Chapter 2320: Surveillance
During their collaboration, Han Li and Yue Long had finally managed to successfully refine metal and wood attribute Extreme Origin Crystals in about half a month.
Yue Long had been ecstatic and immediately issued Han Li the promised compensation, then strongly requested that Han Li stay at his cave abode for some time.
Han Li naturally refused as he was in a hurry to continue on his journey, and he arrived at a place where the spatial boundary of the earth abyss was the weakest, then sliced through the boundary with his Profound Heavenly Spiritslash Sword before entering the earth abyss in his Inkspirit Holy Ark.
Upon hearing what Han Li had just said, the blood soul smiled, and replied, "This space is indeed quite remarkable. I'm assuming this good friend of yours must also be a Grand Ascension Stage being."
"I'm afraid you're wrong there, Fellow Daoist. The cultivation base of this friend of mine isn't too shabby, but the last time we met, she was still only at the Spatial Tempering Stage, and there's no way she would've been able to reach the Grand Ascension Stage in such a short time. Having said that, she's currently receiving guidance from a Grand Ascension Stage being, so there's a possibility that she's reached the Body Integration Stage."
"How fortunate for her. Back when I was progressing to the Body Integration Stage, I had to go through many hardships, and even my true body has been sealed on another continent," the blood soul sighed with a forlorn expression.
"Hehe, don't be so hard on yourself; you were merely unlucky. Once we rescue your true body, it's not impossible for you to make further progress in your cultivation," Han Li consoled.
"I certainly hope so," the blood soul replied with a wry smile.
Han Li merely smiled and fell silent, then flipped a hand over to produce a black jade slip, which he gently pressed against his own forehead.
This was a map of the earth abyss that had been given to him by Qing Yuanzi.
After quickly inspecting the map, then sweeping his spiritual sense over the terrain near the swamp, he was able to ascertain his current location, and he was ecstatic to find that it wasn't far away from Qing Yuanzi's cave abode.
Thus, he immediately stowed the jade slip away before spurring on the giant black ark toward another direction.
A day later, just as the ark was approaching the area where Qing Yuanzi's cave abode was situated, Han Li suddenly opened his eyes from his seated meditation, and a peculiar look appeared on his face.
"What powerful energy fluctuations! These are... the energy fluctuations of a major heavenly tribulation. Could it be that someone is transcending a tribulation nearby? Come to think of it, it's about time Qing Yuanzi underwent his next heavenly tribulation; could it be him?"
Han Li's brows furrowed slightly as he made a hand seal, upon which the Inkspirit Holy Ark instantly drew to a halt in mid-air.
He then rose to his feet and rose up into the air before flying away as a streak of azure light, leaving only a parting message for the blood soul and the others.
"Stay here and look after the ark; I'll go take a look first."
Even after the azure streak of light had vanished into the distance, his voice was still echoing throughout the area.
Zhu Guo'er and the others hurriedly made their way out of the cabin before casting their eyes toward the direction that Han Li had disappeared in with bewildered expressions.
With Han Li's current powers, the maximal speed of flight he was capable of reaching was naturally quite extraordinary.
However, the energy fluctuations that he had just sensed had also come from quite far away. Only after flying for around 15 minutes did he finally catch sight of the black tribulation clouds in the distance, and he also heard a burst of indistinct rumbling.
All of a sudden, Han Li's eyes narrowed slightly as he murmured to himself, "Hold on, there are other Grand Ascension Stage beings present as well."
He then drew to an abrupt halt in mid-air before casting his gaze toward the tribulation clouds in the distance with a contemplative expression.
"There are three other Grand Ascension Stage beings there, and they're making no effort to disguise their auras, so they're clearly plotting against the person transcending their tribulation. I need to find out if it actually is Qing Yuanzi transcending his tribulation. If not, then there's no need for me to intervene," Han Li mused.
After a brief moment of contemplation, he laid a hand onto the back of his own head, then opened his mouth to expel a ball of azure Qi, which quickly transformed into an azure crystal ball.
Han Li then made a hand seal while closing his eyes, and a gash appeared on his glabella, following which an inky-black demonic eye emerged amid a burst of black Qi.
A thin black thread suddenly shot out of the demonic eye, then vanished into the space up ahead in a flash.
In the next instant, a clear image began to appear within the azure crystal ball.
Only then did Han Li reopen his eyes before carefully peering into the crystal ball. However, he was unable to see anything aside from dense black mist and balls of flashing purplish-golden lightning.
Han Li's brows furrowed slightly as he made a hand seal, and the image in the crystal ball quickly swiveled around much like the perspective of a person quickly inspecting the surrounding area.
Soon, a series of mountains and lush greenery began to appear.
All of a sudden, Han Li's expression changed slightly, and the image within the crystal ball also settled at his behest.
At this moment, the image depicted a boundless sea of crimson mist.
Within the sea of mist was a giant shimmering door, above with stood three men in different attire.
Han Li focused his gaze and immediately determined that these three were the ones giving off the Grand Ascension Stage auras.
Among the trio, there was a burly man who was around 20 feet tall standing still on the spot, while a yellow-robed man was controlling the giant door to crash through the sea of mist.
Countless five-colored runes surfaced in the wake of the giant door, forcing back all of the surrounding mist.
The final person to complete the trio was a young daoist priest, and there was a giant three-headed python projection behind him, releasing crimson, yellow, and azure balls of light out of its three mouths.
As soon as the surrounding mist came into contact with these balls of light, the former would immediately fade away.
Deep within the boundless sea of mist were countless giant black shadows that were releasing bursts of crimson Qi in a frenzy, seemingly contending with the giant door and three-colored light.
All of a sudden, the burly man seemed to have sensed something, and he immediately turned to one side as he yelled, "Who's spying on me over there?"
As soon as his voice trailed off, he lashed out with one of his large black hands like lightning, and around an acre of space in that direction instantly warped and exploded.
Bursts of black light then surged forth in all directions alongside scorching winds, pulverizing all of the crimson mist nearby.
Such a loud commotion naturally attracted the attention of both of his companions, and they immediately turned to him with bewilderment in their eyes.
"What happened? Did you discover something, Fellow Daoist Immortal?" Huang Yuanzi asked as the giant door drew to a halt at his behest.
Through their sustained efforts during the past two days and two nights, close to half of the first formation had already been broken; he didn't want any mishaps to occur now.
"Someone was spying on us, and I just destroyed their secret technique," the Immortal Heavenly Lord replied in a calm manner.
Huang Yuanzi's expression changed slightly, and he asked, "Is it that girl who's controlling this formation?"
"I don't think so. That girl was only at the Spatial Tempering Stage, and I managed to land a punch on her from afar earlier, so she should at least be severely wounded, if not dead; there's no way she could unleash a secret technique to spy on us," the Immortal Heavenly Lord replied with a shake of his head.
"So that means it's someone new. Were you able to sense their cultivation base?" Huang Yuanzi asked as his brows furrowed slightly.
"I only managed to break their secret technique; how could I detect their cultivation base? However, judging from how profound that secret technique was, it's most likely quite a powerful being who unleashed it," the Immortal Heavenly Lord said with a slightly solemn expression.
"That means that person is very likely a Grand Ascension Stage being as well. Could it be an ally of Qing Yuanzi's?" Daoist San Quan speculated.
Huang Yuanzi's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, but he then shook his head in response. "I don't think so."
"Oh? What makes you so sure?" Daoist San Quan asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"It's very simple; if this were indeed an ally of Qing Yuanzi's, why would they appear at a time like this?" Huang Yuanzi asked.
"That's true. If this really were an ally of Qing Yuanzi's, they would've either used the Baleful 18 Heavens Formation to oppose us from the beginning, or concealed themselves until we destroy this formation, at which point we would've expended the most energy," Daoist San Quan agreed with a nod.
"Could it be that that person is one of the other Grand Ascension Stage beings residing in the earth abyss?" the Heavenly Immortal Lord asked.
"Most likely not. Qing Yuanzi must've chosen a time when all of the other Grand Ascension Stage beings in the earth abyss are absent to transcend his tribulation. As such, they've most likely all been lured out of the earth abyss by him somehow," Huang Yuangzi chuckled coldly in response.
"In that case, it's hard to say whether the new arrival is friend or foe. On top of that, we're currently trapped in this formation, so this is not a very good situation for us," the Immortal Heavenly Lord said.
"Indeed. I had intended to delay the usage of my Hierarchical Yin Corpse Lightning, but it looks like I'll have to use it now. Make some preparations, Fellow Daoist San Quan; we're going to break this formation by force and see who this new arrival is," Huang Yuanzi said as a fierce look appeared in his eyes.