Han Li was watching all of this unfold with a calm expression, but internally, he was nowhere near as calm as he looked.
However, the disturbance only lasted less than a second before abruptly subsiding, and the light radiating from the puppet's body faded, as did the enormous aura it had displayed.
Han Li exhaled as a stunned look flashed through his eyes.
The enormous aura that had just erupted out of the puppet's body had been extremely formidable, and he was unable to gauge exactly how powerful it was, but he was certain that it was beyond the True Immortal Stage.
With that in mind, Han Li had to suppress his excitement once again as he made another hand seal.
However, this time, no matter what he tried, the puppet displayed no further reaction.
After some contemplation, Han Li closed his eyes and released his spiritual sense to inspect the puppet's internal makeup.
A short while later, he withdrew his spiritual sense out of the puppet's body, then opened his eyes with an uncertain look on his face.
He had never come into contact with an immortal puppet before, but given his expertise in the art of puppetry, he had already managed to track down the core area of the puppet, but to his surprise, the area was empty.
Aside from that, the entire puppet was missing an energy source, so the reaction it had just displayed was most likely only from a tiny amount of residual energy left in its body.
By his estimates, it was most likely going to require an enormous amount of Immortal Origin Stones to operate this puppet.
All of a sudden, a thought occurred to Han Li, and he flipped a hand over to produce the golden ball that was Daoist Xie's core.
Han Li made a hand seal and cast an incantation seal into the ball, and it quickly transformed into a palm-sized golden crab amid a flash of golden light. The crab clutched at its own head with its pincers and shook it around a little, then stood up in a rather unsteady fashion.
The crab then cast its gaze toward Han Li as it asked in a slow voice, "What is it, Fellow Daoist Han? Why have you..."
It had been in a state of slumber ever since its return, and even now, it was still rather groggy and lethargic.
However, its voice suddenly trailed off as it turned around to stare intently at the yellow-robed puppet behind it.
"That's an immortal puppet, and a linked puppet, at that! This is truly a rare find!" Daoist Xie murmured to itself with golden light glowing in its eyes.
It flew up from Han Li's hand as it spoke and landed on the puppet, crawling joyfully up and down its body while touching the puppet with its pincers.
All the while, Han Li merely looked on in silence.
Only after a full 15 minutes had passed did Daoist Xie stop what it was doing before turning to Han Li as it asked, "Where did you obtain this immortal puppet from, Fellow Daoist Han? I can tell you that it's a puppet of a very high caliber."
There was a clear hint of excitement in its voice.as it spoke.
"That's a long story, but this puppet should have some close ties with a sect known as the Holy Puppet Sect," Han Li replied in an ambiguous manner.
"Holy Puppet Sect... I've never heard of such a sect before," Daoist Xie murmured to itself before turning back to inspect the puppet again.
"By the way, what did you mean by linked puppet just now, Brother Xie?" Han Li asked.
"Linked puppets are a very rare type of puppet. Generally speaking, once a puppet is refined, its power will be set at a certain level, and there's very limited potential for growth. However, linked puppets are different in that their combat prowess depends on the power of the spiritual sense of its user, as well as its degree of affinity to the user. To put it in simpler terms, it functions much like a treasure," Daoist Xie explained.
"I see. It seems like you're very interested in this puppet. Is it something that you can use?" Han Li asked.
"I haven't had a chance to fully examine the puppet yet, but it's an earth-attribute puppet, so generally speaking, only someone who's using an earth-attribute cultivation art will be able to use it. If you can reach the peak level of affinity with it, it should be able to display mid-Golden Immortal Stage power," Daoist Xie replied.
Han Li's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this. "You possess lightning-attribute powers, so..."
"That's right, I won't be able to use this linked puppet," Daoist Xie confirmed with a nod.
"I see," Han Li replied with a hint of disappointment in his eyes.
While he possessed sufficiently formidable spiritual sense to use the puppet, he wasn't very adept in any earth-attribute cultivation arts, so even if he were to use the puppet, he wouldn't be able to use it to its full power. n)(o--v-(e(.L--b-.I-(n
Daoist Xie was silent for a moment, then suddenly said, "Having said that, if you give me a suitable environment and sufficient resources, it may not be entirely impossible."
An elated look appeared on Han Li's face as he hurriedly asked, "What do you need, Brother Xie? I'll do my best to provide you with the right conditions."
If Daoist Xie could successfully control this puppet, then he would have a Golden Immortal Stage ally on his side.
"Firstly, I'll need a lightning array. The array isn't very complicated to set up, but it requires something that can continuously provide lightning power as its core, and that is the key that'll decide whether the modification will be successful. On top of that, I also require a large sum of Immortal Origin Stones and lightning-attribute top-grade spirit stones to ensure that the modification process isn't interrupted for even a single moment," Daoist Xie said.
It opened its mouth to spit out a small golden jade slip as it spoke, and the jade slip flew toward Han Li, who caught it before injecting his spiritual sense into it.
The jade slip contained the method required to set up a lightning array, and just as Daoist Xie said, it wasn't very complicated.
Aside from that, in order to maintain the array, close to 1,000 Immortal Origin Stones and a huge sum of lightning-attribute top-grade spirit stones were required. It seemed like a massive cost, but it was no problem with Han Li's current wealth.
"Alright, I'll be able to set up everything for you in seven days at the very most," Han Li said after a brief moment of contemplation.
Daoist Xie wasn't all that surprised to hear this, and it replied, "it looks like you've done quite well for yourself since your return to the Immortal Realm, Follow Daoist Han. In that case, I'll be counting on you."
Several days later.
Countless purple veins had been engraved onto the floor of the secret chamber, forminga? large circular array. The yellow-robed puppet was laying flat on a certain point in the array, around which were standing eight lengths of Lightning Restraining Wood.
Array patterns had also been engraved onto the lengths of Lightning Restraining Wood, and there were arcs of purple lightning flashing occasionally over their surface.
At the very center of the lightning array was an indentation, within which was embedded a round purple crystal. This was none other than the clam jewel that he had obtained from that giant clam while crossing the Thunderstorm Sea.
At this moment, Han Li was standing at the entrance of his secret chamber with Daoist xie perched on his shoulder.
He made a hand seal with both hands to cast a string of incantation seals into the purple clam bead at the center of the array, and thunderclaps rang out one after another as all of the array patterns on the ground began to glow with dazzling radiance.
Countless arcs of purple lightning emerged from the array before springing up into the air to resemble a nest of wildly dancing lightning snakes.
In the blink of an eye, the entire secret chamber was transformed into a world of purple lightning.
"What do you think of this array, Brother Xie?" Han Li asked.
"You've done very well, Fellow Daoist Han. In particular, that crystal at the center of the array is very remarkable, and it seems to be holding an enormous amount of lightning power," Daoist Xie remarked as it pointed a pincer at the purple clam bead.
Han Li gave Daoist Xie a recount of how he had come into possession of the clam bead, and after hearing the story, Daoist Xie said, "Prior to this, I only had a 30% chance of success, but with this setup, the chance of success has increased to 50%."
After that, he crouched down before springing into the lightning array as a streak of golden light.
Countless arcs of lightning sprang out of all parts of the array before converging toward Daoist Xie, while dazzling golden lightning appeared over its body.
In the blink of an eye, it had been completely enveloped in a ball of golden lightning, following which it descended toward the yellow-robed puppet's chest.
The ball of golden lightning vanished into the puppet's chest in a flash, and the puppet's body shuddered as dazzling yellow light appeared over its skin, while arcs of lightning crackled around its chest.
The purple lightning in the array was drawn to the puppet's chest before fusing as one with it, and the lightning immediately began to spread toward other parts of the puppet's body.
The lightning immediately began to clash against the yellow light on the yellow-robed puppet's body, and explosions rang out occasionally, causing the entire secret chamber to shudder along with the lightning array.
Han Li was standing at the entrance, watching everything unfolding inside the secret chamber with a hint of anticipation in his eyes.
According to Daoist Xie, the fusion process could take several decades or even over a century. The clam bead contained more than enough lightning power to support this process, and Han Li had prepared a sufficient number of Immortal Origin Stones and lightning-attribute top-grade spirit stones as well when setting up the array.
"Hopefully everything goes well," Han Li murmured to himself, then left the secret chamber and closed the door before setting up a restriction.
Before long, he had already sat down with his legs crossed in another secret chamber.
Now that he had set up everything that Daoist Xie needed, it was time for him to consider his own situation.
With all of the Immortal Origin Stones he had accumulated thus far, there should've been enough to support his cultivation for the next few centuries, barring any mishaps.
However, that encounter with Zhong Luan on this trip to the Holy Puppet Sect was one that struck a great deal of wariness into his heart.
Even though he had managed to slay Zhong Luan in battle, it was clear from the black crane's memories that this was far from the end of the matter.
According to what Zhong Luan had said, even if their encounter hadn't taken place in the Holy Puppet Sect, Zhong Luan had been planning to search for him on the Ancient Cloud Continent anyway, so he wasn't necessarily safe just because he was in the Blaze Dragon Dao.
There was no guarantee that the enemy wouldn't pursue him to the Blaze Dragon Dao, and he had to consider what he was going to do if Fang Pan and Zhong Luan's master or some other formidable enemy came after him.