Shi Yan and Xia Xinyan, standing at a distance of about three thousand meters, were solemnly watching the collapse of the iceberg. Some ten-odd warriors were also standing nearby, being very reluctant to retreat. Like Shi and Xia, they were also coerced by the four big groups to leave.
However, a Human most covets something that is unattainable – even when there wasn’t the slightest possibility, the people were still lingering around the area, with a hope to catch a glimpse of the iceberg’s secrets.
Boom! The sound of ice cracking gained in volume. Mountains collapsed and volcanoes, once again, erupted and started spewing lava, scorching the surrounding earth. The ground shattered into great chasms, some even having numerous icebergs, of which only the tips could be seen. The land seemed to be filled with countless icebergs.
Shi Yan and Xia Xinyan were both rooted to the spot while looking at the distant volcano. The experts from the big groups were still bombarding the iceberg, using all possible means and martial arts to proceed.
The white ripples from the iceberg increased in density, carrying frigid air that was ten times colder than the surrounding area! The vibrations from the earthquakes had slowed down but the ground was now completely covered with a blanket of cold air. Even the lava, which was deep within the chasms, was cooling.
The ripples continued forming around the iceberg. The alarming cold air was still moving quickly, even though it was at such a low temperature. The trees, which were uprooted from the ground due to the earthquakes, all started turning into ice crystals, glittering all over on the ground. As the cold ripples propagated throughout the island with an alarming speed, similar scenes could be seen everywhere.
“No!” Xia Xinyan was completely frightened, “This coldness is too abnormal and far too heavy. I’d say it can even beat the Polar Ice Flame Martial Art Spirit of Beiming Shang! The cold air is gushing out from the iceberg. What could possibly be in that iceberg?”
“Craaaaaaack!” By now, the iceberg was almost completely destroyed. At the same time, numerous small ice cones started forming on the ground. In less than a minute, these cones turned into some strange type of ice demon beasts, which were shaped like leopards! These demons were each three to five meters long, their bodies all flashing in the bright sunlight, creating a very serene atmosphere.
It did not take the beasts much time to gather into a group of more than a hundred. These ice demon beasts, though looking deprived of life, glinted blindingly under the sunlight, and would pounce down upon the humans nearby once they came into form. More frighteningly, these ice demon beasts were even ten times colder than the air ripples!
There was a nip in the air as each ice leopard leaped up, and the air seemed to freeze wherever they passed, making a strange muffled sound. The iceberg kept cracking open, with more and more ice demon beasts shooting out. Sunlight trembled on them, and among the warriors of the four powers there came noises of fierce fighting. The ravines also glittered with crystal light, as if the icebergs down there were also producing something.
Finally, the cracking of the earth ended. By this time, a hundred thousand demon beasts had come into being, shooting up out of the ground like a swarm of locust.
Shi Yan stood watching the hair-raising scene dumbfounded. He cursed, “Where did these ice demon beasts come from? I can only sense strong cold air in them, and not the slightest sign of life! What the hell is going on?”
“Move! There are too many of them for us to resist. The beasts carry with them an overpowering coldness. Let’s run away!” Xia Xinyan exclaimed after checking the beasts with her soul consciousness, her face grave and nervous.
“Ah!!!” Far away, some warriors from the four powers were besieged by the ice demon beasts. Strangely enough, the attacks they launched did not seem to do anything, not even being strong enough to wound the beasts’ bodies. Warriors began to be ripped to pieces by the beasts, their bodies a wretched sight to behold.
Faced with such a horrible situation, Dongfang He, Chen Duo, Gu Jiange and the others were thrown into a panic. Who would care about the secrets of the iceberg at this moment? Thus the experts from the four big groups fled like the wind, one after another.
Seeing that even the strong guys of the four powers had chosen to run for their lives, there was no ground for Shi Yan to linger. Therefore, in a great haste, he retreated with Xia Xinyan.
The ice demon beasts did not only look like leopards – they moved with the same agility and speed. Running wildly in this ice-land, the beasts outran many warriors of the Earth Rank. The straggling warriors near Shi Yan, who had also stayed away from the iceberg, were now seized by terror, shrieking and running desperately.
“It’s the Ice Beasts! The Ice Beasts! I’ve seen them on an ancient scroll! These are one hundred percent Ice Beasts controlled by the Cold Ice Flame!” Some distance away, an elder warrior shouted like crazy, his face covered with terror. At the Third Sky of Disaster Realm, he seemed more intent on shouting rather than running, and the gap between him and the leopard-beasts quickly shortened. Soon his figure was lost in a sea of ice beasts.
Bitter cries reverberated in the sky above the area where the elder warrior had shouted.
Shi Yan felt his heart throb. His face dropped, and he hastened his steps.
The name of “the Ice Beasts” registered something in Xia Xinyan’s mind, and her delicate body giving a shudder that compounded the hint of terror just crossing her eyes. Frightened, she cried out, “Follow me, Shi Yan, quickly!” He obeyed without hesitation.
Suddenly, several forms whizzed past above their heads. Shi Yan looked up, almost by reflex, and found that the high-ranking warriors of the four powers were flying towards the gate of the Munro Island in anguish, and, in their hands, they were clutching as many of their fellow men as possible. Gu Jiange was grabbed by the Sky-rank warrior of the Dongfang Clan in one hand, and around his body colorful lights glowed. The moment Shi Yan raised his head, Gu was also looking down at him.
Shi Yan snorted, and immediately bent his head, quickly catching up with Xia Xinyan. The girl stopped abruptly before a dead volcano, some four or five thousand meters away from the icebergs. The green ring on her finger glittered, and out came a silver awl.
Xia Xinyan instilled her Profound Qi into the small gadget. The awl emitted glaring silver lights that drilled hard into the stone of the dead volcano. In a minute, the rocks were crushed, and crumbs of stone were blown out into the air around them.
A few moments later, a deep hole was dug out! Xia Xinyan went into the hole without hesitation and motioned for Shi Yan to come along. Shi Yan looked back, only to be threatened by the sight of countless ice beasts streaming to all directions like tides. He caught a glimpse of the dead corpses of many warriors that had been ripped open by the beasts.
Meanwhile, some ten-odd ice beasts, without the slightest signs of life, were rushing to this cave with overwhelming coldness. Shi Yan immediately felt seized by the cold air, and, without further delay, he rushed into the cave.
At this moment, Xia Xinyan was holding the silver awl, working at the stones ahead. She lifted planks of stones that had been drilled off, shouting at Shi Yan in a commanding tone of voice, “Come, give me a hand! Block up the hole!”
Without thinking, Shi Yan rushed over and picked up a few rocks the size of a millstone, and carried them to the entrance to the cave. Under their concerted efforts, over ten rocks were carried out of the cave to the entrance. Then tightly they blocked the hole, leaving not a crack for light to come in. But the two dared not to have a respite. Amid Xia Xinyan’s tender but powerful orders, Shi Yan carried on with the rocks. In a few minutes, the two of them made it to as deep as thirty meters into the cave, leaving a hundred rocks behind them to block the entrance.
Violent knocks came from the entrance, suggesting that the ice beasts had found their way to the cavern and were now trying to barge into it by force. However, the rocks that stood between the entrance to Xia and Shi’s current spot amounted to at least three thousand, among them even the smallest was as big as a stone stool. With so many rocks, even the ice beasts found it a challenge to break through the entrance.
However, these beasts did not abandon hope until half an hour later, when the booming noises at the entrance finally subsided.
“I think we are safe for now.” Wiping the sweat from her forehead, Xia Xinyan let out a soft sigh, and then uncovered her veil. The delicate cheeks were gleaming with a sheen of sweat.
If it not had been for the luminous stone Xia Xinyan had with her, then, being this deep in the cave, the two would have been troubled by the lack of light.
Xia Xinyan seemed fatigued. After storing the small awl away, she gasped a bit, then sat down on the ground, smiling bitterly, “we’ve really had a tough time.”
“The Ice Beasts? That old guy shouted the name before he died. I saw you were surprised at that moment. Do you know anything about these beasts?” After seating himself next to the girl, Shi Yan asked with knitted eyebrows.
Xia Xinyan nodded her head slowly, if not reluctantly, her face solemn and gloomy. “I think I finally know why this volcanic island has that iceberg.”
“The ice. There’s Cold Ice Flame in it.”
“Cold Ice Flame?” Shi Yan’s face was filled with confusion, “Why is this flame so devastating?”
“The Sky Fire!” Xia Xinyan took a deep breath and then went on to explain, “You should know about the three kinds of fire: Sky, Earth, and Mortal, right?”
“Sure. First, the Mortal Fire. We humans are born with it, and practically a kind of martial spirits. The Polar Ice Flame Martial Spirit of the Beiming Clan is an example. And then the Earth Fire. It’s deep down in the volcanoes a million years old, and it’s a flame with frightening power, but no life. It can be used to make pills and weapons – absolutely horrible. And lastly, there’s Sky Fire. It’s a flame that has existed since the earth and the heavens were made, and is the most powerful of the three kinds, ‘cause it’s alive and has consciousness! A living wonder in the world! I heard that it can beat the Mortal Fire and Earth Fire in a blink of an eye, and carries a disastrous power!” Shi Yan asked.
“You are right.” Xia Xinyan nodded, and cleared up, “Among the three fires, the Mortal Fire is the least powerful, then comes the Earth Fire, followed by the most dreadful Sky Fire. The iceberg… I guess it contains exactly one subdivision of the Sky Fire – the Cold Ice Flame. The finest cold flame in the heavens and the earth. It is alive, and wherever it goes, the land will be covered with vast icebergs and irresistible cold air. “
“The Cold Ice Flame?” Shi Yan was bemused, “but why would this flame appear on this island?”
“It’s sealed here.” Xia gave the question a thoughtful moment before she once again answered, “It is said that strong warriors above the God Rank can absorb the Sky Fire into the soul for their own use, thus obtaining an invincible power. However, it’s easier said than done. The Sky Fire is not born for people to absorb. To integrate into your soul, you need not only a basic rank of God, but also every kind of the rarest materials. Above all, you need to captivate the Sky Fire first. I assume the difficulty is beyond our imagination.”
“Has anyone ever succeeded in absorbing the Sky Fire?”
“Well, during the tens of thousands of years of the Endless Sea’s history, myriad legends have told about powerful warriors who had made an attempt at this grand ambition. But all of the stories ended up a tragic, with the warriors being eaten up by the Sky Fire, their bodies and souls destroyed. One thing to remember: once the Sky Fire gets incorporated into the human soul, the owner’s soul consciousness will be as powerful as the Fire itself. Unconquerable among all the same-level warriors. A warrior of the First Sky of Spirit God Realm once absorbs the Sky Fire successfully can literally beat all powerful warriors of the Second and Third Sky of the same realm. The latter does not stand a chance in front of him, and can even be killed in a second!”
“Killed in a second?”
“You heard it right, killed in a second!” Xia Xinyan’s eyes dropped, and her voice quivered, “as the legend goes, once the soul consciousness absorbs the Sky Fire, it will undergo a mutation. But about mutation, nobody knows. The soul consciousness becomes extremely horrible, able to burn the opponent’s in a second! And to destroy one’s spirit and soul? Only a breeze is needed!”
“Then answer my previous question. Has anyone ever succeeded?”
“Yes. In the record of the Endless Sea, there seemed to be two warriors who made it. One is at the Spirit God Realm, and the other True God Realm. They carried the world before them, and all the same-level warriors trembled at their feet. They dominated their realms.”
“Then, the Cold Ice Flame, how did it end up sealed under this volcano? Is it the result of someone trying to tame the flame with the volcanoes’ energy? So someone tried to absorb the Cold Ice Flame?” Shi Yan blurted out excitedly.
“Should be. But it seemed that whoever did this must have failed.” Xia Xinyan nodded.