Chapter 2063: Remains and Lava Lake
After that, she injected her magic power into the jade pendant, and the crimson pattern suddenly began to move as if it had sprung to life.
"That's fantastic! With this jade pendant telling us the devilish beast's location, we won't have to worry about any surprise attacks, so the initiative will completely be on our side," the burly man said in an elated manner.
Thus, he switched positions with his sister, allowing her to lead the way in his stead.
The group continued onward and soon made their way into a mine tunnel. Judging from the small pits that lined the entire tunnel, the Firecloud Stones nearby had clearly all been already mined.
Even so, the scorching temperature in here was noticeably higher than when they had first arrived underground.
If it weren't for the fact that this mine was situated in the Illusion Howl Desert, everyone would've already unleashed earth movement techniques to seek out that devilish beast, but as things currently were, they could only progress deeper and deeper into the mine through the tunnels.
There were countless tunnels in this mine, with crossroads set up at regular intervals, creating a cobweb-like system. These tunnels ranged from just over 100 feet to around half a kilometer in length, and most of them had already been completely mined with only some of the more obscure tunnels still harboring Firecloud Stones that were yet to be excavated.
However, after passing through around a dozen tunnels and arriving at a crossroads leading into four or five different tunnels, Han Li's eyes suddenly narrowed slightly.
All of these tunnels were shimmering with specks of crimson light, and the walls were riddled with fist-sized crimson crystals.
However, Han Li wasn't looking at all of these precious materials. Instead, he was looking at a set of headless remains that lay slumped at the entrance of one of the tunnels.
Even though the body was complete aside from its missing head, its skin was completely shriveled up, as if its blood and flesh had somehow been completely stripped away, leaving only a pouch of skin behind.
The purple-haired woman and the burly man had naturally also seen the set of remains, and a hint of surprise flashed through their eyes.
The purple-haired woman glanced at the robes being worn by the set of remains, and her expression immediately darkened as she made a grabbing motion toward the headless body.
A small scrap of cloth detached itself from the robe before being drawn into her grasp.
Han Li took a glance at it to find that a faint silver "Bai" character was emblazoned on that scrap of cloth.
"This is a disciple of our Bai Family, but it's hard to tell which one it is," the purple-haired woman said with furrowed brows.
The burly man harrumphed coldly before also making a grabbing motion toward the headless body, and an azure leather pouch was drawn toward him before exploding at his behest, releasing a swarm of huge crimson wasps. Each of these wasps was as large as an adult human hand, and they were buzzing incessantly.
"These are Blood Sifting Wasps! If I recall correctly, Bai Yan possesses a swarm of these devilish insects, right?" the burly man asked with a dark expression.
One of the Spatial Tempering Stage disciples of the Bai Family stepped forward, and confirmed, "Indeed, Senior; these are none other than Bai Yan's Blood Sifting Wasps. I've seen him use these wasps in battle on multiple occasions." This was an elderly man with snowy-white hair, and there was a hint of sorrow in his eyes, suggesting that he seemed to have shared some type of bond with this Bai Yan.
The purple-haired woman sighed as she raised a hand to release a fireball that incinerated the body into ashes, then murmured to herself, "In that case, these must be Bai Yan's remains. He's the most powerful one among the disciples that we left at the oasis stronghold; how did he end up here?"
In reality, no one was all that surprised by the gruesome sight of the shriveled headless corpse. After all, there were countless beings in the Elder Devil Realm who cultivated by devouring the blood essence of others, so this wasn't exactly an uncommon occurrence.
"Let's keep going; perhaps we'll find some leads up ahead," the burly man suggested after a brief pause for contemplation.
No one offered any objections, and they continued into the tunnel where the remains had just been found. However, everyone was proceeding with more caution, and after making their way along the tunnel for several thousand feet, they encountered five or six more headless corpses, all of whom were confirmed to be Bai Family disciples who had been left at the stronghold.
The burly man's expression darkened further and further with each headless body that was discovered, and after walking for a while longer, he suddenly turned to the purple-haired woman, and asked, "How far away are we from that devilish beast? It won't be able to detect us, will it?"
"Rest assured, Big Brother; spiritual sense is greatly inhibited in the Illusion Howl Desert in the first place, and that's only further exacerbated by the disruptive effect of the true fire Qi in this mine. We're currently still around three kilometers away from the devilish beast, so there's no way that it'll be able to detect us. However, I'm not sure if that will continue to be the case if we get any closer than this," the purple-haired woman replied after briefly glancing down at the jade pendant in her hand.
After a brief pause for contemplation, the burly man decided, "In that case, let's all unleash our concealment techniques right away."
"Do we really have to start right away? Using concealment techniques in this desert is going to be very taxing on our magic power. So be it, better safe than sorry, I guess," Heavenly Lord Luan Dragon mumbled reluctantly before opening his mouth to expel a black badge, which transformed into a cloud of black mist that enshrouded his entire body.
Immediately thereafter, both the mist and Heavenly Lord Luan Dragon himself gradually faded into nothingness.
Han Li also followed suit as he made a hand seal, upon which black light swirled over his body, and he transformed into a barely visible black shadow.
As for Han Qizi, he abruptly swept a sleeve through the air to release a burst of glacial light, upon which his entire body became as translucent as an ice statue.
Bai Yunxin and the others each summoned a silver flag before tossing them up into the air in unison to create a silver light formation. The formation descended upon all six of them, and they instantly disappeared as well.
Seeing as everyone had already concealed themselves, the burly man and the purple-haired woman also did the same as one of them released a burst of black Qi from their body, while the other summoned a handkerchief-like treasure.
Thus, the group continued onward, and much to their surprise, this tunnel was far longer than they had anticipated. Even after walking for a long while, they still hadn't made it to the other side.
As they progressed, the straight tunnel suddenly began to wind and twist, and the stone walls around them also became very coarse and rugged; they had entered a natural underground fissure.
Other rifts of different sizes had also begun to appear around them, ranging from only around a foot in width to several tens of feet wide. Scorching winds would occasionally blow through those rifts, carrying a charred sulfurous scent.
Around an hour later, after everyone had flown out of a nondescript-looking rift, a giant underground lava lake suddenly appeared down below.
The lake was over 1,000 acres in area, and it was filled with bubbling red lava. The edge of the lake was surrounded by charred rocky ground, but there were a series of reddish-purple crystals embedded into those rocks, and they were shimmering with a peculiar red light under the lava's illumination.
Han Li's eyes narrowed slightly upon seeing this.
These reddish-purple crystals were manifestations of fire-attribute Qi that had been compressed to the extreme. Even though they were quite small, all of them were extremely rare top-grade Firecloud Stones.
At just a rough glance, he discovered that there were tens of thousands of these crystals, and they would be worth an astronomical number of devil stones or spirit stone; it was no wonder that the Bai Family was willing to pay such a heavy price to try and salvage this mine.
However, what was rather befuddling to Han Li was that there was no devilish beast to be seen here. The underground lava lake was indeed extremely massive, but its structure was very simple, and there weren't any obvious hiding places.
The burly man also seemed to be a little perplexed as he transmitted his voice toward the purple-haired woman.
"Is this the right place, Sister? Is that devilish beast really here?"
"There's no mistaking it; its blood essence is definitely pointing toward this place," the purple-haired woman replied without any hesitation.
"In that case, it's most likely hiding within the lava down below; it seems that it really hasn't detected our arrival yet. Yunxin, set up the formation right away. Fellow daoists, we'll be requiring your services soon as well," the burly man said as he turned to everyone else.
The six Bai Family disciples immediately gave affirmative responses before scattering around the lava lake, then summoned stacks of formation flags and formation plates to begin setting up a giant formation.
As for Heavenly Lord Luan Dragon and Han Qizi, they also descended toward the lava down below, then stopped and hovered in mid-air over 100 feet above the surface of the lava lake.
Even though the two of them were still concealed by their respective secret techniques, they still summoned protective devilish treasures in a cautious manner.
Heavenly Lord Luan Dragon opened his mouth to produce a shimmering blue bowl that was emanating blue glacial light, while Han Qi Zi swept a sleeve through the air to produce 12 translucent flags, which transformed into 12 balls of glacial light that revolved around his body.
Meanwhile, Han Li gently stomped a foot down onto the air blow, and five-colored light erupted underfoot, forming a five-colored lotus flower that carried his body downward on a slow descent.
The five-colored lotus flower was extremely vibrant and was releasing wisps of glacial Qi; it had been manifested by none other than these five-colored glacial flames.