Chapter 1016: Crooked Sects

“Nether Bridge Soul Captivation!” The late Saint domain expert from the Nether Spirit Society bellowed.

His bellow somehow resonated with the nether spirits’ sharp screeches.

The eight bridges formed by nether spirits instantly thrummed with nether power.

Immediately afterwards, the illusory bridges condensed into solidity.

The net of golden light formed by the Golden Light Tribulation Formation could no longer stop any of the nether spirits. The eight bridges then extended directly through its defense.

As this happened, every Qi warrior who was standing in the spell formation experienced anomalies.

Images of the eight bridges suddenly appeared in the depths of their eyes without any exceptions.

It was as if eight bridges from the netherworld pierced into everyone’s souls at this moment.

A cry escaped Huang Jinnan’s mouth.

He suddenly realized that he was losing control of his true soul, and that wisps of soul awareness were leaving his true soul and floating away, following the bridges.

His originally distinctive true soul started to grow blurry.

Of the Qi warriors gathered in this place, Nie Tian’s cultivation base was the lowest. His came before Pei Qiqi, who was at the middle Soul realm, and was the second lowest.

They all jerked their heads towards Nie Tian, panic filling their eyes.

Nie Tian, however, let out a cold harrumph as a shiny cyan pearl suddenly appeared in his palm.

Then, as soon as he held the pearl to his forehead, his pain-distorted brow relaxed, as if the pearl solved the problem his soul was having just like that.

At the same time, Pei Qiqi stood beside him motionlessly. However, Nie Tian had a strange feeling that she was actually shifting among different spaces at a fast speed.

She didn’t seem to be affected by the Nether Bridge Soul Captivation either.

Only Huang Jinnan struggled in pain as wisp after wisp of his soul awareness floated away, following the bridges that had invaded his mind.

“Come on out!” He suddenly activated the golden lotus he was sitting on. Numerous golden petals rose and sheltered him.

Branded with profound power, the closed golden petals formed a curious glowing shield. Things finally started to change.

One bridge after another gradually grew faint, until they eventually vanished completely from his sea of awareness.

Letting out a sigh of relief, he glanced around at the others, and discovered that several of his Void domain subordinates were in a state of bewilderment, their eyes sunken deep, as if the bridges had infiltrated their seas of awareness and were stealing their soul awareness as well.

“Uncle Zhao!” Huang Jinnan called out.

Zhao Heng, who was at the late Saint domain, rose high above the spell formation.

SPLASH! SPLASH!

Rivers started pouring out of his domain with an unstoppable momentum.

Each and every river carried his lifetime understanding of water incantations. Some of them moved in an ethereal fashion. Some of them were extremely heavy, while others were incomparably sharp.

The leader of the Nether Spirit Society disciples, whose cultivation base was the same as his, let out a low chuckle, and his grayish cyan domain suddenly expanded at an alarming rate, like an inflating balloon.

“Summon nether deities!” As he exclaimed, a human shape gradually appeared within his domain.

In the next moment, the frigid aura scattered in every part of realm number nine seemed to be channeled by some force, and started to converge on it from all directions.

The surging frigid aura froze the rivers Zhao Heng had shot at him before they could reach him, turning them into long, winding pillars of ice.

Ling You from the Void Spirit Society gasped with astonishment. “That’s Elder Xiao! You! You actually refined Elder Xiao’s soul into a nether deity!”

Nie Tian’s expression also flickered as he realized that the human shape that had appeared in that Nether Spirit Society expert’s domain was none other than Elder Xiao Xihe from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.

It was just that it had clearly become a puppet, without a shred of Xiao Xihe’s conscience left in it.

Even the more powerful nether spirits the Nether Spirit Society made had the ability to wield power from their previous life, not to mention a nether deity like this one.

Xiao Xihe had perished in realm number nine. The residual power of his shattered domain had already shown signs of merging with this heaven and earth.

This had allowed experts from the Nether Spirit Society to form a Heaven Freezing Spell successfully.

At this moment, the Nether Spirit Society expert was manipulating his soul to summon the residual frost aura in this realm to freeze Zhao Heng’s water-attributed attacks.

Standing on the other seven bridges, the other seven Nether Spirit Society disciples also bellowed, “Summon nether deities!”

Human shapes appeared in their domains one after another. Each and every one of them was distinct, as if they were true souls that some human experts had sent out of their seas of awareness.

It was just that they all thrummed with nether power, which gave them a gruesome, scary look.

Seeing this, Huang Jinnan and all of his subordinates had deeply grim looks on their faces.

Most of the so-called nether deities were their sect seniors who had fought to death in the Domain of Nether Heaven.

The nether deities then started wielding the residual power of their shattered domains, and engaged in a fierce battle against Huang Jinnan and his subordinates.

Face ice-cold, Ling You said, “Three of our sect members have been turned into nether deities. Even though these nether deities don’t have a shred of memory of their previous lives, they’re capable of using the secret magics and incantations they learned in their previous life. Also, since the residual power of their destroyed domains hasn’t dissipated into heaven and earth yet, they can still wield that power.”

WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!

The five evil spirits whizzed out one after another.

At the same time, the Spirit Pearl floated above Nie Tian’s head, emanating an uncanny cyan light.

Baring fangs and brandishing claws, the five evil spirits swooped directly towards the bridge that was the closest to them.

Standing on that bridge was a middle Void domain Nether Spirit Society disciple. His expression flickered with shock as he watched the evil spirits fly towards him. “Those evil spirits carry intense negative emotions. This is simply...”

He suddenly noticed the Spirit Pearl that was floating over Nie Tian’s head. His face turned pale with fright as he exclaimed, “A Spirit Pearl!”

BZZZ! BZZZ!

The five evil spirits reached the closest nether bridge and started tearing at it with claws that were like huge, sharp hooks.

The nether power that had been fused into the bridge splashed out in the form of grayish cyan bits. As this happened, the nether spirits that formed the bridge let out terrified cries and trembled unceasingly.

Ling You went blank for a moment before jerking his head towards Nie Tian and asking, “How come you have that Phantasm treasure?”

“I got it by accident,” Nie Tian said.

“But why are you able to wield it?” Ling You asked.

Nie Tian fixed him with a baffled look. “I refined it, and now I can wield it. What’s so special about that? I can wield any tool as long as I can refine it, isn’t that right?”

Ling You’s expression flickered slightly as he intended to say something, but gave up on a second thought.

With an expressionless face, Pei Qiqi said, “Don’t be surprised, Elder Ling. Nie Tian is different from anyone else.” 

Ling You nodded and said with a bitter smile, “Alright.”

Moments later, the bridge being gnawed at by the evil spirits actually showed signs of breaking.

The Nether Spirit Society disciple standing on it scrambled to manipulate his nether deity, while unleashing more nether spirits to fix the damaged bridge.

The eight nether bridges were forming a unique spell formation. If any of them collapsed, the whole spell formation would fall apart.

Many of the Nether Spirit Society’s soul incantations had been inspired by the Phantasms’ deep understandings of souls.

The Spirit Pearl, however, happened to be a Phantasm treasure.

Part of the reason Nie Tian had dared to come to the Domain of Nether Heaven was because he had learned that the disciples of the Nether Spirit Society practiced incantations that had close connections with the Phantasms. In that case, the Spirit Pearl would become his strongest weapon.

Just as he had expected, the evil spirits the Spirit Pearl had unleashed were tearing a nether bridge down.

“Destroy any of the eight bridges, and their whole spell formation will be broken.” Ling You suddenly became talkative and spirited. “You’ve probably noticed that since the nether bridges extended through our defenses, many of Huang Jinnan’s subordinates have been slowly losing their soul power.

“Even the might of their soul magics is compromised when they fight. That’s because the soul power they fuse into their attacking magics is subject to the nether bridges’ influence. One they cast those magics, part of the soul power within them will be channeled away by the nether bridges.

“Those eight nether bridges are secretly channeling soul power the whole time. After this battle comes to an end, the Nether Spirit Society disciples will be able to condense the soul power they’ve harvested into soul crystals.”

Pei Qiqi nodded slightly. “You’re right.”

There were only eight Nether Spirit Society disciples, whose cultivation bases didn’t have any advantage over Huang Jinnan’s subordinates.

However, this still seemed to be an evenly matched battle. The reason was twofold. For one, their nether deities provided them with significant help. For another, their spell formation of eight nether bridges was causing rapid soul power loss in Huang Jinnan’s subordinates, compromising the might of their soul magics.

“When I first learned that you were going to join this trip to the Domain of Nether Heaven, I thought you’d become a...” Ling You cleared his throat, swallowing the word ‘liability’. “Anyways, I didn’t expect you to make such a major contribution in battle with the help of that Phantasm treasure of yours. If we ride out this crisis, I’ll inform our team leaders of your contribution.”

“Nie Tian is never a liability,” Pei Qiqi said expressionlessly.

Ling You fell silent.

WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!

The man who was standing on the nether bridge that was being gnawed at by the five evil spirits scrambled to unleash more nether spirits from within his sleeves.

As the nether spirits that formed the bridge were grabbed and devoured by the evil spirits, tears and cracks continued to appear in the bridge. This forced him to fuse the bridge with more nether spirits, lest it break.

The man had a hard time doing this.

He cast the Nether Spirit Society’s secret soul magics one after another. However, none of them caused any damage to the evil spirits.

He was well-versed in spirit controlling methods as well, which allowed him to control all sorts of discarnate souls and evil spirits to fight for him.

However, the five evil spirits seemed to be immune to all of them.

Before long, he realized that he was running out of the nether spirits he had accumulated for many years.

In contrast, the five evil spirits became faster and fiercer as they continued to gnaw at the bridge, tear nether spirits from it, and swallow them whole.

Panicked, he called for help, “Elder Luan!!”

The Nether Spirit Society expert manipulating Xiao Xihe’s nether deity had been consumed with his battle against Zhao Heng. Hearing that man’s loud call, he spared a wisp of his soul awareness to see what was going on with that man.

“Hmm?!” He couldn’t help but exclaim, as if he recognized the unfavorable changes right away.

He instantly let out a roar that spread hundreds of kilometers into his surroundings. “What are you still waiting for, you from the Death Curse Sect?!”

Ling You snorted coldly. “People from the Death Curse Sect are here as well?! That’s exactly what I thought! Nether Spirit Society disciples aren’t good at sealing spells like the Heaven Freezing Spell. I knew that the Death Curse Sect was helping them as soon as I saw that Heaven Freezing Spell.”

Puzzled, Nie Tian asked, “The Death Curse Sect?” 

“Like the Nether Spirit Society, they’re also a crooked Qi warrior sect,” Ling You said, disdain filling his face. “A few thousand years ago, the four great sects destroyed their headquarters and killed every disciple they could find. After that, their surviving disciples lived the lives of wandering ghosts, and never dared to come out into the light. I was there when we eliminated the Death Curse Sect. I witnessed their sectmaster being annihilated, body and soul.”

A voice filled with endless grudges suddenly echoed out in the distance. “My father may have died, but I survived!” 

But in the next moment, a Qi warrior with a gruesome look appeared behind the eight nether bridges. His whole body was wrapped in gauze. Numerous spell symbols could be seen on his pale face.

He fixed his eyes on Ling You and said, “So you were there when it happened.”

Ling You took a glance at him and nodded. “You’re Ren Yuanji, the son of the Death Curse Sect’s sectmaster, right? I knew you escaped, but I didn’t think you’d have entered the middle Saint domain already. Judging by the speed at which you’ve progressed, your cultivation talent is better than your father’s.

“I know the incantations you practice far too well. You must have done a lot of evil over these years, considering that you’ve entered the middle Saint domain in such a short time.”

With a nasty grin, the person who was referred to as Ren Yuanji said, “So what? How many domains have your sects reduced to dead domains due to your overexploitation? How is your way of strengthening yourselves any different from that of my sect’s and the Nether Spirit Society’s?”

“At least we don’t butcher our own kind,” Ling You said coldly.

“Our disciples aren’t human?” Ren Yuanji countered.

“You don’t deserve to be!” Ling You spat, his face filled with disgust. “Your sect deserved to be wiped out even more than the Nether Spirit Society does!”

 

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Translator: Alcohol Sword Immortal a.k.a. Beerblade. (Follow me on Twitter)  Editor: GNE, Zach Consulting Editor: Deathblade  LOAR Glossary   LOAR Artworks