Even though Han Li's eyes were closed, he naturally wouldn't truly go into a deep meditative state. Instead, he was considering some of the cultivation arts that he had yet to fully grasp in his mind over and over again. At the same time, he was releasing a portion of his spiritual sense to constantly monitor the surrounding area in case more ancient beasts suddenly attacked the ark.
During the following seven to eight days, the spirit ark continued onward under the cover of the giant cloud. Even though a few other types of flying beasts were encountered along the way, all of them simply flew by without attacking. These beasts clearly didn't possess the ability to see through the spirit ark's disguise like those four-winged birds did.
Thus, Han Li reached the ninth day of his shift. At noon that day, he had just fitted a new batch of spirit stones onto the ark and was about to return to his former spot to take a seat again when his footsteps suddenly faltered. He suddenly turned his head and cast his gaze up ahead with a surprised look on his face.
"How could this be? How could something like this appear here?" Han Li's expression darkened significantly as he let loose a long cry.
Even though it wasn't very loud, it was enough to alert the other four members of the party.
Moments later, a few streaks of light shot forth from various locations on the ark before flying over to Han Li.
"What happened? Why have you summoned us, Brother Han? Have we encountered some danger?"
"What's this? Could it be..."
Xiao Hong and Long Dong spoke out in quick succession, except Xiao Hong's words were filled with confusion, yet Long Dong seemed to have immediately detected something as a surprised look appeared on his face.
The white-browed young man and Ye Ying also cast their spiritual sense outward at the same time.
"What's that? Could it be a True Spirit level being?" the young man exclaimed.
Ye Ying didn't say anything, but the shock in her eyes was quite apparent.
In contrast, Han Li had already calmed down at this point. His spiritual sense was lingering in the air several hundred kilometers above them, where a gargantuan black shadow was hovering, obscuring virtually the entire sky in the process.
Black clouds were tumbling incessantly near the black shadow and lightning flashed amid rumbling thunderclaps. Countless gusts of grey winds were being swept up like massive pillars that connected heaven and earth. In the clouds apart, small sections of a grey-scaled body were visible from time to time, but no one could tell what this creature was due to its sheer enormity.
However, from a distance, one could tell that the black shadow was circular in shape. It seemed to be extremely similar to a legendary True Spirit level being.
As such, it was no wonder that all of the people on the ark were so unsettled by it.
Just as everyone was reeling from shock, a strange cry not unlike the moo of a cow erupted from the distance. The rumbling thunderclaps then intensified as if there were countless bolts of lightning exploding nearby. Even from such a long distance away, the thunderclaps were still quite clearly audible to everyone.
Upon hearing this cry, Ye Ying's expression eased as she heaved a sigh of relief, and explained, "That's not a True Spirit; it's an ancient beast, a Lightning Turtle. This thing is one of the largest types of ancient beasts in the primordial world, but it sustains itself by absorbing the lightning in its surroundings with its body and won't attack other living beings unless it's been provoked. However, if you get on its bad side, it's an extremely fearsome being. At the very least, one would have to be at the Body Integration Stage to stand a chance against it in direct combat."
"Lightning Turtle? Is that the legendary ancient beast that's said to be born amid heavenly lightning? I heard that as long as there's a sufficient supply of lightning, these things will continue to expand indefinitely with no upper limit to the size they can reach. They're an extraordinary species and I've heard that the Transport Spirit Turtle of the Xuan Wu Region, which is capable of carrying and transporting an entire city, could be a Lightning Turtle. Even though the one above us is quite massive already, it's still incomparable to that legendary Transport Spirit." Xiao Hong clucked her tongue in wonder.
"I'm not sure if the Transport Spirit is truly a Lightning Turtle or not, but if that really is the case, then this Lightning Turtle is most likely less than a ten-thousandth of the size of the Transport Spirit. Even so, it can still kill us if we were to provoke it, so it's best to avoid this thing," Long Dong said with a smile.
"That's indeed true. We're actually quite lucky to be able to witness such a creature. Lightning Turtles usually burrow deep under the ground and very rarely emerge above the ground, so it's certainly not something you see every day. They usually only emerge from the ground to... Wait, this is bad! If this turtle has appeared here, then it must be the case that a fearsome lightning torrent is about to appear here. Brother Long, pilot your ark away from this area as quickly as possible!" A thought suddenly occurred to Xiao Hong, and her features immediately turned deathly pale.
"Lightning torrent?" Everyone's expressions changed drastically upon hearing this.
Long Dong's expression darkened significantly as his body swayed and he abruptly disappeared on the spot. In the next instant, he appeared on the bow of the ark over 100 feet away before flipping over a hand to produce a badge-like treasure.
He rubbed his hands together with the badge in between them, and the white clouds around the ark suddenly disappeared. The entire ark then faltered before abruptly hurtling toward a certain direction, moving almost twice as fast as its original speed as it shot forth through the air as a streak of white light.
However, the spirit ark had only traveled for a few dozens of kilometers when a layer of shimmering blue light suddenly appeared in the air above the gargantuan black shadow. The blue light then coursed through the air in all directions at an astonishing speed, as if it had been spurred on by some kind of external stimulus.
In the short span of a few breaths, a blue line had appeared in the sky amid a loud rumbling boom. The blue line was imbued with boundless electrical power as it arced through the air directly toward their party of five.
Long Dong drew a sharp breath upon seeing the insane speed at which the blue line was moving, and he hurriedly yelled, "I'd heard that whenever a Lightning Turtle appears, a lightning torrent must follow soon after; looks like that's indeed true. Everyone, come and lend me your assistance."
Even without his sudden outburst, everyone was already feeling extremely tense at the sight of the rapidly approaching blue line.
As such, all four of them immediately made hand seals as piercing spiritual light of different colors emanated from their bodies. Five bursts of spiritual power were injected into the spirit ark in a frenzy!
After joining forces to act as a collective power source, the ark underfoot began to emit a low buzzing sound before shuddering violently, following which the surrounding scenery completely blurred.
Traveling at such an extreme speed, the spirit ark had transformed into a barely traceable blur, and it quickly sped from one side of the sky to the other.
However, even at such a phenomenal speed, the blue line behind the ark was still able to keep up and give chase in hot pursuit.
Everyone was quite astonished to see this, and only then did they realize that the tales of how fearsome lightning torrents were really weren't exaggerations.
Thankfully, the five of them were able to join forces to spur on the spirit ark to its maximal speed. If a normal Deity Transformation cultivator whose forte didn't lie in speed were to take their place, there would be no way that they'd be able to escape.
Of course, Han Li and the others weren't ordinary Deity Transformation cultivators. All of them possessed some secret techniques to be used in dire situations, which would grant them speed that was not inferior to the speed of this spirit ark by much. However, using such secret techniques would naturally bring about debilitating after-effects, and no one wished to incur such a risk in this perilous primordial world.
As such, everyone worked together on this occasion, spurring on the spirit ark for tens of thousands of kilometers, all the way until the blue light behind them was nowhere to be seen and the thunderclaps couldn't be heard anymore, either.
Only then did everyone heave a collective sigh of relief before withdrawing the spiritual power.
The spirit ark immediately slowed down as a result.
Long Dong's expression eased as he turned to Xiao Hong with a smile, and said, "That was close! Thank heavens Fairy Xiao reacted as quickly as she did. Otherwise, a slight further delay would've seen us being swept up into that lightning torrent. Even though we may not die in there, it would definitely be very difficult to emerge unscathed."
"I was merely lucky. Even though Lightning Turtles are quite renowned, not many people actually know about their habits and behavior patterns. There just so happens to be a senior from my race who once slew a Lightning Turtle on his own, so he knows a bit about them. Lightning Turtles usually burrow deep within the ground and won't emerge for no good reason. They'll only reveal themselves when a lightning torrent is imminent so they can devour its power of lightning. It's said that mature Lightning Turtles will grow a pair of beads within their bodies, one of which is lightningphilic while the other is lightningphobic. These beads are quite extraordinary and even someone without a lightning spiritual root can easily manipulate the power of lightning using them. The Lightning Turtle that my senior slew hadn't reached full maturity yet, so he wasn't able to obtain those beads. However, the shells of these turtles contain astonishing lightning power and is an exceptional material for refining lightning-attribute treasures. If an extremely powerful being had encountered this Lightning Turtle in our stead, they would be ecstatic rather than horrified," Xiao Hong said with a wry smile.
"The senior you're referring to has to be an elder of your race for him to be able to hunt and kill such a fearsome beast on his own. That would be nothing more than a delusional dream for Deity Transformation cultivators like us. We're already extremely lucky to have survived that ordeal." The white-browed young man still wore an expression of lingering fear as he spoke.
"Indeed. Lightning Turtles' bodies are filled with treasures to be harvested, but it would be suicide to attempt to hunt one down without a Body Integration Stage cultivation base at minimum. Let's continue onward. Hopefully, the rest of our journey will be a bit smoother," Long Dong said in a slightly grave voice.
They had encountered a beast that was more than powerful enough to kill them after less than 20 days in the primordial world, and their hearts were feeling quite heavy as a result.
After that ordeal, everyone was in rather low spirits, so no one was interested in continuing the conservation. As such, after a few more obligatory exchanges, everyone returned to their respective silent cultivation chambers aside from Han Li, who remained standing on the spot.
He didn't contribute so much as a single word to that conversation, but after everyone disappeared, he cast his gaze toward the direction of the lightning torrent with a contemplative look on his face.
After a short while, he heaved a wistful sigh before returning to the highest point of the jade ark, where he took a seat again.