All of a sudden, black Qi erupted from Han Li's body, and a suit of black armor appeared. Countless black runes surged forth from the suit of armor, and the crimson streak of light was instantly repelled by the runes and black Qi.
The crimson shadow was sent stumbling backward and was forced to reveal its true form.
Blue light flashed through Han Li's eyes, allowing him to better glean the true appearance of the crimson shadow, and in spite of everything he had been through, even he couldn't help but be startled by what he was beholding.
At first glance, the face of the crimson shadow appeared to be a sinister ghostly face, but after a faint flash, it turned into Xiang Zhili's face, and after another blur, it transformed into the face of another man.
This man was also familiar to Han Li; it was none other than Old Devil Hu, whom Xiang Zhili had entered the spatial node with.
The crimson shadow quickly transitioned between its three faces as if it were incapable of adopting a stable form.
The crimson shadow finally righted itself before exclaiming in a shocked and enraged manner, "Heavenly Devilish Armor? Impossible! How could you possess a suit of armor that should only belong to heavenly devils?"
The voice resembled that of Xiang Zhili, but it also gave Han Li a strange unfamiliar feeling.
Han Li harrumphed coldly as shimmering golden light appeared all over his body. At the same time, a suit of golden scale armor emerged over his skin.
"Do you think I can't do anything to you just because you have that suit of Heavenly Devilish Armor?" The crimson shadow's face changed several times in rapid succession before it let loose a strange cry and began to rotate on the spot.
In the blink of an eye, a crimson tornado had erupted from his body and risen up into the sky, reaching a height of over 100 feet.
Incessant rumbling rang out from within the tornado, and bolts of crimson lightning flashed violently, creating an extremely alarming sight to behold.
The crimson shadow then chanted a few strange incantations, and the tornado rapidly shrank, condensing itself into a head-sized crimson rune mere moments later. The rune hovered in front of the crimson figure, and a grim look immediately appeared on Han Li's face as he sensed the violent fluctuations proliferating from the rune.
A loud thunderclap rang out, and the crimson rune lashed out as an arc of crimson lightning.
The lightning struck the black runes up ahead amid a resounding boom, and after a few erratic flashes of light, the black runes were parted, thereby allowing the lightning to strike the surface of the black suit of armor.
A muffled thump rang out as the crimson arc of lightning vanished, revealing a palm-sized hole that had been blasted onto the surface of the suit of armor.
A sinister look reappeared on the crimson shadow's face, and after a burst of wicked cackling, it rushed forward as a rapid streak of crimson light again, reaching Han Li in a flash before pouncing toward the hole on his suit of armor.
However, right at this moment, spatial fluctuations erupted nearby, and a large golden hand appeared in front of the hole on the suit of armor. The hand spread open its five fingers and caught the oncoming crimson shadow like lightning.
The crimson light receded, and the crimson shadow reappeared in the golden hand with a horrified look on its face. However, it then abruptly opened its mouths to blast a burst of crimson flames directly toward Han Li's face.
This was an extremely vicious and unpredictable attack!
Han Li was completely immobilized right now, and the crimson flames had been unleashed at point-blank range, so there should've been no way for him to evade it.
However, a cold smile suddenly appeared on Han Li's face, and black light flashed on his glabella, following which an inky-black eye was abruptly opened.
Black light flashed, and a beam of black light shot forth before striking the crimson flames with unerring accuracy.
The nearby space warped, and the two intertwined before vanishing into thin air together.
The crimson shadow was quite startled to see this, and bright crimson light erupted from its body as it attempted to unleash some other type of ability, but it was already too late.
A layer of silver flames suddenly appeared over the golden hand that it had been caught in, and the crimson shadow was instantly inundated.
Bloodcurdling howls rang out from within the silver flames as the crimson shadow struggled with all its might, changing its size and form at will to try and escape. However, the large golden hand was like an inescapable vice that refused to let it get away.
After just the span of a few breaths, the bloodcurdling howls ceased, and the crimson shadow was incinerated into nothingness.
Come to think of it, this crimson shadow had been quite unlucky. With its formless body, normal treasures and abilities would've completely failed to trap or harm it.
However, that large golden hand belonged to the Provenance Golden Body, and after its multiple refinements and Han Li's vast improvement in cultivation base, it had attained incredible abilities, thereby allowing it to pluck the formless crimson shadow straight out of the air.
As for the Spirit Engulfing Heavenly Flames, it possessed the power to devour all types of energy in the first place, and after devouring many other types of flames, it had become extremely potent against devilish beings and evil Qi.
Only then was this vastly powerful crimson shadow destroyed so easily.
Han Li's expression eased slightly upon seeing this, and the Law Destruction Eye on his glabella slowly closed before fading away.
He then began to chant something, and golden light swirled around his body as he opened his mouth to expel a fist-sized ball of light.
The ball of light was enshrouded within a layer of golden light, and it was revealed to be a clump of greyish-white threads.
The strange threads that had infiltrated his body earlier were forcibly condensed by his true essential power before being expelled from his body.
This was also a result of his massive cultivation base improvement and the significant progress he'd made in his Provenance True Devil Arts. Otherwise, he still wouldn't have been able to accomplish this.
As soon as the greyish-white clump was expelled, he regained control over his body, following which he immediately pointed a finger at the silver flames.
The Spirit Engulfing Heavenly Flames instantly swept forth toward the large golden hand before encompassing the ball of greyish-white light.
Meanwhile, the golden hand vanished into thin air amid a flash of light, and the ball of light flashed a few times before disintegrating into nothingness within the silver flames.
Only then did Han Li turn around to appraise the mangled remnants of Xiang Zhili's body, and he couldn't help but heave a faint sigh.
He still couldn't figure out exactly what had happened to Xiang Zhili for such a sinister being like the crimson shadow to be lurking in his body, but this physical body definitely did belong to Xiang Zhili.
From the unsettling transitioning faces of the crimson shadow, it seemed to have already devoured Xiang Zhili and Old Devil Hu's souls before fusing them as one.
Thankfully, the hibernating Weeping Soul Beast had suddenly displayed a slightly restless and uneasy reaction when he had met Xiang Zhili in Cloud City for the first time, thereby alerting him to the fact that something was amiss. Otherwise, he would've failed to notice anything.
If this "Xiang Zhili" hadn't been attempting to plot against him, Han Li naturally wouldn't have gone out of his way to kill him. However, during their two previous encounters, "Xiang Zhili" had clearly been intent on making him fall for some kind of sinister trap, thereby igniting the killing intent in his heart, which was why he decided to meet him as planned.
However, he wasn't 100% sure that there was something wrong with this Xiang Zhili, which was why he had waited until the trap was sprung.
Following the huge strides Han Li had made in the Vast Glacial Realm and the seed of wariness that had already been sowed into his heart, he was confident that he wouldn't fall prey to the devious plot he was potentially walking into.
Even if he hadn't used his golden body and Spirit Engulfing Heavenly Flames, there were still many other ways for him to kill that crimson shadow with ease. After all, there was too much of a disparity between his and Xiang Zhili's powers.
The crimson shadow had detonated Xiang Zhili's body before absorbing most of the body's blood essence, but that still wasn't enough for it to unleash much of its power.
Han Li stood on the spot and heaved an internal sigh.
Xiang Zhili had once stood at the very pinnacle of the human world, yet he had fallen to such a tragic fate; it was truly a saddening sight.
Han Li didn't know if he and Old Devil Hu had fallen prey to that crimson shadow in the spatial node or after they had arrived in the Spirit Realm. If it were the latter, then that would be even more tragic.
Han Li heaved another faint sigh before gently sweeping a sleeve through the air, unleashing a wave of crimson flames that instantly incinerated the mangled set of remains into nothingness.
As for that so-called Giant Spirit Talisman, it had already crumbled into nothingness following the demise of the crimson shadow.
After that, Han Li didn't delay there any longer. He made a grabbing motion in the air around him, and barely detectable spatial fluctuations immediately erupted in the air around the mountain peak.
A dozen or so balls of light of different colors then emerged before vanishing up his sleeve in a flash; these were none other than the formation flags he had released earlier.
The formation flags had formed a simple formation that concealed spiritual Qi fluctuations.
In the instant that "Xiang Zhili" arrived on the mountain, Han Li had secretly activated the formation to conceal the energy fluctuations that had erupted from their battle. Otherwise, to some beings, they would've still been able to notice what was happening on this mountain, which was only less than 100 kilometers away from Concealed Wyrm City.
The formation wouldn't have been able to completely conceal the signs of their battle, but it wouldn't have been very noticeable even to high-grade beings.
Han Li rose up into the air as a streak of azure light before flying toward Concealed Wyrm City.
Not long after that, a group of patrolling armored warriors arrived on the scene from another direction. However, after searching around the mountain, they discovered nothing and could only return in a frustrated manner.
As for Han Li, as soon as he returned to Concealed Wyrm City, he went back to the inn and remained in his room.
During the next few days, Qian Jizi and the others sent the missing materials to Han Li in batches, and it seemed that they really were going to keep their promise.
Han Li naturally accepted them without any qualms.
A month later, Han Li finally emerged from the inn before flying toward the tallest mountain in Concealed Wyrm City.
It was said that the most important buildings in Concealed Wyrm City were situated on that peak, along with a few secrets that weren't known to outsiders.
Half a day later, the entire mountain suddenly shuddered before a massive pillar of light erupted into the heavens from a certain place within the belly of the mountain.
After just a few flashes, the huge pillar of light vanished. These events drew some attention from the nearby Heavenly Cloud beings and became the topic of conversations for a few days, but as time passed, everyone gradually forgot about this and carried on with their daily lives.
At the same time, a pillar of light also erupted from the heavens from an obscure location on another continent that was countless kilometers away from the Thunder Continent. Immediately thereafter, a humanoid figure appeared at the center of a giant formation while the pillar of light receded.