After Nie Tian and the girls followed Chai Longge and Chai Fengwu out of the central area of the city, where gravity was a hundred times stronger than usual, Chai Long summoned his air-transportation spiritual tool.
After everyone jumped on board, it shot off into the distance.
Standing at the stern of the air-transportation spiritual tool that was flying farther and farther away, Nie Tian gazed at the Earth Spirit Sect disciples in the stone city, and saw that many of them still had vengeful looks on their faces.
He started to look forward to the nine stone statues befalling the city and slaughtering every single one of them, which he assumed was most likely going to happen.
The Earth Spirit Sect disciples had cold looks in their eyes as they watched Nie Tian and the girls leave along with Chai Longge and Chai Fengwu. “They must be heading to the Fortune Wells.”
A man let out a cold harrumph and said with a fierce look in his eyes. “Let’s derive enlightenment from Lord Myriad Gravity’s legacies until our future sectmaster gets here, then we’ll be able to march on to the Fortune Wells and settle accounts with those three.”
Another man chimed in, “Yeah, the Fortune Wells hasn’t shown its wonders just yet. We still have time. According to my estimation, our future sectmaster will be here in no time.”
When their air-transportation spiritual tool was a significant distance from the Stone Golem’s old haunt, Nie Tian asked, “What wonders does this place you’re taking us to hold exactly?”
Yin Yanan and Mu Biqiong also fixed Chai Longge with curious gazes.
This was the first time they had entered the Shatter Battlefield too, so they also knew very little of it.
Before meeting Chai Longge and his sister, the three of them had wandered around like headless flies, without any destinations or goals.
Gentle and just, Chai Longge left a good impression on the girls.
Since he seemed to know the Shatter Battlefield rather well, and had initiated an invitation, there must be a reason behind it.
“That place is called the Fortune Wells, but honestly, we don’t know how they came to form either...” Chai Longge went on and gave a detailed explanation, through which Nie Tian gained a fairly good understanding of the Fortune Wells.
The Fortune Wells were located in a vast, mysterious marshland, which had seemed to exist before the former super-large realm had exploded, forming the current Shatter Battlefield.
During the Desolate Antiquity Era, the former super-large realm had been inhabited by Ancientspirits had other ancient species.
That marshland, however, had been a forbidden region since then.
As powerful as the Ancientspirits and other ancient species had been, they had forbidden their members from entering that region.
Rumor had it that that marshland had been able to quietly devour any living being that had dared to enter it.
No matter whether they were puny ancient insects or powerful ancient beasts, if they had dared to enter the marshland, none of them were able to escape the fate of being sucked into the marshland and vanishing for good.
That marshland seemed to be able to devour living beings’ bodies, as well as their souls.
Two fierce wars had broken out there. The first one had been between Ancientspirits and outsider races. The second one had been between humans and outsider races, through which humans had established their status as a powerful force in this starry river.
In fact, those two wars had taken place in every corner of the Shatter Battlefield, and that marshland had been a place where battles had taken place with the highest density.
During those battles, numerous outsiders, ancient beasts, and human experts had perished and been swallowed by the marshland.
After hundreds of thousands of years, a total of forty-nine wells had somehow appeared in that marshland, but no one knew who had built them, or what secrets had lain within them.
Until one day, an outsider entered that marshland by accident and discovered that many of the wells had actually been spewing all kinds of powers, including flame power, wood power, and lightning power, as well as phantasm Qi, demon Qi, and even rich flesh power.
Almost every kind of energy of heaven and earth and Qi that outsiders practiced cultivation with had come out of those wells at certain points.
That outsider had gained rich flesh power from one of the wells, which had instantly triggered changes in his bloodline, allowing it to upgrade within a very short period of time.
Afterwards, he had informed his clansmen of his discovery. Then, rumors about those mysterious wells spread gradually.
Therefore, a large number of outsiders and even humans heard the rumors and poured into that marshland.
However, they had soon found out that those wells wouldn’t spew powers all the time. Instead, they would only work their magic every few decades, or sometimes centuries.
Every time they had spewed all kinds of energies, people from all races would swarm into the marshland and channel power from them, which would allow them to make breakthroughs in their cultivation bases and upgrade their bloodlines.
Furthermore, according to human Qi warriors who had been there personally, the powers of heaven and earth that had spilled from those wells carried mysterious fortunes that had sped up the refinement of their spiritual cores and vortexes of different powers.
Not only had the powers they had absorbed from the wells been richer than the powers in spiritual materials, but they had had incredible effects on cultivation advancement.
Gradually, Qi warriors had started to refer to those wells as the Fortune Wells, and all of the outsider races had acknowledged this name too.
Mu Biqiong’s bright eyes lit up as she heard this story. “Forty-nine Fortune Wells?!”
Clearly, she was intrigued.
Her cultivation base was currently at the late Worldly realm, which was inferior to Yin Yanan’s.
She was well-aware that if the two of them fought by relying on their own strength, if she didn’t summon the demonic plant inside of her and Yin Yanan didn’t resort to the eighth grade Frost Blood Python’s strength, she would be the losing one.
Since Yin Yanan practiced the Beast-controlling Sect’s body refining incantation, and had a cultivation base advantage, Mu Biqiong wouldn’t stand a chance against her.
Then, she snuck a glance at Nie Tian.
“This guy was able to contend against Yin Yanan in a battle of pure fleshly strength. Besides, he’s learned the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace’s profound incantations, and practices powers of three different attributes...” As her train of thought reached this point, a shred of bitterness appeared in her bright eyes.
Gazing into the distance, Chai Longge said in a soft voice, “No one knows who built those Fortune Wells. But many guess, since they were built in the marshland that all living beings considered a forbidden region, those who built them must possess heaven-shattering, earth-toppling strength.
“And the various kinds of power they spew intermittently are very likely from those who it has devoured over hundreds of thousands of years.
“The fact that those wells can actually absorb powerful creatures’ flesh power, spiritual power, and soul power is simply unbelievable.”
Mu Biqiong’s expression flickered with astonishment as she asked, “Soul power too?”
Yin Yanan’s eyes also widened.
Soul power was one of the most curious powers in this world. Instead of forming naturally, it depended on living creatures’ souls, and only dark magics or items could gather it, like the Phantasms’ Soul-devouring Lake.
Even Chai Longge’s own eyes glittered with excitement as he said, “That’s right. Every time the Fortune Wells work their magic, there’s always one well that spews pure soul power. However, it’s usually not the same well that spews soul power each time. The same goes for the other energies.”
Then, from his explanation, Yin Yanan learned that the kinds of power that the Fortune Wells spewed would vary from time to time.
A well could spew demon Qi one time, but lightning power the next time.
Therefore, when the Fortune Wells worked their magic, any of them could be the one that spewed soul power, and that one would instantly become the most popular, as many would fight over it.
Furthermore, not every well would spew energies every time. Sometimes, some of the wells would remain silent and inactive, while others spewed energies.
As their air-transportation spiritual tool traveled at full speed, Chai Longge continued to answer Nie Tian and the girls’ questions, and explained what they needed to know about the Fortune Wells.
Two weeks passed...
As their air-transportation spiritual tool approached the forbidden region where the Fortune Wells were located, a vast marshland entered everyone’s view.
Everywhere looked grayish-brown, with a rotted, humid aura rising from the ooze.
Nie Tian examined his surroundings with his soul awareness and failed to sense even the faintest flesh power, which proved that there weren’t any bugs, which were most commonly seen in marshlands here.
He then strained his sight, but couldn’t see a single plant in the marshland, a sense of desolation rising in his heart.
Chai Longge and Chai Fengwu grew cautious after entering this region.
Chai Longge took a deep breath and said, “Be very careful not to fall into the marshland. Like monsters from chaotic, primeval times, the marshland can devour anything that falls into it. You’ll sink uncontrollably once you fall into it. Don’t imagine you’ll come out again.
“For hundreds of thousands of years, who-knows-how-many powerful beings have fallen into it and died.”
Nie Tian and the girls had relaxed look on their faces at first, but after hearing these words, they all grew heavy-hearted as they gazed down at the marshland.
“Will only Worldly and Profound realm cultivators visit this place?” Yin Yanan asked. “Will experts with higher cultivation bases come to take over the Fortune Wells?”
“They did before, but not anymore,” Chai Longge explained. “Even though the energies the Fortune Wells spew are pure and have incredible effects, they are like cups of water on a burning cart for Void or Saint domain human experts and outsiders at the eighth or ninth grade.
“These energies might be able to help Worldly or Profound realm cultivators or outsiders at similar grades achieve breakthroughs. But they’re far too faint for powerful experts who can easily shatter earth and topple mountains.
“There are other, more profound wonders in the depths of the Shatter Battlefield. Instead of waiting by the Fortune Wells, those powerful experts would rather try their luck in deeper areas.”
Yin Yanan nodded. “I see.”
Their air-transportation spiritual tool flew for a while into the boundless marshland before finally reaching the area where the Fortune Wells were located.
As a Fortune Well entered Nie Tian’s view, he discovered that a Qi warrior was already sitting beside it, as if he were waiting for it to become active.
The Structure of Talismans
Daoist Talismans are mainly composed of Chinese characters while others consist of astrological diagrams or objects for casting spells ( 厭勝物 Yansheng Wu ), and some of them even have divine images on them. But the majority of them are made up of characters and transformed characters. Because of this, talismans should have been understandable. Lu Xiujing once pointed out that in all the writings of the talisman there were Chinese characters, but they were not easily understood. If one was able to understand them, one could register and invoke thousands of souls and control hundreds of spirits. There was nothing that could not be done. (Supreme Pervasive Mysterious Perfect Talisman of Simple Numinosity ( 《太上洞玄靈寶素靈真符》 Taishang Dongxuan Lingbao Suling Zhenfu )) He took the Dujiang Talisman ( 《都匠符》 Doujiang Fu ) as an example to illustrate that it was composed of the five overlapped characters of the "Peaceful Bright Day of the Heavenly Emperor" ( “合明天帝日” Heming Tiandi Ri ). As we observe the five characters, we may find that their shape was changed a little, especially the character "Bright" formed by four characters meaning "sunshine". It was different from the common way of writing it, and this kind of change was as free as the talisman maker wanted it to be. And the character "Bright" can also be made up of two characters meaning "sunshine". Offered by the emperor in the Song Dynasty, The Talisman for Controlling the Mind ( 《鎮心符》 Zhenxin Fu ) in Mt. Mao, composed of half of the Dujiang Talisman, was made in this way. The formation of the Dujiang Talisman was comparatively simple and easy to be understood whereas other talismans greatly changed in their shapes were hard to be recognized. Ge Hong mentioned that an assistant interpreter of the talismans in the distant past was able to read the talismans and know if there was anything wrong with them. Someone showed him the images of the talismans for casting spells and impeaching ghosts and those for curing diseases after taking their names, and he succeeded in recognizing them and telling the names of the talismans (see the Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity, Chapter 5) ( 《抱朴子•內篇•遐覽》 Baopu Zi Neipian Xialan ). In the Eastern Han Dynasty, most Daoist talismans were comparatively simple and could be understood by the people who were good at them. But talismans such as the Five Talismans of the Numinous Treasure ( 《靈寶五符》 Lingbao Wufu ), similar to stone seals or worm-shaped characters with interlocking patterns, adjoining against each other along a zigzag borderline, were difficult to pronounce except if their maker told you how to read them.
The special characters for making talismans are called Talismanic Characters. Talismanic Characters have their own pronunciations, which are called Talismanic Sounds. Talismans are constituted of the Talismanic Characters and other elements, including the diagrams of the stars ( 星圖 Xingtu ), divine images, and objects for casting spells. Knowing the implications of these elements can help you to know the structure of the talisman. With the introduction above, we can see that talismans consist of Talismanic Characters made according to certain principles, together with some other elements. Simple talismans are made up of one or several simple Talismanic Characters, but complicated ones are composed of many mixed parts. Therefore they are hard for us to read. Not only do the elements of talismans differ from sect to sect, but also the ways of making and reading them are passed down secretly from master to disciple within the sects. Laymen seldom have had a chance to see them. Moreover, the collocation, the order, and the positions of the various parts of the talismans are not easy for laymen to know. For example, in the Five Talismans of the Numinous Treasure, also called the Numinous Treasure Talisman Mandate of the Five Directions ( 靈寶五方符命 Lingbao Wufang Fu Ming ), it is hard for us to distinguish the talisman's parts and structure.
As far as the images of the talismans are concerned, there are some other talismans with shades of layers of different colors. Sometimes they look like a large dripping-wet ink ball, and sometimes they seem to look like an outline of the spirits. They seem to be too mysterious to be understood because of their obscure structure. As a matter of fact, they can be understood and analyzed. Of course, you have to track down the process of its making, instead of racking your brains in front of the finished product.