Chapter 476: The Second Floor
Following after the first encounter with the wolf head puppet, they encountered more puppets in quick succession. But under the unyielding transformation of the Heavenbearing Devil Arts, Man Huzi smashed them into pieces as if they were made of clay. Zenith Yin and Qing Yi didn't need to help the slightest.
With each encounter, Han Li bluntly gathered and put away the remains of each puppet, much to the confusion of the Bone Sage and Wu Chou.
As for the Nascent Soul cultivators, they turned a blind eye to Han Li's actions.
However, it was clear that they walked a path from Wan Tianming's party. When Han Li saw that the Devil Dao cultivators were still calm and unhurried, Han Li knew that these old devils probably had an approximation of where they were.
But ever since they encountered the puppet guards, Zenith Yin and the others no longer continued straight ahead. They began to take turns.
However, Han Li felt that there was something odd. From their earlier advance, Han Li had a clear feeling that all pathways were the same. But these three Nascent soul cultivators made a sudden turn to the left and another turn to the right without the slightest hesitation. It was as if they already knew the route in advance.
Were it just Zenith Yin and Qing Yi doing this, Han Li wouldn't find it strange. After all, they've been to the Inner Halls before. Perhaps they already memorized the route from their last time here. But this was clearly Man Huzi's first time coming here and he was leading them at the very front with Zenith Yin and Qing Yi following after him without any objections. Han Li found this baffling!
Han Li's mind set into motion as he stealthily swept the intersections for any differences or markings.
After passing several intersections, his efforts was vainly spent as he had found nothing. He could only leave the matter be for now.
After Man Huzi wrecked the eighth wolf head puppet along the way, they arrived at a small transportation formation.
The transportation formation was at the center of an intersection and emitted a faint, sparkling light.
"This will take us to the second floor. I wonder if Wan Tianming and his party had used any tricks. They actually managed to get ahead of us." Layman Qing Yi grumbled upon seeing the transportation formation, but a trace of a grin was still on his face.
Man Huzi coldly snorted and said without concern, "Humph! Let's go. Even if they're ahead of us, the Heavenvoid Cauldron isn't something that is so easily acquired."
Soon after, he let the way, entering the transportation formation in stride.
Layman Qing Yi smiled at the sight. After Man Huzi entered, Zenith Yin and Layman Qing Yi stood still. After taking a glance at each other, they heavily gazed at Han Li.
Han Li felt his heart shiver.
He had no choice but to enter the transportation formation under their supervision.
Han Li saw a flash of white light and regained his bearings before raising his head.
He was shocked. He was at another intersection of stone passageways. If it weren't for Man Huzi standing in front of him, Han Li would've thought that the transportation formation had failed.
While Han Li was at a loss, white light flashed from behind him, bringing along the rest of the party.
Just as Zenith Yin appeared, he took a look around. He grimaced and muttered, "What method did those Righteous Dao folk use to travel so fast? I can no longer find them."
Layman Qing Yi's eyes coldly glinted as he stood behind Zenith Yin. "Leave it be! I had felt it was strange as to why the Righteous Dao cultivators had made such a sly proposal outside. From we've seen, it seems they were scheming against us all along. But, it'll still be fine if they try to seize the treasure first. Actually acquiring the Heavenvoid Cauldron with Wan Tianming's Gold Threaded Silkworm is merely wishful thinking after all. They're merely testing what little luck they have. It wouldn't be too late for us to hide and lie in ambush."
"Brother Qing's words makes sense! However, we cannot delay for too long. We must quicken our pace." Zenith Yin nodded his head. He agreed a much improved expression.
Qing Yi spoke to Man Huzi with a solemn expression, "Brother Man, be careful! The snake puppets guards on this floor are somewhat troublesome. Fellow Daoist Wu and I can both provide assistance in taking them down. This way, we can save a bit of time and magic power. Let's prevent having a weakness the Righteous Dao can exploit."
"Snake puppet guards? That seems interesting! Do as you like." Man Huzi said with a careless tone.
The party of Devil Dao cultivators then continued on their way.
Not long after, Han Li discovered a difference between the first and second floor.
The crossroads on the second floor were much smaller than the first floor. They were also farther apart with a few fearsome traps and restrictions placed down along the way.
Although these things didn't pose a threat to a Nascent Soul cultivator, they were undoubtedly deadly to Core Formation cultivators. Han Li felt a cold chill down his spine as he followed after the others.
There was no question that he would've lost his life to the restrictions and traps had he entered the second floor of the Inner Halls alone.
By the time they crossed the intersection on the second floor, Han Li finally saw the "snake puppet guard".
The puppet appeared truly disgusting.
Its snake heads were both blue and red, but its body were also covered in jet-black scales. It also had two arms on both their back and front.
Its front two arms held green short spears, and its back two arms held glossy black whips with razor sharp barbs that glowed the grey Qi.
When the puppet saw them, it immediately charged towards them as a black streak of light without a sound. It's actions were extremely quick.
Man Huzi howled with laughter. He charged to meet it after activating his Heavenbearing Devil Arts.
The following scene left Han Li in awe. The snake demon puppet was extraordinarily swift with its green spears and flailing whips. Although its unceasing barrage of attacks didn't pose much of a threat to Man Huzi, he was forced to protect a few of his vital spots. As he wasn't using any magic treasures, he had no other actions open to him.
While it was unknown what materials the green spears were made from, they slightly deformed Man Huzi's gold-clad hands on impact, leaving behind two cuts.
An expression of astonishment was betrayed from Man Huzi's face.
It was at this time that Zenith Yin and Qing Yi decided to act.
Zenith Yin used the Heavenvoid Corpsefire that had inspired fear in Han Li when he had first met him.
A black ball of flame appeared his hand before turning into a fine black thread as it shot out.
Just as the puppet pierced through Man Huzi's Heavenbearing Devil Art, it had left its guard down. In an instant, one of its front arms was enveloped by black flames and disappeared.
As for the old man, Qing Yi opened his mouth and an azure thread of light wildly rushed out from his mouth towards the puppet.
The azure thread of light wrapped once around the puppet and bursted into a cluster of explosions, causing the puppet to tumble.
A fierce expression flashed from Man Huzi's face. Taking advantage of the opportunity, he released a low roar and the scene flourished with blinding light. He then appeared with his arm penetrating the abdomen of the puppet. A green gem was rigidly held in his grasp.
The snake puppet immediately lost the power to move and collapsed to the floor.
Man Huzi looked at the inanimate puppet and glanced at the green gem in his hand. With a malicious expression flickering from his face, he crushed the gem with a clench of his hand.
But after he unfolded his hand, he found the gem to be completely unharmed.
Even Man Huzi's ordinarily savage expression changed upon seeing this.
With his Heavenbearing Devil Arts infused into his hands, he would've been able to warp powered magic treasures, let alone a single gem. He should've been able to somewhat damage it at the very least.
As Man Huzi's face appeared somewhat blank, Qing Qi chuckled and walked over, "Brother Man, there is no need to be surprised! This strange stone had already been researched by others. Although this gem cannot be destroyed, it also cannot be refined or used to strengthen magic treasures. I reckon that unless the cultivators of antiquity were dealing with it, it just be a mere bauble. Even puppet refinement sects don't know what to do with the stone."
"The items of antiquity are quite unusual! Youngster, you seem to fond of such remains. Here!" Concealing his embarrassment from earlier, Man Huzi grimaced and casually tossed it to Han Li.
Han Li's mind went blank and he unconsciously received the item.
After he had realized what had happened, he silently put it away into his storage pouch.
After he swept his gaze around, he walked forward and swept up the snake puppet remains with a trace of politeness.