In a remote and desolate area.
The figure of a skinny man suddenly flew out of the wide mouth of an extinct volcano that was about ten thousand meters high.
The man looked like a bag of bones, and his surprisingly handsome face was filled with madness.
He stopped in midair in a location several hundred meters away from the extinct volcano, where he gazed at it silently.
Around that extinct volcano sat a number of active volcanoes, each of which was thousands of meters high. Endless lava was pouring out of the mouths of several of them.
That entire area was covered in rivers of flowing lava, to the point where anyone on the ground would barely find a place to stand.
At that moment, pale-gray smoke floated out of the mouth of the enormous, extinct volcano the skinny man had just come from.
Clusters of pale-gray smoke gathered in midair and started to emit an aura of death that could extinguish all living beings.
Gray and white light could be vaguely seen glowing occasionally in the depths of the smoke.
The skinny man apparently possessed a very high cultivation base. He floated steadily in the air and muttered, “Go! They are holding a decennial assessment pageant. Take this opportunity and surprise them!”
As soon as he uttered those words, the sizable cluster of pale-gray smoke started floating horizontally, carrying an aura of death that could change heaven and earth.
In the depths of the cluster of smoke, the white and gray light seemed to be transforming in a certain way, forming a mysterious spherical ward in its surroundings.
A few fire-attributed spirit beasts were absorbing flame power to strengthen their bloodline power in this area, which was covered in lava and flames.
As the huge cluster of pale-gray smoke approached, those spirit beasts seemed to detect danger, and thus fled, howling.
However, the smoke rapidly caught up to them and submerged them.
Engulfed, every spirit beast let out agonized shrieks, but soon became silent.
The speed at which the pale-gray smoke traveled through air was very fast. It wasn’t long before it left that area.
On the ground, the few spirit beasts, which were shrieking a moment ago, were nowhere to be seen.
The bizarre pale-gray smoke continued to fly forward. From the look of it, it was flying towards Desolate City and the Tool Sect.
In another place...
Nie Tian and Dong Li kept marching forward after passing the old man.
When they were very far ahead of the old man, Dong Li suddenly stopped and said, “I’m afraid we can’t let your Flame Dragon Armor absorb earthflame essence here anymore, Nie Tian.”
“Yeah?” Nie Tian said.
Dong Li shot him a hard look. “I thought that Flame Dragon Armor of yours only needed flame power from these volcanoes. If I knew the Flame Dragon Armor was actually after the earthflame essence in these volcanoes, I wouldn’t have brought you to the Realm of Unbounded Desolation in the first place!”
“Truth be told, I didn’t know that either,” Nie Tian said with an embarrassed expression.
Dong Li’s expression grew grim. “This won’t work. If the Flame Dragon Armor absorbs only flame power from these volcanoes, even if the Tool Sect learns about it, they won’t try to stop us.
“However, it’s a whole other story if we’re taking earthflame essence. A volcano’s earthflame essence is its core, the foundation of its existence.
“If we allow your Flame Dragon Armor to absorb earthflame essence from more volcanoes, more volcanoes will go extinct!
“That will definitely catch the Tool Sect’s attention. I bet their people are already looking into this!”
Nie Tian remained silent.
He sent a wisp of psychic awareness into the Flame Dragon Armor. After a brief examination, he learned that the earthflame essence from that short volcano didn’t help the Flame Dragon Armor restore its original state.
It still needed more earthflame essence or large amounts of precious fire-attributed materials in order to replenish the flame power it had consumed to refine the souls and Specters in the Spirit Pearl.
After a moment of hesitation, he said, as if he were reluctant to give up yet, “Is there a way we can secretly take the earthflame essence without attracting the Tool Sect’s attention? The Realm of Unbounded Desolation is such a vast place filled with countless volcanoes. I refuse to believe that there isn’t a corner that the Tool Sect will ignore.”
“I’ve told you, no! You need to drop that idea!” Dong Li sounded exasperated.
She had already sensed the unfavorable situation now that the Flame Dragon Armor had absorbed earthflame essence from that short volcano. She strongly believed that the Tool Sect had already learned about it.
Under such circumstances, it was actually very dangerous for her to continue to stay here with Nie Tian.
If Nie Tian dared to unleash the Flame Dragon Armor again and let it absorb earthflame essence from other volcanoes, they would definitely be exposed and soon draw retaliation from the Tool Sect.
Even though she was the daughter of the Dong Clan’s clanmaster, she wouldn’t be able to get out of this easily. After all, it was the Tool Sect’s rule they were violating.
After pondering for a while, Nie Tian added, “But you should know that I’m not the key to refine the souls in the Spirit Pearl. The Flame Dragon Armor is. If you want me to help you strengthen your beast spirit with pure soul power from the Spirit Pearl, we’d have to rely on the Flame Dragon Armor. Only when it has absorbed enough flame power will it be able to purge and refine the discarnate souls and Specters within the Spirit Pearl with the fiercest flames.”
Deeply shocked, Dong Li said, “So, the Flame Dragon Armor is the key! However, as much as I want to help you and strengthen my black phoenix with soul power from within the Spirit Pearl, that method is not viable in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation. If the Flame Dragon Armor still needs more earthflame essence, I can take you to other realms where I’ll find you unattended volcanoes.
“But we really can’t do that anymore in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation. Powerful equipment forgers still need the fierce earthflame to forge spiritual tools.
“To the Tool Sect, the volcanoes in this realm are extremely valuable equipment forging resources.”
After hearing Dong Li’s earnest advice, Nie Tian grew hesitant. Eyebrows furrowed, he weighed his choices.
All of a sudden, a streak of flames appeared on the distant horizon.
Dong Li gazed at it with rapt attention before turn pale with fright and blurting, “It’s the Rainbow Lightning! Damn it! I knew they’d learned about it. That Rainbow Lightning must be here to determine the reason of the disappearance of the earthflame essence!
“I don’t cultivate fire-attributed incantations or have any fire-attributed spiritual tools on me. They probably won’t suspect me, but you…”
The Rainbow Lightning traveled extremely fast and appeared in their sight before Nie Tian’s nine Heaven Eyes could capture them.
Only at that moment did Nie Tian see via his Heaven Eyes that Wu Ling was standing in that Rainbow Lightning, along with a few young male and female disciples of the Tool Sect.
He could also determine those youngsters’ cultivation bases with the help of his Heaven Eyes.
“None of them have entered the Worldly realm.” Nie Tian’s expression flickered as he immediately turned to Dong Li and said, “You’re going to handle them.”
“How?!” Dong Li was somewhat panicked. “You apparently practice fire-attribute incantations!
“They’ll also search your bracelet of holding after they arrive. With a mere glance at the Flame Dragon Armor, they’ll know that it was your doing! Plus, that Spirit Pearl is also in your possession. We’re truly screwed this time!”
“Don’t worry. They won’t know that I’m here.” With these words, Nie Tian summoned the Flame Star and rapidly created a hole next to a river of lava. He jumped in and said, “Cover me up!”
Dong Li was both anxious and angry. “Are you kidding me? You’re a living person with flesh and blood. Do you really expect to escape their senses by hiding underground?” However, she stopped talking after saying these words.
The reason was that she suddenly discovered that she was no longer able to sense any sign of life from Nie Tian after he had jumped into the hole in the ground.
Even though she could still see Nie Tian, she failed to sense a single shred of life aura as she scanned him with her psychic awareness.
After a brief moment of bewilderment, she snapped back to reality and rapidly covered Nie Tian up with rocks and dirt.
When the hole was fully filled and covered with dark-red rocks, she quietly stepped away from it, and started marching along the river of lava as if nothing had happened.
Moments later, Wu Ling descended in the Rainbow Lightning.
The Rainbow Lightning came to a stop in the air three meters in front of Dong Li. With a grave and stern face, Wu Ling said, “I’m Wu Ling from the Tool Sect. Someone has violated our sect’s rule and taken earthflame essence from one of our volcanoes. Please cooperate so that we can rule you out.”
With a flabbergasted expression on her face, Dong Li said with a terrified tone, “What?! People actually dared to not give face to the Tool Sect and took earthflame essence without authorization?! I don’t practice fire-attribute incantations, and my cultivation base is still rather low. My strength is far from enough for me to channel earthflame essence from any volcano. Here’s my ring of holding. You’re welcome to search it.”
Seeming very cooperative, she took her ring of holding off her jade-like slender finger and held it out.
“Let me!” A male disciple of the Tool Sect beside Wu Ling volunteered, eyes fixed on Dong Li’s curvaceous body.
Wu Ling shot him a hard look before turning to a girl beside him and saying, “You do it, Little Yuan.”
The man nodded and smiled, looking shamefaced. “You’re the boss.”
A Heaven stage young woman who practiced fire incantations jumped down from the Rainbow Lightning. She quickly approached Dong Li and searched her up and down for storage spiritual tools.
Failing to find any, Huang Yuan said with a smile, “You’re in such a good shape, big sister.”
“You’re a beauty yourself,” Dong Li responded, smiling.
Convinced that Dong Li didn’t have other storage spiritual tools on her, the girl named Huang Yuan grabbed the ring from her hand. After saying “excuse me”, she started examining it with her psychic power.
“She’s not carrying any fire-attributed spiritual tools, Big Brother Ling,” Huang Yuan said with a strange expression on her face.
“Okay, let’s go,” Wu Ling nodded, not sparing Dong Li another glance.
Handing the ring of holding back to Dong Li, Huang Yuan said softly with wide eyes and an envious expression, “You’re wealthy, big sister.”
Dong Li smiled and blinked at her.
Huang Yuan smiled and jumped back into the Rainbow Lightning. Then, she waved at Dong Li and advised kindly, “You’d better not go any further. It’s too dangerous.”
“Thank you. I’ll think about it.” Dong Li replied.
The Rainbow Lightning whooshed away.