There was a courtyard consisting of several green wooden cabins situated at the foot of the small mountain, and the cloud stopped in front of the courtyard as the woman turned to Han Li with a smile.
"What do you think of this place, Senior Han?"
Han Li took a deep breath, and he nodded with a pleased expression as he sensed the rich spiritual Qi surging toward him.
The woman was ecstatic to see this, and the white cloud immediately descended into the courtyard at her behest. She pushed open the doors of one of the wooden cabins, then turned to Han Li, preparing to carry him into the cabin.
However, Han Li suddenly smiled at this moment, and said, "There's no need to trouble you any further, Fellow Daoist; I can go in on my own."
Han Li's body swayed as he spoke, and he stood up on the white cloud before slowly hovering down from it.
The woman was quite startled to see this.
"My injuries still haven't healed, but I can at least move around now," Han Li explained with a smile.
"Then I must congratulate you, Senior. I was considering sending a few of my disciples over to look after you, but it seems that won't be necessary now; I'm sure you don't want to be disturbed, Senior," the woman said as her expression reverted back to normal.
"Indeed, I'd rather not have anyone close to me while I recover from my injuries. This is quite a good place; I'll stay here for a while. It'd be best if you could get that Scorching Sun Divine Pill to me as soon as possible. If it really does prove to be effective, I'll do my best to recover as quickly as possible, and I'll be sure to do what I can for your race thereafter," Han Li said with a serious expression.
"Of course, Senior. It's just that the Scorching Sun Divine Pill is still being nurtured within the earthen flames, so it'll take me several days to extract it. I hope that's alright with you, Senior," the woman explained.
"I'm naturally willing to wait a few days. You can go now; I'd like some rest," Han Li replied with a calm nod.
Seeing as Han Li was asking her to leave, the woman naturally obliged. She immediately extended a respectful bow toward Han Li before departing from the courtyard atop her white cloud.
Han Li stood on the spot and looked on as the white cloud disappeared into the distance. Only then did he turn around and walk into the wooden cabin that had been prepared for him.
The cabin wasn't very large, and it was only sparsely furnished with some wooden furniture.
Han Li didn't look at anything else; he made his way straight over to the wooden bed in one corner of the room, then sat down upon it with his legs crossed.
He exhaled as an exhausted look appeared on his face.
"Just standing up for a while has completely expended all of the magic power I'd just saved up. Looks like I really have lost far too much blood essence," Han Li murmured to himself. He then brushed a hand over his storage bracelet, and faint white light flashed as four or five vials of different designs appeared in his hand.
Han Li poured out a few pills from each vial, then stuffed them all into his mouth at once before closing his eyes to digest the powers of the pills.
Moments later, he felt a scorching sensation in his dantian, following which a few bursts of cool and refreshing energy began to circulate throughout his body and meridians, nurturing and repairing his injuries in the process.
Han Li was quite elated by this development.
As expected of regenerative pills refined using myriad year spirit medicines; they were truly very effective.
A short while later, a faint layer of golden light surfaced over Han Li's body, and a faint flickering golden projection also appeared over his head.
The wooden cabin fell completely silent...
At the same time, the woman returned to the earthen city atop her white cloud, and descended in front of the palace on the plaza.
Several tens of white-robed low-grade priests were still waiting for her there in silence.
"Come with me, Yan Wu. Also, summon the hunting party that first discovered Mr. Han; I have some questions to ask them," the woman instructed.
The white-robed serpentine beings did as they were told while Yan Wu followed the woman into the palace again.
"You stayed with that man throughout the entire trip here; tell me your impression of him, as well as all of the observations you made. Make sure not to skip any details!" the woman said with a serious expression.
"I'll be sure to tell you everything I know! At the time, I was on duty at the dock..." Yan Wu was rather nervous in the face of the high priestess' steely demeanor, but she still gave a detailed recount of the observations she'd made during her time spent with Han Li.
Even though the events being recounted were all quite boring and mundane, the woman still listened with an expression of rapt focus on her face.
Several hours later, the serpentine hunters who had first discovered Han Li arrived at the palace in the earthen city atop their lizard steeds. They said something to the white-robed serpentine beings outside the palace, then hurriedly rushed in through the gates. The group was in there for over an hour before they finally re-emerged with Yan Wu.
At this moment, the woman was sitting on the main seat within the palace with an indecisive look on her face, seemingly grappling with some kind of dilemma.
"Are you experiencing some troubles, Mother?" A clear voice suddenly sounded within the palace.
The woman faltered initially upon hearing this voice before an elated look appeared on her face. "Zhu'er, is that you? When did you get back?"
Right at this moment, white light flashed in front of the woman, and a slender serpentine being emerged.
This was a young serpentine woman who appeared to be around 16 to 17 years of age with a head of long black hair and a set of peerlessly beautiful facial features.
There was a string of shimmering silver rings woven into her hair, and a large yellow bow as well as three bone arrows strapped to her back. There was also a black leather pouch hanging from her waist, and she was holding a white flag in her hand.
This woman also had the lower body of a snake, but it was extremely white, to the extent that her scales were barely visible at all.
She stood there with a vibrant smile on her face, revealing a pair of sweet little dimples on her gorgeous face.
"It really is you, Zhu'er! Your cultivation base really has progressed markedly since I last saw you."The woman hurriedly rose to her feet with a doting look on her face before enveloping the young serpentine woman in a tight hug.
"I should be saying that to you, Mother. We've only been apart for a few years, but you've already reached the metamorphosis stage," Zhu'er giggled.
"You think far too highly of me, Zhu'er. I didn't have the power to break through to this stage on my own; I merely consumed that immortal fruit to assist me," the woman sighed as her smile faded.
"What? You ate that immortal fruit, Mother? Then doesn't that mean your lifespan's been severely shortened?" The young woman's expression changed drastically as she grabbed onto her mother's wrist, and her face turned deathly pale as she gauged the woman's condition with her spiritual power.
"What's the point of having a long lifespan if I won't get to live it? By the way, did your master come back with you?" the woman asked with a hopeful expression.
"When I received your letter, my master just so happened to be visiting a friend on another island. I was afraid that I wouldn't get back in time, so I took the treasures that Master left behind to protect the island and came back on my own. When I got here, I saw that you were asking some people about a certain Mr. Han, so I decided to refrain from showing myself until now," the young woman explained with a concerned expression.
"If your master can't make it, then the situation does not bode well for us." The woman's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
"Mother, is our race really in such grave danger? I've even brought back Master's Heaven-splitting Bow with me. As long as we don't get attacked by someone that's more than 10 times as powerful as me, I should be able to kill them with a single arrow," the young woman said in a confident manner.
"Zhu'er, your cultivation base has indeed improved markedly, but you're only at around the same stage as I was back before I consumed the immortal fruit. Even if your powers were to be enhanced by tenfold, you still most likely wouldn't be able to handle this ordeal. If your master had come back with you, perhaps we'd be saved, but as things are now..." The woman's voice trailed off into a resigned sigh as she stroked her daughter's hair.
"The letter that you sent to me was quite vague, Mother. Just what is our race facing for you to be so desperate? You've even consumed the immortal fruit and are trying to suck up to some unknown upper race cultivator." The young woman lay in her mother's arms and looked up at her with a pained look on her face.
The woman hesitated momentarily before finally patting her daughter on the shoulder as she said, "Seeing as you've already returned to the island, asking you to leave now will most likely place you in even more danger. So be it, I'll tell you what's happened."
"I presume that you already know that the other two races have already been eradicated."
"Yes, you mentioned that in your letter, Mother. Even so, surely that's not a cause for such alarm. Those two races have always been slightly weaker than our Fire Yang Race, and the cultivation bases of their high priests were inferior to yours even before you consumed the immortal fruit," the young woman replied with a perplexed look.
"But do you know what kind of being was responsible for wiping out those two races?" the woman asked in a slow voice.
"Didn't you say that there were no leads, Mother?" The young woman faltered slightly upon hearing this.
"Two entire races were completely eradicated; no matter how discreetly they did things, there's no way that they wouldn't have left behind any traces. If I'm not mistaken, then the perpetrators behind these attacks were most likely the sworn enemy of our Naga Race, the Black Rakshasa Race," the woman said with a hint of fear in her eyes.
"The Black Rakshasa Race? That's impossible! According to our historical records, that race was completely eradicated by our Naga Race countless years ago. How could they have appeared in this region?" The young woman had clearly also heard of this Black Rakshasa Race, and she spoke in a trembling voice as her face paled even further.
"Indeed. Theoretically, the Black Rakshasa Race should have been driven to extinction during their battle against our Naga Race on the Thunder Continent. However, it's not impossible that some of them had managed to survive and escaped the battle. Aside from the Black Rakshasa Race, what other types of beings would abduct our men and devour the flesh of our women? The only thing I don't understand is that our three races have been here for thousands of years; if the Black Rakshasa Race were also nearby, why did they wait so long before attacking us?" A hint of bewilderment appeared in the woman's eyes as she spoke.Previous Chapter Next Chapter