"Devilish beast hunter? Does that mean you enter the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges quite often?" Han Li asked with a curious look on his face.
"I've entered the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges on a total of 37 occasions, and I've ventured deep into the mountain ranges on seven of those occasions," Yue Zong replied in a respectful manner.
"37?" Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
Seeing as he had promised that he would enter the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges with Xian Xian, he had naturally conducted some research into the mountain ranges beforehand.
Thus, he discovered that the mountain ranges were even more perilous than Xian Xian had made them out to be, and all of the beings who still dared to enter the mountain ranges at this point were brave and skilled adventurers.
However, even those beings didn't dare to venture deep into the mountain ranges, and they'd only roam around the outskirts to kill some relatively weaker devilish beasts.
Yet much to his surprise, this Yue Zong was only at the mid-Deity Transformation Stage, but had ventured deep into the Golden Devil Mountain on several occasions. He didn't know just how deep into the mountain ranges Yue Zong had gone on those occasions, but this was still quite an astonishing feat.
At this moment, Xian Xian explained, "Even though we won't need to venture deep into the mountain ranges during this trip, the place we'll be going to is still quite far away from the entrance to the mountain ranges, and it would be rather perilous for us if we were to encounter any powerful devilish beasts that may be lurking in the outskirts. Hence, I hired Brother Yue as our guide as a safety precaution. With him leading the way, I'm sure we'll enjoy a smooth journey. Brother Yue is one of the very few beings who are able to detect the locations of powerful devilish beasts in advance, even with the disruption presented by the devilish Qi in the mountain ranges."
"You're far too kind, Fair Xian. I certainly wouldn't dare to guarantee a smooth journey, and I haven't entered the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges fo a long time as well, so I don't know if any drastic changes have taken place in there. After all, the last time I entered the mountain ranges was about a century ago," Yue Zong replied in a modest manner.
"What could've possibly changed in a mere century? You're extremely renowned for your exploits in the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, and we're only going to be venturing into the outskirts on this occasion, so surely there's very little that we'll have to worry about," Xian Xian said with a smile.
"That's not necessarily the case, Fairy Xian. The Golden Devil Mountain Ranges aren't just fearsome due to the powerful devilish beasts in there. In addition to those, its terrain changes almost every single day due to the devilish Qi that had gathered there over countless years. Due to the presence of this devilish Qi, a plot of empty land that had been extremely safe the day before could transform into a tall mountain filled with all types of devilish beasts the very next day. To some devilish beasts, changing the terrain within the mountain ranges is a simple task. If it weren't for the facts that we're only going to be exploring the outskirts of the mountain ranges and that I really need that vial of Myriad Year Zoysia Spirit Liquid, I wouldn't have agreed to take this risk no matter what," Yue Zong said with a serious expression.
Xian Xian's expression changed slightly upon hearing this before a warm smile appeared on her face as she said, "Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Yue; we'll only be traveling through the outskirts, and there's no way that we'll venture deep into the mountain ranges. My cultivation base is far inferior to yours, so I certainly wouldn't dare to go any deeper into the mountain ranges than necessary."
Yue Zong's expression eased slightly upon hearing this, and after a brief pause, he continued, "That would be best. Also, as we discussed earlier, I'll only be responsible for acting as your guide and helping to battle any devilish beasts that we may encounter along the way. Aside from that, I won't be assisting you and Senior Han in any other areas; you have no issues with that, right, Fairy Xian?"
"None at all. If we really do encounter some situations where further assistance is required from you, I'm willing to offer additional rewards, and I definitely won't force you to do anything against your will." Xian Xian nodded in response, but she didn't completely agree to this. Yue Zong contemplated her response for a short while before conceding with a slight nod.
Meanwhile, Han Li remained silent this entire time as he carefully appraised Yue Zong, and only at the conclusion of his conversation with Xian Xian did he finally interject, "In all honesty, my understanding of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges and devilish beasts is very lackluster. I've only learned about some of these aspects by asking others and reading some relevant tomes. As such, I'm very glad that Fairy Xian was able to invite someone as familiar with the mountain ranges as Fellow Daoist Yue. However, I have a few questions surrounding the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, and I was hoping you'd be able to answer them, Fellow Daoist Yue."
"Please state any question that you may have, and I'll be sure to tell you everything that I know, Senior Han," Yue Zong immediately replied.
"Setting aside the high-grade devilish beasts in the mountain ranges, have the mid-grade and low-grade devilish beasts also attained intelligence? If so, how does their intelligence compare with that of normal spirit beasts? Also..." Han Li immediately rattled off a list of questions.
Yue Zong displayed his vast wealth of knowledge of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, providing detailed responses to all of Han Li's questions, and Xian Xian also interjected from time to time with questions of her own.
The atmosphere between the three of them was quite harmonious, and they talked for close to an hour before Han Li was finally satisfied. After receiving an answer to his final question, a smile appeared on Han Li's face as he said, "With all of this knowledge, I'm sure our trip will be quite a smooth one. When do you plan on setting off, Fellow Daoist Xian?"
Xian Xian considered the question momentarily before replying, "The Golden Devil Mountain Ranges are about a month's travel away from our Cloud City, so we won't be able to delay for too much longer. I think we should set off in three days; what do you think, Senior?"Han Li stroked his chin as he replied, "Alright, we'll do as you say. Three days from now, let's meet up five kilometers outside of the eastern gates."Yue Zong nodded in response, stating no objections to this proposal. Han Li had no intention of staying any longer, and he bade everyone farewell as he said, "If that's everything that needs to be discussed, then I have to go back and make some preparations now." "We've discussed everything that needs to be said, so you're certainly free to leave, Senior Han," Xian Xian replied in a respectful manner before flipping a hand over to summon her formation plate again.
Thus, Han Li stepped onto the teleportation formation and disappeared amid a flash of spiritual light.
Immediately following Han Li's departure, Yue Zong heaved a reflexive sigh of relief before his brows furrowed as he asked, "Fellow Daoist Xian, is this Senior Han really trustworthy? You say that he's a high-grade devilish cultivator, but I don't sense any devilish aura emanating from his body. I've explored the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges on many occasions, and I'm quite confident in my ability to sense devilish Qi, so could it be possible that he's lying?"
"Rest assured, Brother Yue, I can guarantee that Senior Han is indeed a high-grade devilish cultivator. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that he was a devilish cultivator, I may not have been able to tempt him into coming with us. But then again, if it weren't for the fact that a high-grade devilish cultivator was required for our plans, I wouldn't have had to wait for so long," Xian Xian confirmed with a faint sigh.
Yue Zong was silent for a moment before suddenly asking, "In that case, this Senior Han must be using some kind of mysterious cultivation art that can mask his devilish Qi. Otherwise, there's no way that my sensory ability would completely fail to detect any devilish aura from him. Aside from that, I don't know what your objective for this trip is, but seeing as it requires the accompaniment of a high-grade devilish cultivator, I can only presume that it's not something simple. On top of that, it really is a bad idea to be entering the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges this year. This should be the time during which an influx of devilish Qi will be pouring into the mountain ranges once every 300 years, and during this 10-year period, there's a high chance that the powerful devilish beasts in the mountain ranges will appear in the outskirts. Why don't you wait for a further four or five years instead?"
"My apologies, but I have my secrets, and I cannot reveal them to you. In any case, I have to enter the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges within these two years. Otherwise, I'll have to wait for several more centuries for another opportunity. I simply can't afford to wait that long, so I have no choice but to take this risk. However, it's exactly because of this that I was willing to offer a vial of Myriad Year Zoysia Spirit Liquid in exchange for your services. Truth be told, I went to several other people before you in the hope of employing their services, but none of them were willing to enter the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges during this period of devilish Qi influx, so I had no choice but to come to you," Xian Xian admitted with a wry smile after a brief hesitation.
"In that case, I'll have to take the risk with you then, Fairy Xian. However, let me make this clear first; during this period of devilish Qi influx, I'm only 70% to 80% confident that I'll be able to guide you safely to your destination. If mishaps arise or we encounter some powerful devilish beasts or some other incident occurs that will pose a threat to our lives, then I'll be fleeing the scene right away. On top of that, you'll have to give me the other half vial of Zoysia Spirit Liquid that you promised me as well," Yue Zong reminded in a serious voice.
"Of course. These terms were all confirmed in advance, so I naturally won't go back on my word," Xian Xian replied with a smile.
Yue Zong nodded before narrowing his eyes as he asked, "From the looks of it, you don't seem to have told Senior Han about the devilish Qi influx that's currently taking place in the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges; won't that be problematic?"
"I'm taking Senior Han with us because I need to borrow his Devil Dao abilities, and that has nothing to do with the influx of devilish Qi. Even you can't guide us safely in and out of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges, then the outcome will remain the same regardless of whether I inform Senior Han or not. He'll know about this sooner or later anyway," Xian Xian replied with a sly look on her eyes.
"That's true. However, if you were to tell him in advance, then you most likely wouldn't have been able to convince Senior Han to come with us," Yue Zong chuckled with a knowing expression.
Xian Xian merely smiled upon hearing this and offered no response.
After that, she and Yue Zong discussed some other details before Yue Zong was also sent away by the teleportation formation. Thus, Xian Xian was the only one left in the spatial rift.
The smile on her face gradually faded, and her brows furrowed slightly as she suddenly waved a sleeve through the air. A ball of azure light immediately flew out from within, then transformed into a fist-sized azure beast in a flash.
The small beast had scales all over its body and sharp claws attached to its four limbs. There was a pair of horns on its head it had a mouthful of sharp fangs, giving it an identical appearance to a true spirit Kirin.
However, the small beast's body was extremely indistinct and insubstantial, looking as if it could be dispersed by nothing more than a gentle breeze.