Han Li swept his spiritual sense through the surrounding area, and after verifying that all of the cultivators had indeed departed, he flew toward a certain point on the mountain as a streak of azure light.
The azure light soon faded, and Han Li appeared in front of an azure rock face.
Blue light flashed through his eyes as he inspected the rock face before flicking his wrist, upon which several balls of azure light flew out of his storage bracelet, then transformed into several huge ape puppets in a flash.
Without even requiring any instructions from Han Li, the puppets raised their arms, and streaks of azure light that were around a foot in length each erupted from their fingers toward the rock face.
Azure light flashed, and the hard rocky surface of the mountain was sliced through like tofu. In the blink of an eye, a huge cave that was around 100 feet tall had appeared, and the ape puppets entered the cave.
Han Li then swept a sleeve through the air to expel a ball of golden light, which circled around before revealing itself to be a small beast that was around a foot in length.
This was a small leopard-like beast with shimmering golden fur; it was none other than the Leopard Kirin Beast!
Golden light flashed from its body, and it expanded rapidly to around 10 feet in size in the blink of an eye. There were peculiar black patterns all over its body, and a pair of short silver horns that were each several inches in length had appeared on its head.
An indescribably fearsome aura was emanating from its body, and Han Li instructed, "Patrol the surrounding area and don't let anyone come near this mountain."
The giant Leopard Kirin Beast roared in response before black Qi abruptly erupted from its paws, and it vanished into the ground.
As for Han Li, he merely sat down with his legs crossed on the spot and patiently awaited the completion of his cave abode.
He had been rather surprised by the current appearance of the Leopard Kirin Beast. The reason behind its transformation was the Dark Beast Monarch inner core it had consumed in the Vast Glacial Realm.
After consuming that inner core, it had hibernated for over 10 years before finally awakening, and its powers had increased significantly following that awakening. It was able to easily progress to the Spatial Tempering Stage, and it had also taken on this menacing appearance.
Han Li was naturally quite intrigued by this transformation, but this beast possessed a hint of the True Spirit Kirin's bloodline and had consumed the demon core of a Body Integration Stage Dark Beast Monarch, so it wasn't entirely implausible for it to have undergone such a transformation.
Furthermore, it seemed that there was still more latent potential for the Leopard Kirin Beast to tap into.
During the next few decades following its awakening, Han Li had fed it a large amount of spirit pills, and it had evolved again to the mid-Spatial Tempering Stage, and also attained several powerful abilities.
According to Han Li's estimations, even the average late-Spatial Tempering Stage being wouldn't be a match for this beast.
Despite this, it appeared that the Leopard Kirin Beast was only just beginning to reach maturity, so he was very much looking forward to seeing how this beast was going to develop.
He wasn't concerned for the safety of the beast in the slightest as only Body Integration Stage beings would be able to pose a threat to it, but it was virtually impossible that any Body Integration Stage being would visit this mountain.
With that in mind, Han Li closed his eyes, and several hours later, the giant ape puppets finally completed the cave abode before emerging one after another.
Han Li opened his eyes and swept a sleeve through the air to draw them up his sleeve as balls of azure light. He then stood up and flipped a hand over to produce a stack of formation flags.
He raised a hand, and several tens of balls of different-colored spiritual light shot forth into his surroundings before vanishing into thin air.
Countless bursts of white mist appeared before permeating through the area, and moments later, the entire mountain had transformed into a sea of mist along with the area in a radius of close to 100 kilometers around it, making it impossible to see what was happening on and around the mountain.
After that, Han Li made a hand seal before making a grabbing motion, and white light flashed as a palm-sized round formation plate appeared in his grasp.
Han Li pointed a finger at the formation plate before letting loose a low cry, upon which countless silver runes emerged within the mist, then abruptly vanished into nothingness.
Only then did Han Li withdraw the formation plate before striding toward the entrance of his new cave abode.
After he made his way into the cave abode, he swept a sleeve through the air to send an azure stone gate tumbling down from above, which completely sealed the entrance.
Spiritual light then flashed erratically from the surface of the stone gate, and it completely fused as one with the surrounding rock face as if it had always been a part of this mountain.
Due to the fact that Han Li had controlled his puppets to construct this cave abode, he was naturally extremely familiar with its structure.
The first thing he did was travel to the medicine garden to plant some spirit medicines, then set up a few small restrictions within the cave abode before heading straight to the secret chamber.
After making a few turns, he was greeted by the sight of the stone door of the secret chamber, and he suddenly patted something on his waist.
A faint white shadow flew out before transforming into a white-robed beauty that was emanating a frosty aura.
It was the sentient puppet, Doll
Doll was also different from its past appearance. Not only had a thumb-sized blue bead been embedded into its glabella, there also seemed to be a bit more life in its eyes.
This was naturally the effect of the Glazed Water Bead.
After being nurtured by this treasure for over 100 years, Doll's body had become extremely cold, and it seemed to truly be developing toward a Glazed Water Body.
The effect of this wasn't very pronounced at all, and it had taken over 100 years for this slight change to take place, but Han Li was still extremely pleased.
Furthermore, Doll's spiritual nature also seemed to be increasing, and this was naturally an unexpected yet positive side-effect of the Glazed Water Bead.
After issuing Doll some simple instructions, Han Li entered the secret chamber, then raised a hand to summon a yellow futon.
He sat down with his legs crossed on the futon and closed his eyes before falling completely still, with only a layer of translucent azure light shimmering around his body.
Han Li meditated like this for three days and three nights without opening his eyes even once during this time.
The mountain ranges that he was situated in had truly erupted into a frenzy.
After being forcibly evicted from this place. Many of the cultivators here packed up their things and left, while some went to seek refuge with their friends on the nearby mountain ranges.
As such, the cultivators in the neighboring areas were also made aware of the fact that an unfathomably powerful high-grade cultivator had appeared nearby. He was able to completely immobilize a Nascent Soul cultivator with just his spiritual sense alone, and he seemed to be a Spatial Tempering cultivator.
As such, many of the cultivators were feeling quite uneasy, praying that this senior didn't harbor any negative intentions.
Not long after that, they were made aware that Han Li had gone into seclusion in an area that was completely filled with white mist, and all of them were very relieved.
It was quite clear that this high-grade being had no intention of taking their territory and really did seem to only need to do something here.
As such, even though they were still a little uneasy, they didn't have to move out of their cave abodes.
On the morning of the fourth day, Han Li's body moved slightly, and the azure light around him faded as he opened his eyes.
Piercing blue light flashed within his pupils before immediately vanishing, and he slowly exhaled.
Following these past three days of rest, both his magic power and spiritual sense had been completely replenished, and the fatigue he'd accumulated from his travels had also been alleviated.
He was finally able to get down to business.
A contemplative look appeared on his face as he flipped a hand over to produce an intricate jade slip.
This jade slip was quite remarkable, not just because of the faint golden light that was emanating from it, but also because it was fluctuating erratically in size on his palm as if it possessed spiritual nature and would fly away if he weren't careful.
Han Li didn't pay any heed to this as he pressed the jade slip against his own forehead before closing his eyes again.
Time passed by slowly, and after an indeterminate period of time had trickled past, he heaved a faint sigh before removing the jade slip from his forehead.
He then opened his eyes as a contemplative look appeared on his face.
This jade slip was naturally none other than the one that contained the Spirit Refinement Technique.
This technique was split up into three stages, and even successful mastery of just the first stage alone would enhance his spiritual sense by at least twofold.
Han Li's spiritual sense was already far more powerful than other beings of the same cultivation race, and if he were to attain this incredible boost on top of that, it would become a lot easier for him to break through his Body Integration Stage bottleneck. The effect of that would be several times more potent than that of any spirit pill.
Thus, Han Li had immediately begun to study this cultivation art right after he had obtained it. He had been cultivating this technique ever since he had left the Thunder Continent, and during his century-long journey, he had dedicated most of his time and attention to this cultivation art.
One could say that mastering the first stage of the Spirit Refinement Technique was quite difficult, but it could also be argued that this was quite easy.
The difficult aspect naturally lay in the fact that there were almost no beings in the Spirit Realm that satisfied the prerequisites to cultivate this technique. There was no way for those who didn't satisfy those conditions to successfully cultivate this technique, and if they were to try and forcibly cultivate the technique anyway, they would be struck by enormous backlash force and self-detonate as a result.
However, Han Li's spiritual sense and physical constitution were both powerful enough to cultivate this first stage. As such, after over a century of cultivation, he had already completely figured out this first stage and was only one step away from mastering it.
The information in the cultivation art stated that due to the fact that this was a True Immortal Realm secret technique written in golden seal text, every time a stage was mastered, extraordinary phenomena would occur, which was why he decided to find an obscure place without any powerful beings around before he took this final step.
Han Li could've completed the cultivation of the first stage of the Spirit Refinement Technique long ago, but he had been situated in the primordial world back then, and if he were to draw the attention of some powerful ancient beasts, that could've spelled the end for him.
Now that he was on human territory and in such a secluded place, he could naturally complete his cultivation of the first stage of the Spirit Refinement Technique.
As for the forlorn sigh he had just heaved, this was due to the fact that the second stage of the Spirit Refinement Technique was far more profound than the first stage. As such, it would be extremely difficult to decipher it, which would take at least several centuries of dedicated effort, and this wasn't even taking into account the rigorous conditions that had to be fulfilled to cultivate the second stage of this technique.
All of a sudden, the jade slip in his hand abruptly vanished amid a flash of spiritual light, following which he began to pull out a series of jade vials of different sizes.
He tipped out some pills from each of the vials before consuming them, then swept a sleeve through the air to summon nine shimmering silver discs, which hovered around his body in a stationary manner.
A solemn look appeared on his face as he made a peculiar hand seal, following which bright golden light erupted from his body.
A golden projection with three heads and six arms emerged behind him in a flash.