Han Li was feeling slightly more reassured by Qing Yuanzi's promise, and he asked, "In that case, I guess I'll just have to wait. Pardon me for asking, but roughly when would I be able to expect a response?"
"I naturally can't send this second Nascent Soul of mine to visit those old geezers, so I'll have to visit them in person. My true body will be coming out of seclusion in around a month at the very least and around half a year at the most. You should be able to wait for that much time, right, Fellow Daoist Han?" Qing Yuanzi replied in a calm manner.
"Of course," Han Li replied with a rather sheepish smile.
All of a sudden, Qing Yuanzi smiled, and asked, "By the way, how are your Azure Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords coming along? I'm sure you've already refined them again, right?"
Han Li was rather taken aback by the sudden change in topic, but he still replied, "I did indeed refine all of the flying swords again following your instructions, I've cultivated the final Azure Coil Sword Formation as well. It's just that the sword art you passed down to me is truly profound, and I was only able to glean a small portion of it."
"In that case, would you like me to instruct you in the sword art? I developed some new insights regarding this sword art during the past years, and I'm sure those insights would be beneficial to you. On top of that, now that you're at the mid-Body Integration Stage, I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before you encounter your late-Body Integration Stage bottleneck; I also have some insights on this area if you'd like to hear them as well." Han Li was naturally both surprised and ecstatic to hear this, and he hurriedly rose to his feet before extending a deep bow. "Thank you, Senior! It would be a vast honor for me to receive instructions from you!"
He was naturally aware that Qing Yuanzi was only willing to do this as he had gathered far more materials on the list than Qing Yuanzi had expected.
"Alright, then you can stay here for now. I'll go organize these materials first; you can come directly to my secret chamber to find me tomorrow. In the meantime, Yao'er, Yan Li, please keep Fellow Daoist Han company," Qing Yuanzi instructed as he turned to Yuan Yao with a smile.
Yuan Yao and Yan Li naturally hurriedly extended curtseys, and the former replied, "Yes, Father; we'll be sure to look after Fellow Daoist Han."
Qing Yuanzi nodded in response before giving Han Li a nod, then departed from the hall, leaving only Han Li, Yuan Yao, and Yan Li in the room.
A faint blush appeared on Yuan Yao's face, and just as she as contemplating what she should say to Han Li, Yan Li suddenly said in an intrigued manner, "I can't believe you've managed to progress to the mid-Body Integration Stage in just a few centuries, Brother Han; your rate of progression truly puts us to shame."
The two women shared quite a close bond with Han Li, so even though Han Li had far outstripped them in power, Yan Li was still regarding him as an equal, much like good friends did.
"You've done quite well for yourself, Fairy Yan; you've managed to remain by Senior Jiang's side and reached the Spatial Tempering Stage after just a few centuries. I'm sure countless fellow Daoists would be envious of your situation. On top of that, I can see that a lot of the Yin Qi within your bodies has faded, so I presume you've found a way to revert back to human bodies; I must congratulate you on that as well," Han Li said with a smile.
"Your powers are truly unfathomable, Brother Han; I didn't think that you would be able to spot the changes we'd undergone right away. Indeed, Senior Jiang did find a way for us to return to our human forms. It's just that this method is extremely slow, and even after all this time, we've only displayed slight changes. At this rate, it'll probably take 2,000 to 3,000 more years until we complete our transformations," Yan Li replied with a smile, and it was quite clear that she was also very pleased with this development.
"Not only did the two of you come from the same human world as I did, you're also two of the very few good friends I have in the Spirit Realm, so I'm very glad to see that you're doing well," Han Li said with a smile.
"Brother Han, if it's not too much trouble, would you be able to tell us about what you've been through these past years? Of course, you can omit the more sensitive details. The two of us have been trapped in this place ever since we ascended to the Spirit Realm, and we're very curious about your experiences," Yuan Yao finally said.
"Indeed, I'm also quite interested to hear what you've been up to all these years, Brother Han," Yan Li chimed in in an excited manner.
Han Li chuckled in response, and obliged with the request. "Hehe, I've been to many places since we last met, including even another continent. If you'd like to hear about my experiences, then I'd be more than happy to give you a recount. Back when I left this place several hundred years ago, I first returned to the island I resided on prior to coming here and then went into seclusion for a while, progressing to the Spatial Tempering Stage in the process..."
Thus, Han Li gave an account of his experiences to the two women, and even though he had omitted a lot of important details, it was still a spectacular story for the sheltered pair of sisters.
Yuan Yao's eyes were sparkling as she listened to Han Li's tale, and Yan Li also occasionally gave cries of surprise.
After a long while, Han Li finally concluded his story, and he naturally enquired about how the women's cultivation had progressed during these past years.
Thus, Yuan Yao and Yan Li told him their stories as well, but compared to the spectacular tale Han Li had just told, their experiences were admittedly extremely drab and boring.
Aside from cultivating and occasionally going out into the infernal river to gather items for Qing Yuanzi, there wasn't really anything else to speak of.
Thus, Han Li continued to chat with the two women, and after they had had their fill of conversation, the two women organized a silent cultivation chamber within the cave abode for Han Li to stay in. He was left to rest on his own there, and after meditating for a night, he was led to Qing Yuanzi's secret chamber by the two women the next morning.
Time flew by, and three months passed in a flash.
On this day, a streak of golden light and a streak of azure light suddenly rose up into the air above Qing Yuanzi's cave abode before flying toward a certain direction.
Within the streaks of light were a grey-robed elderly man, and an azure-robed young man who appeared to be in his twenties; they were naturally none other than Qing Yuanzi and Han Li.
However, as opposed to Qing Yuanzi's Nascent Soul, this was Qing Yuanzi's true body that was flying alongside Han Li.
He had finally emerged from seclusion the day before, and Han Li had benefited immensely in his cultivation from being instructed by the Nascent Soul for the past three months.
At present, they were heading toward an obscure place in the infernal river to visit a certain mysterious individual. What Han Li found to be rather strange and perplexing was that Qing Yuanzi had asked Han Li to join him on this trip.
After traveling for half a day, Han Li finally couldn't help but ask, "Would you be able to tell me who we're going to be visiting, Senior?"
"I'm taking you to one of the old geezers in here who is relatively easier to talk to, so there should be a greater chance that we'll be able to get some elixir from him. As for exactly who he is or what his origins are, I'm not particularly sure. However, what I can be sure of is that he definitely isn't a Flying Spirit being or Mayfly being. Instead, it seems that his true form is some kind of powerful beast. In terms of experience and age, even I can't hold a candle to him. He'll be slightly easier to talk to than the others, but he has a rather peculiar personality as well, so make sure to be on your guard when we meet him," Qing Yuanzi said in a serious manner.
"Thank you for the reminder, Senior; I'll be sure to exercise caution," Han Li hurriedly answered.
"Haha, there's no need for you to be too concerned. He owes me a favor from many years ago, so barring any mishaps, we should be able to achieve our objective for this trip," Qing Yuanzi chuckled in reassurance.
"That would naturally be best," Han Li replied with a smile.
"Haha, alright, let's focus on traveling now. That person resides in a very secluded corner of the infernal river, so even at our speed, it will take over 10 days to reach his abode," Qing Yuanzi said as golden light revolved around his body, and his speed abruptly doubled as he shot forth through the air as a golden thread.
Han Li naturally also sped up upon seeing this, transforming into a rapid azure thread that followed closely behind Qing Yuanzi.
10 days later, Han Li and Qing Yuanzi arrived above a strange azure lake that was enshrouded under a vast expanse of faint grey mist.
Not only was the entire lake enshrouded under mist, it was extremely massive, and the water within it was of a vibrant green color.
Han Li released his spiritual sense toward the water down below, and was shocked to discover the vast abundance of spiritual Qi within the lake. Countless giant fish were swimming through the lake, and all of them were demonic fish that possessed magic power and were giving off astonishing auras.
However, these fish seemed to have been somehow restricted. Not only did not a single one of them float to the surface, even as Han Li and Qing Yuanzi flew over the lake, the fish displayed no interest toward them whatsoever.
Han Li was slightly surprised to see this, and after flying for several tens of thousands of kilometers further, an island appeared on the surface of the lake.
The island was very eye-catching as it was entirely of a shimmering golden color. On top of that, there was a giant radiant golden palace that took up roughly two-thirds of the area of the island, while the rest of the area had been reserved for all types of exotic flowers and plants. The island was as beautiful as an immortal paradise, but it was entirely enshrouded within a white light barrier, from which Han Li could sense powerful restriction fluctuations.
"This is where that man lives. Come with me, Fellow Daoist Han," Qing Yuanzi said with a smile as he stopped in front of the island.