At this point, Han Li was already several thousand kilometers away, flying as a streak of azure light with a contemplative look on his face.
He had learned about all of the major events that had taken place within the Flying Spirit Race during the past few centuries, but most of these events had nothing to do with him, so he didn't need to pay them any heed.
There were only two things that were worthy of his attention, the first of which was that the four demon monarchs of the earth abyss seemed to have failed to return from the infernal river. As a result, the earth abyss was conquered by the Flying Spirit Race, and nearly all of the demons in the earth abyss were exterminated.
The second thing was that Bai Bi and Lei Lan, the two holy disciples from several hundred years ago, had both returned safely to the Tian Peng Race. They had then gone on to become holy masters, thereby saving the Tian Peng Race from destruction.
Both Qing Yuanzi and the Mayfly Race had ties with the infernal river, and there seemed to be other important secrets hidden within it as well, so it wasn't a surprise that the four demon monarchs had been trapped there. However, this made it slightly difficult for him to access the infernal river.
The guiding coordinate that he and Qing Yuanzi had agreed on lay deep within the earth abyss. If he couldn't get to that location, he wouldn't be able to enter the infernal river even with the replica of the Star Defying Plate that had been given to him.
Even the four monarchs had to expend a vast amount of time and effort to open up a passageway to the infernal river. His current powers may be comparable to those of a late-Body Integration cultivator, but he still wasn't confident in his ability to accomplish such a monumental feat on his own.
As for his relationship with the Tian Peng Race, that was rather ambiguous. He had once posed as a holy disciple of the Tian Peng Race and managed to obtain the 12 Awakening Transformations from them, but at the same time, the elders of the Tian Peng Race had forced him into the earth abyss, where he had almost perished by the hands of the four demon monarchs on multiple occasions.
However, if he wanted to access the earth abyss again, there was a good chance that he would have to turn to them.
After contemplating this issue for a long while, he suddenly flipped a hand over to produce a blue jade slip and a round white plate.
He placed the jade slip against his own forehead to inspect the information it contained, then removed the jade slip from his forehead and began to carefully inspect the white plate.
After some further contemplation, he seemed to have finally made a decision. He stowed the two items away, following which the azure streak of light that he was situated in abruptly accelerated to around twice its original speed.
Five months later, a ball of dazzling azure light hurtled through the air close to 100 kilometers away from the holy city of the Tian Peng Race. Prior to even reaching the city, a clear cry rang out from within the azure streak of light.
Initially, the sound wasn't very loud, but it was relentless and insistent, and it quickly reverberated in the air above the entire city.
Such an astonishing turn of events naturally alerted all of the high-grade beings within the holy city, and several humanoid figures immediately rushed out of a few of the tall buildings in the city. These figures then quickly rose up into the air before looking on at the approaching ball of azure light in a bewildered manner.
The azure ball of light was still some distance away from them, but the astonishingly powerful aura emanating from within it struck them with a sense of asphyxiation.
Curiously enough, this aura was extremely familiar to them as it belonged to the Kun Peng, the deity that was worshipped by their race. However, the only person in their entire race with such a pure Kun Peng aura seemed to be their grand elder after undergoing her Kun Peng Transformation.
With that in mind, the others all turned toward a white-robed young woman with a pair of golden wings. She was standing on the spot with a calm expression, but there was a slightly bewildered look in her eyes as well as she looked on at the approaching ball of azure light.
This was none other than the grand elder of the Tian Peng Race, Jin Yue.
She was at the pinnacle of the Body Integration Stage, so even though she was quite alarmed by the aura emanating from the azure ball of light, she wasn't fearful of it. She quickly made a hand seal, and golden light flashed through her eyes as she unleashed some kind of spirit eye ability.
Thus, she was able to peer directly into the scintillating ball of azure light, upon which her expression took on a noticeable change.
There was an early-Body Integration Stage elderly man with a crimson beard standing beside her, and he asked, "Who is it, Grand Elder?"
Jin Yue had a rather peculiar look on her face, and she was silent for a moment before shaking her head as she replied, "You'll know soon enough, Elder Xu."
Elder Xu naturally couldn't ask any further questions upon hearing this, and the other Body Integration Stage elders also remained silent as they turned their attention to the approaching ball of azure light again.
Moments later, the ball of light in the distance arrived before them amid gusts of fierce winds, following which the light faded to reveal a giant azure bird.
The bird was around 100 feet in length with feathers that looked as if they had been constructed from iron and steel. Its talons were like hooks, and it was completely identical to the true spirit, Kun Peng.
Even though everyone had already suspected this to be the case, their expressions still changed slightly at the sight of this massive Kun Peng.
Before any of them had a chance to say anything, the giant bird flapped its wings, and the long cry emanating from within its beak abruptly cut off. In the next instant, azure runes revolved around its body, and it expanded drastically in size.
After just a few flashes, it had swelled to several thousand feet in size and resembled a small mountain. Its golden eyes were extremely bright, and with just a gentle flap of its wings, fierce winds and flashing lightning were immediately swept up in the surrounding area. The enormous aura emanating from the gargantuan bird's body forced even the early-Body Integration Stage elders of the Tian Peng Race to stumble back a few steps in astonishment. Jin Yue remained completely still on the spot, but her expression had also changed slightly, and an ecstatic look had appeared in her eyes.
"Who are you? You must be a member of our Tian Peng Race to have cultivated the Kun Peng Transformation to such a extent, so why aren't you revealing your true form to us?" Jin Yue finally spoke, and her voice was slightly hoarse from her incredulity.
The giant bird glanced at Jin Yue before suddenly speaking in a human tongue. "I'm glad to see you're looking just as youthful as you were several centuries ago, Fellow Daoist Jin."
It hadn't made any effort to raise its voice, but the elders of the Tian Peng Race were still left with ringing eardrums.
The incredulity on Jin Yue's face became even more pronounced, and a thought seemed to have occurred to her. "Could it be that you're..."
"Hehe, looks like you've recognized me."
The giant bird suddenly shrank down amid a flash of azure light, and a smiling azure-robed man with a pair of wings on his back took its place.
Before Jin Yue had a chance to say anything, Elder Xu and another woman in the group exclaimed in unison, "Impossible!"
"Greetings, elders." The azure-robed man was naturally none other than Han Li, and he turned to the two elders with a smile as he cupped his fist in a salute.
The other Tian Peng Race elders were still completely in the dark, and one of them couldn't help but ask, "Do you recognize this man, Brother Xu? Is he a member of our Tian Peng Race? If so, why have we never heard of a man of his powers in our race?"
However, Elder Xu and the woman seemed to be too stunned to respond to these questions.
Back when Han Li had last been in the Tian Peng Race, the other elders were completing missions elsewhere, so they naturally didn't recognize Han Li.
As for Jin Yue and the other two elders, they had already assumed that Han Li had perished in the earth abyss, yet not only was he alive, he had unleashed such an astonishing Tian Peng Transformation and become a holy race being as well; how could they not be astonished?
"So it really is you, Fellow Daoist Han. Looks like you must've encountered some miraculous opportunities in the earth abyss to have reached the holy race so quickly," Jin Yue finally said, and her voice was far calmer than everyone else expected.
"I did indeed encounter some opportunities in the earth abyss, but that doesn't have much to do with my current cultivation base. Instead, I almost perished on several occasions to the four demon monarchs there," Han Li sighed.
"Is that so? In any case, I must congratulate you on becoming a holy race being. I didn't ever get an opportunity to thank you for your efforts several hundred years ago; let's go back to the city to catch up. I presume you didn't cause such a commotion just because you wanted to chat with us, right?" Jin Yue suddenly said with a smile.
"Indeed, I do have something to discuss with you, Fellow Daoist Jin," Han Li admitted with a smile.
"Please come with me, then, Fellow Daoist Han," Jin Yue said as she made an inviting hand gesture.
All of the other elders of the Tian Peng Race were still completely bewildered, but no one dared to question Jin Yue's judgment, so none of them said anything.
Han Li merely smiled as he followed the white-robed woman down toward the holy city without any hesitation.
The other Tian Peng Race elders exchanged a few more bewildered glances before also following along behind them.
The commotion that Han Li had created earlier had attracted attention from countless high-grade Tian Peng beings in the city, but seeing as all of the elders had appeared outside the city, none of the Spirit Generals and Great Spirit Generals of the Tian Peng Race dared to approach them. As such, they could only look on from afar.
However, they were situated too far away, and Jin Yue had set up a sound isolation restriction in the surrounding area, so they couldn't hear anything.
All they saw was that the giant azure bird had transformed into a young man, who seemed to be a member of their Tian Peng Race. He then conversed with the elders for a while before all of them flew back toward the city. As such, none of them had any idea what was going on.
Thus, Han Li entered the holy city in a calm and collected manner in front of the eyes of countless Tian Peng beings. Only after a long while did all of these Tian Peng beings disperse in a perplexed manner and continued with what they were doing before this interlude.
 IGT: Just a reminder, Spirit Generals = Deity Transformation, Great Spirit Generals = Spatial Tempering, and Holy Race = Body Integration