One of the master teachers tried to pass through the light barrier as he had done before, but as if ramming into a wall of concrete steel, he was knocked back by a powerful might.

"This…" The eyes of the master teacher narrowed in disbelief. "How are we to leave now?"

He wasn't the only who reacted in such a manner. There were also several other master teachers who rushed up to the seal to try it too, and upon realizing that they were unable to pass through it as well, their faces paled in horror.

Passing through the seven-colored light barrier from before had been extremely easy for them. It was just like diving into water, not impeding them at all. However, the current white, misty barrier before them was like a thick block of steel in their path; no matter how they rammed at it, it just wouldn't budge.

In other words, they were completely trapped! If they couldn't find the way to advance into the ancient domain, they would be trapped there with the lava until the next opening of the seal, provided they could survive till then.

"No wonder you told us that we might face great peril in the expedition, the ancient domain is indeed fearsome," one of the master teachers muttered to himself.

Before they joined the expedition, Wu shi and the others had repeatedly warned them that great peril lay in the expedition of the ancient domain, and they could very well meet their death there. Back then, they had thought that it was just an exaggeration, and they had not thought much of it.

In the end, before they had even entered the ancient domain, they had already found themselves helplessly lost. If that was the case, it was difficult to imagine the sheer extent of danger they would face in the ancient domain.

Guild Leader Han shook his head and said, "I said earlier that the seal would close within fifteen minutes. It is impossible to open it once more. The only choice we have now is to trudge forward!

"It is pointless to dwell on this matter anymore. All of us joined this expedition knowing that we would face such dangerous situations. At this point, the only thing we can do is find the entrance to the ancient domain."

"Un." The crowd nodded.

Having been warned of the dangers of participating in the expedition, most of the expedition members had already prepared in case something unfortunate befell them in the midst of exploring the ancient domain. Since it was already impossible for them to back out at this point, they could only muster their courage and advance forward.

Understanding the same logic, Zhang Xuan turned his gaze back to the lava. At the same time, he forged a remote communication with the Myriad Anthive Queen.

Before long, the Myriad Anthive Queen replied, "Master, there is no folded space in the area. Even if there is one, it is most likely beneath the lava, where I am unable to sense it."

"There is no folded space in the area?" Zhang Xuan's expression turned stern.

Could it be that the entrance to the ancient domain really lay beneath the lava?

But even Wu shi was unable to venture too far down, let alone them!

It was only the entrance of the ancient domain they were at, surely it wasn't designed to be so difficult?

If that was truly the case, how did the old principal and his team managed to enter the ancient domain back then?

It is a pity that I failed to obtain the map from the Poison Hall, or else we wouldn't be in such a helpless position now. Zhang Xuan shook his head helplessly.

If he had managed to obtain the map, he would have been able to find the route in easily. He wouldn't have been in such a difficult position at the moment.

Forget it, there is no point brooding over it now. I should try to use the Library of Heaven's Path and see if I can find anything instead. Tossing away those negative thoughts in his mind, Zhang Xuan descended toward the lava.

As the lava was a non-living object, it couldn't possibly utilize battle techniques or that sort. Thus, the only way to make the Library of Heaven's Path compile a book on it was through touch.

Seeing Zhang Xuan flying toward the lava, Mu shi couldn't help but exclaim in shock, "Senior Uncle, what are you doing?"

Knowing that he couldn't reveal the matter regarding the Library of Heaven's Path, Zhang Xuan waved his hand and said, "I am just taking a closer look at the lava."

A moment later, he was standing right above the lava. An intense wave of heat assaulted him, penetrating through his skin to sear even his bones, seemingly intent on reducing him to a crisp.

Scorching! Zhang Xuan's eyes narrowed in astonishment.

It was no wonder Wu shi was only able to venture forty meters in. The temperature in the area was far more frightening than he could have imagined. Even if he were to exert his full strength, thirty meters would probably be his limit.

Driving his Heaven's Path zhenqi, Zhang Xuan expelled the heat out of his body before extending his hand toward the lava.

Flaws! Zhang Xuan willed.


A book materialized in the Library of Heaven's Path.

"This lava is made out of rocks melted under the heat of the earth flames. It harnesses great heat within. It is made out of Bluedark Rock, Granite, Lapis, and many other minerals. Once solidified, it is an ideal material to construct a house…"

Upon reading the description in the book, Zhang Xuan staggered and nearly fell to the ground.

Construct a house… Construct your head!

That is not what I want to know, alright?

As stifled as Zhang Xuan felt within, it was somewhat within his expectations. The Library of Heaven's Path could only analyze the very item that he was touching at that instant and reveal its details.

This was similar to the many times he had attempted to collect multiple books into the Library of Heaven's Path simultaneously through touching the bookshelves, only to receive information on the material of the bookshelf instead.

Similarly, touching the lava only reflected the unique properties of the lava and not the flaws of the entire volcano.

In other words, the seemingly omnipotent Library of Heaven's Path was useless in this situation.

What could he do?

Rubbing his glabella in frustration, Zhang Xuan had no choice but to return to the others.

Seeing that even the miracle-producing Principal Zhang had been forced to retreat helplessly from the lava, disappointment surfaced in the eyes of Guild Leader Han. Sighing deeply, he instructed, "If it comes down to it, we will just have to allocate a region to each person and explore the lava pool bit by bit. Since the seal can be opened, I figure that the ancient domain shouldn't be located too deep into the lava. As long as we work together, we should be able to find some clues about the ancient domain's location!"

"Explore the lava pool bit by bit?" With grave expressions, the crowd nodded.

This was the only measure they could take at the moment.

Since there was no formation or anything hidden above the lava, there was a very good chance that the ancient domain was hidden beneath the lava. With no other alternatives at that moment, they could only comb the lava inch by inch, praying that they would find something soon.

"If… the ancient domain is located beyond forty meters beneath the surface of the lava, what should we do?" the head of Luoqing Master Teacher Academy, Shen Pingchao, asked with a deep frown.

Upon hearing those words, the crowd couldn't help nod in agreement as well.

Since even Wu shi was only able to reach forty meters deep, there was no way they could go beyond that. It would be great if they could find the ancient domain within the top forty meters of the lava, but if it was located beneath that point, there was no way they would be able to find it!

At this point, Luo Ruoxin spoke up as well. "Combing the area isn't a feasible solution."

Guild Leader Han turned to Luo Ruoxin and asked, "Oh? Does Luo shi have a suggestion to offer?"

"Just as the others have said, if the ancient domain is located more than forty meters beneath the surface of the lava, there is no way we will be able to find it. Furthermore, considering the sheer scale of the lava vent and how there are only thirty of us here, how long do you think it will take us to finish combing the area?" Luo Ruoxin said with a frown.

"This…" Guild Leader Han was stumped.

While most of the expedition members did possess Spiritual Perception, Wu shi had said earlier that its range of effectiveness would gradually be compressed the further one delved into the lava.

Furthermore, they would be unable to stay within the lava for extended periods of time. At this rate, they would probably run out of zhenqi and succumb to the heat before they were able to find the ancient domain.

"What should we do then?" one of the master teachers asked.

"I am not too sure either. However, since the master of the ancient domain left a Life Gate in the seal for others to enter, there is bound to be a route that we can take; it is just that we haven't thought of it yet. As the saying goes, the sharpening of the axe is the key to woodcutting. Instead of fumbling around, it would be better for us to first identify our goal before making a move. That should heighten our chances of success," Luo Ruoxin said.

The crowd nodded in agreement.

She was right. Spreading their net thin in hopes of striking lucky was a luxury they couldn't afford.

The circumstances they were in were simply too poor. Persisting for an hour, two hours, or ten hours was still doable for them. However, beyond a day, the fire poison would probably start to set in. Two days, and they would already be too feeble from the constant assault of the heat to search the area, and it wouldn't be too long before they were reduced to dried meat.

"Indeed. We have to first have a concrete idea in mind before carrying it out." Zhang Xuan nodded as he turned his gaze back to the lava once more.

The volcano vent was circular in shape, and at irregular intervals, a powerful spurt of lava would burst forth and strike the seal above them, creating a deafening explosion.

It was fortunate that they had released the energies accumulated in the seal before, or else there was no doubt that the powerful spurt of lava would have induced a huge explosion within here.

A thought suddenly surfaced in Zhang Xuan's head. Could the key be related to… the strength of these lava spurts?

He was certain that the old principal and You Xu didn't have to go through so much effort to enter the ancient domain. Based on You Xu's testimony, the group back then had encountered an energy storm as soon as they stepped through the light barrier, and it was then that You Xu had been swept into an unknown area and met with the Otherworldly Demons.

Energy storm… In other words, when they first entered, the seal was permeated with an overwhelmingly powerful force.

Could the 'energy storm' have been referring to the energies released during the opening of the seal?

If that was the case, it would mean that, while his earlier release of the energies had made the insides of the seal significantly safer, it had also effectively terminated their route to the entrance of the ancient domain.

Wait, if that is the case… does it mean that the area where the energies would have burst forth from during the opening of the seal is the area where the entrance of the ancient domain is located?

If You Xu wasn't lying, that could very well be the case.

With such thoughts in mind, Zhang Xuan hurriedly turned his gaze toward the lava to examine it closely.

Coincidentally, a burst of energy surged forth from the lava at this moment. It came into contact with the area where his formation flag was planted previously, and it disappeared without a trace.

The point where he had planted the flag was where the greatest opening of the seal was located, and it prevented any energies from building up within the seal. As a result, the lava was relatively calmer, such that he had even forgotten about this matter himself.

I should give it a try! Zhang Xuan nodded in resolution.

Regardless of whether his conclusion was correct or not, the only way he could know for sure was to test it out personally. And honestly speaking, he couldn't think of anything else other than that.

The Library of Heaven's Path doesn't work on the lava, so the only way I can really check on it is to venture in. Wu shi is still in the midst of recuperating from his previous exertion, so I can only do it personally!

Zhang Xuan flicked his wrist, and a huge cauldron appeared before him.

The Golden Origin Cauldron!

With the previous breakthrough, that fellow had already become a Saint intermediate-tier artifact, granting it strength on par with Saint 4-dan pinnacle experts. While its fighting prowess might pale in comparison to veteran experts like Wu shi, in terms of resistance to heat, the latter definitely came nowhere close to matching it.

The abrupt action from Zhang Xuan drew gazes from the crowd to him. Upon taking a look, they couldn't help but freeze in astonishment.

"The Golden Origin Cauldron… has become a Saint intermediate-tier artifact?"

Most of them were aware of the existence of the famed Guardian Saint Artifact of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, but according to what they knew, it should only have been a Saint low-tier artifact. When did it advance to intermediate-tier?

There might only be a minor tier difference between low-tier and intermediate-tier, but the power disparity between the two was immense, as if the gap between heaven and earth.

"A blacksmith student whom Master took in on a whim yesterday night helped reforge my magnificent body, and in the midst of doing so, I advanced to intermediate-tier. What? Are you all envious?"

Seeing the shocked gazes directed toward it, the Golden Origin Cauldron burst into hearty laughter, and with blatant glee in its voice, it continued boasting.

"There is really no need for you all to envy me. It is only due to my outstanding talent that I am able to achieve breakthroughs so easily. The likes of you can't possibly hope to emulate my greatness."The saying means that it is important to prepare ahead of the action. Even the sharpening of the axe is a crucial part of woodcutting itself.



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