After devouring so much azure tribulation lightning, the golden net above Han Li's head swelled to several times its original size, encompassing an area over 200 feet in size.
As soon as the first wave of tribulation lightning ceased, even thicker bolts of azure lightning materialized up above before crashing down as the second wave.
Han Li made a hand seal before extending a finger and rapidly scribbling something in the air with his fingertip.
Golden light flashed and a shimmering golden rune was inscribed in mid-air. Following an explosive thunderclap, the rune transformed into a bolt of golden lightning that hurtled up toward the air.
The golden arc of lightning then disappeared into the golden lightning net in a flash, causing the entire net to tremor.
The balls of light that were hovering within the net of golden lightning converged toward the same spot to form a vast expanse of golden light, within which runes were shimmering erratically.
During this split-second, the second wave of azure lightning was already descending with devastating might.
The same scenes appeared again.
The powerful bolts of azure lightning quickly disappeared without a trace into the vast expanse of golden light. However, the second wave of tribulation lightning was far more powerful than the first, as evidenced by the fact that the vast expanse of golden light was tremoring violently from the lightning strikes while the golden net of lightning continued to expand.
Moments later, a series of cracks finally began to appear amid the golden light, and it was slowly being vanquished by the tribulation lightning.
Without the golden light posing as an obstacle, the bolts of tribulation lightning struck the net of lightning directly.
The two clashed, and golden and azure light intertwined, creating a thunderous commotion.
Despite how ferociously powerful the bolts of heavenly lightning were, the golden lightning net remained resolute, managing to keep most of the azure lightning at bay.
The occasional stray bolts of heavenly lightning that managed to sneak through were all vanquished by Han Li's Divine Essencefused Light.
Standing atop the mountain summit, Han Li looked up at the dark clouds overhead, but showed no intention of unleashing his Divine Devilbane Lightning. He seemed to have some other course of action in mind.
After a while, the golden net of lightning was finally shattered, and the second wave of tribulation lightning also ceased.
However, the dark clouds in the sky were only surging more violently, and within the span of a few breaths, balls of azure lightning had appeared up above.
Each ball was around the size of a human fist, and they were clearly imbued with far more power than the bolts from the previous wave of tribulation lightning.
Han Li adopted a more serious expression as one of his hands turned white while the other turned black, and he thrust both palms into the air.
All of a sudden, the grey light overhead congealed, following which the projection of a miniature black mountain surfaced within it.
Almost at the exact same moment, five wagon-wheel-sized skull projections appeared above the grey light, and all of them opened their mouths in unison.
Five-colored flames tumbled forth, instantly forming a protective barrier over the Divine Essencefused Light.
Han Li then let loose a low cry, and the miniature azure cauldron above his head swelled to more than 10 times its original size amid a flash of brilliant spiritual light, transforming into a massive cauldron that was around 10 feet in size.
Azure light tumbled within the cauldron alongside an indistinct rumbling sound.
The third wave of tribulation lightning came crashing down in a merciless manner.
The balls of azure lightning were like massive chunks of hail, and they were far more fearsome than the previous two waves of heavenly lightning.
However, Han Li had been able to withstand two-colored tribulation lightning even when he was only at the early-Deity Transformation Stage, so he certainly wasn't going to be fazed by these azure balls of lightning.
The lightning balls crashed into the five-colored flames, and an incredible scene ensued.
All of the balls of lightning became extraordinarily slow after entering the five-colored flames, as if they'd been trapped.
In the blink of an eye, over 100 balls of lightning had been frozen in mid-air.
Han Li made a hand seal, and grey light erupted from the miniature mountain projection, sweeping up all of the balls of lightning.
At the same time, brilliant azure light erupted from the massive cauldron down below, and all of the lightning balls appeared at the cauldron's opening. Countless azure threads then shot forth, dragging all of the balls of lightning into the cauldron.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this. An hour later, the dark clouds in the air above dissipated, and the lightning tribulation drew to a conclusion.
Han Li had already arrived back in the secret chamber of the Wood Essence Cave. He was seated with his legs crossed on a futon, while a small azure cauldron hovered before him.
The lid of the cauldron had already been removed, and electricity was flashing within alongside the occasional dull thunderclap.
Han Li stared at the cauldron for a while before waving a hand toward it and drawing it into his grasp.
He patted the cauldron with his hand, and it tremored before producing an egg-sized ball of lightning.
The ball of lightning was flashing erratically, but it was unable to escape from the azure threads by which it was bound.
This was the heavenly tribulation lightning that Han Li had procured.
This lightning naturally couldn't compare to the golden and silver heavenly lightning that he'd captured in the past, but it was still a lot more powerful than normal lightning.
Having been given the opportunity, Han Li was naturally going to secure as much of this lightning as possible to refine some lightning beads with.
One lightning bead or two could perhaps only pose a threat to Spatial Tempering Stage beings, but if a dozen or so were to be hurled at once, even Body Integration cultivators would be forced into retreat.
Aside from the first two waves of heavenly lightning, all of the subsequent lightning had been drawn into the Heavenvoid Cauldron.
There was enough azure lightning in there to refine several tens of lightning beads in one go.
However, due to the power of the heavenly lightning itself, these lightning beads were going to be slightly inferior compared to the ones he'd refined in the past.
Even so, with so many lightning beads at his disposal, they could serve as one of his trump cards in the face of unforeseen threats.
Even though this heavenly tribulation hadn't posed any threat to him, each successive heavenly tribulation was more devastating than the previous one. By his estimations, he would only be able to transcend seven or eight more tribulations of this nature before things would get rather out of hand for him.
As for the major heavenly tribulations that befell Spatial Tempering Stage beings, even the first of such tribulations were extremely dangerous, and there was no lack of Spatial Tempering Stage beings in history who'd fallen to their first tribulations.
However, that was only something for Han Li to worry about in the future. For now, he had to think about how he was going to escape.
Han Li's expression darkened again as he considered the perils that he was going to face in the future.
During this past year, Mu Qing had truly done everything in her power to instruct him. Furthermore, he was quite proficient in using lightning himself, so he had made steady and fast progress. It appeared that it wouldn't be an issue for him to fulfill Mu Qing's requirements within two years.
Perhaps it was due to this that Mu Qing had been a lot more benevolent toward him of late, and after instructing him in the way of mastering his divine lightning, she would occasionally answer some of his cultivation questions as well.
At her lofty cultivation base, her guidance in cultivation was naturally extremely invaluable to a mere Deity Transformation cultivator like Han Li.
However, Han Li naturally wasn't going to allow himself to be imprisoned just because of the improved treatment he was receiving.
During this time, he had snuck around the mountain on several occasions to search for any holes in the restriction, as well as researched potential methods to erase the four tracking marks within his body.
If he could find solutions to these two issues, he'd be able to escape.
However, the results yielded by his efforts were very disheartening.
The restrictions around the Wood Essence Cave was unimaginably profound, transforming the entire cave into a massive cage from which there was simply no escape for him.
Of course, that wasn't to say that he couldn't destroy the restriction by force. After all, his Divine Essencefused Light and Spirit Engulfing Heavenly Flames were both extremely effective in this respect.
However, if he were to attempt to do this, Mu Qing would immediately be alerted to what he was up to, and things would not end well for him.
As for the tracking marks planted in his body by the four demon monarchs, they were even more troublesome. The marks seemed to have taken root in his body, and refused to be removed regardless of what he tried.
The only way was to use the nascent flames within his body to slowly refine them, but these were marks left behind by four Body Integration Stage demon monarchs; refining them was far from simple!
Setting aside whether the demon monarchs that had planted the marks in him would notice what he was doing, even if he were to take a massive risk and forcibly refine the marks, it would still take him at least three or four years.
As such, he was feeling quite depressed. However, Han Li was certainly no ordinary person, and he did manage to devise a feasible strategy.
In a dire situation, he could use the powers of his Divine Essencefused Light and Divine Devilbane Lightning to temporarily mask the four tracking marks in his body.
Han Li hadn't tried this method to see if it would work as doing so would most likely alert the four demon monarchs, but with his understanding of those two abilities of his, he estimated that there was at least a 70% chance that it would succeed.
Of course, this masking effect would only work on a temporary basis. As soon as the four demon monarchs sensed what he was doing, they'd be able to forcibly summon the tracking marks from within a certain distance, and he most likely wouldn't be able to conceal himself for long.
As such, this was only going to be a last resort.
Han Li exhaled deeply as if he were trying to expel all of the frustrations in his heart. He then tossed the miniature cauldron in his hand forward and prepared to begin refining lightning beads.
Even though this was a place where Mu Qing had once cultivated, he'd set up restrictions here again, so he wasn't afraid that she'd be able to see what he was doing.
Thus, loud thunderclaps erupted within the secret chamber as Han Li set about refining one lightning bead after another.
Several days later, a streak of green light flew over the nearby garden, then disappeared in a flash through the doors of Han Li's secret chamber.
Only after a long while were doors opened, and Han Li emerged from within with furrowed brows and a peculiar look on his face.
This was the date for his weekly lesson yet, so why was had Mu Qing summoned him using a voice transmission talisman?
This was something that hadn't ever happened during the past year.
Thus, Han Li made his way slowly down the path in the garden with a hint of confusion in his heart.
There were already over 30 extra thumb-sized lightning beads in his storage bracelet, all of which were shimmering with azure light. Han Li had exhausted most of the heavenly lightning that he'd procured to refine these lightning beads, and if it weren't for Mu Qing's voice transmission talisman, he was preparing to refine all of the heavenly lightning in his Heavenvoid Cauldron in one go.
When Han Li finally made his way into the hall, he was surprised to discover that not only was Mu Qing seated in the hall, there was a crimson-robed figure sitting off to the side.
This crimson-robed figure was none other than Di Xue.
"Fellow Daoist Han, Fellow Daoist Di Xue would like to see you," Mu Qing said in a calm voice as she held a teacup in her hand.