Armes gripped the long, black saber tightly with both hands, as if he were worried that something would happen to the extremely precious weapon.
Seeing him holding the saber with great caution, Nie Tian’s expression changed slightly, as he started to feel a strong sense of danger.
Before Nie Tian could give the saber a closer look, Pei Qiqi, who had disappeared a few days ago, suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
The moment she appeared, she called out to Nie Tian, as if she were facing formidable foes, “Nie Tian! Watch out for that saber! I can see fine spatial fissures slithering around its blade! It seems that even the space around it can’t withstand its might! You need to go back into your spell formation right now!”
Upon hearing these words, Nie Tian examined the saber with rapt attention, and confirmed Pei Qiqi’s statement.
There were indeed very fine and subtle fissures around the blade of the long, pitch-black saber. They contracted and snapped open from time to time.
At the same time, upon hearing Pei Qiqi’s words, the chosen ones from the Domain of the Falling Stars unleashed their psychic awareness to examine the saber’s wonders.
However, the moment they did, they each let out a muffled groan.
As soon as their psychic awareness made contact with the long saber, severe, twisting pain came from their souls.
It was as if their souls were suddenly seized by some violent force, which was going to rip their souls from their bodies and imprison them in the Nethersoul Saber.
They struggled to suppress their souls’ unusual movements, not daring to give the saber another glance.
Gasping with astonishment, Nie Tian exclaimed, “Get in here now, all of you!”
In a split second, all of the chosen ones and the other Greater Heaven stage young Qi warriors dashed into the Wood Thriving Formation.
Pei Qiqi also rapidly backed to Nie Tian’s side upon hearing his urging words.
With a thought, Nie Tian adjusted one of the tree branches, and the Wood Thriving Formation unleashed a green ward that quickly spread, enveloping everyone inside.
Armes laughed sinisterly, as if he didn’t seem concerned with Nie Tian’s actions at all, and he didn’t do anything to stop them.
It seemed that he was completely confident that, even though Nie Tian and the others were hiding behind the Wood Thriving Formation, they weren’t going to survive a strike from the unmatched saber in his hands.
“It won’t work. This saber of Lord Basto’s isn’t something you can defend against!” With these words, he gripped the hilt with great force as he infused every bit of his soul power and bloodline power into the long, pitch-black saber.
Upon seeing this, the outsiders who stood beside Armes all swiftly backed away from him, fear appearing in their eyes.
In a split second, there was not a single person standing between Nie Tian and Armes.
Armes’ hands, which he used to grip the long saber, were instantly wreathed in wisps of cyan aura, which were the condensation of Armes’ internal power that was now madly infusing into the saber in his hands.
His arms were originally exceptionally thick and muscular, but at this moment, they were shriveling at a speed that could be seen with the naked eye.
Not only that, but even his whole body began to shrivel, as if every bit of his flesh power was being infused into the long saber.
At the same time, wisps of blood flowed slowly from the corners of his eyes, his nose, and his ears.
These were signs of him overdrawing his soul power.
An overwhelming aura that could shatter heaven and earth and annihilate all living beings rapidly built up within the Nethersoul Saber.
In the next moment, sharp shrieks of discarnate souls echoed out in every young Qi warrior’s mind.
Even the Wood Thriving Formation couldn’t isolate the waves of ear-piercing shrieks. Hiding in the spell formation, the chosen ones covered their ears with their hands and groaned in agony.
Even still, wisps of blood could be seen flowing through their fingers.
Just a soul attack by the long saber made the Greater Heaven stage Qi warriors feel as if their souls were going to be torn to pieces.
One by one, they dropped to the ground and sat in the lotus position. They kept their hands over their ears as they went all-out to summon their psychic power to defend their souls.
Even Dong Baijie and Dong Li did the same.
Nie Tian and Pei Qiqi were the only ones who were still standing.
However, from the look on Nie Tian’s face, it appeared that he was also in great pain.
Before the actual battle even began, the nine fragmentary stars in his soul had shone with dazzling light, filling every corner of his soul with soul power and protecting him from the soul attack.
He eventually warded off the discarnate souls’ mad shrieks at the expense of a large amount of his soul power from the nine fragmentary stars in his soul.
Bleeding from his nose, mouth, eyes, and ears, Armes let out a hysterical roar and lunged directly towards Nie Tian, bringing the saber down with two hands, as if he were going to split the whole island in two. “Nie Tian! If you can survive a slash from this saber, I’ll immediately turn around and march out of here!”
On the blade of the Nethersoul Saber, patterns that looked like countless fine veins suddenly blossomed with blinding light, and a long, cyan blade light quickly came to form.
The blade light was so wide that it looked like a river of dazzling light, from which the shadows of tens of thousands of vicious discarnate souls could be seen.
They seemed to be confined in the blade light, where they bore their fangs at each other and built up their endless thirst for blood and desire for killing.
As the enormous, cyan blade light slashed down from the air, the space around it crackled, creating flying sparks that quickly converged on the blade light, further boosting its might.
The wide blade light finally slammed onto the ward of the Wood Thriving Formation.
In a split second, every tree and plant within ten kilometers withered and died.
Afterwards, the mysterious tree patterns that were swimming within the green ward lost their supply of wood power, and thus suddenly left the ward and flew back into the seventy-two tree branches.
The ward, which had withstood the unrelenting attacks of dozens of outsiders for hours, shattered under the crushing force of the blade light!
The moment the Wood Thriving Formation gave, the Qi warriors under it started to experience even more intense, sharp shrieks of discarnate souls.
They all started to scream as they covered their ears and exerted all their power to defend against the soul attack.
As the blade light continued to come down, Pei Qiqi called out,
“Nie Tian! I can help you reduce the might of this slash, but only by a bit!” With these words, Pei Qiqi sat down on the ground and wove her hands in the air, forming a profound hand seal. In the next moment, her fingertips became translucent, and countless fine spatial blades burst forth in all directions.
The spatial blades seemed to contain the unfathomable power from that mysterious outsider expert.
Then, a spatial magic that she had recently derived but hadn’t completely mastered was unleashed. “Space Freeze!”
As she uttered these words, the fluctuating space over everyone’s heads seemed to be suddenly frozen.
For a moment, everyone could no longer hear the ear-piercing shrieks. They felt as if both time and space had frozen.
They could no longer feel the flow of the wind, nor could they see the withered plants around them sway. They even felt that their hearts had stopped, and their blood had ceased flowing.
They felt as if they had suddenly been submerged in a giant drop of pine gum, and they were like the insects within it. No one was able to move a finger.
Also subject to such influences was the broad blade light of the Nethersoul Saber.
Other than Armes, who was bringing the saber down towards Nie Tian, the other outsiders all gasped with astonishment and fear.
At the same time, their expressions seemed to be frozen, not a single muscle on their faces moving.
Apparently, even though they were standing quite far from Pei Qiqi, the moment she cast that strange spatial magic, none of them could escape its influence.
If she wanted to, she could probably slaughter them all with her spatial blades without meeting any resistance.
However, Pei Qiqi didn’t seem to have enough strength left to do so.
Crackling sounds came from the broad, cyan blade light, as if the frozen space were like a piece of ice fissuring under great pressure.
Pei Qiqi coughed up a mouthful of blood and fainted, her face pale as paper.
Armes shot Pei Qiqi a quick glance, and then refocused on pressing the saber down towards Nie Tian with both hands.
Then, the cyan blade light once again went down towards Nie Tian as the Nethersoul Saber started moving again.
One cluster of crimson flame after another rose from the Flame Dragon Armor on Nie Tian, rapidly turning him into a burning man.
Crackling burning sounds echoed out around him as he summoned his Flame Star. He took a step forward as he gathered his various types of power and rage in the same way he would cast a Rage Punch.
At this moment, he no longer held anything back. He emptied his flame power, wood power, star power, and flesh power into his Flame Star, along with the raging flame power from the Blood Core of the Flame Dragon Armor.
As that happened, the resounding furious roar of a titan echoed from the few spatial rifts in the colorful mist that floated over the black lake, which should have been the passage between this place and the outsiders’ realms.
5. The sword of integrity: Qi Xing Long Yuan
Legend has it that this sword was the joint work of two swordmakers, Ou Yezi and Gan Jiang. In order to make it, they brought stream water from Cishan Mountain to the seven ponds around the sword-making fireplace. Because the seven ponds were shaped like seven stars of the Big Dipper, the sword was named Qi Xing (seven stars). If you look down the sword, it looks ethereal and profound, as if you are in a high position overlooking a valley where a huge dragon lives, which is why the sword was named Long Yuan (an abyss where a dragon lives).
According to the Annals of Wu and Yue, another factor that made this sword famous was a fisherman whose name is unknown. He saved Wu Zixu’s life. In order to express his gratitude to the fisherman, who refused to tell his name, Wu gave him the sword, Qi Xing Long Yuan. The fisherman sighed and said, “I saved your life because you are a honest official of the country, not because I wanted your reward. Now that you think I am a man longing for profits, I have to show my nobleness with this sword.” With these words, he committed suicide with the sword. That was why Qi Xing Long Yuan was considered a sword of integrity.
Called Long Yuan before the Tang dynasty, it adopted another name, Qi Xing Long Quan (quan means fountain), because of the naming taboo of Emperor Gaozu, who was the founder of Tang dynasty whose personal name was Li Yuan.