"You've progressed to the Grand Ascension Stage and noticed me right away, so of course I wouldn't be deluded enough to think that I could fool you so easily, Senior," Mouse Monarch Dong Tian said with a wry smile.
"Hehe, I didn't think that the vastly renowned Endless Sky Beast of the human world would be a clone of one of the seven demon monarchs. That Endless Sky Beast clone of yours sure knows how to keep a secret," Han Li chuckled.
Indeed, no one could've imagined that the true body of the Endless Sky Beast would be Mouse Monarch Dong Tian.
"I also didn't think that a human cultivator who was far beneath me less than 2,000 years ago would now be a Grand Ascension Stage being whom even I have to look up to. Having said that, there's no bad blood between us, and that clone of mine assisted you somewhat in the human world, so I'm sure you're not here to pick a bone with me, right, Senior?" Mouse Monarch Dong Tian asked.
"I did indeed form a bit of a bond with your clone in the human world, but prior to that, it had plotted with others to take my life and almost succeeded, so I don't think it would be inappropriate for me to repay the favor," Han Li replied with a faint smile, and Mouse Monarch Dong Tian was left feeling rather speechless upon hearing this.
"What happened back in the human world was a complete misunderstanding. Back when my clone first descended into the human world, it had no intelligence and was used by other malicious individuals. Besides, didn't you befriend that clone of mine in the end, Senior?" Mouse Monarch Dong Tian was scrambling to make excuses for himself.
"That seems to be reasonable, but it's entirely my choice whether I want to accept this alibi of yours," Han Li said with a meaningful smile.
Mouse Monarch Dong Tian finally realized what Han Li's intentions were upon hearing this, and he gritted his teeth before asking, "What do I need to do for you to let bygones be bygones, Senior Han? As long as it's something within my capabilities, I definitely won't refuse."
Even though Han Li was being rather unreasonable, in the face of their absolute power gap, Mouse Monarch Dong Tian could only conform to his demands.
"That's a good attitude to have, Fellow Daoist Dong Tian. How about this? You tell me what's happened to my Six-Winged Frost Centipede, and I'll let everything slide," Han Li said in a nonchalant manner, but his words were like rumbling thunderclaps in the ears of Mouse Monarch Dong Tian.
"The Six-Winged Frost Centipede? Surely you jest, Senior Han; didn't that centipede run away on its own? How would I know what's happened to it?" Mouse Monarch Dong Tian hurriedly gave a panicked response, but as soon as the words slipped out of his mouth, he was left regretting his rushed reply.
"Oh? When have I ever told anyone that the Six-Winged Frost Centipede ran away on its own?" Han Li asked as a hint of a smile appeared on his face.
Mouse Monarch Dong Tian's expression darkened significantly, and he knew that he couldn't hide things any longer, so he could only heave a resigned sigh as he conceded, "Alright, I'll admit that I do know some things about that Six-Winged Frost Centipede, but before I divulge this information, I'd like to know how you were able to tell that I've come into contact with that centipede; I don't think I've told anyone about this."
"That's quite simple; I'm sure you can guess the reason even if I don't tell you," Han Li replied with a faint smile.
Mouse Monarch Dong Tian's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this, following which a hint of enlightenment quickly appeared in his eyes. "You don't mean... Could it be that the centipede had once accepted you as its master?"
"Indeed. Even though that Six-Winged Frost Centipede severed our master-servant connection, there's still an extremely feeble spiritual connection between us. You've interacted with it for some time, so some of its aura has inevitably rubbed off on you. Even though it's barely detectable at this point, it's still not faint enough to escape the notice of my spiritual sense," Han Li explained.
"I see, but your recent breakthrough must've also contributed to this, right, Senior Han? Otherwise, there's no way that a normal person could sense a hint of residual aura from so many years ago through their spiritual sense. I guess I was simply unlucky to have encountered you at a time like this," Mouse Monarch Dong Tian said with a resigned expression.
"Alright, I've already told you what you want to know; tell me about that Six-Winged Frost Centipede. I'm sure you wouldn't be foolish enough to lie to me, Fellow Daoist. Otherwise, once I find that centipede, I'll be able to easily verify the authenticity of your words," Han Li said in an indifferent voice.
Mouse Monarch Dong Tian's heart jolted upon hearing this, and what little remained of his intentions to deceive Han Li instantly disappeared as he hurriedly replied, "Rest assured, Senior Han; I only encountered the Six-Winged Frost Centipede by chance, and we struck a mutually beneficial deal as I could see that it possessed astonishing potential."
"A deal?" Han Li raised an eyebrow upon hearing this.
"Indeed. I'll have to begin this story by telling you about the Reverse Spirit True Yin Technique, which is an incredibly powerful ability recorded within the Golden Jade Tome. Many years ago, I..." Thus, Mouse Monarch Dong Tian began his recount.
Han Li sat silently across from him, listening to his story with an unchanged expression, but internally, he wasn't quite as calm as he looked.
"After separating from that Six-Winged Frost Centipede, I haven't received any further news from it. If it isn't for the fact that it left me with a soul badge, I wouldn't even be sure that it's managed to survive for all this time in the primordial world," Mouse Monarch Dong Tian sighed as he finally concluded his story, then immediately laid a hand onto his own waist to produce a translucent blue badge, which he offered to Han Li with both hands in a respectful manner.
Han Li took a glance at the badge, but didn't accept it right away. Instead, he asked in a contemplative voice, "So you're saying that with your Reverse Spirit True Yin Technique, not only has the Six-Winged Frost Centipede already progressed to the Body Integration Stage, there's even a chance that it could reach the Grand Ascension Stage in the future; is that an exaggeration?"
"Not at all, Senior Han; the Reverse Spirit True Yin Technique truly is an extraordinary cultivation art. If it isn't for the fact that I'm completely incompatible with the cultivation art, there's no way I would've given it away," Mouse Monarch Dong Tian replied with a shake of his head.
After a brief moment of contemplation, Han Li's expression eased slightly, and he waved a hand through the air to draw the blue badge into his own grasp. "Looks like you're telling the truth. In that case, everything between us is all in the past now."
Mouse Monarch Dong Tian was naturally very relieved to hear this.
Han Li swept his spiritual sense over the blue badge briefly, then immediately rose to his feet as if he were planning to leave.
Mouse Monarch Dong Tian also hurriedly stood up to bid Han Li farewell.
However, a thought suddenly occurred to Han Li, and he said, "By the way, I don't want anyone else knowing about the Six-Winged Frost Centipede."
"Rest assured, Senior Han, I swear on my inner demons that I definitely won't tell anyone else," Mouse Monarch Dong Tian replied without any hesitation.
"Good. Rest easy here for a while, and I'll let you go when the time comes," Han Li said with a pleased smile, then instantly vanished into thin air amid a flash of golden light.
In the next instant. Xiao Guan was startled by the sudden appearance of Han Li in another secret chamber, and she immediately stood up to extend a curtsey.
Han Li waved a dismissive hand to do away with the unnecessary formalities, then immediately said, "I came here to ask you a question; I hope you can answer me truthfully, Fairy Xiao."
"Of course, I'll be sure to tell you everything I know," Xiao Guan replied in a cautious manner.
Han Li could see the wariness in Xiao Guan's eyes, and he said, "There's no need to worry, I'm not going to ask you any difficult questions; all I want to know is how Dai'er is doing. I've lost contact with her ever since the devilish tribulation commenced; is she doing well?"
Xiao Guan faltered slightly upon hearing this before replying in a relieved manner, "Rest assured, Senior, Dai'er is one of the most brilliant talents in the younger generation of our Black Phoenix Race, so as soon as the devilish tribulation commenced, she was sent away to a secret restricted area alongside a few other elite disciples, and she's still in seclusion there now."
"Good, I'm glad to hear that. I'll leave you to rest then, Fairy Xiao," Han Li replied with a content nod before disappearing on the spot once again, and Xiao Guan had no idea what type of movement technique he had used.
Xiao Guan stared blankly at the spot where Han Li had just disappeared, and only after a long while did she heave a long sigh before sitting back down to continue her meditation.
Meanwhile, Han Li reappeared within his own cultivation secret chamber before taking a seat in an unhurried manner.
Following his successful breakthrough, his magic power, physical body, and spiritual sense had all improved significantly, and he really did require some time to consolidate everything before he could fully acclimate himself to his own newfound powers.
However, prior to this, there was something else that he had to do.
Han Li swept a sleeve through the air, and three balls of golden light flew out, then appeared above his head before transforming into gigantic objects, each of which was several tens of feet in size.Previous Chapter Next Chapter