Spiritual light flashed from the surface of the jade slip before quickly fading, following which it was tossed toward the woman along with a translucent jade pendant.
The woman caught the two items before briefly injecting her spiritual sense into them, then extended her gratitude toward Han Li in an elated manner.
"It seems that both of us have arrived several days earlier than the agreed date; how about we take advantage of this time to exchange some cultivation insights and experiences? I've only just reached the late-Body Integration Stage, and I'm sure there are many things that I can learn from you," Han Li said with a smile.
"You're far too modest, Brother Han; I would love to discuss cultivation with you. On top of that, there are also some details about our upcoming journey to the Elder Devil Realm that I'd like to speak to you about. I opened up a cave just over there; how about we take a seat in there?" the woman asked with a smile.
Han Li naturally had no objections to this, and the two of them flew toward the cave as two streaks of light.
High up in the air close to 10 kilometers away from the valley, there was a white cloud drifting lazily over the sky.
Within the cloud were two humanoid figures, one of which was a slender woman who was concealed within a layer of pink mist. She was holding a treasure that was shimmering with crimson light while chanting something, and thumb-sized runes were occasionally drifting out of the treasure.
All of a sudden, the light emanating from the treasure became extremely bright, and it abruptly shattered amid a dull crack.
The woman's expression stiffened upon seeing this, following which she swept her sleeve through the air to cast the fragments of the treasure aside.
"How strange, my divination completely failed to derive any information on that man," the woman murmured to herself.
The woman was accompanied by a burly black-armored man, and he asked in a surprised manner, "Mistress, could it be that he possesses the spirit medicine that you need, and it's concealing itself from your divination?"
The woman paused momentarily before shaking her head in response. "The spirit medicine that I'm searching for does indeed possess extraordinary properties, but it definitely does not possess the ability to conceal itself from divination. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to track it down from so far away. If he really does possess the spirit medicine, then I should be able to sense it from this distance even without using divination. In any case, it's very strange that I couldn't derive any information at all from my divination."
"How could he be capable of doing something like this? Only a Grand Ascension Stage being should be able to completely ward off your divination," the black-armored man said with furrowed brows.
"That is indeed quite strange, but it's not impossible; if he possesses the same level of divination abilities or possesses one of the several types of immortal spirit physiques, then he'd also be able to conceal himself from my divination," the woman speculated.
The burly man drew a sharp breath upon hearing this, then immediately began to shake his head vigorously. "It's very implausible that he possesses the same level of divination ability; there are only a handful of beings in the entire Spirit Realm that possess divination abilities comparable to yours. As for the legendary immortal spirit physiques, almost all of them can bestow upon one the power to reign supreme over an entire realm; how could a mere human like him possibly possess such a physique? If he really did, then he would've been hidden away by the human race like a precious treasure already!"
"I also think those are both very implausible options. In that case, he most likely possesses a fragment of a Profound Heavenly Treasure or a Profound Heavenly Holy Artifact; the power of laws imbued within such treasures will also prevent my divination from working as intended. Those types of treasures are also exceedingly rare, but it's the only plausible option," the woman mused.
The woman had automatically omitted the possibility that Han Li had a complete Profound Heavenly Treasure sealed within his body, thinking that he only had a Profound Heavenly Treasure fragment or replica treasure.
"You already recovered that Profound Heavenly Fortune Blade fragment last time from him, yet he still has another incomplete Profound Heavenly Treasure in his possession; this brat is wealthier than some of our race's Sacred Ancestors!" The burly man drew a sharp breath as he cast his gaze toward the valley in the distance with a hint of greed in his eyes.
"Don't forget our objective for this trip; don't touch him before we track down the spirit medicine," the woman warned in an indifferent voice.
The burly man shuddered upon hearing this, and he hurriedly lowered his head as he said, "Rest assured, Mistress, I wouldn't dare to attack him without permission."
"He's already reached the late-Body Integration Stage, so you would be no match for him anyway. Come to think of it, he was only at the mid-Body Integration Stage when we last saw him; it looks like he's harboring some other secrets aside from just an incomplete Profound Heavenly Treasure," the woman mused as a peculiar look appeared in her eyes.
The burly man could see that the woman had truly developed an interest in this human, so he most likely wouldn't be let off the hook even if he didn't possess the spirit medicine that she was searching for. On the inside, he was lamenting the fate of this unfortunate human cultivator, but he still put on a respectful expression as he asked, "What should we do next, Mistress? Should we keep watching him?"
"These two are among the most powerful beings in the human race, yet they've gathered here instead of staying in any major human settlement; they must be plotting something, and it looks like there are more people to come. Let's keep waiting until everyone else gets here. After all, I've already confirmed through my divination that the woman with the heavenly phoenix bloodline will lead me to the spirit medicine I'm searching for, so it's best not to alert them to our presence," the woman replied.
"That's true. Once everyone arrives, the whereabouts of the spirit medicine will naturally be revealed. If we sense something from someone else, we'll be able to rule out that man."
"It would indeed be best if things could go that smoothly. However, from the looks of it, it'll take quite some time before everyone else arrives, so let's and meditate for now," the woman said before raising a hand to release a cloud of pink mist, contained within which was a pink floral tree that was several tens of feet tall.
The burly man gave an affirmative response, then flew into the floral tree and vanished without a trace. As for the woman, she merely laid a hand on the tree and also disappeared into it amid a flash of light.
Five days later, rainbow light suddenly appeared in the sky thousands of kilometers away from the valley, and a giant azure ark emerged before hurtling directly toward the valley.
The ark was around 1,000 feet in length and was split up into three levels. It was completely green in color, and judging from the layers of runes and formations engraved upon it, it was clear that this was a rare flying treasure.
On a platform on the top level of the ark, there were four people standing side by side, conversing with one another in quiet voices.
One of them was an indistinct humanoid figure enveloped within a layer of white light, one was a beauty in a yellow dress, one was a thin man in a set of coarse cloth robes, and the final person was an elderly scholar who appeared to be in his sixties.
"Alright, let's proceed according to our original plan. Before we get to our desired destination, we have to fully cooperate with the human cultivators. This journey to the Elder Devil Realm is going to be extremely perilous; we won't be able to succeed on our own," the figure enshrouded within white light said in a cold voice.
"Indeed. If our Spirit Race can gain another Grand Ascension Stage being out of this journey, then we won't have fear of any of the neighboring races," the woman in yellow sighed.
"Fairy Thousand Autumns, you've interacted the most with the humans, so we'll leave it to you to correspond with them. When the time comes, the three of us will offer you any assistance you require," the thin man said.
"I'll be thanking you in advance, then, fellow daoists. I'm sure the human cultivators also wouldn't dare to plot against us before we arrive at our destination, so we don't have to be too concerned about the initial portion of the journey," the woman in yellow said with a smile.
"Hmph, even if they do dare to try something, they'll only be piling more misery onto themselves," the elderly scholar said in a cold voice.
"Hehe, with the forces we have hiding in the shadows, we naturally don't have the fear the humans, but at the same time, we have to look at the bigger picture and stay out of trouble as much as possible. The agreed meeting place is just up ahead; bring out that thing and make sure to keep it under control so that the humans don't sense anything amiss," the figure in the white light said.
"Rest assured, that thing possesses incomplete intelligence to begin with, so the treasure we were given is enough to control it. It's a pity that it can't be placed in a storage bracelet. Otherwise, it wouldn't have to take up one of our slots to enter the Elder Devil Realm," the woman said in a forlorn manner.
"That thing is more powerful than all of us combined; so what if it takes up one of our slots? Let's prepare to descend into the valley now," the figure in the white light said in a nonchalant manner.
The figure within the white light was clearly the leader of the group, and everyone immediately agreed before making their way into the ark.
Meanwhile, three streaks of light were hurtling toward the valley from different directions thousands of kilometers away. They were led by a streak of golden light, contained within which was none other than the Long Family patriarch, and he was accompanied by a black-robed man with a scar on his face, as well as an expressionless long-haired man.