It was quite clear that the arcs of lightning were quite powerful, as exemplified by the fact that they remained completely unmoved by the scorching azure flames.
Meanwhile, the giant talon projection was stalled in mid-air for a moment before being shattered by the massive silver disk that it had clashed with.
Without any further obstacles standing in its way, the giant disk sped directly toward the puppet's head, sending spatial fluctuations surging through the air in its wake, as if it were threatening to slice through space itself.
The Lightning Bird puppet opened its mouth to expel a bolt of azure lightning that was as thick as a water tank in response, and it transformed into an azure lightning wyrm that struck the disk with tremendous force.
Silver light and azure lightning intertwined, and an anguished wail immediately rang out from the silver disk as several cracks began to appear on its surface.
Immediately thereafter, it separated into six disks again, each of which plummeted toward one of the short foreign beings.
The arcs of lightning around the puppet's body then swelled once again, and a resounding boom rang out as it vanished on the spot amid a flash of lightning.
In the next instant, lightning flashed in the air above the three carriages, and the Lightning Bird puppet abruptly reappeared before flapping its wings violently, swooping downward with devastating might.
The six foreign beings were naturally startled to see this, but they all remained quite calm as they raised an arm each in unison, then quickly pressed their hands onto the azure-armored puppets before them.
Crimson light flashed through the three puppets' eyes, and a ball of azure light erupted from their bodies as they swelled drastically in size.
In the blink of an eye, their visors had slipped off their faces, and they'd transformed into three massive demonic ghostly beings that were over 100 feet tall each.
Six massive ghostly claws swiped through the air in unison, sending a dozen or so black claw projections hurtling directly toward the Lightning Bird puppet.
The demonic ghosts then abruptly grabbed onto the silver spears on their backs, which had expanded in size along with them, before thrusting the spears into the air.
The silver spears transformed into 10 silver pillars of light that vanished in a flash, and immediately thereafter, the sounds of howling winds and resounding thunderclaps rang out in the nearby area.
The Lightning Bird puppet remained completely expressionless upon seeing this, and it opened its mouth to blast forth a bolt of azure lightning again before pressing its single talons downward to exert an immense invisible force.
All six short foreign beings withdrew their arms in unison at this moment, and they all began to chant something, upon which their bodies also swelled to several times their original size.
Immediately thereafter, a dozen or so treasures of different forms flew out of their bodies in rapid succession to join the attack.
Explosions rang out in the air in rapid successions, and dazzling lights of all colors flashed, making it difficult for one to directly appraise the battle.
This battle lasted a full two hours, and when everything finally drew to a conclusion, the half of the Lightning Bird puppet that remained plummeted from the sky before vanishing into the ruins down below.
The three carriages up above and the three azure-armored puppets, which had reverted back to their original sizes, were also heavily damaged. One of the puppets even had a large hole on its chest that passed directly through where a normal being's heart would've been situated.
If the same injury had been inflicted on a living being, they would've perished for sure unless they had some kind of miracle pill that could bring them back from the brink of death.
As for the six foreign beings themselves, they were also in quite a sorry state.
Not only had most of their treasures been ruined, the suits of armor they were wearing had also been completely charred black. On top of that, there were many large dents and cracks on the surfaces of the armor, giving them the appearance of useless scrap metal.
In contrast, the six water buffalo beasts remained completely unscathed, but all of them were also panting heavily with sweat pouring down their bodies.
All in all, the six foreign beings had secured the final victory against the Lightning Bird puppet, but they had also paid a heavy price in the process.
After striking down the puppet, the six foreign beings were quite elated, and they prepared to swoop down in their carriages again.
Right at this moment, a cold voice rang out from within a nearby cloud.
"Thank you for sparing me the effort of getting rid of this puppet, fellow Daoists of the Black Dwarf Race." As soon as the voice trailed off, brilliant light erupted from within the cloud, following which a dozen or so humanoid beings in different attire appeared.
They were led by a yellow-robed man who appeared to be in his twenties with three extremely eye-catching short golden horns on his forehead.
Behind him were a dozen or so male and female beings of all different ages, and they also had horns on their heads, but the numbers, shapes, and colors of these horns differed from being to being.
The expressions on the faces of the six Black Dwarf beings immediately darkened significantly at the sight of these horned beings. One of them exclaimed in an unpleasant raspy voice, "Jiao Chi beings! Why are you here? Were you following us in secret this entire time?"
"Were we following you? Do you think you're worthy of being followed by us? Seeing as you've also come to this place, then you can stay here forever. Everyone, send them on their way," the golden-horned young man chuckled coldly.
The dozen or so Jiao Chi beings immediately responded in an affirmative manner before sweeping forward to surround the six Black Dwarf beings.
The Black Dwarf beings' expressions changed drastically upon seeing this, and their leader immediately yelled, "Run!"
The powers of wind and fire erupted from beneath the hooves of the six water buffalo beasts, and they abruptly sprang forward as the three carriages sped into the distance as balls of azure light.
Arcs of lightning could be seen shimmering indistinctly within the azure light, and the carriages were traveling at an astonishing speed.
However, the Jiao Chi beings were also certainly not to be scoffed at.
All of them either shot forth as streaks of spiritual light or made hand seals and vanished on the spot.
There were also a few who swept their sleeves through the air to summon spirit beasts or flying treasures and set off in pursuit at incredible speeds.
Meanwhile, the golden-horned young man merely stood still in mid-air with his hands clasped behind his back, seemingly extremely confident in the abilities of his companions.
And it was no wonder that he was so confident; the Black Dwarf Race was a relatively large race on the Thunder Continent, but they weren't proficient in flight or movement techniques, so they had to rely on all types of flying carriages to make up for this weakness.
Under normal circumstances, this wasn't exactly a glaring fallacy, but having just endured an arduous battle, this weakness naturally became a fatal one for them in the face of the pursuit of these Jiao Chi beings.
The events that unfolded next were just as the golden-horned young man had expected. The three flying carriages were only able to fly for just over 10,000 feet before several balls of spiritual light emerged up ahead, following which several humanoid figures appeared.
These were none other than the Jiao Chi beings who were proficient in instantaneous teleportation techniques.
As soon as they emerged, they raised their hands in unison, and a vast expanse of scorching lightning flames were sent crashing down toward the three carriages.
The six water buffalo beasts were quite fierce and powerful, but even they couldn't help but stop in their tracks as they blasted azure flames out of their mouths to oppose the oncoming attacks.
During this momentary delay, the rest of the Jiao Chi beings caught up before surrounding the three carriages.
Swords, axes, staves... Treasures of all different types flew out from the bodies of these Jiao Chi beings before transforming into swathes of light that descended from above.
The six Black Dwarf beings in the carriages were all plunged into despair upon seeing this, but even so, they still weren't willing to give up without a fight.
As such, all of them let loose loud cries as they laid their hands onto the heavily damaged azure-armored puppets, transforming them giant demonic ghosts once again. At the same time, all of them made hand seals in unison, and they also swelled drastically in size while the wheels on their backs also flew forth to combat the oncoming attacks.
In their desperation, the six Black Dwarf beings were able to hold their own against the Jiao Chi beings, and it appeared that they were quite evenly matched.
However, both sides knew that this was only a futile struggle. As soon as the Black Dwarf beings exhausted all of their magic power, they would immediately be overwhelmed and slain by their opponents.
However, unbeknownst to all of them, there was someone situated in a dilapidated pavilion several hundred kilometers away, inspecting them through the use of a strange treasure.
This treasure was a translucent white crystal with an image playing out on its surface, and the image was none other than that of the battle between the Jiao Chi beings and the Black Dwarf beings.
However, the perspective was slightly distant, as if the observer were surveying the battle from several kilometers away.
There were two people seated with their legs crossed in front of the crystal, one of which wore a calm expression while the other had a bewildered look in their eyes.
The latter was none other than Liu Shui'er and she turned to her companion as she said in a barely audible voice, "How could this be? Why are these Jiao Chi beings here as well?"
Her companion was an azure-robed young man with a set of ordinary facial features. He was naturally none other than Han Li, and even though he wore a calm expression, he was also staring intently at the image on the crystal.
Upon hearing Liu Shui'er's question, his lips twitched slightly, and he replied, "There's no need to be overly concerned, Fellow Daoist Liu. This is an extremely vast set of ruins, so there's no way that we'd coincidentally be searching for the same target. On top of that, our current location is still tens of thousands of kilometers away from the restricted ruins; if those people really were pursuing the same target as us, why would they be battling those Black Dwarf beings? However, their presence does mean that we'll have to proceed with more caution so that we don't get discovered by them."
After a brief pause for contemplation, Liu Shui'er said, "You're right, Brother Han, I'm feeling a lot more reassured now. Why don't we switch to another hiding spot that's further away from those Jiao Chi beings? After that, we can wait for Fellow Daoist Shi to join us, and we'll be able to combine our powers to access the restricted ruins."
"That's a good idea. However, before that, we should ascertain the target of these Jiao Chi beings. That would normally be quite a difficult task, but Senior Cai has even lent you the vastly renowned Projection Crystal of the Crystal Race, so we'll be able to see everything that those Jiao Chi beings are doing even from so far away," Han Li said in a slow voice as he stroked his chin and appraised the crystal.
"This Projection Crystal is indeed extremely stealthy and even holy race beings would struggle to detect it, but it can only project some normal images. If those Jiao Chi beings were to use some kind of restrictions to conceal what they were up to, then we wouldn't be able to see anything, Liu Shui'er replied with furrowed brows."