The two women were naturally ecstatic at the sight of the carcass, and Qing Xiao heaved a long sigh of relief before extending a grateful bow toward Han Li.
"Thank you for taking care of this abhorrent beast, Senior Han. Not only did you save the two of us, you've also saved countless more beings on our Flame Coral Islands who would've undoubtedly perished to this thing."
The woman in black had also adopted a more respectful demeanor as she chimed in, "Indeed. Even Layman Silver Shark was no match for this monster; if it had been allowed to wreak havoc to its heart’s content, then countless lives would've been lost. We are extremely grateful that you've eradicated such a major threat to everyone, Senior Han!"
"There's no need to thank me. This beast was a little troublesome to deal with, but I just so happen to have mastered a few cultivation arts that are perfect for combating its abilities."
"You're far too modest, Senior. This is the first time this being has appeared here, and at the time, we were discussing with our fellow Daoists a course of action to hunt down that sea beast. All of a sudden, this moth flew out of the mist and onto the island, and many of our fellow Daoists were caught off guard before falling to its roars. Thankfully, Layman Silver Shark managed to delay the beast for short while, thereby allowing some of us to escape. Otherwise, we would've most likely all perished already." There was still a hint of fear in Qing Xiao's eyes as she recalled the horrors of the monstrous moth.
Han Li's brows furrowed as he nodded before turning to the group of young men and women who had just emerged from the pavilion.
"Are these the native inhabitants of this island? Their constitutions seem to be rather special, but they're not cultivators."
"Hehe, these are Glacial Essence beings. These beings are unable to draw the world's origin Qi into their bodies, but they can blast some glacial Qi out of their mouths, and they'll maintain their appearances after reaching full maturity, only reverting to their rightful elderly appearance in the instant that they pass away from old age. They're considered to be a rather rare race with a population of only around 10,000 on the entire Flame Coral Islands. However, due to the fact that the race can't produce any cultivators, they're forced to become subsidiaries to other powerful races or prominent powers. This group of Glacial Essence beings are the servants of the late Layman Silver Shark," the woman in black explained.
"Now that Layman Silver Shark is dead, they'll have to seek protection from another power," Qing Xiao sighed, seemingly feeling rather sympathetic toward these Glacial Essence beings.
"Oh? That's quite interesting!" This was the first time that Han Li had heard of such a race, and he couldn't help but take an extra glance at this group of beings.
Upon hearing the conversation between Han Li and the two women, the white-robed woman who appeared to be the leader of the Glacial Essence beings immediately to kowtow to the trio, and the other Glacial Essence beings behind her hurriedly followed suit.
"Are all of you planning to seek refuge under Mr. Han? If that's the case, you may as well take them, Mr. Han. These Glacial Essence beings are quite useful for organizing cave abodes and looking after medicine gardens," the woman in black said with a smile.
"Oh? They're skilled at nurturing spirit medicines?" Han Li was rather surprised to hear this.
"They’re not just skilled in the craft; their aptitude in that area far exceeds even most upper race cultivators. These beings were able to take refuge under Layman Silver Shark, so they're definitely the cream of the crop among their race. If news were to spread that they were looking for a new master, many upper race beings would be clambering to take them," Qing Xiao explained with a smile.
"It's a pity that I'm used to traveling alone, so I don't like having people with me. If you two would like to take them, then feel free to do so," Han Li immediately refused with a shake of his head.
"In that case, then we'd be more than glad to take them. I am really in need of servants in my cave abode; Sister Qing, how about we split them evenly among us?" the woman in black asked as she turned to Qing Xiao with a smile.
"I already have more than my fair share of servants on my island, so you can take all of them if you like," Qing Xiao replied with a nonchalant smile.
The woman in black nodded in response before asking the Glacial Essence beings whether they'd be willing to come with her.
Their original master had already perished, so the Glacial Essence beings naturally weren't going to refuse the woman's offer. As such, all of them agreed in a respectful manner. After that, they cleaned up the largest palatial building at the woman's behest before inviting Han Li's trio into the palace.
"What are your plans from here onward, Mr. Han? Do you still intend to hunt down that sea beast?" Qing Xiao asked as she took a seat on a stone chair within the palace.
"I do. I've already come all this way, so I'm certainly not going to give up without giving it a try," Han Le replied in a calm manner.
Qing Xiao and the other woman glanced at one another upon hearing this.
"Are you two of the opinion that I'm not capable of accomplishing such a feat?" Han Li asked as he raised an eyebrow?
"Of course not. You were even able to slay that monstrous moth, so it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that you'd be able to hunt down that sea beast. However, during our past hunting trips, we relied heavily on Layman Silver Shark's Silver Light Shark to track that sea beast. Now that the spirit beast has perished along with Layman Silver Shark, so it most likely won't be a simple task to find that sea beast again," the woman in black hurriedly explained.
"Is that so? Then how was that Silver Light Shark able to find the sea beast?" Han Li asked with a hint of surprise on his face.
"I heard about this from Layman Silver Shark once. Apparently, his Silver Light Shark has a natural tracking ability. As long as it's seen something once, it'll be able to sense it within a radius of 5,000 kilometers, then slowly find it. In the past, the Silver Light Shark led all of our hunting parties to the lair of the sea beast," Qing Xiao explained in a grim manner.
"In that case, things will indeed be a little troublesome. Looks like I'll just have to travel to the rough area where the sea beast resides and try my luck there," Han Li said with furrowed brows.
"If you insist on hunting down this beast, why don't you wait for another month or so? A few more of our fellow Daoists should've survived that attack from the monstrous moth, and there are many who've yet to arrive on the island. If we can organize a hunting party, it'd at least be better than going after the beast alone," the woman in black suggested.
"That's most likely not going to help much. I recall that Fellow Daoist Qing had once told me about the sea beast's powers. If we were to split, we'd most likely only be divided and conquered, and if we were to hunt for it together as a group, it wouldn't increase our chances of finding it any more than if I were to search for it on my own. On top of that, everything would be fine if we could hunt down the beast in a short time, but if the hunting trip drags on for too long, dissent would inevitably be bred among the party members. In that case, it would be better for me to go alone. As for everyone else, they can come along if they'd like, but I won't force them if they don't wish to accompany me," Han Li replied with a smile.
The two women naturally had nothing further to add upon hearing this.
"If I do manage to recover the Spatial Cloud Crystal, please assist me in repairing the teleportation formation."
"Rest assured, Senior; as long as you can recover the Spatial Cloud Crystal, you can leave the teleportation formation repairs to us," the woman in black promised with a smile, and Qing Xiao also followed suit.
Han Li nodded with a pleased look after hearing their responses.
The rest of the process was quite simple. Han Li inquired about the general location where the sea beast had been sighted in the past, then set up a method through which he could contact the two women before flying away as a streak of azure light.
Qing Xiao and the woman in black stood in front of the doors of the palace and looked on his departing figure with complex expressions on their faces.
"Even now, I'm still in disbelief that Senior Han was actually able to kill that monstrous moth. His cultivation base appears to be quite similar to that of Layman Silver Shark, but Layman Silver Shark was slain by that beast in a matter of mere moments," the woman in black murmured to herself.
"Didn't Mr. Han say that he's mastered a few cultivation arts that were perfect for combating the moth's abilities? That must be why he was able to defeat the beast," Qing Xiao replied with a peculiar look in her eyes.
"Are you really going to believe that, Sister Qing? At the very least, I'm not buying it. Setting aside that moth's strange abilities, just its demonic power alone made it comparable to a ninth-tier upper race being. Do you think it's possible that a few convenient cultivation arts could tip the scales so much in his favor that he'd be able to bridge such a vast gulf in power?" the woman in black analyzed with a hint of a smile on her face.
"What are you trying to say?" Qing Xiao sighed.
"Nothing much. I was just remembering that you're still missing a Dao Companion. This Mr. Han is a perfect choice, is it not? If you don't want him, then don't blame me for swooping in," the woman in black giggled.
"What are you saying, Sister? I've only met Mr. Han on two separate occasions in total; how could I possibly have such bold thoughts?" Qing Xiao scoffed as a blush appeared on her face.
"What's wrong with having thoughts like this? If I recall correctly, you've been stuck at the fifth-tier for many years already, right? If you could make a powerful man like Mr. Han your Dao Partner, then you should be able to easily break through your bottleneck through dual cultivation. So what if you're still not very familiar with Mr. Han? Everyone starts off as strangers. As long as he doesn't leave this region, you'll have more chances to meet and interact with him. With your looks and talents, you can't tell me that he won't fall for you," the woman in black giggled with a teasing look in her eyes.
"Stop spouting nonsense, Sister! Mr. Han has to return to his own continent sooner or later, so how could he possibly stay here for long? Besides, perhaps he already has a Dao Companion." Qing Xiao finally managed to muster up a coherent response after forcibly recomposing herself.
"Hmm, that's indeed an issue. However, that sea beast is extremely cunning, and this region of the sea is extremely vast; tracking it down and killing it will be no easy task. As long as he's unable to recover the Spatial Cloud Crystal, he'll be forced to remain on Flame Coral Islands. In that case, what does it matter if Mr. Han already has a Dao Companion or not?" the woman in black replied with a nonchalant shake of her head.
This time, Qing Xiao didn't say anything in response. She merely looked on toward the direction that Han Li had departed in and heaved a barely audible sigh.Previous Chapter Next Chapter