Han Li felt gloomy.
The original joy he felt from witnessing the Gold Devouring Beetles’s strength was mostly gone.
Although he had eight thousand fully matured Gold Devouring Beetles, if he released the lot of them, he feared his spiritual sense would run dry before his beetles confronted the enemy.
Bafflingly enough, the beetles had no drain on his spiritual sense when they weren’t fully matured.
This left him perplexed.
He couldn't ignore this sudden development. He would have to find what caused this at the very least.
Otherwise, he wouldn’t dare to use the beetles in battle.
With that in mind, he waved at the beetle.
The beetle circled in the air before landing on his palm.
He released a thread of spiritual sense and wrapped it around the beetle. As a result, he found nothing out of the ordinary.
He took a shallow breath and narrowed his eyes in thought. Suddenly, something came to mind and he waved his hand. The beetle flew back into the air and he wrapped his spiritual sense around it once more.
A short moment later, his face vastly changed.
The spiritual sense that coiled around the beetle’s body became gradually weaker and continued to enter the huge beetle's body.
Han Li now realized everything.
The reason why his spiritual sense was decreasing was that the mature Gold Devouring Beetles were expelling it as they flew. It was no wonder why his spiritual sense was worn to such a degree without any knowledge.
Know that he knew the problem, he frowned in thought for a long while and felt that he couldn't come up with a good answer.
Although the exhaustion of his spiritual sense was only temporary, typically recoverable with a day’s rest, it would be fatal if this occurred in battle.
Regardless of the secret technique or magic treasure, they needed large quantities of spiritual sense to sustain them.
Until he could figure out a method to resolve this, he would keep the beetles as a reserve measure.
However, the sight of the beetles alone was enough to scare away the crimson shadow. Even in the spirit world, the Gold Devouring Beetles possessed a truly infamous reputation.
The exotic insect ranking he acquired from the Devil Dao cultivator in the mortal world was no longer relevant in Han Li’s eyes.
Given the experiences of a low-grade cultivator, there were many mistakes to be had. The rankings were particularly useless in the spirit realm.
The power of the fully mature Gold Devouring Beetles was far beyond Han Li’s expectations.
With that thought in mind, Han Li didn’t dare to linger for much longer and promptly made certain of his bearings before flying off.
If the others hadn’t died, they would likely show up at the meeting point. Although the spiritual Qi markers they placed on one another had disappeared, they had another method of contact. So long as they weren’t too far away from another, they could establish a mutual connection.
Two weeks later, an azure streak silently flew across the desert sky.
Although the streak was azure, the flight light had become dim and lightless through some technique. One wouldn’t be able to spot it if they weren’t looking closely.
This, of course, was Han Li.
In the two weeks, Han Li hadn’t encountered anything, nor did any more shadow tribe beings pursue him.
It was as if the crimson had been scared away by the Gold Devouring Beetles.
With his heart at ease, he focused his mind on travel.
As he continued to travel, his exhausted spiritual sense was restored to completion.
At that moment, he was fiddling with a glossy jade bottle. The words “Earth Cleansing Pill” was engraved on the surface of the bottle in ancient script. It also contained all the Earth Cleansing Pills that were given to him by Deep Heaven City.
This was one of his rewards for taking on the dangerous mission.
They said so long as he assisted the others in completing the mission, he would be granted complete freedom.
Not only him, but the other ascended cultivators that undertook dangerous missions were also given sufficient Earth Cleansing Pills.
But in order to protect them from abandoning the mission or half-heartedly undertaking the mission, the medicine bottle had a formidable restriction placed on the bottle.
They attempted to break the restriction forcibly, the bottle would rupture and destroy the pills they contained.
So long as he finished his assignment, he would be sent a Myriad Distance Talisman to dissolve the restriction, after multiple methods of verification of course.
Han Li stroked the bottle for a moment and his expression stirred. Spiritual light suddenly flashed from his hand and he put away the bottle.
At an unknown time, a flock of giant cranes had appeared before them. They had light yellow wings and had purple warts on their heads.
The birds clearly discovered Han Li and were screeching as they dived towards him in various directions.
As the birds grew closer, Han Li sighed. Light flashed from his body and he vanished. A moment later, he appeared at the center of a group of thirty yellow birds.
Before Han Li took any action, a robe of sparkling light appeared around him.
The robes wildly flashed and countless golden-silver arcs of lightning sparked, completely enveloping the surrounding three hundred meter area.
With an astonishing roar of thunder, golden and silver lightning violently flashed, vaporising the nearby birds in an instant.
The surrounding air was left clean.
Han Li expressionlessly looked around him and continued on his way.
The giant half-broken pillars and the remains of the three meter stone walls marked by gales clearly marked they didn’t belong to any ordinary construct as they still remained standing despite the countless years.
In the heart of the ruins, there sat a black-robed woman sitting against a wall. There was also a purple-robed youth that was pacing back and forth. They were both silent and wore solemn expressions.
The two were Xiao Hong and Long Dong.
The youth’s face appeared ordinary. It appeared he quickly recovered from the large quantity of blood essence he had burned to rid himself of his pursuers. It was unknown if this was a result of medicine or through some sort of secret technique.
Otherwise, it would’ve normally taken him several years to recover from at the very least.
A moment later, the two sensed something and they turned to look at the sky.
They saw a golden blur silently appear and fly in their direction.
It flashed several times and the light faded to reveal the white-robed young woman.
“Older Sister Xiao, Fellow Daoist Long, did you wait for long? I see that you two are doing fine.” the young woman giggled. She didn’t appear injured in the slightest.
Xiao Hong forced a smile and a flash of joy appeared from Long Dong’s face.
The youth sighed and said, “I knew that Lady Xie is quite clever and that nothing would happen to her. There are still two others that have yet to appear. On that day, I fear that they had done more to Brother Li after he was captured. As for Brother Han, he had yet to contact us. I fear something has happened to him in the shadow clan’s pursuit.”
The white-robed woman pursed her lips and her eyes flickered. Eventually, she decided to keep silent.
The young woman slowly drifted down from the sky and stood before the two. She leisurely said, “Brother Li might’ve only been captured, but Fellow Daoist Han isn’t so simple. We may as well wait a few more days.”
Xiao Hong insipidly said, “Wait a few more days? This is the time of the year where the Southern Skyline Sandstorm is at its weakest. If we miss it, we’ll lose too much time. We can only wait two more days at most.’
“Two days should be enough.” The white-robed woman said little more and readily agreed. Soon after, she sat at a clean corner and meditated.
As half a day slowly passed, a buzz sounded from the sky and caught the three cultivators’ attention.
Their expression faintly changed and they glanced at one another. Long Dong said, “I’ll activate the location plate. How fortunate! Nothing has happened to Brother Han!”
Soon after, the blood-marked youth shook his sleeve and the azure spell plate appeared in his hand. He struck it with a spell seal.
It brightly lit up and the blood-marked youth closed his hands. The plate then disappeared.
With that done, the youth stood up and held his hands behind his back.
Several hours later, an azure streak silently appeared. It flashed several times and appeared before the three cultivators. It circled in the air and the light disappeared to reveal Han Li.
Long Dong smiled, “Brother Han, it is good that you are well. It is good fortune that we all made it out of the shadow tribe’s ambush.”
“It is also fortunate that you are well!” Han Li swept his gaze past them and smiled.
Xiao Hong calmly proposed, “Since Brother Han has arrived, let’s go. If we’re slow, we’ll be tangled with the shadow tribe.”
Long Dong shook her head. “Fairy Xiao’s words are reasonable. This isn’t a place we can stay for long.”
Han Li and the white-robed woman also raised no objections.
Half a day later, the party flew off and traveled with diligent attention.
This time, they flew for thousands of kilometers before slowly appearing before a storm. It was violently stirring. Not long after, the party flew into the sandstorm. They were surrounded by yellow debris and countless gales of sand brushed past them.
Were it not for the protective light surrounding their body, he feared that the yellow winds would’ve forcefully landed them.
After traveling straightforward for a thousand kilometers, Long Dong, the one in the lead, came to a sudden stop. Soon after, the rest of the party heard a voice transmission from him, “We’ve arrived. We’ve arrived at the Southern Skyline. Hehe, were it not for the two Wind Steadying Beads they’ve given us, I fear even Spatial Tempering cultivators wouldn’t dare to rush here. With these beads, we can safely head in. However, everyone should be careful about the wind wyrms that live here. If we aren’t completely cautious, we will chance encounter one despite how large the Southern Skyline is.”
Xiao Hong added with a serious expression, “Fellow Daoists will also need to be careful of other dangers that exist. After all, the shadow tribe was already waiting for us outside. They could be inside as well. If we truly encounter something, you’ll have to depend on yourselves for survival."