Boom! The head of the Inferno Qilin statue fell to the ground.
Miao Yi jumped down as well. Using all the weapons in his arsenal, he began scraping out the inside of the statue's head and was completely hard at work!
This was crucial to his escape. After all, he had reason to believe that something might happen to the palace soon. Firstly, the twelve flames were extinguished. After that, the entire palace began trembling for no reason.
Of course, this was just a suspicion of his for now. However, given that strange things were beginning to happen, he had no choice but to prepare himself quickly. He didn't wish to perish alongside the Supreme Fire Palace after all. It was best to leave this place as soon as possible. If he was too greedy, he could very well end up missing the chance to escape completely.
After straining himself for almost two days, he finally managed to hollow out the crystalline head of the Inferno Qilin statue. Even though his handiwork was a little rough, the gap was wide enough to shield him entirely.
Miao Yi repeatedly checked to see whether the size would fit. He then tucked it away, and quickly took out a giant steel chain and started modifying it.
After the modifications were finished, he stored the chain back into his storage ring. He leaped onto the back of the decapitated Inferno Qilin statue and jumped up to the roof of the palace.
Standing at the tallest point in the palace, Miao Yi looked at the raging flames above, then glanced back down at the Supreme Fire Palace. Evidently, he was still a little hesitant about leaving.
This place was simply too perfect for his cultivation. In these past eight months, he had refined about six hundred Orbs of Will. At this point, he was already able to refine three orbs in a single day. He only needed to refine around two thousand more. According to his estimates, he would have been able to break through to Blue Lotus Second Grade if he continued cultivating here until the end of the Subjugation Crusade, simply because his refining speed would continuously increase.
If he cultivated outside, then his refining speed would temporarily be stuck at three orbs a day. This meant that he would need to cultivate for at least another two years before he could break through to Blue Lotus Second Grade. By then, the Sea of Constellations Subjugation Crusade would be over already.
Thus, Miao Yi was truly reluctant to leave this place. Seeing as the floating palace seemed to have stabilized itself, he jumped back down from the roof and went back inside.
However, when he saw how messy the Supreme Fire Palace had become because of him, Miao Yi felt a chill run down his spine. Even if he wanted to, there was no way he could repair the wall that he destroyed. And if Supreme Yao Lord Lie Huan were to see this, he would probably use the most brutal of punishments to torment Miao Yi to death. If he didn't flee as far away as he could to throw off some suspicion, and instead chose to wait until the Subjugation Crusade ended, the chances of his escape would be drastically slim. If Miao Yi waited that long, then even if he did manage to leave in time, the Supreme Yao Lord only needed to command it and he most likely wouldn't be able to get very far before being captured.
Not to mention, the twelve flames had already been extinguished. His cultivation speed would no longer increase as fast as it did before, so when should he leave if not now?
'I'm leaving!' Miao Yi no longer hesitated. He turned around and walked off, making his way out the palace and jumping up to the rooftop. He then leaped several dozen meters up into the air and swung his arm around, launching the steel chain skyward. Ding! The chain shot across the blazing flames, coming to a stop when its sharp tip pierced through the rocky surface up above.
While still free falling, Miao Yi tugged on the other end of the steel chain and used the leverage to pull himself even higher. As he approached the flames, he quickly took out the massive head of the Inferno Qilin statue and used it to protect himself before diving straight in.
In just a short amount of time, the steel chain was already glowing red from the raging heat. Clearly, it would not be able to last long before it melted off completely.
However, this was more than enough for Miao Yi. Going up, he was undaunted by the blistering heat of the steel chain as he only needed to grab it for a brief moment to pull himself up to the hole where the other end of the chain was. Making his way to the top of the gap in the wall, he held on with a vice-like grip. There was only enough space for one hand to hold onto, and this was good enough. Strapping the head of the Inferno Qilin statue to his back, Miao Yi quickly climbed up towards the exit. In the meantime, the steel chain had completely melted off and fell back down.
Miao Yi rushed towards the fiery vortex in the center but gradually slowed his ascent as he got closer, still apprehensive towards the fire dragons. He was prepared to jump back down to the circular plate if anything were to go wrong.
In the end, the hypothesis he had painstakingly come up with after much careful consideration was proven to be true; the fire dragons no longer appeared and the violent flames continued to maintain a certain distance away from the head of the Inferno Qilin statue.
Miao Yi immediately sped up, climbing up the volcano with his body close to the wall and a shell over his back like a snail. No matter how one looked, he seemed to be behaving exactly like how a burglar would.
It turned out that the fiery vortex sealing the entrance was almost a thousand meters long. If Miao Yi hadn't experienced it for himself, he wouldn't have known how far up it went. He was completely clueless about how he managed to survive the fall in the first place.
As he climbed up, Miao Yi didn't even get the chance to see the flaming swords in the middle region of the fire array. Soon, at the edge of the fiery vortex, a crystalline Qilin head popped up along the side of the rocky wall. It looked as though an Inferno Qilin was rising from the flames.
After making his way out of the inferno, Miao Yi rapidly sped up his ascent, shortly making his way up the mouth of the volcano while lugging the head of the Qilin statue on his back. Once he was out of the volcano, Miao Yi relieved himself of the Qilin head and placed it aside. Standing on the summit of the volcano, he scanned his surroundings, excitedly taking a deep breath of fresh air. He finally managed to make it out alive.
He had been trapped in the Supreme Fire Palace for several years with no other sights to see aside from the flames that constantly surrounded the place. Now that he finally made it out, no matter how desolate the view outside was, it seemed to him like a beautiful, boundless scenery!
Miao Yi turned around, preparing to toss the Qilin head back into the volcano, but after some thought, he figured that this item was rather useful. Thinking that he might need it someday, he tucked it away into his storage bangle.
Now that he was out, he definitely wouldn't stay long in this place! Miao Yi quickly scanned his surroundings and started rapidly descending down the mountain after deciding on a path. His first priority right now was to travel as far away from this place as he could in order to avoid suspicion.
Even though Miao Yi wanted to avoid being suspected, he was unaware that the locations of the participants were constantly visible to the people in the Western Constellations Palace through the astrolabe. Fortunately for him, none of them were concerned with the status of a single white dot. Furthermore, the projection of the astrolabe was maximized to fit in the entire Western Star Sea. If one did not zoom in on his location, they wouldn't be able to pinpoint where he was. Otherwise, him avoiding suspicion would be nothing more than a pipe dream…
At the grasslands, Charcoal was lying down on top of a grassy hill, his tail swinging lazily as he napped. At the foot of the hill, there were over ten thousand dragon steeds leisurely walking around.
Suddenly, Charcoal's eyes shot open. He abruptly stood up and gazed into the distance, kicking his hooves in a restless manner as he snorted continuously.
All the other dragon steeds down below lifted their heads to look at him, wondering what was wrong with their 'king'.
"Harrumph!" Charcoal abruptly stood up and started stomping his two front hooves with excitement.
As his hooves came back down, Charcoal looked back at all his subordinates. Suddenly, he rushed down and headed straight towards the leader he had once beaten and started snorting to it before chasing it up to the hill he was previously on.
That hill that was perfect for taking naps had already become Charcoal's throne over the years. He usually never allowed any other dragon steed to use it, but now he was actually urging the former leader to go up.
As a dragon steed, Charcoal fully understood what form of communication worked best between his kind.
"Harrumph!" Facing the other dragon steeds, Charcoal raised his hooves to the sky and shouted out once more.
As soon as his hooves came back down, Charcoal immediately turned around and galloped off. Like a lone wolf crossing the grassy plains, he decisively abandoned his kinsmen and made like the wind.
The mysterious bloodline sleeping within him had already been rekindled with a new vigor, so he no longer took delight in this primitive lifestyle.
The lax everyday life of normal dragon steeds no longer suited Charcoal. He was not satisfied with lying on the grassland all day just feeling the warmth of the sun and the breeze of the wind until the day he died as his kinsmen did. He wanted to sleep under a beautiful roof once more and have an intelligent cultivator as his partner.
Living life on this grassy plain, Charcoal didn't find any value in gaining the respect of so many of his kinsmen. Instead, he yearned for the well-embellished cities where the mortals would kneel by the side of the streets and bow their heads to him as though he were a god.
Living life on this grassy plain, Charcoal no longer found sparring with his kinsmen nor battling the wild beasts here worthwhile. Instead, he wanted to be clad head to toe in armor, dashing through a vicious battlefield with transcendence energy violently clashing all around him. Those bloody warzones in his memories had always filled him with great excitement and made him feel as though he possessed unlimited strength.
The mysterious bloodline sleeping within him had already awakened, and he could no longer be satisfied with living a mundane, average life. Charcoal knew exactly what he needed to make himself even stronger. However, there were no Yao Cores available to him on this grassy plain.
He wanted to fight and compare himself against spiritual beasts even stronger than normal dragon steeds. Thinking back to when the Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beasts couldn't even catch up to him once he started running at full speed, there was a sense of exhilaration from subduing the other party that he could not find on this grassy plain. In fact, there wasn't even a single opponent here who could make Charcoal go into his berserk state.
Charcoal could sense that his partner had reappeared. The man who was also fully clad in armor like he was. The person who, when together with him, formed an unstoppable duo. Charcoal had waited a long time for him to return and now he was finally back.
Charcoal did not wish to restrict himself to this tiny island, simply because he could run faster than a Crystal-Armored Hurricane Beast!
On the other hand, his kinsmen enjoyed this boring lifestyle very much. As such, Charcoal did not hesitate in abandoning them and left like the wind. He believed there was an even greater world waiting for him out there.
"Harrumph~" All the other dragon steeds continued neighing as they watched their 'king' leave on his own. They were very confused as to why he would abandon the 'throne' that so many dragon steeds dreamed of having, and they couldn't figure out why 'their liege' chose to abandon such a comfortable lifestyle...
While running across the desolate plains, Miao Yi's hand was raised with a mutton leg in his grasp. Droplets of fat seeped through its skin and made sizzling noises as they trickled onto the ground.
Miao Yi was already far away from Skyfire Mountain, but he was still within the region. On the bright side, there was no place better to cook something. With the intense heat around him, there wasn't even any need for fire. Soon, he managed to roast a mutton leg until it was golden-brown.
It had been eight months since he last ate. After such strenuous exercise, his body was indeed feeling rather weak. Hence, he made use of the opportunity to replenish himself.
Once the mutton leg was almost thoroughly cooked, Miao Yi took out a flask of wine. With one hand, he held the mutton leg close to his mouth and bit down, and with the other, he raised his flask and chugged down the wine. It was quite a delightful feeling.
After he was done with his meal, he casually tossed away the leftovers. All the while, he maintained a constant pace towards the edge of the barren region.
Right when he made his way out of the barren region and into the desert, he suddenly heard the sound of beating hooves from afar. His nerves instantly tensed as he quickly turned his head to see a dragon steed charging towards him from the left.
Miao Yi immediately rubbed his palms together. He just so happened to be in need of a mount. He never thought one would just show up at his doorstep like this. He must capture it!
However, when he looked closely at the dragon steed's face, he was utterly shocked by the familiar visage. He muttered to himself, "Is that… Charcoal?"
Who else could it be besides Charcoal?! Charcoal ran over to Miao Yi's side, raised his hooves and started crying out. Then, as he lay on the ground beside him and started rolling around, Miao Yi could feel his eyes glistening.
Miao Yi never expected that Charcoal would still be alive after so many years and that he could actually cross the vast, treacherous ocean just to find this place. Most importantly, he never thought that Charcoal would refuse to give up on him after so many years.
Miao Yi looked on at Charcoal's heavily-scarred body in astonishment. He could tell from a single glance how much danger he must have gone through to reach this place.
"Damn fatso, get up!" Miao Yi kicked at his rump.
Charcoal slowly stood back up. Miao Yi then leaped on top of him, stroking his mane as he laughed aloud, "Damn fatso! We're both still alive! We'll definitely make it back in one piece too! Let's go!"
"Harrumph!" To show his own excitement, Charcoal raised his hooves and cried out as well. The two then shot forward like an arrow.