Looking around, Hall Master Han raised his hands warily.
At that moment, it was clear that it wasn't Elder Hu and the others who'd eaten the Deerhorde Beast.
But... other than them, who else could it be? Who in the world could eat the Deerhorde Beast without his notice?
This was way too sinister!
"Hall Master, look!" Elder Hu pointed.
Lowering his head, Hall Master Han immediately realized what was going on. Unknowingly, a dense layer of golden worms had crawled onto the Deerhorde Beast. They were each around the size of an ant, and wherever they passed by, the meat would vanish, leaving behind only bones.
Clearly, the two limbs were cleared away by these insects.
These worms were extremely small, and their color resembled the tone of the roasted flesh. Thus, if one didn't pay close attention, it was easy to overlook them.
"What... are those?"
Hall Master Han was taken aback.
Despite being a 4-star beast tamer, he realized that he had never seen those worms before.
"Hall master, could these be..."
Suddenly recalling something, Elder Hu's body froze and fear reflected in his eyes.
"You're saying that..." Seeing the other party's expression, Hall Master Han froze for a moment before fear slowly crept onto his face.
"Yes. Otherwise, how could any creature consume the flesh of the Deerhorde Beast so quickly..." Elder Hu swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
"If it's really that thing... we could really be in trouble!"
Suddenly recalling something, Hall Master Han lifted his head and looked at the screen, only to see the eyes of the Demon Cinque Beast wide opened, gleaming with energy.
The edges of its gigantic lips suddenly curled up coldly.
"Zhang shi, what is that?"
Upon seeing that bizarre sight, Hall Master Sai couldn't help but ask.
As the head of the Appraiser Hall, his knowledge pool was formidable, but even so, he had never heard of such a bizarre creature.
The others also turned their gazes over.
Zhang shi had predicted this would happen and brought them over. From the looks of it, this must be what he was worried about.
"They're Soul Devouring Ants," Zhang Xuan said with a grim expression.
"Soul Devouring Ants?"
The crowd was bewildered.
They had never heard of them before, needless to say, know what they were.
However, as soon as Luo Zhu heard that name, his body immediately froze and disbelief surfaced on his face. "Legend has it that these ants are the nemeses of soul oracles. They are beings who sustain themselves by consuming souls and spiritual energy..."
Soul Devouring Ants were bizarre creatures who were capable of devouring soul and spiritual energy.
As such, they were the nemeses of soul oracles.
Why would such insects be found near the cave of the Demon Cinque Beast?
Instead of replying his words, Zhang Xuan turned his head over and asked, "If I'm not mistaken, the soul oracle tomb that you are talking of is located under the lake, am I right?"
"You... How did you know?"
Luo Zhu was taken aback.
He had only said that the soul oracle tomb was in the vicinity. He had never revealed the exact location, so how in the world did the other party know about it?
Tombs were all about geomancy, and being buried beneath a lake was commonly known to be inauspicious. No one in the right mind would choose to do so.
Thus, if one were to tell another that there was a tomb underwater, one would definitely be mocked by others.
Back then, when he looked up the relevant books and found its exact location, he was still in disbelief.
This was the reason why he was so confident that no one could have found it.
However... the person before him pointed out the matter in an instant. Could it be really related to these Soul Devouring Ants?
"Soul Devouring Ants live by consuming souls, thus making them the nemeses of soul oracles. However... these things fear water, so the only way to avoid them and not be devoured by them is to be buried underwater," Zhang Xuan said.
The books that Hall Master Sai gathered on soul oracles might not have had much useful knowledge, but it still provided some basic knowledge for Zhang Xuan to work with.
Besides, Soul Devouring Ant was a type of spirit beast recorded in the books of the Beast Tamer Guild. After looking at the ground with his Eye of Insight, he had already noticed some peculiarities.
With some deduction, he swiftly understood the situation.
"Isn't being buried underwater inauspicious for both the living and the dead?" The one who asked the question wasn't Luo Zhu but Zhao Feiwu.
Learning that the tomb was beneath the lake had left her astounded.
She had spotted the lake as soon as she arrived in the area, and under the ceaseless torrent from the waterfall throughout the years, its current depth was unimaginable. To build one's tomb at the bottom of it, wouldn't one be afraid of one's resting place being washed away by the water, unable to rest in peace even after death?
"To the soul oracles, they could always possess another physical body to come alive again. Death was nothing more than a temporary sleep to them, and geomancy and the like didn't apply to them. Thus, it didn't matter where they built their tomb," Zhang Xuan explained.
"Oh!" The crowd came to a realization.
The main reason why tombs were placed at a location viewed to be auspicious was in hopes that they could bring luck to their future offspring. However, soul oracles didn't think that death was permanent to them, and thus, it didn't matter to them where their tomb was located.
"But that's not right!"
After a moment of hesitation, Luo Zhu suddenly recalled something and said, "Even though the soul oracle tomb is located beneath the lake, it isn't submerged in water at all. Thus, even if the Soul Devouring Ants are unable to step into the water, they should be able to enter the tomb by burrowing their way into it. Then why..."
If the soul oracle tomb were submerged in water, he wouldn't have been able to explore it, and wouldn't have been possessed by a soul within the tomb. That day, when he entered the underground tomb, even though it had been sealed for innumerable years, the air was dry and permitted one to breathe.
Since even humans could enter the tomb, Soul Devouring Ants would surely be able to do the same as well! If that was the case, how could the soul have survived there for so many years?
"If I'm not mistaken, you are the one who brought all of these Soul Devouring Ants over!" Zhang Xuan said.
"Me?" Luo Zhu was taken aback.
Even though he had heard of Soul Devouring Ants, he had never met one in his life before. How could he possibly be the one who brought them over?
"The soul oracle tomb is tightly sealed. For innumerable years, it remained secluded from the outside world. However, not only did you open the tomb, you even came out with a soul on you. Naturally, the scent of the souls leaked out... As such, these fellows who specially prey on souls were attracted here. However, due to the limited time of their arrival, they haven't found the entrance yet. If we had delayed for another month, then even if we were to enter, we surely wouldn't be able to find anything at all!" Zhang Xuan said with a grim expression.
Soul Devouring Ants were the nemeses of the soul oracles, so naturally, soul oracles learned how to guard against them. They knew how to prevent the scent of their souls from leaking out and prevent bringing attention upon themselves.
However, Luo Zhu didn't. If Zhang Xuan wasn't mistaken, these Soul Devouring Ants had probably arrived not too long ago. Otherwise, they would have already burrowed beneath the deep lake instead of loitering around the surface and wouldn't have been attracted by the aroma of the Deerhorde Beast.
"This..." Luo Zhu's face paled.
He was actually the one who brought those fearsome things here... Just the thought of it sent shivers down his spine.
Recovering from his shock, Luo Zhu suddenly thought of something and asked doubtfully, "Even though Soul Devouring Ants favor consuming soul and the meat of the Deerhorde Beast, there shouldn't have needed to escape so far, right? Under normal circumstances, those ants won't harm humans, right?"
Soul Devouring Ants were bizarre and abhorrent creatures, and they were the nemesis of the soul oracles. However, to ordinary humans, they were completely harmless.
Was there a need for them to escape several hundred meters away?
"You're right in that the Soul Devouring Ants won't do any harm to us. However... you mustn't forget that on top of consuming souls, these insects consume spiritual energy as well, and... what a formation primarily drives on is precisely... spiritual energy!" Zhang Xuan explained.
Taken aback, everyone was stunned for a moment before their eyes slowly narrowed. They hurriedly turned their gazes over.
Seeing the opened eyes of the Demon Cinque Beast, Hall Master Han also realized that something was amiss and his body tensed up.
Given that the Soul Devouring Ant was hidden underground, even though he was a beast tamer, it wasn't too surprising for him to have failed to notice it. However, the Demon Cinque Beast was different.
Spirit beasts were exceptionally sensitive to their surroundings, not to mention, this was its nest. Thus, how could it possibly be unaware of the arrival of these 'guests'?
It seemed like it knew that those 'guests' would be attracted by the scent of the Deerhorde Beast, and knowing their ability to consume spiritual energy, it was without fear. That was why it chose to close its eyes, lie low, and wait.
The moment the spiritual energy of the formation had been completely consumed by those Soul Devouring Ants, the formation would be like a carriage without with steed. Without a driving force, how could it possibly operate?
Upon thinking of all this, Hall Master Han hurriedly instructed, "Increase the energy and reinforce the formation..."
However, before he could finish his words, a furious howl echoed. The trapped Demon Cinque Beast suddenly moved, causing the ground to tremor.
The spiritual energy chains locking it, as though having been nibbled on by something, broke apart in an instant. After which, an incomparably powerful aura gushed out from the body of the spirit beast. Both its wings flapped furiously and it flew out of the formation,
The formation collapsed entirely, and the mist shielding everyone's view disappeared. Following which, everyone saw the massive body of the Demon Cinque Beast charging straight toward Elder Hu and the others.
A furious bellow.
Flapping its wings, huge gusts of wind were whipped up.
Before Elder Hu and the others could react, they were already struck and sent flying. Blood spewed from their mouths in midair.
A Transcendent Mortal 4-dan pinnacle spirit beast was typically already stronger than human cultivators of the same level. On top of that, it was just captured and forced to submit. All of the resentment accumulated in its heart caused it to go into a rampaging state. How could the elders of the Beast Hall withstand against such might?
In just a single move, all of them were already injured.
Not expecting this fellow to be so callous, disregarding their three years of relationship, Hall Master Han's face steeled. Raising his hand, a long spear appeared in his grip.
Even though he was a beast tamer, his fighting prowess as an individual was formidable as well. He had already reached Transcendent Mortal 4-dan pinnacle as well.
As soon as the spear left his hand, it immediately charged forward as though a mighty dragon, headed straight for the Demon Cinque Beast.
Facing the offense, the Demon Cinque Beast didn't even bother to dodge. He simply faced it straight with his physical body.
The incomparably sharp spear came into contact with the Demon Cinque Beast's chest, but it failed to even pierce through the latter's skin, needless to say, it was unable injure the beast.
"What formidable defense..."
Zhang Xuan, Hall Master Sai, and the others stared at one another with widened eyes.
They knew that the spirit beast's Dragon Bloodline had granted it unparalleled defense among its peers, and ordinary weapons couldn't hope to overcome it. Even so, that was an attack which Hall Master Han had placed his full might into. It was a shocking sight to see that it didn't even leave the slightest mark.
It was no wonder why its notoriety would be known throughout the entire Myriad Kingdom Alliance, and why the multiple attempts of the royal family in eliminating it ended up in failure. It was indeed a force to reckon with.
After deflecting the spear with its chest, the Demon Cinque Beast roared furiously. Its powerful voice enveloped the area with rampaging might reminiscent of a storm.
At the forefront, Hall Master Han bore the brunt of the attack. Despite being a Transcendent Mortal 4-dan pinnacle, he still felt a little faint-headed and nearly spurted a mouthful of blood.
After the roar, the Demon Cinque Beast swept its massive wings.
A cloud of dust immediately rose into the air, and a massive tear appeared on the ground. Hall Master Han swiftly summoned its spear back to protect himself. Even so, the disparity in the strength of both parties was too great. With a numbing sensation in his arm, he was sent flying as though a ball being kicked into the distance.
Even in midair, blood kept gushing out of his mouth, causing his face turn ghastly pale.
With his internals rattled by the overwhelming force that struck him, Hall Master Han felt as though his body was tearing apart. At this very moment, a thought suddenly emerged in his mind.
'Did the 2-star beast tamer... predict that this would happen?'