Yun Ruoyan hurriedly pulled out a dagger and began digging at the ground, trying to unearth the small, mysterious creature which had snuck away with one of the heavenly spirit fruits.
“That’s a fleeing groundrat, which can burrow as quickly as you or I can run. We won’t be able to catch it.” Li Mo pulled Yun Ruoyan up, then looked alertly around them.
By then, the remaining three high-rank beasts had discovered something amiss about the yellow-furred beast. Although they were all rather heavily injured, they dragged themselves up and stood opposing it.
Behind the three high-rank beasts, within the dark forest, glinted the eyes of countless magical beasts.
“We have to find a way to get out. Even that yellow-furred beast won’t be able to shield us from all these attacks,” Li Mo said, then handed her the heavenly spirit fruit that he had claimed.
Yun Ruoyan slipped the fruit into her silver bracelet as the three high-rank beasts began to howl, causing the beasts still hidden in the grove to step out. There was a large pack of wolves, as well as the saber-toothed tigers and firehounds that Yun Ruoyan had previously encountered. Now, however, they all seemed to be gigantified.
The three high-rank beasts howled as one, and eight wolves pounced at Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo. The yellow-furred beast continued to block them—three wolves were deflected, two were swiped to death, but the remaining three bit at the yellow-furred beast’s flesh.
The sudden pain caused the yellow-furred beast to howl, triggering wave after wave of attack. Consumed by pain, the yellow-furred beast began rampaging as it tried to defend against the multitude of beasts that had surrounded it. Despite its prowess, however, it wouldn’t be able to handle so many attacks at once.
Li Mo quickly flew off on his sword with Yun Ruoyan, and she pointed at a tree branch directly ahead of them. “Li Mo, look!”
On that tree branch squatted a gigantic monkey, one that was baring its canines at her and Li Mo. Its bloody-red eyes were fixed on her petite frame. The moment Yun Ruoyan pointed at it, it leapt toward her, and Yun Ruoyan immediately got into a defensive stance with the dagger in her hands.
As if prepared, however, Li Mo managed to swerve away from its attack.
“What sort of magical beast is this? Why haven’t I noticed its existence before?”
“They’ve always been around,” Li Mo replied. “But because they’re just wild monkeys, barely cultivators at all, it’s difficult to notice them unless you’re familiar with them. However, even without spiritual energy, these are particularly difficult beasts to deal with. At times, they’re even harder to handle than magical beasts.”
“Because they’re present in overwhelming quantities, and all of them will swarm toward the single target that they’ve designated, even at the cost of their own lives. Look around you.”
Yun Ruoyan tightly clutched Li Mo’s waist to stabilize herself, then looked at her surroundings. The trees around them had soundlessly filled up with monkeys, some clinging onto the tree trunk, some stooping between branches, some hanging upside down off their tail, and some hidden in the crown of each tree.
Out of nowhere, they had completely surrounded Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan. Li Mo hovered in mid-air, as if a single gesture would set off all the monkeys and endanger them both.
“Yan’er, are you ready?” Li Mo murmured.
Li Mo suddenly shot into the skies. A rain of monkeys pounced toward them, and Yun Ruoyan waved her spiritsteel dagger madly in defense. At the same time, Li Mo flew away at full speed while lobbing fireballs and icicles at any monkey which got too close.
The howls and shrieks of the wild monkeys filled Yun Ruoyan’s ears. Just as it seemed as though they would be able to break free of the forest, they encountered a net woven from interlinked wild monkeys, holding hands and tangling tails together.
Without slowing down, Li Mo turned around and called out to Mo’er, “Dumb bird, if you’re still alive, come out and help!”
Mo’er poked its head out of Li Mo’s hood, then spread out its wings and rushed to the front. As it did so, it transformed into its larger form, going from the size of a magpie to several times the size of an eagle.
It dashed toward the net of monkeys, who met it head-on without any intention of ducking back. Right before it collided with them, however, Mo’er suddenly stopped and began to caw. Despite knowing what was about to happen, Yun Ruoyan’s vision nevertheless turned fuzzy, and she would have fallen to the ground if not for Li Mo’s timely assistance.
On the other hand, the wild monkeys were wholly unprepared for such an attack. They all fell unconscious, and each one slowly began to fall toward the ground.
After this final hurdle, Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan finally managed to make it out of the forest. As they did so, a resonant howl came from behind. Yun Ruoyan was jolted awake, as though her head had just been immersed in a bath of ice water—the slumberbeast, enraged beyond belief at the duo’s successful escape, had let out the cry with the last of its reserves.
Mo’er was so scared that it chirped, returned to its original size, and ducked back into Li Mo’s hood.
This was the first time that Yun Ruoyan had seen Mo’er’s larger self, and she had been somewhat awed by its majesty—but now its majestic image was dashed, and she couldn’t help smiling.
Yun Ruoyan took a deep breath, sighing. Their escape had been a prelude to dawn, and as the two flew higher and higher, they could see the sunrise down below.
Yun Ruoyan retrieved the heavenly spirit fruit from her pocket dimension, marvelling at how difficult it had been to obtain the treasure.
“It’s best to consume the spirit fruit within a day of its ripening,” Li Mo advised. “We’ll head to a safe, secluded area so you can consume it now.”
Zhuo Yifeng rushed toward the heavenly spirit tree, barely a mile away. In his haste, he had chosen not to sleep last night. Although he didn’t know about the heavenly spirit fruit, the howls that he had heard from the distance, as well as the continuous stream of beasts leaving the area, signalled a major disturbance.
Along with major disturbances often came major opportunities, and Zhuo Yifeng was certain that Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo had gone to seek out exactly such an opportunity. By the time Zhuo Yifeng arrived at the scene, however, all he saw was a battlefield in complete disorder, with carcasses strewn left and right.
Zhuo Yifeng rummaged through the carcasses. Although he didn’t discover anything special, he did manage to obtain quite a number of mid-rank cores. Even more luckily, he had even found a high-rank earth-attuned beast core. Zhuo Yifeng’s adventure would have been worth it for this one core alone.
After his large harvest, Zhuo Yifeng quickly retraced his steps and headed back in Guan Ruliu’s direction.
Meanwhile, Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan were trying to find a suitable location for Yun Ruoyan to ingest the pill and break through. Li Mo brought Yun Ruoyan to a gigantic tree, one even larger than those around it, with a circumference equal to the wingspan of ten whole men.
Part of the tree had been hollowed out, and the hollow was as tall as Li Mo. Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo stopped outside the hollow, where Mo’er chirped happily and flew in. After glancing at each other, Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan followed it in.
This was none other than Mo’er’s old residence. When it heard that Li Mo was trying to find a safe, secluded place for Yun Ruoyan, Mo’er had led them to its home! The interior of the hollow was easily wide enough to fit seven or eight people, and it was surprisingly clean.
“Hey, Li Mo, what are those?” Yun Ruoyan saw that there was a pile of bones left in the corner of the hollow, all of which were rather large. Yun Ruoyan walked over and picked up what appeared to be a leg bone, and she was just about to laugh at Mo’er’s hobby of collecting the bones of its prey when Li Mo began, “These bones look like those of an adult soul-stealing bird, so they’re likely from Mo’er’s parents.”
Yun Ruoyan immediately put the bone back down, looking appropriately chastised.
“Yan’er, come over here.” Li Mo brought Yun Ruoyan to a small alcove in the hollow, where a bed of soft leaves and fur had been laid out—likely where Mo’er used to rest.
Mo’er flew around the hollow once. When Yun Ruoyan held out a bewitching flower seed, it quickly dove down and plucked it out of her hands, then obediently returned to Li Mo’s hood.
“This place is very suitable for cultivation,” Li Mo said, then sat Yun Ruoyan down on the soft leaves and furs. “Yan’er, you should consume the heavenly spirit fruit and begin the breakthrough process now.”
“Alright.” Yun Ruoyan removed the glowing, multicolored fruit from the silver bracelet.
“Mistress, if you do manage to break through, you can also help me break through as well,” Qiuqiu informed her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter