Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“No matter where we are—whether the Dongzhuo Continent or the Western He Continent—the strong demand reverence. Now that Brother Shi has already achieved Earth-rank status, this lowly one should refer to you as his Senior,” Yu Yi spoke grimly with a solemn expression.
“C’mon, there’s no need for that. ‘Senior’ this, ‘junior’ that… It just sounds awkward to me. I’d prefer we call each other the same way we always have,” Shi Mu replied while waving his hand in dismissal.
Yu Yi was stunned by his words but said nothing.
“Well, I’m off now,” Shi Mu announced, gesturing with his hand to summon a long green shuttle.
“Brother Shi, please let me accompany you. This lowly one here may not be powerful enough to rival you in rank, but he is still capable of facing some low-ranking demon beasts,” Yu Yi was quick to offer.
“Nah, it’s fine. Didn’t you hear Master Gong Xi? Fire Miasma Mountains is quite a perilous place. I’d rather Brother Yu remains in the city,” Shi Mu replied as he vaulted into the shuttle.
A flash of red suddenly darted across the air before perching abruptly on his shoulder—it was Cai. Nobody knew where the bird had been hiding all this time.
Shi Mu waved at Yu Yi wordlessly, then a bright radiance shone out from the shuttle before it sped toward the gate of Red Flame City in a bolt of green light.
Yu Yi watched the light fading from his sight and sighed. Quietly he turned and walked off into the distance.
It took only fifteen minutes for Shi Mu to leave the gate of Red Flame City. In a bright green flash, his long flying shuttle entered Hundred-Thousand Volcanoes territory.
The atmosphere suddenly turned blazing hot as tides of searing heatwaves washed over his face. The pungent stench of volcanic sulfur perforated the air. It was as if Shi Mu had thrown himself into a burning furnace.
Shi Mu furrowed his brows. He could handle the heatwaves well enough, but he didn’t think Cai could endure it.
A red shimmer emanated from his body before it formed a bright protective barrier.
“Don’t worry, I can still take this heat,” Cai said after seeing Shi Mu’s expression.
“Good point. You did consume quite a bunch of Fire-attribute Spirit Stones, so the heat won’t bother you that much,” Shi Mu nodded in agreement as he replied, yet he did not retract his protective barrier either.
He scanned the surroundings. Back when he had reunited with Yu Yi, he was only at the outskirts of the Hundred-Thousand Volcanoes. This would be the first time he ever set foot in the deeper parts of the region.
All of a sudden, there came a loud boom!
Not far from where he stood, one of the mountain peaks suddenly spat out a string of crimson lava. It soared into the sky and fanned out into all directions before coming back down like heavy rain.
His heart throbbing, Shi Mu immediately ducked. With a quick spin, he escaped the lava rain’s impact zone.
He had not even exhaled a breath of relief before Cai’s voice abruptly erupted, “Shi Tou, on your left!”
The bird had barely finished its words before an orb of sinister red light shimmered from within a puff of grey smog next to Shi Mu. In a split second, the red blur hurled itself at Shi Mu’s ankle. It was a crimson leopard about two square feet long, red wings spreading out of its back.
Shi Mu sneered and snapped his finger. A golden sword immediately hurtled out and rendered the crimson leopard neatly into two halves—which proceeded to plummet down below after the body parts contorted briefly in midair.
“A Crimson Ring Leopard…” Shi Mu muttered, his eyes glinting.
This leopard-like beast was a fire-attribute demon beast commonly found dwelling in the Hundred-Thousand Volcanoes.
“Danger lurks everywhere here, Cai. Keep your eyes peeled,” Shi Mu said in a low voice. A shroud of green light flashed from his body, and Shi Mu’s pace greatly quickened.
As he continued his journey into the deepest reach of the volcanoes, the number of threats he encountered increased. He was bombarded by all kinds of demon beasts and baneful bugs while making his way.
Fortunately, with his current powers, none of these pests were an actual threat to him. With just a wave, every single one of them would perish in an instant.
For half a day, Shi Mu ventured closer and closer to the innermost region of the Hundred-Thousand Volcanoes. As the number of eruptions multiplied, so did the heat rise.
The pesky common demon beasts that had plagued his journey so far now became a minority, while Xian Tian level demon beasts began to make their appearance.
As Shi Mu flew over a volcano, a scarlet demonic bird with a body several yards long suddenly snaked out of one of the caves and propelled itself right toward Shi Mu. With a fleshy red crown on its head, the bird’s eyes were the color of blood. It extended its long talons which were several feet long and glistened coldly like the blade of a dagger.
The monster’s eyes glowed red, giving it an extraordinarily vicious appearance. With a blood-curdling shriek, it spread its wings and rose into the air, its talons swooping toward Shi Mu.
Shi Mu sneered and swung his Black Meteoric Iron Blade upward. A red arc of light, several yards long, shot out toward the beast.
The light flashed and went through the crimson bird. Its body was suddenly sundered in half, its blood spilling out of the cut as the carcass dove straight below.
Shi Mu did not even bother sneaking a glance at it as he continued his flight to his destination.
Half an hour passed.
Piloting his Green Jade Flying Shuttle, Shi Mu finally arrived above the valley marked on his map and extended his head to look below.
There, among the rolling streams of vermillion mist, was a valley so deep that Shi Mu couldn’t even see all the way to its bottom. Tides of searing infernal heatwaves swarmed up from the endless pit, with wisps of a putrid gamy stench that assaulted the nose.
Shi Mu’s eyes darted everywhere as he inspected the area carefully, his brows creasing slightly.
He directed his spirit sense into the valley, but it was as if his senses had been ensnared by a quagmire lying within the unseen depths. He could sense no movement at all. Could it be the work of this vermillion fog?
“Hey Cai, you see anything?” Shi Mu asked.
“The fog from the bottom of the valley is too dense even for my eyes,” the bird replied as two rays of white light shone from its eyes, scanning the valley. Despite that, its sight could only extend about a dozen yards into the vermillion fog before it reached its visual limit.
“You stay here, I’ll head in and check it out.” Flashing a green charm in his hand, Shi Mu patted it against his body until a green light enveloped him from head to toe. He then dived the Green Jade Flying Shuttle downward in a trail of chartreuse light.
Right before reaching the fog, Shi Mu raised his hand and summoned seven or eight basin-sized flaming orbs into the air before he flung them downward.
The fireballs exploded as soon as they entered the thick fog, repelling the smog out of sight with powerful shockwaves and revealing an open space about a dozen yards wide.
Before the rolling smog could reclaim the air, Shi Mu piloted his Green Jade Long Shuttle in a downward sprint.
He repeated the same sequence for a while, using his fireballs to clear the view several times while he seized the chance to pilot his long shuttle forward. After a time, he finally saw the bottom of the valley. Instead of the expected hard graphite surface, it was a patch of jet-black sands.
Shi Mu controlled the pitch of his flying shuttle so that it was hovering about seven or eight yards above the ground. A glint flashed from his pupils as he raised his head and shot a glance above him. He could barely see fifty yards away, though most of what fell into his sight were red and black mountain rocks of different sizes. Nothing stood out.
Suddenly, he sniffed a little before willing the Green Jade Flying Shuttle to soar upward at full speed.
Within the same second Shi Mu raised his body, the blanket of black sand below him suddenly tore open. A gigantic serpent’s head—several yards wide—suddenly struck out from the open gash with its blood-red mouth wide open. Its jaws snapped shut at the very next second, but it noticed that its prey had slipped from its grasp.
Shi Mu hovered in midair, his mind crying, “That was too close!” As he fixed his eyes on the serpent’s head staring from below, his heart skipped a beat.
The serpent had gigantic yellow eyes the size of lanterns. Its body covered in scarlet scales as big as millstones, while two strands of long black beard-like hair sprouted from its chin. What caught Shi Mu’s attention, however, was the sanguine crown on top of the serpent’s head. From a distance, it was as if the snake was wearing a crown of red lotus.
“Mid Earth-rank! I thought you’re supposed to be just Early Earth-rank!” Shi Mu grumbled in dismay.
Either Master Hei had some slip-ups in his intel, or his own luck was running low; Whatever it was, this Flaming Crown Demon Snake right here had already reached Mid Earth-rank. Worse, this environment chock-full of Fire-attribute energy would allow the Flaming Crown Demon Snake to unleash power nearly equal to the strength of a Late Earth-rank!
Shi Mu did not possess the luxury of time to think before he felt a chilly tug at the back of his head.
Without a word, he piloted the Green Jade Long Shuttle sharply to the side.
A serpentine tail as thick as a water tank suddenly struck out from the smog as it swiped through the very same spot Shi Mu was standing mere milliseconds ago—before disappearing into the omnipresent vermillion fog surrounding them.
Shi Mu had not even regained his footing before he swung out an arc of golden light flashing from his sword. The ray inflated to the size of a door as it hurled toward the snake’s head.
At the same time, Shi Mu flicked his wrist and flung five or six charms toward the snake’s head.
The monster’s yellow eyes flashed briefly, and its silhouette suddenly flickered unnervingly. It was as if its body had melted into the vermillion fog around them as it dissipated into the air. Shi Mu’s sword energy burst managed to slice through the air where the snake’s head once was.
Shi Mu’s golden eyes darted to the side as he flung his hand, willing the batch of five or six charms to change course and zip to the other side. Lights exploded from them before they formed a densely-packed rain of icy javelins and thunder orbs exploding in succession.
The valley was instantly filled with ear-splitting booms as different colors of light crisscrossed dazzlingly through the air!
Immediately after that came a flash of golden light, and an arc from a golden blade carved through the air in one downward swoop.
The vermillion fog unfurled and exposed the same gigantic snakehead from before, apparently still shielding itself with the fiery smog around it.
Shi Mu was not the slightest bit pleased with what he saw.
Despite the barrage of advanced charm attacks combined with his Golden Pound Blade Spirit tool, Shi Mu only managed to land some inconsequential white scratches and cracks on the Flaming Crown Demon Snake’s scaly body. None of his attacks had been lethal.
Unfortunately, he did manage to enrage the snake. The fiery red crown on top of its head radiated an intense aura. Then, as if something was controlling the vermillion fog, the smog ebbed and melted into the aura like a whale sucking in ocean water. The fog that had been shrouding the valley thinned out a little in a matter of seconds.
Shi Mu was already gripping his Black Meteorite Iron Blade in his hand. Seeing how the situation changed for the worse, he quickly made the decision to flee with his Green Jade Flying Shuttle. Just then, a cool wisp of chilly air ebbed toward his back—the gigantic serpentine tail had quietly snuck toward him before unleashing its strike.
It was too late for Shi Mu to duck by this point, so at that critical moment, he let out a low growl and forcefully brandished his jet-black blade before him, sending out a large pulse of scarlet energy toward the target.
The energy landed right on the scale of the advancing tail, causing a spray of sparks. The tail didn’t look harmed, but the speed of its strike had been slightly compromised.
Seizing the moment, Shi Mu willed the Green Jade Flying Shuttle backward.
It was at this moment the fiery red crown on top of the Flaming Crown Demon Snake suddenly erupted with an ear-deafening boom as an arc of flames clawed through the air toward him like a bolt of lightning.
Shi Mu was about to bear the crux of the attack, yet his face was calm. With his right hand making a sign, an aura of ebony light shot out from his chest as black scales surfaced on his skin. At the same time, Shi Mu continued cruising through the air with his Green Jade Flying Shuttle.
A loud boom rang!
The flaming energy burst had landed right at the Green Jade Flying Shuttle, instantly fracturing the disc into pieces as searing red clouds consumed Shi Mu.
His Real Chi barrier melted away on impact, while the protective scales on his skin cracked and fell into fragments under the intense heat. The exposed skin was marred with trails of blood.
Shi Mu’s eyes were shut tight as if he had slumped into a coma. His body immediately tumbled from midair.
A leviathan-sized body sprang out from below—it was the Flaming Crown Demon Snake’s tail. It encircled its fallen prey, bounding him with its powerful tail before deftly swinging the tip right into its own blood-red maw…