The door to the pill refinement room had been sealed for an entire three years when one day, the room finally opened with Han Li quietly emerging from within. All of his valuable demon cores had been turned into demon core pills.
For the first two years, Han Li had used all of his time to refine grade five demon core pills.
Although these medicine pills had no significant effect on his cultivation as of current, even a single one of these pills was immensely desired by Foundation Establishment cultivators; even a single pill would leave them in ecstacy.
After refining these medicine pills, Han Li’s pill refinement techniques had finally ascended to a higher level. After all, even genuine pill refinement grandmasters wouldn’t have the opportunity to squander as many demon cores for practice as he did. Ordinary pill refinement masters were only able to use about forty demon cores as practice in their lifetime. Even then, it was an infrequent occurrence.
While all the medicine pill refinement methods had their differences, they all shared a few similarities that Han Li was able to recognize. After refining so many of these precious medicine pills, Han Li was able to forcefully raise his pill refinement technique to the rumored level that existed slightly above that of a pill refinement grandmaster. As a result, this greatly increased the odds of success when refining grade six and seven demon cores into pills, much to his delight! Even Han Li was unwilling to lightly squander items as valuable as grade six and seven demon cores.
After Han Li finished refining all of his demon cores, he spent an entire month resting. In that month, Han Li circled around his insect rooms many times, observing the differences between his tri-colored Gold Devouring Beetles and the non-mutated Gold Devouring Beetles.
While Han Li was refining pills, he had his puppets alternate between feeding Rainbow Skirt Grass to the two groups of Gold Devouring Beetles. However, this had resulted in Han Li discovering something terrible. While the tri-colored Gold Devouring Beetles excitedly consumed Rainbow Skirt Grass as expected, it no longer induced a violent excitement in the tri-colored Gold Devouring Beetles, nor did it produce any other strange effects.
At the beginning, Han Li had assumed that this was because the time had been too short and that the number of Gold Devouring Beetles were too many. Hence, the effects of the Rainbow Skirt Grass wouldn’t be obvious. But under further investigation, he specifically isolated three hundred black-strained Gold Devouring Beetles and fed them the Rainbow Skirt Grass, leading to this significant discovery. After consuming the Rainbow Skirt Grass several times, they hadn’t displayed even the slightest change.
This caused Han Li to become quite gloomy. He had come to the conclusion that the Rainbow Skirt Grass could no longer be used to induce reproduction in the mutated Gold Devouring Beetles.
Although he didn’t understand the unfathomable principles behind this, he knew without a doubt that these black-stained mutated beetles could not be replenished as they had completely lost their ability to rapidly reproduce. Every single beetle he lost would be permanent.
Now, he could only go back to feeding the Rainbow Skirt Grass to the minority of Gold Devouring Beetles that hadn’t undergone the black-stained mutation.
After feeding Rainbow Skirt Grass to the unmutated Gold Devouring Beetles repeatedly, they had become increasingly violent, appearing as if they would soon reproduce. With that taken care off, Han Li then entered seclusion once more with renewed clarity of mind.
With the prepared assistance of all kinds of medicine pills, Han Li planned on first reaching the eighth layer of the Azure Essence Sword Arts before tackling the mid Core Formation stage.
Sitting down on a straw mat in the sealed room, Han Li took out a medicine bottle from his storage pouch, and poured out a glowing red medicine pill into his hand that resembled a longan fruit.
After Han Li swallowed the pill, he began to feel the heat of medicinal power emit from his stomach. He then silently muttered the incantation for the eighth layer of the sword art as he slowly closed his eyes.
Han Li wholeheartedly cultivated in the cave residence while oblivious to the time that passed by.
The unceasing consumption of medicine pills and the conversion of medicinal power into spiritual power was an extremely tedious task. Fortunately, Han Li was wholeheartedly committed to increasing his cultivation and was able to persevere without fail. But even with his stalwart resolve, Han Li began to unconsciously feel dreary.
Sixteen years passed in the blink of an eye. Han Li had managed to eventually break through the mid Core Formation bottleneck and reached the eighth layer of the Azure Essence Sword Arts.
Despite his excitement, he didn’t hastily leave seclusion as he still possessed a majority of the medicine pills he had started with. It was only natural to want to finish consuming them. Hence, despite having just entered mid Core Formation, Han Li forcefully calmed his heart and focused on refining the ninth layer of the Azure Sword Arts.
The ninth layer of the sword arts proved to be much more difficult than the previous layers had been.
As spring passed by and winter appeared with autumn leaving and summer arriving, years and years passed by with the secluded room remaining shut. A thick layer of dust began to cover everything in the cave residence as if it had become an ancient tomb!
On yet another peaceful morning in the nearby seas, a seabird circled overhead, occasionally releasing a sharp cry. It made for a serene scene.
But a moment later, a flash of light suddenly appeared from the horizon. Several streaks of azure and red radiance flew towards the direction of the sea mist in a disorderly fashion.
A moment later, silhouettes could clearly be made out from within the light. They were a group of three women and two men. Apart from an early Foundation Establishment cultivator, a middle-aged man, the rest were all Qi Condensation cultivators. They were all youths spanning anywhere from seventeen to twenty-four years of age. They had flustered flown over in a mad rush, occasionally looking behind them as if someone were chasing them.
Gasping for breath, a young woman amongst them said, “Martial Uncle Sun! Let’s rest for a moment in the sea mist. Otherwise, we won’t be able to persist when they come chasing after us.”
The young woman had a round face and large eyes, bearing somewhat of a resemblance to an infant. While she would normally appear quite cute, at the moment, she was covered in sweat, and her complexion was pale as if her magic power was on the verge of exhaustion.
“This…” The middle-aged man paused and looked at the other three Qi Condensation cultivators. Although they appeared to be in a slightly better condition, they didn’t look like they could last for much longer.
After hesitantly looking behind them, he reluctantly agreed, “Alright, we’ll go into the mist and recover our magic power. Then we will leave immediately after. Although we are a good distance away from them, they are capable of relentlessly chasing after us, so it would be best to be careful. If they manage to overtake us, it will be impossible to survive.”
Each of the youths expressed relief upon hearing this.
Their cultivation was truly shallow. Being able to fly here had already reached the extent of their abilities. Although they knew it would be extremely dangerous to stop, they were unable to do otherwise.
Hence, the party flew into the sea mist.
Not long after the party entered the mist, a burly twenty year old youth hopefully said, “The sea mist is quite dense here. Perhaps we can wait here and conceal ourselves from their pursuit!”
“Don’t even think about it. Although we don’t know how they’re managing to track us down, a bit of fog isn’t about to conceal ourselves from them. Everyone fly lower and see if there are any reefs we can take a rest on. We can recover our magic power faster if we sit.” The middle aged man bluntly refuted him, causing the burly youth to blush and hang his head. The others closely followed after the Foundation Establishment cultivator, not daring to be left behind.
After a short moment, the yellow-clothed young woman suddenly shouted out in surprise, “Yi! There’s an island here!”
Regardless of the woman’s yell, the island was clearly visible after they deeply entered the deep fog. They couldn’t help but look at each other in dismay.
A blue-clothed woman with an ordinary appearance said with fear, “Could there be some sort of demon beast here?”
The middle-aged man started to hesitate but he soon came to a firm resolution, “Something that unfortunate can’t occur. And even if it did, we wouldn’t be able to deal with it, so there is no point thinking about it. Quickly, head to the island and recover your magic power!”
When the others heard this, they didn’t say anything further and floated down onto the small island.
The middle-aged man released his spiritual sense after landing on the island. He then happily pointed and said, “Let’s sit down over there! The spiritual Qi over there is quite abundant.”
The direction that he pointed to was the sole mountain range of the island. When the party heard this, their spirits were roused.
Afterwards, the middle-aged man led the way with the rest of the party hurrying after him. If they could recover enough magic power, they might be able to escape the oncoming calamity. They naturally weren’t going to let go of this chance.
After a short moment, the party arrived at the green mountain range and casually sat down on the small mountain. They all held a spirit stone in hand and began to slowly meditate, absorbing the dense spiritual Qi nearby.