A beam of silver light flew towards the back of Shi Hao's head at a tremendous speed. It was accompanied by a gust of strong wind and blossomed with symbols.
Shi Hao shifted sideways without even turning around. He stretched out his arm and caught it over his shoulder. It was a long silver arrow inscribed with numerous symbols with a shiny and mysterious appearance. It seemed like it had the power to pierce through the flesh of enormous vicious beasts.
He turned around abruptly and threw the arrow in one direction. The silver arrow was now flying at a much higher speed, creating rumbling sounds in the air as it flew. The silver beam was much more splendid than before, dashing forward like an explosive silver moon.
It no longer seemed like an arrow, but instead like a silver mountain as it smashed down, creating a tremendous explosion.
Following a loud bang, a figure stumbled back. The long bow and shield in his hands exploded, and he was badly injured. He coughed out a large mouthful of blood.
The creature was not human, but a mighty expert with feathered wings on his back. He was of the same race as the servant who fell into the magma just then. He was a powerful being, but Shi Hao was still stronger.
"Is the Fire Nation declaring war on us? Has the Fire Emperor asked you to ambush us here?" The man said in a chilly voice.
He appeared to be quite young, yet he was extremely arrogant. Even after being injured, he maintained an unyielding attitude and was filled with hostility.
"That's ridiculous. I have no idea what you're talking about." Shi Hao could not be bothered to deal with him. He instead stared at the Divine Manor below, afraid of missing anything.
The magma lake below was glistening with ripples, and a palace was faintly discernible. Symbols were bursting out of the palace, giving it an extremely mysterious appearance. Mist and multicoloured lights simultaneously surged from the lake.
Shi Hao fixated his gaze on the lake and was eager to go below the surface. In that brief moment, dozens of people had arrived, and they each took an advantageous position, ready to move at any second.
A beam of golden light whistled across the air with much more power this time. The teenager across the lake took out an even more formidable longbow than the one before. The long arrows shot from it swooshed out while surrounded by symbols, covering the sky.
Shi Hao's thoughts were interrupted. He raised his eyebrows and stared at the teenager and turned into a flashing light, charging at him. He intercepted the arrow with a bang and quickly covered the distance between them.
This youngster was quite powerful. His wind and thunder wings flapped and struck at Shi Hao like two wide knives. Meanwhile, scorching and blinding lightning crackled in the air, as if the Thunder Deity himself had gone mad.
Shi Hao was familiar with thunder and lightning as well. Making hand seals with his fingers, he activated the Suan Ni precious techniques in his hands and drew the countless bolts into his body. He then struck out with a fist and magnified the impact by several folds, releasing an even fiercer thunder attack!
Finally, after the brief exchange, Shi Hao's fist smashed into him with such power that his entire body began to crack apart all over. He continuously took steps backwards and coughed out large amounts of blood. His body was scorched black, and he wanted to open his mouth to say something.
This was the only word he managed to spit out before his body exploded into a pool of blood. Neither his flesh nor soul survived.
The crowd was petrified, backing away all at once. They had recognized that that teenager was a mighty expert from beyond the wastelands and was not someone they should be messing with. However, they never thought that Shi Hao would take him out so quickly.
The magma gurgled, revealing the palace below. It was a grand and ancient building that was surprisingly not melted by the magma. The gate of the palace was already open and symbols were spurting out from within.
Finally, someone could not wait any longer and attempted to charge in. There weren't too many people around at the moment. Only a few dozens had arrived, making this a great opportunity.
If there were too many people, this place would definitely fall into chaos, and fierce battles would surely break out. Unwilling to fall behind others, everyone in the crowd summoned their precious artifacts for protection and charged at the palace.
Shi Hao was also on the move. He activated that dual-pupil and observed the sight below, hoping to find out more about this place.
The pupil was not blocked by the magma and could pierce through all the fog and mist, and even the divine multicoloured light scattered before it. That was the fundamental ability of the dual-pupil: to see through all fabricated things and reach their true self.
"Symbols are blocking the way, making it extremely dangerous." He soon found out some truths about this place. Symbols were packed densely across the palace entrance, and they were extremely complicated and profound.
Sure enough, under the protection of his treasured artifacts, someone managed to jump into the magma without being burned. However, when he reached the entrance, he released a scream as his treasured artifacts cracked. The group was forced to retreat.
The group of people all failed. Two of them tried to enter by force, but not only were their treasured artifacts destroyed, even their bodies were turned into sprinkles of shiny raindrops before scattering into the lake of magma.
"It's a tribulation. Only those who could survive this symboled area could enter." Murmured someone.
They scattered into small groups and discussed with their acquaintances, and as a result, the previously intense atmosphere eased a bit. At the very least, they were no longer fighting against one another.
"In order to get in, one has to have physical body tough enough to withstand the tribulation symbols while also possessing exceptional precious techniques in order to continuously break apart the symbols arranged in front of the gate."
Everyone's facial expressions changed drastically at that conclusion, for their bodies were definitely not tough enough to handle the pressure, let alone having the ability to wield and understand those symbols.
From time to time, some individuals would go up to the gate, but they would all be blasted away. The symbols were turning at a dazzling speed and were almost impossible to unravel.
After watching it for a while, Shi Hao decided to take action, for powerful fluctuations were approaching from the distant sky and more people were gathering around. More than a hundred people had already arrived in this short while.
The discovery of the Divine Manor was such a rare opportunity. All who heard of it would be excited by the news and rush here at top speed.
Shi Hao stepped out to the front of the gate. He made hand seals incessantly, then smacked them out with his palms. Symbols flew out one after another that consisted of nothing but the most primordial bone texts. They weren't exactly profound, yet all of them managed to enter the palace.
He did not rely on his tough body, but instead decided to solve it with symbols. They combined, evolved, and were then revived. It was an incredibly complicated process, and all of Shi Hao's concentration was focused on this task. He deduced and derived incessantly, sending in symbols rapidly to crack down the barriers covering the palace entrance.
A powerful fluctuation came from far away and a golden figure emerged. The teenager was wrapped in golden flames with a pair of bright yellow wind and thunder wings at his back, as if they were cast out of divine gold. As the wings flapped, ten thousand streaks of lightning struck down, covering up the entire sky.
Despite his young age, the teenager was giving off an exceptionally terrifying aura that made many human teenagers shudder. Their legs almost gave out under them as they trembled with fear.
Several teenagers stood behind him, all of them resembling the bowman killed by Shi Hao just then. None of them appeared, and they followed the teenager closely.
"We have to go in. We are running out of time." Golden hair hung loosely on his back and golden wings flapped behind him. The teenager frowned, and with a shake of his wings, tens of thousands streaks of lightning took to the skies. With a hong sound, the heavens and the earth were sent into chaos.
Everyone was petrified. He could not be a cultivator of the Spirit Transformation level, because this aura was way too powerful!
With the flapping of the golden wings, lightning struck across the sky, and they all landed in front of the palace gate to kill Shi Hao. It was a crucial time for him to crack those symbols.
Shi Hao neither backed away, nor turned around to fight the teenager. Instead, his body lit up, creating golden spirals all over his body to disarm the countless bolts of lightning.
As a result, divine light surged abruptly around his body. While the sea of thunder devoured him, his entire body became translucent, for the Kun Peng precious technique had activated to absorb the electricity.
He was inwardly surprised, however, as the teenager was incredibly powerful and difficult to deal with. He had obviously reached the Engravement Realm. Turning around, Shi Hao found a teenager not much older than himself. He had loose golden hair and frightening eyes. There was almost something sinister in his exceptional beauty.
"Yi, that was interesting. You could actually block my attack." The teenager spoke softly.
Shi Hao paid no attention to him and waved his hands in a swiping motion. He then took four consecutive steps, which almost took him into the palace. By now he was bearing more and more symbols, which were incredibly densely packed. It was the most critical moment.
Behind him, the golden-winged teenager took out a long bow and drew it with a weng sound. A golden arrow shot out with piercing aggressiveness.
It took everyone by surprise, for the pressure it gave off no longer felt like an arrow, but instead a great mountain. The arrow rolled and rumbled in the air with an astonishing aura.
Shi Hao's eyes turned cold. That was indeed a powerful arrow shot by a mighty expert of the Engravement Realm. If he did not react to it, he might be pierced through.
However, if he did act upon it, then all his previous effort might become futile and he would have to crack the symbols all over again. In that case, his opponents would have successfully bought themselves enough time to compete against him. No one would know what would happen after that.
Numerous mighty beings were around here, and even more were coming.
Shi Hao swiped with his right hand and turned some symbols into a flood dragon, which wound around the golden arrow. It did not slow the arrow down, only changed its direction, dragging it in to help with cracking the symbols.
"Too formidable!" The crowd was amazed.
He was unbelievably efficient. One of his hands continued to solve the symbols, while the other one managed to divert the arrow and used it to his advantage.
Behind him, the golden-haired teenager watched him with chilly eyes. He drew the bow in succession and shot out several arrows in a row. Splendid golden lights swept across the sky one after another, with all of them aimed at Shi Hao's vital body parts, such as the back of his head, his throat, and his heart.
Shi Hao turned his head around and smiled. With a wave of his hand, the lotus medicine at the gate was in his hand. He then stepped inside the ancient hall, leaving behind only an afterimage. He had cracked all the symbols.
All those golden arrows shot into the palace, making earsplitting sounds as if they collided on a heavenly drum.
The crowd cried out and charged forward all at once, trying to follow Shi Hao into the ancient palace. Unfortunately, the great gate closed with a creaking sound. Scorching symbols erupted again and the palace sank back into the magma lake.
The palace was dim and it was extremely quiet inside, with the only sound being Shi Hao's footsteps. "I wonder if I could have entered this place purely with the power of my body."
In reality, he had high confidence in his physical strength. He chose to use symbols to break into this place to evaluate his own strength and deficiencies.
The palace was massive, and it had been numerous years since anyone had set foot in it. Standing inside was like standing alone in a deserted world.
He marched forward and explored carefully along the way. The buildings inside were ancient and decaying from time. An oil lamp with a bean-sized flame was flickering before him in midair.
"Can it be a divine lamp?" Shi Hao was surprised. A common object could never stay ignited from the ancient times until now.
He walked closer to where an incredibly old bronze lamp was placed on a stone platform. The lamp was covered in dust, and numerous symbols were inscribed on it.
It was only a common magical instrument and not a divine object. After some careful exploration, he was feeling a bit disappointed. However, when he saw the liquid under the lampwick, his heart skipped a beat.
"Is that… divine blood?!"
The bronze lamp was ancient yet ordinary, however, the liquid was definitely incredible. Although it was almost dried out, the little bit left was still powerful enough to make one shudder. The pressure it gave out was so suffocating that it was difficult to breathe around it.
The liquid was in a rather dark puddle and lacked luster, yet it contained such a powerful divine energy that did not disperse after all these years.
Shi Hao removed the wick with caution and picked up the bronze lamp. He then inspected it carefully and discovered a terrifying fluctuation.
"I can't just eat it like this. I'll save it for later. I might be able make good use of it in the future." He placed it into his heaven and earth pouch and moved on.