"Master Bitter, I've brought you a few newbies."
"You have to work harder on this cauldron. The Sect Master will be using it in seven days. Don't waste time."
The examiner handed Jiang Li and the others to a balding cultivator who was in charge here.
Most Runic Array Masters would easily experience hair loss after a certain number of years. Some could still be saved with secret recipes, while some were especially outstanding and might not be effective no matter how many medicinal pills they ate.
The balding steward was patrolling everywhere to urge progress. When he discovered that something was wrong, he began to point and curse.
Jiang Li and the others saw that he had grabbed a subordinate and scolded him for an entire fifteen minutes before he had the time to pay attention to them.
However, when he saw the number of newcomers, his expression showed displeasure again.
"Only a few? Don't fool me."
"If we can't complete the mission, the Sect Master will be angry. We'll all be doomed!"
The examiner was also helpless. It was true that the Myriad Slaughter Sect recruited thousands of new blood every day.
However, qualified Runic Array Masters were too rare. The other rogue cultivators who participated in the test were ridiculously poor.
If he did not go through training and used it directly, it would really ruin everything.
"Alright, alright. Come with me. Let me see what you can do."
In front of the table, Master Bitter displayed a huge comprehensive analysis map.
Jiang Li glanced at it. It was a cauldron-shaped artifact that was larger than a house.
From the materials used and the scale of the runes, this artifact was definitely not simple after being refined. Perhaps its might could directly compare to an Earth-rank artifact.
They could actually refine artifacts that were comparable to Earth-rank artifacts.
At the very least, the cultivation world of the Great Mountain Region did not have such a situation.
In next to no time, Master Bitter brought over a stack of blueprints and distributed them to Jiang Li and the others.
"All of you, go over there and carve patterns on the black bricks. Follow this blueprint and don't make any mistakes. You must submit ten qualified black bricks in a day or else you'll be in charge of the fire!"
It was extremely difficult to create a furnace and mold of such a size, so the method they used was to melt metal ingots layer by layer.
It was as if they were building a house. They smelted pieces of metal ingots that had been refined alone one after another.
The difficulty was that the upper part of the cauldron had to be in a half-melting state forever. Moreover, there could not be any mistakes in casting the ingots.
Once it condensed and melted again, or if there was a deviation in the location of a certain brick, the overall quality of the artifact would be greatly reduced and it would fail.
This required a large number of fire-attribute cultivators to take turns providing powerful firepower to maintain. It also required a Runic Array Master with exquisite skills that even Jiang Li could only admire to coordinate the overall situation.
Letting a high-grade metal maintain a melting state was extraordinarily difficult even with the help of a specific array formation.
It was not the same as taking on missions from the Alchemy Hall to fan the flames for Qi Refinement disciples in the sect.
This was probably the reason why the Myriad Slaughter Sect specially recruited fire attribute cultivators.
The top-notch Runic Array Master they needed was probably Master Bitter.
Jiang Li and the others were assigned to their own Spirit Carving Platform. After entering the sect, they did not even have the chance to adapt and were directly dragged to be laborers.
Each person had ten black bricks, each the size of a coffin. They began to undergo tough labor according to the blueprint.
Following the dismantled blueprint, carving patterns on the flat surface was actually the most basic job.
Even if they were rogue cultivators, they could still do this.
As Jiang Li carved patterns on the black brick, he sized up his surroundings. There was no one monitoring them in the surroundings. As long as they finished their work, they could leave at any time.
This place should have been temporarily built by the Myriad Slaughter Sect after they attacked the Rock Mountain Range.
They had made such a huge move to temporarily refine such a huge cauldron. Who knew what it was for.
He finished his work quickly, and the others who came in with him were probably going to spend the night catching up.
After pretending to be exhausted and handing over ten rune black bricks, Jiang Li received today's allowance.
He was also told to find a residence that was not occupied in Blackstone City as his residence.
If there were any locals who were not dead yet, they would be treated as servants who were used for free. No one would stop the cultivators from doing anything to them.
Walking on the streets, the city built from hard black stone had a different style. From some of the traces by the roadside, Jiang Li could tell that this used to be a rather bustling cultivation city.
However, at this moment, there were only piles of human corpses that had yet to be cleaned everywhere, showing the sorrow of this place.
If he did not stop it, perhaps in the near future, the cultivation world of the Great Mountain Region would become like this.
At this moment, a dirty child suddenly collided with him.
Jiang Li did not move at all. The child's head was swollen from the collision and bounced onto the ground.
"I'm sorry, Lord!"
The child apologized repeatedly before running away with his head lowered.
She lowered her head, but Jiang Li could still see that her face was branded with a string of numbers.
The Myriad Slaughter Sect was not a good force. The people who survived in Blackstone City were all reduced to slaves. They labeled these people's faces and left them in the city as property.
That child was one of them.
However, she deliberately collided with him.
Jiang Li casually walked into an alley, and then he stretched out his hand to take out a note. It was the slip of paper that the child had secretly stuffed into his arms when they collided earlier.
If not for the fact that Jiang Li saw that she did not take out anything, the child would have died.
"22 Oak Street."
There was only this address written on it.
After Jiang Li finished reading it, this note suddenly burned itself and disappeared completely.
From the looks of it, he seemed to have been targeted by a group of underground workers.
Blackstone City had just fallen. If the Myriad Slaughter Sect wanted to manage this entire region, they could not stabilize it without decades of operation.
It was very normal for some of the resistance forces to exist.
These resistance forces had the same goal as Jiang Li. They were helpers that he could use to fight.
In theory, Jiang Li should visit according to the address on the note and obtain cooperation.
But who was Jiang Li?
He was the Alliance Leader of the Great Mountain Alliance. It was too simple to just casually write a note and want to lead him by the nose.
He did not go to 22 Oak Street as stated. Instead, he found a random residence nearby and walked in.
His luck was not bad. There was a pair of siblings, brother and sister, who huddled in a corner, trembling.
After they saw Jiang Li enter, the woman was terrified to the point of cowering, whereas the man forced himself to calm down and knelt down before Jiang Li.
Since they were able to live in this city area, they had to be descendants of a cultivation family. Seeing that he was able to let go of his pride, his temperament was indeed not bad.
"Lord, is there anything we can help you with?"
Jiang Li waved his hand and completely ignored them. He casually found a room and sat inside.
At night, in Oak Street.
"Young Master Huyan, why hasn't the person you mentioned arrived yet? Is he really trustworthy?"
A few cultivators dressed in the outer clothes of the Myriad Slaughter Sect were gathered in an inconspicuous residence, discussing something secretly.
"With the Qi Gazing Technique, I saw that person's bearing was extraordinary and he was extremely proficient in the Dao of Runic Array Formations. He should not be an ordinary rogue cultivator. He must be a direct disciple of a righteous sect to have this ability."
"That kind of person would definitely not join the Myriad Slaughter Sect sincerely. I think he will accept our cooperation."
"Right now, the remaining cultivators of our Rock Mountain Range have been forced to attack a cultivation world called the Great Mountain Region."
"However, what the Myriad Slaughter Sect said is all lies. I happened to know some of the secrets of the Blood King Crown. Once that huge cauldron is completed, all the citizens in this city will be unable to escape death!"
"We need help. Wait patiently."
However, as the hours passed, not only did Jiang Li not arrive, the doors of the houses in 22 Oak Street were even kicked open from the outside.
A group of Blood Blade Guards rushed in aggressively and started to smash and burn the place. They smashed this residence to the side and left angrily after discovering nothing.
"Young Master Huyan, did we give that note to the wrong person?"
Young Master Huyan and the others, who were hiding in the 23rd house, felt a lingering fear.
Fortunately, they had been careful. Otherwise, they would have been wiped out this time.
Their notes were indeed burned after reading, but with just these few words, Jiang Li could completely write another one himself and send it to the Blood Saber Guards in a way that would easily arouse suspicion.
Then, there was that scene.
Jiang Li's actions were both a lesson and a test.
Firstly, he wanted them to put on a proper attitude.
The second was to see if this group of people was sufficiently meticulous. If it was a group of brainless "righteous people", it was safer for him to do it alone.
"Wait, look over there."
After the group of Blood Blade Guards left, a rat in a red robe darted out from somewhere.
Without running around, he crossed his legs and sat on the only intact chair in the residence.
Beside the red-coated rat was a bottle of medicinal pills.
Young Master Huyan looked at the medicinal pill from the shadows and knew that Jiang Li had long understood that it was the note he had sent.
This was because it was the bottle of Desolate Poison Mushroom antidote that he had given Jiang Li when he was traveling in the wilderness.
Then, he participated in the same test as Jiang Li and secretly witnessed Jiang Li's amazing spirit carving technique.
That was why there was the note incident.
"What's that? A rat spirit?"
The cultivator beside him was dumbfounded. What was going on with this rat?
"No, that person is here. Let's go out."
Young Master Huyan sighed. He knew that his actions were somewhat inappropriate.
Since he had a favor to ask, he should take the initiative to come to him. He should not be putting on airs to test the other party.
The scene earlier was a show of Jiang Li's displeasure. Now that the two sides were even, it was time to talk business.
The few of them appeared from next door, and a group of five stood before Jiang Li.
"I've offended you earlier, but we really have to be careful in the territory of the Myriad Slaughter Sect. Please forgive me."
Seeing the few of them come out, the rat also stood up, cupped its hands, and bowed to them.
"We were rash. Sir, don't take offense."
"My name is Huyan Long'an. I've troubled you this time for the lives of 300,000 citizens in Blackstone City. Please help me."
Young Master Huyan was quite a talent. He really bowed to a rat.
Huyan was a grand surname in the cultivation world of the Rock Mountain Range, and it was basically equivalent to the status of the Shenshan surname in the Great Mountain Region. It could be seen that this person had definitely held a high position in the Blackstone City.
"Tell me, what do I need to do? What can I get?"
Jiang Li did not expose his identity as a member of the Great Mountain Alliance. Instead, he asked for compensation from a person who did not care about him.
The few people behind Huyan Long'an were immediately dissatisfied, but they were stopped by their young master's hand gesture.
"Our Rock Mountain Range secretly inherited a Dragon Pearl."
"If Sir can help us succeed, I can help you obtain the Dragon Pearl."
Jiang Li became energetic when he heard that.
"Dragon Pearl? There's a Dragon Pearl here?"
"No, even if there is, it should have been snatched away by the Myriad Slaughter Sect."
He was first surprised, then asked two questions.
Where did the dragon come from?
If the other party wanted Jiang Li to go to the Myriad Slaughter Sect to snatch the Dragon Pearl himself, he might run over now and crush the five of them.
"I don't know the origins of the Dragon Pearl in detail, but the Stone Mountain Range's holy land worships a Dragon Pearl. The exact location is only known by my Huyan Clan. Outsiders will definitely not be able to find it." Huyan Long'an explained again, barely convincing Jiang Li of the existence of the holy land and the Dragon Pearl.
"We need you to do something about the 200 bricks. Hide this rune inside."
"I believe that with Sir's mastery of array patterns, it should not be difficult to do."
Seeing that Jiang Li was tempted, he handed over another blueprint. On it was a vertical eye symbol with simple lines but seemed to have a special charm.
What he meant was to let Jiang Li use a high-end technique of overlapping runes to hide this vertical eye in those large bricks. Most importantly, it could not be seen by others.
This was not a technique that anyone could use. In the past, there were only a handful of masters at this level in the Rock Mountain Range. Now, not a single one was left.
They probably came to find Jiang Li with the intention of giving it a try.
Fortunately, their luck was really good and they happened to bump into him.
Jiang Li controlled the red-coated rat to pick up a wooden board on the ground. He first drew the vertical eye on it, and then he started to draw the formation patterns on the vertical eye symbol.
Soon, complicated patterns that were identical to the black brick completely covered the vertical eye. The few of them approached and looked left and right. They could not see any clues.
When they heard Jiang Li's answer and saw his actions, the expressions of the few people on the other side first became pleasant surprise, and then it became that of shock.
The fact that he was able to do this spontaneously was already one in a million.
Not to mention that Jiang Li was currently using a rat that was controlled remotely, so it was even easier for his main body to take action.
"Sir, you're indeed skilled. We admire you!"
"With Sir's help, there's finally hope of stopping the Blood King Cauldron!"
Blood King Cauldron? Jiang Li was a little concerned when he heard that name. Could this thing be related to the Blood King Crown's recognition?
"Don't celebrate too early. This kind of technique can only fool ordinary Runic Array Masters. In front of true experts, it can't be hidden."
"This is especially so for that Master Bitter. I definitely can't let him see the black bricks I carved. You need to cover for me."
Jiang Li's request was reasonable. They still had some people hidden in the city. Even if they risked their lives, they had to help.
"Of course. We will assist you with all our might. Also, may I know your name?"
After chatting for a while, Huyan Long'an bowed respectfully to the red-coated rat again.
"You can call me Green Mountain Ascetic."