Chapter 1705: Mountain, Palace, Stone Staircase

"Then I'll have to thank you two for your generosity," Han Li said with a smile as he cupped his fist in a salute.

"Don't mention it, Brother Han. Now that we've broken this restriction, we should enter these ruins and find the treasures that Master and Senior Duan require as quickly as possible. After we secure these treasures, we'll definitely be rewarded handsomely when we return to Cloud City," Liu Shui'er said as a serious look appeared on her face.

After that, she stowed away her grey flag before flying into the hole down below as a streak of blue light.

Shi Kun also hurriedly followed along as a ball of yellow light.

In contrast, Han Li inspected his surroundings through narrowed eyes, and only after ascertaining that nothing was amiss in the nearby area did he also slowly descend toward the hole.

At this point, Liu Shui'er and Shi Kun had already sped on ahead.

Just as Han Li flew into the massive hole behind them, vibrant balls of light suddenly appeared in the surrounding area before sweeping toward him.

Han Li was naturally quite alarmed to see this, and he immediately conjured up a layer of protective azure light to shield himself.

However, those vibrant balls of light then faltered before transforming into runes of different sizes, and they revolved around Han Li before forming a small five-colored light formation.

Han Li found himself situated at the very center of the formation, and a faint buzzing sound rang out as bursts of spatial fluctuations erupted around him.

As opposed to becoming even more alarmed by this development, Han Li's expression eased slightly instead, and he clasped his hands behind his back, displaying no intention to shatter this light formation.

In the next instant, bright five-colored spiritual light erupted, and Han Li was struck by a rush of dizziness while his surroundings blurred, and he abruptly vanished on the spot.

In the next instant, Han Li opened his eyes to find that he was situated on a tall platform.

The entire platform had been paved with gigantic blocks of blue stone, and there were some patterns on its surface, but it certainly couldn't be classified as intricate or beautiful. Instead, it gave off a simple and primitive air. 

Directly underfoot was a teleportation formation with a radius that was no more than 20 feet, and close to the formation was a stone staircase that led down from the platform.

Han Li only took a quick glance at the teleportation formation and the stone platform before casting his gaze toward the surrounding area.

At this moment, he seemed to be situated within an alternate space. There was a bright sun up above, and the sky was of a bright blue color without a single cloud in sight. There were all types of exotic plants and flowers growing in the area, and an occasional gentle breeze would blow past, carrying the fragrance of these plants toward Han Li.

However, the thing that attracted Han Li's attention most was a mountain that was several thousand feet tall situated close to the platform.

The mountain wasn't very tall, but it spread for close to 10 kilometers, and its terrain was quite remarkable. The entire mountain was of a completely bland white color, and it consisted entirely of sheer faces that were almost completely vertical. At the summit of the mountain was a massive purple palace that covered almost the entire peak.

Han Li focused his gaze toward that direction and appraised the palace for a long while before turning his attention to the ground at the foot of the stone staircase.

Liu Shui'er and Shi Kun were standing there motionlessly, and both of them also seemed to be carefully appraising the purple palace in the distance.

Han Li's expression changed slightly, and his body swayed as he prepared to fly down from the stone platform.

However, he only managed to get several feet off the ground before he was abruptly forced back down onto the platform, landing in the formation with a resounding dull thump that made the entire platform tremor slightly.

It was as if his body had suddenly become extremely heavy.

Han Li raised an arm and swung it through the air a few times in an experimental manner, only to find that it was just as light as normal.

A hint of surprise flashed through his eyes, but a thought then immediately occurred to him, and azure light flashed around his body as he slowly rose up into the air again.

However, he'd only flown around a foot into the air before a burst of enormous power crashed down onto his body without any warning.

Han Li wobbled slightly before righting himself, but his expression changed slightly in response to this situation.

After that, he continued to slowly rise upward, using his immensely powerful body to combat the enormous force weighing down on him. Upon reaching around two feet off the ground, his body shuddered again, and the azure light around him also began to flash erratically.

Han Li furrowed his brows slightly upon seeing this, following which blue light flashed through his eyes as he inspected his own body.

Through the use of his spirit eye ability, he was able to discover that bands of faint yellow light had wound themselves around his body, completely disregarding the protective layer of azure light he'd conjured up.

At this moment, Shi Kun turned around with a wry smile, and said, "I see you've also noticed this, Brother Han; the flight restriction here is a little different from normal restrictions. For every successive foot that we rise up into the air, the power of the restriction will be doubled. I can only fly to about seven or eight feet before being forced to come back down."

"The power of the restriction increases by twofold for each successive foot of height? This restriction sure is quite powerful; even a holy race being most likely won't be able to fly more than several tens of feet off the ground," Han Li said in a slow voice before slowly descending onto the ground again.

In the instant that his feet came into contact with the ground, the yellow bands of light around his body abruptly disappeared.

"Even with Fellow Daoist Shi's immensely powerful body, he can only rise up into the air for seven to eight feet; for normal upper race beings like me, I can probably only handle three to four feet at most," Liu Shui'er said without even turning her head.

She was still appraising the palace in the distance intently.

A slightly grim expression appeared on Han Li's face upon hearing this, but after a brief moment of contemplation, he emerged from the formation, then descended down the stone stairs.

"Looks like that palace on the mountain is where the treasures should be. What are we still waiting for?" Han Li asked in a calm manner.

"There are other restrictions here that we need to be wary of," Liu Shui'er said as she finally turned around to appraise Han Li in a solemn manner.

"The fact that there are other restrictions present further verifies that there are precious treasures to be found here. However, if they're just restrictions like flight restrictions, then they shouldn't be too dangerous," Han Li said with a smile.

"That would normally be true, but seeing as the owner of this place could be a true immortal, we can't make assumptions based on our own judgments," Liu Shui'er replied with a faint sigh.

"But if you just stand here and look at the palace from afar, there's no way that you'll be able to secure the treasures in there. In that case, why did we take so many risks to come here in the first place?" Han Li reasoned in a calm manner.

Shi Kun seemed to have also failed to identify any potential hazards, and he nodded in agreement as he said, "You're right, Brother Han. There are still Jiao Chi beings not too far away from us, so we shouldn't delay for much longer here."

Liu Shui'er's expression changed slightly before she also made up her mind, and she said, "In that case, I have no objections, either. Let's go."

Shi Kun suddenly swept a sleeve through the air upon hearing this, and a black object flew out from within. However, it thudded heavily to the ground as soon as it left his sleeve, revealing itself to be a metallic black giant wolf puppet. 

"The restrictions here are even effective against treasures?" Liu Shui'er exclaimed as her expression darkened slightly.

In that case, if they were to encounter any unforeseen perils, they'd only be able to protect themselves using their own magic power and secret techniques.

A cautious look also appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this.

In contrast, Shi Kun merely chuckled before leading the way as he strode toward the mountain.

Seeing as treasures were unable to be used here, his powerful body naturally became a particularly valuable asset.

Han Li also gave a faint smile before following along behind Shi Kun.

Liu Shui'er could only follow suit after a brief hesitation.

There was a path that was almost completely straight leading directly to the summit of the mountain.

The entire path consisted of steps paved with white stone slabs that were around 10 feet wide each, and from afar, it was as if there were a giant white python sprawled over the mountain, creating a rather startling spectacle to behold.

Han Li's trio naturally didn't dare to travel through flight, but their bodies were far more powerful than that of normal beings, so they didn't fear the prospect of having to take this path, either.

Thus, the three of them strode onto the stone steps, heading up toward the mountain summit.

However, a peculiar look immediately appeared on Shi Kun's face as soon as he strode onto the first step.

He continued to scale the steps, but he was gradually slowing down in the process, clearly not able to scale the steps as swiftly as he could in the beginning.

Han Li had naturally noticed this as he walked along behind Shi Kun, and as soon as he set foot on the first stone step, he understood why Shi Kun was slowing down.

A burst of suction force had erupted from the stone step, making his legs feel as if they were filled with lead.

After scaling a few more steps, he immediately discovered at the suction force from each successive step was slightly more pronounced than that of the previous step.

The slightly incremental increase was almost unnoticeable over just a few steps, but there were over 10,000 steps leading up to the summit, and that was quite a harrowing thought to consider.

Thankfully, it seemed that as long as one were to stand still on a step, the enormous suction force emanating from it would gradually weaken, and if one were to stand on a step for a long enough time, all of the suction force would gradually disappear.

Han Li was quite intrigued by this, but he didn't pay much attention to this detail.

After cultivating the Provenance True Devil Arts, his body was more powerful than even most normal holy race beings.

These stone steps were slightly peculiar, but he was confident that he'd be able to make it to the mountain summit without pause.

As for whether Shi Kun could also do the same, that would depend on whether he'd been holding back in displaying the powers of his body.

As for Liu Shui'er, there was most likely no way for her to make it to the summit without pausing in between if she were to rely on the power of her body alone.

With that in mind, Han Li took a glance back at Liu Shui'er after scaling a dozen or so steps.

Thus, he discovered that she was still situated on the first stone step, seemingly in deep thought about something. However, it was quite apparent from the expression on her face that she was feeling very frustrated and angry.

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