Han Li's lips also twitched slightly upon hearing Young Master Hai's response. This guy really had been born to be a comedian!
The giant tortoise suddenly let loose an earth-shattering roar before withdrawing its head and limbs into the ground again, and the giant black mountain it had transformed into immediately fell still.
Only then did the black-armored guards around the fortress spring into action.
The Lightning Guards in the air descended into the fortress while the black-armored guards formed teams and rose up into the air, pulling out a series of formation tools as they completed various tasks around the black mountain.
Moments later, layers of restrictions had been set up around the mountain, and a layer of black mist permeated forth to completely conceal the fortress on it.
After that, the black-armored guards immediately rushed into the black mist and vanished.
Everything within the mist fell silent, creating a stark contrast with the massive commotion that had been caused earlier.
Right at this moment, a dragon's roar rang out from another mountain, and a streak of golden light shot forth before arriving in the air above the black mist after just a few flashes.
The golden light faded, and a shimmering golden wyrm was revealed with a single horn that was over 100 feet in length on its head.
A smiling white-robed man stood on the back of the golden wyrm; it was none other than Heavenly Yuan Holy Sovereign.
"Long time no see, Fellow Daoist Xuan Wu. Care for a reunion?"
"Hmph, just come in if you want to see me, you old geezer. I'm sure a mere illusionary formation won't be enough to keep you out." A cold voice responded from within the black mist, and the owner of the voice wasn't making any effort to be respectful or polite toward Heavenly Yuan Holy Sovereign.
"Hehe, I'll help myself, then." Heavenly Yuan Holy Sovereign chuckled, seemingly completely unbothered by the animosity being directed at him. He tapped his foot onto the back of his golden wyrm steed, and it immediately vanished into the black mist as a ball of golden light.
The black mist then fell silent once again.
All of the spectating Body Integration cultivators knew that nothing more would come of this, so they all returned to their living quarters.
Han Li naturally harbored the same intentions, and he cupped his fist in a salute to Liu Qing to bid her farewell. To his surprise, before he could say anything, Liu Qing suddenly smiled, and said, "If you don't mind, I'd like to invite you to my humble abode, Fellow Daoist Han. There is an acquaintance of yours who would like to see you."
"An acquaintance of mine?" Han Li was rather surprised to hear this.
"Indeed. She's actually the descendant of an old friend of mine, and I just so happened to encounter her during my journey here, so I brought her to the Immortal Welcome Palace with me. As for exactly who it is, you'll know when you get there," Liu Qing replied with a smile.
"You're really piquing my curiosity, Fairy Liu. In that case, please pardon my intrusion," Han Li said, and even though his expression remained unchanged, there were many thoughts flashing through his mind at once.
"I'm glad to hear that you're willing to come, Fellow Daoist Han. I live on the level directly above yours; there's nothing more to see here, so let's go back together," Liu Qing said with a smile, and based on visual information alone, it was impossible to tell that she was actually a puppet.
It was no wonder that she was renowned as the second-most proficient puppetry master in the human race; just this extremely life-like puppet alone was sufficient testament to her abilities.
Now that Heavenly Spirit Sovereign had passed away, she would naturally inherit his status as the most proficient puppetry master among all humans.
Han Li nodded in response before turning to Young Master Hai and Qi Lingzi as he instructed, "You two, take this restriction badge and go back first."
The two of them naturally accepted this instruction in a respectful manner.
After that, Han Li departed with Liu Qing toward the Immortal Welcome Palace down below.
Not long after that, Han Li encountered a white-robed young woman who appeared to be around 16 to 17 years of age in a green hall on the sixth floor of the Immortal Welcome Palace.
A hint of surprise appeared on Han Li's face at the sight of the young woman. "Fellow Daoist Ye!"
"Ye Ying pays her respects to Senior Han. I didn't think that you would've progressed to the Body Integration Stage since we separated in the Wood Tribe," Ye Ying said with a complex look on her face as she extended a curtsey toward Han Li.
"I must say, I'm quite surprised to see you here, Fairy Ye Ying." A smile appeared on Han Li's face, and he swept a sleeve through the air to send forth a burst of invisible force that prevented Ye Ying from sinking down into her curtsey.
At the same time, he swept his spiritual sense toward her and discovered that she had already reached the early-Spatial Tempering Stage. As expected of a member of the Ye Family who possessed the Heavenly Phoenix bloodline; her rate of cultivation far exceeded that of the average cultivator.
The Heavenly Phoenix True Blood that Han Li had obtained was from her, so he was reflexively more polite toward her.
"My mother is good friends with Aunt Liu, and she implored Aunt Liu to take me here with her," Ye Ying explained with a smile.
"There's no need to place me on such a pedestal, Ying'er. Your mother and I are as close as sisters; I was more than willing to bring you along with me," Liu Qing chuckled.
Ye Ying naturally expressed her gratitude toward Liu Qing again upon hearing this.
After a brief moment of contemplation, Han Li's smile suddenly faded as he said, "I assume you didn't ask Fairy Liu to bring me here just because you wanted to meet me, right?"
Ye Ying faltered slightly upon hearing this before a slightly embarrassed look appeared on her face. "That is indeed true, Senior."
"I'll leave you two to discuss this matter on your own, then," Liu Qing said in a thoughtful manner before turning to leave.
"Please wait, Aunt Liu; this actually has something to do with you as well, so there's no need for you to leave," Ye Ying hurriedly said.
A slightly surprised look appeared on Liu Qing's face as she stopped before turning back to Ye Ying. "Oh? In that case, I'll also stay and listen to what you have to say."
Han Li stroked his chin, and an intrigued look also appeared on his face.
Ye Ying paused momentarily as a serious look appeared on her face, and she continued, "I have two things that I have to discuss with the two of you, one of which won't have much to do with Senior Han, but it'll be very much related to Aunt Liu."
"Oh?" Liu Qing's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this.
"Aunt Liu, I heard that you've been in seclusion ever since the Spirit Sovereign passed away. Does this mean you've already made a decision to contest for the newly vacated Spirit Sovereign berth?" Ye Ying asked.
Liu Qing's expression changed slightly, and only after a short while did she nod in admission. "Indeed. I've already mastered the former Spirit Sovereign's puppet secret techniques and refined several extremely powerful puppets. If I can make further improvements in my powers during my time in seclusion, I should be able to combat even late-Body Integration cultivators, so I naturally intend to put my name forward."
Her voice wasn't very loud, but she seemed to be quite confident.
Ye Ying said in a serious manner, "My mother has asked to relay a message to you; do not contest for the berth of Spirit Sovereign no matter what. If you secure the position, it will only bring you misfortune."
"Is that so? I'm aware that your mother is an extremely intelligent and talented individual, but how can she possibly see into the future? Could it be that she received some news about the matter?" Liu Qing was immediately able to deduce something upon hearing this.
"Your wisdom is truly unmatched, Aunt Liu; I haven't even revealed everything yet, and you've already guessed the general gist of things. Senior Han, I ask that you keep what I'm about to say next a secret," Ye Ying said as she suddenly turned to Han Li.
Han Li could tell from her cautious display that she was going to say something quite important, so he nodded in response without any hesitation. "I promise that I definitely won't reveal to anyone what you're about to say next."
Ye Ying nodded in a content manner upon hearing this before continuing, "Perhaps Senior Han may not know about this, but I'm sure that Aunt Liu has heard about how the devilish tribulation is going to descend upon our Spirit Realm within the next 1,000 years.
A hint of fear flashed through her eyes as she spoke, and Liu Qing's expression darkened slightly, but she seemed to have already been aware of this.
In contrast, Han Li was quite alarmed by this. "Devilish tribulation?"
It was no wonder that he was oblivious to this. All of the other Body Integration cultivators of the human race had been at the Body Integration Stage for thousands of years, so they naturally had some avenues through which they had been made aware of this.
However, Han Li had only been back in human territory for several years and hadn't yet had a chance to acquaint himself with many other Body Integration cultivators, so he naturally knew nothing about the imminent devilish tribulation.
After all, information surrounding the devilish tribulation was only circulating among Body Integration cultivators, and it was kept confidential from all other cultivators in case the human and demon races were plunged into turmoil by this news before the devilish tribulation even struck.
Han Li naturally knew what this devilish tribulation was from the tomes he had read in the human race, but never did he think that it was going to strike within the next 1,000 years!
Could it be that he really was simply this unlucky? Several centuries ago, he had encountered an attack on Deep Heaven City from an army of foreign races that took place once every several tens of thousands of years, and now, he was about to face something even more perilous.
He was finally beginning to understand why so many major powers were eager to recruit him and offer him such alluring conditions. If it weren't for the fact that he was extremely averse to having his freedom restricted by others, he would've been very tempted by a few of the major powers that had approached him.
"Could it be that this devilish tribulation has something to do with the berth of the Spirit Sovereign?" Han Li asked.Previous Chapter Next Chapter