Close to an hour later, a string of earthshattering booms suddenly erupted from within the area encompassed by the black light barrier.
The light barrier then began to tremor violently, and a string of relentless explosions erupted from underground. Several thick pillars of light then burst into the air in a radius of several kilometers with the smaller palace above the ground at the center, and the entire ground in that area completely crumbled as the result.
The palace collapsed in its entirety, and a massive crater took its place.
There were several long fissures near the crater that were several tens of feet wide and extended for close to 10 kilometers.
All of a sudden, a few roars of fury erupted from within the crater, and several balls of spiritual light flew out from within.
One of the balls of light led the others by over 1,000 feet. In the blink of an eye, all of the balls of spiritual light reached the blue passageway before exiting the black light barrier and hurtling away into the distance.
At this moment, a battle suddenly broke out between the balls of spiritual light that were lagging behind the first one.
All of them were attacking one another while relentlessly pursuing that ball of light at the forefront.
One of the balls of light suddenly faltered before detaching itself from the battle, flying off alone in another direction.
Thus, silence returned to the area around the black light barrier.
Han Li sped through the air with the two women while carefully using his spiritual sense to internally inspect the tracking marks within his body.
Thankfully, the marks were still just as resolute as ever, and showed signs of coming loose.
Only then was Han Li feeling slightly more reassured, but he couldn't allow himself to breathe a sigh of relief just yet. He knew that the demon monarchs were clearly engaged in some other important activity, so they didn't have any time to come after him. Once they finished the tasks at hand and thought of Han Li, they'd activate the tracking marks within his body, and he wouldn't be able to repress them for much longer after that.
Thus, Han Li didn't intend to continue fleeing like this.
After traveling for close to 1,000,000 kilometers, a set of undulating hills that were enshrouded in dense Yin Qi appeared up ahead.
Han Li paused for a brief moment of contemplation before descending with the two women, disappearing into the black Yin Qi after just a few flashes.
The hills weren't as bleak and desolate as Han Li had imagined. Aside from some short grey bushes and scrubs that were growing over the bumpy terrain, there were even several types of tall trees here.
The bark on these trees were all quite dull and lusterless, but they were extremely lush, and the branches and leaves extending from them encompassed close to half of the hills in the area.
Han Li flew for a while longer through the black Qi before stopping at one of the hills.
He swept his spiritual sense through the surrounding area, and after ensuring that there were no powerful ghostly beings nearby, he immediately rustled his sleeve to summon a small golden sword.
The small sword swayed before transforming into several streaks of golden light that crashed violently toward a rock face.
Following a series of dull thumps, a large cave was carved out, and the streaks of golden light squirmed into the cave like a group of spirit snakes.
Han Li stood before the cave with his hands clasped behind his back, and after about five minutes, the small golden sword returned to him.
Han Li's expression changed slightly as he flipped a hand over to produce a stack of small flags of different colors.
He tossed the flags through the air, and they disappeared into the cave as streaks of light of different colors.
A burst of seemingly ordinary black mist then billowed out of the cave, perfectly merging with the nearby Yin Qi.
Han Li waved a hand toward the swath of azure light behind him before entering the cave that had just been carved out.
The two women were being carried within the swath of azure light, and they also drifted slowly into the black mist.
The deepest part of this temporary cave abode wasn't very large; it was only just over 100 feet in radius. However, it was situated right at the center of the hill, so it was extremely deep and discreet.
Han Li appeared at the end of the stone tunnel before taking a seat with his legs crossed as the center of the makeshift cave abode.
The two women had also been carried here by the azure light, and they were gently laid onto the ground.
The azure light disappeared in a flash, but the eyes of the two women were still tightly shut, and both of them remained in an unconscious state.
Han Li didn't find this to be surprising at all.
Those crimson threads were clearly extremely sinister items, and he had to forcibly inject his Divine Devilbane Lightning into their bodies in order to rid them of those crimson threads as quickly as possible. On top of that, these two women possessed semi-ghostly bodies themselves, so they were naturally unable to handle the excruciating pain of having his divine lightning course through their bodies.
Of course, this was also very much a result of the fact that these two women didn't possess powerful enough physical bodies. If they possessed bodies as powerful as Han Li's, they'd be able to shrug off this pain with ease.
However, seeing as Han Li was willing to employ this method to rid the crimson threads from their bodies in the first place, he was clearly confident that he'd be able to rouse the two from their unconsciousness after the event.
Spiritual light flashed from his hands as a dozen or so thin and long silver needles appeared on his palm along with a stack of azure talismans.
He raised a hand, and the silver needles shot forth, piercing into the bodies of the two women until only half of the needles remained exposed.
The two women still didn't wake up, but expressions of pain appeared on their faces.
However, Han Li paid their reactions no heed as the azure talismans in his other hand descended toward the two women as a collective swath of azure light.
As the azure spiritual light shimmered around their bodies, the pain on the two women's faces gradually eased, and their complexions also improved significantly.
Han Li then made a hand seal and cast one profound incantation seal after another through the film and azure light and into the bodies of the two women. As he cast those incantation seals, the silver needles also began to tremor gently in an extremely rhythmic manner while flashing with silver light.
Han Li exhaled as he waved a hand through the air, and silver light flashed from the two women's bodies as the silver needles flew back before disappearing up his sleeve.
After doing all that, Han Li said in a calm voice, "It's time to wake up, Fellow Daoists!"
Han Li's voice wasn't very loud, but he'd unleashed his Spiritstun Thorn ability as he spoke. Of course, he only unleashed the ability to an extremely slight extent so that it was just enough to rouse them, but not powerful enough to harm their spiritual sense.
Yuan Yao moaned as her long eyelashes fluttered, and she opened her eyes with a disoriented look on her face. A thought then suddenly occurred to her, and she immediately rose up into a sitting position with a shocked expression in her eyes.
"Fellow Daoist Han?" Yuan Yao's expressions eased significantly at the sight of Han Li, and she was just about to say something when Han Li waved a hand to cut her off with a grim expression on his face.
"If you have something to say, you can say it later. For now, check to see if there are any residual crimson threads in your body."
Yuan Yao adopted a serious expression as she nodded and crossed her legs before closing her eyes.
Moments later, Yan Li also awakened, and received the same instruction from Han Li.
After a short while, both women heaved a collective sigh of relief as they opened their eyes again.
"Those things within my body have already been completely removed. Thank you, Brother Han. If it weren't for you, my junior martial sister and I would've never been able to escape from that nightmarish situation," Yan Li said as she extended a grateful bow toward Han Li.
Prior to falling unconscious, they had been unable to control their bodies, but they remained full aware and alert. As such, after having the restrictions placed on them, the two women were filled with horror, thinking that they'd be reduced to mindless slaves for the rest of their lives. Much to their surprise and elation, Han Li was still able to save them in such a dire situation.
Yan Li didn't know how Han Li had managed to accomplish this near-impossible feat as she'd already fallen unconscious at that point, but it had to have been an extremely perilous process.
As such, her words of gratitude were quite genuine and earnest.
Yuan Yao also bowed alongside Yan Li. Even though she didn't say anything, the gratitude in her eyes was plain to see.
"There's no need to thank me, Fellow Daoists. By saving you two, I'm also benefiting myself. I've managed to forcibly seal away the tracking marks in my body, but I won't be able to keep this up for long. The demon monarchs could activate them at any moment, so I'll have to ask the two of you to see if the Yin Qi in this area will be sufficient to help rid me of these tracking marks." Han Li's survival hinged on whether he could expel these tracking marks from his body, so he immediately raised the issue without any delay.
The two women glanced at one another upon hearing this before surveying their surroundings while detecting the Yin Qi in this place.
After a while, Yuan Yao turned to Han Li, and asked, "The Yin Qi here isn't as abundant as we'd like, but we have a 60% to 70% chance of being able to expel those tracking marks. Do you think we should find another place with more abundant Yin Qi or take a risk here?"
"60% to 70%? That's already enough. We most likely won't have enough time to search for a more suitable place. Those demon monarchs are already aware that I'm still alive, and as soon as they finish what they're doing, they'll definitely activate these tracking marks and come after me," Han Li replied in a resolute manner following a brief moment of contemplations.
He was normally quite conservative and didn't like to take risks, but if a risk had to be taken, then he certainly wasn't going to hesitate.
Yan Li wore an expression of approval as she said, "Alright, my junior martial sister and I will immediately set up the Reincarnation Yin Gathering Formation and use the power of this formation to gather a vast amount of Yin Qi in a short time. Using this Yin Qi, the three of us should be able to combine our powers to eradicate those tracking marks."
It was quite clear that she was also of the opinion that they should take a risk here rather than searching for any alternative venues.
Yuan Yao was slightly more hesitant, but she quickly banished her indecision and nodded in agreement as well.
Time was of the essence, so the three of them naturally weren't going to delay any longer. After arriving at an agreement, the three of them rose up into the air at a low altitude within the temporary cave abode.
Yan Li swept her gaze around the surrounding area before immediately raising a hand. Yin winds abruptly converged within her palm, then transformed into a small grey flag in the blink of an eye.
She tossed the flag into the air and began to chant something at the same time.
The flag rotated in mid-air and emitted countless strands of grey Yin threads that danced through the air at her behest.
Han Li inspected the small flag in the air above through narrowed eyes.
The countless Yin threads suddenly converged to form a sharp straight spike that pointed a certain direction; it was aimed directly at another nearby hill.
"Found it! That should be the place in the nearby area where the Yin Qi is most abundant. That's the most suitable location to set up the core of our formation," Yan Li announced.
Yuan Yao's eyes lit up upon hearing this, and the three of them hurriedly flew over to that nearby hill. After that, Han Li stood off to the side to ward off any potential unwelcome intruders while the two women began to set up their formation.
The formation covered such a vast area that encompassed the entire hill down below.
Han Li looked on at the formation that was gradually taking shape, and a contemplative look appeared on his face as he stroked his chin in an absentminded manner.