"It's opening that quickly?"
"This is not a good time!"
A stir immediately ran through the entire hall.
"The Vast Glacial Badges had only appeared not long ago, so it's indeed rather out of the ordinary that the Vast Glacial Apparatus is displaying a reaction so soon. This also coincides with the invasion of the Jiao Chi Race, so we won't be able to focus wholeheartedly on preparing for this event. However, the opening of the Vast Glacial Realm is a great opportunity for the races all over the Thunder Continent to receive a boost in power, so we naturally can't just not prepare for it, either. As such, I need everyone to formulate a course of action," Qian Jizi said with a serious look on his face.
"Indeed, Fellow Daoist Qian. The invasion of the Jiao Chi Race has drawn most of our attention, but thankfully, this isn't the first time we've had to prepare for the opening of the Vast Glacial Realm, so there's no need to panic even if it's happening a little earlier than normal," the white-robed man said with a nod.
"To be honest, whether we can reap much rewards from the Vast Glacial Realm depends almost entirely on the luck and potential of our juniors. All we can do is ascertain the roster that is to enter the Vast Glacial Realm as soon as possible, then set up the formation required for them to enter the realm. On this occasion, our 13 races didn't manage to secure too many Vast Glacial Badges, and our Cloud City only has two. As such, we only need to prepare two formations on our end. The other Vast Glacial Badges will naturally be taken care of by others, so we don't need to worry about them," a burly man with a body that was as black as charcoal chimed in in agreement.
"However, we have many juniors in Cloud City who are at the pinnacle of the Spatial Tempering Stage, so it won't be easy to ascertain this roster."
"In order to prevent that Jiao Chi Race infiltrator from wreaking havoc during this time, we have to make sure that the two teleportation formations are extremely well-guarded."
Some of the beings present were quite elated, while others were rather concerned, and all of them offered their opinions.
Meanwhile, the white-robed man merely listened to their discussion with a smile on their faces, and when the chatter finally died down, he turned to Cai Liuying, and asked, "Fairy Cai, do you have anything to add?"
Cai Liuying faltered slightly after being singled out, but she then immediately smiled as she replied, "All of the areas have been addressed in detail by all of my fellow Daoists, so there's nothing for me to add."
After a brief pause for contemplation, the white-robed man finally made his decision. "Alright, in that case, we'll prepare for the opening of the Vast Glacial Realm just like we've always done in the past. As for the specific roster of juniors to be sent into the realm, I'll leave that to all of you to decide. However, all of the beings chosen must be at least at the late-Spatial Tempering Stage, and we must deploy three times as many people as we have in the past to guard the teleportation formations. On top of that, the area in a radius of five kilometers around the two formations will be sealed off as a restricted area that's barred from entry to unrelated individuals. Only the Myriad Ancient Race knows how to set up the formations, so I'll leave that to you, Fellow Daoist Qian."
Qian Jizi and the two Myriad Ancient Race elders next to him naturally bowed and accepted these orders.
A thought then suddenly occurred to the white-robed man, and he asked, "By the way, have you chosen the candidates to activate the Vast Glacial Badges?"
"One of the candidates has already been chosen, but the other badge has already been activated," Qian Jizi replied after a brief hesitant pause.
"If I recall correctly, all of the candidates chosen to activate the Vast Glacial Badges are selected through a rigorous selection process, and the badges are only activated on the cusp of the opening of the Vast Glacial Realm; why was a badge activated so early this time?" The white-robed man's expression darkened upon hearing this.
"Please forgive me, Senior; the situation with this Vast Glacial Badge is rather special, and it had already been activated by the time we obtained it. Here's what happened..." Thus, Qian Jizi gave a careful recount of what had happened with Han Li.
"I see. So that being isn't a Heavenly Cloud being. In fact, he isn't even from our continent," the white-robed man surmised with a surprised look on his face.
"Indeed. I have also agreed to let him use the super teleportation formation after returning from the Vast Glacial Realm, but he has to supply the spirit stones required for that himself," Qian Jizi replied in a truthful manner.
The white-robed man's expression returned to normal before he continued, "That's not really an issue, but what's important is that you make sure there's nothing fishy about him."
"Rest assured, Senior Weng, we've made sure that there are no issues with this man. We're only using him so that others can be sent into the Vast Glacial Realm, and he's been under our surveillance this entire time, so he won't be able to do anything that's of detriment to us. After they enter the Vast Glacial Realm, they'll all split up, so there won't be any problems," Qian Jizi assured in a confident manner.
After contemplating this notion for a short while, the white-robed man also decided that this wasn't an issue, so he nodded, and said, "Seeing as you're so confident and the Vast Glacial Badge has already been activated by this person, then so be it. When the time comes, tell the others to conduct more surveillance on this man from the shadows."
Qian Jizi naturally accepted this arrangement as well.
After the three Myriad Ancient Race elders had taken their seats, a holy race being with dark green skin stood up, and reported, "Fellow Daoist Lu and the others have sent information back from the front lines; the Jiao Chi Race has increased the size of their army again, and there are even five or six more holy grade beings among them. This development has caught us off guard, and three of our cities have already been conquered, thereby placing us firmly on the back foot. It appears that the Jiao Chi Race fully intends to expand the scale of this war."
"Hmph, deploy five holy race beings and a thousand upper race beings from the city to the front lines right away. If they want to escalate this battle, then we'll be happy to respond in kind!" the white-robed man harrumphed coldly.
After that, other holy race beings also began to report some important matters.
In the end, this meeting between the most powerful beings of Cloud City lasted for close to an hour.
Following its conclusion, all of the holy race beings immediately departed to make preparations.
Meanwhile, Han Li was still in seclusion, cultivating arduously in his cave abode.
On a certain day a year later, Han Li suddenly emerged from his cave abode and left Cloud City.
However, he mysteriously returned to the city just half a day later, then entered his secret chamber again.
Time slowly passed by, and three years flew past in the blink of an eye.
Within the secret chamber inside Han Li's cave abode, it was quite a dimly lit environment, and there were three humanoid figures seated on a futon each.
One of them was shimmering with golden light with a layer of golden scales over their skin. Another had black Qi surging all around their body, making it impossible to glean their true appearance. The final humanoid figure was glowing with purple light, but their skin was remarkably green.
All three of them were making different hand seals, seated in a completely stationary manner.
After an indeterminate period of time, the golden humanoid figure suddenly stirred before opening his eyes.
Two balls of piercing blue light immediately erupted from within his pupils.
"What's going on? Why has that person come to find me? Could it be..." the golden humanoid figure murmured to himself.
Immediately thereafter, he waved a sleeve through the air, and a ball of white light shot forth from within before hovering in the air above.
The entire secret chamber was immediately illuminated by bright white light, thereby revealing the three humanoid figures in a high level of clarity.
The golden humanoid figure sitting in the middle was none other than Han Li, and his brows were furrowed tightly, seemingly in deep thought.
The green-skinned being emanating purple light from its body was identical in appearance to Han Li, and he was appraising Han Li with curiosity in its remarkably clear eyes.
At this moment, a burst of Buddhist chants rang out from within the cloud of black Qi, which slowly dissipated to reveal a monstrous being with three heads and six arms.
The monstrous being was around 20 feet tall, and its body was also shimmering with golden light. Two of its faces had extremely clear facial features, while the final face was completely devoid of all features, striking the beholder with quite a harrowing sensation.
At this moment, the golden giant suddenly opened the eyes on its two clear faces, and its pupils were like a pair of black holes that threatened to suck in the beholder's soul.
"A guest has arrived; you two can keep cultivating on your own while I go out to meet our guest," Han Li instructed before flying toward a wall as a streak of golden light.
The streak of light disappeared into the wall in a flash, and moments later, azure light flashed from the stone door of the cave abode, which then slowly swung open as Han Li made his way out in a calm and collected manner.
"Han Li pays his respects to Senior Cai. May I ask why you've decided to pay a visit to my humble abode?" Han Li greeted with a respectful bow.
The guest standing outside was a slender and elegant woman; it was none other than Cai Liuying of the Crystal Race.
"Am I not welcome here, Fellow Daoist Han?" Cai Liuying asked with a smile.
"Of course you are, Senior Cai. It is a great honor for me that you've decided to visit. May I ask who this fellow Daoist is?" Han Li chuckled before turning his attention to the woman standing behind Cai Liuying.
She appeared to also be a woman with a gorgeous figure, but she wore a white hood on her head, and her facial features had been obscured by a ball of crystalline light.
"This is a new disciple of mine," Cai Liuying explained in an extremely concise manner.
The woman also nodded in silence to affirm this. It would naturally be unwise for Han Li to ask any further questions, so he could only invite the two into his cave abode. Thus, not long after that, all three of them were seated in the hall of his cave abode. A humanoid puppet immediately arrived at Han Li's behest to offer some spirit fruits and a few cups of spirit tea.
Cai Liuying was quite intrigued as she took a sip of her cup of spirit tea, upon which a hint of surprise flashed through her eyes.
"What potent spiritual Qi! These tea leaves seem to have come from a tea tree that's over 1,000 years old. On top of that, the tea tree itself also seems to be of a rare breed. In that case, such spirit tea will be hard to find even in Cloud City," Cai Liuying praised after taking a few more sips.
"If you like this tea, I have some more of these tea leaves, and I can give them all to you, Senior," Han Li said with a smile before sweeping a sleeve over the table, upon which a white box appeared out of thin air.
"In that case, don't mind if I do, Fellow Daoist Han; I really am quite a fan of this tea," Cai Liuying chuckled.