Han Li left through the gap that had opened up with the humanoid puppet and the Fire Raven before appearing above the Spirit Void Hall's altar.
He waved his hand behind him without even turning around and the Celestial Blue Cauldron flew toward him, quickly shrinking once again before flying into his sleeve.
A loud burst of rumbling erupted as the Profound Jade Cave sealed over again.
Han Li turned to look around him to discover that there was no one in the general vicinity, identical to the situation when he had entered the Profound Jade Cave.
He heaved a faint sigh of relief but his brows then furrowed at the sight of the tall ice pillars on the altar before him. This Frigid Soulfreeze Formation was going to be quite troublesome to deal with!
The glacial Qi within the formation wasn't going to pose much of a threat to him but even so, breaking the formation would not be an easy task. After all, this formation wasn't some kind of temporary formation; it was an ancient spell formation in all its glory without any of its power blunted or discounted in any way.
Furthermore, what Han Li was more concerned about was not this formation, but instead how to open the gate of the Spirit Void Hall.
Back when he had first come in, Master Arctic Dragon had told him that opening the gate from the inside would be a simple task. However, it was quite clear now that his words had been deceitful in nature. Even if it were indeed a simple task to open the gate from the inside, a special Celestial Technique would most likely be required.
With that in mind, Han Li didn't immediately tackle the Frigid Soulfreeze Formation. Instead, he patted his storage pouch and a stack of formation banners radiating all different colors of spiritual light appeared in his hands.
He hurled the banners downward and they disappeared in a flash, vanishing into a certain spot on the altar. A ball of white mist then emerged from that spot, encompassing a radius of over 100 feet.
Han Li flipped over his palm upon seeing this to produce the vial treasure within which Master Arctic Dragon's Nascent Soul was sealed.
After contemplating what he was going to do next, he decided to use a soul search technique on the Nascent Soul first to extract more information about the Spirit Void Hall, in order to prevent falling into some type of predicament due to his lack of knowledge. Of course, he was also going to search for information regarding the Puresun Flame Essence. Thus, Han Li slowly descended with the vial in his hand.
His body disappeared into the mist in the blink of an eye and the entire Spirit Void Hall fell silent, with only the mist in the formation tumbling incessantly.
A full two hours later, the white mist in the formation suddenly shuddered violently before quickly thinning at a rate perceptible to the naked eye.
After most of the mist had vanished, Han Li's figure was revealed again, standing at the center of the formation. He wore a thoughtful expression on his face as he sat on the ground with his legs folded in front of him. His brows were tightly-furrowed as if he were pondering a difficult problem and the jade vial containing Master Arctic Dragon's Nascent Soul sat beside him. However, the vial had been opened, yet the Nascent Soul was nowhere to be seen,
Han Li's brows finally smoothed out as he murmured to himself, "Who would have thought that the Puresun Flame Essence would be in such a place? It appears that I really shouldn't take the risk to go and find it before I reach the late-Nascent Soul stage. It's interesting that there are three entrances to the Spirit Void Hall, yet only one exit in the main hall. Looks like this Master Arctic Dragon never planned to let me leave from the beginning. If I hadn't searched his soul, I would have been in trouble."
He then rose to his feet as a vast expanse of azure light swept forth, collecting all of the formation banners as well as that empty vial.
He made a hand seal and transformed into a streak of azure light as he flew toward a certain gate.
The azure light receded and Han Li was revealed standing in front of the gate. He looked at the sealing talismans on the gate, which were clearly quite antiquated, then glanced at the Greatyin Fire Raven on his shoulder.
The Fire Raven let loose a low cry and spread open its wings at his behest, sending two bursts of crimson flames hurtling through the air.
The talismans up ahead immediately ignited upon making contact with the crimson flame. At the same time, spiritual light of all types of different colors appeared.
However, those lights only flashed for a split second before instantly dimming. In the blink of an eye, all of the talismans were covered in a layer of ice.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face as he flicked his fingers, upon which several bursts of golden light shot forth, creating a quick succession of crisp thuds.
The layer of ice on the surface of the talismans were shattered before being reduced to nothingness. Han Li stroked his chin and casually whipped his sleeve through the air, upon which a stiff gale swept toward the stone gate.
The gate was slowly opened amid a rumbling noise. Han Li immediately strode in without any hesitation while the humanoid puppet followed close behind him.
After entering through this inconspicuous stone gate, they arrived in a large courtyard that was over 1,000 feet in width.
There was a small winding path down the center paved with white stones with beast statues of all different sizes lining the sides of the path. The statues were all snowy white and translucent , carved with exemplary craftsman to creat extremely life-like renditions of beasts they were portraying.
Upon closer inspection, Han Li discovered that all of these statues were created from Profound Jade, a discovery that caused a peculiar look to flash through his eyes. He then turned his attention away from the statues and began to walk down the path toward the gate at the path's conclusion.
In the beginning, everything was normal. However, when he reached around the middle of the path, several tens of statues beside him suddenly sprang to life, baring their fangs and claws with glacial Qi erupting from their mouths as they pounced toward Han Li.
Han Li seemed to have anticipated this well in advance and he calmly produced a small fiery red cauldron.
He pointed a finger at the cauldron before making a hand seal in a calm and composed manner.
A ringing sound immediately erupted from the cauldron as it flew into the air. A resounding boom then erupted as a pillar of fire over 100 feet in length sprang out from within.
The entire space immediately became scorching hot and all of the ice beasts faltered before cowering in fear.
The ice beasts had been slowed down, but Han Li didn't stop there. He unleashed another Celestial Technique as the massive pillar of fire dispersed.
Over 100 Fire Ravens that were roughly the size of fists emerged from the flames before flying toward the ice beasts, leaving clouds of fire in their wake.
All of a sudden, the surrounding temperatures rose drastically once again as the entire courtyard was inundated in a sea of crimson flames.
These ice beasts were Profound Jade bodies, but these Fire Ravens were fire essence beings that had been refined for countless years within the cauldron. The ice beasts blasted glacial Qi out of their mouths in a desperate attempt to save themselves, but were all invariably melted and disintegrated in the face of the scorching flames.
Moments later, all of the ice beasts in the courtyard had disappeared.
Han Li nodded with a satisfied look before flicking a finger toward the fire cauldron through the air.
A crisp ringing sound was heard before all of the Fire Ravens swooped through the air and obediently flew back into the cauldron.
After the lid of the cauldron was replaced, the fire cauldron fell silent again. Almost at the exact same moment, the sea of flames in the courtyard disappeared without a trace as if it had been nothing but a mirage.
The Fire Raven standing on Han Li's shoulder wasn't very intrigued by the sight of its brethren. Instead, it continued to organize its feathers with its beak, as if it couldn't even be bothered to look at them.
Han Li stowed away the fire cauldron before disappearing through the gate of the courtyard.
Not long after that, he appeared in a hall that wasn't very large.
Within this rather simple and crude hall, there was a small teleportation formation.
Han Li was not surprised to see this. It appeared as if he already knew that there was a teleportation formation here. He clasped his hands behind his back and proceed to make his way over to the formation for closer examination.
However, right at this moment, white light suddenly flashed within the formation and it was as if it had been activated, and that something was teleporting through it.
"Huh?" Han Li was slightly taken aback to see this.
However, as powerful as he was now, there was no need for him to fear anyone, even if another late-Nascent Soul cultivator from the North Night Palace or even the palace master herself were to emerge from the formation. Thus, he faltered in his footsteps and silently appraised the teleportation formation before him.
In order to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, the humanoid puppet beside him had also instantly disappeared, concealing itself to survey the situation from the shadows.
The teleportation formation before him wasn't very large and it appeared that only two or three people could be teleported at a time at most. Sure enough, following a flash of white light, three slender figures stumbled out from within.
Han Li narrowed his eyes and discovered that all three of them were young women in North Night Palace attire. They were roughly at the Foundation Establishment Stage and the eldest one among them had even reached the False Core Stage.
However, all three female cultivators wore panicked expressions and were quite disheveled in appearance. One of them had sustained a severe injury on her shoulder and it was quite clear that they had just endured a difficult battle.
"Who are you? Ah, it's Senior Han!" The three women were initially startled to see a man who wasn't in North Night Palace attire standing in front of the formation. The two women who were unscathed had each summoned a translucent flying sword, but the wounded woman was very elated to see Han Li.
Han Li faltered slightly upon hearing that. After taking a closer look at that female North Night Palace disciple, he discovered that she was the servant girl who had tended to him in the distinguished pavilion.
"It's you! What happened?" Han Li asked with a calm expression.
The other two women didn't know who this "Senior Han" was, but their Junior Martial Sister seemed to be familiar with him and he didn't appear to be an enemy, so they both heaved a collective sigh of relief. They then used their spiritual sense to detect Han Li's cultivation base, upon which elated expressions appeared on their faces.
However, before the two women could extend a curtsey toward him, white light flashed in the teleportation formation again. A fishy odor then wafted forth as the silhouette of a massive beast appeared within the formation. This was an unidentifiable demon beast with a pair of horns and the head of a horse. It was wielding a green steel trident and there was long black fur growing all over its back.
The three women immediately hurtled back in retreat as the servant girl urgently cautioned, "Be careful, Senior; this is one of the demons that have attacked our palace and it's trying to kill us!"
A sinister smile appeared on the demon beast's face as soon as it caught sight of the three women, and it immediately made a charge for them.
However, right at this moment, red light flashed behind the beast. Immediately thereafter, a massive explosion erupted before an azure figure appeared and vanished in the blink of an eye.
A bloodcurdling howl erupted from the demon beast's mouth as a gaping hole the size of a fist appeared in its chest. The sections around the puncture wound had been entirely charred black.
The demon beast swayed a few times before letting go of its trident and falling to the ground.