As the two of them approached the area above the center of the lake, Nie Tian rapidly calmed himself and cast all irrelevant thoughts out of his mind.
He once again formed and unleashed his seven Heaven Eyes. Like invisible clusters of light and energy, they hovered around him and Dong Li.
He fixed his eyes on the lake underneath, as well as the Phantasms’ ancient starship, as if he were waiting for soul power fluctuations to attack them.
Dong Li also tensed up, and was no longer in the mood to bicker with him about their history. She moved her mouth closer to Nie Tian’s ear and said, “We’re about to reach the center of the lake.
“I see,” Nie Tian responded in a low voice.
On the lake shore, everyone from the Realm of a Hundred Battles was looking up at the two of them, their eyes shining with the light of hope.
They’d all tried to send their spiritual tools to the central area above the lake to kill Specters.
However, each and every one of them had failed.
They were well-aware that there was something abnormal about this lake. No matter whether it was spiritual tools or humans, as long as they got close enough to the central area, they would instantly suffer from overwhelming soul power attacks.
Considering their current cultivation bases and strength, none of them would be able to contend against them.
However, the fact that Nie Tian had successfully brought Dong Li back from the verge of losing her senses and becoming a Specter made them hold a smidgen of hope in their hearts.
Even though they didn’t know Nie Tian’s true strength, this strange young man with the most unimpressive cultivation base among them had become their only hope.
As they watched the black phoenix bring Dong Li and Nie Tian closer and closer to the center of the lake, they grew increasingly nervous.
Three meters, two meters, one meter.
The black phoenix suddenly accelerated and charged into the central area.
At that moment, the juniors from the Realm of a Hundred Battles noticed from the lakeside that a layer of cyan energy spread out like watery ripples and covered the part of the ancient starship that had risen above the lake’s surface.
It was very similar to the cyan energy that had covered the smooth mountain walls upon a sharp screech as they had traveled through the valley.
They immediately realized that Nie Tian’s speculation was correct. The strange soul power fluctuations hadn’t been caused by the Phantasms, but rather that ancient starship.
The moment the cyan metallic surface of the ancient starship was covered in cyan, rippling energy, strange soul power fluctuations, which Nie Tian was able to perceive clearly, enveloped the entire lake.
An ice-cold, evil soul influence rushed up into the air and swallowed Dong Li and Nie Tian like the lake water that was being brought into the air by the ascension of the ancient starship.
Submerged by the inexplicable evil soul influence, Dong Li’s face turned pale as she couldn’t help but recall the bloody scene that had taken place within her soul not long ago.
The mountains of corpses and seas of blood brought by the evil soul influence seemed to be on the verge of drowning her again, and she would have to relive the infinite horror and desperation.
“N-nie Tian...” Terrified, Dong Li called out Nie Tian’s real name, as if only by doing this would she be able to relieve the intense fear she was experiencing.
However, Nie Tian didn’t answer her call.
Feeling insecure and uneasy, Dong Li tilted her head to look at him from behind.
That was when she realized that odd sounds were being created around both Nie Tian and her.
As she glanced around, she discovered that starlight seemed to have suddenly filled the area around them, and started fighting the evil soul influence head-on, giving rise to odd sounds.
Being so close to them, she finally noticed the seven clusters of energy that were hovering around them, unleashing starlight and protecting her and Nie Tian from the evil soul influence.
Realizing what was happening, Dong Li calmed herself and, with a thought, instructed her black phoenix to fly even faster.
As her black phoenix’s sharp cry rang out in her mind, she could feel the distance between them and the center of the lake rapidly shortening.
She was aware that the black phoenix possessed a limited intelligence.
It was because of her previous failed attempt that the black phoenix had been restraining itself and saving its energy before reaching the center of the lake.
It was worried that Nie Tian would fail to ward off the evil soul influence from the ancient starship and protect Dong Li. Therefore, it was ready to turn around and return to the lakeside at any moment.
Only when it realized that Dong Li was unharmed after they were over the lake water did it put its heart at ease.
Upon receiving Dong Li’s command, it stopped reserving its strength and charged towards the center of the lake, where countless Specters were gathered, at full speed.
Being held by Dong Li from behind, faint sparks could be seen shining in the depths of Nie Tian’s pupils.
Meanwhile, the seven fragmentary stars in his soul were also shining with dazzling light, transferring pure soul power into the seven Heaven Eyes hovering around them.
After receiving the supplement in soul power, the Heaven Eyes moved faster and faster in profound ways, forming a grand protective star formation around Nie Tian and Dong Li.
A wave of evil soul influence rushed out from the ancient starship underneath them and slammed into the star formation, which was only visible to Qi warriors at the Worldly realm or higher.
Qin Yan and the others who were standing by lakeside could only see sparks sputtering off them and wisps of cyan smoke rising around them.
Nie Tian unceasingly infused his Heaven Eyes with refined soul power from the fragmentary stars in his soul to ward off the evil soul influence that carried endless negative emotions.
As time passed, he gradually started to grimace, as it appeared that it was becoming more and more strenuous.
At that moment, another memory, which had previously been branded in the depths of his soul, began to grow clear.
From it, he instantly realized which part of the ancient starship the raging soul power fluctuations were coming from: the Spirit Pearl!
The Spirit Pearl could be considered the soul of the ancient starship, and one of the Phantasms’ most fascinating inventions.
Whether the ancient starship would be able to rise into the heavens and travel the depths of the boundless starry river depended on the number of Specters the Spirit Pearl could gather.
Only when the Spirit Pearl had gathered enough Specters would it be able to restart this ancient starship.
At this moment, the Spirit Pearl must have gathered quite a number of Specters already, since the evil soul influence it sent out was actually the endless grudges and negative emotions from the numerous deceased it had absorbed.
The Spirit Pearl was channeling the negative energy from the emotions the Specters had felt the moment they died, for example, fear, panic, desperation, insanity, killing intent and grudges. With these emotions, it formed a strong, evil soul influence and used it to poison the minds of the living.
These attacking waves, filled with the endless negative energy of the Specters, could easily devour a normal person and make him or her lose control.
Seeing that the seven fragmentary stars in his soul were becoming smaller and smaller, Nie Tian sensed the crisis. Therefore, he shouted, “Hurry, Dong Li! I won’t be able to hold on for much longer!”
At that moment, with the black phoenix’s help, they were only about ten meters away from the swarming Specters. They could see them flashing around at high speeds, attacking Shen Zhong, Dong Mingxuan, and the other Worldly realm experts.
Dong Li finally found a good opportunity.
She grabbed a handful of thunderballs from within the leather pouch and cast them towards a location where the Specters were the most densely packed.
At that very moment, the Phantasm who had unveiled his face suddenly ended his battle against Shen Zhong and emerged from behind numerous Specters.
Without sparing Dong Li a single glance, he fixed his eyes on Nie Tian, brutality and violence filling his cyan pupils. “It’s you!?”
As soon as he left Shen Zhong, the burden on Shen Zhong’s shoulders was instantly lifted. Thus, he jerked his head around to gaze at Nie Tian and Dong Li.
“It’s Dong Li and that kid...” As Shen Zhong cast a secret spell, the gravitational field around him suddenly intensified, causing one Specter after another to fall from midair.
“Hurry!” Nie Qian urged Dong Li again in a loud voice.
Without any hesitation, Dong Li grabbed another handful of thunderballs from within the leather pouch and cast them towards another area where many Specters were packed.
Mighty thunder and lightning power filled the air. This time, not a single thunderball exploded midway. Instead, each and every one of them found their enemies.
Countless lightning bolts and endless rolls of thunder exploded in the heart of the swarm of Specters.
It was a calamity for the Specters.
As soon as the densely-packed Specters were touched by the sky-filling lightning, they were immediately reduced to wisps of cyan smoke, which rapidly scattered and vanished.
With this single attack, Dong Li had wiped out hundreds of Specters.
With a tremendous lift in her spirits, Dong Li fetched more thunderballs and cast them towards other areas where large numbers of Specters were swarming.
After obtaining a clear understanding of the situation, Shen Zhong called out loudly, “We need to intensify our offense! Never let the Phantasms find an opportunity to attack Dong Li!”
With these words, he charged directly towards the Phantasm with the unveiled face with a momentum as if he had no regard for his own life, hoping to stop him from interfering with Dong Li’s operation.
Thunderballs continued to explode amidst the Specters. Substantial amounts of Specters were annihilated, leaving faint cyan smoke in the air.
In the meantime, Shen Zhong and the other Worldly realm experts struck the four Phantasms with everything within their power. The battle between them grew increasingly heated and fierce.
Whenever the Phantasms attempted to approach Dong Li and Nie Tian, they would always be intercepted by the human seniors in the most relentless ways.
“Their plan actually worked!”
“The Specters are dying by the hundreds!”
Qin Yan and the others cheered by the lakeside, as if they had won a war.
Here comes another hieroglyphic Chinese character.
The following shows how a character has evolved through time. Guess what it means. Hint: it's closely related with Xianxia and Wuxia novels. The answer is in the lower right corner.