Chapter 544: Progression
A trace of hope flickered within Han Li's eyes but that was soon replaced with disappointment. The small sword was only able to penetrate several more inches before stopping. A colorful brilliance faintly glowed deeper within the wall, blocking its advance.
The demon cultivator had placed many layers of formidable restrictions within the coral wall. It wasn't very likely Han Li would be able to break through the walls with his magic treasures.
Han Li tightly creased his brow after retrieving the magic treasure and summoning it back into his body. He then unconsciously reached for the spirit beast pouch at his waist. He trusted that regardless of how powerful the wall's restrictions, they wouldn't be able to resist the vicious bites of the Gold Devouring Beetles. However, there was a reason why he didn't rashly release them.
The beetles wouldn't be able to devour the restrictions in a short amount of time. In the time it would take, the demon cultivator Feng Xi would be given plenty of time to perceive their actions. And with the demon's astonishing speed, there was no way for Han Li to escape his pursuit.
After a period of heavy and repeated deliberations, Han Li fiercely glared and then returned to the jade couch with an unsightly expression.
By that time, he already felt a burning sensation in his stomach. It seemed the Jadefire Wine was about to take effect.
Han Li didn't dare to be negligent of the wine as he was ignorant of what, if any, peculiar aspects it might possess. He could only relinquish his thoughts of escape for the moment and start refining Qi.
He sat down cross-legged and closed his eyes, peering into his body. Frowning, Han Li shot out a stream of azure core flame from his tri-colored golden core and compressed the Jadefire Wine into a ball. In the blink of an eye, the stream of core flame had completely restricted the Jadefire Wine.
Not longer after, Han Li became completely still with a blank face.
The Jadefire Wine was refined at an exceptionally slow pace. After the passing of a month, less than a fourth of the wine had been refined. It seemed that Feng Xi wasn't exaggerating when he said that the wine would take half a year for Han Li to refine.
However, this extremely slow speed proved to be rather irritable to Han Li. If he truly was unable to enter late Core Formation, then this Windbreaker Beast named Feng Xi would take his life without any hesitation.
For that reason, he steeled his heart and took the risk of forcing out all of the core flame his golden core could produce. As a result, the azure flame that covered the remaining dark green liquid nearly doubled in thickness. Han Li also spared none of his magic power in his effort to hasten refining the wine.
This resulted in Han Li's magic power expenditure nearly doubling. Each time he nearly ran out of magic power, he lamentably took a drop of the Myriad Year Spirit Milk to ensure that his magic power could persist in fueling the wine refinement.
After two months of this extravagant usage of his core flame, only a third of the wine had yet to be refined. Han Li felt somewhat relieved that the wine would soon be entirely refined.
Unfortunately, something unexpected soon occurred. As a result of his intention to strive his hardest in the face of death, Han Li had swallowed the Celestial Ice Pearl on the day he had encountered the demon cultivator. He continued to keep it there in fear of the demon cultivator, and had yet to take this last resort out of his stomach.
On a day when Han Li had completely exhausted his magic power and thought to take a drop of the Myriad Year Spirit Milk, the outer layer of the Divine Devilbane Lightning on the Celestial Ice Pearl suddenly grown unsteady.
Han Li, who had been observing his body's interior with full focus, was shocked out of his wits at the sight.
At that moment, his magic power was completely exhausted and he was incapable of taking any emergency measures. With the pearl's exterior wavering before his eyes, he wrapped the remaining Jadefire Wine around the Celestial Ice Pearl in an act of desperation.
Han Li's heart heavily thumped as he watched on with a bloodless complexion.
Only the Heavens would know what reaction would occur from using the Jadefire Wine to envelop the Celestial Ice Pearl. As Han Li imagined the pearl erupting, he could feel his body line with ice cold sweat.
Fortunately, whether it was due to sheer luck or due to the Celestial Ice Pearl being stable to begin with, the Celestial Ice Pearl had become tranquil after being enveloped by the wine.
Han Li let out a long breath and wiped the cold sweat off his brow. He felt as if he had just escaped certain death.
He hurriedly swallowed a drop of Myriad Year Spirit Milk. After his magic power had been replenished, he spat out the pearl and put it away with great trepidation lingering in his heart. Placing that item within his body had truly been playing with fire.
After everything was settled, he took another look into his body and flusteredly discovered that he had unknowingly broken through his bottleneck, quietly entering late Core Formation.
Han Li was initially dumbstruck, before being delightfully surprised.
To tell the truth, he hadn't felt any peculiar effects from the Jadefire Wine. Han Li was absolutely bewildered at having broken through the bottleneck without even completely refining the wine.
With his increased cultivation, Han Li decided to test it out by skillfully controlling twenty-four Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords simultaneously, discovering that his true strength had suddenly increased.
Although Han Li was rapt with joy, he had no intention of squandering the remaining Jadefire Wine, and sincerely spent the next two months refining what was leftover, consolidating his cultivation in the process. Afterwards, he started to rack his mind for what the grade nine Windbreaker Beast intended for him.
As the half year point gradually grew closer, his face grew increasingly sullen with worry occasionally appearing in his eyes.
Several days after the half year point had passed, the coral wall promptly opened. Feng Xi's indifferent voice then entered the room, "Fellow Daoist Li, come out. The time has arrived. Did your cultivation progress?"
Sitting down on the jade couch, Han Li expressionlessly opened his eyes and wordlessly walked out of the room.
Feng Xi was waiting for him outside with narrowed eyes.
The demon cultivator examined Han Li after he left the room. A short moment later, Feng Xi rubbed his palms together and heartily laughed.
"Good, good! Congratulations on Fellow Daoist entering late Core Formation. It seems my Jadefire Wine didn't go to waste." Feng Xi grew quite happy. With Han Li's successful advancement, he truly could serve his purposes.
Han Li's heart stirred upon seeing this.
Feng Xi chuckled and spoke to Han Li with a rather amiable tone, "Fellow Daoist Li, follow me! I will give you an introduction to two of my close demon companions. I will be requiring you three to cooperate in order for this to succeed!"
"There are another two Seniors?" When Han Li heard him, he felt shocked.
"That's right. My two good friends are both at the initial metamorphosis stage. In human terms, they would be grade eight demon cultivators. However, since both of them were born from primordial races, their true capabilities aren't all that inferior to my own. Still, it would be best for you to say as little as possible. Since they are genuine members of the local sea clan, they won't receive a human like you very favorably." Feng Xi took a deep glance at Han Li and gave him a calm warning.
With a shaken heart, Han Li muttered in agreement.
A short moment later, Feng Xi brought Han Li back to the large hall where he now saw the two close friends that Feng Xi had spoken of.
As a result, Han Li couldn't help but reveal his shock on his face.
One of them had the head of a flood dragon, a steel tail, and his body was covered with blood-red scales. The other had a rather large body, an azure face and a tortoise shell.
That flood dragon appeared quite similar to the Venemous Flood Dragon that he had previously seen fighting the cultivators near the misty island. As for the other, Han Li faintly guessed that it was most likely the huge tortoise that had been undergoing its tribulation at that time.
When Feng Xi arrived, the two grade eight demon beasts turned their heads over toward them.
When the Venomous Flood Dragon saw Han Li's expression, his green eyes coldly glinted and he quickly examined Han Li.
"What's wrong, human? Could it be you've seen me before?" He icily asked. Although his voice was somewhat vague, his words could clearly be heard.
Han Li immediately grew hesitant. It appeared that because he had used the blood-red cape back then, his appearance hadn't been seen. As such, it would be best to avoid mentioning the battle that day; otherwise, he would just be asking for trouble. Leaving him no choice but to deceive the Venomous Flood Dragon.
With that thought, Han Li dryly coughed and with the calmest expression he could muster, he said, "This is the first time I have seen Senior. It is only that Junior's experience is so shallow that he had yet to see a true Flood Dragon. As such, I forgot my manners. I hope Senior doesn't take any offense." Helpless, Han Li assumed the humblest attitude he could to avoid stirring up any trouble.