"You sound quite confident; it looks my concern was unnecessary," Han Li chuckled before making his way up the staircase without any further delay.
Xian Xian pursed her lips with a smile as she followed along behind him in an elegant manner.
At the entrance to the fourth level was a faint red light barrier, and Han Li's body swayed as he passed through the light barrier, following which he appeared in an entirely blue place.
The walls and the ceiling of the room were all translucent and shimmering with a faint blue light, and there was a massive white spell formation underfoot that took up an area of over 200 feet. At the very center of the formation was a man standing in silence while appraising Han Li and Xian Xian.
Han Li focused his gaze on the man to find that he had a scholarly appearance with a yellow book in one hand and a golden formation plate in the other. He appeared to be a being at the pinnacle of the Spatial Tempering Stage, and a peculiar look appeared on his face as he said, "So it's you."
"Do you recognize me, Fellow Daoist?" Han Li asked with a smile.
"Even if I didn't recognize you before, after that spectacular display earlier, I certainly do now. It's quite extraordinary that you were able to crush a ninth-tier upper race being so easily," the scholar mused with a hint of intrigue in his eyes.
"You're far too kind, Fellow Daoist. May I ask what kind of examination I'll be undertaking?" Han Li asked in a nonchalant manner.
"Examination? With your powers, there's no need for an examination. You get an automatic pass!" the scholar chuckled.
Both Han Li and Xian Xian were rather surprised to hear this.
"What? Do you really think I'm such a dogmatic person that I refuse to do anything outside of the rules and regulations? Even eight-tier upper race beings can be exempt from the examination, so you certainly don't need to undertake one. Here's your Lightningwield Umbrella." As soon as the scholar's voice trailed of, silver light flashed from the book in his hand, and an object flew out from within, heading straight toward Han Li.
Han Li made a grabbing motion to draw the object into his grasp, and he found that it was slightly cold to the touch.
He looked down to discover that it was a small silver umbrella that was only around several inches in size, but it was an extremely intricate object, upon which was carved many profound runes.
"There are some things that I need to tell you, Fellow Daoist; you must conduct the master recognition ceremony with the Lightningbane Umbrella in my presence to prevent it from being taken by others. Also, after completing the master recognition ceremony, the umbrella will only be effective for a month. After that, it will expire and become a useless object, which means that you must come out of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges within a month. Otherwise, the devilish Qi in there will make you undergo devilfication, and you'll be transformed into a true devilish being," Enforcer Min cautioned in a diligent and detailed manner.
"Thank you for your words of caution." Han Li nodded before tossing the umbrella up into the air, then opening his mouth to expel a small ball of blood essence, which quickly transformed into a cloud of blood mist that enshrouded the silver umbrella within.
After that, Han Li began to chant something as he made a hand seal, then flicked his 10 fingers rapidly through the air in quick succession.
A series of incantation seals of different colors surged forth in a frenzy, all of which disappeared into the blood mist.
The small silver umbrella instantly swelled to three feet in size as a result.
At the same time, a rumbling sound rang out from within the blood mist, following which the mist condensed into a series of crimson runes of different sizes. The runes revolved around the silver umbrella before disappearing into it in a flash, and a film of crimson light emanated from it before instantly fizzling out.
After that, Han Li waved a hand through the air, and the silver umbrella shrank at his behest before flying up his sleeve.
The entire master recognition ceremony was completed in what seemed like the mere blink of an eye.
A hint of surprise appeared on Enforcer Min's face, clearly shocked that he was able to perform the master recognition ceremony so quickly.
However, he quickly recomposed himself, then turned to Xian Xian with furrowed brows as he said, "I can see that you're a Crystal being, and your cultivation base is quite low. If you were to enter the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, there's a very high likelihood that you'll perish in there. I suggest that you refrain from entering the mountain ranges for your own safety."
"Thank you for your concern, Senior, but I have to enter the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges on this occasion. Please commence your examination, Senior," Xian Xian insisted after extending a respectful curtsey toward the Enforcer Min.
"In that case, then I won't try to dissuade you any further. There are two types of examinations; one of them is to last an hour inside an illusionary realm conjured up by this formation, and the other one is to battle and defeat my two beast puppets. As long as you can do either of those, you'll get a pass," Enforcer Min introduced.
Xian Xian seemed to have expected this answer in advance, and she immediately replied, "I choose the first type of examination!"
"Alright, then please take three steps forward," Enforcer Min instructed with a quick nod.
Xian Xian did as she was told, and Han Li discovered that after taking those three steps, she just so happened to be standing on top of a certain massive rune on the formation.
However, before he had a chance to think anything of this, Enforcer Min suddenly said, "You can go downstairs now. I don't want to have anyone spectate my examinations, and I'll have to ask you to refrain from revealing any details about the examination."
"Of course. I'll be taking my leave, then." Han Li nodded in response before making his way downstairs.
In the instant that he reached the opening leading to the staircase, a burst of restriction fluctuations suddenly erupted behind him alongside a faint buzzing sound.
Han Li turned around in a nonchalant manner to find that the entire formation on the ground had been completely activated. Layers of white light appeared, completely encompassing Xian Xian and Enforcer Min within, making it impossible to see them from the outside.
Han Li's expression changed slightly upon seeing this, but he continued through the light barrier without pause before walking down the staircase.
As soon as he emerged on the third level, everyone turned toward him, and he merely smiled before continuing down the staircase without any delay.
Moments later, Han Li appeared outside the gates of the pavilion, and following a brief pause, he turned to look up at the pavilion behind him.
This pavilion had a total of five levels, so what lay on the fifth level?
For some reason, that strange thought surfaced in Han Li's mind. However, he then shook his head with a nonchalant smile before slowly departing along the street.
It would be some time before Yue Zong also completed his examination, so he was going to take a stroll around the town.
Thankfully, the town wasn't very big, so it didn't take him long to see essentially everything that it had to offer.
On top of that, he was also rather intrigued by the holy race being who was offering a reward for that immortal zoysia. He didn't want to directly interact with this holy race being, but catching a glimpse of him from afar shouldn't be too difficult.
With that in mind, Han Li continued onward down the street.
There weren't many shops on either side of the street, and most of them were selling devilish beast materials. These shops were all rather small and also slightly dilapidated in appearance, clearly indicating that they'd stood in this town for a long time.
Thankfully, there were some low-grade cultivators walking along these streets and visiting the shops from time to time, so at least they wouldn't go out of business.
After passing through most of the street, Han Li passed by a large courtyard, and his eyes suddenly narrowed as a slightly solemn look appeared on his face.
As his spiritual sense was sweeping through the area, it had been kept at bay by a strange restriction that had been set up here. Furthermore, the restriction was extremely profound, and even if he were to try and force his spiritual sense through it, he wouldn't be able to achieve this anytime soon.
It appeared that this had to be where the holy race being was residing.
With that in mind, Han Li couldn't help but take a few extra glances at this place.
Unfortunately, the gates were tightly shut, and he was unable to see anything through the restriction, so he didn't know whether the holy race being was actually in there or not.
Han Li didn't pause here for long; he merely took a final glance at the gates before continuing onward.
Over an hour later, Han Li had strolled through the entire town and returned to the pavilion.
Upon his return, he discovered that Xian Xian and Yue Zong were standing outside already, and there were no other people around them.
Han Li immediately figured out what had happened, and he smiled as he asked, "Were you also exempt from taking the examination, Brother Yue?"
"Indeed, Senior. When I went up, Senior Min told me that my reputation around these parts grants me an automatic pass. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to come out so quickly. On top of that, I must thank you for your intervention earlier." Yue Zong bowed in a respectful manner with an expression of awe and veneration on his face.
"No need to thank me. We need you on this journey, so I certainly couldn't allow you to be taken by others. Fellow Daoist Xian, you also received a Lightningbane Umbrella, right?" Han Li asked.
"Of course. That illusionary formation is quite formidable, but I just so happen to have cultivated a few calming secret techniques, so it wasn't an issue for me to last an hour in there," Xian Xian replied in a nonchalant manner.
"In that case, let's set off right away. After all, we don't have a lot of time on our hands," Han Li suggested.
"My thoughts exactly!" Xian Xian chuckled in response.
Yue Zong also nodded with a solemn expression.
Thus, the three of them no longer delayed any further as they departed from the town and flew on ahead.
After flying for several kilometers, they disappeared into the azure mist again.
After forging ahead for close to 15 kilometers, the mist up ahead gradually thinned out.
However, the rumbling thunderclaps up ahead were louder than ever.
After emerging from the azure mist, Han Li couldn't help but draw a sharp breath at the sight that was presented before him.
In the distance several thousand kilometers up ahead, the entire sky was flashing with azure lightning, and countless thunderclaps were erupting from all directions.
They were about to enter a world where there was nothing aside from lightning.
"Let's go," Yue Zong said in a low voice as he opened his mouth to expel the small silver umbrella, and it transformed into a silver ball of light that enshrouded his entire body.
After that, he flew on ahead, followed closely by Han Li and Xian Xian, who also brought out their own Lightningbane Umbrellas.
Two hours later, three balls of silver light emerged on the other side of the world of lightning, and they appeared above a tall black mountain.
The silver light faded to reveal Han Li's trio, and Han Li cast his gaze down below as he murmured to himself, "So these are the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges."Previous Chapter Next Chapter