Although the journey to the forbidden area had only taken ten days, Han Li felt as if several years had passed. Thus he lied down on his bed in the Hundred Medicine Garden for a long while basking in comfort and longing.
Not only did he finally return with his life intact from this trip he gambled his life with, he had also perfectly accomplished his goals. Now he could indulge in a truly worry-free and sound sleep. It seemed that all of the struggles from the mortal world were far away from him in a flash as he slept.
Han Li slept until the afternoon of the second day before awakening.
After Han Li woke up, he quivered with excitement. He immediately started to set up his plans for the future!
His first matter of business would naturally be to mature the three main medicines as soon as possible and properly preserve them. As for the other auxiliary medicine ingredients, he would naturally leave them for last. However, complete preparation for all of this was not a matter of tens days or half a month. According to Han Li’s estimates, at the very minimum, he would need several years before being completely ready to start refining the pills.
As a result, Han Li wasn’t in a hurry with his spiritual medicines. Instead, he arranged his harvest from the forbidden area.
The result was that he obtained over ten mid-grade spirit stones, several hundreds of low-grade spirit stones, a large pile of magic tools of all grades, several chunks of the centipede demonic beast’s outer shell, several materials from the Inky Flood Dragon, and a bunch of rubbish.
However, apart from these items there were two items that Han Li were most interested in: a figurine holding a bow and arrow and a lustrous silver book page.
This figurine was mainly carved from wood, with complete ears, nose, mouth, and eyes; it seemed gentle, as if it were alive. Furthermore it was dressed from head to toe in an extremely realistic metal armor suit with a bronze bow in hand. This was the magic tool that Han Li previously acquired from his elders; it was the high-grade magic tool ‘Puppet Bowman’.
After he obtained the magic tool, Han Li did not make use of it. That was because this magic tool required a secret soul splitting technique. The puppet required a sliver of spiritual sense to enter it in order to control it.
This soul splitting technique was not possible until one reached Foundation Establishment! It should be known that only cultivators at Foundation Establishment or higher have the sufficient spiritual sense to endure the pain of dividing one’s soul. With the mere spiritual sense of a Qi Condensation cultivator, before even completing the soul splitting, the person would have already fallen into demise and gone mad.
It is often said that an Immortal’s spiritual sense could be used to look in all directions and to scan through items. However, this isn’t the true significance of splitting one’s soul. Originally, spiritual sense was nothing more than a small external technique. However, after cultivating the secret technique to split one’s soul, it would be equivalent to having one, even several separate individual divine senses, with each divine sense capable of controlling several tools. The more times one divided their soul, the more magic tools they could control simultaneously.
It should be known that when Qi Condensation disciples normally confronted an enemy, at most they could use two magic tools at the same time. If they used any more, they would no longer be able to control them with ease. After all, who didn’t have five or six magic tools on hand? If they were to throw them all at their opponent, it would definitely be ineffective and would cause the opponent to be baffled for a moment!
After Han Li fiddled with the figurine for a good while, he placed it down and took a look at the silver book page.
This silver book page was from the spoils Han Li obtained from the barefoot man of the Giant Sword Sect. The top was bumpy, textured with many peculiar decorative designs. It seemed very mysterious. Han Li pondered over it for the majority of the day without even a clue and could only set it aside for the time being.
Like that, in the following days, Han Li studied the silver book page while waiting for news from the upper echelon. He was seeing whether or not what the old man had said was true, that his reward had been reduced!
On the afternoon of the fourth day, Martial Uncle Wang and an unfamiliar steward went to find Han Li and only brought a single Foundation Establishment Pill as a reward. What they said was basically the same as what the small old man had said! Martial Ancestor Li had taken away the spiritual medicines under the pretext of his disciple’s filial tribute to his master.
After Han Li heard this, he coldly chuckled to himself but his exterior appearance didn’t reveal the slightest complaint. Seeing this, the two stewards, who originally believed that they would have to waste time explaining clearly, let out a sigh of relief. Then they left, saying goodbye with beaming smiles.
After Han Li saw the pair’s departure, he laughed at himself for a moment and put away his newly obtained Foundation Establishment Pill. Now he could take the time to shut himself away and consume the Foundation Establishment Pills after he refined them. After all, for each day he couldn’t refine medicine pills, Han Li would be unable to peacefully enter seclusion.
Like that, month by month passed by. Three years of time flashed by and Han Li’s pill refining preparations were finally completed. Within this rather lengthy period of time, several matters had occurred.
After Junior Martial Sister Chen consumed her rewarded Foundation Establishment Pill, she bitterly cultivated for an entire year. In the end, she succeeded in establishing her foundation and entered Foundation Establishment. However, her elder brother’s luck wasn’t very good. Although it was his second time consuming the Foundation Establishment Pill, he had failed to make a breakthrough and lingered just outside of Foundation Establishment. It was said that this Great Young Master of the Chen Clan had lost complete confidence in the Immortal path and simply left the sect, returning to his clan to handle affairs.
Furthermore, Han Li’s reputation in Yellow Maple Valley had gradually risen, and he could now be considered a minor celebrity!
With regards to the tale of his great stroke of luck in the forbidden area, obtaining a large number of spiritual medicines and becoming the in-name disciple of Martial Ancestor Li, it had fluttered about through the sect on the first year of his return, causing other low level disciples to burn with great envy. But by the second year, this matter had gradually settled down.
However, there was still a small incident during this time. That Old Man Ye who reneged on over half of the agreed items suddenly sent over the rest of the long overdue items without exception. There was even a bit extra! This caused Han Li to greatly experience firsthand the ease and confidence brought by having a greatly influential backer, and he could not help but be secretly pleased by his position! It seemed that his position of being an in-name disciple of Martial Ancestor Li had quite a few truly good benefits!
(TL: “Having an influential backer” - literally “大树底下好乘凉/the shade is plentiful underneath a large tree”)
However, with regards to paying his respects to his master, Han Li truly had no words to say! Apart from being assigned as an in-name disciple to the man and receiving a personally transcribed copy of the 《Azure Essence Sword Arts》 from him, Han Li did not hear anything else from him in these three years. It seemed that he had completely forgotten about Han Li long ago!
Apart from a few unspoken complaints, Han Li was quite satisfied with his current situation. He currently was wholeheartedly throwing himself into the first steps of refining the Foundation Establishment Pills. He naturally did not wish for anyone to disturb him.
However, his life of near seclusion had finally come to a close. About three days ago, Han Li finished maturing the last auxiliary spiritual medicine he required and thus possessed all his ingredients. All he needed was one last thing!
After several days of ordering and packing, Han Li packed his ripened spiritual medicines in a neat order and headed toward Yue Lu Hall.
Yue Lu Hall was exactly the same as Han Li had last seen it several years ago. Naturally, those who were guarding the transportation formation had already been replaced with another two Foundation Establishment disciples. However, the procedure was the same along with the same intolerant gazes, causing Han Li to laugh inwardly. Regardless, he still entered Yue Lu Hall without any trouble.
Walking along the signless passage, Han Li saw that ugly man who caused him much unhappiness. He was currently sleeping inside the stone room!
Han Li wrinkled his brow. After muttering to himself for a moment, he took out a small bell magic tool. Then he walked up to the ugly man and lightly shook the bell next to his ear.
This small bell wasn’t much to Han Li’s ear but it caused to ugly man to act as if his buttocks were on fire. He immediately jumped and loudly yelled unclearly, “What’s happening! Who is it? Yi! What are you up to?”
The ugly man was still clearly half asleep. For the moment, he actually didn’t use coarse language toward Han Li! Han Li didn’t see this as rude and immediately mentioned his title as an apprentice to his master.
“This one is Martial Ancestor Li Huayuan’s disciple and wishes to borrow Earth Fire for his own use. Will your distinguished self open the door?”
“Martial Ancestor Li?”
The ugly man had clearly heard of Martial Ancestor’s famous name and immediately jumped. He hurriedly and repeatedly said several praises and turned around, walking to the stone door. After he had just walked two steps, he immediately thought of something and then turned around, sizing up Han Li with a doubting gaze.
When Han Li saw this, he clearly understood the other man’s intention. After a moment of hesitation, he took out the 《Azure Essence Sword Arts》 Li Huayuan had delivered to him and presented it to the ugly man. On it was Martial Ancestor Li’s personal signature.
He did not think that this ugly man not only knew of Martial Ancestor Li’s name but also recognized a bit of his handwriting. After he looked at the book for a bit, he respectfully returned it to Han Li. He then said with a smiling face, “I don’t know whether this Junior Martial Brother wishes to refine tools or refine pills. I will certainly arrange it for Junior Martial Brother!”
Han Li was originally relying on Martial Ancestor Li’s name to see whether or not he could get a few special considerations with regards to Earth Fire. Seeing that the ugly man tactfully took the initiative to say these words, Han Li said with a relaxed expression, “This one plans to refine a few pills and hopes that a room can be arranged with rather mild and stable Earth Fire. I trouble your esteemed self!”
Previously, Han Li asked the small old man about the approximate circumstances of the Earth Fire grounds and knew that this location was where the rooms for Earth Fire was arranged for use. Thus he had said those words.
“That is easy to do. This one will immediately arrange it for Junior Martial Disciple! However, the service charge…,” the ugly man replied, seeming embarrassed.
When Han Li heard this, he faintly smiled. He unexpectedly took out a mid-grade spirit stone and handed it over to the ugly man, leisurely adding, “This one will naturally pay the amount of spirit stones in accordance to the norm! Because the time to refine these pills will be long, this mid-grade spirit stone can be considered an advanced payment. If it is too much, then I'll take back the difference!”