Han Li only gave Corpse Xiong and Lin Yinping a glance before turning his focus back at the altar, betraying blatant nervousness from his face.
Intending to destroy the altar’s seal, Yuan Cha’s soul fragment had detonated the Black Wind Flag, enveloping the altar in a giant jet-black void. Although he couldn't see through it, he could sense that a majority of the stone pillars comprising of the spell formation were destroyed.
Han Li stared attentively at the sparkling black light, seeing it rapidly collapse and suddenly disappear, causing his eyes to widen.
Nearly half the altar was now missing, the upper half vanished as if it were cleaved off.
There was now a person floating near the ruins of the altar.
It was Xiang Zhili, covered in a barrier of purple light that was on the verge of collapse.
He was laden with sweat and his face was bloodless as if he had gone through an intense battle.
Two items were floating next to him: the foot-wide Star Defying Plate that was spinning in the air with a golden paste-like barrier surrounding it, and a broken pitch-black stick. Han Li soon recognized it to be a small piece of the Black Wind Flag.
Most of the Divine Spirit Treasure had been annihilated in the eruption. What remained of it sparkled with black light as if its spiritual nature was still intact.
Han Li looked around and saw no sign of Ling Long or the black wolf. As he puzzled over this, the Star Defying Plate spun and released a mist of golden light from its core.
Ling Long emerged from the mist and coldly glared at the remains of the Black Wind Flag, which mirrored the Star Defying Plate and released a cloud of black Qi, quickly condensing into a meter-tall two-headed wolf. The wolf’s fur was dull and eyes listless.
Xiang Zhili’s expression sank at the sight of the two and he took several deep breaths. His pale complexion turned radiant and he wordlessly raised his hand, pointing two fingers towards the wolf.
Two gusts of wind followed, and one gold and one red swordstreak were released, expanding into two celestial dragons overlapping each other as they charged at the wolf.
Xiang Zhili was quick to act. Although he was in the dark as to what had happened, he was certain that the wolf filled with devilish Qi was the devil that had been suppressed in the pagoda. He knew he had to take advantage of this moment of weakness to subdue it.
The wolf scowled at the attack and its two heads spat beams of black light to block the swordlight, but it was clear that the counter wouldn’t prove a match. It had exhausted too much of its devilish Qi detonating the Black Wind Flag.
Surprisingly, the wolf wasn’t afraid. Instead, it gave a sinister glance down at the altar below and suddenly let out a shriek that could shatter even metal.
In the distance, Han Li couldn’t hide his disbelief at what unfolded.
The remains of the altar completely collapsed, leaving nothing behind.
Meanwhile, a pitch-black devilish Qi emerged from the rubble and quickly spread throughout.
“No! The seal was opened!” Corpse Xiong yelled in alarm.
Ling Long’s expression sank.
Although Xiang Zhili wasn’t aware of the circumstances, when he saw so much devilish Qi emerge, he immediately recalled something and his face became unsightly.
Nevertheless, Han Li wordlessly pointed at the huge golden sword floating above his head. It hummed and chopped at the closest point of the space’s wall.
A deep eruption boomed and blinding golden light jutted from the wall, followed by a barrage of crimson arrows from the puppet’s Thunderfire Bow densely targeting the same point.
In the blink of an eye, the wall trembled but it was clear that it was far from breaking.
Han Li’s face shifted grim and he flipped his hand to summon the Triflame Fan. Before he could prepare to use it, a golden streak and two white crescents struck the same spot he targeted.
Startled, Han Li saw that Corpse Xiong and Lin Yinping had arrived nearby and were attacking the wall with hurried and anxious strikes. They also knew their lives was at risk. No matter their desires, they had to preserve their lives first and foremost. Without another word, Han Li joined them and unleashed a tri-colored flame bird from the fan, striking at the surface of the wall.
A nova of flame briefly appeared with talisman characters flickering within it. Then with a series of deafening explosions, the wall finally began to warp.
Under their successive barrage, the wall bent to an extreme degree, but showed no signs of destruction.
Han Li’s expression turned grim and he quickly downed a drop of spirit milk, replenishing his magic power before he continued with the assault.
But at that moment, a yellow streak flew over and stuck to the wall, fading away to reveal a yellow talisman.
Suddenly, a layer of yellow energy covered the entire wall.
Another ball of blinding golden light struck down like a shooting star.
A strange beast wrapped in raging golden flames took form from the light.
With a huge quake, the wall was rent in two, peeking traces of light from the outside.
Pleasantly surprised, Han Li moved without another thought and shot out into the hole, his human puppet following suit.
His surroundings lit up and he found himself in a large familiar hall. Several streaks followed behind him and circled in the air once before stopping.
They were Lin Yinping, Corpse Xiong, and Xiang Zhili.
The large hall was the seventh floor of the Devil Suppressing Pagoda.
Han Li looked at Xiang Zhili with astonishment, but he simply chuckled at Han Li and said nothing else.
But at that moment, the mass of golden light that earlier struck the wall flew out as well. It was Ling Long holding the Star Defying Plate above her hand.
Xiang Zhili opened his mouth and closed it again. He mustered his words once more, but nothing came out.
The hole in the wall rapidly shrank and mended in the blink of an eye.
Then, the people in the hall glanced at each other cautiously, a stifling silence filling the empty space.
Ling Long took a glance at Han Li and Xiang Zhili, breaking the silence with a snort, “How long are we going to remain? Once that devil absorbs enough devilish Qi, we’re dead.”
Xiang Zhili hesitated for a moment and doubtfully asked, “Are you Senior Long Meng?”
In the past, he had been sealed by the fused soul of Long Meng and Yuan Cha. The woman before him gave him a different impression from before.
“You know quite a bit. Did the three Kunwu Masters leave behind an explanation? This so-called Long Meng was only a portion of my being.” Ling Long bluntly responded.
Such a vague explanation left Xiang Zhili blinking in confusion.
Ling Long frowned and sent him a voice transmission. The few words left Xiang Zhili shocked. With a glint of realization in his eyes, he took another glance at her, using his spiritual sense to confirm the woman didn’t have any devilish Qi present on her. His expression relaxed and he hastily bowed, saying, “My greetings, Imperial Concubine Ling Long. The three masters had left me behind some information with regards to your imprisonment. They had been forced to keep you here, as a portion of your soul had fused with that devil soul. They didn’t dare to release you.”
Long Meng coldly said, “Humph, leave that matter for when I return to the spirit realm. You had better focus on how we’ll control the situation. Once my body is immersed in perfect devil Qi in three days time, it will become thoroughly corrupted. When that time comes, the devil will have restored its abilities, and raising an army once she escapes should prove a trivial matter. The entire mortal realm will be engulfed in war once more.”
Xiang Zhili shugged and wryly smiled, “I know a small bit about how fearsome the true devil Qi is. Once this devil restores its original power, I fear there is no one left capable of stopping it. The ninth floor is also now flooded with devilish Qi, meaning the devil will be able to easily avoid us as it restores its strength. How about we retreat for the time being? Of the Worldbreaker Talismans I took from my sect, I only have two left.”
When Ling Long heard this, she began to ponder.
Lin Yinping couldn't help but ask, “You mean to say we aren’t able to seal the devil Qi once more?”
Xiang Zhili shook his head and sighed, “As if matters would be so easy. The original seal is broken, and the devil destroyed the Dragon Call Crest just as we left. If we had that crest, we would’ve been able to activate the reserve sealing formation and suppress the devil, but now...”
Silence filled the hall once more.
Han Li then calmly said, “Since there is a spell formation in reserve, in their vast wisdom, the ancient cultivators should have prepared a spare magic tool to control it too.”