The three types of power that streamed down from the starry river gradually grew thin.
Seeing this, the powerful experts gathered outside the mountain valley realized that Nie Tian’s breakthrough was reaching its end.
The moment of a breakthrough was usually accompanied by the occurrence of wonders. That was why Nie Tian’s Nine Stars Flower, Divine Flame spark, and Godspirit Tree sapling had been able to channel power from the starry river at an unprecedentedly high rate.
However, once the breakthrough entered a stable phase, the wonders triggered by the breakthrough would gradually fade.
Nie Tian understood this fully.
As the illusory shapes of the Nine Stars Flower, flame spark, and Godspirit Tree sapling faded, the liquid power in his four spiritual cores gradually stopped solidifying.
At this moment, only a third of their originally liquid parts had turned solid.
“A third of the solidification of my spiritual cores is complete after I entered the early Soul realm. It seems that I’ll have to wait till I enter the late Soul realm to complete the whole solidification process, and turn all of my spiritual cores crystalline.”
As his true soul returned to his mind, he awoke from his cultivation.
He examined himself, and realized that the Nine Stars Flower, flame spark, and Godspirit Tree sapling were still channeling wisps of power that were as faint as hairs from the starry river.
It was just that such power was much fainter.
Eyes narrowed, Nie Tian thought to himself, “Perhaps it’ll work better for me if I start practicing cultivation in the vast starry river like the Star Behemoth bone from now on. The three treasures in my spiritual cores can draw nutrients from the mixed energies in the starry river, while I can travel freely in the starry river by relying on Life Strengthening.
“If I don’t, I can only rely on spirit jades and other spiritual materials to further my cultivation.”
With these thoughts in mind, he seemed to see a new direction to his path of cultivation.
He rose to his feet and walked out of the deep mountain valley.
Hou Chulan and the others were waiting at the entrance of the valley.
He learned the shocking news from Hou Chulan as soon as they met. “What?! Mou Luo, the third Son of the Stars, was betrayed by his subordinate and died in his own domain?”
Compared to the death of Xiao Xihe, who was one of the twelve elders, the death of a Son of the Stars was a heavier blow to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Before, the four great sects had been at a slight advantage in their battles against the outsider races. None of the seven Sons of the Stars of this generation had died until this happened.
During the previous generation, since battles had broken out more often, several Sons of the Stars had perished.
“Uncle Lu had his fleshly body eliminated in the Domain of Nether Heaven,” Hou Chulan said with a grim face. “Only a wisp of his true soul narrowly escaped. Just recently, He Lianxiong suffered a heavy blow, and lost most of his Saint domain subordinates. Now, the third Son of the Stars of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace was betrayed by his own subordinate and died at the Demons’ hands… It seems that this turmoil will continue to plague our heaven and earth for some time.”
Nie Tian then said, “According to Froste, the outsiders have found the most effective way to unravel us: divide us from within.”
Hou Chulan nodded. “Many signs do suggest that we’re no longer united as a people. Who knows how many traitors like Qiu Hanshan and Gan Xi are still hiding among us in our numerous domains? They’re even a larger threat than those from the Nether Spirit Society and the Death Curse Sect who practice evil incantations.
“Mou Luo got into a similar situation to ours. However, he wasn’t as lucky as us. He didn’t have a man like you to help him.
“I’ve got to say that if it wasn’t for you, He Lianxiong and I would have probably died in our recent battle like Mou Luo did.”
Face grim, Nie Tian didn’t know what to say.
“You helped me a great deal, Nie Tian. To thank you, I’ll send compensation to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. Normally, your sect will take twenty percent from the compensation, and convert the rest into contribution points, which they’ll award to you.” With these words, Hou Chulan shot Wei Botao a glance, signaling him to leave.
Wei Botao received the message and left without saying a word.
At the same time, Ruan Qingliu turned to Jing Feiyang, Yue Yanxi, and Jiang Feng, and said in a soft voice, “Can we find a place to talk?”
The three nodded knowingly and left with Ruan Qingliu.
After they left, Hou Chulan spoke out. “I heard that vice sectmaster Luo Wanxiang isn’t very fond of you. If that’s the case, I’m worried that the compensation we pay the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace will wear thin when they convert it into contribution points and award it to you. So I suggest that I figure out an appropriate number of spirit jades or outsiders corpses as a compensation for your help. Then I’ll give the majority of them to you directly, while only sending a small portion to your sect. What do you think?”
“That works!” Nie Tian answered without even the slightest hesitation.
“So which do you prefer, spirit jades or outsider corpses?” Hou Chulan asked.
“Outsider corpses of course!” Nie Tian said.
Hou Chulan pursed her lips into a smile. “That’s what I thought.”
Then, she handed Nie Tian a ring of holding she had prepared. “Inside is the corpse of a ninth grade Blackscale grand patriarch. Since the Blackscales aren’t a higher race, they’ve never seen a tenth grade grand monarch in their history. Ninth grade grand patriarchs already represent their peak power. My subordinates killed this early ninth grade grand patriarch in the Dead Star Sea.
“Besides that, there are also a dozen corpses of eighth grade Blackscales, Stonemen, and Birdmen in the ring.”
Overjoyed, Nie Tian said thankfully, “Great! That’s actually what I need the most at this moment!”
He had thought that this trip to the Domain of Heaven’s Origin would end up being a losing deal, but who would have known that Hou Chulan had actually prepared such a handsome gift for him?
The residual flesh power within that ninth grade grand patriarch and the dozen eighth grade Blackscales, Stonemen, and Birdmen might be enough to satisfy his bloodline aura’s seemingly endless need for flesh power, allowing it to fall dormant and enter its next upgrade cycle.
Life Shackle, a bloodline magic he had awakened upon entering the seventh grade, was already mighty enough for him to nearly kill Froste.
If his bloodline entered the eighth grade, he would be bound to awakened new wondrous bloodline talents, or derive new bloodline magics from the Blood Realm.
However, all of these rosy prospects were based on him obtaining enough flesh power. What Hou Chulan had prepared for him happened to be what he needed the most.
Hou Chulan seemed somewhat hesitant as she continued, “Nie Tian, I might still have to make some preparations after I return to my sect, but after that, I’m going to attempt to break through into the Saint domain. When I’m ready, I’ll send someone to find you in the Domain of Heaven Python. I’m hoping you’ll help me with my breakthrough.
“As long as you come, I’ll give you the corpse of a ninth grade grand patriarch as a thank-you, even if you can do nothing to help.
“Then, if you help me break through into the Saint domain successfully, I’ll have another gift for you, which I’m sure you’ll like!”
Holding the ring of holding, Nie Tian nodded, a hint of a smile appearing at the corner of his mouth. “I’ll be there when you try to break through into the Saint domain. You can count on it!”
“Thanks. I have a feeling that I’ll definitely need your help when the time comes.” Hou Chulan thanked him in advance.
Then, the two of them discussed some more details and the story they would tell the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. After that, they both left the Realm of Martial Spirit for their respective sects.
After returning to the Realm of Fragmentary Star, Nie Tian arranged for Jing Feiyang, Yue Yanxi, and Jiang Feng to return to their sects, while he remained in the Vast Heaven Pavilion, where he used the outsider corpses Hou Chulan had given him to provide his bloodline aura with more flesh power.
He hadn’t known Mou Luo, the third Son of the Stars. Therefore, his death didn’t really affect his state of mind.
Now that he had finally broken through into the Soul realm and obtained a substantial flesh power supply, he had much to do, and thus ignored the recent changes in the sect.
In the Vast Heaven Pavilion, he continued to channel flesh power with Life Drain and feed his greedy bloodline aura with it.
After an unknown period of time, his Star Medallion suddenly vibrated.
As it flew into his palm, he sent a wisp of soul awareness into it.
He derived a message from within it, which demanded that all Sons of the Stars return to the Realm of Fragmentary Star within two weeks. Important issues needed to be discussed.
It was from vice sectmaster Luo Wanxiang.
“This meeting must be inspired by Mou Luo’s death.” Nie Tian suspected. Meanwhile, he discovered that two hundred thousand contribution points had been added to the medallion.
“Only two hundred thousand? According to martial sister Hou, the compensation she sent to my sect would easily get me five hundred thousand contribution points. And the practice would be for my sect to keep up to twenty percent of it, which is a hundred thousand. I should get about four hundred thousand contribution points.”
Nie Tian frowned, his face growing cold. “Two hundred thousand...”
He knew that Luo Wanxiang must be behind this.
Contribution points were very useful. Now that Mou Luo, the third Son of the Stars, had died, the ownership of his domains and realms had returned to the sect, which meant the other Sons of the Stars would soon be able to purchase them with contribution points.
As long as he had enough contribution points, he would be able to obtain some of Mou Luo’s realms as well.
“Luo Wanxiang!” He snorted coldly.
A few days later, Fang Yuan showed up at the gate of the Vast Heaven Pavilion. Nie Tian sensed his arrival right away. He rose to his feet and went downstairs to greet him.
With a single glance, Fang Yuan realized that Nie Tian had made a breakthrough in his cultivation. “I see that you’ve entered the Soul realm. Congratulations. You received that message too, didn’t you?”
“Are you talking about that meeting?” Nie Tian said.
Fang Yuan sighed. “Yeah, senior martial brother Mou Luo died. This is our sect’s most significant loss in recent centuries. His death even made elder Xiao Xihe’s passing seem less important. Senior martial brother Mou Luo’s cultivation base was higher than yours and mine. And he had many powerful subordinates and followers. Even so, he died. This means you and I will face great danger as well when we go out on missions from now on.”
“Do you know what the focus of this meeting will be?” Nie Tian asked.
Fang Yuan shook his head. “I’ve no idea. But I assume it’s mostly matters brought up by senior martial brother Mou Luo’s death. His domains and realms need to be taken over. Besides, it was the Demons who killed him. If we don’t make some counter moves and inflict equal damage on them, not only will our sect’s reputation suffer, but Mou Luo’s subordinates will be unsatisfied.”
Surprised, Nie Tian asked, “Does this mean the Demons are our primary target now? It’s very hard to enter Demon realms. Aside from that, the Dead Star Sea is the only place where a large number of Demons are gathered. Don’t tell me that we’re marching more forces into the Dead Star Sea to find the Demons’ gathering spots, and seek retaliation?”
“Maybe. We’ll only know for sure after the meeting.” Fang Yuan said, looking somewhat depressed. “But you’re fairly new to our sect, and haven’t met all of the elders and your senior martial brothers. This will be a good opportunity for you to meet them all.”
His words put some anticipation in Nie Tian’s heart.
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