Nie Tian spent a few months with Duan Shihu and Jing Rou, and learned from them that humans had occupied a great amount of the domains in this boundless starry river.
The Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries and the Domain of Heaven Python were just two very ordinary ones.
Usually, domains consisted of multiple realms. Realms could be divided into small-scale realms, medium-scale realms, large-scale realms, and super-large-scale realms.
Similarly, domains could be divided into elementary-grade domains, medium-grade domains, and premium-grade domains.
According to Jing Rou, domains that had Void domain Qi warriors could be referred to as elementary-grade domains. Those that had Saint domain Qi warriors could be categorized as medium-grade domains. Only domains that had God domain experts deserved to be called premium-grade domains.
Before Fan Kai had broken through into the Void domain, the Domain of the Falling Stars hadn’t even qualified as an elementary-grade domain.
Even though there were a large number of realms in the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries, since it didn’t have any Saint domain experts, it also only counted as an elementary-grade domain.
The Domain of Heaven Python fell into the class of medium-grade domains.
Only the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace and colossi like it, which had God domain experts, deserved to be called premium-grade domains.
Patriarch Pure Heaven was still one step away from entering the Saint domain, so he didn’t seem very impressive to Nie Tian.
While Nie Tian drifted away in thought, Yue Yanxi said, “The reason why the Pure Heaven Sect didn’t send people to that forbidden region was because they had made another discovery. There are a number of dead realms in the Pure Heaven Sect’s territory, and among them there’s this vast, mysterious sea, which floats in the void and has many secrets.
“The Pure Heaven Sect didn’t show up with us because they discovered that mysterious stone statues would surface from time to time in that sea.
“Those stone statues seem to carry the profound truths of heaven and earth, so the Pure Heaven Sect attached great importance to them. They went all-out to learn about them, and thus didn’t have the energy to search that forbidden region.”
Surprised, Nie Tian said, “Stone statues surfaced in a sea that floats in the void? Hmm, interesting.”
“Yeah, exactly.” Yue Yanxi said, his eyes narrowed. “Like you said, the spatial rift to the Shatter Battlefield hasn’t opened in the Realm of Maelstrom yet, so do you want to go take a look at that floating sea? The Pure Heaven Sect seems to have retrieved several of the stone statues out of the bottom of the sea already. Powerful experts and chosen ones from all over the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries are heading there, hoping to examine and derive some enlightenment from them.
“Yin Yanan went there shortly after her return to the Beast-controlling Sect.
“I sent Qiao Yunxi there as soon as possible too.
“I also intend to go there myself. If you’re interested, we can go together. What do you think?”
After a moment of pondering, Nie Tian nodded, “Sure, let’s go.”
Mu Biqiong jumped in and asked, “What about me then?”
“You’re coming with us,” Yue Yanxi said plainly. “Your sect has sent people there too.”
“Mmm.” Mu Biqiong nodded.
As the teleportation portal was once again activated, Nie Tian, Yue Yanxi, and Mu Biqiong disappeared from the Divine Flame Sect.
After just one teleportation, Nie Tian and the others appeared in a location by the edge of a dead realm, which didn’t seem that vast. The earth was dark-gray, and mountains could be seen in the distance.
Nie Tian examined this realm with rapt attention, and discovered that there didn’t seem to be the slightest spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in it. Neither did he sense the existence of any vegetation or living creatures.
Therefore, he knew this realm was bereft of any life.
The teleportation portal they were standing in was on an ancient starship that belonged to the Divine Flame Sect, which was berthed by the edge of the dead realm.
After withdrawing his gaze from the dead realm, Nie Tian gazed around with rapt attention, and his expression instantly flickered.
A total of seven dead realms were scattered in this region. The one close to him was only one of them.
Surrounded by the seven dead realms was an extremely vast blue sea, and the sea was indeed floating in the void. Compared to the sea, even the seven dead realms looked very small.
The blue sea seemed unfathomable and full of mysteries.
Nie Tian had a feeling as if the sea stretched downward endlessly into the boundless starry river.
Normally speaking, since the sea was floating in the void, it should contain countless impurities, which would infiltrate Qi warriors’ bodies and souls, causing them great damage.
Nie Tian had experienced this first-hand when he had traveled in the void with Zhao Shanling.
It was said that only Qi warriors with cultivation bases higher than the Void domain would be able to envelop themselves and ward off the harmful impurities with their own domains.
For this very reason, there had been a saying that only those who had cultivation bases higher than the Void domain or possessed ancient starships were able to explore the depths of the void.
However, there didn’t seem to be even the slightest impurity in this sea, even though it was floating in the void and surrounded by seven dead realms.
This was fascinating.
Eyes narrowed, Nie Tian strained his eyes, and saw a number of spots that were the size of rice grains sparkling at the central area of the unfathomable blue sea.
Yue Yanxi explained, “Those are air-transportation spiritual tools from the five major sects and three major clans, Yunxi’s Flame Bird among them. Their location is where the stone statues surfaced.”
With these words, he summoned an air-transportation spiritual tool. After Nie Tian and Mu Biqiong jumped on board, they left the ancient starship and flew towards the bright spots.
Nie Tian kept glancing around on their way, and could vaguely see ancient starships berthed by the other dead realms.
From the look of it, they belonged to the five major sects and three major clans. People had sailed to this region on them.
Finally, Yue Yanxi’s air-transportation spiritual tool arrived at the central area of the unfathomable blue sea.
Qiao Yunxi’s Flame Bird was floating quietly over the sea. With serious expressions, a few Qi warriors from the Divine Flame Sect were gazing into the deep sea from the back of the Flame Bird.
A total of eight stone statues were floating motionlessly under the sea’s surface, their faces blurry.
All of the eight stone statues looked different from each other. Some looked like humans, some looked like outsiders, while others looked like spirit beasts, but every one of them was incomparably large.
The stone statues emanated misty light from right under the sea’s surface. Nie Tian examined the statues with rapt attention, and discovered that the carvings of their faces seemed to be unfinished.
Just as he was going to examine with his soul awareness, an old man from the Pure Heaven Sect flew across the void and arrived in front of him.
The old man’s name was Zhou Shang, and he was also at the middle Void domain. Eyebrows furrowed, he said sternly, “You should know the rules, Brother Yue. Only members of the five major sects and three major clans are allowed to examine and derive enlightenment from these stone statues, and no more than ten members of every party are allowed to be here at the same time. Besides, each of them will have to pay ten thousand spirit jades to observe them for two weeks.”
“Brother Zhou, this is one of our sect’s honored guests. I...” Yue Yanxi said, hoping to explain the situation to him.
But Zhou Shang interrupted him in a very rude manner. “I don’t care who he is. As long as he wants to stay here and observe, one of your people will have to back out. Also, since he’s not a disciple of your sect, he’ll have to pay double, so twenty thousand spirit jades.”
Yue Yanxi’s eyebrows furrowed slightly.
Nie Tian was taken aback.
This old man from the Pure Heaven Sect was very arrogant and impolite when facing Yue Yanxi, whose cultivation base was the same as his. This took Nie Tian by surprise.
Each of the five major sects and three major clans could have no more than ten people observe the stone statues here at the same time, and each person had to pay ten thousand spirit jades.
Ten thousand spirit jades were worth a million spirit stones. Even he, who was rather wealthy, felt it was a little too expensive to spend this much just to observe the stone statues for two weeks.
To make it worse, the old man demanded that he pay twice the price just because he wasn’t a disciple of the Divine Flame Sect.
At this moment, Jiang Feng from the Bliss Mountain Sect rushed over, looking overjoyed. “Little Qiong!”
After arriving, he took a glance at Nie Tian, then said with a complicated expression, “I didn’t know that you’d come here too.”
Nie Tian gave him a plain smile, not saying anything.
After exchanging a meaningful glance with Jiang Feng, Yue Yanxi signaled Mu Biqiong that she could go to Jiang Feng’s side now.
Afterwards, he said to Zhou Shang from the Pure Heaven Sect, “Alright. We’ll follow the rule your sect has made, and send one disciple back to our ancient starship. And I’ll pay extra for him to stay and derive enlightenment.”
“Good,” Zhou Shang said.
Then, Yue Yanxi flew to the Flame Bird and said something to one of the Divine Flame Sect disciples in a low voice.
Even though the disciple seemed reluctant, he rose to his feet on the Flame Bird and flew back to the Divine Flame Sect’s ancient starship by himself.
Afterwards, Yue Yanxi paid twenty thousand spirit jades and arranged for Nie Tian to observe from the Flame Bird’s back. “You just stay here and see if you can derive some enlightenment from those stone statues.”
“Okay,” Nie Tian said, looking calm.
Upon seeing him, Qiao Yunxi only nodded slightly at him before focusing her attention on the eight stone statues in the sea again, as if she didn’t want to waste any time.
“Let’s discuss other matters after we’re finished here.” After saying these words to Nie Tian, Jiang Feng left with Mu Biqiong, as if he were afraid to disturb Nie Tian by staying.
After rejoining the others from the Bliss Mountain Sect, he waved his hand at one of the young men. Then, the young man rose to his feet reluctantly, summoned an air-transportation spiritual tool and left, looking frustrated.
This area fell silent again.