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Magma roiled around like water in a rough sea, emitting heat waves that swept across, a hint of the incredible power beneath.
A sheet of golden liquid lay at its center, as if a lake within the lake. However, this magnificent sheet could stop Magi in their steps.
Above the lava lay a giant passage, tiny voices sounding from it now and then. The rock around this passage was very hard, and no one knew where it led.
*Swish!* A silhouette appeared on the shores of the lake. The light dispersed to show a very young Magus, his long black hair tied up casually and his skin fine and smooth. His handsome face was filled with the dignity of a ruler.
This was naturally Leylin, but his robe was currently a little dusty. The hurried round trip had drained him.
“My Lord!” a middle-aged Magus with bronze skin saluted.
“Are you finished?” Leylin asked casually.
“Yes! Please follow me!” Kubler led Leylin to a hole he’d dug near the lake.
A giant ball lay at the center. The dark ball seemed to made of stone, its surface was a glossy black. On a side of the ball was a door which revealed that it was hollow.
“According to your blueprint and orders, all parts were made from the hardest layer of this metamorphic rock to bear the high temperature of the central magma. The joints were even reinforced by runes…” He reported at Leylin’s side like a loyal servant.
He didn’t even mention the difficulty in collecting the rock and casting it into shape.
“Good job!” Leylin nodded, looking at the runes inside the ball with surprise.
This Mankestre bloodline Warlock was much better than he’d expected at alchemy.
“No, it’s my pleasure to serve my lord, there is no trouble at all!” Kubler saluted humbly with his hands crossed before his chest.
This sort of respect was expected in front of Magi with higher bloodlines. Kubler had grown used to it during his time in the Ouroboros Clan.
“The lava lake is becoming more active recently. I’m afraid this means that it’s about to erupt!”
At that time, the place would be flooded with lava, blocking the entirety of the passage.
Kubler had come down here when the volcano was dormant, and had still suffered horrific burns. This had left him in fear of the lava. Although he went with his lord’s plan, he was still worried. However, the servant had no right to make the final decision. He could only make suggestions and had to follow his master’s orders.
“I understand. The eruption will occur in an hour and 23 minutes. Prepare yourself!” With the A.I. Chip’s ability to observe and forecast the eruption, Leylin knew the timing much better than Kubler did.
He had run this plan by his A.I. Chip’s calculations, and the success rate was over 90%. Why would he risk his life if not?
More than an hour later…
A black ball was floating on the red lava as if it was in the water.
Kubler sat inside with Leylin, face pale. Watching the lava outside through a magic screen, he stammered out, “My… my Lord, this plan is too dangerous!”
Once the ball was crushed, they would be devoured by endless lava! Even if he was a Magus, this kind of horrifying death made him shiver.
“Calm down!” Leylin stared at lava outside calmly.
*Blub! Blub!* The lava had reached its boiling point, and the whole cave began to tremble, dust falling off the walls.
[Beep! Eruption will occur in 10, 9, 8…]
The A.I. Chip had begun the final countdown.
“Now!” Leylin’s eyes flashed, and the terrifying strength of a rank 3 Magus burst forth.
“Freeze!” With his hands as the centre, a layer of deep blue ice spread out along the walls. Cracking sounds rang out as this phenomenon soon extended to the outside, enveloping the ball in ice.
This ice was so cold even the boiling lava could not melt it. White vapours arose as the two surfaces came into contact.
“This can earn us some time!” Leylin said with a smile, and then looked at the screen of the A.I. Chip.
[3! 2! 1! Critical limit reached!]
*Boom!* With the prompt of the A.I. Chip, Leylin and Kubler felt tremors envelop the ball. It was like they had entered the body of a terrifying ancient monster, and that monster had woken up with a thundering roar!
“AAAAAAH!” Kubler screamed with fear, his hands waving around as he struggled to find something to hold on to.
Then, he felt a force that could be from the explosion of the universe as a huge impulse hit the bottom of the rock ball. The lava rose into the sky like a dragon taking flight, except this dragon had a small rock ball on the front.
Lava surrounded them and rushed into the passage. The ball shook continuously as it hit wall after wall, but what frightened Kubler to death was instead the high gravity!
As the ball had rushed up like a rocket, the two inside dealt with an equally large gravitational force.
The intense force pulled at Kubler’s skin, making him feel like he was being bitten all over by ants. The pain made him lie on the ground like a frog, and he felt like if he wasn’t a Warlock with a strengthened body, he would have died long ago.
Booms sounded out and the trembling continued. The terrifying power of nature made Kubler feel like a tiny ant. All he could do now was pray; pray for an early release from this torment, pray that this rock ball would hold out
Thumps and explosive noises continued to sound out. This was a giant volcanic range, and today its central volcano had accumulated enough pressure to erupt.
Masses of black smog were ejected into the sky, forming a sea of gray clouds that shrouded the nearby lands in darkness.
Rivulets of lava flowed down the mountain slopes, looking like arteries on flesh.
*BOOM!* Finally, with a huge explosion that caused an earthquake, the volcano erupted.
It was as if heaven and earth were torn asunder, and the world was ruined. Red lava, dotted with gold, burst into the sky transforming into countless fire dragons that flew in every direction.
Fire raged, and explosions rang forth even as the earth quaked. It was like armageddon.
Amidst this terrifying lava were multiple rocks. Boulders that were as large as hills hit the ground with great force, cracking the earth underneath and ruining everything around them.
*Bang!* Among the countless boulders in the sky was one rock with a particularly regular shape.
This rock ball streaked across the ground, leaving behind it a long track of burnt black. The surface of the ball was still a dull red, as if it was ready to melt any moment.
The ball soon began to crack apart, and a portion was thrown off with a bang, revealing a hollow interior.
“So this is the central continent ?” Leylin came out of the ball, exhaling a breath that was as hot as fire itself.
The hellish scene nearby did not affect him. Instead, he was filled with delightful anticipation. “The central continent, here I come.” he murmured in his mind.
It took a while for Kubler to slowly crawl out of the ball, coughing. His body was in a mess, with some burn marks on it.
The layer of ice Leylin had made had been thawed within a few dozen seconds of the eruption. Afterwards, the rock ball had heated up to extremely high temperatures. They would have been roasted had they not been Magi.
“Exciting! This is so exciting!” After retching for a while, Kubler wiped his sweat off, fear in his eyes.
“Relax! We got out safely, didn’t we?” Leylin turned back and smiled. “It’s quite fair for us to pay a small price for concentrating a day’s journey into a few minutes!”
“Yes, my Lord!” Kubler could do nothing but smile.
“So is this the central continent?” Seeing Kubler collect himself, Leylin wanted to confirm it with him.
“Yes!” Kubler said even as his expression turned complicated, “This is the Mt. Asura of the central continent. The land that we are standing on now is undoubtedly of the central continent.”
Three days later, in a small town.
A giant gleaming revolving gate swung around as carriages and people wearing strange clothes passed by, some of them official Magi.
Leylin was sitting in a hotel room, the pudding and juice in front of him all but untouched. He was staring outside with a dreamy gaze.
At that time, the door was opened with a thump and Kubler stepped in.
“My Lord! I’ve bought tickets for an airship heading to the Black River Domain that leaves tomorrow morning! In at most four days, we will arrive at the headquarters of the Ouroboros Clan!” His voice was tinted with excitement.
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