(TL: Wondrous Bugs -> Exotic Insects. Although monstrous spiders and centipedes aren't insects, it sounds better than calling them bugs and invertebrates. Thanks for the naming suggestion, Etvolare! )
Chapter 392: Raising Bugs
Although Gold Devouring Beetles were among the highest ranked exotic insects, the Controlling Spirit Sect cultivator's jade slip mentioned that their physical power is very limited; only by relying on its superior numbers would it be able to prevail. If the swarm only contained a dozen or even thirty of them, they wouldn't be too useful once they reached adulthood. Only if they were in a swarm numbering by a hundred thousand or several hundred thousands would they be able to display power genuinely worthy of their rank.
Imagining the scene of countless beetles blotting the sky and murdering without end, Han Li involuntarily shivered.
He now intended to quickly raise the Gold Devouring Beetles and have them bear descendants to increase their number.
However, this was easier said than done. The Gold Devouring Beetles had only existed in ancient times in the Heavenly South Region and were currently extinct there. As such, the concrete details of their breeding had disappeared countless generations ago. The information contained in the Controlling Spirit Sect cultivator's jade slip only had the insect's characteristics as described by ancient records. Since there weren't any detailed methods of raising them, Han Li was left vexed for quite a while.
In fact, not only were the Gold Devouring Beetles currently extinct, it seemed that the thirty top ranked exotic insects were extinct from the cultivation world as well. It was only because that Controlling Spirit Sect cultivator was a bug fanatic that he had scoured and analysed ancient records that he arranged the exotic insects on a list. As for how reliable the front end rankings were for the exotic insects, only the Heavens knew!
It was only by coincidence that Han Li was able to obtain the Gold Devouring Beetles, a species that should've been extinct. As these Gold Devouring Beetles from some unknown reason had just hatched, it seemed that they had been in suspended animation on Minor Expanse Island since ancient times for some unknown reason.
It was reasonable to say that mountain-splitting earthquakes and torrential storms had been unable to awaken the exotic insects. However, it seemed that the congregation of exotic insects that Han Li brought with him after building his cave residence had resulted in the beetles' miraculous awakening. The scent of Han Li's various insects must slowly trickled down and aroused the appetite of the swarm of Gold Devouring Beetles.
Originally, they should've attack Han Li's exotic insects sooner, but Han Li's Bloodjade Spiders were there. As they were fearful of their natural predator, they didn't dare to venture too closely to Han Li's cave residence. Thus, they had stayed hidden on Minor Expanse island while rigidly staring at Han Li's cave.
On his last trip, Han Li had brought along his Bloodjade Spiders, allowing the Gold Devouring Beetles to emerge. From what Han Li saw, after those Gold Devouring Beetles ate all his exotic insects, they settled their nest into the cave's medicine garden. With Han Li's stealthy return, he was able to capture them in one sitting.
Since Han Li didn't have knowledge about raising these insects, he could only approach it slowly and fumble about.
First, Han Li tried throwing in bug food of all kinds into the room, resulting in the several hundreds of Gold Devouring Beetles immediately ravaging them. Han Li was delighted to find that they weren't picky with their food.
However, Han Li's happiness only persisted for a few months. After feeding the beetles a great amount of food, he discovered they hadn't matured in the slightest. Han Li felt quite gloomy and was forced to think of a different method.
As these beetles loved to eat the five metals and Spiritual Qi, Han Li fed them metallic items of each type separately and a few low grade spirit stones. After devouring them, these beetles didn't show the slightest change, and Han Li deemed it to be another failure.
Extremely disheartened, Han Li bluntly threw the lifeless eggs that he had acquired from the Golden Back Mantis into the beetle room. After eating these, the beetles finally started to display a change in their Spiritual Qi and appeared to be far more violent.
While this caused Han Li to be pleasantly surprised, he also became rather worried. Could it be that these Gold Devouring Beetles would only mature after eating other exotic insects? That would be a greatly difficult problem, as he had no other exotic insects other than his Bloodjade spiders.
Helpless, Han Li bought bloody hog and sheep meat and threw it into their room. Apart from causing these Gold Devouring Beetles to become even more vicious, they didn't show any signs of maturing in the slightest.
With no other choice, Han Li gradually matured enough spiritual herbs and started to refine Spirit Feed Pills.
Previously, Han Li had only refined pills to further progress his own magic power, so it would be his first time refining this pill.
A few days later, he had successfully refined his first Spirit Feed Pills. Han Li immediately fed the Gold Devouring Beetles and his two Bloodjade spiders a portion of the pills. The results left Han Li both overjoyed and worried.
He was happy that the spirit pills had a beneficial effect on both demon beasts and exotic insects. Unfortunately, he grew worried after seeing that the changes that occurred to the Gold Devouring Beetles and the Bloodjade Spider were extremely different.
He fed both the two Bloodjade Spiders five Spirit Feed Pills each. The next day, their Spiritual Qi had grown by a small but obvious amount. As for the Gold Devouring Beetles, Han Li had fed them many pills but the effects could only be described as negligible. They only experienced a sliver of growth.
He estimated that because the number of Gold Devouring Beetles was far too great, their growth was much lesser. This method wouldn't be capable of causing any large benefits.
This swarm only numbered in the several hundreds. When he thought of the several tens of thousands he would need to display their true strength, Han Li lost confidence in continuing to raise these bugs.
Having come to this conclusion, Han Li lost interest in raising the Gold Devouring Beetles and fed the remaining Spirit Feed Pills to his Bloodjade spiders. As for the beetles, he fed them a bit of insect feed every day.
At this point, Han Li had already spent half a year in Heavenly Star City.
In addition to rearing his bugs, Han Li shut himself in seclusion and madly refined grade two puppets and all sorts of talismans.
As Han Li hadn't yet reached Core Formation, he was unable to grasp any intermediate magic techniques or refine any intermediate talismans as a result. After creating such a large amount of talismans, he acquired the benefit of having a high success rate in crafting low-grade talismans. Han Li had a success rate close to fifty percent for even high-grade talismans, allowing him to save a large amount of materials.
Several hundred years old ironwood was the main ingredient in crafting grade two puppets. Since Han Li could quickly mature the ironwood, his cost when making a puppet was decreased by over half.
For the souls that were required to refine the puppets, the Emperor of Yue's Soul Congregation Bowl contained many feral souls that had long lost their intelligence. He bluntly made use of them as they no longer held any intelligence and had lost their qualifications for reincarnation as a result. As such, he could only regard them as common refinement materials.
After finally crafting about two hundred puppets of the same model, Han Li was left extremely satisfied. However, the creation of these puppets had consumed a significant number of Han Li's spirit stones. Although the cost of creating a single puppet couldn't be considered large, the cost of successfully creating two hundred puppets with the addition of the cost of the materials lost during failed attempts could leave one speechless.
By this time, Han Li had now been in seclusion for two entire years.
During these two years, Han Li fed his Bloodjade spiders with Spirit Feed Pills. With the assistance of strong medicinal power, the two demon beasts ascended in rank, becoming peak grade one demon beasts.
During this time, Crooked Soul had almost completely refined the "Immemorial Bowl". Although he wasn't the magic treasure's creator and was thereby unable to merge his mind with it, he was eventually able to absorb it into his body and display seventy percent of its power.
Han Li had previously thought about having Crooked Soul create his own magic treasure, but the materials for crafting magic treasures are truly costly. With his remaining spirit stones, Han Li feared that he wouldn't be able to acquire even the most common materials for a magic treasure. In addition, magic treasures aren't something that can be created in a short amount of time within one's soul. At the very least, it would take thirty years of bitter effort before it could display the early stages of its might, but Han Li didn't have such time to waste!
His most pressing need was to acquire a large amount of demon beast cores so that he may refine spirit medicines in preparations for the second cycle of the Three Essence Revolutions Technique.
His actions in seclusion, whether it be raising his exotic insects or refining a great amount of puppets, were all preparations for demon beast hunting. Han Li wondered if they would be capable of hunting grade five demon beasts without much difficulty with Crooked Soul acting as the main force, along with the assistance of his puppets, Bloodjade Spiders, spell formations, and Han Li himself.
With this in mind, Han Li finally left his cave residence and brought Crooked Soul with him to Heavenly Star City. Since he wanted to go to the Outer Star Seas and hunt high grade demon beasts, he naturally required information on the demon beasts and the area where the transportation formation would take him. As such, he went to the city market hoping to get what he needed.
Heavenly Star City's market was located on the first layer of Sage Mountain, and was so huge it occupied at least half of the first layer if not more.
The scope of the daily trading of materials and magic tools at this market was far greater and more prosperous than any market city Han Li had previously seen.