Chapter 463: An Opportune Encounter
Han Li raised his hands with a solemn expression, and tossed several spirit beast pouches into the air. As they floated in the air, he formed his hands into an incantation gesture, causing the pouches to open and release countless Gold Devouring Beetles. They formed a cloud of shining gold and silver shimmers in the air. In regards to numbers, the Gold Devouring Beetles were far fewer to the recently seen colony of Ironfire Ants.
With his confidence strengthened from looking at the the gold-silver insect swarm, he pointed to the ground not far away and softly shouted, “Go!”
With a buzz, the glittering cloud flew forward, moving to descend and blanket the ground.
But before they touched the ground, a black cloud of ants suddenly rose to meet the swarm of Gold Devouring Beetles.
In the instant that the two sides clashed, huge streams of dark flame suddenly spouted out from the black ant colony, violently enveloping the Gold Devouring Beetles in black radiance. It was clear the ant colony had realized the Gold Devouring Beetles were fearsome and rushed to strike first by using their innate flames.
Were it another breed of insects, the strange flames would’ve burnt a majority of them at the very least. But not only were the Gold Devouring Beetles completely unscathed by the black flames, the black flames themselves were cleanly devoured. Once the flames were gone, the beetles charged forward with a buzz.
The two insect swarms fiercely clashed, interweaving colors of black, silver, and gold. After only a moment of tearing away at each other, countless dead insects began to successively fall to the ground with piercing screeches. A vast majority of them were black with only a sparse few being gold and silver.
In just a short moment, the Gold Devouring Beetles had achieved an overwhelming victory, exterminating a majority of the ants.
The Ironfire Ants also sensed that things were far from good. Their remnants released a weak cry and suddenly gathered together to form a jet-black arrow. They shot past the Gold Devouring Beetles in an attempt to escape.
But at that moment, a streak of dazzling azure swordlight pierced through the air and chopped down at the arrow. The arrow trembled and was greatly slowed down.
In that moment of delay, the Gold Devouring Beetles swarmed around the arrow. In the blink of an eye, the black arrow was submerged in a sea of gold and silver and could no longer be seen. By the time the insect swarm dispersed, the arrow had completely disappeared.
At that moment, Han Li slowly walked over and serenely looked at the dead insects on the floor. He silently pondered for a moment while clasping his chin.
Only about several hundred of the dead insects belonged to the Gold Devouring Beetles, a trifling amount. The Gold Devouring Beetles’ decisive victory clearly illustrated the superiority of the Gold Devouring Beetles. After all, the Ironfire Ants had outnumbered the Gold Devouring Beetles ten to one.
After a moment of analysis, Han Li revealed an expression of relief. It seemed that his Gold Devouring Beetles would be able to get him through the black desert without problem.
After taking another look at the ground littered with dead insects, a strange expression flashed through his eyes. A low whistle left his mouth. The gold-silver insect cloud shrieked in response and fell from the sky, cleanly devouring the dead insects like an autumn wind sweeping away fallen leaves. They then obediently flew back into Han Li’s spirit beast pouches.
Having put away the pouches, Han Li gazed into the depths of the black desert before walking forward without hesitation.
Han Li motionlessly stood in the distance as he expressionlessly gazed at the sky.
The largest battle that his Gold Devouring Beetles had fought since entering the desert was currently taking place in the sky. Countless Gold Devouring Beetles and Ironfire Ants were scattered across the skies at a low altitude, mutually devouring each other. Dead insects rained from the sky, forming a thin, dense layer on the ground. It made for a truly shocking sight!
Han Li’s brow creased during a moment of carelessness. Although only about a day had passed, he had already lost nearly ten thousand Gold Devouring Beetles. It was as if he’d encounter a colony of Ironfire Ants every short distance he walked, numbering anywhere from three thousand to ten thousand.
But now, he’d encountered a tremendously large Ironfire Ant colony that numbered at around fifty thousand. He reckoned that this battle would result in the deaths of at least eight thousand of his Gold Devouring Beetles.
It was no surprise that Han Li felt regretful. The Gold Devouring Beetles took a long period of time to breed. Who knew when he’d be able to next replenish their numbers?
After the time it took to finish a cup of tea, the ant colony retreated in defeat. Apart from the several thousand survivors that managed to retreat, the winged ants had been cleanly devoured by the Gold Devouring Beetles.
Han Li was uninterested in wasting time pursuing the remaining Ironfire Ants. Instead, he turned his gaze towards the Glacial Ice Pearl and continued on his way with roused spirits.
He supposed that he was currently at the center of the desert which was why he had encountered such a large colony of ants. He had better be more vigilant on the path moving forward, else he would waste the much needed magic power to fuel his heat repelling magic treasures, leaving himself in a dire situation.
After walking about twenty kilometers, Han Li’s expression froze. He stared to the right with narrowed eyes. After a short moment, he revealed a trace of suspicion and suddenly changed his direction to a dune he was looking at.
When Han Li arrived at the top of the dune, he unconsciously frowned. He had spotted yet another colony of Ironfire Ants in his line of sight.
This colony of winged ants only numbered about ten thousand, and were attacking a sphere of faint blue light. The sphere of light was on the verge of collapse. As it flickered, the image of a person with a strained appearance leaked through.
Han Li gazed at this with complete indifference.
At that moment, the Ironfire Ants had transformed into a keen longsword blazing with black flame and fiercely chopped at the sphere of light.
Han Li was certain that this person was doomed. But then, an unremarkable, dark green pellet shot out of the light sphere. Just as the pellet touched the black sword, a fist sized dark green flame violently combusted. The ants that were wrapped up by the flame rapidly dispersed with nearly a hundred Ironfire Ants falling to the ground.
Han Li felt surprised. That dark green pellet was an exceptional treasure. It was fearsome enough to burn away at fire attributed Ironfire Ants without resistance. An inconceivable display! It seemed he was still quite ignorant of the countless unique treasures that existed in the cultivation world.
The appearance of the green flame infuriated the ant swarm. They scattered and wildly charged towards the light sphere without any intent to retreat.
The cultivator inside the light sphere seemed to no longer have many pellets remaining. By the time the Ironfire Ants had scattered, it was already too late to shoot a second pellet, resulting in a helpless situation. However, he had also become aware of Han Li’s existence. As he was under attack from the Ironfire Ants, he occasionally glanced in Han Li’s direction.
Han Li indifferently turned away and continued on his path. He currently had no mind to acquire his treasures or waste the lives of his Gold Devouring Beetles. His Gold Devouring Beetles had far more value in this strange desert than ordinary treasures, and he didn’t wish to squander them in vain.
But who could’ve known that just as he had taken his first step, he suddenly heard the transmission of a hoarse, familiar voice from the light sphere.
“Fellow Daoist Han! Please wait! This is Yuan Yao! I must trouble Fellow Daoist Han to assist me! I will definitely express my gratitude afterwards!” Yuan Yao’s voice was filled with anxious panic.
“Yuan Yao?” Han Li suddenly stopped and hesitated for a moment before slowly turning around.
This was truly a small world! In an area as large as the Path of Molten Rock, he actually managed to encounter this woman he could barely be considered acquainted with. Unbelievable!
Since she could be considered somewhat of a friend, Han Li felt reluctant to leave her to die. Moreover, he had initially considered finding her for a secret matter. This was just killing two birds with one stone.
After looking at the dimmed light sphere and quickly muttering to himself, he tossed a spirit beast pouch from his waist and released a swarm of Gold Devouring Beetles into the fray.
When she saw this, she was left speechless. The Gold Devouring Beetles only numbered about a thousand but were able to easily exterminate a swarm of Ironfire Ants that was over ten times its size.
She had finally recovered from her shock when Han Li calmly retrieved his Gold Devouring Beetles, and she quickly put away her blue light sphere.
Yuan Yao’s complexion had paled from the expended magic power, but this only made her appear even more endearing.
Her black robes had already been replaced for thin, well-fit clothes, revealing her graceful, youthful figure. Her body was also drenched with the fragrant scent of her sweat, filling the air with deadly allure.
Han Li was stunned by this, but he soon recovered.
Yuan Yao saluted Han Li with a beaming smile and spoke with a charming voice, “Yuan Yao cannot thank Fellow Daoist Han enough for his rescue!”