They encountered a few groups of evil spirits and ghouls along the way.
Every time they ran into evil spirits, Nie Tian would wait for the right time to take out the Spirit Pearl, so that it would swallow the evil spirits.
Whenever they encountered ghouls, Huang Jinnan would launch overwhelming attacks to split them into pieces, causing them to suffer violent deaths.
When they had time to spare, Nie Tian would ask Huang Jinnan about the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
From him, Nie Tian gained a brand new understanding of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
As one of the four great human powers, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had more subordinate forces and affiliated domains than they could count.
Every few years, they would take in disciples and teach them secret magics and profound incantations.
First, they would select youngsters with extraordinary talent who met their criteria from their subordinate forces.
Every time they took in disciples, a grand gathering would be held. Tens of thousands of youngsters would participate. However, less than one percent of them would actually pass their tests and be taken in as their disciples.
Even though the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace would take in numerous disciples with every admission gathering, very few of them would eventually rise above the others and become Sons of the Stars.
Sometimes, dozens of admission gatherings would pass without even one youngster winning the acknowledgment of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace’s parliament of elders.
This was only one of the methods through which the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace took in disciples.
The other method was to pick Sons of the Stars directly.
Over hundreds of thousands of years, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had attacked and seized many domains. For some reason, they had left some of them unattended, but some of those domains were still rather important to them, and they had other plans for them.
They knew that some special domains had the potential to produce figures with unlimited cultivation talent.
Therefore, they would leave Heaven Gates in those domains.
These Heaven Gates would open every few decades, or even centuries.
The participants of the Heaven Gate trials who could make it to the grand palace, collect all three fragmentary star marks, and merge the fragmentary star marks with themselves, would become a Son of the Stars directly, skipping the process of becoming regular disciples of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Right now, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had a total of seven Sons of the Stars.
Five of them had risen to their current position through the first method. They were the ones that had emerged after numerous rounds of selection.
Nie Tian and another had become Sons of the Stars after passing the Heaven Gate trial and merging all three fragmentary star marks.
No matter through which method they had become Sons of the Stars, their future paths would be full of dangers and difficulties. As for the first kind of Sons of the Stars, who had won the favor of the parliament of elders to become Sons of the Stars, they would have to fight outsiders and temper themselves through battles at early ages.
Battles between humans and outsiders had never stopped. Sons of the Stars would usually be sent to major battlefields in different domains to fight outsiders on the front lines.
Therefore, many of them would die at the outsiders’ hands.
The second kind of Sons of the Stars, who had passed the Heaven Gate trials to become Sons of the Stars, would also face an extended and dangerous test, which was to finish the ‘path of stars’.
The Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace would leave behind all kinds of arrangements that could be used to help them return to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace’s headquarters. However, they wouldn’t provide them with any guidance or assistance. Instead, they would have to fend for themselves. Besides that, they would have to build themselves up while seeking their way back to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace’s headquarters. Only after their cultivation bases, temperament, and learning ability had achieved certain levels would they eventually be granted entrance.
But after their return, the Sons of the Stars would have access to a copious amount of cultivation resources.
Meanwhile, competition also existed between them, as only one of them would eventually become the Lord of the Stars.
When one of them passed countless tests and eventually became the new Lord of the Stars, all of the other Sons of the Stars in his or her generation would have to join the parliament of elders to assist the new Lord of the Stars.
Even the current Lord of the Stars had risen to power following these steps. According to Huang Jinnan, the current Lord of the Stars of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace was now at the peak of the God domain.
And he had already been in this renowned position for fifty thousand years.
However, as powerful as he was, his lifespan wasn’t unlimited.
Rumor had it he was going to reach the end of his life soon.
After he passed away, the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace would have to select a new Lord of the Stars from the seven current Sons of the Stars.
Nie Tian was taken aback. “Even God domain experts have to face lifespan problems?”
Huang Jinnan sighed. “No one is truly immortal. It’s true of both humans and outsiders. Admittedly, outsiders and Ancientspirits can live much longer than humans. Some of them can even live up to a million years. However, as powerful as they are, they’ll eventually run out of their flesh aura, wither away, and die.
“The same goes for us.
“Before reaching the Worldly realm, human cultivators can’t form their true souls, and therefore won’t gain any extra years. Two hundred years will be the limit of their lifespan.
“After entering the Worldly realm, their lifespan will extend to five hundred years.
“Profound realm cultivators can live up to a thousand years. Soul realm cultivators can live up to three thousand years.
“The Void domain is another hurdle. Once they cross it, their lifespan will extend to a hundred thousand years.
“The limit of a Saint domain cultivator’s lifespan is three hundred thousand years.
“God domain cultivators can live as long as eight hundred thousand years.”
With these words, Huang Jinnan sighed again. “But even God domain human experts’ lifespans are far shorter than those of outsider experts.
“Outsider grand monarchs can easily live for hundreds of thousands of years. Some can even live for a million years. This is something humans can’t imagine to achieve.
“Titans and Ancientbeasts can live even longer than outsiders.
“Besides, they don’t have to make much effort to earn extra years. They are born with long lifespans, so as long as they don’t get killed, their bloodlines will gradually upgrade on their own. They don’t have to worry that they’ll die very early just because they failed to upgrade fast enough.
“Humans, however, face lifespan problems on a regular basis, so we have to exert ourselves to practice cultivation, and do everything we can to accumulate spiritual power.
“But perhaps this is the reason why humans progress faster in strength than outsiders and Ancientspirits.
“It’s easier for us to climb to the peak of power, but it’s also easier for us to run out of our lifespans and die on our way up. Unlike us, Ancientspirits and outsiders can take their time to upgrade. So it’s very common for Ancientspirits and outsiders to live for a few hundred thousand years.”
With a curious expression, Nie Tian said, “You’re the Five Elements Sect’s Divine Son of the metal element section, but it seems to me that you’re very young for a man with your status, and your cultivation base isn’t very intimidating.”
Huang Jinnan’s face grew somewhat grim as he said, “I’m the weakest of all of the Divine Children of my sect, and that’s because I was only recently chosen to become a Divine Son. The former Divine Son of the metal section died fighting outsiders in a remote domain. He was just one step away from entering the Void domain when he died. It was such a pity.
“Only after his death was I chosen to take his place.
“Since I haven’t been in this position for very long, my cultivation base hasn’t risen very high, and I’m still much weaker than the other four Divine Sons and Daughters.”
Nie Tian’s eyes suddenly lit up as he said inwardly, “Divine Son... Divine Daughter...”
Something suddenly occurred to him.
He remembered that the first owner of the Flame Dragon Armor seemed to be named the Daughter of Flames.
A man named Pang Chicheng had killed her and become the Flame Dragon Armor’s second owner.
The Five Elements Sect consisted of a metal element section, wood element section, water element section, flame element section, and earth element section. Could that Daughter of Flames have been the Divine Daughter of the flame element section?
Was it possible that the powerful experts of the Five Elements Sect had forged the Flame Dragon Armor for her?
A series of thoughts rapidly flashed across Nie Tian’s mind.
The whole time, he had worried that if he had summoned the Flame Dragon Armor, its intense flesh aura would attract an alarming amount of tainted energies. Therefore, he hadn’t used it, and Huang Jinnan hadn’t seen it so far.
“Well, is there a person called the Daughter of Flames in your sect?” Nie Tian asked.
Looking confused, Huang Jinnan asked, “Didn’t you say that you’d never heard of me or my sect? How do you know my senior martial sister’s name?”
“Ah, that’s what I thought,” Nie Tian said with a surprised look on his face.
Then, he gave a dry smile and explained, “I heard that name from someone in one of the places I explored. What you said got me wondering, so I asked that question. Is she still alive?”
“She was set up and killed by a thief, and lost one of our sect’s most powerful magical treasures,” Huang Jinnan said. “But a wisp of her soul managed to escape. Now, after a thousand years, she has already been reborn and returned to her peak cultivation base, the early Void domain.”
Nie Tian’s eyelids twitched slightly.
He hadn’t expected the Flame Dragon Armor to be a powerful magical treasure of the Five Elements Sect.
It was even more unexpected that the Daughter of Flames hadn’t truly died, but instead had been reborn and recovered her early Void domain cultivation base.
Fortunately, Pang Chicheng had erased most of the Flame Dragon Armor’s memories of the Daughter of Flames, and the Flame Dragon Armor had acknowledged him completely after so many rounds of refinement.
However, if Huang Jinnan learned that he had one of his sect’s most powerful magical treasures in his possession...
As his train of thought reached this point, he grew cautious when talking to Huang Jinnan.
Furthermore, he was worried that Yin Yanan and Mu Biqiong would reveal such information, and thus stopped asking about the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. He found an excuse to leave Huang Jinnan and rejoin the girls on Xie Wanting’s air-transportation spiritual tool.
He signaled Xie Wanting to slow down and put a certain distance between them and Huang Jinnan.
“From now on, pretend you’ve never seen that suit of armor of mine, and don’t mention it to anyone,” Nie Tian said with all seriousness. “It might have deep connections to the Five Elements Sect.”