Chapter 465: Surging Undercurrents
Yuan Yao’s luminous eyes stirred. She chuckled and said, “What? Does Brother Han not want this animal? Or does he fear that I’ve given him a false Weeping Soul Pearl?” Her voice concealed a teasing tone.
Han Li didn’t immediately reply and examined the pearl for a moment before saying, “I can tell it is legitimate from its Yin Ghost Aura. However, I do not know much about the Weeping Soul Beast. Could it that my body would suffer from refining the pearl?”
After Han Li said this, he rigidly stared into Yuan Yao’s beautiful eyes.
“How could that be? If there was ever such a problem, I wouldn’t have personally refined it. However, refining the pearl makes oneself feel unwell. So long as one bears with it, there is no problem.” Yuan Yao had a calm expression and spoke with a uncaring tone.
“Feel unwell?” Han Li wrinkled his brow and stared at the woman for a moment before turning his gaze towards the pearl. He was sure that that she hadn’t been entirely truthful, but he couldn’t make it out as of now. After muttering to himself for a moment, he decided to take the pearl and put it away for later research. If it were truly harmful, he just wouldn’t refine the pearl. So long as he had the pearl, he would be able to control the Weeping Soul Beast all the same.
After putting away the Weeping Soul Pearl, he calmly said, “Let’s go! I will do my utmost to protect Lady Yuan for the rest of the way. But let’s get the ugly talk out of the way first. If I come across a danger that fully occupies my attention, Fellow Daoist Yuan had best flee by herself!” He then touched the Glacial Ice Pearl that floated above his head, causing it to suddenly envelope them with chilled air.
“Of course. I understand what would happen if we were to truly encounter such a circumstance. However, I am quite confident that with Brother Han’s gold and silver beetles, the odds of such a situation occurring is quite small.” The gorgeous woman wrinkled her nose for a moment before revealing a smile as charming as a flower. .
Han Li bluntly admired the beautiful scene before him for a moment before wordlessly turning around and setting off. When Yuan Yao saw this, she followed after him with light steps and a faint smile. She soon walked alongside Han Li, creating a rather intimate appearance.
This was because the closer she was to Han Li’s side, the more cool air that was present from the Glacial Ice Pearl. She naturally wanted to feel more comfortable.
“Now that I think of it, the path of ice and fire is somewhat strange. How could there be a black desert here along with such fierce winged ants? Not only can those ants fearlessly endure magic treasure attacks, they can spout black flames and can undergo swarm transformations. They also managed to break through one of my ancient defensive treasures. If I didn’t have the Green Flameblasts, I wouldn’t have lasted long enough to meet Brother Han.” Yuan Yao grumbled with a relaxed expression as she continued walking. It was clear that she didn’t recognize the Ironfire Ants.
Han Li was stunned by her words. He couldn’t help but ask her with, “The black desert hasn’t been seen before?” He felt that the appearance of such fierce exotic insects at this location was somewhat odd. Apart from cultivators with extraordinary abilities and exceptionally powerful magic treasures, it would be unlikely for even a late Core Formation cultivator to leave the black desert unscathed.
“No! This is the first time the black desert has appeared on the path of molten rock. Previously, other cultivators that underwent this trial merely faced high temperatures and dangerous areas. At most, they would encounter a few flame beasts as well. But these bizarre winged ants haven’t been seen before. Had it been known that such ferocious winged ants existed on the path of molten rock, far fewer cultivators would’ve been willing to brave it.” Yuan Yao replied without hesitation. Despite appearing to know quite much, she remained puzzled by the appearance of the ants.
“If that’s the case, there must be something amiss with the paths of ice and fire!” Han Li muttered to himself with a contemplative expression.
“This is completely abnormal. Someone must’ve taken action.” In a forest of blood red icicles on the path of profound ice, Layman Qing Yi looked at the sky with his arms behind his back.
Countless floating inch-large spheres of azure lights revolved around him, separating him from a dense swarm of several hundred silver beasts that surrounded him. These small beasts strongly resembled mice. Not only was their fur sparkling with silver light, but they also had a small, delicate horn on their heads.
They surrounded the old man as streaks of silver light and continuously struck at him like arrows with their horns. Each of the strikes released a thunderous boom in a display of astonishing momentum. However, the azure lights surrounding the old man’s body remained motionless, completely unaffected by the erratic attacks of silver light.
“Courting death!” The Confucian-robed old man grew annoyed by the strange mice’s attacks. After lowering his head towards them, he swept his sleeves outward with a cold expression. A burst of azure light immediately spread out, illuminating an area of forty meters in blinding brilliance.
After a short moment, the azure light faded away to reveal a ground filled with the corpses of the small, silver-furred beasts. Their bodies were densely pricked by thin azure needles that shone with a cold blue light.
Layman Qing Yi’s expression was unchanged. It was obvious that the outcome was as he had expected. After indifferently glancing at the ground, he extended his shriveled right hand and lightly swept it across the air. The needles flew back towards him as azure streaks of light and disappeared into his body.
“Silverlight Mice! How could these damned animals appear at only the second trial? Could it be…” The old man pondered motionlessly and his expression grew sullen.
“Humph! Since these Silverlight Mice have appeared on the Path of Profound Crystal, the Path of Molten Rock should also have something equally inconceivable. I’m afraid that Youngster Han will encounter quite the problem!” Layman Qing Yi coldly snorted with annoyance and spoke to himself with slight apprehension. Soon after, he deeply sigh, disappearing from sight with several blurs.
The forest of blood-red icicles appeared quite strange with its ground littered with the corpses of the small silver beasts.
In some lightless place in the great canyon, two voices were calmly having a chat in the darkness.
“Weren’t you too sloppy, using both Ironfire Ants and Silverlight Mice? Although we’ve always played our tricks in each of the treasure hunts, they were well hidden. The appearance of the black desert and blood icicle forest is far too brazen. Apart from the few that didn’t encounter these obstacles, I fear that a majority of Devil and Righteous Dao cultivators will have died. When that time comes, those Nascent Soul cultivators will no longer be fooled.” A voice spoke with slight fear.
“Fool? Did you truly believe that our previous actions in the Heavenvoid Hall were unnoticed by the Righteous and Devil Daos? They had long figured them out but they chose to feign ignorance due to our Star Palace’s power. They also knew that we could only control a few of the Heavenvoid Hall’s minor restrictions that wouldn’t result in too great a death. In each treasure hunt, it would merely result in a few more deaths of the Righteous and Devil Dao Core Formation cultivators.” The other voice unhurriedly replied.
“The black desert and the blood icicle forest are the most ferocious restrictions I can control. It is only somewhat of a pity for them to be used like this. After all, as the previous generation masters of the Star Palace, we’ve spent quite some effort to grasp them.” He unhurriedly spoke with a tone of regret.
“There is nothing to regret! Right now, there are rumors widely spread that the two sages have reached a crucial point in their seclusion and cannot be contacted, causing the inhabitants of the Scattered Star Seas to be alarmed. However, this has caused the inner disciples of the Star Palace to become restless. They are completely reliant on us old fellows to handle the arduous affairs of the palace. With the Righteous and Devil Dao starting to stir, it is becoming far more difficult to suppress them. Although each of the sides alone prove no threat to us, it will become dire once they join forces.
“The only method we currently have is to forcefully cripple the strength of the two sides and cause them to become doubtful and unsure of our true circumstances. After all, given the many years that the Star Palace has governed the Scattered Star Seas, it is impossible for them to not have misgivings. So long as we can drag this on for a moment more, the two sages will be able to leave seclusion. At that time, even if the two sides joined hands, we won’t have to worry about them. Our two Lord Sages’ Divine Essencefused Light will be able to force the Mad Matron of Myriad Gates of Enlightenment and Devil Saint Island’s Archsaint of the Six Paths to retreat.”
“The usage of the Ironfire Ants and Silverlight Mice restrictions were unavoidable. Apart from these two restrictions, none of the others are nearly as destructive against Core Formation cultivators. They all lack the proper fierceness to admonish them and reflect our unyielding attitude. As for your fears of the two sides using this as a pretext to act, they are groundless. Those among the dead aren’t their own personal disciples, and they are our opposition in the contest for the Heavenvoid Cauldron. What we’ve done isn’t enough for them to act! At most, they’ll be inwardly seething.”
The cold voice sneered as he gave his long explanation.
The first voice remained silent as if approving of the other’s judgements.