As Han Li was silently contemplating inside his bedroom, his expression suddenly changed and he walked out.
During his many years of seclusion, the entrance of his residence had remained sealed. He saw that outside his cave residence’s restrictions, there were eight sound transmission talismans of various colors, knocking against his barriers like headless houseflies.
Han Li looked at the scene with raised eyebrows for a moment before taking out his authority talisman and saying, “Receive!” The sound transmission talismans outside the barriers shot into his hand in response.
Han Li stood still as he calmly looked through them.
Half of the sound transmission talismans were from neighboring Core Formation cultivators wishing to offer their congratulations. The other half of the sound transmission talismans were invitations from organizations of varying sizes to take a position as a high ranking guest elder, using exceedingly rare treasures as payment. There was even one that offered two stunning maids as a recruitment gift right from the start.
After looking through the details of their offers, Han Li inwardly rolled his eyes.
He politely replied to the Core Formation cultivators offering their congratulations and gave a direct refusal to the many organizations. He didn’t believe that he could take it easy and be without worry now that he reached Core Formation. He still had to use a bit of time to consolidate his core. Furthermore, Han Li considered it advantageous to maintain a low profile.
In the coming days, Han Li started to frequently pay a visit to the cave residences of nearby Core Formation cultivators and humbly asked them for advice regarding what should be done after achieving Core Formation.
Because the topic at hand wasn’t some sort of secretive issue, these cultivators were happy to chat with him and give him a few pointers. Han Li ended up profiting quite a bit from these visits.
However, a few cultivators felt very envious of how Han Li had managed to preserve his youthful appearance before achieving Core Formation. After all, apart from a miniscule group consisting of either geniuses with heavenly aptitude or those like Han Li who cultivate with the assistance of many spiritual medicines, most Core Formation cultivators had reached quite a considerable age by the time of their Core Formation.
Although their lifespans had greatly increased after reaching Core Formation, they didn’t regain their youthful appearance. At most, they would appear less sickly or haggard as they grew older. Naturally, there were a few cultivators that practiced a cultivation art that had the wondrous effect of preserving one’s appearance and were also part of the group which preserved their youthful appearance after Core formation.
Han Li happened to still have a few Face Setting Pills on hand. As he wasn’t particularly attached to them, he traded them with the Core Formation cultivators for a few rare items, much to everyone’s satisfaction.
Although Han Li didn’t end up becoming close friends with any of them, they became familiar enough that he had an amiable relationship with them, capable of calling one another ‘Brother’ and ‘Fellow Daoist’.
During this time, Han Li had also refined the Green Brilliance Dagger while searching for magic treasure and grade three puppet materials.
There were many materials capable of refining magic treasures along with refinement techniques of almost every description. Apart from the power and efficacy, using top quality materials to refine a magic treasure would result in far superior power and an even greater upgrade potential than those refined using common materials. Additionally, even if the same materials were used, there will be great differences in both power and efficacy depending on the secret techniques used to refine them.
Thus, apart from the common magic treasure refinement techniques known to everyone, the exceptional secret refinement techniques were kept hidden by sects and other great powers, not easily divulged to outsiders.
However, this didn’t mean that the best materials combined with the best treasure refinement technique would result in a magic treasure with inexhaustible potential might. What was most important to a magic treasure’s strength was the constant refinement and nourishment from the cultivator’s primal soul.
If the master of a peerless magic treasure was unwilling to spend the time to nurture it, its power may be inferior to that of a common magic treasure. In fact, it wasn’t exactly a rare occurrence.
As for the Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords, its main material was thousand year spirit bamboo as the name implied.
This material was easy for Han Li to acquire by spending a bit of time and taking advantage of the abilities of his small bottle. However, using common types of bamboo was beneath him. He wanted to acquire the rumored divine bamboo as the primary material for his magic treasure refinement. As a result, Han Li had attentively kept watch on the city market of Heavenly Star City until now. However, he wasn’t able to find anything that satisfied him.
Although he felt somewhat anxious, Han Li felt that it would be better to have nothing if he couldn’t have the best and could only leave the matter of refining his magic treasure for later. Fortunately, as he had the Green Brilliance Dagger as well as a few treasure talismans, he wouldn’t have to worry for a while.
Since he couldn’t refine his magic treasure, Han Li turned his eyes towards refining new puppets.
According to the Puppet Sutra, the strength of grade three puppets were equivalent to mid Foundation Establishment cultivators. As such, the materials required to refine them were even more precious than those for grade two puppets. In addition, these puppets came in several different shapes.
After some deliberation, Han Li chose the puppet that primarily used wood element materials, the ape styled puppet.
Although this puppet required much older ironwood along with the rare Sky Crystal Wood, they were wood type materials. Han Li could use his green liquid on them and massively decrease their cost.
But even with this, the higher grade supplementary materials combined with the increased number of puppets he could control was sure to add up to an increasingly frightening cost. Although this amount of spirit stones wouldn’t bankrupt him, it would consume all of the materials he had accumulated.
Helpless, Han Li could only sell off another portion of the rare materials he acquired from the grade five demon beasts and postpone poverty for the time being. However, Han Li didn’t expect that his actions caught the eye of an observant individual despite being so careful.
One day, just as he finished selling off some materials to a minor travelling merchant, a young woman as charming as a flower blocked his way back to his cave residence.
“Are you Senior Han? My clan’s madam wishes to invite Han Li to the nearby Clear River Teahouse. Would Senior give me the honor of accepting? If you refuse, this junior will be heavily punished by my mistress.”
“I’m not interested!” After a mere glance at the young woman, Han Li refused without the slightest hesitation.
He was able to make out that although this woman was a mere Qi Condensation cultivator, she cultivated some kind of charming technique. If he were inexperienced or careless, he definitely would’ve made an embarrassment of himself.
The seventeen year old woman was alarmed at Han Li’s refusal and hastily implored him, “Senior Han! If you don’t go, this junior will be punished for failure.”
When the young woman said that, Han Li turned around and left with an indifferent expression. Although he didn’t know whose authority she was acting under, he had no interest in meeting a stranger.
“Senior Han, please wait! The Exquisite Sound Sect’s Junior Fan Jingmei pays her respect to Senior Han. I hope Senior will forgive Lian’er for her offenses. I will properly discipline her later.” After Han Li took two steps away from the young woman, he heard a pleasant female voice.
He couldn’t help but stop and turn his head for a look.
At some unknown time, a woman covering her face with a muslin shawl had appeared beside the young woman. Although her face was concealed, Han Li was able to make out that her skin was as white as snow and her hair was black and shiny, coiled high around her head. Her two eyes, clear as water, stared at Han Li without blinking.
“I do not recognize you, miss. If you have any business, please make it short. I wish to return to my residence and cultivate!” Han Li calmly spoke with a misanthropic tone.
Fan Jingmei was startled for a moment before replying with a faint smile, “Since Senior Han is so straightforward, I will be direct as well. Senior has recently sold off large quantities of rare demon beast materials. Our sect is greatly interested in these materials and wishes to have a chat with Senior. However, there are far too many people here. How about we take this discussion to a quiet room in a teahouse?”
After hearing her explanation, Han Li carefully examined the woman with narrowed eyes for a moment. After seeing her reveal bashfulness, Han Li stiffly said, “Fine, lead the way!”
“Many thanks for Senior’s kindness. Senior Han, please follow me!” The woman revealed slight happiness and hastily walked forward with light steps. As for the young woman, she dejectedly followed after her.
However, although the young woman walked in front, she couldn’t help but turn her head and steal a look at Han Li. But when her gaze met Han Li’s, she quickly turned her head around in fright and her ears revealed a strong shade of red.
When Han Li saw this, he revealed a mysterious smile and inwardly chuckled.
The teahouse wasn’t far away. After a short moment, Han Li entered a pavilion with a huge flag saying, “Tea”.
There were quite a few people drinking tea at this time. When a middle-aged man drinking tea saw the two women walk in, he hastily ran towards them and said, “Martial Aunt, the room is ready! You and your guest may enter!”
“Good, bring us there and stand guard by the door afterwards.” Fan Jingmei indifferently commanded.
The middle-aged man then led Han Li and the other two to an elegant room on the second floor.
There was a grey-clothed old man in the room that was calmly brewing a pot of piping hot tea. His eyes didn’t show the slightest change as he watched Han Li and the others enter the room.