After Han Li reached mid Core Formation stage, he had remained in seclusion for an additional twenty years. During this time, he still hadn’t exhausted all of his medicine pills and carried about a smaller portion of them in his storage pouch.
His early departure from seclusion without having yet consumed all of his medicine pills was due to neither restlessness nor impatience. It was because he had encountered a bottleneck as he neared late Core Formation stage. Until he broke through the obstruction, his cultivation wouldn’t progress in the slightest even if he used more medicine pills.
These breakthroughs were left completely up to destiny or fortunate encounters. There were absolutely no established methods to break through such a bottleneck. However, in the past, cultivators had managed to break through this stage through merely cultivating, touring the world, or battling in a life or death struggle. Each occurrence was entirely unexpected.
As such, Han Li was unwilling to vainly waste his time in seclusion and he prepared to set out to find the legendary Demon Echo Grass. Perhaps he would even happen to unexpectedly breakthrough the bottleneck during this journey.
Because he didn’t know how long the trip would take, Han Li didn’t dare to leave the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng inside the cave. This was yet another reason he had decided to completely abandon the residence inside the small misty island.
As for the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng, it periodically required earth Qi for preservation. Although this had proved to be somewhat troublesome before Han Li entered mid Core Formation stage, it no longer presented a problem. Han Li already had the ability to draw out an island’s earth essence Qi and pour it into the spirit ginseng’s body, ensuring its continued survival.
Han Li was currently flying in the direction of the market city that the young woman had spoken of. It was the only place where cultivators frequently passed through that Han Li could potentially find information on any grade eight demon beasts. When that time came, he would have to think of a method to acquire the Demon Echo Grass. As for any thoughts of being able to directly purchase it, he didn’t believe such a fortuitous event could occur.
Han Li flew at an extremely fast speed. Although the young woman said it would take half a month to reach the market city, in Han Li’s case, it would only take a few days at most at his full speed.
Two days later as Han Li was hurrying on his way, he suddenly spotted a red streak of light flying off in the distance. It was being relentlessly pursued by several balls of grey Qi.
When Han Li saw this, he unconsciously raised his eyebrows, and after some thought, he muttered an unintelligible incantation. Soon, a series of cracks sounded out from within his body with increasing frequency. Simultaneously, azure light covered his face.
A moment later, Han Li’s figure suddenly grew a few inches taller. The azure light disappeared to reveal the face of an unfamiliar yellowish man.
This was one of the secret techniques from the Profound Yin Arts that Han Li had meticulously cultivated during his seclusion, the Appearance Exchange Art. Not only could this secret technique allow oneself to shrink or lengthen any body part at will, one could also control the thickness of one’s flesh and change the color of one’s skin in an instant. It was absolutely a top grade disguise technique.
Han Li reckoned that this cultivation art was on par with the disguise techniques of legend. Even cultivators of a higher grade would be unable to easily see through his disguise. Hence, it was included amongst the collection of Profound Yin Arts.
The only shortcoming of the secret technique was that once the technique was used, one could only use seventy percent of their magic power at most. If one exceeded this limit in a fight, the disguise would dissolve and reveal one’s true appearance.
However, Han Li didn’t care about this in the least. Whenever he donned his disguise, he likely didn’t want to reveal his true strength anyways. As such, the limit shouldn’t pose much of a problem to him.
Just after Han Li changed his appearance, the streak of red light discovered his location and wildly flew in Han Li’s direction as if it were their only hope at life.
As for the grey balls of Qi chasing after the red streak, they were clearly demon beasts that ranged around grade three and four.
When Han Li saw this, he immediately stopped and let out a long sigh. He didn’t sigh because trouble came knocking on his door, but because the person flying towards him didn’t care in the slightest about whether or not he could deal with the demon beasts. It seemed the man being chased wished to dragged himself down along with Han Li. As he did this without any hesitation, there wasn’t much else to say about the unknown man’s nature.
Han Li, who had recently felt greatly touched by Gongsun Xing’s display of familial piety, once again questioned the complexity of human nature.
One simply couldn’t lump these things all together!
“Fellow Daoist, please save me! I, Huang Mingli, will definitely express my gratitude towards you!” A shriveled old man with a wicked appearance directly flew towards Han Li with a panicked expression.
He was quite shrewd. Although he hadn’t made out Han Li’s true cultivation, he knew that his life was saved after seeing Han Li’s steadfast, unshakable bearing.
Han Li calmly watched the old man flying at him with an indifferent expression. He then lazily raised his hand and shot out five giant azure sword streaks, instantly tying down the five demon beasts chasing after him.
When the old man saw this, he happily let out a long breath of relief and released a fire ring magic tool to attack the five demon beasts.
Han Li cast a sideways glance at the old man. The old man’s cultivation was at peak Foundation Establishment, the false core stage. It was no wonder why he had been able to flee from a joint attack by so many grade four demon beasts.
Han Li turned his gaze back to the demon beasts and commanded the several streaks of swordlight to slowly surround them in a calm display of his overwhelming strength. When the old man saw this, his spirit was greatly roused, and he controlled his fire-attribute magic tool with increasingly fierce intensity as he struck the now vulnerable demon beasts.
After another moment passed, Han Li felt it was about time to end the battle and had the azure essence swordstreaks exterminate the demon beasts.
With the demon beasts dead, the small old man already realized that Han Li was a Core Formation cultivator. As such, he respectfully saluted him and said, “Many thanks for Senior’s rescue! Could it be that Senior wishes to head to Southdark City?”
Han Li calmly nodded, “That’s right. I wish to head to the city to trade for a few items.”
Huang Mingli’s eyes shifted around for a moment and he bitterly smiled before saying, “Then Senior need not continue, the trip would be in vain.”
Han Li’s expression stirred and he asked with surprise, “What happened?”
As he faced a Core Formation cultivator, the small old man carefully explained, “Several days ago at Southdark City, there were a few low grade demon beasts that unexpectedly arrived. Although a majority were killed, the next day, a swarm of grade four and five demon beasts were brought over to the city by the survivors from the previous day. A great number of the city’s cultivators had been harmed, forcing us to break through the demon beast’s siege. I was among those who escaped. However, I didn’t expect to come across another group of demon beasts on my way out.”
“According to what you’ve said, this trip was for nothing?” Han Li frowned and wore a sullen expression.
Huang Mingli’s eyes faintly flickered before revealing a grin with crooked teeth. He then secretly said, “Well… If Senior truly wishes to trade, this little old man knows of another place. The items there are all precious. One must be at Foundation Establishment or higher to enter the city along with having a referral. Additionally, the market city frequently changes location. This old man currently has the qualifications to give you a referral to the city. If Senior wishes to go, Junior will lead the way as payment for saving his life. ”
Han Li paused for a moment before pensively saying, “Are you talking about a secret city?”
The old man wore an embarrassed expression and quickly explained, “Senior must think me silly. The market city can’t be considered to be secret. They merely fear conflict. Once the demon beasts discover it, it will be the city’s end.”
“So it’s like that!” Han Li couldn’t help but smile after hearing this. He then asked, “How far away is this place?”
Huang Mingli seemed quite familiar with this market city and instantly replied,“If we hurry, we should be able to reach it in half a months time. By then the market city should have just opened.”
After some consideration, Han Li replied, “Alright. I’ll go along with you.”
“Great!” Huang Mingli revealed an excited expression and paused as if he had suddenly thought of something. “Huh? Senior, please wait a moment!”
He hurriedly said a word of apology before shooting straight down to the sea where the corpses of the demon beasts were floating.
When Han Li saw this, he knowingly smiled.
A short moment later, the small old man dismembered the demon beasts with great familiarity and placed their parts into his storage pouch. He then flew back into the sky with high spirits.
“I’ve made an embarrassment of myself. While these demon beasts certainly wouldn’t have caught Senior’s eyes, they are quite valuable to this Junior!” The old man spoke with slight embarrassment. After all, those five demon beasts had all been slain by Han Li.
“It’s nothing. Those demon beasts had no value to me anyways. Let’s hurry!” Han Li shook his head and urged him with an unchanged expression.