Red mist raged within the spacious hall, and a dozen pillars of flame stood within, each one with a scarlet dragon coiled around them. They all spouted streams of the red mist, completely enveloping a huge cauldron at the center.
The cauldron itself was twenty meters tall and appeared simply decorated. It was among the largest furnaces he had ever seen.
But what astonished Han Li was that the red mist scorched it red, completely erasing all trace of its original color. Even from a hundred meters away, he could feel its volcanic heat.
Ever since he entered the hall, his mouth grew as dry as sand and his skin felt as if it was being assailed by burning needles. If it weren’t for the protective light instantly forming a barrier around him, he would’ve suffered immensely.
However, this left him overjoyed. His gaze swept past the inferno to immediately focus on the cauldron.
It was completely still and let out pangs of thunder. From his tool refinement experience, he could tell it was in the process of refinement.
He now knew he wouldn’t be returning empty-handed.
Taking a shallow breath, Han Li nimbly slid through the streams and easily made his way towards the object.
Twenty meters away, he slowed his steps and slowly skirt around it, sensing its astonishing fire-attributed spiritual power.
Regardless of whatever was inside, it was certain to have gone through some unknown changes given the number of years it spent in refinement. He was quite curious, but didn’t intend on recklessly opening it.
After encircling it a dozen times, he began to pensively glance at other areas of the hall.
Given the innumerable years the pillars and cauldron had been active, there was certain an eternally active spell formation. So long as he located the controlling mechanisms and destroyed it, the flames should come to an end and allow him to take the treasure.
Because the restriction’s purpose was control over the hall, it wasn’t concealed in the slightest.
Paying further attention to the cauldron, he raised his hand, releasing a three-meter-long streak of gold at an unremarkable corner of the hall.
With a loud boom, the corner erupted in golden light and the pillars briefly wavered before their streams came to a halt.
When the light faded away, a three-meter-large hole came into view. A few formation plate fragments surrounded it and a small golden sword was lazily floating above.
Han Li smiled and waved his hand, retrieving the flying sword into his sleeve in a shriek.
Without replenishment from the pillars, the red mist gradually disappeared.
He didn’t immediately take notice of the huge cauldron and instead concentrated his attention on the ground. Blue light flashed from his eyes, and surprise on his face.
With the spell formation no longer in place, he noticed that a mass of red laid a hundred meters below. The entire hall was constructed over an immense pool of earth-fire. It was no wonder why they were able to continue such an operation for so long.
Still using his Brightsight Spirit Eyes, he turned his gaze to the cauldron and decided to first see what was inside.
He was momentarily stunned by it. Whatever was in there was an even harsher red than the pool of earth-fire below. But before he could clearly identify what it was, the cauldron suddenly began to tremble. Followed by a crackle, a layer of scarlet blaze flared around the cauldron once more.
Han Li opened his mouth in astonishment. After a moment of thought, it shifted to one of pleasant surprise.
After passing through untold years of refinement, it absorbed the essence of the earth-fire to a fearsome degree, changing what was originally an ordinary magic tool into a grand fire-attribute treasure.
Repeated exposure to elemental Qi over a long period of time was known to cause such an effect, but it was a matter of coincidence and sheer luck for this to occur.
In the past, a few sects attempted to use this method in an attempt to create some high-grade treasures, but it didn’t take them long to abandon the effort.
This method didn’t simply take up too much time; it would take the continuous effort of many successive generations. Even then, the odds of success would still be pathetically low. Even in the case of success, the boost in strength was negligible compared to the time and resources spent.
As for the cauldron here, he was certain this wasn’t intended by the ones who placed it there. It was most likely that the cauldron was in a crucial point in its refinement process, and the cultivators in charge weren’t able to stop it. Lacking any better choice, they activated the spell formation to allow it to continue operations before evacuating the mountain.
They probably harbored the thought that they would be able to later return. Of course, such an event never came to be.
Han Li’s eyes wandered as he pondered about the circumstances. At the same moment, the spiritual light protecting his body brightly glowed in order to better protect himself against the increased scorching temperatures.
Shortly after, he slapped his storage pouch and summoned a bundle of blue formation flags into his hand.
His figure blurred and the flags shot at various corners.
He then appeared in front of the cauldron and examined it several times before muttering an incantation, creating a barrier of blue light around him and the cauldron.
Within the ice-attribute barrier, the scorching air was greatly cooled.
In addition, he released his spirit beast pouch and summoned his dozen Six-winged Frost Centipedes.
They nimbly circled around and eventually converged together above the cauldron, gesturing threateningly as they accumulated their power.
Han Li relaxed when he saw this and slapped his hands together to cover them in a layer of purple flames before reaching out to the cauldron.
A large purple hand appeared above it and bluntly grabbed its lid.
It trembled and the inferno around it surged several times in height. In the blink of an eye, it condensed into a bird that shot towards the purple hand.
A curious boom sounded out when they made contact and scarlet-purple light flashed together. The bird blocked the hand for the time being.
When he saw this, an odd expression appeared and he gave a soft command.
When the centipedes heard this, they promptly spat out a stream of white Qi, covering the flame bird, the cauldron, and the purple hand all at once.
Meanwhile, he raised his arm to the fist made from his Purple Apex Flames and struck it with a spell seal, causing it to surge twice in size. With the surrounding glacial Qi increasing in strength, the hand was able to crush the flame bird and move on to grab the cauldron.
Masterless, it couldn't offer any further resistance. A soft bang sounded out as its lid was easily struck ten meters into the air, and red light shined from within.
Just as Han Li thought to check, he immediately heard an unpleasant screech, followed by a scarlet light bolting out from inside. It shot to the very top of the hall with immense speed, forcibly passing through two of the centipedes before they could even react.
With a thump, the scarlet light struck the top of the blue light barrier. In a mere moment of pause, it quickly melted away an opening.
He was greatly alarmed and immediately moved to prevent the light from escaping, flicking his fingers and releasing a dozen azure swordstreaks towards it with complete precision.
They all struck true. Each wave caused the scarlet light to dim, eventually causing it to sway on the verge of collapse.
It knew matters had turned for the worse and trembled in a different direction.
But suddenly purple light flashed from behind it and a large hand grabbed it with lightning speed.
Then, it returned to Han Li with what it’s captive.
The cauldron seemed to have lost the power to resist. Not only did thunder stop ringing but the flames had disappeared as well. With the centipede’s glacial Qi, it was turned into a block of crystalline ice.
However, Han Li was more interested in the light that his purple hand managed to catch.
He stared at the item brought before him and astonishedly muttered, “Greatsun Essence Fire!”
However, he also heard a sweet and familiar voice ring out through his mind, “It isn’t Greatsun Essence Fire, but its equally famous counterpart: Great Yin Trueflame. One of the three true spiritual flames of the mortal world!”