"You want to enter the earth abyss?" Jin Yue was quite taken aback to hear this.
"Will that be difficult to arrange? Hasn't the Flying Spirit Race already conquered the earth abyss? It should be a simple task for you to take me there," Han Li said in a calm manner.
Jin Yue stroked the jade slip with her finger momentarily before replying with a wry smile, "If you had come 100 years earlier, then it would indeed have been a simple matter to take you into the earth abyss, but now, things are not so simple."
"Oh? Why is that?" Han Li asked.
After a brief hesitation, Jin Yue explained, "Around 100 years ago, someone stumbled upon an extremely obscure mine of precious ore on the deepest level of the earth abyss. Not only is this mine extremely important to our Flying Spirit Race, it contains an astonishing amount of ore. In order to prevent the mine from being exploited in secret, the entire earth abyss is in a state of semi-lockdown. In particular, the deepest level where the mine was found is inaccessible even to the elders of all of the races unless special permission is given."
Han Li's expression eased slightly upon hearing this, and he smiled as he replied, "The deepest level? When did I say that I wanted to go there? I only need to go to the third level of the earth abyss."
"In that case, this certainly isn't completely non-negotiable, but if you want me to agree to this exchange, you have to disclose to me the true reason why you want to enter the earth abyss. After all, the earth abyss is now an extremely important part of the Flying Spirit Race's territory, and it could contain many hidden secrets yet to be discovered; you can't just expect me to blindly take an outsider into such an important place. The cultivation art you're offering is indeed extremely important to our Tian Peng Race, but I still can't do something so irrational," Jin Yue said in a serious manner.
A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face upon hearing this, but moments later, he heaved a faint sigh, and replied, "I know what you're worried about, but rest assured, I only want to enter the third level of the earth abyss as I have an agreement with a senior, which necessitates a trip to the third level. Once there, he'll be able to guide me into a separate space. This has nothing to do with the Flying Spirit Race, so there's no conflict of interest whatsoever. That is the extent of what I'm willing to reveal."
A thought occurred to Jin Yue upon hearing this, and her expression changed drastically. "A separate space? You're already at the mid-holy race; could it be that the senior you're referring to is..." [Ok, so it seems that after reaching the holy race, everything is split up into early, mid, and late again, rather than nine tiers like the upper race.]
"That's right, but please do keep this information to yourself. This senior has some ties with our human race, and it was thanks to him that I was able to escape from the demon monarchs during my last venture into the earth abyss. I was asked by this senior to return to meet him again, so if I'm unable to do so, perhaps he won't take very kindly to your race," Han Li said in a meaningful voice.
"Are you threatening me?" Jin Yue's expression immediately darkened.
"Definitely not. However, this senior has been residing in the earth abyss for countless years, and my trip to visit him is quite important to him as well. I'm sure you wouldn't want to make such a powerful enemy for your Flying Spirit Race for no reason, right?" Han Li said with a hint of a smile.
"Hmph, how do I know if you're telling the truth?" Jin Yue harrumphed coldly.
"That's simple; you can take me to the third level of the earth abyss in person, then witness the process through which I depart. I'm sure that should erase all of your doubts and suspicions. If you feel like something is amiss, you can just prevent me from making my departure. I'm sure that would be a simple task for a late-holy race being like you. Of course, if you're still feeling hesitant, then I have no objections if you bring along more people with you," Han Li replied.
"This is indeed a good plan, but I'm still not convinced. Even several centuries ago, you were already far more powerful than your cultivation base suggested. Now that you've reached the mid-holy race, I'm not confident in my ability to keep you in check," Jin Yue said in a wary manner.
"Aren't you being a little too naive, Fellow Daoist Jin? The cultivation art I'm giving you can enhance the power of your race's Kun Peng Transformation by close to 50%. With this cultivation art, your Tian Peng Race could become one of the most powerful branches of the Flying Spirit Race in the next 10,000 years, yet you don't want to incur any risk at all for such an incredible opportunity?" Han Li said in a slightly mocking manner.
Jin Yue's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, and a cold light flashed through her eyes.
"I'd advise you not to try anything silly, Fellow Daoist Jin. You should be well aware that I only dared to come here alone as I'm confident in my ability to ensure my own safety. On top of that, I haven't recorded the second half of the cultivation art into a jade slip, and it exists only in my spiritual sense. If you try to obtain it through any other methods, I can destroy it in an instant, and you can try to keep me here, but I'm not sure you have the means to do so," Han Li chuckled as he narrowed his eyes slightly.
After considering the situation for a long while, Jin Yue finally sighed, and conceded, "I wouldn't do that, Fellow Daoist Han. You once did our race a great service, so I certainly wouldn't repay kindness with ingratitude. In that case, I'll find a way to take you to the third level of the earth abyss. However, you'll have to wait for some time for us to prepare everything, so why don't you stay in our holy city during that time?"
"You've made a wise decision, Fellow Daoist Jin, but I still have some other matters to attend to, so I won't be staying in your holy city. I'll return in half a month; I'm sure that'll be enough time for you to prepare everything," Han Li said with a smile as he rose to his feet.
It was quite clear that he didn't trust the Tian Peng Race enough to stay in the holy city, and Jin Yue could only offer a wry smile. "In that case, I look forward to our meeting in half a month's time. Before you leave..." Jin Yue suddenly turned toward the entrance of the hall, and transmitted her voice outside. "Bring me the spirit tea that I asked for!"
Moments later, a servant hurriedly made her way into the hall before handing a yellow leather pouch over to Han Li.
"Thank you for the gift." Han Li swept a sleeve over the leather pouch to accept it, then cupped his fist in a farewell salute toward Jin Yue before departing.
Not long after that, a streak of azure light shot forth from the holy city, then vanished into the distance after just a few flashes.
A while later, Han Li descended onto a nondescript mountain hundreds of thousands of kilometers away from the holy city. He then quickly erected a secret chamber under the mountain before setting up a profound concealment formation at the entrance.
After making his way into the secret chamber, he took a seat on the ground with his legs crossed and thought back to what he had said and done during his visit to the holy city, assessing whether he had made any errors.
After a long while, he heaved a faint sigh, and the contemplative look in his eyes faded.
On this occasion, he had intentionally revealed his Kun Peng Transformation to attract the attention of the Tian Peng Race.
With his current level of mastery of the 12 Awakening Transformations, his Kun Peng Transformation was naturally extremely powerful, far more so than the innate transformation that Tiang Peng beings possessed.
However, only Jin Yue could identify the specific disparities between the two transformations, which was why she had been so astonished at the sight of Han Li.
Of course, Han Li only dared to do something like this as he was confident he would be able to protect himself, even if all of the Tiang Peng Race elders were to turn on him. He still couldn't defeat all of them at once, but no one could stop him if he were to escape; this was something that Jin Yue was naturally also well aware of. That, in conjunction with the vastly improved Kun Peng Transformation that Han Li had displayed, was why she had acted so politely toward him in the beginning.
As for the cultivation art that he had offered as part of the exchange, that was something that he had created after taking into account his knowledge of both the 12 Awakening Transformations and the Gu Family's spirit blood refinement method.
The cultivation art would indeed be extraordinarily effective to Tian Peng beings, which was why Jin Yue had been so interested. Now that he had made this agreement with Jin Yue, he should be able to access the earth abyss with no issues.
Even though the Tian Peng Race was one of the weaker branches of the Flying Spirit Race, Jin Yue was still a late-holy race being, so this really shouldn't be too difficult for her to arrange.
Without her help, it would definitely be far more difficult for him to infiltrate the earth abyss. However, he still had to constantly be on his guard when he went back to meet Jin Yue again in case she did something hot-headed.
Of course, after he had hinted at the fact that this matter was related to a Grand Ascension Stage being, the possibility of that happening was naturally far smaller.
With that in mind, Han Li set aside that train of thought and closed his eyes to enter a meditative state.
Meanwhile, the elders of the Tian Peng Race had just departed from a large hall in the holy city following a discussion with Jin Yue. Thus, Jin Yue was left by herself on the main seat within the hall, and she seemed to be pondering something with a contemplative look on her face.
Half a month flew by in a flash, and on this day, several streaks of light flew away from the holy city, traveling deeper into Flying Spirit Race territory.
Among these streaks of light was Han Li in his usual azure robes, the white-robed Jin Yue, and a young woman with arcs of lightning flashing around her body.
The woman had a pair of large bright eyes, and she was none other than one of the Tiang Peng Race's two holy masters, Lei Lan.
"Fellow Daoist Han, I'll be sending the holy master into one of the earth abyss's secret areas to cultivate her glacial baleful secret technique, and you'll pose as her guard. Under normal circumstances, there shouldn't be issues, but you still have to be careful when undergoing checks. After all, the innate abilities that some of our high-grade Flying Spirit beings are extremely unpredictable. If the guards on duty are adept in detection secret techniques, then there could be some trouble," Jin Yue said in a serious manner.