"There is no need to be so impatient. Since the plant has existed here for so many years, it is possible that there is something guarding it, or it would've already been consumed. Even with the illusion formation protecting it." Despite his excitement, Han Li maintained a calm exterior as he spoke.
"Brother Han means to say that there could be an ancient beast guarding it?" Alarmed, Violet Spirit regained clarity of mind. Han Li had previously mentioned a bit about the ancient beasts found in the valley.
"That's right. Do you see the two snapped branches at the top of the tree? Two of the fruits should've already been consumed by the ancient beast guarding it. Although it will not raise one's cultivation realm when unrefined, it will still have some effect on breaking through a bottleneck. That should be why the fruits still haven't been entirely consumed."
There was no doubt that if the creature was nearby, it would be hidden in the lake.
Ever since Han Li had entered the valley depths with Violet Spirit, he had taken the cloak off of his head. He figured she would've already guessed that he possessed the ability to avoid spatial tears after he drove the Wind Riding Chariot, so he hadn't bothered to hide it.
Having discovered nothing after sweeping his spiritual sense across the lake, he looked at it with glowing blue eyes; his gaze penetrated a hundred meters into the depths of the pond and his expression stirred.
Staring at Han Li's face, Violet Spirit noticed his change of expression and frowned, asking, "What? Has Brother Han discovered something?"
With a calm expression, he turned his head to Violet Spirit and said, "Step back. The ancient beast guarding the fruit seems to be troublesome. It will take a bit of effort before I can dispose of it." The fact that the beast was able to evade the notice of his spiritual sense left a deep impression on Han Li.
"Then I must thank Brother Han for his trouble!" Knowing that her own abilities were lacking, she could only rely on Han Li and tactfully obeyed. She then flew back a hundred meters and motionlessly floated in the air.
Once Han Li saw Violet Spirit step aside, he reached to his waist and tossed three spirit beast pouches in the air. Then with an incantation gesture, he summoned tens of thousands of Gold Devouring Beetles to fill the sky around him and blot out the sun. Golden light flashed across a hundred meters in the sky.
"Ah!" When Violet Spirit saw this, she couldn't help but yelp in shock.
She knew of Han Li's insects and even witnessed him using them in Heavenvoid Hall and in his battle against the disciple of Archsaint Six Paths. However, the Gold Devouring Beetles as of current had undergone a massive change in color, viciousness, and numbers.
The sudden appearance of these tens of thousands of immensely intimidating insects released an unordinary pressure that left her in awe.
Han Li paid no attention to Violet Spirit's shock and arranged the Gold Devouring Beetles in formation. Then with a wave of his sleeve, thirty-six of his Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords successively flew out and began to flutter around the cloud of beetles in foot-long streaks of light.
He struck all of the golden swordlights with successive spell seals and they immediately split into over a hundred identical images, each radiating with brilliant light. He pointed at the swordlights in the sky and softly shouted, "Go!"
The swordlights trembled once and each began to mysteriously disappear one by one. In the blink of an eye, the Aureate Sword Formation had been placed down below the cloud of beetles.
Han Li pursed his lips. With the formation down, he felt much more at ease. He looked into the lake down below as a harsh expression appeared on his face. With a flick of his hands, golden light brightly shined and thunder roared around them, summoning a fist-sized ball of lightning between his hands.
In the blink of an eye, the ball of lightning grew to the size of a bowl and Han Li pushed his hands forward, launching the golden ball towards the lake with a clap of thunder.
When the ball of lightning touched the lake's surface, thunder roared as the ball ruptured, filling the lake with arcs of lightning.
Violet Spirit bit her lips as she saw this, her heart heavy and her gaze focused on the scene.
The golden lightning didn't disappear; instead, it violently surged through the water, causing a ten-meter-wide whirlpool to appear at the center of the lake. A muffled roar sounded out and a black-white mist of demonic Qi emerged from the whirlpool, faintly concealing a strange ancient beast.
The beast appeared peculiar. It had a soft, jet-black body that was over twenty meters long and filled with bumps and holes of varying size. At the center of the mass of flesh, there was a huge protrusion that appeared to be its head. And apart from its single jet-black eye, Han Li saw no other sensory organs, not even a mouth or nose. The beast was truly disgusting to behold, causing even Han Li to feel apprehensive. When Violet Spirit saw this beast from a distance, her complexion paled and she felt a chill run down her spine.
However, Han Li had never heard or read of an ancient beast like this one. He couldn't help but glance at Violet Spirit, but she simply responded with a bitter smile; it was clear she didn't know either.
Facing something that he didn't recognize, Han Li decided it would be best to deal with it as quickly as possible rather than to slowly probe it and allow it to unleash its attacks. He promptly waved his hand and struck the insect swarm above with a spell seal.
Suddenly, the buzzing of the insect swarm filled the air and they quickly condensed at their center, forming a huge golden cloud that moved to cover the ancient beast.
When the ancient beast saw this, it knew that things were far from good. Its body expanded and deflated, releasing a strange green liquid from the holes on its body towards the golden cloud and filling the air with a fishy scent.
Han Li frowned, but his brow soon relaxed. The green liquid didn't have any effect on the Gold Devouring Beetles and didn't harm them in the slightest. The cloud of beetles moved down to envelop the beast, but the black-white Qi that surrounded its body obstructed the beetles from moving any closer to it. However, it wouldn't last long.
The beast's mind trembled with fear. The countless beetles were doing their utmost to devour the black-white Qi that took it countless years to cultivate. It tried to flee by submerging itself in the water but Han Li was already prepared for this. He pointed to the water and summoned a walnut-sized blue fireball at his fingertip, then launched it with a flick.
Crackle. The fireball ruptured in a display of blinding blue light. A cloud of icy blue Qi quickly spread from the explosion, covering the lake in a thick layer of ice as it spread. In the blink of an eye, the blue lake turned into a huge block of ice.
The ancient beast's plan to escape into the water came to a halt. Instead, it bounced off of the ice and became filled with even greater terror. It then attempted to fly away with the golden beetles surrounding the black-white Qi that covered it.
Just as it traveled to the lakeside in a blur, a flicker of golden light suddenly appeared in an empty space. A fine golden thread had flashed towards the ancient beast.
A small chunk of jet-black flesh was then ripped off, sprinkling the beetle cloud with blood.
The golden thread had instantly cut through the black-white mist that protected the beast and cut off a small portion of its body. With the gap in its defenses, countless golden beetles swarmed through the opening and covered the ancient beast's body.
The beast suddenly released a miserable shriek and its body flickered with light. A layer of demonic green flame covered it to try and burn the Gold Devouring Beetles that surrounded it.
Although the green flames were a formidable ability that the beast had bitterly cultivated for years, it didn't hinder the Gold Devouring Beetles in the slightest. In fact, it provoked them and they began to devour the beast with even greater speed. The beast experienced indescribable pain all over its body and it changed direction in a desperate attempt to flee from the other side of the lake.
Han Li stood at the lakeside with both of his hands behind his back. He coldly stared at the beetle-shrouded beast as it floundered about like a headless fly. Unfortunately for it, he had already placed down the Aureate Sword Formation. Although he didn't activate the formation to close in on the beast, a golden sword thread would cleave off a portion of its body whenever it tried to run.
Soon, over half of the beast's body had disappeared and its screams began to lose strength. It eventually released one last pained scream before dropping onto the ice and remaining completely motionless.
This nameless beast's true ability was its amazing aura concealment; even late Nascent Soul cultivators wouldn't be able to discover a trace of it, but its abilities in battle were pathetically mediocre.
It was a pity that its disguise had been seen through by Han Li's Brightsight Spirit Eyes. With the beast trapped by the Aureate Sword Formation and swarmed by the Gold Devouring Beetles, it wasn't able to employ its innate escaping abilities and was easily slain.
A short moment later, the Gold Devouring Beetles buzzed as they flew into the air, leaving behind only a strange black-white sphere, the beast's demon core.
At that moment, Violet Spirit flew over and glanced at Han Li with admiration. "Brother Han, your current abilities are truly profound. You were able to kill this ancient beast with complete ease. It seems the rumors of Brother Han being on par with the Three Great Heavenly South Cultivators are true."
"It isn't that my abilities are outstanding, but the beast was weak. It couldn't compare to the ancient beasts that I previously fought." Han Li shook his head and then reached out, summoning the demon core into his hand.
Han Li looked down at it and saw the sparkling black-white demon core. This was the first time he had seen a demon core with such colors and couldn't help but appear excited.