"You can say it's useful, but you can also say it's useless; it depends on the intentions of the owner of the spirit insects," Voidspirit said with a smile.
A hint of puzzlement flashed through Han Li's eyes upon hearing this.
"If you only want to nurture mature Gold Devouring Beetles, then Divine Infernal River Elixir naturally won't have much effect, but if you want them to advance a step further, then Divine Infernal River Elixir becomes indispensable," Voidspirit explained in a meaningful voice.
"Advance a step further?" A thought immediately occurred to Han Li upon hearing this, and a stunned look appeared on his face.
"That's right. I'll tell you about the specific details later. I didn't think that you would possess mature Gold Devouring Beetles as well. In that case, this Divine Infernal River Elixir isn't all that important to me. I would like to negotiate a deal with you, but this is a rather secretive matter, so we have to discuss things in private. Golden Flame, Qing Yuanzi, you don't mind, do you?" Voidspirit asked in an indifferent manner.
His expression seemed to be quite calm, but the tone in his voice suggested that he wasn't going to take no for an answer.
Qing Yuanzi's heart stirred at the sight of the cold look in Voidspirit's eyes, and he said, "I naturally won't mind as long as you're not going to hard sell Fellow Daoist Han."
"I certainly don't mind; go ahead, Brother Voidspirit," Golden Flame Baron also said with a smile.
"Good. In that case, please excuse me." Voidspirit nodded in a pleased manner before opening his mouth to expel a miniature pavilion that was around half a foot tall and shimmering with black light.
The pavilion was entirely black in color, and its surface was riddled with runes of different colors. On top of that, the entirety of the structure was enshrouded within a layer of faint black Qi, giving it quite a mysterious appearance.
Voidspirit made a hand seal, and the pavilion immediately expanded to around 10 feet tall as he said, "Fellow Daoist Han, bring along your Gold Devouring Beetles and come for a chat here in my Black Wind Pavilion."
He then didn't even bother to wait for Han Li's response as he stowed away his own Gold Devouring Beetles, then quickly shrank down to only around an inch in height before vanishing into the pavilion in a flash.
"I'll also have to excuse myself, then." Han Li was feeling very uneasy, but he knew he had no choice in the matter, so he could only bid farewell to Qing Yuanzi and Golden Flame Baron with a wry smile.
"Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Han; Brother Voidspirit has a rather eccentric personality, but he wouldn't stoop to doing something unbefitting of his status. Having said that, I suggest you agree to the exchange he offers as long as the conditions aren't too heavily weighed against your favor," Qing Yuanzi said with slightly furrowed brows.
"Thank you, Senior Qing; I know what I have to do," Han Li replied with a solemn voice, then stowed away his Gold Devouring Beetles and vanished into the pavilion as an azure thread.
In the instant that he entered the pavilion, all ties to the outside world were immediately cut off.
All of a sudden, Golden Flame Baron transmitted his voice to Qing Yuanzi. "Are you really not concerned, Brother Qing? Not only is that old geezer extremely erratic, his powers are well beyond ours. If he tries something against Fellow Daoist Han in there, neither of us will be able to stop him in time."
"I think you're overthinking things, Fellow Daoist. That old monster is indeed quite domineering, but he's never done anything unbefitting of his status before, so we need not worry. Besides, I owe Fellow Daoist Han quite a big favor, and I want to protect him as best as I can, but if possible, I really don't want to offend that old monster. Otherwise, there won't be any place for me here in the infernal river," Qing Yuanzi replied.
"That's true. With his powers, he'd most likely be able to defend himself even against a true spirit, so it's not like our concerns will amount to anything, anyway. However, why did he display such a strong reaction to those Gold Devouring Beetles? I understand that they're exceedingly rare, but doesn't he possess the same type of spirit insect as well? Can you deduce anything from that, Brother Qing?" Golden Flame Baron asked.
"You think far too highly of me, Fellow Daoist. I can only assume that Fellow Daoist Han's Gold Devouring Beetles are going to be useful to him somehow," Qing Yuanzi replied in an intentionally ambiguous manner.
"Is that so?" Golden Flame Baron clearly wasn't convinced, but Qing Yuanzi merely smiled and refused to comment further on this matter.
Meanwhile, Han Li and Voidspirit were conversing in their miniature forms within the hall of the black pavilion.
"Take a seat, Fellow Daoist Han. This Black Wind Pavilion of mine counts as half a spatial treasure. Not only can I adjust its size at will, it can keep out all spiritual sense, so there's no danger of our conversation being overheard by anyone else," Voidsprit said with a smile as he sat casually down onto the main seat.
"Thank you, Senior." Han Li extended a respectful salute before also taking a seat.
"Prior to discussing our deal, I have to verify one thing first; Fellow Daoist Han, roughly how many mature Gold Devouring Beetles do you have? Would you be able to tell me an exact number?" Voidspirit asked with irrepressible excitement in his voice.
"An exact number?" A hesitant look appeared on Han Li's face upon hearing this.
Voidspirit immediately realized his mistake, and said, "Ah, forgive me, I was too direct there. The main thing that makes Gold Devouring Beetles fearsome is their numbers, so it would be taboo of me to enquire about how many you have. How about this? All you have to tell me is whether you have over 5,000 such spirit insects."
A slightly nervous look appeared in Voidspirit's eyes as he spoke. Many thoughts raced through Han Li's mind at once, but in the end, he still gave a truthful response, even though he would've much rather lied through his teeth.
Who knew if this Voidspirit would turn on him if an unsatisfactory response were given? After all, lies were extremely brittle in the face of powerful cultivators, and perhaps Voidspirit would forcibly examine the number of Gold Devouring Beetles Han Li possessed for himself.
"So you do have over 5,000; that's fantastic! In that case, we can make a deal with one another," Voidspirit said in an elated manner.
"Could it be that this deal you propose has something to do with the number of Gold Devouring Beetles I have, Senior?"
Voidspirit rubbed his hands together with a pair of glowing eyes, and said, "Of course! I only want 5,000 mature Gold Devouring Beetles from you. As for what I'm willing to offer in exchange, you can ask for anything you want. As long as I have it, it's yours!"
"5,000 Gold Devouring Beetles?" Even though Han Li had already guessed that this would be the case, he was still rather surprised to hear this.
"You've put me in a really rough spot, Senior. I naturally have more than 5,000 mature Gold Devouring Beetles, but that number definitely accounts for the majority of all my beetles. I was hoping to use them as a trump card if I could reach the Grand Ascension Stage someday."
Voidspirit's smile faded, and a cold look appeared on his face as he said, "Indeed, 5,000 mature Gold Devouring Beetles are extremely valuable, but as long as value can be assigned to something, it can be exchanged. Setting aside everything else, there are a few types of spirit insects in my possession that I haven't yet shown you, and they're all at least as powerful as your Gold Devouring Beetles. On top of that, the damaged Profound Heavenly Treasure I have is surely worth more than 5,000 Gold Devouring Beetles."
"That may be the case, but those spirit insects must be your bonded spirit insects, and as for that damaged Profound Heavenly Treasure, I definitely wouldn't dare to ask for it; I'm sure that it'll only bring me misfortune. How about this? Would you be able to disclose to me why you'd like so many Gold Devouring Beetles, Senior? I'm rather perplexed as these Gold Devouring Beetles have recognized me as their master for many years, so even if you do take them, you won't be able to use them in battle. On top of that, 5,000 is a very specific number, which makes things even more perplexing to me," Han Li said after a brief moment of contemplation.
"Hmph, you dare to pry into my matters?" The cold expression on Voidspirit's face grew even more pronounced.
"Please forgive me, Senior. I invested countless time and effort into nurturing these Gold Devouring Beetles to maturity, and they're almost as important as my own life. If I don't know what they're going to be used for, I'll be very reluctant to hand them over," Han Li said in a resolute unyielding manner.
"Hehe, that's reasonable. Alright, I can tell you what I intend to with these Gold Devouring Beetles, but after you hear my plans, you can't refuse this exchange. Otherwise..." A menacing smile appeared on Voidspirit's face as he spoke.
Han Li contemplated this for a short while before finally heaving a resigned sigh, "Alright, I'll agree to the exchange."
"Haha, you've made a wise decision, Fellow Daoist Han. Now then, I want your Gold Devouring Beetles as I plan to nurture a legendary Gold Devouring Beetle Monarch. In order to nurture this beetle monarch, a large number of mature Gold Devouring Beetles is required. As for why I specifically requested 5,000, that's because I already have another 5,000 mature Gold Devouring Beetles, and 10,000 should be more than enough for me to nurture a beetle monarch. Hence, any more than that would simply be superfluous," Voidspirit explained, and Han Li's heart immediately jolted upon hearing this.
"Then why were you collecting Divine Infernal River Elixir, Senior?" Han Li asked.
"A large amount of Divine Infernal River Elixir is one of the other methods to nurture a beetle monarch. However, if I come into possession of a sufficient number of mature Gold Devouring Beetles, then the elixir doesn't really matter," Voidspirit replied.Previous Chapter Next Chapter