Ever since Nie Tian had refined the Spirit Pearl, given it a soul, and fused it with a wisp of his soul imprint, a permanent soul connection had been established between them.
Such a connection allowed Nie Tian to communicate with the Spirit Pearl within a certain range.
At this moment, the Spirit Pearl was drifting around seemingly aimlessly.
Under Nie Tian’s instructions, Hou Chulan controlled her air-transportation spiritual tool to follow it.
Ruan Qingliu and the other experts followed along without saying anything.
Many of them would lay their gazes on the Spirit Pearl from time to time.
Since it was hard to tell time in the starry river, Nie Tian didn’t how long had passed before the Spirit Pearl suddenly accelerated.
Greatly spirited, Nie Tian exclaimed, “Follow it!”
Hou Chulan’s bright eyes lit up as she started to exude an emerald green aura, as if she had turned into a piece of gorgeous jade. Even her skin became smoother and more moist.
The wood power that originated from her fused perfectly into the floor of the air-transportation spiritual tool under her feet.
The spiritual tool abruptly picked up speed.
It wasn’t long before the dashing Spirit Pearl led them to an unknown area of the starry river, and came to a sudden stop.
People arrived and gathered around it, where they glanced around curiously and unleashed their soul awareness to scan the vicinity.
Debris and a wrecked starship was found floating silently in the starry river.
The starship wasn’t very large. Judging from the banners it hung, it was one of the Martial Spirit Sect’s ancient starships.
“That’s one of the starships the Martial Spirit Sect sent to search for the teleportation portals,” Ruan Qingliu said. “There isn’t a single body on it. If my speculation is correct, that starship was destroyed by the Phantasms, and the bodies of those they killed have been cleaned out.”
Hou Chulan nodded and asked Nie Tian, “Why did that pearl of yours take us here?”
“There’s residual Phantasm Qi and Phantasm flesh auras here,” Nie Tian said, looking at the wrecked starship. “It might be difficult for you to capture such auras, but it comes easy to it. The battle that took place here must have ended a long time ago, yet there’s still lingering Phantasm Qi and Phantasm flesh auras.”
Hou Chulan’s expression flickered. “If that’s the case, there must be a teleportation portal in the vicinity that connects to the Phantasms’ heaven and earth.”
Eyes narrowed, Nie Tian nodded. “That’s probably the case. But I have a feeling that the information Qiu Hanshan fed you wasn’t all true. In fact, I doubt there are three teleportation portals.”
“If not, how many do you think there are?” Hou Chulan asked.
“It’s very difficult to forge inter-domain teleportation portals, not to mention a portal that connects to the Phantasms’ heaven and earth. Meanwhile, Qiu Hanshan only needed one teleportation portal to communicate and exchange materials and supplies with the Phantasms.” After a brief moment of pondering, Nie Tian continued, “I’m guessing there’s only one teleportation portal.”
Hou Chulan took a moment to think about the matter, and approved of Nie Tian’s speculation. She turned to Ruan Qingliu and said, “Aunt Ruan, tell He Lianxiong to stop wasting his time searching in other areas. The one and only teleportation portal that connects to the Phantasms’ heaven and earth might just be in this area, so tell him to come here as soon as possible.”
Ruan Qingliu did as she was bid without hesitation.
“Nie Tian, you may cease scanning the vicinity with your pearl for now,” Hou Chulan said. “We can start out after He Lianxiong and his subordinates get here. This is to prevent us from engaging with the Phantasms too early, when we don’t have the strength to crush them.”
“Alright,” Nie Tian said.
As he lifted his hand and made a beckoning motion, the Spirit Pearl turned into a streak of cyan light that shot into his palm.
Since the Phantasms had colluded with Qiu Hanshan to set up Hou Chulan, they must have a full grasp of her overall strength, and have confidence in defeating her force in battle.
Under such circumstances, it was indeed unwise to engage in a battle against them at this moment.
Therefore, everyone just waited by the wrecked starship for He Lianxiong and his subordinates to arrive.
A badly damaged starship that hung tattered Martial Spirit Sect banners appeared in the distance, and was sailing towards Nie Tian’s direction at a very slow speed.
The starship was silver white, and in the shape of a flying shuttle.
Upon seeing this, everyone hastily unleashed their soul awareness to examine it, as if they were facing formidable foes. However, they didn’t detect any soul fluctuations.
This meant there weren’t any living beings on the starship.
Even so, there were corpses on it.
There were a total of six corpses, all of which were human. Judging from the way they were dressed, they were all Qi warriors from the Martial Spirit Sect.
After the starship came closer, Ruan Qingliu rose up and took a glance down at it. “Six corpses, all of which were disciples of the Martial Spirit Sect. They must have been sent to search for the teleportation portals. It’s getting stranger by the minute. Let’s be extra careful, everyone.”
“Did the Phantasms put their corpses on the starship and send it our way?” Hou Chulan asked, frowning. “If so, why?”
Nie Tian was also confused.
As the starship came closer and closer, he secretly examined it with his bloodline power, and his expression instantly flickered.
He sensed unusual flesh power fluctuations from within the corpses, which reeked of a foul smell.
“Watch out!” As soon as he exclaimed, the bellies of the corpse suddenly swelled up at an alarming rate.
The starship exploded violently, along with the six swelling human corpses on board.
The explosion created a dark green bloody mist with a foul smell that instantly enveloped the area where everyone was.
All of the Saint and Void domain experts that were scattered around Hou Chulan had activated their domains, with which they were keeping off the harmful impurities in the starry river.
Now, as the dark green bloody mist enveloped them in the blink of an eye, all of their domains were exposed to it.
There were no exceptions.
The dark green bloody mist rapidly infiltrated their domains, and started to burn like green flames.
Because of this, the experts’ domains also started to burn, and show signs of disintegration.
The ward formed by Hou Chulan’s wooden air-transportation spiritual tool was also ignited by the weird green mist.
Ruan Qingliu was scared out of her mind, and couldn’t help but scream, “Domain-corroding Flames!”
Hou Chulan’s face also turned pale with fright. “It’s the Fiends’ Domain-corroding Flames! I can’t believe they’re actually using the Fiends’ vile flames to deal with us!”
Every Saint domain and Void domain expert’s domain burned fiercely, giving rise to crackling sounds.
Each of their domains had their unique wonders. Some contained mountains and rivers; some were filled with lightning bolts; some were full of whistling strong wind, while others were filled with freshly-green overgrown forests. Yet they were poisoned all alike.
Every expert was having a hard time. Watching their domains continue to burn, they all retreated to the very center of their domains and cast spells to compress them.
“What makes the Domain-corroding Flames so powerful and sinister?” Nie Tian asked aloud.
“This particular type of flame refined by the Fiends is exclusively used to unravel human experts’ domains!” Hou Chulan said anxiously. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re at the Saint domain or the Void domain. One touch of these flames will set your domain on fire, causing it to lose mobility and crack bit by bit. If we were in one of our realms, we could have simply withdrawn our domains and purged the corrosive flames inside through certain means.
“But instead of a heaven and earth protected by a realm barrier, we’re now stranded in the starry river!”
Her words enlightened Nie Tian.
According to Hou Chulan, it wasn’t hard for cultivators to rid their domains of Domain-corroding Flames in a realm that was protected by a realm barrier.
All they needed to do was withdraw their domains and cleanse them with certain methods.
However, it was much more troublesome to do it in the starry river.
Human experts relied on their domains to protect themselves from the harmful impurities in the starry river.
Once they withdrew their domains, their fragile fleshly bodies would be exposed to the starry river.
It was known that humans had feeble fleshly bodies. Once the harmful impurities infiltrated their bodies, it wouldn’t be long before they died.
Such enlightenment allowed Nie Tian to see how perilous and desperate the situation really was.
The glowing shield around the air-transportation spiritual tool continued to burn in the irrepressible Domain-corroding Flames.
Hou Chulan smiled bitterly and said, “This shield works in the same way as my domain, so it can’t escape the fate of being plagued by the Domain-corroding Flames either.”
“Divine Daughter!” Ruan Qingliu called out. “Since your domain hasn’t been poisoned by the Domain-corroding Flames, you’d better leave with Nie Tian now! Don’t mind us!”
Hou Chulan shook her head. “That won’t work.”
Ruan Qingliu and the other experts had formed a sphere of domains around her. Now, each and every one of them was being burned by the Domain-corroding Flames, giving rise to crackling sounds.
Therefore, even if she abandoned her air-transportation spiritual tool and attempted to leave enveloped in her domain, she wouldn’t be able to do so without her domain catching the Domain-corroding Flames.
Nie Tian suddenly burst through the cracking shield into the starry river.
“Nie Tian! Are you trying to get yourself killed?!” Hou Chulan exclaimed.
Since Nie Tian was still at the Profound realm and hadn’t forged his domain yet, she assumed that it would be suicide to expose his fleshly body in the starry river.
Nie Tian waved carelessly. “I’ll be fine.”
Completely exposed in the starry river and glancing around at the struggling Saint and Void domain experts, he suddenly activated Life Strengthening.
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