Chapter 2273: Icy Peak
"I've heard that as soon as Asura Spiders are born, they already possess Nascent Soul Stage powers at a minimum, and that as they grow, their powers are rapidly enhanced, to the extent that they'll possess powers infinitely approaching the Grand Ascension Stage once they reach full maturity. There are even some Asura Spiders with exceptional aptitude that are comparable in power to true spirits. In order to be able to refine Threads of Time, we'll have to kill mature Asura Spiders, right?" Mo Jianli asked.
"You sure know a lot about these Asura Spiders, Brother Mo. Indeed, Threads of Time can only be extracted from mature Asura Spiders, and it'll generally take the cores of three Asura Spiders to refine a single Thread of Time. Of course, if you encounter an Asura Spider that's powerful enough, only one core will be required," the Spirit Monarch replied.
Mo Jianli fell silent as a wry smile appeared on his face, while Xue Ran and Hei Lin's expressions darkened even further.
After a short while, Xue Ran asked in a cold voice, "The Small Asura Realm is already fraught with perils, and mature Asura Spiders possess the ability to control time to a certain extent; even if they're not quite at the Grand Ascension Stage, they won't be any easier to deal with than the average Grand Ascension Stage being. On top of that, we'll have to kill at least three of them each to extract a single Thread of Time. We'll essentially be risking our lives the entire time; don't you think just a single Sanqing Lightning Talisman is insufficient compensation?"
"I don't think that's the case. Aside from those talismans, I've also brought out these two Asura Hearts. Considering how rare they are, they're only slightly inferior in value to Sanqing Lightning Talismans. On top of that, the Small Asura Realm has always been renowned as a place that's abundant with precious resources, so you should reap many rewards on your trip regardless of whether you manage to track down Asura Spiders; you can keep everything you obtain during your trip as an additional reward," the Spirit Monarch replied.
"That's not the same thing! The Asura Hearts are required for us to enter the Small Asura Realm, so they shouldn't count as part of the compensation. Besides, with half an Asura Heart each, we'll only be able to remain in the Small Asura Realm for around half a month; how will we have any time to search for additional treasures on top of Asura Spiders? Even if, by some immense stroke of fortune, we do find some valuable treasures, it's still not comparable to the risk that we're incurring. At our cultivation bases, safety is the most important thing. Don't forget that all of us want Sanqing Lightning Talismans to ensure our safety during our next heavenly tribulations," Xue Ran said in a cold voice.
Everyone else remained silent, but they were clearly in agreement with Xue Ran's words.
The Spirit Monarch's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this, and only after a brief pause did he reply, "In that case, if you can obtain Threads of time from the Small Asura Realm, I'll be willing to offer three treasures of your choice from the list I just presented in addition to a Sanqing Lightning Talisman for each Thread of Time. This is the final concession I'm willing to make; if you're still not satisfied, then you can leave and I'll find someone else."
"Alright, you have yourself a deal! Have you prepared the teleportation formation required to travel to the Small Asura Realm? We can't stay here for very long," Xue Ran replied without any hesitation.
The Spirit Monarch replied with a confident smile, "Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Xue; the teleportation formation has already been prepared, and it's situated on this holy mountain. If you're willing to go, I can teleport all of you to the Small Asura Realm right away. What's your decision, Brother Mo, Fellow Daoist Han?"
A hesitant look appeared on Mo Jianli's face, but he soon gritted his teeth as he replied, "I'm determined to obtain the Sanqing Lightning Talismans, so I'm also willing to enter the Small Asura Realm."
"In that case, I'll be accompanying Brother Mo to the Small Asura Realm as well. However, I have a condition: please allow me to decide the coordinates that we return to from the Small Asura Realm," Han Li said in a calm manner.
A hint of displeasure appeared on the Spirit Monarch's face upon hearing this. "Why are you making such a request, Fellow Daoist Han? Do you not trust me?"
"No, it's just that I'm used to controlling as many factors as I can; I hope you can understand. I know a thing or two about teleportation formations, so it won't be a very difficult task for me to alter the teleportation coordinates," Han Li replied.
"I think that's a great idea. I'm also quite familiar with teleportation formations, so I'll set my own return coordinates as well. If you don't agree to this request, then I'm going to have to question your sincerity, Brother Spirit," Xue Ran chuckled as he appraised the Spirit Monarch with a hint of a smile on his face.
"Alright, in that case, you're free to decide your own return coordinates, but I'd advise you not to set the coordinates to outside of our Spirit Race's territory. Otherwise, if you return too late, I may assume that a mishap has occurred and offer the Sanqing Lightning Talismans in an exchange to someone else. I'm sure you're aware of just how precious these talismans are; if I were to spread word of their existence, many fellow daoists will immediately come to see me," the Spirit Monarch said.
"Haha, rest assured, Brother Spirit; with our bloodline sensory abilities, there should be a 70% to 80% chance that we find Asura Spiders. After half a month, we'll be back to complete our deal," Xue Ran replied with a pleased expression.
"Fellow Daoist Han and I will also do our best," Mo Jianli replied.
"Alright, then it's decided. Stay here for a night to make some preparations, and I'll teleport all four of you into the Small Asura Realm tomorrow morning," the Spirit Monarch said before clapping his hands together twice, and a side door open, upon which several young women in palatial dresses made their way into the room.
They extended respectful curtseys toward Han Li and the others before standing on either side of them.
Xue Ran nodded before rising to his feet and departing with Hei Lin and two of the women.
After that, Mo Jianli stood up and cupped his fist in a salute toward the Spirit Monarch before also turning to depart.
However, as Han Li stood up from his chair, he didn't immediately leave. Instead, he smiled, and said, "There's a question I'd like to ask, but I'm not sure if it's appropriate."
The Spirit Monarch was rather taken aback to hear this, but he still replied, "Go ahead, Fellow Daoist Han."
"I've heard some rumors that state that the Spirit Realm has only had a single Spirit Monarch since its arrival in the Spirit Realm; is that true? How old are you right now, Brother Spirit?" Han Li asked with a smile.
Mo Jianli and the Spirit Monarch both faltered slightly upon hearing this before the latter chuckled, "Haha, I've heard those rumors as well, but of course, they're not true. Our Spirit Race has been in this realm for over 1,000,000 years. While it's indeed true that our heavenly tribulations are spaced further apart than for other beings, how could a single Spirit Monarch possibly live for that long? Having said that, there were a few Spirit Monarchs that reigned for a very long time, and that's most likely where the rumors stemmed from."
"I see, that makes sense. After all, this is the Spirit Realm, not the True Immortal Realm; how could someone possibly live for over 1,000,000 years here?" Han Li said with a faint smile before departing with Mo Jianli and two of the other Spirit women.
Following their departure, the smile on the Spirit Monarch's face immediately faded.
"Why did he mention the True Immortal Realm? Could it be that he's onto something? Then again, he isn't the first person to have asked me that," the Spirit Monarch murmured to himself in a barely audible voice.
He then made a hand seal and vanished on the spot amid a flash of white light.
Moments later, he reappeared in a white light formation within a pitch-black space deep in the belly of Concealed Spirit Mountain.
He swept his gaze around this dark space, and his brows furrowed slightly as he abruptly swept a sleeve upward.
Around a dozen balls of light immediately emerged before hovering high up in the air.
After that, the Spirit Monarch made a hand seal, and the balls of light brightened significantly to illuminate the entire space.
Around 300 to 400 feet away from him stood a translucent icy mountain that was over 10,000 feet tall, and a massive golden rune encompassed most of the entire mountain.
Through the transparent ice, one could see a handsome golden-robed young man at the bottom of the icy mountain, and he was unconscious with a series of runed chains binding his entire body.
On his glabella was a golden rune identical to the one on the icy mountain, and the Spirit Monarch immediately reached out to press a hand against the mountain while releasing threads of white light out of his palm in a frenzy.