If the colossal stone statue were here, they could easily take a few large steps and cross over. But Xie Lian had left it in the imperial city to suppress the evil spirits, and the three mountain demons had transformed into swords. It was better not to rely on them.

Xie Lian asked, “San Lang, can Silver Butterfly fly us over?”

Hua Cheng replied, “The magma is scorching hot. I’m afraid Silver Butterfly would be melted halfway through crossing the river.”

Crossing the river and then falling from the sky, plunging into the center of the lava flow, wouldn’t look good. However, Hua Cheng added, “But there’s already a pathway.”

The others followed his gaze. After a moment, Xie Lian said, “Why are there people in the lava?”

Without a doubt, he hadn’t seen it wrong. In that split second, he saw a pale hand emerge from the lava and reach towards the sky. Upon closer inspection, Mu Qing said, “There really are people! And it’s not just one?”

There were at least hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Many of their bodies and heads floated on the surface of the river, some being swept around by the fiery current, and some even swimming against the current. Their bodies were all an eerie white, with blurred features, clearly not the living.

Xie Lian understood, “They’re the hollow people from Wuyong Imperial City… swept here by the lava.”

With their skills, it shouldn’t be difficult to use these hollow creatures as stepping stones to cross over. However, these undead beings were struggling in the scorching lava, and it would be quite cruel to step on them. But at the moment, they couldn’t afford to think about that.

Mu Qing took the lead and accurately found a position. With a few leaps, he quickly crossed the moat and stood on the other side, looking back towards them. Xie Lian said to the State Preceptor, “Let me send you over first.”

After all, the State Preceptor wasn’t a martial god, nor was he skilled in physical training. He nodded and proceeded forward. However, Hua Cheng said, “Gege, let me do it.”

Naturally, Xie Lian agreed, “Alright.”

Hua Cheng approached and supported the elderly State Preceptor, linking his arm with the State Preceptor’s. He said, “State Preceptor, please. Watch your step.”

When the State Preceptor turned his head and saw that it wasn’t Xie Lian supporting him, he furrowed his brow and asked, “Ah? Why is it you?”

Xie Lian couldn’t help but suppress a laugh and coughed lightly, saying, “San Lang sincerely wanted to assist you, so I let him take care of it.”

The State Preceptor said, “Why offer unnecessary help?”

Hua Cheng smiled and said, “There’s not much difference between me and gege. Besides, I have great respect for you. It’s no trouble for me to lend a hand.”

The State Preceptor was speechless for a moment and said, “If you really respect me, then wipe that fake smile off your face. It’s too excessive.”

Hua Cheng immediately stopped smiling and said, “Oh.” Without saying anything else, he took the State Preceptor and swiftly moved to the other side.

His movements were strange and quick, leaving the State Preceptor stunned. As for the hollow creatures that Hua Cheng had stepped on, they hadn’t even noticed and continued swimming in the lava, oblivious to what was happening above. The State Preceptor finally snapped out of his daze, glanced at Hua Cheng, and commented, “Your skills are decent.”

On this side, Xie Lian thought, “He’s being too strict. How can these skills be considered merely ‘decent’?” Shaking his head, he said, “I’m going over too!”

Hua Cheng turned around and said, “Gege, you stay there. I’ll come to pick you up.”

But Xie Lian acted faster than his words. He had already started and leaped forward, landing on the belly of a supine hollow creature. Feeling the firmness beneath his feet, he took another leap and landed on the head of another hollow creature ahead.

In this manner, he stepped on five or six of them and arrived in the middle of the lava flow. However, just as Xie Lian was about to leap up again, his body unexpectedly sank, nearly losing his balance!

Relying on his lightning-fast reflexes, he regained his stability. Looking down, he saw that the hollow creature beneath his foot had grabbed onto his boot!

Xie Lian thought, “Oh no, here we go again!”

His luck was exceptionally bad. While the others had crossed the river unharmed, he happened to encounter a formidable creature when he was crossing. It had grabbed his right ankle, preventing him from standing up!

Because the hollow creatures were hollow, they could float on the surface of the magma, but they couldn’t bear much weight. The scorching heat filled the air, causing Xie Lian to break out in a sweat, and even a corner of his sleeve caught fire.

If he stayed any longer, he would either sink into the lava with his whole body or be completely consumed by the flames!

In a critical moment, Xie Lian had a quick wit. With a flick of his whip, he pulled the other hollow creature, which was three zhang away, towards him. He stepped on the back of that creature with his left foot. In this way, the weight was divided between the two stone shells, increasing their buoyancy. For the time being, he didn’t sink. In a hurry, Xie Lian drew out Fangxin and severed the arm that was holding onto his boot. Just as he was about to leap out again, a red figure had already flashed beside him. Xie Lian said, “San Lang? I’m fine now, you don’t need to come over.”

Hua Cheng shattered the hollow creature that was holding onto Xie Lian from a distance and said, “Let’s talk about it after we get to the shore.”

Both of them arrived on the shore together. Xie Lian extinguished the flames on his sleeve and said, “I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Hua Cheng said, “It’s my fault. I should have told you to wait for me to come and pick you up before going over.”

The State Preceptor said, “Enough, enough. His Highness is not that delicate. Even without you going over, he can handle it. What’s the point of going over? Let’s go! This way.”

The group reached the shore and walked for a while until they arrived in front of Wuyong Imperial Palace.

Half of the palace was buried underground. After they entered, the ground sloped downward, leading them deep underground.

Leaving the surface, the scorching air gradually cooled. The entire underground palace was empty, and even the slightest sound would echo with a humming reverberation.

Each of them ignited flames in their palms, illuminating the surroundings. Although the palace had long been sealed, it still retained its grandeur. The firelight reflected off numerous golden patterns, intricately carved beams, and painted rafters. However, it was devoid of any people, lifeless like a colossal tomb.

The State Preceptor said, “This is where the Crown Prince grew up.”

Mu Qing asked, “Is he really here?”

The State Preceptor replied, “What do you think? This is the place where his power is the strongest. Be cautious.”

At that moment, Xie Lian suddenly noticed something.

The silver eye on the hilt of Hua Cheng’s E Mo blade was frantically spinning, exhibiting an unusual restlessness.

However, Hua Cheng remained cold and paid no attention to it. Xie Lian couldn’t help but reach out and touch it, causing E Mo’s restlessness to subside slightly. Hua Cheng lowered his head slightly, seeing Xie Lian’s hand still on the hilt. He smiled faintly, as if about to speak. Just then, laughter echoed from a corner of the hall.

It was the voice of a middle-aged man, cunning and sly, seemingly malicious. Hearing it, Xie Lian’s hairs stood on end. Moreover, he recognized that voice.

It was the voice of the Fetal Ling!

Mu Qing shouted, “There!” A burst of flames shot out, illuminating the area above. They saw a white lump clinging to a high corner of the palace, resembling a gecko. It was the Fetal Ling!

The Fetal Ling’s crimson tongue licked its own back, as if scratching an itch. Seeing the approaching flames, it smirked and vomited a blob-like substance towards Mu Qing. Mu Qing dodged it, looking disgusted. The State Preceptor glanced at the sticky substance on the ground and then at the Fetal Ling above, unable to accept it. He said, “Is this really Feng Xin’s kid???”

Xie Lian hurriedly said, “Wait! No, no! You’re calling it wrong, right?”

The Fetal Ling paused when it heard its name and turned to look at Xie Lian. Xie Lian said, “Cuo Cuo, we came to find… find… your dad. Do you know where he is?”

Upon hearing “your dad,” the Fetal Ling sneered, and with its four limbs, it crawled away, disappearing. Xie Lian said, “Cuo Cuo? Quickly find it!”

The group raised their flames higher and searched all around. Suddenly, Mu Qing said, “Over here!”

Xie Lian asked, “Where?”

Mu Qing pointed to a corridor on the side of a palace and said, “I saw it go in here.”

The corridor was extremely narrow, probably wider originally, but it seemed to have been compressed. Now, only one person could pass through. Probably because Mu Qing felt targeted, he felt a bit annoyed and said, “What’s the benefit of lying to you?”

Hua Cheng chuckled lightly, devoid of any emotion, but not very friendly either. The State Preceptor said, “Why argue at a time like this? Don’t let any suspicious places slip by. Let’s go in and take a look.”

The narrow corridor was attached to one side of a palace. It was gloomy, and even if they didn’t know where the end was, they knew it definitely wouldn’t lead to a good place.

Suddenly, Hua Cheng asked, “Did you really see it go in here?”

Mu Qing felt a bit targeted and replied with some annoyance, “What benefit do I gain from lying to you guys?”

Hua Cheng gave a hollow laugh, devoid of any emotion, and said, “Fine, enough. Let’s not argue. Lead the way.”

In a blink of an eye, the four of them entered the corridor. As they walked deeper, Xie Lian became increasingly uncomfortable.

His intuition was extremely accurate when it came to danger. What made him uncomfortable was coming from the front. Xie Lian said, “State Preceptor, do you remember where this path leads? The further I go, the heavier… the…”

Killing intent.

And it wasn’t the killing intent of a living being, but a cold and chilling one. The deeper they went, the more tense Xie Lian became.

However, the State Preceptor didn’t answer him. Xie Lian’s heart skipped a beat, and he raised his voice to ask again, “State Preceptor?”

Still no answer. Xie Lian suddenly turned his head to look back and realized that, at some point, there was no one behind him!

The reason he didn’t notice was that the lights released by Hua Cheng and the State Preceptor were still floating in the air, illuminating the way for their disappeared owners.

Mu Qing also turned his head and was surprised, “Where’s Blood Rain Seeking Flower?!”

Without hesitation, Xie Lian started walking back. Mu Qing grabbed him and said, “What are you doing? We’re almost there! Besides, do you really think he would go back?”

“…No,” Xie Lian said. It was precisely because Hua Cheng would never silently go back alone that it was terrifying!

Xie Lian suddenly remembered that Hua Cheng left something on him and quickly raised his hand to look. The red thread on his third finger was still there, bright and vibrant, indicating that Hua Cheng was fine. Xie Lian breathed a sigh of relief. However, when he thought of the tiny object Hua Cheng had thrown before coming, his eyebrows twitched even more.

Mu Qing said, “Even if you go back now, you probably won’t find him. It’s better to continue forward and see what’s inside. Otherwise, if you go back and find nothing, you’ll just have to come back here again, wasting time, won’t you?”

Xie Lian was about to speak when he suddenly held his breath and whispered, “Shh. Listen, what sound is that?”

Mu Qing also focused and listened intently.

It was the sound of a man’s low breathing.

Coming from the front!

Both of them became vigilant, secretly gripping their weapons as they moved forward.

Finally, they emerged from the corridor and entered a hall. Mu Qing cautiously groped around inside the hall, while Xie Lian flicked his finger, sending a faint flame flying forward, illuminating a figure lying on the ground.

As soon as Xie Lian saw the figure from behind, he recognized him and approached, saying, “Feng Xin?!”

When he turned the person over, it was indeed Feng Xin. His body was covered in burns and sword wounds, but he seemed to be out of immediate danger. Xie Lian carefully patted him for a while until he gradually woke up. Upon awakening, he cursed for a moment, but when he saw Xie Lian in front of him, he immediately stopped cursing and said, “Your Highness? Why are you here?”

Xie Lian sighed and said, “Why don’t you tell me first where ‘here’ is.”

Feng Xin sat up, looked around, and said, “Where is ‘here’?”

Indeed, Feng Xin didn’t know either, despite being asked. Xie Lian shook his head and extended his hand, saying, “Get up first. Now that we’ve found you, we need to find San Lang.”

Feng Xin asked, “You mean Blood Rain Seeking Flower? What happened to him? Isn’t he with you?”

Xie Lian said, “Well, we were together…”

Before he could finish speaking, Feng Xin suddenly raised his hand and said, “Wait! Who’s that person behind you?!”

Xie Lian turned around and saw a dark figure immersed in the shadows, motionless. He said, “That’s Mu Qing. What’s wrong?”

Feng Xin’s pupils instantly contracted, and he said, “Quick, capture him!”