Qiu Ling entered the old palace and raised his brows. The air in front of him glimmered and steam wafted up from the ground. Was this thing on fire? He looked around but couldn’t see anything of the like. Well, something had to be the matter though. There was no way a place would be this hot without reason.
He continued on and the heat grew even worse. If the Flaming Lion’s Tail really grew somewhere around here, it should be in the palace and most likely, it should be at the place where the heat originated from. Qiu Ling narrowed his eyes. If he wasn’t wrong, then it came from somewhere below.
He followed the sensation toward a stone staircase. The source of the heat should be at the foot of the staircase. Qiu Ling glanced back. He hadn’t found many herbs in the palace itself and none of them had looked even remotely similar to the Flaming Lion’s Tail. It could only be down there. Well, even if it wasn’t, it couldn’t hurt to check what he might find there.
Qiu Ling climbed down the stairs. What had been built from bricks at the beginning finally became something that had only a rough resemblance to a staircase. The steps were merely caved through people going up and down. They were uneven with the edges not looking like steps at all.
Qiu Ling frowned at this sight but he continued on. Finally, he reached the foot of the staircase and found himself in a wide cave. A red lake seethed in front of him, bubbles forming and exploding, making the lava splash in all directions.
Well, no wonder it was so hot in the palace.
Qiu Ling didn’t care about the lava lake. His gaze zeroed in on the cluster of Flaming Lion’s Tail that grew at the edge of the lake. “That was surprisingly easy.”
He went over, bent down and dug them out. He didn’t dare to just pluck them. Who knew if the old geezer would need them with the roots or without? He put the Flaming Lion’s Tail to the other herbs in his spatial ring and had a last look around the cavern.
Mn, there were some other herbs. He didn’t know what they were for but he should dig those out, as well, just in case they were important for something. Thus he started to work while his gaze roamed about. There should be some good things in this place he could take back for Jing He. Wouldn’t his beloved be extremely happy then?
Just when he thought about that, something broke through the surface of the lava lake. Qiu Ling’s eyes gleamed.
He ignored the herbs he had half dug out from the ground and slowly rose into the air, getting closer to the thing in the lava. He could only see a pair of long ears from where he was but he could feel the spiritual fluctuation from the thing. If he wasn’t wrong, then that was some sort of spiritual beast that inhabited the human realm.
Qiu Ling hovered in the air and waited if it would come out. The beast was cautious though. It peeked around but stayed in the lava. Both of them waited.
Finally, after a quarter of an hour had passed, Qiu Ling lost his patience. He gritted his teeth, swooped down and reached into the lava. He grabbed the thing by the ears and pulled it out.
The beast screeched and its legs waved about in the air, revealing some sharp claws.
Qiu Ling frowned and lifted the beast in front of his face. “Stop it.” His expression was grim. Even for a dragon with a sturdy body, it wasn’t pleasant to reach into a lake of lava. “You already ruined my skin with having me reach in there. If you dare to add some scratches to it, I’ll skin you and present your fur to my beloved.”
The beast halted with its paws raised in mid-air.
Qiu Ling nodded with satisfaction. “That’s better.” He gently grabbed one of the paws and had a look at the sharp claws. “Mn, we’ll have to do something about these.” He couldn’t let those get in proximity to his beloved!
The spiritual beast retracted its claws at Qiu Ling’s malevolent glare and even took back its paw. It tried looking as harmless as it could. Unfortunately, his whole body was covered in flames.
“What’s with the fire? You better dim that as well!”
The spiritual beast had no other choice but to comply. It reduced the flames on its body until the fur beneath them could be seen. It still gave off a little bit of warmth, just enough to make one feel comfortable.
Qiu Ling’s eyes gleamed. This was perfect! Jing He would love it! It could give him warmth when he couldn’t be with him and in an emergency — should something like that ever happen — it could even protect him a bit. Furthermore, it looked quite cute. It was exactly the kind of thing someone with Jing He’s gentle temperament would like!
“I’ll take you with me and gift you to my beloved. You’ll like him, I’m sure.” Qiu Ling smiled and the spiritual beast in his hands shivered. It definitely didn’t want to know what the beloved of such a scary guy was like!
It had no say in the matter though. Qiu Ling shoved it into his spatial ring. Well, the space tied to his spatial ring had the dimensions of a big room, so it wasn’t like the spiritual beast was mistreated. In fact, it was quite happy to be out of that guy’s grasp. It bounced over to the stalks of Flaming Lion’s Tail Qiu Ling had dug out and laid down beside them, its own long tail curling around them.
How unlucky! Why did it have to take a peek outside when that guy was out there? It should have stayed inside its home. Now, it could only hope that that guy’s beloved was a better person.