“The Domain of the Falling Stars? Hahaha!” Armes laughed wildly, a disdainful expression stretching across his face, as if, in his eyes, the Domain of the Falling Stars wasn’t even worth mentioning.
After the wild laugh, he continued in perfect human language, “The Domain of the Falling Stars was originally one of our rangelands. If the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace hadn’t come along, there wouldn’t be a single human living there now.
“I heard that experts from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace have long since left the Domain of the Falling Stars. Is that right? Now that it’s been abandoned by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, it’s destined to fall back into our hands.”
“I wouldn’t say that the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace has abandoned the Domain of the Falling Stars,” Nie Tian said.
If they had, why would the Heaven Gates have still appeared in the Domain of the Falling Stars?
How would he have been able to obtain those three fragmentary star marks and become their only acknowledged successor?
Ever since those three fragmentary star marks had been branded into his chest, he had felt that he shouldered great responsibilities, even though he wasn’t yet sure what they were.
With the fragmentary star marks, he had managed to seal the spatial rifts in three realms and crush the Demon’s invasion plan. During that time, he had discovered an air-transportation spiritual tool that the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had left in one of the lofty mountain peaks in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations.
Later, he had discovered that the the forbidden region in the Realm of Split Void seemed to be constantly channeling meteors from the depths of the starry river.
Not just that, he had also discovered a mysterious ward underneath that forbidden region, which also seemed to be have been left there by experts from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. However, even as the successor chosen by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, he hadn’t been able to figure out what secrets were hidden under there.
As far as he knew, even though the powerful experts of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had left, they had left legacies and secret arrangements behind.
He even had a feeling that powerful experts from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had been observing the Domain of the Falling Stars through some very profound methods.
“Hahaha!” Armes shook his head and looked at him with a pitiful gaze. “It seems that you’ve never been out of the Domain of the Falling Stars, and you have no idea what the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace really is. The Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace controls countless domains like the Domain of the Falling Stars. They don’t care about it as much as you think.”
Nie Tian’s expression flickered slightly upon hearing these words.
Armes seemed to be from some Phantasm realm, yet he seemed to be rather familiar with the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Nie Tian had even discovered that a hint of a scruple appeared in his eyes when he talked about the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
This indicated that the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace must be a very powerful human force somewhere in the boundless starry river.
Nie Tian knew that the Qi warrior sects in the Domain of the Falling Stars had gradually lost contact with powerful experts from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace after they had left the Domain of the Falling Stars.
If what Armes had just said was the truth, that the Domain of the Falling Stars was just a remote place neglected by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, then why would they still try to choose successors from there from time to time? And why would the Demons and Phantasms still exert all means to come back?
He suspected that there were still secrets of the Domain of the Falling Stars that he didn’t know about. Perhaps only after he had refined the second and third fragmentary star marks and risen to a higher cultivation stage would he be able to derive some enlightenment regarding that.
Seeing that Nie Tian had fallen silent and seemed absorbed in thought, Armes chuckled and asked, “Do you know why you and the other humans from the Domain of the Falling Stars have come to this dimension?”
“Why?” Nie Tian asked with an intense look in his eyes.
Armes laughed wildly. “It was thanks to our efforts that those six spatial rifts reappeared in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.”
Upon hearing these words, Nie Tian instantly recalled the few Phantasms that had descended upon the forbidden region in meteors.
They had mysteriously disappeared soon after their arrival. Only a few members of the Blood Skull, Wild Fire, and Dark Moon had seen them briefly in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Later, the same Phantasms had appeared in the Realm of Dark Underworld, where they had summoned their ancient starship from the bottom of a lake and charged out of the realm.
Even though he had seized and refined the Spirit Pearl by chance, the ancient starship had still managed to sail into the starry river.
The few Phantasms had gone with it.
Upon hearing Armes’ words, Nie Tian’s heart was slightly shaken, fearing that those six spatial rifts were indeed part of the Phantasms’ plan.
What did they want by luring people from the Domain of the Falling Stars through those spatial rifts into this strange dimension?
“Our ancestral land was up there... once,” Armes said, pointing up at the misty gray heavens, a subtle, complicated look appearing in his eyes. “Those six spatial rifts were originally the means through which we traveled back and forth between our home and the Domain of the Falling Stars with Demons, Fiends, Bonebrutes, and other races.
“Due to some reason, our continent eventually exploded, and we were forced to emigrate.
“After we lost our ancestral land, those six spatial rifts also lost their effect.
“There are three major spatial rifts that connect the Domain of the Falling Stars and the realms we now live in.
“However, after the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace took the Domain of the Falling Stars from us, they sealed those three spatial rifts, and thus stopped us from returning to the Domain of the Falling Stars.
“Only recently did we manage to reopen the six spatial rifts that connected our ancestral land with the Domain of the Falling Stars.
“We only went through great lengths to reopen them to facilitate our future return. The reason why we showed you those spatial rifts was because this dimension was filled with all kinds of energy, which makes it a more suitable battle environment for us.
“However, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace has modified the Domain of the Falling Stars, and turned the energies that we’re accustomed to into the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth that suits humans’ needs.
“If we rush over to the Domain of the Falling Stars before filling it with our energies, our battle prowess will be compromised.
“But here, we can display our battle prowess to the fullest.
“We’ll kill all of your experts that have come to this dimension first, and then march our army through those six spatial rifts and retake the Domain of the Falling Stars.”
To Nie Tian’s surprise, instead of rushing into battle with him, Armes went on and on like a chatterbox.
The more he listened, the more strongly he believed that the appearance of the six spatial rifts was part of the outsiders’ scheme.
At first, he was rather puzzled as to why this Phantasm would reveal such important information to him.
However, as time passed, he soon noticed that the gashes under Armes’ torn armor had stopped bleeding. To his surprise, most of his wounds had actually healed within such a short time.
Armes’ strong self-healing ability shocked him.
That was when he realized that he was only saying those things to buy him time to recover from the serious injuries he had sustained passing through the spatial rift.
Also at that moment, through one of his Heaven Eyes, he saw a number of Birdmen flapping their feathered wings vigorously as they flew very fast towards his location from different directions.
He instantly realized that Armes must have had discovered him when he had whispered something into the conch shell, before he had descended on the lakeshore and dared him to come out. He must have lowered his voice to summon other outsiders to this place to surround him before he realized it.
“So you’ve only said this much to buy time for your recovery and for your friends to come, right?” Nie Tian asked with a determined look in his eyes.
Armes laughed out loud. “Mostly to stabilize my injuries. After all, I paid a serious price passing through that spatial rift.
“But now that my injuries are pretty much healed, you can die now.”
With these words, blinding cyan light burst forth from within him, along with terrifying energy fluctuations.
His suit of armor, which had had been terribly damaged on his way through the spatial rift, suddenly exploded like a shattered turtle shell.
Pieces of broken armor shot violently in all directions, giving rise to sharp whooshing sounds, accompanied by beams of frosty and piercing light.
Moments later, all of the broken pieces seemed to receive Armes’ commands, as they all bent their tracks towards Nie Tian.
Nie Tian sensed that every piece of broken armor carried mysterious soul power.
As he focused his attention on trying to determine the paths of the flying armor pieces, an excruciating twisting pain suddenly came from his head.
With a deep frown, Nie Tian turned to look at Armes, and discovered that he was wreathed in a cyan light shield, the prismatic crystal between his eyebrows shining with dazzling light.
As he gazed into that prismatic crystal, he suddenly felt light-headed, as if his soul had been plunged into a bottomless abyss.
Yue Fei’s mother tattooed on Yue’s back 岳母刺字
Yue Fei was a patriotic 12th-century military commander and a national hero who helped the Southern Song dynasty resisted Jin invaders. As a symbol of loyalty, there are many legendary tales about him, with one of the most most well-known being how he got the famous tattoo on his back.
It is said that when Yue Fei was fighting against Jin, the enemy tried to persuade him to surrender. Yue rejected it. However, Yue’s mother was worried that in the future Yue would forget his principles and give into temptation. So she asked Yue to worship their ancestors, and wrote four characters with a brush on Yue’s back as he was kneeling down—精忠报国 (Pinyin: jīng zhōng bào guó, meaning: serve the country with the utmost loyalty). Then, she used an embroidery needle to trace the strokes and smeared the wound with vinegar ink. Yue didn’t fail his mother; he was loyal to his empire and achieved great victories in his military operations until he was betrayed and executed in year 1142.
It should be noted that though this story is well known, there was no historical record of it. It’s often found in collections of fictional stories about Yue.
While editing this story, it occurred to me that many people like to get tattoos with Chinese characters. Judging from the tattoos many NBA players got, I believe many of them didn't know what they were getting, or they were told the wrong meaning. Anyways, feel free to consult me if any of you wants to get a tattoo with Chinese characters.
Another thing, my baby girl was born on the 28th. She and my wife are both well. I'm only home right now to take a power nap and hopefully finish the chapter I left unfinished the other day. I'll be truly back from the hospital with my wife and baby in about two days.
This is her.