"Don't be so hasty to jump to conclusions, Fellow Daoist Lan. Fellow Daoist Han is far more powerful than his cultivation base indicates, and he possesses the Divine Devilbane Lightning. Even if his cultivation base were a rank or two lower, he'd still be of great help to us if he could unleash the true power of his Divine Devilbane Lightning," Mu Qing chuckled.
"Divine Devilbane Lightning isn't that easy to master. The higher one's cultivation base, the greater the likelihood that they'll be able to master this lightning. I'm very skeptical that a Spirit General would be able to truly unleash the power of the divine lightning. If I recall correctly, you'd have to at least be an early-Great Spirit General to be able to unleash the Divine Devilbane Lightning's full power, right?" A red-robed being from another table spoke on this occasion, and his voice was quite sharp and piercing, akin to the sound of metal grating on metal.
"Don't worry about that, Brother Di Xue. Even though Fellow Daoist Han is only a late-Spirit General, the purity and abundances of his magic power is only a tiny bit inferior compared to that of an early-Great Spirit General, so I'm sure he's up to the task. Alternatively, do you have any suggestions for methods that could help us dispel the infernal river restriction?" Mu Qing asked in a meaningful voice.
"If this man really can help us break the restriction, then that would naturally be fantastic. I have no intention of stopping him, I'm merely concerned that he's not going to be able to provide us with any substantial assistance, so please don't misconstrue my words," the other red-robed figure chimed in, and his voice was exactly the same as that of the man who had just spoken, as if they were the same person.
Mu Qing's expression remained unchanged as she said, "It would be best if that was indeed the case. Brother Liu Zu, Sister Lan, what do you two think of this?"
"As long as it's beneficial to our grand scheme, I'll support it," the mysterious figure in the black cloak said in an emotionless voice.
However, the white-haired beauty's brows were tightly furrowed, as if she were mulling over something.
"What is it, Sister Lan? Do you have any alternative opinions you'd like to air?" Mu Qing asked.
"This man's soul is remarkably powerful, and I was planning to refine his soul into one of my ghost monarchs, but I have to source other materials now. Besides, Xue Di and I discovered this person before you, so isn't it inappropriate for you to claim him like this?" the woman said in a calm voice.
"Hehe, are you saying you'd like to instruct him instead, Sister Lan? But if I'm not mistaken, you're vulnerable to lightning, are you not? In that case, how will you instruct him to master his divine lightning? If we miss out on this opportunity due to a delay on your end, we'll be regretting this for the rest of our lives," Mu Qing said with a faint smile.
"Oh? It sounds like you're implying that you have a better understanding of Divine Devilbane Lightning than I do. Neither of us has attained this lightning before, so why does it make a difference who whether you or I instruct him?" the white-haired beauty chuckled coldly.
"I possess a wood spirit body. Back in ancient times, Divine Devilbane Lightning was the paramount wood-attribute divine lightning among the divine lightning of the five elements. Surely I'm more qualified than anyone else here to instruct him." Mu Qing's expression darkened slightly.
"That's not necessarily the case. I've spent far more years cultivating than you have, and I believe that gulf in experience is more than enough to outweigh any other advantages you may have in this respect," the woman retorted in a cold and unyielding manner.
Mu Qing's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, and she was just about to say something when Liu Zu interjected, "There's no need for an argument. Shouldn't we confirm whether Fellow Daoist Han truly possesses the Divine Devilbane Lightning before we discuss anything else?"
This Liu Zu was clearly the most authoritative figure among the four, as evidenced by the fact that both women did indeed fall silent upon hearing his words. Mu Qing turned to Han Li with a calm expression, and said, "I'm sure you've heard everything we've just discussed, so I'll have to trouble you to unleash your Divine Devilbane Lightning again and display it to everyone present. I'm sure you wouldn't refuse such a small request, right, Fellow Daoist Han?"
A wry smile appeared on Han Li's face, and he wasted no time with words as he made a hand seal.
A rumbling thunderclap immediately erupted as brilliant golden light radiated from his body. Countless thin arcs of electricity surfaced from within his body before forming several thick bolts of golden lightning in the blink of an eye, creating quite a marvelous spectacle to behold.
Everyone in the wooden hall stared intently at the golden arcs of lightning, including Mu Qing, even though she'd already seen it once before.
Liu Zu waved a sleeve toward Han Li, and a burst of black Yin winds rushed directly toward him.
Han Li raised an eyebrow before pointing a finger, sending a bolt of golden lightning hurtling toward the oncoming gust of Yin winds.
The golden lightning exploded amid a loud boom as soon as it came into contact with the black winds, and the latter faded like snow under the scorching sun, disappearing into nothingness in the blink of an eye.
"There's no mistaking it; this really is Divine Devilbane Lightning!" Liu Zu nodded, and there was a hint of elation in his voice.
"How many bolts of Divine Devilbane Lightning of that caliber are you capable of unleashing, Fellow Daoist?" one of the red-robed figures suddenly asked.
"Around 20, but after that, it'll take a long time for the lightning to recover to its original power," Han Li replied.
He was completely lying in his response; in reality, he was able to unleash thrice the quantity of lightning he'd proclaimed.
"20 should be enough." The other red-robed figure cackled with glee upon hearing this.
"Indeed. Even though the infernal river restriction is quite formidable, there's no way that it'll hold up in the face of so many bolts of divine lightning. Alright, his divine lightning has been confirmed; let's discuss who will be instructing Fellow Daoist Han. Fellow Daoist Di Xue and I are quite unfamiliar with divine lightning, so we won't put our names forward. The issue at hand is that both Fairy Mu and Fellow Daoist Lan want to take Fellow Daoist Han under their wing, and it's rather difficult to decide who is the better candidate. Here's my proposal; there are still a few years left until the implementation of our plan. For the first two years, we can get him to learn from Fairy Mu, and the two years after that will be spent under Fellow Daoist Lan's tutelage. As for the final two years, those will be for Fellow Daoist Han to cultivate and digest what he's been taught on his own. Do either of you two have any objections?" Liu Zu said in an emotionless voice.
Both of the women faltered upon hearing this proposal.
"Hehe, that's a brilliant suggestion, Brother Liu Zu. Neither of the fellow Daoists seems willing to back down, so this is the best way to proceed," one of the red-robed figures cackled as he rubbed his hands together.
The white-haired beauty hesitated momentarily before nodding in response. "Seeing as both Fellow Daoist Liu Zu and Fellow Daoist Di Xue approve of this arrangement, then I have no objections, either."
In contrast, Mu Qing remained silent with a contemplative look on her face.
A cold light flashed through Liu Zu's eyes as he asked in a cold voice, "Are you unhappy with this arrangement, Fairy Mu?"
"Of course not; we'll do as you say." Mu Qing's heart stirred as she forced a smile onto her face.
"Then it's settled. These are all trivial matters anyway. Everything is building toward the implementation of our grand scheme. Fellow Daoist Han, we'll give you six years to master the true power of the Divine Devilbane Lightning. If you're able to do so, we'll take you to a place where brilliant rewards will await you. But if you can't master the divine lightning in six years, hehe..." one of the red-robed figures began before his voice trailed off.
Even though he hadn't finished his sentence, the threat in his words was quite apparent.
Han Li's expression darkened a little upon hearing this.
"Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Han. You're able to attain this divine lightning at such a young age, so you must possess outstanding aptitude. For someone like you, mastering the divine lightning in six years will be no issue at all. However, in order to prevent you from attempting to do anything to our detriment, we'll have to place some restrictions on your body," the white-haired beauty said before suddenly raising a hand. A grey thread shot forth without any hesitation, reaching Han Li in the blink of an eye.
Han Li's expression changed drastically, and he reflexively tried to evade, but the nearby space suddenly tightened, following which he was completely immobilized by an enormous force.
Han Li's eyelids twitched, and after a series of thoughts flashed rapidly through his mind, he refrained from using any of his powers to try and resist.
He merely looked on as the silver thread disappeared into his body with a dark expression.
Almost at the exact same moment, Liu Zu, Mu Qing, and Di Xue released a ball of black Qi, an orb of green light, and a cloud of blood mist respectively, all of which also disappeared into Han Li's body in quick succession.
Only then did the enormous power weighing down on Han Li disappear.
He hurriedly conducted an internal inspection of his body with his spiritual sense, and his findings left him rather concerned, but also allowed him to heave an internal sigh of relief.
The restrictions that had entered his body were merely tracking symbols that wouldn't actually be able to harm him. However, with these things in his body, it would be next to impossible for him to escape.
"Fellow Daoist Han, you'll be staying in the Wood Immortal Valley for the next two years. After that, Fellow Daoist Lan will send someone to take you to her. That will be the extent of our discussion on this matter; let's discuss some other things now. Fellow Daoist Lan, I heard that you've refined almost all 8,000 profound ghosts, but you're still missing..." Liu Zu quickly moved on to other subjects after settling this issue.
Everyone else listened while interjecting from time to time in a spirited discussion.
Throughout this entire process, the demon monarchs gave no opportunities for Han Li to speak, and they had no intention of hearing what he had to say.
But then again, he really didn't have the right to make his opinions heard in the face of four demon monarchs at the Body Integration Stage and above.
After all, regardless of whether it was in the human world or the Spirit Realm, power determined one's rights. A mere Deity Transformation cultivator like him was far too insignificant to take seriously.
As such, even though Han Li was feeling quite gloomy, he could only remain silent while pondering what he had just heard.
The demon monarchs hadn't revealed many details, but he roughly understood the situation now.
As expected, these beings wanted to borrow the power of his Divine Devilbane Lightning, and they wanted to use it to break some infernal river restriction.
However, what was it that they had said about truly mastering the Divine Devilbane Lightning? Could it be that there was some kind of unique method to maximize the divine lightning's power? Or was there another ability he could unleash with it?
Han Li was completely perplexed.
All of a sudden, Han Li sensed someone scrutinizing him, and he looked up just in time to meet a furtive glance from Yuan Yao.
Yuan Yao remained completely expressionless even after meeting Han Li's gaze, but Han Li's expression stirred slightly. Only after a while did he withdraw his gaze in an unhurried manner.