Chapter 1053: Reputation

Shortly after Hou Chulan’s air-transportation spiritual tool flew off the Martial Spirit Sect’s ancient starship, Hou Chulan said, “He Lianxiong is like that. Don’t mind him.”

She pointed a finger at her own head. “There might be something wrong with him in here.”

Nie Tian laughed and said, “Yeah, it certainly seems so.”

Hou Chulan nodded. “The man is overconfident. He’s badgered me for years, and shows up wherever I go. Many men around me have been driven away by him. And he tells people everywhere that I’ll eventually accept him. What a nutcase.”

“How did he come to know you in the first place, Martial Sister Hou?” Nie Tian asked curiously.

He was well-aware that there was nothing wrong with He Lianxiong’s head. Otherwise, the sectmaster of the Heaven Span Pavilion would never have taken him as his stepson.

Perhaps he was only mental and impulsive when facing Hou Chulan. He must not be like this when facing others.

After all, love usually made people lose their minds.

“My sect and his sect once explored a brand new domain together,” Hou Chulan said, “which turned out to be a trip full of danger. He Lianxiong and I were attacked by a swarm of unidentified outsiders. He sustained heavy injuries, and nearly died.

“Since I practice wood power, I spent some time healing him, just the two of us.

“He’s clung to me ever since. Wherever I go, he goes.

“Because of this, many in my sect laugh at me all the time, which is very annoying.”

Nie Tian laughed heartily. “It sounds to me that you shouldn’t have helped him.”

“I agree,” Hou Chulan said bitterly. “If I knew this would happen, I would have left him there to fend for himself.”

While the two of them spoke, the other Saint and Void domain experts spread out in their surroundings, fending off the harmful impurities with their respective domains.

Yue Yanxi and Jiang Feng flew behind the air-transportation spiritual tool, matching its speed to keep a certain distance.

Saint domain experts like Ruan Qingliu flew in farther areas, where their immense soul awareness knit into a huge net, covering and scanning a large area for Phantasm soul auras.

However, they found nothing after flying for a long time.

Since Hou Chulan’s air-transportation spiritual tool warded off the mixed energies in the starry river, Nie Tian didn’t have to make an effort to do that. He just sat back and relaxed.

Failing to find anything noteworthy, Hou Chulan had to try another way of thinking. She turned to Nie Tian and asked, “Can you use that Phantasm tool to contact and locate the Phantasms?” 

“No,” Nie Tian gave a clear-cut answer. “Everyone’s soul aura is unique. If I reached out to the Phantasms using Qiu Hanshan’s tool, the Phantasms will instantly know that I’m not him, and become alarmed.”

Looking frustrated, Hou Chulan said, “Unfortunately, we didn’t get a God domain expert to join our operation. If we had a God domain expert on our team, we wouldn’t have to annihilate Qiu Hanshan’s discarnate soul so quickly. Instead, we’d be able to strip memories from it.”

But to do that, the spell caster’s cultivation base usually had to be a major level higher than the spell receiver.

While Qiu Hanshan had been at the Saint domain, the strongest expert on their team was Ruan Qingliu, who was also at the Saint domain. It would have been far too dangerous for her to attempt to strip memories from his discarnate soul.

Qiu Hanshan would have been able to ignite his discarnate soul to inflict a heavy backlash on her.

For that reason, Ruan Qingliu had adopted a more straightforward method, which was to annihilate his discarnate soul without giving him a chance to escape.

Failing to find another way, everyone could only continue the painstaking search.

“In fact, there was something I could have done before Qiu Hanshan’s discarnate soul was eliminated,” Nie Tian said somewhat pitifully.

Hou Chulan was taken aback. “What do you mean?”

Nie Tian summoned the Spirit Pearl once again. “This pearl is a unique treasure forged by the Phantasms. As far as I know, the Phantasms have only made three of them. I’ve refined and given this one a soul. This allows it to devour the discarnate soul of any living being and screen fragmentary memories from them.”

“Then why didn’t you just do that?” Hou Chulan was confused.

“Even though it’s not a big deal to collect outsider discarnate souls with it, it’s a serious taboo to collect the discarnate souls of our own kind,” Nie Tian said with a frown. “You must know what attitude we great sects recently hold towards people and sects that practice forbidden incantations.”

These words plunged Hou Chulan into thought.

Nie Tian sighed. “Once people learn that I’ve consumed a human soul with my Spirit Pearl, I’ll be in serious trouble. Not to mention that our Vice Sectmaster Luo Wanxiang has placed high hopes in Sikong Cuo, the sixth Son of the Stars. I don’t want to do anything that others can hold against me at such a sensitive moment.”

Hou Chulan nodded in agreement. “That’s a valid concern. I didn’t know that you’re actually a discreet person. Also, do you know why He Lianxiong dislikes all Sons of Stars of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace?”

Puzzled, Nie Tian asked, “Why?” 

“In fact, He Lianxiong isn’t the only one,” Hou Chulan said. “Many from the other three great sects don’t enjoy cooperating with you Sons of the Stars. The Divine Sons and Daughters of my sect are all on equal grounds. There isn’t a question of who will ascend to power and who won’t. Every Divine Son and Daughter will eventually become the head of their respective sect. This is a set rule.

“For this reason, we won’t fight each other all the time, and be incompatible as fire and water.

“As for the Void Spirit Society and the Heaven Span Pavilion, even though they only have one ultimate leader, their future sectmaster will be chosen by their current sectmaster. None of the elders or vice sectmasters have any say in the matter.

“Because of this, their legacy disciples or stepsons and stepdaughters normally won’t be consumed with heated internal strife.

“All they’ll need to do is win the acknowledgement of their current sectmaster. In fact, if they try to undermine their own, their sectmaster will be displeased, which will achieve the opposite result.

“However, this isn’t the case with your sect.

“All seven Sons of the Stars have a chance to become the future sectmaster, which will be determined through an election among not only your current sectmaster, but your vice sectmasters and twelves elders as well.

“And your sect doesn’t prohibit Sons of the Stars from confronting each other. They even indulge such behaviors.

“Because the way your sect sees it, only through overt competition and invert strife will the most capable Son of the Stars emerge as a winner. This particular practice has resulted in the fact that you Sons of the Stars usually form sides and fight among yourselves by fair means or foul, which never stops.

“And that’s also why the Sons of the Stars of your sect are used to schemes.

“For example, Sikong Cuo has adapted to this practice of your sect perfectly. He not only schemes against those from your sect, but those from the other sects who work with him too. The same goes for some of the other Sons of the Stars.

“That’s why people from the other three sects don’t like to go on quests with Sons of the Stars from your sect. If they have to, they raise their guard, lest they be set up.”

With a wry smile, Nie Tian said, “From the looks of it, we Sons of the Stars have a bad name.”

Hou Chulan laughed softly. “But there are exceptions. You and Fang Yuan are highly regarded so far. If my martial brother Huang and martial sister Lou hadn’t spoken so highly of you, I wouldn’t even have dared to get close to you. I actually let out a sigh of relief when I learned that it was you that was coming to work with me in the Domain of Heaven’s Origin instead of the others.”

Her words made Nie Tian rather embarrassed.

“Now that I’ve become a Son of the Stars, the name of the Sons of the Stars will be rectified,” Nie Tian said with heroic spirits.

Hou Chulan shook her head. “Perhaps only if you become the new sectmaster will you be able to change anything. There’s nothing you can do yet. Also, it’s going to be very difficult if you want to win the position of sectmaster from a competition with Sikong Cuo. As far as I know, he’s got the most support within your sect. Many believe that he’ll be the final winner.”

“Hehe. Then it’s bad news for him that I’ve passed the trial and become the seventh Son of the Stars.” Gazing off into the distance, Nie Tian pondered for a moment before starting soul communication with the Spirit Pearl.

Shortly afterwards, he cast the Spirit Pearl out.

Emanating cyan light, it floated around on its own like a flickering light drifting in the dim starry river. In its own way, it started scanning its surroundings.

“Are you using that thing to track the Phantasms?” Hou Chulan asked curiously.

Nie Tian nodded. “Considering that a blind search doesn’t seem to be working, I can only try something else. That Spirit Pearl is a Phantasm treasure, and has a keen perception of Phantasm auras. Even though I’m not sure about its detection range, it's better than nothing.”

Hou Chulan’s eyes lit up. “Interesting. You do have some incredible means. I’m not surprised that you obtained such a Phantasm treasure. What surprised me is the fact that you’re able to refine it and make it yours to command.”

Nie Tian smiled confidently. “Well, I guess I’m pretty special.” 

“Agreed,” Hou Chulan said.

 

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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