"Two potential avenues? Go ahead," Han Li prompted.
"Three months from now, the Lucky Cloud Auction House of Cloud City will be selling a holy race thorned devilish beast inner core as one of their auction items. From what I've heard, that devilish core is extremely rare, and even some of the holy race beings in the city have set their eyes on it," the woman disclosed in a slow voice.
Han Li's brows furrowed upon hearing this. He did indeed possess considerable wealth, but he certainly wouldn't be confident that his wealth could exceed that of Body Integration Stage beings.
Those old monsters had all lived for tens of thousands of years, and the wealth they've accumulated during this time was most definitely quite staggering.
Of course, if he exchanged all of the spirit medicines and materials he was carrying into spirit stones, he'd be able to keep up in the bidding with all those old monsters, but he was alone in an unfamiliar place, so it certainly wouldn't be wise to flaunt his wealth in such a blatant manner.
If he were to do so, he'd most likely be singled out as a target even before he could purchase the devilish core. He didn't want to draw trouble to himself, and with that in mind, he quickly shook his head as he replied, "If there are going to be holy race beings participating in the bidding, then there's no way I'll be able to outbid them, so that won't work."
"Oh, in that case, we'll have to take the second avenue. You must be quite new here in Cloud City, right, Senior? Have you heard of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges?" the woman asked with a smile.
"I know that such a place exists, but I don't really know anything about it," Han Li replied in a truthful manner.
"It's not unusual for you to have limited knowledge about that place; it only appeared in the past 10,000 years, and very few people outside of Cloud City are aware of its existence. Allow me to tell you about it in greater detail," the woman chuckled.
"Then I'll have to trouble you to enlighten me, Fellow Daoist." Han Li nodded in response as the map he'd purchased earlier surfaced in his mind. The Golden Devil Mountain Ranges was none other than one of the landmarks annotated on the map.
"Approximately 10,000 years ago, a spatial storm suddenly appeared on a stretch of barren land about a month's travel away from Cloud City. For some reason, a set of black mountain ranges emerged in the area in the aftermath of the spatial storm. The mountain ranges were entirely enshrouded under dense devilish Qi, and the space above it was extremely unstable with spatial rifts popping up quite regularly. Vast amounts of devilish Qi surged from these spatial rifts, and some high-grade devilish beast also emerged from them, including some holy-grade devilish beasts. Within a short span of time, the area in a radius of several millions of kilometers around the mountain ranges had been transformed into a devilish realm, and this area continued to expand. This incident eventually drew the attention of the holy race beings in our Heavenly Cloud Races, and several holy race beings of the sixth and seventh tiers were deployed to the area, combining their powers to kill most of the holy-grade devilish beasts that had appeared there. After that, they ventured into the center of the mountain ranges to try and put an end to everything," the woman recounted with a solemn expression.
Han Li's heart stirred as soon as the woman mentioned the vast amounts of devilish Qi that had surged out of the spatial rifts, and he almost instantly thought back to the infernal river that he'd encountered back in the Flying Spirit Race.
The woman suddenly sighed at this moment before continuing, "No one knows what those holy race beings encountered in the mountain ranges, but they stayed there for half a year before finally returning. After that, they issued an order to completely seal off the area using a restriction, leaving only a single entrance. They then sent news back to the Heavenly Cloud Races, informing everyone that the matter had been resolved, and that there will no longer be any more devilish Qi or devilish beasts emerging from the spatial rifts. They said that the demonic area was only going to maintain its current size and spread no further, but at the same time, they didn't allow any holy race beings to enter the area. Strangely enough, those with cultivation bases inferior to that of holy race beings were permitted to enter the area to kill the devilish beasts there, as well as to scour for inner cores and precious materials.
"However, there was only one month of each year during which the area could be accessed, and beings could only stay in there for a month at a time. After that, they'll have to leave the area, and as soon as the month passes, the exit will be closed. With the powerful devilish Qi there, even devilish cultivators won't be able to stay in there for too long. Otherwise, they'll most definitely undergo devilfication and turn into mindless devilish beings. At the same time, it really is a good place to secure precious materials that could be exchanged for spirit stones, so during the first few years, large numbers of high-grade beings would flock to the mountain ranges during the designated months. However, after a while, those numbers slowly dwindled, and at present, almost no one dares to enter the area anymore."
"Why's that?" Han Li asked with a curious look on his face.
"The rate of deaths and casualties is simply far too high. Those who can return from the mountain ranges do indeed return with bountiful rewards, but only around 80% to 90% of beings return each year. During the first few years, this was not enough to deter adventurers, but this trend continued year after year. Even though large numbers of devilish beasts were being slain each year, the number of high-grade devilish beasts in there never seemed to dwindle, so of course everyone grew to fear the place. Not only are there countless high-grade devilish beasts in the devilish area, there are even a few holy-grade devilish beasts in there. Most of the time, they reside at the center of the mountain ranges, but if one were to encounter such a devilish beast, they were as good as dead. Truth be told, those who enter the mountain ranges don't even know if they're the ones hunting the devilish beasts or if they're the prey being hunted instead. Thankfully, the more powerful the devilish beast, the deeper they reside in the mountain ranges, so it's not easy to encounter them on the outskirts of the area. Otherwise, no one would dare to go in at all. As such, the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges gradually became a place that people loved to hate," the Crystal woman explained with a smile.
"Have you told me all this because you want me to enter the area and kill the holy-grade devilish beasts in there?" Han Li asked as he stroked his chin.
His expression remained unchanged, but he'd already made up his mind; if this woman really were deranged enough to make such a suggestion, then he'd immediately depart from this place.
The Heavenly Devilish Armor was indeed very useful to him, but it certainly wasn't something that was worth risking his life for.
The woman shook her head with a smile before replying, "The Golden Devil Mountain Ranges are extremely perilous, so I certainly wouldn't make such a suggestion. However, I was indeed hoping that you'd be able to obtain the devilish cores of one of the holy-grade devilish beasts in that area."
"What do you mean?" Han Li asked with a perplexed expression.
"From what I heard, a holy-grade devilish beast forced its way out of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges over 100 years ago for some reason, then attacked several of the nearby towns. Several holy race beings were alerted to its rampage, and they combined their powers to severely wound the beast, but it managed to get away in the end. I just so happen to know where this devilish beast is lurking," the woman said with a mysterious look in her eyes, and Han Li was quite stunned by this information.
"Is that true?" Han Li took a deep breath as he adopted a serious expression.
"I am most definitely telling the truth. The beast was severely wounded over a century ago, and it snuck back into an obscure location on the outskirts of the Golden Devil Mountain Ranges. It's been in hibernation ever since, and it possesses less than a tenth of its original powers. The only obstacle here is that it's created a devilish Qi barrier, and only high-grade devilish cultivators who are also capable of controlling devilish Qi can infiltrate through the barrier. Otherwise, any other being that comes into contact with the barrier will instantly rouse the beast from its slumber. That's why I haven't been able to do anything to it despite the fact that I've known its location all along. The price that I'm asking for to repair this suit of armor is the devilish beast's body, from which many materials can be derived. Of course, I'll be using its inner core as the main material to facilitate the armor's repair. If you think this is a fair arrangement, then I'll disclose the beast's location to you." The Crystal woman put on a serious expression as she finally disclosed her condition.
A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face, and only after a lengthy silence did he finally ask, "Are you sure the beast is only lurking on the outskirts of the mountain ranges and possesses less than a tenth of its original powers? How did you manage to obtain this information?"
Han Li was naturally quite tempted by the woman's proposal, but this was quite an important matter so he had to get some answers first.
"I can assure you that the information I have is accurate. I can see that you still have some doubts, so I'll show you something as proof." Rather than being disheartened by Han Li's questions, the woman was instead quite pleased as this showed that Han Li was seriously contemplating her offer. Thus, she raised a hand, and a plume of black smoke suddenly shot forth from within her sleeve, then converged to form an object that hovered above her head.
It was a fist-sized black bird with a fiery red beak and a pair of shimmering golden eyes.
"That's a Devilish Smoke Bird!" Han Li immediately identified this bird, and he was initially quite stunned before coming to a realization.
"Indeed. This is one of the extremely rare types of devilish beasts that I've been able to tame. It has no offensive prowess, but it's extremely proficient in searching for targets and traveling in a stealthy manner. I can even permanently bestow upon it a wisp of my spiritual sense to control it, and it's all thanks to this bird's observations that I was able to learn the condition and whereabouts of the wounded beast," the woman explained with a smile.
"With such a bird under your control, I have no further suspicions. However, I must ask you some things; how was this holy-grade devilish beast able to escape with its life in the face of multiple holy race beings? Does it possess a high cultivation base even among holy-grade devilish beasts or does it possess powers that outstrip its cultivation base? On top of that, would you be able to tell me what species of devilish beast it is?" Han Li nodded before delving into a detailed line of questioning.
"I didn't witness the battle between the beast and the holy race beings, but apparently, it's comparable to a second or third-tier holy race being. Of course, I've only heard this from others, so the information may or may not be accurate. As for what kind of devilish beast this is, it's rather hard to say, but it seems to be similar to the legendary true spirit, the Giant Mountain Ape. Perhaps it possesses that true spirit's bloodline," the woman replied.
Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
A thought suddenly seemed to occur to the woman at that moment, and she raised a hand to toss a stone tablet at Han Li as she said, "I just so happen to have an image of the beast; you can have a look at it, Senior."
Han Li caught the stone tablet before pressing it against his forehead and injecting his spiritual sense into it.
After a short while, Han Li lowered his hand with a contemplative look in his eyes, and mused, "It really does bear a resemblance to a Giant Mountain Ape."
"I've already said everything there is to say; have you made a decision yet, Senior?" The woman turned to Han Li with a hint of anticipation in her eyes.
However, Han Li merely smiled and asked her something that caught her a little off guard. "May I ask your name, Fellow Daoist?"
The Crystal woman faltered slightly before smiling as she replied, "You can call me Xian Xian, Senior."Previous Chapter Next Chapter