"Rest assure, Fellow Daoist Long; we all value our lives, so we won't do anything reckless," the white-browed young man chuckled.
"Do any of you have a plan?" Long Dong asked.
"I can conceal myself and launch sneak attacks against both the lizard and the giant down below. That way, they'll think that they've been attacked by the other," the white-browed young man immediately proposed.
"That's quite a simple plan, but we don't know how powerful the spiritual sense of those two beings are. If your concealment technique is seen through, you'll be in immense danger. I don't think that's a very safe course of action," Xiao Hong said with a shake of her head.
"In terms of concealment techniques, I have two Limpidity Talismans that can allow one to escape detection from mid-Spatial Tempering cultivators and below. I'd be willing to contribute them to this cause," Ye Ying offered with a faint smile.
"Limpidity Talismans? That's a type of beveled silver spirit talisman; they should definitely be effective against these two creatures, but just to be safe, I don't think it would be wise for us to attack them in person."
"I have two silver wyrm puppets, each of which possesses Nascent Soul Stage power. We can plaster the talismans onto them and get them to attack in our stead. That would make things a lot safer for us," Long Dong proposed with an ecstatic expression.
"That would be great! Even if the puppets fail to pit them against one another, we can split up into groups of two to lure the creatures away, then leave one of us who's proficient in both movement and concealment techniques to take advantage of that opportunity and secure the spirit fruits. Once the spirit fruits have been obtained, all of use will unleash secret techniques to get away from here. These two may possess Spatial Tempering Stage power, but if we're intent on escaping, they won't be able to stop us. It's just that the one who's assigned the duty of securing the fruits must possess an extremely fast movement technique. Otherwise, the speed at which that mutated lizard can blast out its tongue will pose quite a major threat," Xiao Hong mused.
"Indeed, Fairy Xiao. The one to secure the fruits will be incurring a massive risk," the white-browed young man said with furrowed brows.
"That will indeed be a dangerous undertaking. Which of us would be willing to volunteer for such a task? Furthermore, we have to gather together once again after the fruits have been secured, so that fellow Daoist will have to do something to convince us that they'll rejoin the rest of the group," Ye Ying said in a slow and methodical voice.
Peculiar expressions appeared on everyone's faces upon hearing this.
It was just as she had said; regardless of which one of them secured the Zoysia Dragon Fruits in the end, they would most likely be attacked by both of the Spatial Tempering Stage beings down below at once, thereby plunging them into great danger. On top of that, how could everyone else ensure that that individual wouldn't simply take the fruits and run away on their own?
With these considerations in mind, no one knew how to proceed.
"If all of you think I'm up to the task, I'm willing to volunteer to be the one to secure the fruits," Han Li offered with a smile.
"Fellow Daoist Han, you're only at the mid-Deity Transformation Stage; isn't that too dangerous a task for you?" Long Dong asked.
"Indeed, Brother Han; your cultivation base is slightly lacking." The white-browed young man also shook his head as he appraised Han Li.
"My cultivation base is indeed slightly below par, but I possess a top-grade teleportation treasure that's very close to a spirit treasure. Additionally, the cultivation arts I'm using are quite special, so I have confidence in my ability to ensure self-preservation," Han Li replied with a nonchalant smile.
Long Dong adopted a serious expression as he continued, "Seeing as Brother Han is so confident, we can certainly assign this task to you. However, how are you going to convince us that you won't run away on your own after securing the spirit fruits?"
"I'm afraid I don't have any good ideas in that respect. Of course, if any of you think you'd be more suited for the task, feel free to step forward and replace me; it doesn't really matter to me either way," Han Li said with a hint of a smile on his face.
Everyone else faltered upon hearing this.
Even though all of them wanted to secure the spirit fruits, no one wanted to be the one to incur the wrath of those two Spatial Tempering Stage beings. If any mishaps were to occur, they could end up with severe wounds or even dead.
"If Brother Han is willing to let me place a restriction on your body, then I have no objections," Ye Ying proposed in a straightforward manner.
"My thoughts exactly!" Xiao Hong chimed in.
Long Dong and the white-browed young man glanced at one another, but neither of them said anything. "Of course you can place restrictions on my body, but that's only if I'm also able to place the same restrictions on your bodies," Han Li retorted with a cold smile.
"Hmph, in that case, if you were to encounter some kind of mishap, wouldn't we have to die with you?" the white-browed young man harrumphed coldly.
"Hehe, that's the whole point," Han Li replied in a brusque manner. In reality, even if the other four were to agree to his condition, he most likely wouldn't be willing to accept such an arrangement.
He was still quite traumatized by the aftermath of the restriction that the Ice Phoenix had placed on him, so he certainly wasn't going to let history repeat itself.
Long Dong and the others glanced at one another with wry smiles upon hearing Han Li's words.
"How about this? We can trust you if you can leave behind your bonded treasure, then allow us to plant a tracking mark on you. That way, we won't have to worry about you running away with the spirit fruits," Ye Ying proposed as an alternative.
Han Li finally nodded after a period of contemplation. "I can accept that, but all of us have to be implanted with tracking marks so I can monitor everyone's locations as well. Hehe, perhaps I won't even need to take this risk if Brother Long's puppets can prove to be effective."
Long Dong and the others all looked at one another before finally agreeing to Han Li's proposal. Planting tracking marks on everyone appeared to be the only feasible method here.
Of course, as a mid-Deity Transformation cultivator, Han Li appeared to be the weakest in the group, so no one was actually afraid that he'd be able to take the treasures; all of this was merely being done as a precautionary measure.
After ascertaining some of the finer details, everyone finally settled on a specific course of action.
Han Li opened his mouth to expel four streaks of golden light, each of which was several inches in length. The streaks of light revolved around him before transforming into four shimmering golden swords that fell into the hands of his four companions.
Long Dong and the others immediately unleashed secret techniques or plastered talismans onto these swords to restrict them, then stowed them away into their respective storage treasures.
After that, four balls of light of different colors emerged from their fingertips before disappearing into Han Li's body in a flash.
Han Li had used his spiritual sense in advance to carefully assess these balls of light, only allowing them to enter his body after ascertaining that they were indeed formed by pure spiritual power and weren't harboring any restrictions.
Han Li also returned the favor thereafter, sending four balls of azure light disappearing into everyone else's bodies.
As such, everyone was feeling a lot more reassured.
After going over the plan one final time, all of them dispersed and flew away in different directions.
The azure streak of light that Han Li had transformed into flew for over 500 kilometers before his body was revealed again.
He hovered in mid-air as he briefly surveyed his surroundings. He then closed his eyes and slowly released his spiritual sense.
After ascertaining that there wasn't anything amiss in the nearby area, he opened his eyes again before making a hand seal.
A thunderclap immediately rang out behind him as a pair of azure and white wings surfaced on his back. He then flipped his hand over to produce a purple talisman; it was none other than his High Zenith Invisibility Talisman.
He was trying to secure a treasure right under the noses of two Spatial Tempering Stage beings, so he didn't dare to get complacent at all, which was why he decided to use this talisman right away.
He plastered the talisman onto his own body, following which he disappeared on the spot amid a flash of purple light and silver runes.
Having done all that, he rose into the air and set off to return to his former location.
Even though he wasn't able to fly as quickly as he could before activating the talisman, he was still certainly not flying slowly, and it didn't take him long to return to his original spot.
The giant lizard and the Thousand-Eyed Giant were still caught in a tense confrontation down below.
Everyone else had also disappeared as far as the naked eye was concerned.
Han Li exhaled as he used his spiritual sense to detect the locations indicated by the tracking marks he'd left on his four companions.
Everyone else returned as a result and hovered in mid-air in the nearby area.
There were two in the air above the giant lizard while the other two were situated behind the Thousand-Eyed Giant.
They were also all using some special concealment techniques, and there would've been no way for Han Li to ascertain their locations with his spiritual sense if it weren't for the tracking marks that had been planted. As for the two silver wyrm puppets that Long Dong had been referring to earlier, Han Li was completely unable to sense them.
He didn't know whether this was due to the effect of the Limpidity Talismans or if they hadn't actually been released yet.
Countless thoughts were whizzing through Han Li's mind, but his gaze remained fixed directly down below.
Everything in the surrounding area was abnormally quiet, akin to the calm before the storm. This peculiar and rather strained atmosphere persisted for a long while, yet nothing changed at all.
Han Li remained completely expressionless, but he was starting to get a little impatient. It seemed that the time they had agreed on was about to arrive soon as well.
Right at this moment, the giant lizard seemed to have felt a sense of discomfort with one of its giant paws, causing it to raise it reflexively before immediately bringing it down again.
However, right in the instant when it brought its paw down, silver light suddenly flashed from the soil beneath the paw, following which a silver thread shot forth, hurtling directly toward the Thousand-Eyed Giant.
This created the illusion that the lizard was using its paw to launch a sneak attack.
The giant faltered upon seeing this before letting loose a thunderous roar of rage. Gale-force winds were swept up around its body as it swept a palm through the air, violently vanquishing the oncoming silver thread.
However, almost at the exact same moment, a blurry and indistinct object flashed through the air beneath the giant's hand. Immediately thereafter, a pillar of silver light that was as thick as a bowl shot forth out of thin air, traveling at an incredible speed and reaching the lizard's massive head in an instant.
The lizard's green eyes flashed as a crimson pillar of light erupted from its twin horns.
Following a resounding boom, the two pillars of light clashed, and both disappeared into nothingness.
The lizard then immediately threw back its head and let loose an earth-shattering roar. It tensed its four limbs and its massive body immediately rose up as it opened its cavernous mouth to reveal rows of intimidating fangs.