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Thus, Han Li returned to Cloud City and strode through the city gates.

Meanwhile, countless kilometers away, within a damp swap in the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, there was a black-robed man with a dark and hideous face seated on a green rock with his legs crossed.

The man had his eyes closed, and as he slowly inhaled and exhaled, the black devilish Qi in the surrounding area swirled around him as if it possessed a mind of its own.

The man was clearly practicing some kind of mystical cultivation art, and he seemed to be completely absorbed in his cultivation.

After a long while, he took a deep breath and opened his mouth to devour all of the devilish Qi in the surrounding area, then opened his eyes with a content look on his face.

However, his expression immediately stiffened as he cast his gaze around him.

Around 10 feet away from him, there stood a woman in a long white dress. Her feet were bare and her black hair was swaying gently in the breeze as she appraised him with a smile on her face.

The woman wasn't exactly an ideal beauty. Her mouth was slightly too large to satisfy the image of a classical beauty, [1] but her eyes were as bright as stars, her nose appeared as if it had been chiseled out of the finest white jade, and her skin was as fair as snow. These captivating features made her far more alluring than the vast majority of beauties under the heavens.

After catching a clear glimpse of the woman, the man hurriedly rolled off his rocks and kowtowed as he greeted, "Sacred Ancestor! Hei'e pays his respects to the Sacred Ancestor!"

This man was none other than the Black Abyss Crocodile that had just progressed to the holy-grade not long ago.

Prior to this, he'd caught up to the old man with the Yan surname and killed him, but failed to find the immortal zoysia. As such, he returned to the location that he'd agreed to meet Ju Chu at, only to be later informed that the giant toad had been slain by Han Li.

It was completely flabbergasted by this news, but it had no choice but to leave in a dejected manner.

After that, he came to this place to cultivate and fortify his cultivation base, which had still been rather unstable following his breakthrough.

However, never would he have thought that the woman whom he'd thought was still in slumber would suddenly decide to seek him out.

With her unfathomable powers, she'd be able to kill him without even raising a single finger.

With that in mind, the devilish crocodile was completely petrified, and he didn't know whether this visit was going to spell disaster or fortune for him.

"You may rise. Hmm, you really have progressed to the holy-grade. Not bad at all! Looks like Sister Ming Luo didn't feed you all those spirit medicines for nothing. With how much she was feeding you, it was only a matter of time before you reached this level unless you possessed extremely mediocre aptitude. Looks like you've also managed to activate the evil dragon bloodline within your body," the woman chuckled.

The man's expression changed drastically upon hearing this, and a wry smile appeared on his face as he said, "You know about this as well, Sacred Ancestor?"

"Of course I do. Otherwise, Ming Luo wouldn't have fed you so much spirit medicine even if you were her favorite steed. Among all true spirit bloodlines, the evil dragon bloodline possesses the most potent devilish power. A mature and fully awakened evil dragon could even devour Heavenly Devilish Monarchs and are comparable to Heavenly Devilish Sovereigns. You've only inherited the evil dragon bloodline, but I presume that your powers aren't inferior to mid-holy-grade beings. Even if my three subordinates were to battle you one one one, they most likely wouldn't be able to defeat you," the woman said in a meaningful voice.

"You're far too kind, Sacred Ancestor; I can't compare with the likes of Fellow Daoist Xue Bi and Fellow Daoist Tie Mo," the man replied in an extremely modest manner, which was in stark contrast to his usual uncouth and arrogant mannerisms.

"Sister Ming Luo disappeared during the war in the holy realm, and we were as close as sisters before her disappearance. Seeing as you've successfully made a breakthrough, you can follow me for now. I'm preparing to go on a trip; you should make some preparations too." The woman changed the subject and cut straight to the chase.

"You're going to leave the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges?" The man was quite stunned to hear this.

"Indeed. Judging from your reaction, are you unwilling to accompany me?"

The man's forehead was immediately drenched in cold sweat upon hearing this, and he hurriedly explained, "Of course not! Being able to serve you by your side is a stroke of immense fortune for me, Sacred Ancestor!"

The woman seemed to find the man's panicked expression quite amusing, and she smiled as she said, "In that case, there's no need to prepare anything; just come with me."

"Haha, I've always been living alone, so I don't have anything to prepare anyway," the man laughed in a rather forced manner.

The woman chuckled upon hearing this, and she swept a sleeve through the air, sending a burst of pink light surging forth in all directions.

A peculiar fragrance instantly permeated through the air, and pink light enveloped the bodies of both the man and the woman.

After the pink spiritual light faded, both of them had already vanished.

The woman had unleashed her strange ability again to move herself and the man directly away from this place.

Back at the Dreamcloud Mountains of Cloud City, Han Li returned to his cave abode before immediately checking through all of the restrictions. After ascertaining that no one had infiltrated his cave abode during his absence, he slumped onto his bed and fell into a deep sleep.

Even though his journey to the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges hadn't been very long, it had been quite perilous. Not only had he expended a lot of magic power, he was also very exhausted, so he sorely required some rest and recuperation.

Thus, he slept for two days and two nights.

When he woke up again, he was completely energized and refreshed, and immediately got up before making his way toward his secret chamber.

He had reaped a lot of rewards from his recently concluded trip, and he had to sort through all of the treasures he'd obtained.

Moments later, Han Li arrived in a secret chamber that was several hundred feet in size, and he swept a sleeve through the air toward the stone door. Not only did the door close at his behest, a layer of azure light emerged from the stone walls around him, encapsulating the entire secret chamber in an azure barrier.

After doing all that, Han Li sat down on the futon at the center of the chamber in a cross-legged manner, then stroked his chin as he fell into deep thought.

Moments later, he flicked his wrist, and a streak black light shot forth from within his sleeve before hovering in mid-air right in front of him.

It was none other than his storage bracelet.

Han Li pointed a finger at the bracelet, and a certain object emerged from within it amid a flash of black light.

The object fell onto the ground with an extremely heavy thump, and it was revealed to the mummified corpse of the holy-grade devilish ape.

There was a large hole in its dantian, but there was no blood flowing from the large puncture wound, thereby creating a rather peculiar sight to behold.

Han Li looked at the dried corpse, which was several tens of feet long, and a pleased look appeared on his face.

He's already extracted the devilish core from the body of this devilish ape, and it seemed to have lost most of its blood essence, but its body was still extremely powerful. All of its bones, tendons, and ligaments were all extremely precious materials that could be used for tool refinement.

However, Han Li hadn't decided to take this corpse with him with tool refinement in mind. Instead, he wanted to extract the Giant Mountain Ape true blood contained within the devilish ape's body.

Seeing as the corpse had already dried to this extent, he wasn't sure whether he'd actually be able to extract any true spirit blood from it, but he could only try his best to do so.

For normal cultivators, extracting true spirit blood was quite a troublesome prospect. However, this was not an issue at all to Han Li, who had cultivated the 12 Awakening Transformations.

As long as the true spirit blood that he was trying to extract belonged to one of the 12 transformations, he would be able to use a secret technique that was enclosed within this cultivation art to forcibly extract true spirit blood out of a spirit beast's body.

Of course, the amount and the level of purity of the true spirit blood extracted hinged on how much of the true spirit being's bloodline the spirit beast in question had inherited, as well as how powerful the spirit beast was. After all, even if a spirit beast had only inherited an extremely small amount of a true spirit being's bloodline, they could increase the purity of the true spirit blood within their body through progressing in cultivation.

Among the true spirit bloods he'd already obtained, the purest was naturally the Kun Peng true blood from the Tian Peng Race, while the true blood of the Five-colored Peacock was the one that he'd obtained the largest quantity of.

On the other end of the spectrum, the true dragon and heavenly phoenix true spirits bloods were the ones that he'd obtained the smallest quantity of.

Those two true spirit bloods were ones that he'd only managed to obtain by chance, and they'd been extracted from the bodies of mere Deity Transformation cultivators from the two true spirit families, so the level of purity wasn't very high, either.

Among the true spirit beings, true dragons and heavenly phoenixes ranked well above the Kun Peng and the Five-colored Peacock, yet his transformations into the latter two beings were far more powerful than the former. Furthermore, among all of the information that Han Li had gleaned from the spiritual sense of the past grand elder of the Kun Peng Race, the information surrounding the Kun Peng transformation, as well as other bird-type transformations, had been far more extensive compared to other types of transformations.

As such, Han Li rarely ever used his true dragon and heavenly phoenix transformation, predominantly employing his Kun Peng and Five-colored Peacock transformations in battle instead.

The devil ape that Han Li had slain was a mid-Body Integration Stage being, so even if it barely had any blood essence left, the true spirit blood within its body was surely going to be of an extremely high purity.

As such, Han Li was naturally very much looking forward to this.

At this moment, Han Li already had his eyes closed, and he was chanting something while flicking his 10 fingers incessantly toward the massive corpse before him.

Incantation seals of different colors flew from his fingertips before disappearing into the corpse, and lights of different colors began to surface over its body.

At the same time, runes of different sizes began to emerge from the dried corpse, and as Han Li's chanting grew faster and faster, the entire corpse was enshrouded under a layer of light as if a vibrant colorful veil had been draped over it.

All of a sudden, Han Li opened his eyes, and yelled, "Rise!"

Spiritual light flashed all over the body, and it slowly rose up into the air.

A peculiar scene then ensued.

The veil of colorful light around the corpse abruptly tightened, and the light seemed to be imbued with incredibly immense power as it began crushing and compressing the body amid a string of cracks and pops.

From 40 to 30 feet down to 20 feet, then down to only around 10 feet in size...

Around 10 minutes later, the devilish ape's corpse had been compressed down to around four feet in size.

A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this, and he laid a hand on top of his own head.

Golden and azure light abruptly flashed, following which a chubby Nascent Soul that was around three inches tall emerged.

As soon as it appeared, it focused its gaze on the devilish ape's body, and a smile appeared on its face before it opened its mouth. A stream of azure flames that was around as thick as a human finger shot forth from within, traveling directly toward the devilish corpse.

[1] [In traditional Chinese beauty standards, a woman would ideally have a small mouth. The exact term used is "樱桃小口" which literally translates to small cherry mouth, so basically a small mouth with a pair of vibrant cherry-red lips]

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