Of course, during this time, he still needed to search for some materials to refine the Body Integration Stage pills with the Corrosive Poisonweed as the main ingredient.
Compared to the Corrosive Poisonweed, all of the other materials were barely worth mentioning, but they were still quite rare in the Spirit Realm. As such, he would have to expend some effort if he wanted to gather all of the materials required to refine the pills.
On top of that, in order to deal with the major heavenly tribulation that would strike him once every 3,000 years, he also had to refine the High Zenith Azure Mountain he had obtained in the Vast Glacial Realm into an extreme mountain.
Even though the combined effects of the two extreme mountains still wouldn't be able to compare with that of the true five extreme mountains, but it would still be somewhat effective against heavenly tribulations.
Furthermore, he also had to find the purpose of the Spiritvoid Pill somehow. Only then would he be able to consume it without any qualms, and also be aware of when the ideal time to consume it would be.
Now that he had progressed to the Body Integration Stage and mastered the first stage of the Spirit Refinement Technique, although he still couldn't release 10,000 Gold Devouring Beetles at once, he could release around 1,000 and sustain them for a while. Such a massive swarm of mature Gold Devouring Beetles was naturally going to be an extremely fearsome trump card of his that even the average Body Integration Stage being would be extremely fearful of.
With that in mind, it was also a priority of his to refine the legendary Rainbow Pills from the inner cores of the Flying Rainbow Fish. Those pills combined with the Golden Lightning Bamboo leaves would surely have a very good chance of making the mature Gold Devouring Beetles evolve again.
Many years ago, that strange stone block had already caused a mutation among a small portion of his Gold Devouring Beetles.
Unfortunately, this mutation didn't seem to have resulted in any special effects aside from making the Gold Devouring Beetles extremely heavy and giving them the minor stoneform ability, so he had been rather disappointed by this.
As for the Gold Devouring Beetles Monarchs that Qing Yuanzi proclaimed would pose a major threat even to true immortals, that was too far beyond his reach, and he had no idea how to even begin nurturing his beetles toward that direction, so there was no point in thinking about that for now.
However, regardless of whether he wanted to be able to control more Gold Devouring Beetles or prepare for his future breakthroughs, he had to cultivate the second stage of the Spirit Refinement Technique.
In his current state, he already satisfied the spiritual sense requirements. However, his physical constitution was slightly lacking, and he would only be able to barely satisfy those conditions once he reached the late-Body Integration Stage and completely mastered his Provenance True Devil Arts.
Prior to that, he could use some external items to bolster his own body. For example, that Red Silk Heavenly Wine could slowly enhance one's physical constitution, so he could brew some to drink over time.
Of course, he also needed to spend some time to study the talismans and mysterious starry sky diagram that he had obtained from the Vast Glacial Realm.
With that in mind, Han Li fell into a period of silent contemplation...
During the next year, Han Li didn't take so much as a single step out of his cave abode and focused all of his efforts on consolidating his magic power and mental state. However, in contrast with the peace and quiet inside his cave abode, the outside world had been stirred up into a frenzy by his breakthrough.
Many of the powers in the nearby area wanted to approach him, but all of these powers knew that cultivator had to go into seclusion for a year after breaking through a major bottleneck. As such, these powers had been very thoughtful in that they hadn't sent anyone to disrupt Han Li's cultivation.
However, as soon as one year passed, some of them immediately sprang into action.
On this day, a thin and tall elderly man appeared at the edge of the sea of mist. He wore a set of long azure robes with a green jade scepter hanging from his waist. He was standing on a nearby mountain and casting his gaze toward the center of the sea of mist in a completely expressionless manner.
All of a sudden, he turned and looked up into the air.
Spiritual light flashed in the distance in that direction, following which a streak of silver light that was over 100 feet long appeared.
The silver light was traveling at an astonishing speed, and after just a few flashes, it reached the nearby area, looking as if it were about to plunge headfirst into the sea of mist.
However, right at this moment, a faint cry of surprise rang out, and the elderly man's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
The silver streak of light circled around before abruptly descending onto the mountain that the man was situated on, and a slender humanoid figure appeared over 100 feet away from him after a flash of silver light.
This was a young beauty in a blue palatial dress. There was no aura emanating from her body whatsoever, and she had a pleasant smile on her face, making her appear as if she were an approachable mortal beauty.
The elderly man's pupils abruptly contracted at the sight of her. "Fairy Xiao Feng! I didn't think the esteemed leader of the Gu Family would come here in person."
"Oh? So it's Elder Qi of Deep Heaven City. Have you come for the man on Sunrise Peak?" the young woman asked as she extended a slight curtsey.
"Hehe, Deep Heaven City is only several month's travel away from here, so we were naturally made aware quite a while ago that a Body Integration Stage Fellow Daoist has appeared here. All of the other members on the panel of elders are either in seclusion or away doing something else, so I had to make this trip. Are you also here for the same purpose, Family Leader Gu?" the elderly man replied with a smile, and he was being quite polite to the young woman.
"Indeed, Senior. One of the elders of our Gu Family has already approached the senior on Sunrise Peak around a year ago, but never did I think that he would progress to the Body Integration Stage after just a single year. Hence, I naturally had to pay him a visit in person," the young woman said with a smile.
"If I recall correctly, the true spirit ceremony that's held between your true spirit families once every 3,000 years is coming up in a few more years, right? No wonder you're so eager to bolster the power of your Gu Family. However, if this man really has reached the Body Integration Stage, then I'm afraid I won't be able to hand him over to you. Back when the foreign races attacked our city, two of our elders had perished, and we also have two other elders who will most likely struggle to transcend their next major heavenly tribulations. Hence, we desperately need new Body Integration Stage fellow Daoists to supplement us," the elderly man said as he shook his head in an unyielding manner.
"Hehe, of course, a Body Integration cultivator isn't that easy to convince to join a certain power. Perhaps both of us will be going away empty-handed. Let's wait until we meet him before we discuss anything else," the elderly man said with a nonchalant chuckle.
"Indeed. In that case, I'll be visiting this senior together with you, Elder Qi." The woman nodded in agreement, and the elderly man also had no objection to this.
Thus, the two of them rose up into the air and instantly arrived at the edge of the sea of mist.
The elderly man took a deep breath before suddenly calling out, "Qi Xubing of Deep Heaven City and Fairy Xiao Feng of the Gu Family have come to pay a visit!"
The elderly man's voice transformed into a burst of profound spiritual power that spread through the entire sea of mist, causing it to ripple incessantly.
Han Li was meditating in his cave abode, and he immediately opened his eyes as a solemn look appeared on his face.
He abruptly made a grabbing motion, and a white formation plate appeared in his grasp. He pointed at the formation plate a few times in rapid succession, then said something into it, and at the same time, Han Li's voice also rang out from the sea of mist in response.
"I'm honored to be visited by such esteemed fellow Daoists. I'm currently in seclusion, so I won't be able to come out and greet you in person for now. Please enter my cave abode and take a seat, and I'll come out to meet you right away."
As soon as the voice trailed off, the sea of mist parted to reveal a path that was several tens of feet wide.
The elderly man and the woman exchanged a glance before flying on ahead one after another.
A short while later, the two of them descended in front of the cave abode halfway up the mountain, and at this point, the gate was already wide open.
The two of them made their way inside before taking a seat in a simple hall.
An expressionless white-robed woman then emerged with a tea platter and offered the two of them a cup of fragrant spirit tea each before standing off to the side in silence.
The elderly man and woman didn't pay any heed to this initially, but after casually casting their spiritual sense toward the white-robed woman, both of them were alarmed by what they found.
"Senior Qi, am I right in saying that this woman seems to be a puppet?" The young woman transmitted her voice in a bewildered manner.
"That is indeed a puppet, and judging from its aura, it seems to be a Spatial Tempering Stage puppet. What's strange is that it seems to be able to move on its own without being controlled by anyone." The elderly man had an even sharper discerning eye, and he was able to see some details that the woman had failed to notice.
The young woman was even more stunned to hear this. However, before they had a chance to inspect the white-robed woman any further, the sound of footsteps suddenly rang out from outside the hall, following which a young man who appeared to be in his twenties strode in in a calm manner.
The young woman immediately cast her gaze toward him, following which her expression stiffened slightly, and she hurriedly rose to her feet before extending a slight curtsey.
"As expected, you really have progressed to the Body Integration Stage, Senior. I congratulate you on behalf of our Gu Family."
The elderly man also rose to his feet and smiled as he cupped his fist in a salute.
"Greetings, Fellow Daoist; I am Qi Xubing, an elder of Deep Heaven City."
"It's an honor to meet the two of you. Forgive me for not coming out to greet you in person, fellow Daoists," Han Li said with a smile as he also extended a salute in return.
"Haha, you've only recently reached the Body Integration Stage, so you must be consolidating your cultivation base; I certainly can't blame you for that," the elderly man replied with a stroke of his beard.
After exchanging a few more pleasantries, they each took a seat.
"Truth be told, I almost didn't believe it when I was informed that Senior Han had reached the Body Integration Stage. After all, Elder Gu Yun of our family had only just returned not long ago, and he had told me that you were at the Spatial Tempering Stage; who would've thought that you'd become a Body Integration cultivator after just a year?" the young woman said in a slightly awestruck manner.
"Hehe, I had actually already begun preparations to break through my bottleneck back then. However, as I'm sure the two of you are aware, the probability of reaching the Body Integration Stage is quite low, so I didn't think that I would succeed the first, which is why I withheld this information from Fellow Daoist Gu Yun; I hadn't intentionally omitted this detail to deceive him," Han Li explained in a slightly apologetic manner.