Due to unknown reasons that allowed Lin Huang to continue absorbing Divine Fires, he had no choice but to change his itinerary and postpone his plan to leave the Battlefield of the Dragon Abyss so he could continue hunting in the core layer.
The core layer was undoubtedly a good place—ninth-rank True Gods were everywhere.
It took Lin Huang less than half an hour to hunt down four more ninth-rank monsters.
After he killed the fourth one, his Life Wheels finally stopped absorbing Divine Fire
"Are they saturated now?!" Lin Huang was puzzled as he sank his consciousness into his Life Wheels to check.
Among the ten Life Wheels, there were five with double-stacked ninth-rank Divine Fires and five Life Wheels with only single ones.
"What's going on? Why didn't these five Life Wheels absorb more?" Lin Huang looked doubtfully at the differences between the Divine Fires in the five Life Wheels. After a while, he finally discovered where the problem lay.
The five Life Wheels that contained two ninth-rank Divine Fires all had one rank-4 Divine Fire plus one rank-5 Divine Fire. The five rank-5 Divine Fires came from five monsters—the Demonic Buddhist Holy Son, the aberrant species, the nine-headed ape, the demon baby, and the Symbiotic Creature of the Abyssal Fountain.
The remaining five Life Wheels with only one ninth-rank Divine Fire only had rank-4 Divine Fires, not rank-5 Divine Fires.
"So the rank-4 Divine Fires are saturated, and only rank-5 Divine Fires will be absorbed?!"
With this speculation in mind, Lin Huang immediately knew what direction his next hunt should take.
He made a sweep with his Divine Telekinesis and began to lock in the locations of the strongest auras in the core layer one by one.
"I found one!" It only took a moment; he could not help quirking his lips slightly as he swiftly headed toward the figure.
However, he had not flown very far before the figure seemed to notice Lin Huang's pursuit and began to flee quickly.
"Seems like someone saw me..." The corners of Lin Huang's mouth turned up, and he pursued his prey even more hotly.
The two played cat and mouse for around ten minutes before Lin Huang finally caught up with the other party.
It was a monster with several dozen pairs of black wings, dressed in white, and wearing a silver mask. If one ignored the wings on its back, it looked just like a human being.
Before Lin Huang could make a move, the winged being voluntarily stopped, put the walking stick in its hand away, and said to Lin Huang, "I surrender! Don't kill me!"
"You're not weak. Why don't you want to fight?" Lin Huang raised an eyebrow.
He did not attack immediately because, unlike the nine-headed ape who had begged for mercy, it did not try to provoke him, nor did it have any intention of doing anything.
"I saw your fight just now. I'm no match for you," the winged being said frankly, "It's meaningless to try and fight you."
The winged being was even more alarmed that Lin Huang had caught up with it. One must know that up until this very day, it had depended on its exceptional speed in the core layer. If its best ability had been superseded by Lin Huang, it knew the disparity between its own abilities and Lin Huang's was vast.
"Then give me a reason not to kill you." Lin Huang smiled and looked at it.
"I am Shadow Wing. I'm very familiar with the core layer and can act as a guide for you." The winged being bowed toward Lin Huang and then introduced itself.
"You don't feel bad betraying your own kind?" Lin Huang sneered at this sort of behavior.
"You're wrong about that." Shadow Wing was not annoyed, merely smiled and corrected Lin Huang, "The Abyss has hundreds of millions of types of creatures, just like the human world has birds, quadrupeds, and insects. However, birds, quadrupeds, and insects are not the same as humans. The Abyss is the same. Except for my kin, there are very few allied tribes. The other tribes are not the same as ours, and some are even enemies to me. Therefore, it's not a betrayal."
Lin Huang did not refute its statement. Although he had never been to the actual Abyss, he knew that there were many types of Abyssal creatures, and the competition was extremely fierce. Moreover, he knew that there was no camaraderie to speak of between different tribes.
In addition to that, the winged being did not regard the other tribes in the Abyss as being of the same race as itself, which was normal.
After thinking for a moment, Lin Huang stated his request, "I don't need a guide; I only need prey.
"As long as you help me find more than five prey as strong as you or stronger, I'll let you go!" According to the map from Mysterious Item Pavilion, the entire surface layer of the core layer was as big as the surface areas of four Earths combined. With his Divine Telekinesis under extreme suppression, it would take Lin Huang some time to find five rank-5 targets.
If the winged being could help him find five suitable targets quickly, he had no qualms about letting it go.
After Shadow Wing heard Lin Huang's request, the eyes behind its silver mask blinked twice. "It's as easy as that?"
"You might not want to say that so soon." Although the winged being agreed very quickly, Lin Huang did not fully believe that it was up to the task.
"I've been in the Battlefield of the Dragon Abyss for more than ten years; it's been more than three years since I entered this core layer. Anything else, I wouldn't dare to say much, but as far as familiarity with the core layer goes, there aren't very many people who know it better than I do.
"You want to hunt down rank-5 creatures—well, I happen to know a few hunting groups made up of rank-5 members. However, if you add them all up, there's a lot more than five of them." Shadow Wing chuckled.
"The whereabouts of the hunters aren't fixed; what's the use of knowing who the members of those teams are? Or is it possible that you can still ascertain their locations?" Lin Huang asked.
"Now, this is something you don't know. In this core layer, there's a place called the core source. It's the place where the Abyssal energy is densest. Even peak True God powerhouses don't dare to approach it willy-nilly. The core source is a place that churns out powerful Abyssal creatures continuously. The strongest teams in the core layer divide the vicinity of the core source into a few hunting grounds, and each of them occupies one part. As long as the members of these teams enter the core layer, they usually stay in their own part of the hunting grounds most of the time. Therefore, it won't be difficult to find them."
Lin Huang listened to Shadow Wing's explanation and remembered that the map he obtained from Mysterious Item Pavilion had a large red shaded area without any descriptive text. He guessed this was most likely the location of the core source that Shadow Wing had mentioned.
He could not help but ask somewhat curiously, "Can the core source really churn out powerful Abyssal monsters from thin air?!"
"Yes." Shadow Wing nodded. "No one knows the specific principles of it. Some say that there is a space tunnel deep in the core source that is connected to the deepest reaches of the Abyss. Others say that the core source is connected to a powerful internal Abyssal kingdom. Some also speculate that the entire core layer is a laboratory for a powerful entity in the Abyss...
"In fact, in addition to churning Abyssal creatures out of thin air, throwing any living or dead Abyssal creatures into the depths of the core source will also result in Abyssal energy infiltrating them, generating aberrant species, fallen species, undying species, or spirit types…
"The sword cultivator aberrant species you killed became what it was when it was initially forced into the depths of the core layer by a hunting team..." It seemed that Shadow Wing had been paying attention to Lin Huang since his battle with the aberrant species.
Lin Huang frowned slightly when he heard this.
When Shadow Wing noticed Lin Huang's change of expression, it quickly changed the subject. "Since the Abyssal energy in the core source is too dense, True Gods have no way of going in very far. As for what secrets the core source hides, nobody knows except the Lords who set up the barriers."
"I see." Lin Huang nodded slightly and did not bother continuing with small talk. "Take me to the hunting ground right away then!"