Nie Tian unleashed his Heaven Eyes for the first time after entering this mysterious dimension.
The moment his nine Heaven Eyes came to form, the tips of this eyebrows rose, as he noticed that the perception of his Heaven Eyes was much keener here than in the Domain of the Falling Stars.
He looked up and saw countless stars in the sky. Hence, he made an attempt to practice the Fragmentary Star Incantation, then he instantly sensed with great clarity that copious amount of star power started to converge on him.
“There isn’t any spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, nor sun or moon, just ever-shining stars...” He gradually realized that the enhancement of his Heaven Eyes’ perception might have something to do with the special environment of this dimension.
Even without the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, he could practice the Fragmentary Star Incantation and obtain star power from the stars.
Slightly surprised by his new discovery, Nie Tian controlled his nine Heaven Eyes to fan out and fly ahead to secure a path for the Lightning Shuttle.
Soon, he caught sight of a large number of gray banners via his Heaven Eyes.
They were scattered on their path of escape, separated from each other by about a thousand meters.
Wiggling discarnate souls could be seen within each and every banner, which unleashed an intense thirst for blood.
As one of his Heaven Eyes approached one of the gray banners, the discarnate soul within the banner seemed to sense its existence and gave out an ear-piercing screech.
A Worldly realm Spirit God Sect Qi warrior rapidly flew over to the banner, standing atop a rock.
After a brief moment of bewilderment, Nie Tian realized what those banners were for, and thus instantly relocated that Heaven Eye.
“One of the Soul Banners just detected soul fluctuations right here.” The Spirit God Sect Qi warrior who had rushed over from the vicinity muttered to himself, frowning as he unleashed his soul awareness to scan the area carefully.
However, Nie Tian’s Heaven Eye had long since flown away. Therefore, after examining the area for some time, he failed to find any anomalies.
He shook his head, eyes filled with confusion, wondering what had just happened.
Meanwhile, Nie Tian’s eyebrows were knitted as he muttered to himself, “Banners that contain discarnate souls...”
“Found something?” Pei Qiqi asked with a soft voice.
With a grim face, Nie Tian explained, “There are a large number of gray banners floating ahead. Each of them contains a discarnate soul, which seems to be able to detect soul fluctuations. Those from the Spirit God Sect don’t have enough men to form a tight blockade to stop all of us from escaping so they’ve deployed lots of banners in every direction to trace our souls. Once we get close to any of them, those from the Spirit God Sect will be alarmed, and then come to intercept us.”
Pei Qiqi didn’t seem surprised at all. “Those banners are called Soul Banners, which are forged with unique methods by equipment forgers from the Spirit God Sect. The discarnate souls within those banners are able to detect any soul fluctuations around them with great precision. Any Qi warrior with a cultivation base lower than the Soul realm will be discovered when they approach the Soul Banners.”
“Soul Banners...” Nie Tian muttered. “I saw nearly a hundred of them ahead of us, and those are only the ones I saw. We need to turn around and go in different direction.”
Pei Qiqi nodded. “Alright.”
The dashing Lightning Shuttle turned and headed in another direction.
Nie Tian’s Heaven Eyes changed directions accordingly, and continued to clear a path for the Lightning Shuttle.
It wasn’t long before more banners entered the Heaven Eyes’ perception range. Just like the ones they had encountered just now, they were also separated from each other by a thousand meters, covering a vast area.
There were about eighty of them, and they were detecting signs of soul fluctuations like scattered trees that had taken root in the void.
“It’s not working,” Nie Tian said with a grim look in his eyes. “There are more Soul Banners ahead. The moment we get close to them, those banners will send out signals. Nearby Spirit God Sect disciples will surely receive the signals and immediately try to block our path of escape.”
Pei Qiqi took a deep breath, and her Ethereal Swords appeared, floating around her. “If that’s the case, we have no choice but to forcibly charge through the blockade.”
Nie Tian shook his head. “If we do this, once we run into Worldly realm experts and get stalled, many more Spirit God Sect members will quickly gather around us. We need to come up with a proper plan.”
“What do you have in mind?” Pei Qiqi asked.
Nie Tian’s eyes lit up. “I actually have an idea! Later, I’ll try to distract some of the Spirit God Sect experts. Then, I’ll show you a direction that’s safe. When the time is right, I’ll tell you to sprint us forward.”
“Okay,” Pei Qiqi said with a soft voice.
Immediately afterwards, Nie Tian sat down, closed his eyes, and started meticulously manipulating his nine Heaven Eyes with his mind.
The nine Heaven Eyes spread out and shot towards different locations on the blockade formed by the Soul Banners at full speed.
As the Heaven Eyes approached, many Soul Banners started giving out sharp screeches.
A number of Spirit God Sect Qi warriors who had been waiting in the vicinity received the signals and rapidly gathered towards the Soul Banners that had given out screeches.
Meanwhile, the Heaven Eyes quickly changed directions and flew towards other locations, causing more Soul Banners to screech.
Soon, three Worldly realm and a handful of Greater Heaven Spirit God Sect disciples arrived and chased after the scattered Heaven Eyes.
Even though the Soul Banners could detect soul fluctuations, they couldn’t tell whether the fluctuations were from living creatures with flesh and blood or other soul-possessing forms.
That was why the Soul Banners considered the wisps of soul power Nie Tian had used to form the Heaven Eyes to be soul-possessing lives with flesh and blood, and thus alarmed the nearby Spirit God Sect Qi warriors.
An explosive shout escaped Nie Tian’s mouth. “Now! Go straight ahead!”
Pei Qiqi pressed her hands down on the prow of the Lightning Shuttle, blinding light bursting forth from within her palms.
Very subtle flesh power flowed out of her palms as the Lightning Shuttle shook violently for a few seconds before shooting forward with a speed that was twice as fast as before.
Nie Tian was inwardly shocked.
Meanwhile, he captured the faint flesh power exuding from Pei Qiqi’s palms, from which he vaguely detected the same spatial energy that had wreathed the floating volcano.
He suspected that the strong boost in the Lightning Shuttle’s speed stemmed from the faint flesh power exuded from Pei Qiqi’s palms.
Before he could giving it more thought, the Lightning Shuttle reached the blockade formed by numerous Soul Banners. As soon as they did, the banners started giving out sharp screeches.
As the Lightning Shuttle dashed forward, more and more Soul Banners were triggered. Pei Qiqi didn’t say a word, as she was concentrating on pushing the speed of the Lightning Shuttle to the limit.
Two Greater Heaven stage Spirit God Sect disciples flew over from another direction and stopped in Nie Tian and Pei Qiqi’s path, each of them standing on a rock. “You can’t run from us!”
SHEW! SHEW! SHEW!
One floating Ethereal Sword after another suddenly burst forward and vanished from Nie Tian’s sight.
By the time they reappeared, they had already pierced into the foreheads of the early and middle Greater Heaven stage Qi warriors, and in the next moment, shot out the backs of their heads.
As Pei Qiqi’s slender fingers wove in the air, dazzlingly bright spatial energy blades quietly appeared around the two Spirit God Sect Qi warriors, and rapidly cut their corpses into flying shreds.
As the Lightning Shuttle flew through their shredded bodies, Pei Qiqi made a grabbing motion in the air, and her Ethereal Swords disappeared into her cuff like lightning bolts.
More screeches rang out as the Lightning Shuttle whizzed by the Soul Banners at an alarming speed, and finally entered the vast open area where no banners could be seen.
Faint, angry roars of powerful Spirit God Sect experts rang out from far behind them. Apparently, their pursuit of Nie Tian’s Heaven Eyes had turned out to be fruitless and, they had thus returned.
However, the Lightning Shuttle had already flown through the blockade formed by the Soul Banners and entered open areas that weren’t controlled by those from the Spirit God Sect. As long as they couldn’t quickly catch them within a very short time, they would most likely lose all traces of Nie Tian and Pei Qiqi.
Meanwhile, with his mind, Nie Tian controlled his Heaven Eyes to spread out further in all directions.
Seeing no Soul Banners after traveling for a while on the Lightning Shuttle, Nie Tian said, “We should be safe now.
“Even with the help of their Soul Banners, those from the Spirit God Sect don’t have enough men to lock down a very large area. Now that we’ve left the Soul Banners’ detection range, it means that they’ve completely lost track of us, and it’ll be very difficult for them to find us again.”
“Yeah.” Pei Qiqi chimed in as she withdrew her hands from the prow of the Lightning Shuttle. She finally turned her head back to look at him, and said, “Thank you.”
“You’re much stronger than I remember,” Nie Tian said.
Even though she was only at the middle Greater Heaven stage, Pei Qiqi had killed those two Greater Heaven stage Spirit God Sect members with one clean move. They hadn’t even had a chance to fight back.
The crushing strength she had displayed earlier shocked Nie Tian.
“Only after entering the Worldly realm will disciples of the Spirit God Sect start practicing all kinds of soul magics,” Pei Qiqi explained, looking as calm as ever. “Entering the Worldly realm marks the true transcendence of Spirit God Sect disciples. Those who haven’t entered the Worldly realm haven’t mastered any of the profound soul magics of the Spirit God Sect, so they are very easy to kill.”
Nie Tian looked deeply at her and said, “That’s not it. Even though they hadn’t reached the Worldly realm, they shouldn’t have been killed with a single blow. Although I don’t know what it is, I do know that you’re different from before. You’ve become so much stronger that I can’t fathom what’s going on with you.”
“You’re right. Something did happen to me.” Pei Qiqi didn’t try to deny it, though she didn’t want to give an explanation. “My cultivation has been progressing faster and more smoothly than before. Don’t feel surprised. Perhaps I’ll be able to enter the late Greater Heaven stage within a short time.”
After a moment of silence, Nie Tian suddenly asked, looking in her eyes, “Is that because your bloodline has awakened?”
Pei Qiqi shuddered slightly.
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Okay, here's part one:
SECLUDED LIVES OF THE CHINESE EMPERORS
The Chinese emperors kept themselves secluded from their subjects and were largely confined to their palaces. Some emperors rarely left their palaces except to go hunting or visit their ancestors graves. The Ming dynasty ruler, Emperor Wam-li, virtually imprisoned himself within the Forbidden City with his wives and concubines. Even his ministers of state were not allowed to address him directly and whenever he traveled the roads were cleared so no one could see him.
(Qing Emperor Kangxi studying)
The emperor often ate alone, attended only by his eunuchs. Meal times was often fixed at 8:00am for breakfast and 1:00pm for supper. With the exception of drinks and a snack in the evening, the emperor often consumed nothing else.
The royal physician was forbidden from touching the emperor directly. To check the emperor's pulse at a respectful distance, a member of the court attached a thread to emperor's wrist and the physician grasped the thread.
In the 16th century Matteo Ricci wrote: "The kings... abandoned the custom of going out in public...When they did leave the royal enclosure, they would never dare to do so without a thousand preliminary precautions. On such occasions the whole court was placed under military guard. Secret servicemen were placed along the route over which the King was to travel and on all roads leading into it. He was not only hidden from view, but the public never knew in which of the palanquins of the cortege he was actually riding. One would think he was making a journey through enemy country rather than among multitudes of his own subjects."
Emperors weren't the only ones who received this kind of treatment. Commoners had to kowtow (lay down forward on all fours and touch one's head to the ground) in the presence of high officials.
Some Emperors and high officials sometimes disguised themselves as ordinary people so the could learn what the masses were thinking.