The loud rumble caused the earth to tremble continuously. Even the old man, who was already quite far away from the volcano, came to a stop upon hearing the rumble, standing on ground that had been cut into pieces by numerous rivers of lava.
He turned around to shoot a curious gaze towards the shaking volcano before casting a secret magic to examine his surroundings.
After realizing that no noteworthy wood power had appeared in the vicinity, he shook his head and marched on again.
He knew that he only had about five years left now. The reason why he had come such a long way from the Realm of Black Marsh to the Realm of Unbounded Desolation was because he had placed all of his hopes in the legend, hoping that he would be able to find that promised land, where he would obtain a Fruit of Life and thus extend his lifespan.
Anything that didn’t concern this meant nothing to him.
Back when he had passed the short volcano, he had noticed that Lu Shen’s psychic awareness constantly floated towards Nie Tian and Dong Li. Apparently, he had harbored ill intentions.
However, he had ignored it.
Convinced that the unusual changes within the volcano had nothing to do with what he was looking for, he turned back and marched on.
By a river of flowing lava, Nie Tian and Dong Li’s expressions flickered. They had just risen to their feet and were about to return to the short volcano to finish Lu Shen off.
“What’s going on?” Dong Li asked in a soft voice.
Nie Tian closed his eyes.
Relying on the subtle connection between him and the Flame Dragon Armor, he learned that the Flame Dragon Armor was currently rapidly absorbing flame power from the heart of the volcano, where the lava was fiercest.
He could see that the lava at the heart of the volcano was releasing wisps of fiery light, which were none other than the earthflame essence.
From the look of it, this was what the Flame Dragon Armor truly needed to replenish the tremendous amount of flame power it had consumed.
As the wisps of fiery light converged on the Flame Dragon Armor from every direction, changes suddenly occurred inside the volcano.
Crimson rocks exploded in different locations on the inner wall, which caused the entire volcano to shake violently, therefore giving rise to the loud rumble.
The cave Nie Tian and Dong Li had created halfway up the mountain also began to shake violently.
Fierce lava suddenly came spurting out of the hole at the end of the cave, which Jiang Bo had created with a special awl, leading to the heart of the volcano.
Jiang Bo, who had been forging a spiritual tool wholeheartedly off to the side, screamed upon seeing the unprecedentedly fierce lava rushing madly through the hole in the wall.
At the same time, he messed up the fire incantations he was using to refine the earthflame essence from the lava.
While he was hesitating over whether or not he should leave the cave, rolling lava filled his huge, bronze cauldron. Some even splashed on him.
In a flash, one of his arms and half of his body caught fire.
“Lu Shen!!” Jiang Bo cried out. Abandoning his bronze cauldron and all of the spiritual materials, he sprinted towards the mouth of the cave.
However, the violent shaking caused the rocks on the ceiling to fall.
A giant rock fell on Jiang Bo and pinned him to the floor.
At this moment, Lu Shen was nowhere near the cave. He was on his way down the mountain to make a move on Dong Li.
Upon hearing Jiang Bo’s miserable scream, he turned around without the slightest hesitation.
However, by the time he rushed back to the mouth of the cave, he found that Jiang Bo had long since been engulfed by the lava that was now filling the entire cave. Not only that, but some of the burning lava also splashed on him.
The moment lava touched his abdomen and leg, they started burning.
He screamed nonstop, grimacing. No longer caring about his unfinished spiritual tool and Jiang Bo, he tumbled away from the mouth of the cave and rushed down the mountain.
Raging lava rushed out of the cave. He constantly switched directions on his way down, and narrowly avoided the pouring lava.
By the time he finally arrived at the foot of the mountain, his abdomen and leg were already badly burned. The agony almost made him cry.
“What a tragedy!”
Dong Li quietly arrived in front of Lu Shen, who was now barely able to stand. Like a cat weeping over a dead mouse (idiom: with pretended sympathy), she said, “One was swallowed by lava; the other is badly burned. How can you end up being so unfortunate?
She curled her lips. “Is this what people call karma? But I’ve got to thank you. If you didn’t drive us out of that cave, we might have already suffered the same fate as your equipment forger friend and been swallowed by lava.”
Only then did Nie Tian pace over. Seeing Lu Shen in such sore traits, he didn’t seem sympathetic at all.
The badly injured Lu Shen didn’t show the slightest remorse. Instead, strong killing intent burst forth from within his eyes. “Bitch! Even though I’m injured, I can still kill the two of you without breaking a sweat!”
Enraged, Lu Shen swung his arm, and three arrows shot out of his cuff.
The arrows, which were forged out of pure iron, shone with dazzling, golden light, as if they carried fierce metal power, as well as Lu Shen’s psychic awareness.
CLANK! CLANK! CLANK!
Three of them shot into Dong Li’s bone shield one after another.
Dong Li let out a muffled groan as she experienced incomparable soreness from her shield-holding hand.
Laced with Lu Shen’s psychic awareness, three strands of metal power rushed directly towards Dong Li’s mind.
A screech from the black phoenix rang out in her head. Thanks to its strength, she managed to ward off the psychic attack Lu Shen had hidden within the three arrows.
With a swing of her hand, Dong Li shot her cyan awl out of her hand, which flew directly towards Lu Shen’s chest. With an exclamation, Lu Shen hastily tumbled backwards.
Nie Tian let out a cold harrumph as he cast a short-range Starshift and appeared behind Lu Shen, where he plunged the Flame Star into Lu Shen’s back without the slightest hesitation.
As the Flame Star made contact with Lu Shen’s back, a metallic, clanking sound rang out.
Lu Shen, who practiced metal power, had summoned all of his metal power and formed a protective shield of golden light over his back.
However, as Nie Tian twisted his wrist, infusing a variety of powers into the Flame Star, the golden shield of light instantly shattered.
As it did, Lu Shen screamed over the life-threatening situation and attempted to escape.
But at this very moment, Dong Li’s cyan awl arrived soundlessly and pierced into his neck.
Lu Shen dropped to the ground and died with deep grudges in his eyes.
Without saying a word, Dong Li stepped over, crouched down, and pulled her awl out of Lu Shen’s neck. Then, she took his ring of holding and, after examining its contents with her psychic awareness, she said disdainfully, “Can this moron be any poorer?!”
There was nothing valuable within Lu Shen’s ring of holding except for several hundred spirit stones.
What she didn’t know was that Lu Shen had basically traded in everything he owned in order to get all of the materials he needed to forge that spiritual tool. He had also paid Jiang Bo fifty thousand spirit stones as a service fee. This was why he was so poor.
Deeply disappointed, Dong Li put away Lu Shen’s ring of holding and the three metal arrows, not showing the slightest intention to split them with Nie Tian.
Nie Tian saw it, but didn’t think it was a big deal.
“Hmm?” He suddenly felt something. The Spirit Pearl, which had been stored in his bracelet of holding this whole time, seemed to have flashed, but very briefly.
Surprised, he took it out.
The moment he did, he sensed anomalies.
Originally, the souls of Jiang Bo, who had been engulfed by lava, and Lu Shen, who had died just now, were slowly dissipating.
Normally, their discarnate souls would have completely disappeared into heaven and earth within a very short period of time.
However, as the Spirit Pearl appeared, not only did their discarnate souls stop dissipating, but they even morphed into two wisps of faint smoke that were only detectable by the Heaven Eyes, and flew directly into the Spirit Pearl.
Two wisps of invisible souls now hovered within the originally empty Spirit Pearl.
“What’s going on?” Dong Li asked, staring at the Spirit Pearl that was flickering with a faint, cyan light.
Nie Tian closed his hand. With an expression that was as calm as ever, he said, “Nothing.”
“You’re lying!” Dong Li snorted coldly. Recalling the scenes she had witnessed by the lake in the Realm of Dark Underworld, she realized what was happening. “It absorbed those two’s discarnate souls, didn’t it?”
Seeing that she had figured it out, Nie Tian said, “It appears so.”
Dong Li’s expression flickered in shock. “T-this thing can actually bend the laws of nature by stopping discarnate souls from disappearing into heaven and earth and absorbing them into itself?!”
“Yeah, that seems to be the case,” Nie Tian answered.
A shudder ran through Dong Li’s curvaceous body.
She seemed to connect the dots as she asked, “What happened to the countless Specters and discarnate souls that used to be in the Spirit Pearl?”
“Well, I refined them.” Nie Tian answered, looking cornered by Dong Li.
“You were able to refine the Specters and discarnate souls within the Spirit Pearl?!” Dong Li exclaimed.
Immediately afterwards, she looked Nie Tian in the eye and said, beaming, “Nie Tian! No, my brother! Sorry, you are my dear brother! My black phoenix beast spirit can be strengthened when fed with soul power. You have to help me!”