Nie Tian walked out of his cultivation room and into the open area in the depths of the mountain valley, where he focused on channeling power from spirit jades and all sorts of spiritual materials.
Under the night sky, his whole body glowed as he attracted power from the starry river like a magnet.
Illusory shapes of the orange flame spark, the Nine Stars Flower, and the Godspirit Tree sapling rose from the top of his head.
They were the condensation of the stimulated auras of the three wondrous items.
Even though they were illusory, they managed to channel three types of power from the starry river and guide them into Nie Tian’s spiritual sea.
At the same time, Nie Tian used the Qi Refining Incantation to channel power into his dantian region from spirit jades and spiritual materials of different attributes.
Spiritual auras that were rich and pure filled his spiritual sea like multicolored mists.
Nie Tian examined himself with his soul awareness, and saw with great clarity that all four of his spiritual cores were undergoing changes.
When his flame power core, wood power core, star power core, and pure spiritual power core had first formed, they had refined and condensed spiritual auras in his spiritual sea into liquid.
At this moment, as the liquid spiritual power further refined, solid pieces gradually formed at the hearts of his four spiritual cores.
A crimson crystal that was the size of a grain of rice formed at the heart of the flame power core; a piece of wood of the same size appeared at the heart of the wood power core; a tiny piece of silver metal formed at the very center of the star power core.
“Liquid power further condenses into solid. This must mean that the spiritual cores can hold more power now!”
Enlightened, Nie Tian continued to observe, and discovered that the solidified parts only took up a small portion of the spiritual cores.
The power that was farther from the center was still liquid.
The changes in his spiritual sea thrilled him greatly.
Now, as he observed his dantian region, his spiritual sea looked like a misty sea of spiritual Qi at first glance, but upon closer look, four spiritual cores floated in the middle of the spiritual Qi, with solidified power at their hearts and liquidized power filling the rest of them.
This was how his spiritual sea looked now.
As for the spark of Divine Flame, the Nine Stars Flower, and the Godspirit Tree sapling, they floated around in the liquidized power, channeling power from the starry river and growing at a fast rate.
As he absorbed more spiritual power, flame power, wood power, and star power, the tiny pieces of solid power at the hearts of his spiritual cores grew slowly.
Soon afterwards, his true soul underwent changes as well.
As wisp after wisp of soul power fused into his true soul, his originally blurry true soul grew clearer and clearer.
They seemed to add ‘skin’ to his true soul, and made it look identical to his true form.
The ‘skin’ was the result of further refined soul power. It rid his true soul of its sense of illusion and gave it a sense of reality, as if it vested his true soul with flesh and blood.
He didn’t need anyone to tell him about the fundamental differences between the Soul realm and the Profound realm. His own observation and enlightenment was enough.
The solid part only took up about a fifth of each spiritual core.
However, tiny as they were, they contained more power than the liquid parts.
He also came to realize that his cultivation after entering the Soul realm would center on turning the remaining liquid parts of his spiritual cores solid.
His true soul, which seemed to have gained sharpened edges, suddenly rose from the top of his head and floated there.
However, as he separated his true soul from his fleshly body this time, he no longer felt so weak and fragile that a puff of air would scatter it.
From the look of it, his true soul could move around without the protection and nourishment of his fleshly body now, and wouldn’t die as easily in the outside world as before.
“From now on, my true soul will be able to leave my fleshly body to move around in regular realms. This means that even if my fleshly body perishes, as long as my true soul is well preserved, given the right opportunity, I can still be reincarnated.
“However, compared to a Void domain true soul, my true soul still has many limitations.”
In order for Soul realm cultivators to be reborn after their deaths, their true soul had to be completely intact.
For Void, Saint, and God domain experts, even if their true souls suffered heavy blows and split into many strands when they died, as long as they could secure one strand of their true soul, they would preserve their chance at reincarnation.
Lu Jiefeng from the Five Elements Sect had suffered from serious soul attacks in the Domain of Nether Heaven, and his true soul had almost been destroyed.
However, he had managed to secure a wisp of his true soul, which had preserved his chance at being reincarnated, regaining his memories from his previous life, and recovering his peak power.
“It seems that the true souls of Soul realm cultivators still can’t travel in the starry river without protection. This means that even after entering the Soul realm, I would die beyond salvation if my fleshly body perished in the starry river.”
Like a bolt of lightning, his true soul suddenly shot into the distance.
Seconds later, his true soul was already fifty kilometers from his fleshly body.
That was when the connection between his true soul and his fleshly body became unstable and hard to maintain.
Fifty kilometers seemed to be his true soul’s limit. If it went any further, it would most likely lose connection with his fleshly body.
Separated from his fleshly body by fifty kilometers, his true soul unleashed its soul awareness, and sensed the soul auras in its surroundings.
He instantly discovered a brilliant use of separating his true soul from his fleshly body. “By separating my true soul from my body, I can greatly increase my detection range! If I keep my true soul within my body, I can only scan a ten kilometer radius around me with my soul awareness.”
However, it would still be a risky thing to do. If there were powerful enemies in his surroundings, they might be able to detect and eliminate his true soul.
This was the reason why even though many powerful experts had this wondrous ability, they normally wouldn’t use it, unless they were certain that there weren’t any enemies that could threaten their true soul in the vicinity.
Back in the day, Wu Ji had secretly kept an eye on Nie Tian when he had entered a spiritual mine close to the Cloudsoaring Sect. His true soul was what he had used. The reason he had dared to do so was because he knew that there hadn’t been a single person that was stronger than him in that area. No one had even been able to detect the movement of his true soul.
This was also why elder Yan Zhan, who was at the late Saint domain, had dared to scan the Realm of Split Void with his true soul.
Furthermore, souls and spirits traveled at a much faster speed than fleshly bodies.
Therefore, it was much more efficient to scan heaven and earth with true souls.
This was why Yan Zhan had been able to get a full grasp of the situation in the Realm of Split Void within a very short time.
However, most Void and Saint domain experts wouldn’t release their true souls while traveling in the starry river. For one thing, the impurities in the starry river would harm their true souls. For another, they were afraid that they would encounter powerful enemies.
Without a power supply from the fleshly body, the true soul would have to rely on its own power, and was therefore unable to cast many exquisite spells and incantations.
There might be a chance at survival if what it encountered was the true soul of a weaker enemy, but it would be disastrous if it encountered a master of lightning incantations.
“The solid parts only take up about a fifth of my spiritual cores now. That’s something I can work on.”
With this thought, Nie Tian took out more spirit jades and materials that contained flame power, wood power, and star power, and used their power to further the solidification of his spiritual cores.
During this time, most of the flame power, wood power, and star power that was channeled from the starry river was consumed by the Nine Stars Flower, the flame spark, and the Godspirit Tree sapling themselves.
Only a very small portion was used to condense his spiritual cores further.
Seven days passed, and Nie Tian’s breakthrough was still not finished.
Jing Feiyang, Yue Yanxi, and Jiang Feng stood guard for him right outside the deep mountain valley.
Even though Hou Chulan and the others kept their distance from the valley, they paid close attention to the auras that kept streaming down from the starry river by relying on their keen soul perception.
Ruan Qingliu, who was at the late Saint domain, took a glance at Wei Botao and said, “Part of the flame power and wood power that has been channeled from the starry river isn’t pure enough, and is thus discarded. As it disperses into heaven and earth, the flame power and wood power in his surroundings is becoming richer and richer. The Heaven Nourished grade flame and wood treasures inside of Nie Tian are rather picky.
“However, even the power they don’t care to absorb is of great help to your realm.
“The trees and plants will benefit from the increasingly rich wood power in the air, and the flame power will help enhance the intensity of the earthflame in the bellies of the nearby mountains.”
Hou Chulan nodded. “It’s not his breakthrough, but those two Heaven Nourished grade treasures that are causing the wood power and flame power in this area to grow richer and richer. Only the star power channeled here by the Nine Stars Flower can’t seem to last in this realm.
She sensed the changes with rapt attention, and said in a soft voice, “From the look of it, he’ll be able to finish his breakthrough in a few days.”
Wei Botao smiled wryly. “All I hope is that his breakthrough is not hurting the foundation of the Realm of Martial Spirit. I don’t dare to hope that we’ll benefit from it.”
Everyone continued waiting.
On this day, as Nie Tian was still gathering power to expand the solid parts in his spiritual cores, one of Hou Chulan’s subordinates rushed to her with great urgency.
“Divine Daughter!” The man exclaimed. “We just received word that the third Son of the Stars of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace was betrayed by one of his subordinates and died in his own domain!”
Hou Chulan’s expression flickered drastically. “Mou Luo died?! Like me, Mou Luo was also at the late Void domain. His subordinates are even stronger than Sikong Cuo’s. I can’t believe he actually died!”
The man couldn’t mask his astonishment as he said, “He’s dead! It can’t be false! He died at the hands of two ninth grade grand patriarchs. Not even a wisp of his soul escaped. The man who betrayed him seems to be a middle Saint domain subordinate who had joined his force a long time ago.”
“This is indeed a hard time for us,” Ruan Qingliu said, her face extremely grim. “It’s been many years since the last time a Son of the Stars of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace was killed by outsiders. And it’s different this time. Mou Luo was betrayed by his own subordinate, which is simply shocking.”
With these words, he shot a glance at Wei Botao.
Wei Botao instantly buried his face and said, “Divine Daughter, it was Gan Xi who betrayed you. I’ve been nothing but loyal to you! I’d never betray you!”
“Great changes are at hand,” Hou Chulan muttered to herself, as if she didn’t even hear him.
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