In the Realm of Flame Heaven, a crack appeared at the bottom of a wide river. Inside, a teleportation portal made of Space Spirit Jades appeared.
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!
Three figures appeared in the teleportation portal. They were Nie Tian, Zhao Shanling, and Li Langfeng.
Zhao Shanling grabbed Nie Tian and Li Langfeng by the shoulder and shot right out of the river before they landed smoothly on the ground.
As soon as they did, the crack in the river bottom strangely closed up by itself, as if nothing had happened.
“Where are we?” Nie Tian asked.
“The Realm of Flame Heaven, somewhere in the Ghost Sect’s territory,” Zhao Shanling explained casually. “I’ve set up teleportation portals in every realm in the Domain of the Falling Stars, so I can travel wherever I want whenever I want.”
“No wonder you dared to stay in the Realm of Split Void when the others all left,” Nie Tian said, looking very impressed.
Zhao Shanling’s eyes were filled with arrogance as he said, “Even without these teleportation portals, I can still travel freely across heaven and earth. The most powerful of the outsiders that invaded the Realm of Split Void was still only at the seventh grade, which means they’re roughly as powerful as Soul realm humans. However, none of them are skilled in using spatial magics, so even if they ganged up on me, they wouldn’t be able to catch me.
“My spatial magics would allow me to create spatial rifts at any time, and travel to any part of the Realm of Split Void.
“Given the size of the Realm of Split Void, even if those outsider experts somehow surrounded me, I’d be able to escape if I wanted to.”
Nie Tian nodded, curling his lips. “You’re indeed strong enough to ignore those outsiders. Perhaps you’re the only one who can throughout the entire Domain of the Falling Stars.”
Zhao Shanling had even managed to find his way back after being banished to some space disruption zone in the depths of the starry river.
It was only natural that he could travel freely within any realm by relying on his profound knowledge of spatial power.
Meanwhile, he was a lone wolf, free of all constraints and attachments. Even if he found it difficult to contend against multiple seventh grade outsiders, he would be able to escape whenever he wanted.
Even the outsiders wouldn’t have effective methods to deal with a freak like Zhao Shanling.
Nie Tian then ended his thoughts, and was about to summon the Bone Blood Demon to take him to Black Cloud City as soon as possible.
“Where are you going?” Zhao Shanling asked.
“Black Cloud City,” Nie Tian answered. “My family is there.”
“Wait, I’ll take you there.” With these words, Zhao Shanling once again created a spatial rift before him, and through it, they directly arrived outside Black Cloud City.
“Here,” Zhao Shanling said as the spatial rift behind him rapidly shrank into nothing.
Without any delay, Nie Tian unleashed his Heaven Eyes to learn the situation in the city.
As his nine Heaven Eyes rapidly spread out in all directions, he discovered that the farmlands outside Black Cloud City were desolate. Commoners were trembling behind their doors, not daring to take one step outside of their homes.
Inside the city, many Qi warriors with low cultivation bases had nothing but desperation in their eyes, as if they were waiting for the end of their lives.
He didn’t discover a single familiar face in the Nie Clan or the An Clan.
However, what surprised him the most was that there wasn’t a single outsider in Black Cloud City.
“What’s going on? Where are the outsiders?” He thought to himself.
Neither his grandfather, his aunt, nor the few An Clan members he cared about were in Black Cloud City.
Just as he was wondering where they were, Zhao Shanling’s expression flickered, and he exclaimed softly, “Hmm?”
“What is it, Senior Zhao?” Nie Tian asked instantly.
He knew that the detection range of Zhao Shanling’s profound soul power would be much larger than that of his Heaven Eyes’.
“There’s something strange at the back of Cloudsoaring Mountain.” Frowning, Zhao Shanling grabbed Li Langfeng and Nie Tian and sped through the sky.
Since Black Cloud City was rather close to Cloudsoaring Mountain, he didn’t resort to his spatial magics, but flew instead.
Even so, he traveled as fast as a bolt of lightning. He could cover a few dozen kilometers within a second, which was much faster than Nie Tian’s Golden Chariot or the Bone Blood Demon.
Held by Zhao Shanling, Nie Tian looked down, and saw hills and rivers flying past at lightning speed.
It wasn’t very long before Cloudsoaring Mountain entered their sight.
That was when Nie Tian saw numerous outsiders, including Demons, Fiends, Phantasms, Birdmen, and Blackscales, in every corner of the Cloudsoaring Sect and the back of Cloudsoaring Mountain, where his master Wu Ji lived.
Zhao Shanling came to a stop in midair.
Nie Tian looked down with rapt attention, and discovered that the gate of the Cloudsoaring Sect and their grand spell formation had already been breached.
Corpses of Greater Heaven stage and Worldly realm Qi warriors could be seen everywhere, along with a small number of dead outsiders.
Judging from their garments, there were also disciples of the Hell Sect, the Ghost Sect, and the Blood Sect among the dead.
At the back of Cloudsoaring Mountain, Chang Sen, Li Jing, and Ghost Eye, who he knew well, were engaged in fierce battles with outsiders at this very moment.
However, what got him wondering was the battle that was taking place in the depths of a cluster of thick mist over the mountain.
A Phantasm expert unleashed his bloodline magics, and numerous evil ghosts swooped out of the pores all over him, screaming madly as they did.
At the same time, close to a thousand clusters of blazing cyan flames floated around him, all of which emanated gruesome, ghostly auras.
With a single glance at the cyan flames, Nie Tian realized that it was the same Phantasm magic as the one Armes had once used to attack him. “Soul Burning Seals!”
It was just that, limited by his strength, Armes had only been able to form three clusters of flames. However, that Phantasm expert now had close to a thousand clusters of flames around him.
The Soul Burning Seals seemed to have stimulated the evil spirits’ potential, as they filled heaven and earth with a dreadful aura that could devastate all living beings.
As a high-tier Demon, Nolante was dressed in noble garments. As he brandished a black wheel, a torrential dark aura poured out of it.
Nolante stood in a sea of pitch-black Demon Qi, which was constantly changing. In one moment, it turned into a huge, black dragon. In another, it turned into some ancient magical beast that he didn’t recognize.
It seemed that Nolante and that Phantasm expert were teaming up against a human expert.
That human expert turned out to be Wu Ji.
In the thick, white mist, Wu Ji was sitting on a silver boat, looking distressed. The white of his hair and eyebrows made him look much older than Nie Tian remembered.
As he repeatedly waved his hands, streams of silky white light shot out of his silver boat.
Wherever the light went, the evil spirits that had been stimulated by the Soul Burning Seals were reduced to wisps of black smoke that rapidly vanished in the wind.
Every once in a while, the silver boat would circle in the air and charge towards Nolante. Whenever it did, Nolante would slam it with his black wheel. However, upon every clash, Nolante would let out a muffled groan, with blood coming from his mouth.
No one dared to come anywhere near Wu Ji and those two outsider experts, both humans and outsiders.
Meanwhile, the thick, white mist seemed to be changing in a very subtle and mysterious way, as if it had created a time-bending magnetic field.
“Master!” Nie Tian’s eyes reddened as rich flesh power instantly exploded from within him. He somehow struggled free from Zhao Shanling and dashed down towards the white mist.
However, as soon as he entered the thick, white mist, he was struck by a terrifying feeling that he was aging in reverse.
His ninth vortex of spiritual power, which had formed recently, started to shrink at a noticeable rate.
Meanwhile, his copious flesh power seemed to be leaving his body, and the refinement of his heart seemed to be reversing.
His face turned pale with fright as numerous images of his past rapidly flashed across his mind.
In a state of bewilderment, he felt as if he wasn’t in the Realm of Flame Heaven, but rather back on that strange island, where he was fighting outsiders.
“Moron! Get back here!!” Zhao Shanling let out a cold harrumph as he quickly made a grabbing motion in the air, and a ribbon of spiritual power shot down and pulled Nie Tian out of the white mist.
However, even as strong as Zhao Shanling was, his expression flickered drastically as he tried to pull Nie Tian back with great effort.
He also felt like he was being dragged into his past, where he struggled in pain and desperation as he looked for a way back from that remote space disruption zone. Even his early Soul realm cultivation base seemed to be regressing.
Only after his ribbon of spiritual power left the white mist with Nie Tian did Zhao Shanling stop experiencing the strange sensations.
His slightly regressed cultivation base was also instantly restored to its original state.
Similarly, Nie Tian also sensed his ninth vortex of spiritual power and his heart being quickly restored to their original state as soon as he was pulled out of the white mist.
The strange feeling of reliving the past was also gone.
With a shocked expression, he turned to Zhao Shanling and asked, “What happened just now?”
Zhao Shanling took a deep breath and said, “I can’t believe that there’s such an astounding figure in a small place like the Realm of Flame Heaven!” His eyes were filled with disbelief as he stared at Wu Ji, as if he were looking at something that shouldn’t have happened in this world. “It’s hard to believe that someone in the Domain of the Falling Stars has actually mastered time power!”
“Time power!?” Nie Tian exclaimed, confused.
Li Langfeng was also deeply puzzled, as apparently, neither of them had even heard of such a type of power.
“Those two outsider experts are both at the seventh grade, which means their strength is roughly at the same level as Soul realm human experts.” Zhao Shanling sounded very serious. “But your master is only at the late Profound realm. What do you think allows him to contend against them at the same time and not lose?”
Before Nie Tian could say anything, he let out a strange laugh and said, “I bet no one ever thought there was a strange talent like Wu Ji in a remote corner like the Realm of Flame Heaven! At the late Profound realm, he can actually create a time realm. Any living beings will experience a regression once they enter it.
“I’m afraid those seventh grade outsiders have already regressed centuries in that time realm, and now they can only display the battle prowess of sixth grade outsiders.
“But unfortunately, there’s a great price to learning and practicing profound time magics --- the caster’s lifespan, which happens to be the most precious thing for human cultivators.
“Once the caster creates a time realm, those who enter it will experience regression, but the caster himself will fast forward. While his strength will soar, his lifespan will also run out many times faster.”
With these words, Zhao Shanling rubbed his chin and thought out loud, “The strange thing is... His mastery of time power has already risen to such a profound level. His lifespan should have run out long ago...”
Dragon's symbolic value:
Historically, the East Asian dragon was associated with the Emperor of China and used a symbol to represent imperial power. The founder of Han dynasty Liu Bang claimed that he was conceived after his mother dreamt of a dragon. During the Tang dynasty, Emperors wore robes with dragon motif as an imperial symbol, and high officials might also be presented with dragon robes. In the Yuan dynasty, the two-horned five-clawed dragon was designated for use by the Son of Heaven or Emperor only, while the four-clawed dragon was used by the princes and nobles. (to differentiate the two, four-clawed dragons were called 蟒, which mean large snakes) Similarly during the Ming and Qing dynasty, the five-clawed dragon was strictly reserved for use by the Emperor only.
The Chinese dragon has very different connotations to European dragon – in European cultures, the dragon is a fire-breathing creature with aggressive connotations, whereas the Chinese dragon is a spiritual and cultural symbol that represents prosperity and good luck, as well as a rain deity that fosters harmony. It was said that the Chinese government decided against using the dragon as its official 2008 Summer Olympics mascot because of the aggressive connotations that dragons have outside of China, and chose more "friendly" symbols instead.
Sometimes Chinese people use the term "Descendants of the Dragon" (龙的传人) as a sign of ethnic identity.
The ancient Chinese self-identified as "the descendants of the dragon" because the Chinese dragon is an imagined reptile that represents evolution from the ancestors and qi energy. The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987, and jade badges of rank in coiled form have been excavated from the Hongshan culture circa 4700-2900 BC. Some of the earliest Dragon artifacts are the pig dragon carvings from the Hongshan culture.
Jade-carved dragon garment ornament from the Warring States period (403 BC–221 BC).
Gilded-bronze handle in the shape of a dragon head and neck, made during the Eastern Han period (25–220 AD)
The coiled dragon or snake form played an important role in early Chinese culture. The character for "dragon" in the earliest Chinese writing has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the Shang period.
Ancient Chinese referred to unearthed dinosaur bones as dragon bones and documented them as such. For example, Chang Qu in 300 BC documents the discovery of "dragon bones" in Sichuan. The modern Chinese term for dinosaur is written as 恐龍/恐龙("terror dragon").