“Hehe, in that case, this old man won’t dissuade you any further, Brother Han.” The elderly coach driver chuckled and kept quiet.
Han Li smiled and looked around him once before. Then he stood up from the tortoise without another word.
Because the giant tortoise was at the center of the caravan, it had stopped in place. The other tortoise carriages also quickly gathered around it.
Not long after, over thirty tortoise carriages circled around one another.
The soldiers mounting large wolves gathered together in a group numbering over fifty, creating a defensive perimeter around them. A large man with a scarred face was leading them, and strangely enough, the young blue-robed woman was mixed among them with a crimson tiger crouched at her side.
Bird cries sounded from a distance and seemed to be growing closer and more fervent as time passed by. Several small crimson birds soon appeared and continuously circled in the air. The scarred man harshly shouted, “Prepare to fight! Have the tortoises lay down in full defensive positions!”
With that said, the tortoise drivers cracked a whip above the tortoises’ heads, and the tortoises each slowly crouched down, then withdrawing their head and legs into their huge shells. They appeared the same as large azure boulders.
The sound of quaking earth sounded from far away with large clouds of dust spitting out from the ground and surging towards them.
The scarred man’s face turned icy and he wordlessly waved his hand. The cavalrymen raised their wolf tooth clubs in a trained manner.
When Han Li saw this, a trace of surprise appeared from his face, but before he could think more of the matter, he saw something that left him surprised.
The scarred man suddenly tossed a green medicine pill into his mouth, soon letting out a large yell after. Yellow light circulated through his body and thin yellow fur spouted forth from his skin, turning his irises into a deep green.
Afterwards, he knocked his feet against the wolf he mounted, and the wolf immediately shot forward with a roar.
The other cavalrymen hadn’t undergone such a strange transformation, but by circulating their own techniques, light shined from their bodies and they followed after their leader in a fearless charge.
Several tens of cavalrymen swept up a dust cloud as they charged forward.
‘What’s going on? Could it be this person is a metamorphosed demon beast? Impossible, he would have to be a demon beast at a metamorphosed stage. He can’t be such a high-grade demon cultivator.
And from the soldiers’ lack of reaction, this sight is common in the spirit realm. It appears that I’ll need to spend more time in the spirit realm to understand it. Regardless, the scarred man’s transformation and those so-called spirit bodies are something I’ve never heard of in the mortal realm.”
In his surprise, his thoughts quickly churned, quickly discovering there were quite a few differences in this world compared to the mortal realm.
At that moment, the scarred man let the troops over a kilometer away from the caravan to meet the roiling dust clouds. Soon after, sounds of battle and shouts followed, but only the central part of the dust clouds was stopped. The sides split off and continued to charge in the direction of the caravan.
In the blink of an eye, dust drifted over the soldiers and concealed them.
It was unknown who let out the first shout, but following that, the guards that remained at the caravan raised their bows and began to release their arrows.
A rain of arrows launched from the caravan.
Muffled thuds sounded as the arrows landed and the dust cloud’s momentum was greatly slowed. But soon after, the clouds rolled away as several black silhouettes pounced from the dust to reveal yellow worms that were three meters long.
They each appeared quite flat and had massive mouths on their heads. They also had a pair of antennae waving around from the top of their heads,
These were the so-called Sandbug Beasts.
When Han Li saw them, this face faintly changed. He exterminated countless such demon beasts during his time in the Scattered Star Seas, but they were far more deadly and powerful than the current worms before him.
As soon as the worms appeared, the sound of tearing winds sounded, followed by the glint of a dozen arrows piercing into the worms. But apart from one arrow striking at one of their mouths, the rest of the injuries didn’t seem to be lethal. Rather, they only further incited the worms. Regardless of the blood leaking from their bodies, they pounced onto the nearest tortoise.
The four guards on the tortoise remained calm and brandished their blades to meet the attack.
It was clear they cultivated a peculiar technique. Although they weren’t able to defeat the worms in one fell sweep, each of their strikes left long gashes on the worms’ bodies, forcing them to the ground.
For a time, the huge worms twitched on the ground, suffering from their heavy injuries.
But then, more giant worms emerged from the dust clouds, slowly trickling out in an unending streak. In the blink of an eye, the caravan found themselves surrounded.
Naturally, a huge battle erupted.
Shouts and dancing blades were abruptly mixed together, scattering blood in the air.
At the center of the tortoise carriage, Han Li was in the most defended position, but apart from him and the carriage driver, there was no one else present. The three young women with him had disappeared at an unknown time.
Having no need to worry about his safety for the time being, Han Li looked at the surrounding battle at his leisure.
But a while later, he unconsciously frowned.
It was as the old carriage driver said. Because of the worm’s giant size, there was a limit to how high they could jump. Most of them could only jump at the side of the tortoise shells, not over them, granting the guards a prime opportunity to strike.
As a result, the guards have had a massive advantage since the beginning.
But due to the overwhelming number of worms, the yellow clouds have yet to disappear. It was impossible to see through their true numbers, but in such a short amount of time, over three hundred worms have attacked the caravan.
Although the worms’ movements were clumsy, they each had rough hides and thick flesh. Even with a dozen slashes, the worms could continue to attack so long as none of their vitals were struck.
The increasing numbers of worms meant that it was impossible to maintain a tight defense. Eventually, a few of them managed to jump over the tortoises and injure the guards.
If one wasn’t able to dodge out of the way, a guard would lose an arm to a huge worm’s mouth. If a worm came from behind, it was possible to lose one’s head. And when they managed to jump on top of the tortoises, they were also able to use their thick antennae as ferocious weapons.
As time went on, the situation for the caravan worsened.
The only peaceful areas were the several tortoise carriages at the center of the caravan, where Han Li happened to be.
Han Li's gaze wandered for a moment and he turned his head, looking at another nearby carriage.
It was the carriage that Nan Qizi and a few other cultivators entered a moment ago.
As Foundation Establishment cultivators, it should be easy to kill off these trifling insect beasts, but they’ve yet to perform the slightest action. These cultivators had no intention of taking action.
Han Li frowned and turned back, continuing to watch the battle with a calm expression.
At that point, over twenty of the guards were either dead or gravely injured by the worms, and the guards that remained began to appear exhausted.
There would only be more casualties as time went on.
If the scarred man didn’t return with the cavalrymen soon, the caravan may not last much longer.
However, Han Li wasn’t worried about himself.
Although Han Li wasn’t able to use any magic techniques and his meridians weren’t healed, he did cultivate the fourth layer of the Brightjade Arts. His body was incredibly durable. The teeth of the worms wouldn’t be able to harm him.
Moreover, he possessed two Immortal Vanquishing Beads, something that could gravely injure Deity Transformation-stage demon cultivators if he caught them off guard.
As such, Han Li was able to observe the battle without worry.
“Not good. Elder Sister Xiang’er, the situation looks bad. We should quickly act.” A young woman’s clear voice sounded from behind him.
Han Li’s expression stirred as he slowly turned around.
One of the back of the huge tortoise, Xian’er and the other young women had suddenly appeared. The three were holding onto a set of small flags. The red-clothed woman with an anxious expression, the youngest amongst them, was the one who spoke.
The young green-robed woman said, “It is no matter. There is still time. Let us quickly place down the Minor Returning Spring Formation. Although we are missing Elder Sister Liu’er, we’ll be able to hold it up for some time.” The three then quickly stood in formation and took out a cloth the size of a basin. They placed it on the ground to reveal a meter-large spell formation diagram.
Han Li watched this with an odd expression on his face.
At that moment, the three women raised the small flags in their hand and revealed the bracelets around their wrists that were embedded with spirit stones.
As the three chanted, the small flags and bracelets lit up and their wrists trembled. The three flags suddenly pierced into the formation diagram and emit faint spiritual Qi fluctuations as it scattered white light around it.
The white light swept past the surrounding guards and disappeared into their bodies.
As a result, the guards were immediately reinvigorated. Not only did their exhausted appearances vanish, but an immense strength burst forth from their bodies. Their originally heavy weapons became nimble in their hands, flashing with cold light as they cut down the worms once more, gaining the advantage.
When Han Li saw this, his mouth switched and he coldly smiled.
The Returning Spring Formation was a simplified version of the mortal realm’s Origin Essence Formation. Those affected by the formation may feel as if their energy was restored and may feel overwhelming power, but in truth, they are burning away their inner essence and shaving away at their lifespan. From how quickly the guards recovered, they spent around twenty or thirty years of their lifespan.