In the Martial Spirit Sect.
Hou Chulan charged her surviving subordinates with the task of investigating the Martial Spirit Sect elders one by one. He Lianxiong instructed Xu Yi to help them.
Meanwhile, Ruan Qingliu and Shen Jing’s focus was to search for Gan Xi.
No one left the Domain of Heaven’s Origin right away, including Nie Tian.
Wei Botao arranged for Nie Tian to take a secluded corner residence, where he focused on his breakthrough into the Soul realm.
Soon, two eighth grade Phantasm corpses shriveled as Nie Tian drained them of their flesh power.
Tossing them back into his ring of holding, Nie Tian thought to himself, “This trip has turned out to be a losing deal, if I don’t take contribution points into consideration.”
He had consumed three drops of Blood Essence to unleash Life Shackle on Froste.
With the flesh power he got from the two eighth grade Phantasm corpses, he recovered the three drops of Blood Essence, and the green aura in his heart had devoured what remained.
However, a great flesh power gap still needed to be filled in order for his bloodline aura to fall dormant and enter its next upgrade cycle.
“It’s such a pity that the Phantasms took that ninth grade grand patriarch’s corpse away.”
Other than the two Phantasms, he had also killed an eighth grade Fiend.
However, that Fiend’s flesh power was mixed with a great number of toxins. Nie Tian attempted to channel and refine its flesh power, but found that he had to suffer from the toxins to do so. The loss outweighed the gain.
Eventually, he decided to keep the Fiend corpse and give it to Li Langfeng the next time they met.
Li Langfeng practiced poisonous incantations that allowed him to absorb and refine all sorts of toxins to make advances in his cultivation.
However, since the four great sects were currently searching for those who practiced unorthodox incantations everywhere, he had instructed Dong Li to get Li Langfeng out of the Domain of the Falling Stars to somewhere safe.
He took out a large number of spirit jades and spiritual materials of various attributes. Spreading them on the floor of the secret room, he muttered, “Let’s get started!”
He started his breakthrough into the Soul realm.
Among all human cultivation bases, the Void, Saint, and God domains were the hardest to reach.
These three major steps were usually accompanied by numerous unpredictable dangers.
One minor mishap, and the cultivator would lose his domain and fleshly body.
If things were worse, the cultivator might even have his soul eliminated, and die beyond salvation.
For this reason, even though Hou Chulan, who was currently at the late Void domain, already had what it took to attempt to break through into the Saint domain, she chose to make more preparations instead of making the attempt right away.
In comparison, the minor breakthroughs under these major cultivation bases were usually less risky.
Compared to breaking through into the Void, Saint, and God domains, breaking through into the Soul realm was far safer and easier.
When Nie Tian had stated that he had decided to attempt to enter the Soul realm, Hou Chulan had offered to help. However, Nie Tian had politely refused.
He felt safe enough with Jing Feiyang, Yue Yanxi, and Jiang Feng by his side.
As flame power, wood power, and star power fluctuations gradually rose from Nie Tian’s temporary residence, others in the vicinity realized that he had started making his breakthrough, but didn’t really mind it.
Most of He Lianxiong and Hou Chulan’s subordinates were busy conducting a thorough investigation of the elders of the Martial Spirit Sect.
A few days later, while Nie Tian was still in the middle of his breakthrough, Ruan Qingliu and Shen Jing returned, looking frustrated.
They had failed to find any trace of the vice sectmaster of the Martial Spirit Sect, and had no idea where he had escaped to.
Meanwhile, the others finished investigating even the remote relatives of the Martial Spirit Sect’s Void domain elders, but didn’t find anything worth noting.
Therefore, Hou Chulan was convinced that the absconded vice sectmaster was the other expert in the Domain of Heaven’s Origin who had colluded with the Phantasms.
The Heaven Span Pavilion had learned about He Lianxiong’s sound defeat, and thus arranged for a God domain expert to come to the Domain of Heaven’s Origin.
Upon arriving, he went to conduct a thorough examination of the area of the starry river where they had fought the Fiends and Phantasms, and sensed unusual spatial fluctuations. From this and other signs he found, he confirmed that a teleportation portal had once existed there.
His discovery made people realize that the Phantasms and Fiends who had snuck into the Domain of Heaven’s Origin to set up this trap for Hou Chulan had already left, and destroyed the teleportation portal through which they had come.
Afterwards, He Lianxiong left the Domain of Heaven’s Origin with the God domain expert.
Originally, Hou Chulan was going to evaluate Nie Tian’s contribution after returning to the Five Elements Sect, and then send an appropriate number of spirit jades to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace as compensation.
After receiving them, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace would calculate Nie Tian’s contribution points accordingly.
However, since Nie Tian was still in the middle of his breakthrough, she arranged for the others to return, while she and Ruan Qingliu remained in the Domain of Heaven’s Origin, waiting for Nie Tian to finish his breakthrough.
“Nie Tian helped us a lot this time. How many spirit jades do you think we should send to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace?” Ruan Qingliu asked.
If Nie Tian hadn’t dealt Froste a heavy blow, they would have lost much more than two early Saint domain experts. Even Hou Chulan and Ruan Qingliu themselves might not have survived the encounter.
If that had happened, it would have indirectly caused He Lianxiong to die at Lamson’s hands as well.
All of this gave Hou Chulan a headache over how they should determine Nie Tian’s contribution in the recent battle.
After pondering for a long while, Hou Chulan said, “I’ll talk to Nie Tian after he finishes his breakthrough. Normally speaking, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace will deduct a small portion from the compensation we pay them for their disciples’ contributions. However, all of their internal affairs are currently being handled by vice sectmaster Luo Wanxiang, who doesn’t seem to be very fond of Nie Tian.”
Realizing what Hou Chulan was thinking, Ruan Qingliu asked, “Are you saying that you want to give part of the compensation we’re giving the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace to Nie Tian directly? It’ll be against the common practice, won’t it?”
“No one will find out as long as we don’t tell,” Hou Chulan said with a composed face.
Ruan Qingliu didn’t say anything else.
A few hours passed...
Unusual fluctuations suddenly burst forth from the area where Nie Tian was, and were sensed by many Void domain Martial Spirit Sect disciples. The realm where the Martial Spirit Sect was based was named the Realm of Martial Spirit. At this moment, a few strands of mixed energies seemed to be channeled from the starry river, as they descended towards Nie Tian’s location after being screened by the realm barrier.
Only those who were at the Void domain or higher could sense such energies, and their unusual movement.
Wei Botao rushed to Hou Chulan’s side and whispered to her with an astonished face, “Nie Tian’s attempt to break through into the Soul realm seems to have triggered changes. Three strands of power are now fusing into the Realm of Martial Spirit from the starry river!”
Hearing this, Hou Chulan immediately rose to her feet and flew to the residence where Nie Tian was practicing cultivation.
It was a secluded, quiet residence by the entrance of a deep mountain valley. Jing Feiyang, Yue Yanxi, and Jiang Feng were standing in the courtyard, gazing skywards with disbelieving looks in their eyes.
Three strands of power that were concentrated flame power, wood power, and star power were streaming down from the night sky. Their keen soul perception allowed them to sense them with great clarity.
Looking at Hou Chulan, Ruan Qingliu, and Wei Botao, who flew into the courtyard, Jing Feiyang said with a frown, “You sensed the changes too, didn’t you? Normally speaking, to break through into the Soul realm, cultivators need nothing but spirit jades and spiritual materials that agree with their cultivation attributes. Only those who attempt to enter the Void, Saint, or God domains would trigger changes in the starry river.
“But those energies are clearly being channeled from the starry river. This is indeed a rare scene.”
Hou Chulan’s bright eyes glittered as she said in a soft voice, “The three types of power are being channeled to this place by three wondrous treasures in Nie Tian’s spiritual sea. The first one is a spark of orange flame. You all witnessed it devour and refine the Domain-corroding Flames.
“The second one is a Godspirit Tree sapling. And if what I suspect is true, the third is a Nine Stars Flower.
“That Godspirit Tree sapling is a Heaven Nourished grade spiritual material. I don’t know about that flame spark, but since it could even refine Domain-corroding Flames, it’s probably a Heaven Nourished grade treasure as well. As for the Nine Stars Flower, even though it’s not as highly graded as the other two, its unique nature allows it to channel star power from the starry river.
“Each of his three spiritual cores contains a wondrous treasure. Now, as he infuses them with a great amount of power, the most mysterious nature of those treasures is being fully stimulated.”
Surprised by her words, Jing Feiyang asked with wide eyes, “Can you see through what’s going on in his spiritual sea?”
Hou Chulan shook her head. “No, I’m only certain about that Godspirit Tree sapling. I’m guessing about that flame spark and Nine Stars Flower. But I think my speculations are true for the most part. Being able to channel power into himself from the starry river, this guy is really chosen by heaven.”
“Divine Daughter, his breakthrough isn’t going to change the fundamental structure of the Realm of Martial Spirit, is it?” Wei Botao asked nervously.
Hou Chulan gave him a sideways glance and said with an expressionless face. “Don’t worry. There won’t be any negative influence. Then again, even if this realm shatters because of Nie Tian’s breakthrough, don’t you think I can get you another realm that’s just as good?”
“T-that’s not what I meant,” Wei Botao said embarrassedly.
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