Chapter 2267: Spirit Sky Stronghold

The pair of gargantuan lightning swords flashed through the air, and several pillars of wind were instantly sliced in half before dissipating into gusts of fierce winds.

At the same time, golden light flashed within some of the pillars of wind, and a series of giant vortexes, each of which was around an acre in size, appeared inside them.

The pillars of wind shuddered as they were drawn into the golden vortexes that had arisen inside them, causing them to quickly disintegrate.

In the face of the combined attacks from the pair of Grand Ascension Stage beings, the fearsome natural phenomenon was dispelled in the blink of an eye.

After emerging from the galestorm, the Inkspirit Holy Ark quickly flew out of the canyon.

During the rest of the journey, Han Li and the others didn't encounter any other noteworthy perils, and they finally arrived in the territory of the Spirit Race after around half a year.

Han Li and the others stood at the front of the giant ark, looking on at the natural city wall in the distance that was formed by a series of connected undulating mountain ranges.

Beyond this massive city wall, a gigantic mountain that was hundreds of thousands of feet tall and pierced directly into the clouds could be seen in the distance.

Halfway up the mountain was a series of triangular pagodas that were spread virtually over the entire mountain.

"The vastly renowned Spirit Sky Stronghold of the Spirit Race is just up ahead. As opposed to a stronghold, it's actually more accurate to call it a city. Its function is similar to that of Deep Heaven City in that it acts as a barrier against foreign invasions. However, where we've set up super formations to encompass the entire territory of our two races with the exception of Deep Heaven City, the outskirts of the Spirit Race's territory is mostly comprised of extremely treacherous landscapes that are very dangerous for armies to traverse, so they only have to worry about guarding a few strategic locations. In total, there are seven of these strongholds in the Spirit Race," Mo Jianli explained.

"This stronghold is very well guarded, but if we want to pass around it, we should be able to do it with ease. Do you think we should do that or enter the city through more conventional means?"

Mo Jianli seemed to have already considered this in advance, and he immediately replied, "We didn't request an audience with the Spirit Monarch in advance, and I don't want any word to spread of the Sanqing Lightning Talismans, so I think we should approach the Spirit Monarch in secret."

"You're right, Brother Mo. In that case, let's sneak around this stronghold into the Spirit Race," Han Li agreed with a nod.

Silvermoon and Zhu Guo'er naturally didn't dare to raise any objections, either.

Thus, the giant ark changed directions and began to fly toward the side.

Meanwhile, inside a rectangular building on the giant mountain behind the natural city wall, there was a middle-aged beauty who appeared to be in her thirties, appraising a white wall that was riddled with countless rune formations with her brows slightly furrowed.

An abnormal fluctuation had just appeared on one part of the formation on the wall, and even though it was extremely faint, it indicated that an extremely powerful treasure had appeared near the stronghold. Otherwise, it wouldn't have registered at all on this formation.

With that in mind, the woman called for a subordinate to enter the room, and an armorclad Spirit being immediately strode into the room before extending a respectful bow.

"I pay my respects to Mistress Tian Jian."

"Go and take a look at area number three; there are abnormal fluctuations registering there," the woman immediately instructed.

"Yes, Mistress!" the Spirit guard replied in a respectful manner before exiting the room.

Moments later, a group of over 100 Spirit guards left the Spirit Sky Stronghold to inspect the region that the Inkspirit Holy Ark had just been detected in. 

At this point, the Inkspirit Holy Ark was already hundreds of thousands of kilometers, so the guards were naturally unable to discover anything.

The woman's brows furrowed even more tightly upon hearing the outcome of their search.

The fluctuations were very faint, and it could well be nothing more than a false alarm, but for some reason, she couldn't shake this persistent feeling of uneasiness. 

Perhaps it was time for her to take a rest.

After carefully thinking the matter through, the woman decided that her paranoia was simply caused by fatigue due to being overworked, and she quickly forgot about it altogether.

Meanwhile, Han Li and the others were flying over a body of inky-black water in a stealthy fashion.

For some reason, Han Li had stowed the Inkspirit Holy Ark away, choosing instead to maximize the output of his protective spiritual light to form a light barrier that covered around an acre in area, encompassing Silvermoon and the others.

Mo Jianli was also flying along while supporting a slightly smaller light barrier.

Wisps of yellow mist were revolving outside the light barriers, and an occasional peculiar sound would ring out from the black water down below before impacting the light barriers.

As a result, the two light barriers would warp slightly or tremor violently at times, as if they were advancing through some type of powerful forcefield.

All of a sudden, a sharp screeching sound rang out, and a black shadow erupted out of the water down below before flying directly toward Han Li's light barrier at an incredible speed.

Han Li raised an eyebrow as he flicked a finger downward, and the black shadow was sent flying back even faster than it had come.

This was a small beast that resembled a turtle-toad hybrid, and it was entirely a dark yellow color with a sharp spiked shell and a short and stubby neck.

Han Li's nonchalant-looking strike was imbued with extremely fearsome power, and even a top-grade treasure would've most likely been shattered on the spot.

However, after plummeting back into the black water, the small beast was able to quickly steady itself and didn't appear to have sustained any substantial injuries. It then let loose a pained cry before plunging deeper into the water, not daring to attack the light barriers up above again.

There were quite a large number of these small beasts in this stretch of water, and one or two would jump out almost at set periods to attack the light barriers in the air, but all of them were repelled by Han Li and Mo Jianli with ease.

After flying for a few hours, Han Li and the others finally emerged from this region, and a lush mountain range with no end in sight appeared up ahead.

"We've finally entered the true territory of the Spirit Race. The natural poison of the Black Water Lake wasn't that difficult to deal with, but those Dark Toad Beasts really were a pain in the backside! Their offensive prowess isn't all that remarkable, but their stamina and durability are both incredible; even a Body Integration Stage being would've struggled to shake them off," Silvermoon said with a relieved smile.

"If Fellow Daoist Han's ark could've been used to traverse over the lake, then we wouldn't have had to worry about those Dark Toad Beasts. Unfortunately, the ark just so happens to be susceptible to the restriction within the black water, so it would've been reduced to an even slower speed than what we would've been capable of through flight," Mo Jianli replied with a smile.

"It's not just my Inkspirit Holy Ark; most of the flying treasures in the world would be severely impacted when flying over this lake. Throw those Dark Toad Beasts into the mix, and this place really is a very perilous region to traverse through. It's no wonder that the Spirit Race hasn't deployed any guards to this area."

"Having said that, this has made it a lot easier for us to sneak into the Spirit Race in such a short time. It's a pity that the Dark Toad Beasts have nothing of value to offer though; other beasts of their caliber would normally present much more value," Mo Jianli said as he stroked his beard with a faint smile.

"Those Dark Toad Beasts don't possess demon cores, and their bodies can't be refined into treasures or pills, so they don't attract any interest. Had this not been the case, there most likely would no longer be any of those beasts in that area. Alright, now that we've made it here, we've already completed half of our objective; we just need to travel to the central region of the Spirit Race to meet the Spirit Monarch now. During the rest of our trip, we still have to focus on stealth, so let's not reveal your identities unless we absolutely have to," Han Li said in a confident manner.

Mo Jianli and the others all nodded in agreement.

Thus, Han Li released the Inkspirit Holy Ark once again, but on this occasion, he shrank it down significantly so that it was only just over 100 feet in length, and its appearance was also altered to resemble a normal flying ark.

Immediately thereafter, Han Li swept a sleeve through the air, and several Spatial Tempering Stage Devil Crystal Puppets appeared before him.

Spiritual light flashed over their bodies, and their auras suddenly became extremely similar to those of Artifact Spirit beings.

"As long as we don't encounter too much trouble, these puppets should be enough to handle everything while we rest inside the ark," Han Li said with a faint smile.

"That's a great idea! Those beings of the Artifact Spirit Race arose from artifacts, so they're not that dissimilar to these puppets of yours," Mo Jianli chuckled before drifting into the ark first.

He was followed closely by Silvermoon and the others, and Han Li brought up the rear, entering the ark only after everyone else had already done so.

Moments later, the black flying ark tremored slightly before departing toward the distance.

Meanwhile, in a certain place in the central region of the Spirit Race, there were two foreign Grand Ascension Stage beings that bore a slight resemblance to one another discussing something in a mysterious manner within a pavilion that was surrounded by layers of restrictions.

During their conversation, it could be heard that the term "Sanqing Lightning Talisman" was being brought up on multiple occasions.

At the same time, there were five translucent jade badges hovering in mid-air within a pristine white pagoda in a mysterious restricted area of the Spirit Race.

The jade badges were each around a foot in length with golden arcs of lightning occasionally crackling over their surfaces.

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