"Have you changed your mind, Fellow Daoist? You've led me on this chase for over a month just over a mere spirit flower. That Celestial Cloud Flower is useless to you; how about you hand it over to me, and I'll spare your life?" the woman proposed, much to Lei Yunzi's rage and chagrin.
"Hmph, the Celestial Cloud Flower is an extremely precious spirit item. I may have no use for it now, but there will definitely come a day when it'll be useful to me. If you want me to hand it over to you, then you're going to be disappointed!" Lei Yunzi harrumphed coldly in response.
As opposed to being enraged by this, the woman remained calm, and remarked, "It seems that you're very confident in your lightning formations."
"Hehe, why wouldn't I be confident? If you have the ability to catch me, then how have I managed to escape from you for over a month?" Lei Yunzi chuckled coldly, seemingly having cast aside all of his wariness toward the woman.
The hideous black-robed man's immediately flared up with rage. "Insolence! How dare you speak to Mistress Bao Hua like that?"
"Shut up, you noisy lapdog! If you didn't have that woman to protect you, I could kill you with ease!" Lei Yunzi said in a cold derisive voice.
The hideous man was enraged even further upon hearing this, and he let loose a ferocious snarl as he prepared to pounce toward Lei Yunzi, only for the woman to stop him. "Stand down, Hei'e! You are indeed no match for this fellow daoist."
The man did as he was told, but an indignant look appeared on his face. "But, Mistress Bao Hua, he..."
"Are you opposing my orders?" the woman asked as she raised an eyebrow.
"I wouldn't dare! Forgive me for my mindless transgression," Hei'e hurriedly replied in a panicked manner.
Bao Hua's gaze lingered on him for a moment longer before she warned in an indifferent voice, "Don't let it happen again."
Hei'e hurriedly gave an affirmative response.
Han Li was appraising everything from the side, and a hint of bewilderment flashed through his eyes at the sight of the black-robed man.
This was clearly the first time he had ever seen this man, but for some reason, his aura was rather familiar. Han Li felt as if he had sensed this aura from afar in the past, and that naturally made him rather perplexed.
However, this clearly wasn't the right time to be pondering something like this; his top priority now was to escape from this place with Lei Yunzi.
With his understanding of Lei Yunzi's abilities, he wasn't overly concerned.
As long as Lei Yunzi had made preparations in advance, he could teleport both of them away in an instant; even if the woman were a Grand Ascension Stage being, she wouldn't be able to stop them. Otherwise, Lei Yunzi wouldn't be facing such an unfathomably powerful enemy with so much confidence.
Just as these thoughts were racing through Han Li's mind, the woman spoke again.
"You invented that lightning formation technique yourself, right, Fellow Daoist Lei? The technique is very profound, and only someone with a Five Lightning Physique like you will be able to maximize its power. I'm assuming the technique is also the source of your confidence."
"So what if it is?" Lei Yunzi asked, wondering what the woman was trying to say.
"Your lightning teleportation formations incorporate the powers of space and lightning to allow you to teleport tens of thousands of kilometers at a time, but it's not that easy to combine those two types of powers; you only managed to invent the technique by chance while referencing a certain secret technique, right?" Bao Hua continued.
Lei Yunzi's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, but he remained silent and continued to appraise the woman with a cold expression.
The woman chuckled before continuing, "Coincidentally, the abilities I've cultivated also incorporate the powers of lightning and space, so I'm very well-versed in these two types of powers as well."
Lei Yunzi finally couldn't help but ask, "What are you trying to say?"
"I'm sure you've already noticed that it's taking me less and less time to track you down. Perhaps after a few more times, I'll have your lightning formation completely figured out, and it'll be completely ineffective against me. I've already planted a tracking mark in your body, so unless you can teleport to millions of kilometers away at once, it'll only be a matter of time before I hunt you down. I'm telling you all this now as I don't want to waste time, so I'm giving you one last chance. Otherwise, I have a treasure that just so happens to be missing a few Body Integration Stage souls; I wouldn't mind taking yours to power the treasure," the woman said in a calm voice.
Lei Yunzi's face paled even further upon hearing this, and a hesitant look appeared on his face.
Bao Hua had no intention of hurrying him into a decision, choosing instead to turn her attention toward Han Li.
The woman's eyes were as clear as water, but Han Li was suddenly struck by a bone-chilling sensation, as if he had been laid entirely bare before her. This was clearly a sign that the woman's spiritual sense was far more powerful than his.
Han Li immediately activated his Great Development Technique and Spirit Refinement Technique at once, circulating his spiritual sense all throughout his own body, and only then was he able to just barely ward off this unsettling feeling.
However, just that brief moment of scrutiny was enough for Han Li's back to be drenched in cold sweat.
His spiritual sense was already close to that of the average Grand Ascension cultivator, which meant that this woman was most likely an extremely powerful being, even among Grand Ascension Stage beings.
However, what happened next made Han Li even more astonished.
A peculiar look suddenly appeared on the woman's face as she said, "So you were the one who killed my subordinates in the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges and took my Profound Heavenly Fortune Blade fragment. You've been using my treasure for quite a few years now; isn't it about time you returned it to me?"
Han Li's heart jolted with shock, and a thought immediately occurred to him, but he forced a smile onto his own face, and replied, "What are you talking about, Senior? I believe this is the first time we've ever met."
"Looks like you're unwilling to return it to me. So be it, I'll take it back from you myself, then," the woman said in an emotionless manner before waving a hand toward Han Li.
All of a sudden, a streak of purple light shot out of Han Li's sleeve; it was none other than that purple blade fragment!
With nothing more than a casual wave of her hand, the woman had instantly severed Han Li's spiritual sense connection with the blade segment before drawing it back toward herself.
Han Li's expression changed drastically upon seeing this, and he reflexively made a grabbing motion, conjuring up a massive azure hand to catch the blade fragment. However, the blade fragment merely vanished into thin air in a flash, leaving the huge azure hand to grab onto nothing.
Immediately thereafter, purple light flashed between two of the woman's fingers, and the purple blade segment silently emerged.
Han Li's expression darkened even further, and by now, he had recalled where he had last encountered that black-robed man.
He was one of the powerful devilish beasts that had been present in the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges. At the time, Han Li had only detected the devilish beast with his spiritual sense on a fleeting basis, which was why his recollection of the beast had been so vague.
He had indeed obtained that blade fragment from inside the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, so this woman was most likely the Sacred Ancestor lurking within those mountain ranges.
Han Li was very reluctant to part with that powerful treasure, but this wasn't the time to be dwelling on something like that.
"It really is the Profound Heavenly Fortune Blade fragment. I've had this treasure for so long that even I've forgotten how long it's been with me. Even if you disguise its aura, there's no way you can fool me. Hei'e, you don't have a good life-saving treasure yet; you can have this blade fragment." Much to everyone's surprise, the woman tossed the blade fragment toward the black-robed man.
The black-robed man reflexively caught the treasure and faltered momentarily before immediately extending an elated bow toward the woman. "Thank you for your kindness, Mistress Bao Hua!"
Han Li was naturally quite frustrated to see this, but he couldn't do anything about it.
To his surprise, the woman didn't pry any further into this matter. Instead, she turned back toward Lei Yunzi, and asked, "Have you made a decision? Are you prepared to suffer for all of eternity over a useless spirit medicine?"
Lei Yunzi shuddered slightly upon hearing this, and the hesitant look faded from his face as he sighed, "If you had said this to me any earlier than this, then I would've had no choice but to hand over the flower. However..."
Lei Yunzi suddenly flapped his wings and made a hand seal as he spoke.
A resounding thunderclap rang out as countless arcs of silver lightning erupted from within his body.
In the next instant, he vanished on the spot before reappearing beside Han Li within a huge lightning formation that was several tens of feet in size.
"Go!" he yelled, and Han Li flew into the formation without any hesitation as soon as it appeared.
The black-robed man let loose an enraged roar upon seeing this, and he made a grabbing motion to summon a giant black ax before bringing it down viciously toward the lightning formation.
A huge ax projection erupted forth, threatening to tear through the space in its path as it hurtled through the air!