Although Han Li and Mei Ning were new arrivals, the guards merely glanced at them without asking any questions. Instead, they surrounded the returnees and excitedly asked them a few questions. As a result, the large men gave them a glance at the fish and prawn in their bags before the guards cried out in surprise.
Han Li furrowed his brows at the sight. It seemed that food was a scarce resource here.
Soon after, Han Li swept his eyes across the entire village.
The entire village was within the protection of the tall stone walls, and all of its buildings were crudely carved cubes made from the same pitch-black stone as the walls. There was also a small stone platform built at the center of the village that was several times taller than the other buildings. Additionally, the top of the platform seem to emit a faint purple fog that permeated through the entire village. It seemed to completely absorb any of the blue lightning that happened to strike the village. The purple fog was undoubtedly some kind of spell formation, but Han Li was unable to perceive the slightest spiritual Qi inside the stone walls. Instead, he only felt a cold Yin energy lingering in the air.
Although his spiritual sense was still trapped within his body, he could still keenly sense spiritual Qi. Han Li was bewildered as to why this was the case.
The lean man's group had entered the village and already arrived at a large hall near the platform. There were a group of people outside the hall that were gesturing and whispering with the lean man's group when one of them looked in Han Li's direction with a deep gaze.
Han Li felt his heart tremble. That person possessed the deepest inner strength of anyone he had encountered in this land.
Were it in the outside world, Han Li could've easily killed him with a twirl of his finger and ignored him. But as Han Li was now, he would have to strive his hardest to deal with him. At that moment, the lean man had approached the group of people and said something to them before turning around and pointing at Han Li and Mei Ning. The group then turned their gazes to Han Li.
Han Li remained silent and revealed no fear, but to his side, Mei Ning revealed nervousness from not knowing what they had in mind for them.
The lean man beckoned to the two and said, "You two, come over. The village elders have some questions for you."
Han Li nodded his head and calmly walked over with Mei Ning in tow.
The group of people that had been standing outside had already turned around and entered the hall, and Han Li soon followed.
A plump old man that sat at the center of the hall gazed at them with a kind expression and said, "Please, sit. Since we are all human, we will naturally do our best to aid one another. However, there is much that is different in this world from the outside. How about you two first introduce yourselves before I start introducing you to this land?"
The others sat down at his side, and the one who had glared at Han Li outside the hall were among them as well. He had narrow eyes, a hostile expression and pale skin. At that moment, his spirited eyes had swept across Han Li and the beautiful Mei Ning behind him. Although he was silent, a peculiar expression flickered through his eyes.
Han Li casually smiled and calmly replied, "There isn't much to say about us. We encountered the ghost mist at sea and were drawn here by it. As for my previous identity, what use is it here? There is no point in talking about it."
The old man smiled upon hearing Han Li's vague answer.
He examined the two with narrowed eyes before saying, "You two must be cultivators, so there is no point in concealing this." With that said, the old man's gaze dropped down to the bulging storage pouch at Han Li's waist.
Han Li's expression remained unchanged but he was inwardly shocked. As for Mei Ning, her expression grew pale with worry.
"You two don't need to be scared. Although there aren't many cultivators among us, we are far more happy to have you join this village than we would be with ordinary people. However, you two will be incapable of using magic or spiritual power in the Umbra Realm. The only powers you'll be able to use are a few crude martial arts and umbra energy."
"Umbra energy?" Han Li asked with a bewildered expression.
The old man twirled his beard and slowly said, "That's right. It is somewhat similar to magic power, but it cannot be used to cast magic techniques. However, cultivators are able to use the inner cores of umbra beasts to deploy a few small scale spell formations. We have much use for them in our village. And even if you aren't proficient in spell formations, cultivators' bodies are far stronger than those of ordinary men. They will certainly be great helpers."
After a moment of thought, Han Li asked, "Your esteemed self seems to understand much about us cultivators. Are there other cultivators in the village?"
The plump old man smirked and said, "Of course there are, but they only number about six. This old man happens to be one of them. When I was sucked into the ghost mist, I was only a Foundation Establishment cultivator."
A trace of astonishment flickered through Han Li's eyes, but when he thought to ask more questions, the entire hall violently rumbled. In the distance, there seemed to be a huge monster charging at the village.
The expressions of the people inside the hall had greatly changed, and they no longer paid any attention to Han Li. They all immediately walked out and Han Li soon followed after them with a hesitant expression. The village elders were commanding several hundred robust youths to all rush up the thick walls with pikes in most of their hands, while a few of them carried crude bows.
Although their expressions were all tense, they acted with perfect discipline as if they had already experienced this many times.
Han Li's gaze turned in the direction of a very loud rumble coming from outside the stone wall. Although he could feel the tremors grow even more astonishing, nothing else had yet to happen.
Han Li rubbed his chin and expectantly glanced around for moment. He then walked over to a tall building nearby and took advantage of the chaos to jump off a wall and easily climbed onto the stone building's roof. From the top of the building, Han Li was able to see what was happening.
In the distance, he saw that the stone and sand were violently scraping through the air on a bewildering black wind while a black frost spread across the ground in its wake. It appeared amazingly cold.
This seemed to be the Yin wind that the lean man had spoken of previously. It truly wasn't something that ordinary mortals could handle.
However, as the Yin wind reached about three hundred meters from the village, it began to disappear, accompanied by heavy tremors as a large object dropped onto the ground. Although it was still a good distance away, an astonishing aura could be felt from it. Soon, a forty meter tall black figure emerged from the winds.
When Han Li saw the black figure's true appearance, he felt his blood turn cold.
At first glance, the black figure appeared to be a gigantic grey ape, except that the beast had four eyes and a pair of wings emerging between its ribs. It carried a log of jet-black wood in one arm as it madly charged towards the village, while its four eyes were radiating with crimson light and emitted a powerful, bloodthirsty aura.
After the beast's true form was revealed, many people started to loudly shout, "It's an Insidious Mauler! Quickly, send over the great shields!"
In an instant, a large number of women, children, and elderly began to deliver shields of all kinds to the walls. But soon after, they began to flusteredly run away from the walls as the huge beast came within three hundred meters of the village. The tremors caused by the beast's footsteps had left Han Li bewildered. It appeared as if the stone walls would be taken down by the tremors long before the beast even reached them.
But in the next moment, huge tentacles were formed from several strands of dense violet fog and rigidly fastened onto the huge beast's feet. As a result, the huge beast lost its footing and fell in front of the stone wall, causing everyone in the garrison to lose their balance for a moment from the resulting tremors.
Han Li unconsciously turned his gaze to the tall platform with astonishment, and shockingly discovered that there were now four people sitting cross-legged on the platform. Their bodies were covered in a faint layer of purple Qi as if they were utilizing a technique.
'This is umbra energy?' Han Li's heart stirred.
In the following instant, an order was shouted, "Attack!"
A large number of pikes and arrows were shot at the huge beast like rain, completely enveloping it.
As Han Li watched this, his heart thumped with excitement.