Chapter 524: Spying
Seven years after Han Li began harvesting demon beasts, a group of cultivators with varying cultivations were slowly flying at a low altitude in a region of the Outer Star Seas. They would occasionally glance around as if they were searching for something. The group of cultivators were all were at Foundation Establishment, apart from their three leaders. One of their leaders was a mid Core Formation while the other two were at early Core Formation.
A middle-aged cultivator with a yellowish complexion impatiently asked, "Brother Qiu, is that grade six demon beast truly nearby? We've already searched for several days and we even expanded our search perimeter. Isn't it likely that the information is wrong?" It appeared he was talking to the gaunt old man that wore a solemn expression at his side. The old man was the highest ranked cultivator in their party, the sole mid Core Formation cultivator.
The old man indifferently replied, "Don't be impatient, Fellow Daoist Min. The information we received was but an approximate location. It is also quite common for the location to change after several days. And even then, following this information is better than just randomly roaming the seas. I am confident that the intelligence vendor wouldn't have dared to swindle me."
The third Core Formation cultivator, a large man with a fiendish face, suddenly said, "The demon beast might've already left the area, or perhaps its nest doesn't lie in this area."
"Impossible. This is a rare Vivid Glass Beast. We've swept our spiritual sense in the nearby seas and spotted the beast's most beloved food, the Tri-colored Seaweed. Its nest must be nearby." The gaunt old man spoke with a tone of certainty.
Because the two Core Formation cultivators seemed to hold the old man in high regard, they said no more. Instead, they continued to sweep their spiritual sense in every direction.
As for the Foundation Establishment cultivators behind them, most were either their disciples or younger relatives. As such, none of them dared to intrude in their conversation.
Under the lead of the three Core Formation cultivators, the group continued to search for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, they found absolutely nothing. By this time, the old man begun to frown.
"Sigh! Originally, when one stayed near the depths, even if their gains were infrequent, one could still acquire four high grade demon cores a year. But now, ever since we left the depths, we've only encountered two high grade demon beasts, and even worse, we failed to acquire their cores." The cultivator surnamed Min grumbled as if he had a bellyful of grievances.
"Enough. Brother Min, you should be aware of the circumstances in the depths. If we were to go to there now, we would only be going to our deaths, rather than hunting demon beasts."
With a face pale from trepidation, the man with a fierce appearance said, "It is still truly abnormal! The depths were a place where you could make a living if you were clever and avoided the center region. But two years ago ever since the Demon Beast Insurrection started, the entire depths became a restricted area. High grade cultivators that commonly roamed the depths never returned. And in the past year, several Nascent Soul eccentrics joined hands and explored the center region of the depths. But as a result, they turned tail and fled, perhaps due to having encountered unbeatable odds. Even then, Master Four Paths was the only Nascent Soul cultivator able to return alive. It seems Wondrous Depths Island won't be able to last much longer."
The bony old man was silent for a moment before his face twitched, saying, "Fellow Daoist Xuan's words do hold reason. Although the demon beasts of the depths can still be considered docile as they have yet to head out of the depths, who knows when they will attack in an overwhelming force. This isn't something that is impossible. We have no choice but to come up with a response!"
It seems the old man was extremely concerned about the situation in the depths.
The cultivator surnamed Min bitterly smiled with a face of helplessness, "But as of current, the Star Palace is busy fighting with the Starfall Coalition on the other side. The transportation formation will only accept arrivals, not departures. Even if we want to leave, we can't."
"Humph! That isn't certain." The fierce-looking man wore an expression of disagreement.
"Oh? Could it be that Brother Xuan has another way?" The cultivator surnamed Min appeared astonished, but soon, his interest was roused.
The man lowered his voice and spoke with a mysterious tone, "Hehe! There is no other way. I merely heard that there were people at Wondrous Depth Island selling displacement talismans at high prices. Although there aren't many, there are people that have already returned to the Inner Star Seas!"
"There is such a thing? Then how about we…" The cultivator surnamed Min rejoiced. He thought to further pursue the matter but the bony old man interrupted him with a snort.
"Stop dreaming! Even if you manage to acquire the displacement talismans, do you truly dare to return to Heavenly Star City? It is even more dangerous over there! You will certainly be dragged into the conflict if you are to return. Although the demon beasts of the depths are behaving abnormally, it is still completely normal outside the depths. If something does truly happen, we only need to find a desolate island and conceal ourselves there. That would be far better than returning and being dragged into a war." A strange light appeared in the old man's eyes as if he had spent a long time thinking on the matter.
When the two heard this, they stared at each other for a long while. While they felt that the old man's plan was quite crude, they believed it to be practical.
Just when the two thought to discuss the matter further with the old man, they suddenly heard a rough, strange roar in the distance along with a chain of explosions.
"The Vivid Glass Beast!"
The two early Core Formation cultivators glanced at each other and yelled out the demon beast's name at nearly the same time. Pleasant surprise was displayed on their faces.
The bony old man's face grew stern. He coldly said to the two, "That is the Vivid Glass Beast's cry without a doubt but it seems someone found it before us. We're going, but conceal yourselves. We'll be acting with discretion."
After the two tacitly nodded their head, the three Core Formation cultivators flew out as streaks of light. But on their way there, they disappeared without a trace.
As for the Foundation Establishment cultivators, they immediately chased after them with nervous expressions.
After a short moment, the three Core Formation cultivators silently arrived at a coral reef island several kilometers away. It was where the thunderous demon beast's cry had come from.
However, what they saw was beyond their expectations.
There was a sea beast with a sparkling, transparent body that was trapped in a red light barrier.
The demon beast's body was about ten meters long, and had countless milky-white threads hanging from its body. In a dire attempt to cut through the red barrier of light, it continuously rammed its body against it.
However, this wasn't what the three cultivators were concerned with. They were focused on something else entirely.
There was a youth wearing faint blue robes above the small island. He stood motionlessly in the air with his hands behind his back. His face wore a leisurely expression.
The cultivator with the fierce appearance excitedly said in a voice transmission, "Brother Qiu, that person is only at early Core Formation. Shall we attack?"
A malicious glint appeared in the old man's eyes. However, he managed to suppress his desire to attack and cautiously said, "Don't rush, we'll first take a look around to see if there are any other cultivators hidden nearby. Let's make sure there are no traps!"
The cultivator surnamed Min was also quite careful and called a matter to attention, "Fellow Daoist Xuan, Brother Qiu makes sense. It seems quite suspicious for an early Core Formation cultivator to dare to trap a Vivid Glass Beast by himself. There may be other mysteries at play."
When the fierce-looking man heard this, his heart trembled and he hastily swept his spiritual sense around the vicinity. However, he was unable to find anything.
At that moment, the blue-clothed youth struck.
With a single wave of his hand, seven streaks of azure light shot out from his palm. The streaks of light circled once in the air before combining into a huge azure sword that was over thirty meters long. The sword cleaved down, sending a deep reverberation through air.
The Vivid Glass Beast seemed to perceive the sword's fearsomeness and spat a white crystal orb at it.
The crystal orb swelled to three meters wide after it left the demon beast's mouth, and moved to intercept the huge falling sword. The sword didn't change speed in the slightest and emitted a faint roll of thunder as it continued down. It then met the crystal with a large bang.
For a single instant, the huge sword appeared indistinct.
Woosh. With a flash of azure light, the huge sword then disappeared without a trace and reappeared atop the Vivid Glass Beast as it continued to cleave down.
The demon beast then hoarsely shouted in fury as its countless white threads joined together to meet the strike in an attempt to preserve its life.
Crunch. The huge sword chopped through the Vivid Glass Beast's head without the slightest resistance, splattering green blood all around.
The three Core Formation cultivators were left amazed at the sight of the youth slaying the beast in a mere instant.
Was that really a Vivid Glass beast? It was well-known to be extremely difficult to hunt even amongst grade six demon beasts. But it just fell to a single blow from this youth. Inconceivable! Could it be that he wasn't at the early Core Formation stage, but was rather at the late Core Formation Stage?
After repeatedly using their spiritual sense to sweep past the youth as he looted the beast corpse, they confirmed that he truly was but an early Core Formation cultivator.
While victory against the grade six Vivid Glass Beast would be certain with the three of them combined, it would be impossible for them to slay it with the ease displayed by this youth. Could it be that this youth was a tiger in disguise? Could he be concealing his true cultivation with a hidden technique?
Suspicions began to surge within their minds!