The cultured man’s long hair spread over the entire volcano lakeside, long hair that extended to the horizon. At this moment, it moved freely of the wind and seemed to upsurge great silver waves in the sky! Observing it remotely, it was like an avalanche. Watching it closely, it was like a tide of ice!
“God Ming’s Supreme Dao, Vermilion Envies Scarlet!”
At the border outside the volcano lakeside, over twenty figures were quietly standing in the darkness. All of them… wore tunic suits, and were nearly identical to the man that Xu Yangyi had seen before!
“Boundguard Spiritsword Formation…” The cultured man formed seals with his hands and sneered as he grinded his teeth. “Beat him…”
Boom! At the center of Xu Yangyi’s hands, his fingers instantly exploded with a radiant blaze! It was so distinct, like a lantern in the dark. Regardless of how far someone was, everyone could see it clearly.
“Hey, wifey, what’re you looking at?” At the foot of the mountain, there was a family that hadn’t been together for too long, still not asleep at the front of their tent. The husband cradled his babbling son and suddenly said to his wife with a suspicious tone, “What are you looking… Am I seeing this right?”
The wife laughed as she raised her head yet just as she glanced over, her eyes saucered. “No… you’re not wrong. There’s something… flashing on the mountain? No… burning?”
“Huh, what’s going on?” In another tent, several beer-drinking backpackers looked at the not-too-distant mountain top where the volcanic lake was located. “Fire?”
Elsewhere, in front of a digital camcorder… Old Zhou and Old Fang spread their mouths wide, not daring to believe their own eyes! This humanoid organism… Its hand was burning with fire? No, no, no… It appeared that the flame was born from it itself?!
What the fuck was this thing?!
“I-I think…” Old Zhou touched his chest and stuttered, “d-did we just see a monster?”
“Ignite!” At the same time, Xu Yangyi bellowed, spiritual force converging in his hand. Quickly, his flame advanced towards the ‘mirror’ of silver silk in the sky, pushing beyond!
In an instant, the blazing inferno flared uncontrollably! From the beginning of this dot at the center of the sky, endless legions of fire shockingly appeared through this inception point!
It was a seal... formed out of endless hair. After they were burned by the fire, the marvel of a flame flower bloomed in the sky!
In no more than ten seconds, it was a hundred meters… 300 meters… 500 meters… over a thousand meters! The entire sky reflected a web that had been scorched by fire! A fiercely burning fire caused the sky to turn red in reflection, making the stars in the heavens lose color! It was by this burning that the afterglow of twilight turned into sunlit clouds!
“Heavens!!!” In this moment, the whole tourism region of the Four Great Joint Pools boiled!
A heavenly web! A burning heavenly web! There was actually a heavenly web above their heads?! Followed by the fire’s intensity, the greatness of this heavenly web could finally be plainly reckoned!
Who ignited this fire? Who spun this web?
“The video camera! The video camera! No, no! The cell phone! Cell phone!” a man wildly yelled as if he’d won the lottery. Shouting himself hoarse, he called out to some people who were in a tent. “Come out! Hurry up and get out here! Fuck! Look! Look fast! Nature’s most magical sight!”
“I-Is this some natural phenomenon?” Somewhere else, an old man, his face flushed like an impassioned young girl, seized onto his camera with full strength, taking pictures without regard for the internal storage. “How marvelous! What mystique! Such beauty! I guarantee! This will absolutely be this year in all of China… No! The most wonderful natural landscape in the whole world!”
“Fuck! What the heck is this thing?!”
“Is this Judgement Day?”
“Heavens… It’s stunningly beautiful!
Only two people didn’t gasp in surprise. Dumbfounded, they only looked at the web burning in the sky that seemingly cut apart heaven and earth. That might, the kind of shock that was akin to a god’s fury, caused their hearts to grow cold!
“M-M-M-Monster!” Old Zhou’s voice was hoarse, and his entire body swayed back and forth like a pendulum. Only they… Only they knew that this humanoid organism had done this!
“Monster! A monster! Old Zhou, this is real fucking monster! There are really monsters in this world!” Old Fang screeched, but they were not alone… Everyone all around the Joint Pools was screaming, but Old Fang was especially excited!
“Old Zhou! These things must be protected! W-We’re people that have actually witnessed monsters!”
“We can fucking prove it! There truly are monsters in the world!”
The web of silver silk, the dividing thread that isolated the worlds above and below the mountain, was a flat mirror in the air. Here and now, the entire web had been transformed into flying ash by Xu Yangyi’s hand!
Formidable power… Xu Yangyi’s heart was presently overcome by emotion. He knew the Ten Cardinals Red Lotus was powerful, but in the cultivation room, he’d still suppressed its might. Now that all was unleashed, the human realm’s marvel of the fire sea in the sky and the surprised gasps and involuntary shrieks below allowed him to clearly recognize how powerful this divine ability was!
This was merely the Fire Manipulation Art… In the future, there was still the divine abilities of the three later steps! In that case, what should’ve been their level of strength? Someday, when he was at Foundation Establishment, what level of power would the weaving of ten divine abilities attain?
“Go!” Without further thought, he’d already grabbed onto the delirious Li Zongyuan, charging towards the mountain top. In the next second, though, he ceased to move. Exhaling on both of his fists, he punched out with maximum power, smashing a person-size hole into the mountain and tossing Li Zongyuan in.
In front of him… were over twenty men. Men that had identical appearances, the exact dress, and the same height. Like jiangshi, they floated high into the air. Under the moon’s rays, they radiated a fear-inducing killing aura, as if waiting for his arrival. 
Xu Yangyi was in no way convinced they were Foundation Establishment cultivators because they were all initial Qi Condensation! However, only those at Foundation Establishment were able to fly!
“You’re making this more complicated than it has to be.” He cracked a finger and the sound crisply rang out. “This is your trump card?”
Swoosh swoosh swoosh… As if they were now responding, the twenty-plus men turned their heads upwards in concert. Their faces split open like building blocks, yet what lay inside wasn’t a brain, but rather a vaguely visible mechanical structure!
Crack crack crack… Following the turning sounds of gears, dazzling swords unexpectedly came out from their mouths. In addition, the seemingly mechanical operation actually prevented Xu Yangyi from seeing through.
Was this a formation?
With his fists arranged in front of his chest, Xu Yangyi gravely awaited the confrontation of twenty-plus swords sprouting from the puppets’ mouths!
THIS was the opponent’s divine ability! THIS was a true contest of divine ability versus divine ability!
Beneath the moonlight, the swords glimmered like frost and snow, swords that were emitting a deathly radiance as they were spewed out from mouths. Afterwards, the puppets distorted at an inhuman angle and their joints inverted. They were like fish swimming in the water, and the air was their water. No longer standing, they instead appeared to recline in the sky. Using their heads to aim towards Xu Yangyi, they seemed like swordfishes prepared to attack in the air!
Crack crack crack… A machine sound, like the Grim Reaper’s knell, resonated throughout the world. Over twenty swords were targeting him all at once!
Xu Yangyi suddenly revolved all his spiritual force. He didn't care about Li Zongyuan’s life whatsoever, and as of now, the familiar didn’t possess absolute allegiance. Still, Li Zongyuan had followed him for a long time. Under the best of his ability, he didn’t mind saving the other’s life.
“Kill!” A raspy shout came from the puppets’ mouths. In a flash, they morphed into phantasms. Like butterflies flitting through flowers, they held the glimmer of chilling stars, and flocked towards Xu Yangyi!
“Be still…” Just as both sides were on the verge of coming to blows, an ethereal voice rang out from the center of the volcanic lake.
Swoosh… An azure halo of light, a spreading faint ring of luminance, erupted from the volcanic lake. Without giving anyone time to react, half a second later, Xu Yangyi, the puppets, and the man at the lakeside were all rendered immobile.
It was like a woman’s veil, soft and elegant, yet it caused a suffocating beauty, a power that could not be resisted. Subsequently, with the echo of a gentle hum, a light-blue cover that only cultivators were able to see fell on top of the dead volcanic lake.
“All Fellow Daoists set your minds at ease. Starting from this instant, all of us cannot be known to anyone in the outside world.” The voice was quite odd. At first, it sounded unearthly, but even with another listen one couldn’t discern whether it was male or female. The first half was a man’s voice and then the second half was a woman’s.
“This is…” At the lakeside, the cultured man’s gaze faintly shimmered. Afterwards, he bowed deferentially and laughed, “Respectful greetings, Senior Jadewave.”
His seemingly infinite hair unexpectedly dissipated into strands of qi, transforming once more into the likeness of a shawl.
Xu Yangyi didn’t speak, only calmly sensing the immobilizing force within his body. Such strength… should’ve been Foundation Establishment or perhaps… even higher! China was a land of several million square miles, a place of hidden dragons and crouching tigers, in no way limited to the obvious list of apex supremacies!
The voice hummed in agreement and casually said, “Old Black Mountain hasn’t been dyed with blood in over three centuries… Those who come are guests. What decorum is killing?”
Although the voice was odd, it carried not a shred of killing aura. Before the voice even fell, Xu Yangyi only felt the confinement on his body loosen, and he stood steadily on the ground.
However, the puppets in front of him appeared to scatter at their frames, all of them crashing down. Followingly, Li Zongyuan’s unconscious body flew high into the sky and slowly flew towards the pool. Finally, the toad-demon quietly sunk into the water.
“Fellow Daoist’s demon familiar is a bit interesting. He was actually advancing here. He will stay with me for two hours and will be automatically awakened when the time comes. Fellow Daoist needs not to be concerned.”
Xu Yangyi faintly raised a brow. At a glance, Li Zongyuan’s demon form, a single-horned toad, was rubbish. Li Zongyuan was actually able to evolve now?
Generally speaking, any demonbeast could be traced back to a godbeast. It was just that a majority of bloodlines were progressively thinning out. If an opportunity didn’t exist, these bloodlines would remain forever unawakened. Xu Yangyi didn’t continue thinking of this question. Instead, he calmly walked towards the volcanic lake.
The moonlit volcanic lake was several thousand meters in range. The waves were gleaming with light and the waters were crystal and clear, yet they evoked an unparalleled mystery.
He slowly walked over to the lakeside, looking at the man who was growing closer. The man’s back was facing him, and the man said quietly, “Leave.”
Xu Yangyi chuckled. He walked neither swiftly nor slowly, and his expression was quite ordinary, just the crook of his mouth faintly curving. Both of his hands were folded in his pants pockets. If he were whistling then, it was practically like he’d come to the Four Great Joint Pools for a stroll on the green grass.
The man slightly tilted his head, his pupils long and narrow and his gaze like a sharp flying blade. His voice carried a trace of ice-cold killing intent, “Take another step and you won’t be leaving Old Black Mountain.”
The man’s voice yet to fall, his pupils had already transformed into slits! A whipping leg brought with it the sound of breaking wind, distinctly reflected within his pupils!
Putting on a show? Alright, then let’s see whether you possess these qualifications!
1. Jiangshi are the Chinese version of vampires. Contrary to their western counterparts, they’re more like zombies and hop around. Instead of sucking blood, they absorb qi. The most common depiction of Jiangshi is in Qing-era dress and with a talisman stuck on their heads. I believe the video games series Darkstalkers has a Jiangshi character in it.