"You appear to be no more than 30 years of age, yet you've already reached such a high level of mastery in the Vajra Arts. It's no wonder that Leader Zhang holds you in such high regard, Brother Han," Liu'er praised with a hint of a smile on her face.
"You're far too kind, Sister Liu'er. By the way, I've already signed a blood curse contract, but I don't actually know much at all about the Heavenly East Enterprise. Would you be able to tell me about it?" Han Li asked with a smile.
"Looks like you're not from our Heavenly Origin Region, Brother Han. Otherwise, you wouldn't be asking such a question," Liu'er chuckled with a hint of amusement in her eyes.
"Why do you say that? Is the Heavenly East Enterprise quite renowned in these parts?" Han Li was rather intrigued to hear this.
"Renowned? That we certainly are, Brother Han. Ours is one of the three largest enterprises in the entire Heavenly Origin Region, and we have branches in several hundred cities. Our main branch has even been set up in the Heavenly Origin Sacred City," Liu'er replied with a slightly smug expression.
Unfortunately, none of that meant anything to Han Li, who had just ascended to the Spirit Realm.
In his mind, several hundred cities wasn't a lot; any small country in the human world could easily consist of several hundred cities. However, it appeared from Liu'er's boastful tone that this was already quite an achievement. Han Li didn't know whether that was because she simply hadn't seen any truly powerful organizations or if cities here were a lot larger than they were in the human world.
In any case, he pretended to put on a mildly impressed expression as he nodded, and said, "I see, our enterprise is indeed quite large in that case. I heard from your discussion earlier that we were traveling to An Yuan City; may I ask where that is and how long it'll take for us to get there?"
"You sly man, you were eavesdropping on our conversation!" a young woman in a red dress chuckled.
Han Li cleared his throat in a rather speechless manner. They had been conversing in such a loud voice that it would’ve been quite difficult not to "eavesdrop" on their conversation.
"Don't be rude, Sheng'er. Please don't take her words to heart, Brother Han. Sheng'er is quite young and she bears no ill will." Liu'er scolded the girl in red before turning to Han Li with an apologetic look.
In her eyes, even though Han Li was only a new member of their Heavenly East Enterprise, he was a man with immeasurable potential and would surely become an integral member of their enterprise in the future. As such, she naturally wanted to avoid irking Han Li.
Han Li smiled upon hearing this, and he was just about to respond when the carriage tremored slightly as the giant tortoise came to an abrupt halt.
Liu'er's expression faltered before she immediately yelled, "What happened, Uncle Wang?"
"Our Crimson Spirit Sparrow up ahead discovered a group of Sandbug Beasts, and they seem to be onto us," the elderly coach driver outside replied.
"It's just a group of Sandbug Beast, just deploy some people to chase them away. We're already going to be late, so we have to make haste." Liu'er seemed to be rather displeased.
"The problem is, one of those Sandbug Beasts has evolved into a low-grade insect beast and attained intelligence, so it could spell trouble for us if we don't kill them," the elderly man replied with a wry smile.
"A low-grade insect beast? That is indeed a little troublesome, but Leader Zhang has already mastered the fifth layer of the Tyrant Tiger Arts, hasn't he? In that case, it shouldn't be an issue for him to slay that insect beast with the Golden Luster Sword that the mistress bestowed upon him," Liu'er analyzed.
"You're indeed correct, Liu'er, but this insect beast has a few mutated insects beast guarding it, so it would be quite risky even for Leader Zhang to face them," the elderly coach driver replied in a hesitant voice.
"Mutated insect bests! That really is a little dangerous, but don't we have Daoist Priest Nan Qizi and the other cultivators? Just get them to take care of this matter," Liu'er instructed after a brief pause.
"Leader Zhang has already requested for their assistance, but was turned down. The cultivators are all from the Goulou Mountains, and they're unwilling to attack unless the insect beasts attack them first," the elderly man sighed.
"We really are in some trouble, then. I said from the various beginning not to hire those cultivators from Goulou Mountains. They're always restricted by this rule or that regulation," Sheng'er scoffed as she wrinkled her nose with disdain.
"Daoist Priest Nan Qizi and the others are not to blame. Most of the cultivators on the Goulou Mountains practice insect-manipulation arts, so it's simply bad luck that we encountered insect beasts rather than other types of beasts. I'll release the thing that the mistress left with me before she departed so we can give Leader Zhang a hand. You go an inform him of this, and I'll go to see him soon." A grim look appeared on Liu'er's face.
"With that thing, we'll definitely have no problems dealing with the insect beasts." The elderly coach driver seemed to have been greatly relieved upon hearing this arrangement.
"Big Sister Liu'er, are you really going to release that thing? The mistress will punish you if something goes wrong." Xiang'er was rather concerned in contrast.
"Don't worry, that thing has already been tamed by the mistress, and possesses a certain degree of intelligence. Its power is comparable even to that of low-grade demon beasts, let alone a few mutated insect beasts." Liu'er gave her a confident smile before striding out of the carriage.
"I have a bad feeling about this. I'm going to have a look." Sheng'er bit down on her lower lip before also departing from the carriage.
Xiang'er and the last girl glanced at one another before wry smiles appeared on their faces. Neither of them said anything, but they seemed to have a tacit understanding with one another as they also exited the carriage.
As such, Han Li was the only one left in the carriage.
He sat in his chair and narrowed his eyes with a contemplative look on his face.
A few moments later, the thunderous roar of a tiger that was filled with a sense of violence and bloodlust erupted from nearby.
Han Li stirred slightly upon seeing this before slowly rising to his feet and making his way toward the carriage door.
After pushing open the door, Han Li strode out of the carriage in an unhurried manner, standing on the edge of the giant tortoise's shell as he looked into the distance.
The light of all seven moons in the sky was illuminating their surroundings, so Han Li was able to see everything around him with great clarity.
He could see that their band of carriages stretched for around 500 meters, and there were over 30 of these giant tortoise beasts situated at regular intervals down the line.
Most of them were carrying massive cargo crates that were no smaller than the tortoises themselves, and all of them also had four or five armored guards standing on their backs. At the same time, there were also knights riding atop giant wolf steeds traveling on either side of them, making sure that they were very well guarded.
However, none of those giant tortoises caught Han Li's interest.
Instead, he was more intrigued by a cuboid object that was around 20 feet tall enshrouded under a glistening black cloth. At this moment, the middle-aged man, the four young women, and Nan Qizi were all standing around this object.
Low beastly snarls could be heard coming from beneath the back cloth.
Furthermore, there were runes shimmering over the surface of the cloth, indicating that it was a low-grade treasure.
At this moment, Liu'er was holding a badge in her hand, from within which swaths of blue light were radiating forth.
Even though they were situated quite far away, Han Li could see everything they were doing with perfect clarity through the use of his Brighsight Spirit Eyes. As such, he was able to catch a glimpse of a green bracelet on Liu'er's hand, which had tiny shimmering spirit stones embedded onto its surface.
A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this.
It appeared that these so-called spirit tools could only be used by mortals if they had an external power source. Seeing as they had spirit stones embedded into them, it was clearly the case that they would lose their efficacy once the spiritual Qi within those spirit stones was exhausted.
Just as Han Li was pondering this notion, the black cloth seemed to have absorbed sufficient blue light, and it suddenly disappeared as a vast expanse of black smoke, revealing an intricately crafted silvery beast cage within.
Inside this cage was a crimson tiger beast.
From its outward appearance, this beast appeared to be no different from an ordinary tiger, aside from the fact that its fur was as crimson as blood. However, all of the bystanders were struck by an involuntary sense of fear as they cast their eyes toward this beast.
At the sight of so many people standing around its cage, a vicious light abruptly flashed through the beast's eyes. All of a sudden, it pounced violently without any premonition, crashing heavily into the cage, causing the entire structure to tremor violently.
Everyone's expressions changed as they retreated involuntarily.
Liu'er took a deep breath before raising her badge again, upon which crimson light began to surface over the badge.
Strangely enough, as soon as the tiger beast caught sight of this red light, the ferocious gleam in its eyes immediately disappeared, and it lay down at the center of the cage like a tame kitten.
Zhang Kui and the others were all greatly relieved to see this.
Right at this moment, the clear cry of a bird suddenly rang out from afar, and it was as if it were trying to transmit some kind of message.
A grim expression appeared on Zhang Kui's face as he yelled, "Those insect beasts have sped up and have already surrounded us. Everyone, prepare for battle, but don't stray far away from the carriages; let them come to us. I'll lead a group to slay that low-grade insect demon. None of these other insects have any intelligence, so once that thing dies, all of the insects will disperse on their own."
His words sent a stir throughout the entire squad.
All of them began to converge toward the giant tortoises that were carrying cargo, and all of the knights had drawn their blades as they sat atop their massive wolf steeds with wary expressions.
Meanwhile, Liu'er issued a command, and someone opened the cage to release the tiger beast.
The elderly coach driver turned to Han Li with a smile, and said, "Brother Han, you're yet to recover from your injuries, so it's best if you return to the carriage for your own safety. These Sandbug Beasts can't jump and the carriage is constructed from Heavy Iron Wood, so you'll be safe in there."
"Thank you for your words of caution. I haven't ever seen Sandbug Beasts before, so I want to see them for myself. If it gets dangerous here, I'll be sure to return to the carriage," Han Li replied with a nonchalant smile.