Library of Heaven is Path
1029 The Fearsome Lava 1
Turning his gaze over, he saw Luo Ruoxin's face flushed crimson, seemingly ready to explode at any moment.
While others were thinking about how they should find the entrance to the ancient domain, that fellow was assessing her from head to toe. With a look, it was apparent that he was thinking of nothing good!
"Cough cough!" Not expecting that the other party would catch him contemplating over an issue as serious as that, Zhang Xuan choked on his saliva. Posturing himself upright, he replied with a dignified tone, "I was just thinking that our line of thought might have been wrong in the start. Considering how large the lava pool is, I don't think that we are meant to search every inch of it. So, I have been thinking that it might be a trial from the master of the ancient domain instead."
"A trial?" Realizing that she had misunderstood Zhang Xuan when he was contemplating over such serious issues, Luo Ruoxin couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed.
Standing in midair, Zhang Xuan glanced at the lava pool before him and gestured grandly. "If the master of the ancient domain didn't intend for anyone to enter the land he had created, he wouldn't have constructed his formation so that it opened up once in a while, allowing others to enter. Since he has done so, I think that could be taken as a sign that the ancient domain is something that he intended to leave for the later generations, and the lava is most likely the first trial that those who seek the ancient domain have to undergo. Only those who manage to clear this trial will be able to advance further in."
"This…" Luo Ruoxin pondered over Zhang Xuan's words for a moment before nodding in agreement.
Zhang Xuan's words made perfect sense. A formation master who could create such a powerful seal couldn't have possibly made the grave mistake of having the seal open every now and then. In other words, it was likely that the opening of the seal was an effect that the master of the ancient domain had intended right from the start.
Luo Ruoxin turned to Zhang Xuan and asked, "Then… are you able to deduce the intention behind this pool of lava? That will likely be the key that leads us to the true entrance of the ancient domain."
"I am still in the midst of figuring that out," Zhang Xuan replied calmly as he secretly heaved a sigh of relief within.
It was fortunate that he had reacted swiftly. Otherwise, if the other party were to learn of his thoughts, she might very well have strangled him to death on the spot.
Forget it, I should put those thoughts aside for the moment. Shaking his head, Zhang Xuan tossed aside the miscellaneous thoughts in his mind and began assessing the situation before him.
The lava beneath flurried furiously, reminiscent of boiling water. Even without approaching it, one could still vividly feel the intolerable heat that it emitted, seemingly attempting to roast one alive.
Activating the Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan began studying the area carefully.
Unfortunately, the vent of the volcano was filled with a thick layer of smoke puffing up, similar to that of a sauna room filled with steam, making it difficult for one to see through it.
After scanning the area, Zhang Xuan found no trace of any formation at all. In fact, even the flow of spiritual energy was indistinct to him here.
Could the ancient domain be within a folded space? Frowning, Zhang Xuan was just about to communicate with the Myriad Anthive Queen to have the latter search the area when he suddenly heard a voice.
"This doesn't seem to be ordinary lava…"
Turning his gaze toward the source of the voice, Zhang Xuan saw Wu shi and Guild Leader Han standing side by side. At this moment, the latter had an astonished look on his face, as if he had noticed something bewildering.
The others in the area had also noticed the anomaly with Guild Leader Han, and they turned perplexed looks toward him as well.
"Take a look!"
As he said those words, Guild Leader Han flicked his wrist, and a Spirit intermediate-tier weapon appeared in his grasp. With a swing of his arm, the weapon flew straight toward the lava.
As soon as the weapon came into contact with the lava, a sizzling sound immediately echoed loudly in the air. Within just a few moments, it had already been reduced to liquid, disappearing completely from sight.
"The lava… is able to melt even a Spirit intermediate-tier weapon?" Everyone was petrified by what they had just seen.
While they knew that venturing into the searing lava would be dangerous, they had thought that they would at least be able to last for a decent period of time without sustaining any damage with their Saint realm cultivation. However, upon seeing this sight, they realized that they had been severely underestimating the dangers of the lava!
The head of the Yunxu Master Teacher Academy, Wo Tianqiong, hesitated for a brief moment before exclaiming in astonishment, "That is… Earth Core Lava!"
"Earth Core Lava?"
The term was foreign to the crowd, so they directed questioning gazes toward Wo Tianqiong, gesturing for him to continue on.
"I have read books on volcanoes in the past, and it is stated that the temperature of lava grows higher and higher the deeper one goes. Of them, the lava that boasts the greatest heat is the Earth Core Lava. With just a single drip, it can melt Spirit-tier artifacts and even Saint-tier artifacts! While the one before us doesn't harness as much heat as that, it is clear that the heat it possesses is far beyond that of ordinary lava. Most likely, what lies on the other side of the lava pool isn't the ancient domain but an earth core!" Wo Tianqiong analyzed.
"This…" The crowd frowned.
"Regardless of whether that is true or not, we will know once we take a look!" Wu shi said. "You all wait here for a moment; I will head down to take a look."
"Given how hot the lava at the surface is, the heat you will have to face beneath is bound to be even more frightening. Will you be fine?" Guild Leader Han asked worriedly.
"I ran a rough calculation earlier, and with my current cultivation, I should be able to venture around a hundred meters in. Don't worry, I will rush out the moment I sense any danger." Wu shi nodded grimly. "We will be stuck here if we don't try to do anything. At this rate, it is just a matter of time before we succumb as well."
While they were flying above the vent, placing them some distance away from the lava, the heat that they had to endure was still considerable due to the seal above them locking the heat in. For the time being, they were still able to endure it through their zhenqi, but it would only be a matter of time before they ran out of zhenqi and succumbed to the heat.
"You're right. Be careful then…" Knowing that Wu shi was right, Guild Leader Han hesitated for a moment before nodding.
"Un, I will be fine," Wu shi replied with a smile.
The next moment, his face suddenly turned grim as he drove the zhenqi in his body furiously. An incredible aura burst forth, and it warped into the form of a majestic dragon. Then, his figure abruptly dashed downward, heading toward the lava.
Parting the lava beneath him with forceful might, Wu shi dived in.
"Ah…" Zhang Xuan hadn't expected Wu shi to move so quickly. He had intended to persuade the latter against it, given the unknown dangers that could have been lurking beneath the lava, but he had been a little too slow.
After a moment of hesitation, he decided to swallow his words. Perhaps, this might be for the best. He still hadn't made sense out of the situation yet, and perhaps Wu shi might be able to uncover new clues for them.
It took only an instant for the lava to fill the opening that Wu shi had made earlier. Nevertheless, the bubbles that surfaced continuously indicated that there was someone moving beneath the surface.
Seeing the sight below, a combat master couldn't help but ask worriedly, "Will he be fine?"
"On top of being a Saint 4-dan expert, Wu shi is also a capable master teacher who possesses many means. Even if he meets with danger, it shouldn't be too difficult for him to flee back up," Guild Leader Han replied after a moment of hesitation.
To reassure the others, his words were confident. However, he was still unable to fully conceal the worry in his eyes.
Clearly, even he had no way of saying for sure whether Wu shi would be fine or not.
"Don't worry, Wu shi might not be strongest cultivator of our Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion, but he is definitely the one who wields the most life preservation means. This is also why our Master Teacher Pavilion decided to dispatch him for this expedition," Mu shi said with a smile.
"Life preservation means?" Everyone was bewildered.
"Indeed. Wu shi cultivates a unique movement technique known as the 'Star Weaving Steps'. Through it, he can move at speeds comparable to even Saint 5-dan Leaving Aperture realm experts. While it does deplete his zhenqi swiftly, there is no doubt that it is an invaluable asset in times of danger!
"As searing as the lava beneath is, with Wu shi's strength and means, escaping safely shouldn't be a problem for him. Besides, since the master of the ancient domain has left a Life Gate on the seal for us to enter, it doesn't make sense for him to try to kill us right afterwards."
The eyes of the crowd lit up in realization, and they heaved a sigh of relief.
Indeed! If even a 7-star pinnacle master teacher would be scorched to death right after entering the lava, wasn't this ancient domain a little too difficult?
If that was the case, how could You Xu have gotten out alive?
Besides, there was no reason for the elder who had created the ancient domain to design it in such a manner if he was just trying to kill them.
Zhang Xuan nodded in agreement.
The other party's thoughts were similar to his.
Since the master of the ancient domain had left a visible opening to the ancient domain, it was clear that they intended for others to enter it. The trials were dangerous and difficult to clear, but there would definitely be a solution.
Around eight minutes later, just when everyone was starting to panic, a loud explosion sounded from the lava, and a figure darted back up.
"Wu shi…" The crowd hurriedly turned their gazes over, and upon seeing what was before them, their eyebrows leaped up in astonishment.
Wu shi was in a completely different state compared to before he entered the lava. The clothes on his body had disintegrated, leaving him stark naked. If not for the massive dragon he had formed using his zhenqi that was concealing various parts of his body, he might have just died of embarrassment on the spot.
However, his clothes being reduced to ash was just the least of the worries. More importantly, his face was completely pale, and he was panting heavily, as if he had just fled from something extremely fearsome.
There were even some portions of his skin that were charred black, creating a particularly gruesome sight.
Guild Leader Han hurried forward and asked, "What happened?"
On the other hand, Wu shi swiftly swallowed a pill to recuperate his zhenqi before putting on another set of clothes from his storage ring.
"The temperature within the lava is higher than I thought," Wu shi explained with a bitter smile. "I swiftly ventured downward as soon as I entered. I thought that with my stamina and zhenqi, reaching the hundred-meter mark wouldn't be an issue for me. However… the temperature increased faster than I thought it would. By the time I reached the thirty-meter mark, I could already feel myself approaching my limit. The rate at which my zhenqi was depleting from fending away the lava was already double the rate when I was at the surface!
"With great difficulty, I managed to reach the forty-meter mark. However, by then, my zhenqi had already depleted by half. Knowing that it would be difficult for me to return if I were to venture any deeper, I decided to turn around at that point and rush back. Nevertheless, I still nearly depleted my zhenqi and died inside!"
"Even you were only able to reach the forty-meter mark?" Wo Tianqiong was astonished.
Wu shi's strength was the greatest of them all, and yet, he had only been able to venture forty meters deep into the lava. Through this, it wasn't too difficult to imagine how fearsome the lava was.
"Did you notice anything?" Guild Leader Han probed.
Wu shi shook his head. "It is nothing but lava below; I wasn't able to see anything at all. Furthermore, there was a powerful pressure crushing down on me below, limiting my Spiritual Perception to only ten meters. Anything more than that is beyond my means. I tried to peer downward when I was at the forty-meter mark, and based on what I saw, it seemed like there was still a very long distance before reaching the end of the lava."
"Your Spiritual Perception can only extend to ten meters?"
"There is still a long distance before reaching the end?"
The faces of the crowd warped in horror.
Wu shi was the one who possessed the strongest cultivation in the expedition team, and even Guild Leader Han wouldn't be a match for him.
Yet, an expert of his caliber could only extend his Spiritual Perception ten meters into the lava. Just how long would it take for them to scan the enormous volcano that had a diameter of ten kilometers?
Furthermore, if the entrance of the ancient domain was truly located within the lava… would they really be able to enter it?
"Indeed. When I was at the surface, my Spiritual Perception could still extend several hundred meters away. However, the deeper I went, the greater the constraint on my Spiritual Perception. Eventually, when I reached my limit, forty meters deep, I could only extend it ten meters." Wu shi shook his head.
"If you could only persist for forty meters, and there was still a long distance to go before reaching the other side… how are we going to find the entrance to the ancient domain like that?"
The crowd glanced at one another with helpless looks on their faces.
After waiting for the opening of the seal for so long, were they going to be stuck right before the entrance, unable to do a thing at all?
Just as everyone was overwhelmed with despair from being unable to venture any further, someone among the crowd suddenly shouted, "Sh*t, the opening to the seal has closed up, too!"
Everyone hurriedly turned around to take a look, only to see that the light barrier had reverted back to its initial white color. The seven-colored bridge from a moment ago had also vanished from sight, as if signifying the complete closure of the seal.