Pei Qiqi was part of the reason the outsiders had launched a mass invasion of the Domain of Heaven Python.
Even now, powerful outsider experts were spending a lot of time and effort to track her among different realms.
The people from the Thousandsword Mountain Sect had been infuriated by her before the invasion had started. Only after their sectmaster had sustained severe injuries had they stopped searching for her.
Since the Golden Vast Sect and the Divine Seal Sect had also realized that the outsiders’ mass invasion might have something to do with Pei Qiqi, would they come up with expedient plans if they got ahold of her whereabouts?
For instance, capture her and give her to the outsiders in exchange for their retreat?
All this meant that once she was exposed, it was possible that the outsiders, the Golden Vast Sect, and the Divine Seal Sect would make moves against her simultaneously.
In order for the Domain of Heaven Python to ride out this tribulation, even the Domain of Heaven Python and Jing Rou might agree to sacrifice Pei Qiqi.
Nie Tian had come to this realization the moment he had seen Jing Rou’s anxious face as the realms in the Domain of Heaven Python had started to fall one after another.
“You’re right,” Nie Tian said with a grim expression. “We do need to consider it seriously.”
His original plan had been to go find Pei Qiqi in the watery curtain over the Realm of Maelstrom right away.
However, Hua Mu and Qi Bailu’s words made him hesitant.
At this very moment, new changes took place.
Hua Mu and the other experts shrewdly detected unusual spatial fluctuations, which seemed to be coming from the large-scale teleportation portal Zhao Shanling had set up in the stone pavilion.
Therefore, they all rushed down from the balcony, where they gazed off into the sky, to the bottom floor of the stone pavilion.
As soon as they arrived, they discovered that the teleportation portal Zhao Shanling had established had somehow lit up.
Numerous spatial blades were swimming within the profound spell formation of the portal like shoals of fish.
That spell formation had been created by Zhao Shanling with profound skills.
At this moment, the lifelike spatial blades were swimming about, as if to make adjustments to the spell formation, vesting it with new wonders.
Hua Mu’s expression flickered as he exclaimed, “Those spatial blades carry Qiqi’s power!”
Everyone glanced around, but they couldn’t see Pei Qiqi anywhere. Nie Tian even scanned his surroundings with his bloodline power, but still failed to sense her flesh aura.
This meant she wasn’t here in flesh.
A frosty light flashed across Zong Zheng’s eyes as misty white smoke burst forth from inside of him.
A frigid ward that was transparent and sparkling instantly enveloped the entire hall.
“We can’t let anyone discover the unusual spatial fluctuations!” Zong Zheng exclaimed softly.
Everyone then realized that Zong Zheng was worried that powerful experts from the Divine Seal Sect or the Golden Vast Sect might happen to come to the Realm of Maelstrom and sense the unusual spatial fluctuations in this place.
Duan Shihu and Jing Rou were in a nearby stone pavilion. If the spatial fluctuations continued to build up, they might be able to sense the anomaly as well.
Hua Mu and Qi Bailu hastily cast spells to form their own spiritual power wards.
Soon, the hall was enveloped in multiple wards, sealing every bit of the spatial fluctuations the teleportation portal emanated.
A profound spell formation was engraved in the portal that had been formed by all kinds of rare materials. As countless spatial blades flashed back and forth within the spell formation, numerous mysterious lines could be vaguely seen wiggling and forming new details that were branded in the profound spell formation.
The spatial fluctuations grew stronger and stronger.
One after another, new details magically merged within the spell formation Zhao Shanling had created, fixing the flaws in the original spell formation.
The spatial blades suddenly faded into the air, as if they had traveled to another space.
As they did, the strong spatial fluctuations instantly disappeared.
The large-scale teleportation portal still stood steadily in the middle of the hall. Nothing about it seemed to have changed.
However, Nie Tian and the others were well-aware that its internal spell formation, which was the core of a teleportation portal, had undergone great changes.
Qi Bailu took the initiative to jump into the portal. He found the coordinates for the Realm of Split Void, and tried to set the spell formation.
The materials embedded in the rim of the portal, which contained rich spatial power suddenly shone with dazzling light.
Then, the whole portal started to operate, channeling spatial power and generating a misty light, as if it were ready to conduct teleportation now.
Qi Bailu’s eyes suddenly lit up as he exclaimed, “This spell formation is operable now. We can teleport back to the Realm of Split Void any time we want!”
Hua Mu and the others all grew ecstatic.
At the same time, they also found this hard to believe.
Zhao Shanling, whose attainments in spatial magics were unmatched throughout the Domain of the Falling Stars, had built this teleportation portal. However, even he would have to activate this portal with the Voidspirit Pagoda’s help.
As powerful as he was, he couldn’t activate it without the Voidspirit Pagoda.
Since Zhao Shanling hadn’t shown up again after disappearing in the Shatter Battlefield, Nie Tian had asked a number of spatial power experts from the Divine Seal Sect to try to activate this portal, yet all of them had failed.
Who would have thought that the ethereal spatial blades Pei Qiqi had secretly unleashed would actually be able to adjust its internal spell formation, and activate it without the help of any powerful spiritual tools?
Was it possible that Pei Qiqi’s understanding of spatial power had already gone beyond Zhao Shanling’s?
“This is unbelievable!” Qi Bailu marveled. “That Heaven Nourished grade spiritual material must have greatly deepened her understanding of spatial power! Given a bit more time, she’ll surely be able to surpass Zhao Shanling and my late master, and become the unparalleled spatial power master of the Domain of the Falling Stars! And that Heaven Nourished grade treasure will make her future path of cultivation free of obstacles!”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t seem to want to see us,” Nie Tian said in frustration.
Hua Mu sighed with mixed emotions. “She must have her reasons. Perhaps she’s worried that she’d put us in danger if we met. But she went to great lengths to make this teleportation portal operable, which means she must have been paying attention to us the whole time.
“By doing this, I think she wants to send us the message that she wants us to leave the Domain of Heaven Python as soon as possible.”
Just as Nie Tian was about to say something, Qi Bailu’s eyebrows flickered as he said with a sad tone, “She’s gone.”
Hua Mu and Zong Zheng spread their soul awareness into their surroundings. Moments later, they also let out sighs of frustration.
They could no longer sense any changes in the watery curtain, and the spatial rifts had stopped vanishing.
This meant that Pei Qiqi had either left for another realm, or entered one of the spatial rifts and ended up in some unknown place.
“It seems that she only came to the Realm of Maelstrom to help us get this teleportation portal working, so that we’d be able to return to the Realm of Split Void,” Zong Zheng said in a soft voice.
Mixed emotions rose in Nie Tian’s heart. “So she’s been worrying about us the whole time.”
He would be able to return to the Realm of Split Void any time he wanted now, yet he wasn’t happy at all.
Instead, he was deeply worried about Pei Qiqi.
She could have teleported herself to the Realm of Split Void through this teleportation portal, but she didn’t.
Nie Tian knew that if the outsider invasion was indeed partly because of her, then her returning to the Domain of the Falling Stars would probably attract the outsiders to the Domain of the Falling Stars as well.
Even the Domain of Heaven Python wasn’t strong enough to contend against those outsiders. The consequences would be catastrophic if those outsiders marched into the Domain of the Falling Stars.
She had a home that she didn’t dare to return to. Instead, she could only drift around, hiding from the pursuing outsiders. She might even have to face the pursuit of powerful human experts from the Shatter Battlefield...
Pei Qiqi was in a much more dangerous position than they were.
Eyebrows furrowed, Hua Mu said, “This teleportation portal is already accessible. What do we do now? It won’t feel right if we leave without informing Duan Shihu. He’s been nice to us after all.”
Qi Bailu also had a headache over the matter as he said, “Even if we don’t tell him, the Divine Seal Sect will probably assume that Qiqi was here. If we leave without telling anyone, they may even assume that Qiqi returned to the Realm of Split Void with us.”
Nie Tian pondered for a while before saying, “Will you go back first with the others, Uncle Hua? I still have something to say to my senior martial brother.”
Hua Mu’s eyes grew wide as he said assertively, “No, we’ll stay and wait for you.”
Nie Tian took a deep breath. “Don’t. You guys go first. No matter what, I have to talk to my senior martial brother, especially considering that he and Jing Rou have been really nice to us, and viewed me as their hope to turn the situation around and save the Domain of Heaven Python from this upcoming calamity.”
Hua Mu pondered briefly before saying, “How about this: we return to the Domain of the Falling Stars first and see how things are over there. If you don’t return after a while, we’ll come back here to fight side by side with you.”
“Umm... alright.” Nie Tian agreed.
Then, Hua Mu and the others left for the Realm of Split Void through the teleportation portal.
All of a sudden, Nie Tian became the only one left in the spacious hall.
He came to the balcony on the top floor, where he gazed beyond the vortex-like curtain into the boundless starry river, pondering what he should do.
At this moment, a large thundercloud suddenly appeared over the Realm of Maelstrom and quickly descended.
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Happy Dragon Boat Festival, guys! This is probably the third most important festival after Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. The following are some contents about this festival. I hope you'll find them interesting.
The Duanwu Festival, also often known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional holiday originating in China, occurring near the summer solstice. It is also known as Zhongxiao Festival, commemorating fealty and filial piety. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, which is the source of the festival's alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date of the festival varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In 2017, it occurred onMay 30th; and in 2018, on June 18th.
The story best known in modern China holds that the festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty. A cadet member of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him, or at least retrieve his body. This is said to have been the origin of dragon boat races. When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi.
Practices and activities
Dragon boat racing
Dragon boat racing has a rich history of ancient ceremonial and ritualistic traditions, which originated in southern central China more than 2500 years ago. The legend starts with the story of Qu Yuan, who was a minister in one of the Warring State governments, Chu. He was slandered by jealous government officials and banished by king. Out of disappointment in the Chu monarch, he drowned himself into the Miluo river. The common people rushed to the water and tried to recover his body. In commemoration of Qu Yuan, people hold dragon boat races yearly on the day of his death according to the legend. They also scattered rice into the water to feed the fish, to prevent them from eating Qu Yuan's body, which is one of the origins of zongzi.
A notable part of celebrating Duanwu is making and eating zongzi with other family members. People traditionally wrap zongzi in leaves of reed, lotus or banana which give a special aroma and flavor to the sticky rice and fillings. Choices of fillings vary depending on regions. Northern regions in China prefer sweet or dessert-styled zongzi, with bean paste, dates and nuts as fillings. Southern regions in China prefer savory zongzi, with a variety of fillings including marinated pork belly, sausage and salted duck eggs.
Zongzi are considered as a symbol of luck, as the pronunciation of zong is very similar to the pronunciation of zhong (中). This character has a positive connotation, used in words such as 中奖 (winning a prize).
Drinking realgar wine
Realgar wine or xionghuang wine is a Chinese alcoholic drink that is made from Chinese yellow wine dosed with powdered realgar, a yellow-orange arsenic sulfide mineral. Realgar is often used as a pesticide against mosquitoes and other insects during the hot summers, and as a common antidote against poison in ancient Asia.