Nothing had changed in his cave residence. Even a portion of the black-tainted Gold Devouring Beetles he left behind to guard the cave were now condensed into a Tri-colored Ball that motionlessly hung from the center of the main hall's ceiling. As for the Profound Goddess' Palm and the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng, they appeared exactly the same as he had left them.
Han Li didn't care much for the Profound Goddess' Palm; he didn't have high hopes in being able to revive it. But he did hold the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng with much importance as it was essentially extinct in the outside world. It also stood to mention that the medicine had grown sentient and even developed its own incarnation, a truly rare plant indeed.
If it weren't for the fact that it would be too difficult to sustain it without a regular supply of Qi, Han Li would definitely want to carry it on his body. However, it was a pity that none of the ancient formulas he acquired mentioned it as an ingredient. As a result, he could only sigh and put it aside for the time being.
As for his insects, he carried a majority of them on his body. In particular, he carried the twenty-four eggs of his Six-winged Frost Centipedes on hand so he didn't have to worry about them, although they hatched halfway on his journey to the Far West.
However, he felt rather regretful that they had continuously remained as larva for the past twenty-seven years he spent in the spatial tear since the green liquid didn't gather there. He had placed them in a particular spirit beast pouch that left them in deep hibernation.
Han Li first released the Gold Devouring Beetles into their room before releasing the Six-winged Frost Centipedes into a neighboring room.
He then took the spirit beast pouch and lightly tossed it into the room. In a gust of white light, over twenty three-inch-long centipede larvae appeared at the center of the room. Their bodies were snow-white and translucent, and wings had yet to sprout from their bodies, causing them to appear similar to large white silkworms, completely harmless.
When Han Li first acquired the Six-winged Frost Centipedes, he didn't know whether or not they could evolve through the use of the Rainbow Skirt Grass, but to his excitement, the grass was also effective on them.
He originally intended to make use of the centipede's frost Qi to refine the Purple Apex Flames, but after his battle in Devilfall Valley, another thought came to mind.
Although the Gold Devouring Beetles were formidable, their speed was a bit lacking. Even after reaching their final stage of maturation, Han Li figured that they would be easily restrained by incredibly fast enemies. That was where the Six-winged Frost Centipedes came in; in addition to the fearsome glacial Qi they spit out, their high ranking on the list of exotic insects were also due to their abnormal speed.
When they had two wings, their speed was about the same as other spirit insects. But when they sprouted out another pair of wings for a total of four, their speed underwent a massive increase, beating even common magic treasures. But most fearsome of all was when they completed their third and final pair of wings. Their speed placed them amongst the top three fastest insects and it was reportedly said they were invisible as they moved and could traverse five hundred kilometers in mere moments.
Of course, this was something that was only told through records. Even in times of antiquity, Six-winged Frost Centipedes were extremely rare, so Han Li was quite skeptical of these words. But given the one-sided accounts, there was no doubt that they were a fantastically fast insect.
In the battle against the Elder Devil, Han Li had suffered quite a bit at his strange bizarre movements, bringing the Six-winged Frost Centipedes to the top of his mind. It also stood to mention that with the further maturation of the Six-winged Frost Centipedes, Han Li could refine Purple Apex Flames in further abundance.
With that in mind, Han Li took a long look at the Six-winged Frost Centipede larvae. When he saw that they didn't reject their new environment, Han Li felt relieved.
He thought to further examine them for a time before he suddenly looked in the direction of the cave residence's entrance with a changed expression. Light suddenly shined through his eyes and with a wave of his sleeve, he summoned Silvermoon in front of him.
"Mu Peiling has arrived in front of the gate. Lead her into the hall. I have a few words I wish to say to her!" Han Li commanded with a sullen voice.
"Yes, Master!" Silvermoon respectfully received her orders and disappeared in a flash of silver light.
Han Li sealed the insect rooms and calmly made his way to the main hall. Han Li then took a seat in the master's chair and he held his chin in hand, appearing deep in thought.
At that moment, soft footsteps echoed through the hall. Silvermoon walked in with a beaming smile with Mu Peiling following after her.
Mu Peiling appeared as beautiful as before; no, it would be fair to say she was even more ravishing as her cold exterior had faded away to be replaced with serenity.
"I pay my respects to milord. I congratulate my Lord on his safe return and rise in cultivation." When Mu Peiling saw Han Li, she smiled and gave a curtsey.
Han Li smiled and gestured for her to stand. "You've congratulated me as soon as you saw me; it seems you've heard the news. But there is no need for you to be overly respectful and act so distant between us. When you accompanied me to the Far West, we both went through quite a bit of hardship."
In the three years the two spent in the Far West, their relationship had grown closer. Although they couldn't be said to be entirely intimate, it was far better than before.
"Many thanks my Lord!" Mu Peiling smoothly stood up.
"When we returned from the Far West, I didn't wish to separate from you, but it appears to be a good decision since you stayed here for the twenty-seven years I was trapped."
Mu Peiling replied with a smile, "As my Lord's concubine and having received much kindness from you, where else would I go if not here? I also didn't believe that my Lord had perished either."
"I didn't think that you held me in such confidence. However, it was truly dangerous this time around, and there was a chance that I wouldn't have returned. Although you did have assistance from medicine pills, your current speed of cultivation could be considered extremely fast and you will soon be able to attempt Core Formation. What are your odds of success?"
When she heard this, she wore a helpless expression and said, "I don't have much of a chance. My odds of a successful Core Formation is less than one in ten. It will be up to providence."
"Providence?" Han Li beamed at her and said, "Hehe, that might not be the case. I can lend you a hand with regards to Core Formation and increase your odds by thirty percent."
"What? How is that possible?" Mu Peiling gaped with alarm. "My Lord can't be joking about this! I've never heard of such medicines in the Heavenly South."
"Most of the medicines I had aren't present in the Heavenly South so it is natural that you wouldn't have heard of it. However, I can guarantee that with your aptitude and my spirit medicines, your odds of Core Formation should near fifty percent." Han Li said with a calm expression.
As Han Li had never claimed any empty boasts or exaggerated to Mu Peiling, she mostly believed him. Then with some thought, she hesitantly said, "Is my Lord telling me this because he has instructions for me? Please don't hesitate to tell me."
Han Li felt somewhat surprised by this, but after pondering to himself for a moment, he decided to speak forthrightly, "Do you remember the agreement we made when you decided to become my concubine?"
"Of course. I requested you to leave me alone for thirty years to cultivate and let me keep my vital Yin during this time." Mu Peiling blushed as she said this.
Han Li saw that she was mistaken and calmly explained himself, "The agreed time has about been reached but you don't have to worry about it. I won't make things difficult just as you are on the verge of Core Formation. But there are a few things I must make clear before you form a core. Afterwards, you can properly consider what is best for you. I don't wish to use up my spirit medicines on your Core Formation only for you to suddenly renege on our deal and blame it on a sudden change of heart."
"What does my Lord mean?" Mu Peiling was stunned and she couldn't help but look at Han Li with shock.
Han Li wore an odd expression and said, "I hope that after you form your golden core, you will abandon your cultivation art and will cultivate the Copulation Essence Arts."
"The Copulative Essence Arts?" Mu Peiling said with astonishment.
"It is a rare pair cultivation art. When the technique is cultivated at its peak and the woman in question loses her vital Yin in copulation, the man and woman in question will receive many benefits in their cultivation. The benefits on cultivation are secondary but the most important aspect or the cultivation art is the inconceivable effect of allowing breakthroughs in bottlenecks. Of course, I will make it clear that the primary cultivator of the technique is the woman but the man is the one who receives the most benefits. As such, I wish to know whether or not I should do my utmost in assisting you in reach the Core Formation stage. Because I've already cultivated to midNascent Soul stage, I wish to use the effects of the Copulative Essence Arts to breakthrough to late Nascent Soul stage. I will need you to cultivate the technique to late Core Formation stage for that to be possible. If you agree to change your cultivation art, I will continue to provide you with medicine pills after you form your core to hasten your cultivation. At the very least, it'll be able to save you over a hundred years of bitter cultivation. Of course, if you are unwilling, I won't force you. After you attempt Core Formation, I will be removing the restrictions on your soul regardless if you are successful and grant you your freedom. And from then on, we will have no relation to each other."
When Mu Peiling heard this, she was thoroughly shocked. For a time, her expression wavered and her heart was thrown in turmoil.