chapter 137 when she sold Han Li the Golden Sincerity Brush. He later meets her once more at the Trial by Blood and Fire. She mentioned her name in Chapter 203.