Ruan Qingliu left in a hurry.
One of Hou Chulan’s subordinates returned from the Earth Spirit Sect’s ancient starship, and reported, “Divine Daughter, we’ve finished examining the seas of awareness of the other Earth Spirit Sect disciples. None of them have had any contact with the Phantasms, or know about Qiu Hanshan’s collusion with them.”
Hou Chulan nodded and said, “Send someone to take them back to the Earth Spirit Sect, and summon and investigate all of their sect elders.”
“Got it.” The man returned to deliver the order.
Qiu Hanshan, who had been at the early Saint domain, had been the Earth Spirit Sect’s most powerful expert. Any subordinate of Hou Chulan would be able to handle the whole Earth Spirit Sect effortlessly.
Wei Botao sighed. “I really didn’t expect Qiu Hanshan to have secret connections with the Phantasms. However, now that I think about it, there are actually some signs. Qiu Hanshan’s cultivation base has progressed by leaps and bounds during the past century. And both he and his son could always get their hands on rare spiritual materials that are hard to find in human domains.
“It’s a great taboo to have contact with outsiders. Qiu Hanshan must have been aware that the elders of his sect wouldn’t support him if they learned what he had been doing. So he must have kept his collusion with the Phantasms a secret.”
With a worried look in her eyes, Hou Chulan said, “I wonder how many traitors like him are still walking among us.”
Upon hearing these words, everyone’s expressions grew grim.
Crooked sects like the Nether Spirit Society and the Death Curse Sect drew attention wherever they went.
Therefore, such outsider-colluders were fairly easy to guard against.
However, people like Qiu Hanshan, who held high positions in legitimate sects, could operate right under the four great sects’ noses without being discovered.
If there were still many like him spread across the human domains...
The mere thought of it sent a chill down Nie Tian’s spine.
Hou Chulan smiled and said, “Thank you. Martial Brother Huang and Martial Sister Lou were right about you. If your sect had sent another Son of the Stars instead of you, I might have fallen into that traitor’s trap already. Since he had colluded with the Phantasms to set up this trap for me, if we had spread out to search for those teleportation portals without noticing their scheme, my life would have been in danger.”
“Well, lucky for me, I have that unique Phantasm treasure on me, and Qiu Hanshan didn’t know about it,” Nie Tian said.
Hou Chulan nodded and suggested, “Let’s not make any moves before reinforcements from our sect get here.”
Nie Tian smiled. “Whatever you say.”
After this incident with Qiu Hanshan, when Hou Chulan’s Saint domain subordinates looked at him, their eyes were filled with heartfelt respect.
Before, they had thought that Hou Chulan must have overestimated Nie Tian.
After all, his name had only spread across the human domains during the past decade or so.
These experts had met far too many people with undeserved reputations.
Not only was Nie Tian’s cultivation base low, but he had just recently joined the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. Every time Huang Jinnan and Luo Hongyan had appraised him so highly, it made them wonder whether there was something going on between Nie Tian and those two.
But now, after this incident, they finally accepted him.
With a warm smile on her face, Hou Chulan said, “For some reason, I felt a sense of closeness towards you the moment you arrived in the Martial Spirit Sect. You seem to give off an indescribable aura that attracts me.”
Nie Tian was dumbfounded. Rubbing his nose embarrassedly, he said, “Umm... What kind of attractions are you talking about, Martial Sister Hou?”
Hou Chulan seemed to suddenly realize something as a chuckle escaped her mouth. “No, no, no. It’s not what you’re thinking.”
Many of her subordinates, including Wei Botao and his people, were also embarrassed by the sensitive topic, and thus excused themselves sensibly. They either retreated to the cabins or distanced themselves from the two.
Upon seeing this, Yue Yanxi and the others went blank briefly before flying away as well.
All of a sudden, Hou Chulan and Nie Tian became the only ones left on the starship’s deck.
Hou Chulan looked around and shook her head with a soft laugh. “People...”
To break the tension, Nie Tian asked playfully, “Don’t tell me that you fell in love with me the first time we met, martial sister... I’m engaged to another. You’d better exercise restraint, especially from revealing your feelings in front of others.”
Hou Chulan give him a hard look. “Very funny… You practice wood power as well, don’t you? I can vaguely sense something remarkable in your wood power core. It’s a Godspirit Tree sapling, isn’t it?”
Nie Tian was impressed. “You can even sense that?”
Hou Chulan tilted her chin slightly and said proudly, “Of course. I’m the Divine Daughter of the wood element sect of the Five Elements Sect. My master is the head of the wood element sect and a late God domain expert. Countless cultivators practice wood power, but no one’s attainments in wood power incantations match my master’s. Throughout the entire starry river, perhaps only a couple of Floragrim grand monarchs have the kind of understanding of wood power that my master has.
“As impressive as it is to refine a Godspirit Tree sapling into your wood power core, the unique treasure in my wood power core is every bit as wondrous, if not more.”
Nie Tian thought for a brief moment, then asked, “Are you saying that it’s the Godspirit Tree sapling in my wood power core that’s attracting you?”
“No,” Hou Chulan said. “It’s the aura of your unique bloodline. Your flesh aura seems to carry the profound truths of life. I’m only standing beside you, and yet the flesh aura you exude already soothes me. And it’s hard to believe that as a hybrid, you practice multiple powers simultaneously, and can still manage to make such rapid advances in your cultivation.”
“The profound truths of life...” Nie Tian thought to himself.
Whenever he practiced Heavenly Wood Heal, he could sense with great clarity that wood power and flesh power actually had a lot in common, and could be considered two forms of life power.
His unique bloodline allowed him to grant humans vigorous life power to prolong their lifespan.
Even among the wide array of outsider races, such a bloodline talent was shocking and unheard of.
The way he saw it, it was thanks to his unique bloodline he had been able to acquire those seventy-two tree branches, master the Wood Thriving Formation, and practice the Floragrims’ Heavenly Wood Heal.
Since Hou Chulan said that it wasn’t the Godspirit Tree sapling in his wood power core that attracted her, then it must be his bloodline.
“I have a favor to ask, Nie Tian,” Hou Chulan said.
Surprised, Nie Tian said, “Sure, what is it?”
“Could you please guard me when the time comes for me to break through into the Saint domain?” Hou Chulan asked. “For some reason, I have a feeling that the odds of me successfully advancing to the Saint domain will rise significantly if you’re by my side. The aura you exude alone soothes me. My attempt to break through into the Saint domain will be full of danger. I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle it alone.”
Nie Tian smiled bitterly. “But my cultivation base is so much lower than yours. I doubt that I’d be of any help.”
“You don’t need to worry about that.” With these words, Hou Chulan seemed to suddenly realize something, and she said, “Of course, I won’t let your efforts go unpaid. From what I heard, you seem to need a large number of outsider and spirit beast corpses. I’ll help you with that. There are large collections of them in my possession, my subordinate domains, and my sect. I’ll be able to get lots of them for you.”
Nie Tian’s eyes lit up. “What about eighth grade Ancientbeast and outsider corpses?”
Hou Chulan smiled. “Forget about eighth grade ones, I can even get you some ninth grade ones.”
Nie Tian was greatly spirited. “Great! Let me know when you need my help. I’ll clear my schedule beforehand!”
Overjoyed, Hou Chulan lifted her hand squarely to clap hands with Nie Tian.
Nie Tian immediately understood her intention and met her hand with his.
Their hands broke after a quick clap.
While Nie Tian didn’t felt anything abnormal, Hou Chulan’s body shuddered slightly, her eyes glittering.
Apparently, the unique flesh aura exuded from his palm alone made her feel incomparably wonderful.
She instantly realized that Nie Tian’s wondrous bloodline would definitely be very helpful to her.
She stood aghast. “What on earth is the secret of this guy’s bloodline? All I did was clap hands with him, and the faint flesh aura exuded from his palm gave me such an unusual feeling?”
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