Han Li pondered the question for a moment before replying, "My Kun Peng transformation technique does indeed come from the Tian Peng Race, but I'm not sure why I'm immune to the effect of this mist after taking on this form. I considered this question on my way back and came up with a theory, but I'm not sure if it's a reliable one."
"You can tell us what you think, Brother Han, there's no need to keep secrets from us," Yan Li chuckled.
A slightly awkward look appeared on Han Li's face before he continued, "Seeing as the two of you once cultivated in the Umbra Realm of the human world for so many, you're most likely aware of some of the legends surrounding that place."
"Are you referring to legends of the Netherworld and the Rahu Beast, Brother Han?" Yuan Yao asked as her expression changed slightly.
"Indeed. The Netherworld has always been the stuff of legends, and no one has actually been able to verify its existence, but I witnessed the Rahu Beast in person in the human world once. Even though I only saw an extremely tiny portion of the beast, the phenomenon that it triggered with its emergence was very similar to the ghostly mist leading to the Umbra Realm," Han Li replied.
"So you're saying the Unbrea Realm of the human world is actually the body of the Rahu Beast?" Yuan Yao's mouth gaped open in astonishment.
"I don't have any other evidence to support that notion, but I think it's very much possible. The true spirit Kun Peng is the mortal enemy of the Rahu Beast, so perhaps I'm able to draw upon some of the Kun Peng's power after adopting my Kun Peng form. If the mist here really does have something to do with the ghostly mist of the human world, then everything would make sense," Han Li speculated.
"Could it be that this so-called infernal river is the body of the Rahu Beast? In that case, why is the mist here slightly different from the ghostly mist in the human world?" Yan Li asked with her brows furrowed in confusion.
Han Li didn't give a direct answer to this. Instead, he smiled and responded with a question of his own. "Are you under the impression that this Rahu is the same as the Rahu of the human world?"
"Are you saying that these are two different Rahu Beasts? That does explain the differences in the mists. It's said that the Rahu Beast is unfathomably massive and is capable of devouring celestial bodies like the sun and the moon. This infernal river is clearly far larger than the Umbra Realm, so we must be inside the body of a Rahu Beast that's far larger than the one in the human world!" Yan Li's face paled slightly as that realization dawned on her.
"That's probably not the extent of it." Han Li shook his head with a grim expression.
"Oh? Do you have something else to add, Brother Han?" Yuan Yao asked with a curious expression.
"The mist in this place feels quite dead in comparison to the ghostly mist in the human world. I've seen some records that mention that when Rahu Beasts reach the ends of their lifespans and pass away, the space within their bodies won't collapse and can actually continue to exist forever."
"Are you saying we're currently in the space within the carcass of a Rahu Beast?" Yuan Yao faltered upon hearing this.
"Hehe, I'm merely speculating. As for what the actual situation is like, that's yet to be verified," Han Li chuckled in response.
"I think you're very close to the truth if not spot-on in your speculation, Brother Han. In that case, everything can be explained. It's due to fact that this Rahu Beast has already passed away that the Yin Qi within its body is far more abundant than in the Umbra Realm, thereby giving rise to so many high-grade ghostly beings. I wonder if the demon monarchs already know this or have figured it out at this point yet. The only thing that I'm still confused about is the existence of spiritual Qi and spirit veins here. There's no spiritual Qi at all in the Umbra Realm, and magic power can't be used there, either," Yan Li mused.
"Who knows? Perhaps the powerful beings of the Mayfly Race modified this place after discovering it or perhaps these changes naturally occur after the Rahu Beast passes away. In any case, none of that had anything to do with our current situation, so we don't need to delve too deep into those matters. The only thing I'm interested in is whether this black mist can actually take us away from the infernal river. As long as this place is the same kind of entity as the Umbra Realm, then there has to be an exit here as well. If this really is the exit, then it's a lot safer then having to go through a spatial node," Han Li said with a hint of excitement in his eyes.
"You're right, Brother Han! Did you find anything amiss within the clouds of mist that you explored earlier?" Yan Li asked.
"No. Aside from the fact that the black mist can also seal away one's magic power and abilities, there were no other noteworthy discoveries. Of course, I only searched through a few patches of mist in the nearby area. Seeing as this black mist exists here, the exit should be somewhere in this body of water as well. Should we try and search for the exit right away or hide here for a while as we originally planned?" Han Li asked.
"Seeing as the exit could be nearby, let's spend some time to try and find it. Perhaps we'll be able to come across it rather quickly. In that case, we'll be able to get out of this place, so there'll be no need to take risks by hiding," Yan Li immediately replied.
Yuan Yao hesitated momentarily before nodding in agreement. "You're right, Senior Martial Sister. If we hide here as we originally planned, we could be tracked down by the demon monarchs anyway or perhaps even hunted by the Mayfly Race if their reinforcements arrive earlier than expected. In either of those scenarios, we'd be as good as dead."
Han Li fell into deep thought upon hearing this.
The proposal raised by the two women was quite reasonable, but he couldn't shake this feeling of uneasiness that had plagued him during the past few days. He could sense that something wasn't quite right, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it, and it was making him quite hesitant about how to proceed.
After pondering the issue for a long while, he finally said, "Alright, let's search for the exit here, but we can only spend two days in our search at most. After that, we have to hide right away. I think we should be safe during this period of time."
Han Li offered a compromised course of action.
Yuan Yao and Yan Li exchanged a glance upon hearing this before nodding in unison.
"Alright, let's search through the black mist below us first. Even if we can't find the exit here, let's set up a temporary base that we can hide in if any unforeseen circumstances arise. Seeing as my Kun Peng power is immune to the effects of the mist, I have a way to temporarily grant you two immunity to its effects as well," Han Li said with a smile.
"Is that true, Brother Han?" Yuan Yao and Yan Li were ecstatic to hear this.
Han Li smiled as a loud thunderclap suddenly erupted behind him, and a pair of wings appeared on his back. He flapped the pair of wings, and their color changed drastically, with one wing taking on an azure hue while the other wing was flashing incessantly with five-colored light. Both wings were glittering and translucent, and presented a glorious sight to behold.
Han Li had disguised his Thunderstorm Wings as Tian Peng wings this entire time, and he was finally revealing the true form of the spirit treasure.
This was the first time that the two women had witnessed these wings in their true form, and both of them were quite taken aback.
Not only had the appearance of these wings changed drastically, the astonishing spiritual pressure emanating from them also came as quite a shock to the two women.
Right at this moment, Han Li flapped his azure wing, and two translucent azure feathers short forth before stopping in front of the two women.
"These are feathers manifested from the aura of the Kun Peng. You can try to inject your magic power into them; perhaps they'll be able to grant you immunity to the mist," Han Li said with a smile.
Yuan Yao and Yan Li glanced at one another, and both of them were a little skeptical.
However, Yan Li then immediately made a grabbing motion to draw one of the azure feathers into her grasp, then injected her magic power into it as Han Li had suggested.
A ball of azure light dispersed around her following a dull thump, enshrouding her entire body.
"Oh, it does indeed seem to be working. I'll go first; if I fall, make sure to catch me, Brother Han," Yan Li chuckled.
"Hehe, of course. I'll be right beside you, Fairy Yan," Han Li replied as he transformed into the massive azure bird again, then flew ahead into the black mist first.
Yan Li held the azure feather in her hand and prepared to follow suit.
"Be careful, Senior Martial Sister!" Yuan Yao couldn't help but caution.
"Don't worry, I'll be fine with Brother Han looking after me," Yan Li replied with a smile before slowly descending into the mist.
Yuan Yao looked on as Yan Li departed while Han Li was waiting for her to descend into the mist.
Soon, Yan Li finally entered the black mist, following her elated voice rang out from within.
"It really does work! I still can't draw on most of my spiritual power, but it's more than enough for flight and using normal treasures."
Han Li seemed to have predicted this already, and he chuckled, "Hehe, that's good to hear. Come on down, Fairy Yuan, we'll search through this mist together."
Yuan Yao heaved a long sigh of relief after hearing their voices, and she also injected her magic power into the remaining azure feather before descending as well.
However, right at this moment, a sudden turn of events abruptly unfolded!
The peaceful black mist suddenly began to tumble and surge violently, following which a gust of ferocious winds erupted from down below. All of a sudden, the black mist transformed into a massive vortex that howled with fury.
Han Li was stunned by this sudden development.
The winds erupting from the vortex were quite fierce, and there was an enormous suction force attempting to draw his body into the vortex, but it wasn't enough to completely trap him. The suction force was only potent enough to slow him down slightly, yet he was still able to fly over to Yan Li in a flash, grabbing her in his talons before attempting to fly out of the black mist.
However, loud thunderclaps suddenly erupted within the entire vortex as countless bolts of inky-black lightning appeared.
Han Li's heart sank upon witnessing this familiar scene.
The black arcs of lightning were hurtling through the air extremely quickly, yet Han Li was unable to move as fast as he'd normally be able due to that immense suction force.
Black light flashed, and both he and Yan Li disappeared into the vortex.
Yuan Yao was stunned to see this as she looked on from above, yet before she had a chance to do anything, the black vortex abruptly expanded in all directions.
Yuan Yao was unable to evade the rapidly expanding vortex as she also disappeared amid flashes of black lightning.