"I didn't go through all this trouble to sneak into the realm behind the backs of those old geezers just to hide somewhere like a coward; I came here to secure more benefits for the two of us. According to the agreement forged between the Sacred Ancestors, all of us Sacred Ancestors will receive ownership rights over half of the human territory we manage to conquer in this Spirit Realm; I can't just go into hiding and pass up such a fantastic opportunity!" Liu Ji said.
"Then what do you suggest we do, Sister?" Yuan Cha asked with furrowed brows.
"Once we get back, I'm going to take a Dragonlock Pill to stimulate the latent potential of this clone so it can temporarily recover 80% to 90% of its magic power. After that, we should still be able to assist you from the shadows as long as we don't encounter overly powerful opponents," Liu Ji said in a solemn manner.
Yuan Cha was very surprised to hear this. "Dragonlock Pill? But if you take that pill, you'll need to go into seclusion for at least 1,000 years to recover from your injuries and the pill's side-effects!"
"So be it. If we can reap enough benefits, it's hardly of any consequence if this mere clone of mine has to go into seclusion for 1,000 years. During this time, I'll have to trouble you to protect me so this clone doesn't perish," Liu Ji said.
"Rest assured, I descended into this Spirit Realm for the sole purpose of assisting you, Sister. Who would've thought that we'd encounter Bao Hua here? Thinking back to the bond we once shared, it really is quite sad that things have turned out like this," Yuan Cha said with a wry smile.
"Hmph, Bao Hu chose a path that diverged from ours, so we were always destined to be enemies. The winner takes all while the loser gets nothing; that's always been the case in our holy realm. If I had been defeated on that day instead, the fate I would've suffered definitely would've been a lot more tragic than Bao Hua's current situation," Liu Ji harrumphed coldly in response.
"Perhaps. However, Bao Hua is one of the three great patriarchs of our holy race; it'll be very difficult to completely erase her influence. It's not very apparent on the surface, but deep down, I can tell that there are still many people who are loyal to her," Yuan Cha sighed.
"As a matriarch, her influence naturally far exceeds that of us Sacred Ancestors. However, no matter how much influence one possesses, their influence still won't be able to stand the test of time. In 30,000 or 40,000 thousand years, there may still be people who remember her and are loyal to her, but after 100,000 years or even 1,000,000 years, her influence will definitely cease to exist. Even so, we can't just allow her to roam this area. Once my true body is able to descend into this realm, I'll organize a group of people to specifically target her. We naturally can't put an end to her life, but at the same time, we definitely can't allow her to foil our plans!" Liu Ji said in a cold voice.
"Seeing as you've already made a decision, I naturally have no objections. Now that you've managed to repress your injuries, let's return to human territory right away. Back when we had first set off, the restrictions of the Spirit Sovereign City had already been almost completely whittled down; perhaps we'll be able to conquer the city as soon as we get back," Yuan Cha said as a hint of excitement suddenly appeared on her face.
In contrast, Liu Ji was a lot calmer. "The army being led by my other clone consists of elite forces that were hand-picked by me. It can rank among the top three of all of the armies that have descended into the Spirit Realm, so it would be surprising to me if it couldn't conquer a single human city."
"That's true. Otherwise, that clone of yours wouldn't have had the spare capacity to send me out to foil the humans' plans," Yuan Cha chuckled.
"Let's go. Hopefully, everything progresses as smoothly as we imagine," Liu Ji said as she looked up into the sky.
"It's a pity that we let that Han brat get away," Yuan Cha grumbled as a frustrated look appeared on her face.
Liu Ji merely smiled and remained silent before opening her mouth to expel a ball of red light.
The red light contained a translucent red flying carriage that was only several inches in size. The carriage was extremely intricate, and it instantly swelled to several tens of feet in size at her behest.
Yuan Cha flew onto the carriage without any hesitation, and Liu Ji also rose to her feet before slowly drifting onto the carriage.
In the next instant, the flying carriage sped away into the distance as a streak of red light.
Five months later, the Spirit Sovereign City, one of the three sovereign cities of the human race, was finally conquered by the devilish army.
Not only were all of the human cultivators in the city killed, even the Body Integration Stage elders hadn't managed to escape.
However, those elders had left the devilish army a huge memento to remember them by, self-detonating together to kill the same number of devilish lords, as well as thousands of high-grade devilish beings.
The only one who managed to escape was the newly appointed Spirit Sovereign, who unleashed an incredible ability to enhance her powers to an unfathomable degree. In the end, she was able to carve out a path of escape for herself, and even though she had sustained severe injuries, she managed to flee in the end.
Following that battle, no further news of the Spirit Sovereign arose.
In a fit of fury, the high-grade devilish beings of the devilish army slew all of the human cultivators they had captured, and felled the gargantuan tree that was the symbol of the Spirit Sovereign City.
The entire city was destroyed, and very few buildings were left standing.
However, the devilish army had also suffered heavy losses during this battle. As such, instead of immediately continuing onward to sweep through the nearby area, they rested and recuperated in the remains of Spirit Sovereign City and began to replenish their lost devilish beasts through the passageways leading to the Elder Devil Realm.
What was quite astonishing to the remaining human forces in the Tian Ling Region was that the devilish army was beginning to build devilish fortresses and strongholds on the territory they had conquered. They were also beginning to plant some inky-black devilish trees that released devilish Qi in the nearby area, and it seemed that they were planning to settle permanently in the Spirit Realm.
This was naturally quite an alarming discovery, and these human forces did everything in their power to inform the human settlements in other areas of this information.
Not long after that, all of the most prominent human settlements had been made aware of this, including Deep Heaven City. On the surface, they didn't display much of a reaction to this, but things were not so calm behind the scenes.
In the primordial world, around a dozen pagodas that were around 1,000 feet tall had appeared at the center of a dense primitive forest on the edge of the Wood Tribe's territory. These pagodas were linked by sections of grey city walls to form a small stronghold with a diameter of around 500 meters.
Within this stronghold, dense devilish Qi churned, and groups of armor-clad devilish beings could be seen patrolling the city walls.
In the air above the stronghold was a black hole with an area of around an acre. This one of the nodes where the Elder Devil Realm had overlapped with the Spirit Realm.
However, compared to the super nodes that had appeared on human territory, this one was completely insignificant and diminutive.
The red-skinned devilish beings that were patrolling the stronghold all possessed rather lackluster cultivation bases, and they didn't seem to be true devilish elites.
This was quite a normal occurrence. After all, the Elder Devil Race certainly wasn't going to send its elite forces to such a tiny spatial node.
In fact, if it weren't for the fact that the number of nodes on the Wood Tribe's territory was far lesser than those of the human and demon territories, there wouldn't even be any devilish strongholds set up here.
Judging from the large clusters of charred trees and the countless craters that riddled the surface of the ground, one could see that many battles had taken place here, but the losers of those battles clearly weren't these devilish beings.
Of course, this was also because the Wood Tribe wasn't paying much heed to such a small devilish node. Instead, they were directing the vast majority of their forces toward the giant nodes that actually posed a threat to the Wood Tribe.
However, to the local Wood Tribe settlements, these smaller nodes posed a serious threat. As such, every once in a while, they would organize a group of warriors to attack the stronghold, but unfortunately, their efforts had all been in vain thus far.
Furthermore, this devilish stronghold was able to constantly draw power from the devilish node up above, so it was steadily becoming more powerful.
This naturally sowed even more panic among the nearby Wood Tribe settlements, and the frequency of the attacks they unleashed increased even further.
On this day, a group of Wood Tribe beings appeared several tens of kilometers away from the devilish fortress. They were clad in yellow and green wooden armor, and they were slowly advancing toward the fortress using movement techniques.
There was a high level of variance in the cultivation bases of these Wood Tribe beings, but they were all moving in a very stealthy manner and seemed to be quite well-trained.
They were led by a Spatial Tempering Stage elderly man and a late-Deity Transformation Stage middle-aged couple, and these three were also the ones with the highest cultivation bases in the group.
The three of them were traveling at the forefront of the group while carefully conversing with one another through voice transmissions.
"Thank you for lending us your assistance, Elder Zhu. If you can help us take down this devilish fortress, we'll be sure to thank you with a handsome reward for your efforts," the middle-aged man said in a grateful manner.
"There's no need to thank me. I'm also a member of a Wood Tribe, so it's only right that I contribute to the resistance against these devilish beings. However, I've taken quite a risk by coming here and leaving my family exposed, so we'll have to take care of matters here as quickly as possible," the elderly man said in a slightly concerned manner.
"Rest assured, Elder Zhu; we've brought along all of the most powerful forces we have, and we also intend to end things in one final battle. Otherwise, the longer things drag on on for, the more detrimental it'll be to us. Through our last battle, we were able to determine that the most powerful cultivators in the fortress are only four Deity Transformation Stage devilish beings. With your help, I'm sure we'll be able to take them down," the middle-aged Wood Tribe woman chimed in as well.
"If that's all they have, then you can leave them all to me while all of you focus on destroying that devilish node. Without that thing hanging over our heads, those devilish beings won't pose a threat to us any longer," the elderly man said.
The middle-aged couple exchanged a glance upon hearing this before nodding in agreement. “Alright, we'll do as you say, Elder Zhu. After we destroy that node, we'll help you kill those high-grade devilish beings.”
The elderly man's expression eased after receiving this affirmative response, and the three of them discussed strategy for a while longer before focusing on forging ahead.
However, regardless of whether it was the three high-grade Wood Tribe beings or the thousands of other Wood Tribe beings with them, none of them noticed a pair of spirit eyes that were flashing with blue light, appraising them from within a dark cloud in the sky above the forest.
The owner of the pair of spirit eyes was none other than Han Li, and he glanced at the group, then cast his gaze toward the devilish fortress with a contemplative look in his eyes.
All of a sudden, a smile appeared on his face, and he flew out of the cloud as an indistinct azure shadow, flying toward the devilish fortress along with the group of Wood Tribe beings.