Supreme Fire Palace? Turning his head away from the shrine, Miao Yi looked up at the blazing flames above him, then glanced down at the blackened husk by his feet.
Thinking back to how he'd jumped down into the mouth of the volcano, it became evident to him that he was currently standing at the bottom of it.
"It looks like this Supreme Fire Palace is Supreme Yao Lord Lie Huan's personal residence. I never would have thought such a massive palace could be hidden within molten lava. No wonder there weren't any signs of it on the outside. But why does the lava around this place look more like the flames emitted by Red Blaze Resins instead of actual lava?" Miao Yi muttered to himself.
The entire crystal palace was still and quiet, and only the surging sound of the fiery blaze around it could be heard.
Miao Yi wasn't sure if there was anyone present in this Supreme Fire Palace, so at first he was a little hesitant about entering it. But after some thought, he figured he was probably over-analyzing it. If there really was someone in there, there was no way they wouldn't have discovered his presence, given that so many days had passed since he landed here.
It looks like this place was truly vacated due to the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade! Although he had already made up his mind, Miao Yi still carefully proceeded down the plate, then went up the steps into a relatively small plaza.
Looking back, he examined the crystalline plate he was previously standing on. Measuring several dozen feet in diameter, it was positioned in such a way that it seemed as though the crystal palace was extending one of its arms out. At the same time, the entire structure seemed to resemble the decorated tip of a *Ruyi scepter; it was very unique and intricate. Clearly, it was a platform specifically used for receiving any guests entering from the top of the volcano.
Around the plaza, stone railings hung overhead, while a suspended staircase led to the main entrance of the palace. At the bottom of those steps stood two jade-like sculptures portraying the Inferno Qilin.
Miao Yi jumped towards the entrance, then peeped in through the open door.
Inside, there was a spacious hall with a mighty throne sitting loftily at the far end. Behind the throne stood a wall engraved with twelve blazing flames. The flames were no simple decorations; there seemed to be an actual blazing red fire hidden inside each one. Their presence provided the hall with a vibrant ambiance. Miao Yi had no idea how they came to be, but he didn't find it odd to see such marvels within this palace hidden beneath molten lava.
All around the hall, majestic and well-crafted decorations stood solemnly in place.
"Anyone there?!" Miao Yi suddenly shouted, feeling a little guilty about barging into someone else's property.
This was the palace of a Supreme Yao Lord, a being with a Golden Lotus First Grade cultivation. Even if Miao Yi knew the place was empty, he was still feeling a little uneasy about suddenly barging in like this. After all, the owner in question had a cultivation at the Golden Lotus First Grade! And what did that signify? A being such as that had already reached the realm of 'Soaring the Heavens' as described by Lao Bai. They were able to break free from the shackles of the earth and willfully traverse the unending universe.
Even Miao Yi was a little afraid to imagine what would happen to him if he upset such a person. Perhaps a single breath would be enough to erase him.
His voice reverberated through the palace, its echoes slowly fading off before once again giving way to a deathly silence.
Once he made sure there was truly no one inside the hall, Miao Yi gently placed his hand on the doorframe. It was cold to the touch, but it didn't seem to be made of either ice or jade. Miao Yi wasn't sure what it was, but it was actually capable of isolating the entire palace from the intense flames that surrounded it and keep the interior cool.
He proceeded inside, making his way around the spacious hall and examining his surroundings with a curious gaze. He then made his way to the rear palace and into the harem.
The harem was relatively small; it only had around a dozen lodgings. Miao Yi explored them all one by one, and he even found women's clothing being hung up in some places. He examined the clothing, pulling them with his hands as he wondered whether they belonged to Lie Huan's consorts or perhaps even Lie Huan himself. Or maybe Lie Huan was actually a woman to begin with.
After confirming that the palace was empty, Miao Yi heaved a sigh of relief. He then exited the hall and reexamined the fiery vortex surrounding the entire place.
He was desperately searching for a way out. If he continued staying here, once Supreme Yao Lord Lie Huan returned, he would definitely be in deep trouble.
But alas, he couldn't think of any way to escape at all. Furthermore, the surrounding flames were still approximately a hundred meters away from the crystal palace he was standing on.
Miao Yi walked out of the palace, making his way towards the crystalline plate. He lifted his gaze up towards the blazing firestorm from which he fell. Although he could think of a way to get up there, the flames that awaited him were simply too terrifying. He had already experienced their ferocity once. If he hadn't been so lucky—falling on this plate instead of dropping into the sea of flames underneath—his life would have already been forfeit.
Coming down, he could let gravity do the work for him. But going back up required a much greater amount of effort and time. There was no way his cultivation would be of any help in shielding himself against that blazing heat. Not to mention, he was already out of immortal herbs to use. At present, he only had a single immortal fruit left. If he were to be burnt to a crisp again, there would be no way for him to recover.
He stood on the crystalline plate thinking long and hard about how to get out. As he paced around the plate, arms crossed behind his back, his gaze landed on the ground, and it suddenly hit him. He quickly took out the Mystic Yin Mirror and stared at its round, reflective surface before lifting his gaze back up.
Maybe I'll be able to leave if I shield myself with the cold Yin energy inside the Mystic Yin Mirror!
However, he dismissed the idea the next instant with a bitter smile. Even if he used the Mystic Yin Mirror, with his cultivation, he wouldn't be able to sustain it for long. When it came down to it, his cultivation was simply much too low.
Having failed to come up with any ideas on how he could leave after circling around the Supreme Fire Palace for the whole day, Miao Yi ultimately decided to give up. All he could do was hope that some kind of inspiration would hit him someday.
Sighing in resignation, Miao Yi returned to the palace and sat himself upon what was most likely Supreme Yao Lord Lie Huan's throne. Crossing his legs, he tossed an Orb of Will into his mouth and began cultivating.
Miao Yi didn't have any better ideas. If he couldn't go out, he would have to wait until Supreme Yao Lord Lie Huan returned and think of a way to explain himself. The question was whether or not the person in question would pay heed to his excuses.
On the bright side, spending his time hiding out in this place didn't really seem like a bad idea. He might even be able to stay hidden until after the Sea of Constellation Subjugation Crusade ended. There was no way this place could be so easily accessed by his pursuers.
"I'm just afraid that I won't be able to step out even if I manage to hide until the end of the Subjugation Crusade!" Miao Yi laughed bitterly.
Miao Yi temporarily cast aside his worries and calmed himself. Forget it. I'll just treat this place as a rare opportunity to cultivate in peace during the Subjugation Crusade. This was the only way he could console himself.
As soon as he activated his Fiery Star Technique to refine the Orb of Will, behind him, the twelve blurry red silhouettes hidden within the fire engravings on the wall started flickering restlessly and were rapidly flowing out of the decorated wall.
Tiny red specks of light were also starting to appear from every corner of the crystal palace and slowly floated towards the throne on which Miao Yi was sitting, before entering the pores of his skin.
This was especially the case for the twelve fire engravings behind him, in which their red lights could practically be described as 'surging' out of the wall, creating twelve hollow bridges connecting to Miao Yi as they rapidly flooded into his body. At the same time, the red silhouettes behind the wall seemed greatly disturbed, flickering wildly inside the wall.
Even Miao Yi himself soon noticed something was amiss. As he examined the internal status of his body, he discovered a situation similar to those times he cultivated next to Yao Ruoxian as he was refining transcendent artifacts. Those same red spiritual essences were currently flowing into his art source, forming small crimson lights within the void.
However, the amount of red spiritual essences flowing into his body this time was much greater than his cultivation sessions next to Yao Ruoxian and his furnace. If he were to describe the current amount of red spiritual essences flowing into him as a mighty river, then the amount received beside Yao Ruoxian could hardly even be considered a tiny stream.
The red spiritual essences pouring into his art source continued to form small crimson lights without end, adding a profound sense of vigor to the void of his art source and making it seem more vibrant.
It appeared again! And there's so much of it this time! Miao Yi was shocked. Ever since he noticed this phenomenon, he always wondered whether it was something good or bad. He quickly deactivated his technique and examined his surroundings. His eyes shone as he was positive that it had something to do with him being surrounded by molten lava.
Miao Yi stepped out of the hall and walked around the place. He came to the conclusion that unless he just idly waited without cultivating, there was no way he would be able to stop himself from absorbing the spiritual essences coming from the lava around him.
Continue to wait without doing anything? Miao Yi shook his head and laughed bitterly. Rather than simply waiting to die, why don't I just keep on cultivating and find out whether this is a good or bad thing?
"Aii! Lao Bai never explained this either. No, perhaps even he himself is unaware of it. After all, he never cultivated this technique before. It's no wonder he…" Miao Yi mumbled to himself and shook his head. He then walked inside and sat back down at the throne, resuming his cultivation as though he owned the place.
Soon, red spiritual essences started floating around every corner of the palace once more. The twelve blurry red silhouettes within the fire engravings behind the throne also started to move restlessly again. It was as though they were prisoners trying to break free of their shackles but their attempts were always short of succeeding.
After cultivating this way for three days, Miao Yi abruptly opened his eyes. There was a sense of great shock reflected in them, shocked that his refining speed for Orbs of Will had somehow increased!
Miao Yi knew perfectly well how fast his cultivation progressed. For him to break through from White Lotus Seventh Grade to Eighth Grade, he required 320 low-grade Orbs of Will. At his original pace, he would be able to refine about fifty orbs in a year, which meant that he would need another six to seven years to break through to White Lotus Eighth Grade. Previously, he was able to refine a single low-grade Orb of Will in seven days on average. However, he just discovered that it had only taken him six days to fully refine this one.
"Did I lose track of time somehow?" Miao Yi mused. His timing shouldn't have been wrong. He was not so foolish as to even lose count of the number of days.
Obviously, there was a need to reaffirm this situation, so he tossed another Orb of Will into his mouth and began refining it.
However, this time it was even faster than before; it had barely taken him six days to fully refine the Orb of Will.
"What is going on here?" Miao Yi was completely flabbergasted. Even though it was only quicker by a day, it was no small matter.
He tossed another Orb of Will into his mouth and started to refine it, closely examining it this time to figure out the cause of this phenomenon. Soon, he discovered what was causing the increase in his cultivation speed; it was related to the fire spiritual essences he was absorbing into his art source. Once absorbed, the fire spiritual essences would further bolster the might of his Fiery Star Technique. Simply put, the speed at which the Fiery Star Technique was purging the individual emotions and desires inside the Orb of Will had increased.
Absorbing these fire spiritual essences can actually increase my cultivation speed? Miao Yi was shocked once again, but he was soon experiencing a surge of joy and excitement.
Once again, Lao Bai's hazy figure appeared elegantly out of nowhere. He watched as Miao Yi jumped with joy, and sighed to himself, "In the end, you still managed to discover it earlier than I expected!" He swept a glance across the Supreme Fire Palace, then gently shook his head, "Is this destiny? Miao Yi, oh Miao Yi, since you have realized the truth behind my technique, I hope that you will not disappoint me!"
As soon as he said this, his figure grew fainter before silently vanishing.
On the other hand, Miao Yi was excitedly jumping around the Supreme Fire Palace, knocking down and destroying many of the palace's furnishings. The bastard was practically wrecking another person's home.
To make matters worse, he even randomly took a few of the dresses from the harem and waved them in circles over his head. He was completely out of control. Towards the end, he even pulled the dresses over his face and ripped them apart. "AHH!!" He roared upwards in a sense of uplifting freedom.
"Phew…" After regaining his composure, he finally realized that he had ripped the dresses apart. He wondered whether they belonged to Lie Huan or his consorts.
Miao Yi's expression froze the moment Lie Huan came to mind. No matter how fast my cultivation has become, I still need to escape this place! If I don't make it out by the time Lie Huan returns, I'll end up in deep shit!
"Aii!" He casually tossed aside the torn dress and returned in low spirits to the main hall to resume his cultivation.