Even though it was an extremely rare occurrence to witness someone making a breakthrough to the Deity Transformation stage in person, there were still many rumors regarding this phenomenon circulating in the cultivation world.
"Transformation of the physical body into sandalwood; who would have thought that this legend would be real? Following the conclusion of this process, he will have successfully broken through his bottleneck, right?" the old woman murmured to herself with an envious look on her face.
"Not necessarily! Brother Arctic Dragon's situation seems to be a little shaky at the moment. It appears that he has only achieved the prerequisites for making a breakthrough to the Deity Transformation stage, but the metamorphosis of the Nascent Soul within his body doesn't appear to be progressing very smoothly. Otherwise, the insignia materialized from our glacial flames wouldn't be blinking so sporadically." The old monk looked on with furrowed brows and was immediately able to identify the issue.
"That can't be helped. Even though we lent him the power of our glacial flames to temporarily enhance his Nascent Soul, that is not his own power, so it's naturally going to be rather difficult for him to control," Han Li remarked.
A hint of concern appeared on the green-robed middle-aged man's face as he asked, "How about we help the grand elder stabilize his Nascent Soul?"
"That definitely won't do! Breaking through a Deity Transformation bottleneck is not that simple. Perhaps this instability is what Senior Martial Brother Arctic Dragon is seeking. Perhaps he wants to use this power to break through the bottleneck in one fell swoop. If we recklessly intervene, we could hurt him instead. It's best to just stand by and observe for now," Bai Mengxin rejected.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face upon hearing that and he didn't offer any objections.
Everyone else glanced at one another before also falling silent. In reality, even if they wanted to help, they most likely wouldn't be able to anyway.
After manipulating their glacial flames for two days and two nights without pause, everyone was already utterly exhausted, having overexerted their magic power and spiritual sense in the process.
As such, they could only look on as Master Arctic Dragon strove to overcome the most arduous hurdle by himself.
What everyone failed to notice was that there was a blue light that was shimmering incessantly within Han Li's eyes. He was carefully assessing the flow of magic power in Master Arctic Dragon's body, as well as the changes taking place in his Nascent Soul, and committing all of those details to memory.
These observations would surely be of great benefit to him in the future. Just this experience alone made Han Li feel that it was worth taking the risk to stay here. After all, it was an extremely rare opportunity to be able to witness a cultivator making a breakthrough to the Deity Transformation stage. This was an opportunity that he had to grab with both hands.
Everyone else could also use their spiritual sense to derive some observations, but they were clearly unable to observe anywhere near as much as Han Li could using his Brightsight Spirit Eyes, so he was benefitting far more from this than they were.
Time passed by slowly.
After what seemed like an eternity, Master Arctic Dragon's body suddenly shuddered as he sat within the white lotus flower. The peculiar aroma wafting from his body instantly became several times richer as the lotus insignia on his glabella abruptly expanded, creating a series of lotus projections that began to blossom.
Everyone was instantly alerted by those changes taking place and immediately focused their attention toward Master Arctic Dragon.
The latter's eyes had already opened and a crimson and golden light was radiating from his eyeballs. At the same time, he remained completely stationary, but his body was slowly rising into the air as if he were completely weightless.
Master Arctic Dragon looked around and a hint of elation appeared on his face. After a brief hesitation, he still raised a hand and his fingers tremored slightly as if he were making some sort of hand seal.
Almost at the exact same moment, Han Li felt the remaining spiritual power in his body pulse before surging violently, escaping his body in a violent torrent.
Han Li was extremely shocked and immediately activated his cultivation arts several times. Only then was he able to temporarily repress the unrest within his spiritual power. Everyone else's expressions also changed drastically as they, too, took a series of flustered measures to stabilize their spiritual power.
It appeared that he was not the only one who had been afflicted by that peculiar phenomenon.
Han Li's eyes flashed and before he had figured out what had just happened, a ringing sound suddenly erupted from the several formation spells nearby. The light barrier nearby shuddered violently as wisps of light began to shoot forth from it, drifting directly toward the formation spell.
Those wisps of spiritual light disappeared as soon as they made contact with Master Arctic Dragon's body.
A short while later, the light barrier began to crumble and the light flowing in from outside the formation spell turned into a cream color while becoming more and more viscous.
"The world's origin Qi has been triggered!" someone murmured in a low voice that was filled with elation, awe, admiration, and a hint of envy.
Han Li's heart jolted upon hearing that.
Master Arctic Dragon's was like a bottomless pit; no matter how much glacial energy surged into his body, it effected no change aside from making golden light emanating from his eyes and glabella glow even brighter.
This phenomenon lasted for about 10 minutes, following which a series of explosive sounds erupted from within Master Arctic Dragon's body. His seated figure immediately grew taller by several inches.
At the same time, the lotus insignia on his glabella expanded drastically, obscuring most of his head behind it. The lotus then abruptly contracted, finally shrinking to around the size of a thumb as it imprinted itself onto his glabella.
The light surging toward him from all directions faltered before dissipating.
The unrest in the spiritual power within the bodies of Han Li and the others also settled.
Master Arctic Dragon made a hand seal with a solemn expression before slowly closing his eyes. The spiritual light emanating from the six-colored lotus flower on his glabella also receded.
"Has he already progressed to the Deity Transformation stage?" The same thought flashed through everyone's mind upon seeing this.
The green-robed middle-aged man and Bai Mengxin were overjoyed.
However, before anyone had a chance to ask, a muffled groan suddenly escaped Master Arctic Dragon's mouth. His face then suddenly began to twist and warp without any premonition, and he grabbed onto his own head as if he were suffering from excruciating pain.
Han Li and the others were all flabbergasted upon seeing this.
"What's going on, Senior Martial Brother?" the green-robed man yelled urgently, but didn't dare to approach Master Arctic Dragon
The latter looked up at the green-robed man with difficulty, but before he had a chance to say anything, light suddenly began to flash violently from the lotus flower on his glabella before it detached itself.
The lotus then began to swell and shrink erratically before exploding with a light thump, transforming into six balls of spiritual light as it did so.
Master Arctic Dragon let loose a wail of anguish and his body swayed unsteadily before plummeting from the air. He landed right inside the white lotus flower down below, where he lay curled up into a ball, trembling uncontrollably.
"Grand Elder!" Bai Mengxin couldn't just stand by and watch any longer.
She and the green-robed middle-aged man immediately shot forth as streaks of light toward the lotus flower.
Han Li and the other two looked at one another, but remained where they were.
"I'm alright. It was just some backlash from the world's origin Qi." Much to everyone's surprise, Master Arctic Dragon suddenly flipped over and got up into a seated position again. His face was still quite pale, but his features were no longer twisted in agony.
Bai Mengxin and the green-robed man were very relieved to see this and they stopped in the air above the lotus flower. Just as they were about to inquire Master Arctic Dragon for more details, the latter hurriedly said something before flipping his hand over to reveal a stack of silver daggers that had been used earlier. He waved his hand and streaks of silver light shot forth as all 16 daggers were flung into the air.
However, the silver daggers then immediately circled back so their sharp tips were facing Master Arctic Dragon, who let loose a low cry, upon which all 16 daggers pierced into his body at the same time.
Aside from on his head, there were dagger hilts protruding all over his body while the blades had virtually completely embedded themselves into his flesh.
Han Li's eyes immediately narrowed upon seeing this as he stared unblinkingly at Master Arctic Dragons.
At this moment, a layer of mixed flames suddenly surfaced over Master Arctic Dragon's body. The flames were predominantly blue and white in color, but there were also other colors like yellow and green intermingled within.
"Fellow Daoists, please take back your glacial flames!" Master Arctic Dragon urged in a solemn voice while his eyes remained closed.
The monk uttered a Buddhist prayer before waving his hand in Master Arctic Dragon's direction.
As a result, the green glacial flames that had appeared over Master Arctic Dragon's body transformed into wisps of spiritual light, which then converged to form a small ball before flying toward the monk.
The monk waved a sleeve through the air to accept his own glacial flame.
Han Li and the others also followed suit, guiding their own glacial flames back to themselves.
Moments later, there was only a layer of Celestial Ice Flames remaining over Master Arctic Dragon's body, while the peculiar scent he had been emitting had disappeared.
However, his expression remained rather tense as he made a strange hand seal. At the same time, he began to utter a peculiar chant, upon which the silver daggers all over his body began to tremor gently.
Following a low ringing sound, the white glacial Qi began to surface over the hilts of the daggers, instantly making them appear more translucent.
Master Arctic Dragon ceased his chanting and made another completely different hand seal.
A series of dull thumps then erupted as bursts of piercing silver light erupted from the daggers, shattering the layer of ice on the surface of his body, which then disappeared into nothingness.
However, more glacial Qi then surfaced along those silver blades, transforming into a layer of ice, only to be shattered again through the same process.
After watching this cycle being repeated a few times, Han Li's lips twitched as a sense of enlightenment welled up in his heart.
Master Arctic Dragon was using the power of those treasures to forcibly expel the Profound Jade's glacial Qi he had absorbed into his body earlier.
It appeared that he had been unable to break through the Deity Transformation bottleneck after all. Otherwise, this glacial Qi would act as the perfect medicine for him to recover his lost energy.
A series of thoughts flashed through Han Li's mind and he instantly came to a decision.
A long sigh escaped from Master Arctic Dragon's mouth as he opened his eyes.
His eyes had returned to their normal black and white color scheme, but he retained the appearance of a man in his thirties. He looked up into the sky and a dejected expression appeared on his face.