Chapter 2274: Golden Han Immortal Palace
The golden rune on the icy mountain immediately began to glow with scintillating light, and the white threads that had been injected into the mountain converged to form a miniature humanoid figure that was around a foot tall.
The miniature figure was identical to the Spirit Monarch both in appearance and attire, and its eyes were tightly shut.
The Spirit Monarch then tapped a finger against his own glabella, and a translucent white thread erupted forth before plunging into the icy mountain and vanishing into the miniature humanoid figure's forehead in a flash.
The miniature figure slowly opened its eyes, revealing a pair of golden pupils.
"Thank you for your hard work; we're finally on the verge of success. After obtaining the Threads of Time, we'll be able to significantly shorten the amount of time required to refine this man. Otherwise, it'll take me at least 10,000 more years to refine him, and who knows what could happen during that time?" the miniature figure said in a voice that was also identical to that of the Spirit Monarch.
"That would naturally be best, but it's a pity that we have to offer those Sanqing Lightning Talismans for exchange. Those talismans were reserved to assist the most talented juniors of our Spirit Race to transcend their major heavenly tribulations," the Spirit Monarch sighed.
"It can't be helped. I did possess some talismans and pills from the True Immortal Realm that can't be found in the lower realms, but they've all been used up over time, so the only things in my possession that'll tempt those Grand Ascension Stage beings are the Sanqing Lightning Talismans. By the way, isn't that Han Li one of the people who ventured into the Elder Devil Realm with Thousand Autumns and the others?" the miniature figure asked.
"They are indeed one and the same. I don't know what happened during their journey into the Elder Devil Realm, but he was the sole survivor while Thousand Autumns and the others all perished. On top of that, he progressed to the Grand Ascension Stage as soon as he returned to the Spirit Realm, and during his celebratory ceremony, he was able to severely wound a Grand Ascension Stage Yaksha being with ease, so he's definitely no ordinary Grand Ascension cultivator," the Spirit Monarch said with a slightly solemn expression.
"It looks like he must've entered the Spirit Cleansing Pond and consumed a Clean Spirit Lotus. Otherwise, he wouldn't be this powerful. This is a good thing; the more powerful he is, the greater the chance that he'd be able to obtain a Thread of Time in the Small Asura Realm," the miniature figure replied.
"I was thinking the same thing. Otherwise, if Mo Jianli had been accompanied by Ao Xiao, I wouldn't have agreed to let them in on the deal," the Spirit Monarch said with a faint smile.
"Alright, seeing as everything is progressing smoothly, I'll leave everything to you. I have to focus on refining this true immortal's soul now; don't awaken me again until they've returned from the Small Asura Realm," the miniature figure said.
The Spirit Monarch nodded in response, and said with a smile, "You and I are one entity, so I would also benefit immensely if you could successfully refine an Immortal Soul Pill."
The miniature figure also nodded in response before dissipating into specks of spiritual light.
After that, a teleportation formation emerged on its own beneath the Spirit Monarch's feet, and he was teleported away amid a flash of white light.
On a continent in the True Immortal Realm that stretched as far as the eyes could see, there were countless farmers in yellow robes tending to well-organized fields of crops.
Upon closer inspection, one would discover that all of these farmers wore completely wooden expressions, and they were all extremely life-like humanoid puppets.
Within those fields were planted massive rice crops with thick stems that were giving off incredibly pure spiritual Qi, striking one with a sense of reinvigoration through inhalation alone.
In the air above the fields were spirit clouds of different colors, each of which was around an acre in size, and atop the clouds sat a series of robed figure holding a different item.
These people either occupied a cloud alone or in groups of two or three, and all of them wore daoist robes as they patrolled the air above the fields, occasionally releasing a shower of rain from their spirit clouds to nourish the fields down below.
Even higher up in the air was a sea of mist at an altitude of over 100,000 feet with no end in sight, looking as if it encompassed the entire continent.
A series of spirit birds and spirit beasts were traversing through the mist, carrying some people in different attire in and out of the sea of mist.
All of a sudden, a dragon's roar rang out, and a blue ice wyrm that was over 1,000 feet in length appeared in the distant sky.
The blue ice wyrm reached the air above the fields in the blink of an eye, and the arrival of such a gigantic creature would immediately strike horror and panic into the hearts of ordinary beings if it were to appear in the Spirit Realm.
However, the "farmers" down below and the daoist atop the clouds simply ignored it.
Only a few of the daoists took a brief glance at it, but that was all the attention it received.
Upon catching sight of the ice wyrm, a surprised look appeared on the face of a young daoist who appeared to only be around 12 to 13 years of age.
"Isn't that Master Li? He only left the immortal palace a few days ago; why is he back already?" the young daoist murmured.
"He looks to be in quite a hurry, so he must be doing something quite important, and it doesn't appear to be going very well," another daoist mused.
"Perhaps. Having said that, Master Li's powers rank among the top 100 of our Golden Han Immortal Palace; what could possibly be beyond his capabilities in this immortal region? If you and I could become disciples of Master Li, that would be a brilliant opportunity," the first daoist said.
"Stop daydreaming! You and I are disciples of the lowest grade in the immortal palace; we're basically glorified manual laborers! How could someone like Master Li possibly take an interest in us? Having said that, my spirit body is 70% complete, so perhaps I can pass the next trial and become a ranked disciple. When that time comes, I won't have to waste my time on trivial tasks like this anymore," the second daoist scoffed as he looked at the jade badge in his hand with a hopeful expression.
"What? Your spirit body is already 70% complete? I've only just reached 50%; looks like I have to work harder in my cultivation. If I can't become a ranked disciple in the next few years, I'm most likely going to be banished to a lower realm," the first daoist said with a panicked expression.
"To be honest, going to a lower realm isn't all that bad. Aside from immortality, you can enjoy everything else," the second daoist chuckled.
"I'm not going to a lower realm! I'm definitely going to become a ranked disciple like you, Senior Martial Brother," the first daoist said in a determined manner.
"In that case, you'll have to work hard, Junior Martial Brother. If you still haven't manifested a spirit body in five years, the enforcers of the immortal palace aren't going to give you any special treatment," the second daoist replied in a serious manner.
"Thank you for the words of caution, Senior Martial Brother; I'll be sure to work hard," the first daoist said with a determined nod.
Just as the two daoists were chatting with one another, the huge ice wyrm up above plunged into the sea of mist before rising even further upward, instantly reaching an altitude of hundreds of thousands of feet.
The mist abruptly scattered, and the ice wyrm emerged into a world that was abundant with spiritual Qi.
There were hundreds of mountains of different sizes hovering above the sea of mist, the tallest of which stood at hundreds of thousands feet tall, while the shortest were only around 30,000 to 40,000 feet in height.
However, all of them were covered in exotic plants and flowers, as well as beautifully crafted buildings.
The mountains were connected by rainbow bridges, and there were men and women drifting over the bridges in palatial attire, presenting a scene akin to a heavenly paradise.
The blue ice wyrm immediately flew over several mountains before arriving at the center of the cluster of mountains.
Down below was a massive city-like palace that was surrounded by around a dozen mountains.
The palace was extremely resplendent with countless huge runes revolving around it, and in front of the massive gate that was over 10,000 feet tall stood a series of armed golden-armored guards.
Above the enormous gate was a silver plaque, upon which was inscribed "Golden Han Immortal Palace" in giant golden character.
As soon as the blue ice wyrm landed in front of the palace gate, it immediately transformed into a thin and tall daoist priest with a dark complexion, holding a silver horsetail brush.
A few of the golden-armored guards standing in front of the gate immediately approached him, and one of them extended a slight bow as he inquired in a voice that was neither arrogant nor humble, "Why have you visited the immortal palace, Master Li?"
"I wish to see the palace master," the daoist priest immediately replied.
"I'm not sure that can be arranged; the palace master is currently in seclusion and won't see anyone unless it's for an important reason," the armored guard said with a hesitant expression.
The daoist priest's expression darkened upon hearing this, yet just as he was about to say something, an authoritative voice suddenly rang out.
"Let Li Ming come in to see me; I have urgent matters I wish to discuss with him."
The armored guard immediately cupped his fist in a salute before stepping away to the side. "Yes, Palace Master! Please go ahead, Master Li."