Two hours later, the black vortex above the hill had ceased in its rotation.
An inky-black ball that was over 100 feet in diameter was slowly revealed. Black light swept down from the ball, injecting itself in a frenzy into the two massive black flags on either side of the formation.
The restrictions within the massive flags then sent bursts of pure Yin power surging toward the core of the massive formation.
At this point, the small formation on the summit of the hill had already been completely enshrouded in black light.
Han Li and the two women were no longer visible as a result, and aside from the low buzzing emanating from the spell formation, there were no other sounds to be heard.
As time passed, the massive black ball in the sky grew smaller and smaller.
This was naturally due to the fact that it was constantly losing pure Yin Qi.
All of a sudden, a loud cry erupted from within the formation down below, causing the black light to tremor unsteadily.
A resounding thump then rang out as a fist-sized ball of green light rushed out of the black light, attempting to fly toward a certain direction.
However, a streak of golden sword Qi then shot forth from within the black light amid a cold harrumph, and the sword Qi instantly pulverized the ball of green light.
The black light within the formation immediately became more sparse, revealing three indistinct seated humanoid figures.
At the same time, the buzzing sound from the small formation temporarily ceased.
Moments later, Han Li's voice rang out from within the black light, and his tone comprised of both exhaustion yet also a hint of excitement. "Thank you for your hard work, Fellow Daoists. The first mark has already been eradicated; let's keep going!"
"Brother Han, can your body really handle so much Yin Qi? How about we take a short rest before we continue?" Yuan Yao asked in a concerned voice.
"Thank you for your concern, Fairy Yuan, but time is of the essence, and we have to get rid of the three remaining tracking marks as soon as possible. Any delay could prove to be catastrophic," Han Li replied with a wry smile.
"If you think it's fine, then Junior Martial Sister Yuan and I won't try to dissuade you. If you're unable to hold on, then give us a signal, and we'll immediately stop," Yan Li said in a serious voice.
"Alright, let's continue, then," Han Li said without any hesitation.
Thus, Yuan Yao heaved a faint sigh, and the black light within the formation intensified in brightness once again.
The two women then continued to inject pillars of black light into Han Li's body.
Right as the first tracking mark was expelled from Han Li's body and destroyed, the humanoid figure that was enshrouded in green light cast her gaze toward Han Li's direction with bewilderment etched on her face. The humanoid figure was situated on a tall mountain several hundred thousand kilometers away from Han Li's location, and she murmured to herself, "How could this be? My tracking mark was destroyed? Theoretically, there's no way for cultivators below the Body Integration Stage to be able to accomplish this. Could it be that he's receiving assistance from a powerful being?"
The humanoid figure was naturally none other than Mu Qing.
For some reason, she had detached herself from the group of demon monarchs and set off to search for Han Li on her own.
During the process, she unleashed a secret technique to activate the tracking mark that she'd planted within Han Li's body, thereby giving him no choice but to destroy it first.
"This is getting a little troublesome now. In the instant that the tracking mark was destroyed, I managed to gauge the direction that he's in, but it'll be almost impossible to find him over such a vast area. Looks like I can only try my luck," Mu Qing murmured to herself with her brows tightly furrowed before immediately flying away as a streak of green light.
Elsewhere, on a set of barren plains that was covered in stark white bones, three humanoid figures and a puppet were facing off against one another.
"Brother Liu Zu, we've already shaken off that Mayfly Race puppet and the two Infernal Lightning Beasts, so it's time you brought out the Divine Infernal River Elixir and split it between the three of us." The one who had spoken was none other than the crimson-robed figure that was standing atop the Purpleblood Puppet's shoulder.
"You've been ignoring us this entire time; could it be that you intend to take the divine elixir for yourself? Have you forgotten the vows we swore and the blood restrictions we placed on each others' bodies before we set off? If Di Xue and I activate those restrictions without any regard for our own safety, then your cultivation base would be severely damaged as a result," the white-haired beauty threatened in a cold voice with the eight ghost monarchs around her.
The black-robed man that they were confronting was naturally none other than Liu Zu.
He was hovering right before the white-haired beauty and the crimson-robed figure, and after taking a glance at the two of them, he finally replied, "I initially intended to split the divine elixir evenly with all of you, but unfortunately, it appears that someone else has recently extracted some divine elixir from the pond, and what remained of it is barely enough for my own use, so how can I split it with all of you as well? How about this? I'll take the divine elixir, but I have many precious items that I can offer the two of you in exchange; will that suffice?"
"What kind of precious items could compare with the Divine Infernal River Elixir? Unless you have some kind of miracle medicine that can help us progress to the Grand Ascension Stage, what else could compare to the value for the divine elixir for cultivators of our cultivation base?" the white-haired beauty asked in an enraged voice.
Meanwhile, the crimson-robed figure refrained from saying anything.
Seeing as the crimson-robed figure didn't immediately turn down this offer, Liu Zu turned to him, and asked, "What do you think, Brother Di Xue?"
There were two demon monarchs opposing Liu Zu at the moment, but if one of them agreed to Liu Zu's proposal, then the other one would be powerless to resist. After all, Liu Zu was far more powerful than either one of them.
"Di Xue! Have you gone senile in your old age? Are you seriously contemplating agreeing to this proposal?" the white-haired beauty asked in a cold voice.
"If there really is so little divine elixir left, then even if Fellow Daoist is willing to split it between us, it wouldn't do anyone any good, so what difference does it make if we split it or allow one of us to keep it? Unless you want to be the one to take all of the divine elixir instead, Fellow Daoist Lan?" the crimson-robed figure mused in a dark voice.
"My thoughts exactly, Fellow Daoist Di Xue!" Liu Zu chuckled in response.
The white-haired beauty faltered slightly upon hearing this, but a cold smile then appeared on her face as she said, "Who knows if there really is as little divine elixir as he claims? I haven't seen it for myself; am I supposed to just take his word for it?"
"Indeed, that's also what I'm hesitating about. Fellow Daoist Liu Zu, would you be able to present proof to support your claim?" the crimson-robed figure asked as a cold light flashed through his eyes.
Liu Zu was silent for a moment before heaving a long sigh as he said, "The Divine Infernal River Elixir only works extremely well during its first application. When consuming and bathing in it for a second time, its effects will be almost negligible; I'm sure the two of you are aware of this. I wouldn't turn on the two of you for something that's useless I've gone mad. You two still don't know how Divine Infernal River Elixir is stored, right?"
"What are you trying to say? Could it be that extraction of Divine Infernal River Elixir requires more than just severing its connection with the spirit vein?" the white-haired beauty asked in a skeptical voice.
Instead of replying to her question, Liu Zu rustled a sleeve, and an object fell into his hand. He gently raised the object for their inspection, revealing it to be a rectangular brick that seemed to have been made from a crystalline material.
The surface of the brick was quite smooth and extremely transparent.
At the center of this brick, a ball of fist-sized red liquid could be seen. Even though it was separated from everyone by a layer of crystal, the astonishing spiritual Qi emanating from the liquid had still formed wisps of white spiritual mist that drifted throughout the surrounding area.
"This is known as a Tempered Crystal Brick, and it's something used by the Mayfly Race solely for extracting and storing Divine Infernal River Elixir. If this object were to be placed in the pond within the palace, it would immediately fuse as one with the spirit vein there, and it would be extremely difficult to recover it. Once the divine elixir is drawn into this object, even Body Integration cultivators wouldn't be able to extract the divine elixir from it in a short time, unless they possessed a secret talisman produced by the Mayfly Race. The only way to extract the divine elixir without the talisman would be to use the true flames within our bodies to refine this brick for over 10 years. With this, I'm sure the two of you can see just how little divine elixir I've managed to extract," Liu Zu explained in a calm voice.
The crimson-robed figure inspected the brick with a hint of greed in his eyes, and he said in a skeptical voice, "The spiritual mist emanating from this liquid is identical to the mist around the pond, so that should indeed by the Divine Infernal River Elixir, but don't you think it's an exaggeration to claim that we won't be able to destroy this brick?"
After a brief silence, Liu Zu proposed, "It looks like you won't believe me no matter what I say. So be it; I'll set this item in the air above us, and the two of you can unleash one attack each afar to try and destroy it. If you can leave so much as a single scratch on the brick, I'll immediately hand over the Divine Infernal River Elixir. If not, I'll be taking the divine elixir, and I'll give the two of you other precious items in exchange for it. Alternatively, you can activate the restrictions you've placed on my body, but if you do that, the two of you won't end up in a much better situation than I will. Instead, a third party could come along to take the divine elixir, and in our severely debilitated states, we'd be powerless to stop them."
"Are you serious?" The white-haired beauty's eyes immediately lit up, clearly very tempted by this offer.
"Of course," Liu Zu chuckled in response.
"Alright, you have yourself a deal." The white-haired beauty was clearly very confident in her abilities.
"If I can't damage this brick, then I won't ask for items in exchange. All I ask is that Brother Liu Zu accompanies me to the devilish tomb to secure two of the treasures there," the crimson-robed figure said.
"The devilish tomb? The powerful devils buried in there have been dead for countless years, but those devilish artifacts have already attained sentient will and are even more powerful than most Divine Spirit Treasures. On top of that, the devilish Qi and Yin Qi in there are extremely dense, making it very difficult to traverse through it. Didn't you and Fellow Daoist Mu Qing already raid the tomb once already, only for the trip to end in failure?" Liu Zu's brows furrowed in reluctance.
"Why are you asking a question you already know the answer to? Seeing as that Han brat is still alive, we'll be able to make use of his Divine Devilbane Lightning to ward off the devilish Qi and Yin Qi. If you accompany us as well, then our success will virtually be ensured. Fellow Daoist Mu Qing departed halfway, most likely to search for that Han brat already."