Chapter 430 - Hellfire Pagoda Cannon
The sneak attacks he’d been expecting did not happen.
When Ai Hui and gang reached the deepest part of the cave they finally caught sight of the two surviving scarletfire flying foxes. They were already at their last breaths and were severely injured. Flying into their cave had exhausted their last bit of energy.
This land was probably the bat community’s place for activities and rest. The cave was shaped like a copper bell, narrow on the top and wide at the bottom, its height not exceeding sixty meters. A vague, dark red glow could be seen through the cracks on the black, rugged cliff. The fire elemental energy within the cave was plentiful, no surprise why the scarletfire flying foxes chose to reproduce and inhabit this place.
The cave was absolutely empty. save for a huge pile of ash-colored skeletons in a corner, covered in dust and spiderwebs.
The last two scarletfire flying foxes were killed by Ai Hui and everyone finally let their tensed hearts down. Ai Hui called them over to flip the mountain of skeletons.
Lifting the dust-filled skeleton mountain, they noticed that most of the bones belonged to the scarletfire flying foxes. The scarletfire flying foxes’ bones were easy to recognize since their bodies were very small. Ai Hui recalled how some wild beasts that were about to die would select a certain spot to await death.
Judging from the luster on some of the bones, it could be concluded that the scarletfire flying foxes had been residing in this cave for many years.
Suddenly, Ai Hui’s eyes lit up. He found a dark red pearl among the pile of bones. The pearl was about the size of an egg and was warm to the touch. He wiped off the dust on the surface and the pearl’s dark red color reflected in his eyes.
"Fire elemental elixir!"
Ai Hui was indescribably shocked. He’d used elemental elixirs before and could tell from one glance that the dark red pearl he was holding onto was indeed an elemental elixir.
Ai Hui rejoiced. They were right to come here! He was also glad that these bunch of scarletfire flying foxes had yet to formulate their own elixirs or else they situation would’ve been much more precarious.
If he were to say that level of Master was the dividing line between a powerful elementalist and an ordinary elementalist, the possession of an elemental elixir was the dividing line between a powerful dire beast and an ordinary dire beast.
Dire beasts that could produce elemental elixirs possessed many mystical qualities. They were much more dangerous and clever.
An elemental elixir was extraordinarily expensive, so upon seeing it the gang’s faces lit up in joy and they started searching around. Shortly, someone found another elemental elixir from within the pile.
In fear of missing out, everyone searched long and carefully, such that their bone picking movements became much more nimble.
Bones of scarletfire flying foxes that died from old age were known as flaming bones, a decent fire elemental ingredient. When a scarletfire flying fox reached the end of its lifespan, the scarletfire within its fire sacks would be at its strongest. As it inched closer to death the fire would surge out from the sack and burn its flesh and fur, eventually leaving only a complete set of skeletons. Having gone through the scarletfire’s burning and tempering, the quality of the bones increased drastically, hence the name "flaming bones".
But because the scarletfire flying foxes’ bones weren’t robust, they were only considered to be of a decent quality even after the upgrade.
At the end of their search, Ai Hui and gang picked five fire elemental elixirs out.
Their faces were brimming with joy. Fire elemental elixirs were good stuff. If they were to sell them, each elixir would fetch a sky-high price. Many would be willing to purchase them at five thousand heaven merit points each. But Ai Hui had no plans to sell them because what was the point of having money at this moment? The priority should be to improve their abilities, since without skills they wouldn’t be able to survive.
This victory had come after a fierce battle process and involved much luck. Any slight incautiousness would’ve caused the whole of Central Pine Valley to fall into eternal damnation.
Scarletfire flying foxes weren’t the most powerful dire beasts around. The rockback earth dragon was even stronger and harder to deal with.
Passing Lou Lan the five fire elemental elixirs would provide a huge boost to the fire elementalists in the team, allowing them to enter a higher realm.
Suddenly, Ai Hui noticed a section of thick and solid bone and picked it up after a short pause. The bone was exceptionally robust and heavy, with the thickness of a bowl’s mouth and the length about a meter and a half. The two ends were of an irregular, round shape, probably the leg bone of a certain dire beast.
The bone was spotlessly white and very beautiful. Ai Hui knocked it and heard a metallic sound, which revealed its solidness. What surprised Ai Hui was the fact that a few chops from his Wintry Jade Blade left no scars on the bone. It was still surprising, even though he did not channel any elemental energy into his hits.
Plus, it was really strange to find a bone, not belonging to a bat, among the pile of flying foxes’ bones.
Ai Hui said to the rest, "Find more bones of this type."
Everyone, too, noticed that the bone Ai Hui was holding was special. They dispersed in search of similar bones and ended up with four of them in different sizes. The biggest one had been found by Ai Hui and the smallest one was only half a foot long and was thin as chopsticks.
If not for the identical color and aura, Ai Hui wouldn’t be certain that these four bones came from the same species of dire beast. What kind of dire beast would have such strange looking bones?
He couldn’t tell what was special about these bones and would have to hand them over to Blind He for analysis when he returned. In the past, he had thought that he was half an expert when it came to dire beasts, but after seeing what Blind He could do, he realized he was lagging far behind.
Keeping the bones that belonged to an unknown beast and packing numerous flaming bones, Ai Hui and gang made their way back.
Ai Hui was being cautious as usual. He’d already found their first goal, which was to rule Blackfish Mouth Volcano and dominate it!
The battle that occurred not long ago made Blackfish Mouth Volcano appear tranquil, which was a rare sight. Ai Hui and gang did not bump into any trouble on their return journey.
The dire beasts, including other rockback earth dragons, were already aware that their neighbors weren’t weaklings. But the naturally antagonistic relationship between dire beasts and elementalists would not see any changes just because of the destruction of the scarletfire flying foxes.
Ai Hui and gang arrived safely at the valley, allowing everyone to finally let out a breath of relief.
Their harvest pleased everyone further, especially the fire elementalists, who were filled with anticipation.
Ai Hui’d wanted to ask Blind He to analyze the four pieces of bones, but seeing that he was busy forging parts that he needed, Ai Hui chose not to disturb him.
Central Pine Valley could finally take a breather, but no one dared to slack off at all.
Their battle with the scarletfire flying foxes consumed a lot of their water and wood elemental energy. Although it was a single attack, Shi Xueman and Duanmu Huanghun had mobilized the maximum amount of elemental energy possible.
And the five elemental energies within the valley had been in equilibrium, causing the elemental energy concentration to reach a trough these past few days. Ai Hui estimated that the valley would need three days of replenishment to restore its energy concentration’s usual state of equilibrium.
It was as if they were expecting a mortal enemy for three days, and if nothing cropped up, the valley’s defense would finally be restored.
Another good piece of news was that the parts Ai Hui needed were ready.
Upon hearing that Ai Hui wanted to fix up something new, everybody abandoned what they were doing and ran over to join the buzz.
Clanking sounds could be heard as Ai Hui was hard at work.
He’d piled the parts up not far away. They were all items forged by Blind He, and quality wise there was nothing much for Ai Hui to complain about.
Ai Hui had long been used to being watched and so his actions weren’t the least affected.
First, he chiseled a fire well mouth, the red lava shining upon his face, making it appear bright red in color. His eyes were so focused, as if there were flames burning within. He then started to put the parts together in a swift manner, as if he’d long visualized how the final product would look like.
As the parts came together slowly, everybody finally saw some development.
It was actually a pagoda!
Following the capping of the roof, a black pagoda appeared before their eyes. It was about ten meters tall and had three stories. Its entire body was forged from a mix of volcanic rock and metal.
At the tower peak was a stem of round tube which everyone found familiar looking.
Wasn’t that the long, spraying snout that belonged to the lava-spitting beast?
The long snout on the top of the pagoda changed angle constantly and was very nimble.
Ai Hui had a satisfied look on his face. Clapping his hands he declared, "Finished!"
The audience, who’d long felt impatient, started crowding over and discussing.
"The long snout that belonged to the lava-spitting beast!"
AI Hui was pleased. He cleared his throat gently and answered earnestly, "This is a Hellfire Pagoda Cannon!"
"So it spits lava like the lava-spitting beast?"
Ai Hui quietened the crowd. "We’ll do a demonstration now so you guys will see for yourselves."
Everyone became silent and looked on in anticipation.
Fatty was called over since the Hellfire Pagoda Cannon required a fire elementalist to control it. Fatty went inside the spacious tower, where each level was over three meters tall. Getting inside was effortless despite his bigger size.
The black pagoda cannon turned red rapidly like burning steel. A wave of heat surfaced instantly and spread to its surroundings.
The others moved away.
Suddenly, a bright earth fire rose up the six pillars in spirals before entering the eaves of the first storey. Shortly after, flames surge up the pillars on the second storey. The flames were brighter than before, appearing whitish.
This scene seemed quite familiar as well.
Someone shouted, "White Cluster Flames!"
It was no wonder everyone felt that this sight was familiar. Wasn’t this the smelting furnace Ai Hui’d made for Blind He? Their eyes fell subconsciously onto Blind He. He was floating in mid air, looking unconcerned.
They quickly noticed that the Hellfire Pagoda Cannon was more powerful that the furnace since the earth fire had undergone three amassments. The flames got increasingly white with each level and everyone could feel the terrifying power the flames contained.
When the flames gathered at the third layer they were snow-white and actually seemed cold. But everyone was aware that they were in fact unbelievably hot.
Blind He appeared extremely calm, but his heart was actually greatly stirred.
The White Cluster Flames seemed to be a genius’s invention. He’d not expected Ai Hui to give him an even bigger surprise so quickly. The appearance of this layered cluster meant that the flames could be upgraded again. To him, this was beyond ingenious.
After three levels of amassments, the aura released by the white flames made Blind He palpitate. As a weaponsmith, he was exceptionally sensitive to the auras of flames. Just from smelling the emitted aura he knew that the white flames, having gone through three layers of amassments, were no longer endurable by ordinary materials.
Ordinary ingredients would instantly be destroyed under such powerful flames.
If a three layered amassment produced such good results, what would six layers do? What about nine?
A whole new world seemed to be opening its door for him with a loud bang.