It wasn’t until Nie Tian and his group were about a thousand meters away from the short mountain, that they finally came to a stop.
Nie Tian’s expression was grim as he turned around and looked at the mountain that was still madly gathering and absorbing the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth.
The others had found time to scold him again. They blamed him for acting of his own accord and rushing towards the belly of the mountain at such a crucial moment, which had almost caused everyone to suffer a calamity.
An Shiyi didn’t say anything, but rather looked Nie Tian up and down with full concentration. After quite a while, she asked with a soft voice, “Nie Tian… have you entered the Lesser Heaven stage?”
Upon hearing these words, everyone else stopped bickering and began to examine Nie Tian curiously.
They found that there were slight spiritual power fluctuations wreathing Nie Tian, despite the fact that he had his attention fixed on the short mountain and wasn’t doing anything at all.
Most of them had only recently broken through from the Qi Refining stage to the Lesser Heaven stage after the Green Illusion dimension trial. Therefore, they all knew the greatest difference between the Qi Refining stage and the Lesser Heaven stage.
When someone was in the Lesser Heaven stage, even if they did nothing, as long as there was spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth nearby, the vortex of spiritual power in their spiritual sea would still be able to slowly take in the spiritual power and trigger subtle spiritual power fluctuations.
“He really is in the Lesser Heaven stage!” Shocked and curious, Pan Tao asked, “You punk… You just spent four hours in the mountain belly and made the breakthrough already?”
Everyone else’s face also flickered.
They were all survivors of the cruel trial within the Green Illusion dimension, and after returning to their respective sect, they had all spent a long time to gather their thoughts and seek the proper enlightenment; only then did they finally break through.
The speed at which they advanced wasn’t slow, but it definitely wasn’t quick and smooth either.
Yet, four hours ago, Nie Tian had clearly been at the Qi Refining stage and weaker than them by one stage. How could they have expected that within such a short time, Nie Tian would have managed to break through?
“Hahaha, I got lucky,” Nie Tian responded without thinking, confirming An Shiyi’s guess. After that his face turned serious and said, “Pan Tao, Sister An, did you know that the volcano which you thought was extinct, actually has a whole other world underneath it if you go deep enough?”
Puzzled, Pan Tao asked, “What do you mean?”
“There’s actually fierce, burning magma flowing under there!” Nie Tian exclaimed. “And there is a layer of strange, crystal-like ribbons covering the magma. If my speculations are correct, that net of glittering ribbons is a part of the grand Heaven Burning Earth Flame formation.
“The coverage of the grand spell formation isn’t only limited to the three volcanoes surrounding the Spiritual Treasure sect. From what I can tell, the entire Scarlet Flame Mountain Range is within its coverage!”
Pan Tao was taken aback. “This... this is impossible!?”
Both An Shiyi and An Ying were also surprised. They clearly weren’t aware of that fact.
Jiang Lingzhu also had an astonished look on her face as she asked, “Are you sure, Nie Tian? The purpose of the grand Heaven Burning Earth Flame formation is to protect the Spiritual Treasure sect, so how can it possibly cover such a wide range? Besides, there aren’t any active volcanoes in other parts of the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range, so what’s the point of it covering such a huge area?”
With a bitter smile, Nie Tian said, “It’s there to seal an unusual beast.”
“Ahhh?!” An Shiyi called out softly with her mouth covered.
“What exactly did you see, Nie Tian?” asked Pan Tao, his voice serious.
“An Earth Flame Beast!”
Nie Tian took a deep breath and explained about the Earth Flame Beast within the magma lake and the restrictive power of the net of crystal-like ribbons, only leaving out the unusual behaviors of the Flame Dragon Armor.
He also informed them that the Earth Flame Beast would very likely escape soon, since the grand spell formation had been partly damaged and deactivated.
Jiang Lingzhu’s expression flickered after hearing everything. “Dear lord! I can’t believe that there’s an Earth Flame Beast within the earth’s core under the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range! According to the legends, Earth Flame Beasts possess the bloodline of Flame Qilins, so they are capable of gathering flame aura continuously with their bloodline power! No wonder the Spiritual Treasure sect built their base in the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range. It must have been because of the Earth Flame Beast!”
Unusual lights flashed within An Shiyi’s dark pupils. After pondering for a while, she seemed convinced.
She trusted Nie Tian’s judgment, and knew that he would never lie about that. If there really was a Earth Flame Beast imprisoned deep within the earth's core, it must have been a spell cast by some powerful experts from the older generation of the Spiritual Treasure sect.
“The Heaven Burning Earth Flame formation!”
It suddenly occurred to her that the builder of the grand Heaven Burning Earth Flame formation was none other than the master of Hou Zhengchen, the current sectmaster.
Moreover, the spiritual Treasure sect seemed to have moved from other areas of the Realm of Flame Heaven to the the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range during Hou Zhengchen’s master’s generation.
She immediately understood the logic behind it.
A frightened look stretched across Pan Tao’s face. “That Earth Flame Beast is about to escape from the magma lake in the earth's core?”
Nie Tian nodded and said, “It won’t take it very long.”
Upon hearing these words, everyone panicked, overwhelmed by the feeling that a great catastrophe was upon them.
An Shiyi’s face also turned pale as she said, “Once the Earth Flame Beast breaks free and rushes out from the earth's core, the raging magma that has formed because of it will immediately erupt! If the earth’s core deep under the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range is truly filled with magma, then every single one of the volcanoes in Flame Mountain will simultaneously erupt as soon as the Earth Flame Beast comes out, extinct or active!
“By that time, the mountain gaps, the creeks, the stone paths, and the forest... the entire Scarlet Flame Mountain Range will probably be flooded with blazing lava!
“The magma condensed by the Earth Flame Beast will be at a terrifyingly high temperature. It will melt our bodies and turn us into a bloody mess!
Pan Tao’s heart was burning with anxiety. “Let’s go! Now! Get out of the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range as soon as possible!”
From the look on his face, he was worried that the nearby little hill would soon spout boiling magma and engulf them in fiery death.
Nie Tian glanced at the hill and realized that it had already become as red as a heated stone.
He also saw that dark-red, fiery mist seemed to be coming out from each and every cave that dotted its slopes.
All of a sudden, he felt a vague but abrupt surge of aura, which apparently was emanated by the Flame Dragon Armor, even though it was still deep under the short mountain.
He suddenly came to realize that after a period of accumulation, the Flame Dragon Armor must have gathered up enough flame energy, and it was about to cooperate with the Earth Flame Beast to attack the grand Heaven Burning Earth Flame formation from inside the mountain.
“You are right, we need to leave now!” Nie Tian was also worried about their safety.
Then the group picked a new direction. They no longer rushed in the direction of the Cloudsoaring sect, Mystic Mist sect and Grayvale sect. Instead, under Pan Tao’s guidance, they picked the shortest route out of the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range, and sped away.
Nie Tian’s discoveries at the earth's core had shocked all of them and made them realize that as soon as the Earth Flame Beast escaped, the whole Scarlet Flame Mountain Range would about to be submerged by terrifying waves of burning lava.
Perhaps people with high cultivation bases would be able to survive before the enormous waves of lava spread.
However, as for them, if they failed to leave soon, then by the time the fierce lava had spread to every corner of the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range, they would inevitably be burned alive!
HUFF! HUFF! HUFF!
Every one of them madly drew from their spiritual power in order to run faster. They all stopped covering up their panting and auras, as they no longer feared that pursuers from the Blood sect and Ghost sect might track them.
By that point, they had all realized that the catastrophic results of the Earth Flame Beast escaping were much worse than the threat from the Blood sect and Ghost sect.
However, they were forced to stop after running for a short while.
In front of them, two people, a male and a female in red, were standing by a limpid river. The woman was none other than the witch, Yu Tong, who they had met in the Green Illusion dimension.
“Finally, here you are!” Feng Luo, who was standing beside Yu Tong, grinned widely and said, “We couldn’t find your tracks earlier and figured you must be hiding somewhere. But hey, who would have guessed that you would let down your guard and expose yourselves.”
After leaving the valley, the two of them had been tracking the group via footprints and scanning with their psychic awareness.
They had gone to great lengths to determine that Nie Tian and the rest of his party were in that area. However, when they got there, they were unable to find any trace of them.
Since it was a quite large area, Feng Luo could only conduct a carpet search with his psychic awareness.
It actually was an ineffective and troublesome method.
Just as he was having a headache searching for them, Nie Tian and his group stopped sealing their aura and showed themselves on Feng Luo’s radar.
The moment she caught sight of Nie Tian, Yu Tong let out an explosive shout, as if his appearance had lit up the barrel of gunpowder in her heart.
Suddenly, Yu Tong’s eyes were wreathed by threads after threads of blood aura, which slithered about in her eyes like dragons and snakes, giving her a devilish and frightening look.
“He’s Feng Luo from the Blood sect!”
An Shiyi’s expression flickered when she saw the man beside Yu Tong. She hastily warned everyone, “Be careful everyone! That Feng Luo is the junior martial brother of Yu Tong’s master, Shen Xiu. He’s a Greater Heaven stage expert!”
Nie Tian’s eyes widened. “Greater Heaven stage!”
An Shiyi, who was the strongest on their side, was merely at the late Heaven stage.
Even though Feng Luo had only recently advanced to Greater Heaven stage, everyone was well aware of how big of a difference there was between the two stages.
If there weren’t any mishaps, the Greater Heaven stage Feng Luo would be able to completely overtake An Shiyi while still having the power to fight others.
Yu Tong, on the other hand, had stepped into Lesser Heaven stage back when she was still in the Green Illusion dimension. The rumors had it that even though she had been seriously injured when she returned from the Green Illusion Realm, after she had recovered, she had become even stronger than before.
Technically speaking, Feng Luo and Yu Tong combined were clearly overwhelmingly stronger than Nie Tian’s group.
Perhaps it was also because of this that Feng Luo and Yu Tong had such strong self-confidence. Just with the two of them, they dared to pursue them for so long and confront them face to face, instead of sneaking up on them.
“So he is the disciple of Eccentric Wu?” Feng Luo followed Yu Tong’s gaze and swept Nie Tian from head to toe. With a nod, he said, “Hmm... he has also advanced to the Lesser Heaven stage. It’s good that you’re both at the early Lesser Heaven stage. In this way, you two can be considered equally strong. After you have killed him, it won’t be like you’ve fought a one-sided battle.”
“Little Tong!” Feng Luo’s expression became serious. “Since your heart is in disturbance because of him, kill him now and eliminate the devil from your heart!”
With these words, he stretched out his hands and formed a seal.
As soon as the seal was complete, Nie Tian and his group saw a thick blood mist emerging from the ground under their feet.
The hard stone ground underneath immediately seemed as if it was painted by blood, with blood constantly oozing out of the clefts.
Pan Tao felt a strong shock to his body, as if he had taken a heavy blow, and even coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Jiang Lingzhu, Ye Gumo, as well as An Ying also staggered slightly, and their faces turned as red as blood. They all seemed to have been bombarded by some kind of invisible force.
Their originally upright figures suddenly shook violently, as if they couldn’t even get a firm foothold.
The clean river water behind Feng Luo and Yu Tong seemed as if it were flooded with bloody water, since it had now become red and reeked of a bloody smell.
Nie Tian and An Shiyi were the only ones who had been completely unaffected.
Nie Tian’s face turned grim. He looked down and found that there wasn’t any blood flowing out of the ground under his feet. It was the same with An Shiyi.
He instantly realized that Feng Luo’s magic only targeted Pan Tao and the others, and purposely spared An Shiyi and him.
With a casual wave of his hand, Feng Luo said, “Go ahead, Little Tong. I’ll deal with the An clan girl. Nie Tian is yours. I didn’t touch him at all, so you two can fight fair and square!”
“Thank you Uncle Feng,” Yu Tong replied softly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter