The Star Boat came to a stop in midair.
Seeing this, the Saint and Void domain experts also stopped.
Looking at the black phoenix beast spirit that hovered over Dong Li, Nie Tian asked with a confused expression, “You fused this black phoenix beast spirit into your soul before you left the Domain of the Falling Stars, right?”
Instead of answering his question, Dong Li asked, “Do you remember when we found the corpse of an eighth grade black phoenix the first time we came to this continent?”
Nie Tian nodded.
“My black phoenix beast spirit absorbed its residual power,” Dong Li explained. “And its residual power was branded with fragments of its memories. Some of those memories have already merged with my black phoenix beast spirit and become a part of it.”
Nie Tian instantly realized something. “You mean that dead eighth grade black phoenix we found used to live in this area?”
Dong Li smiled. “That’s right.”
All of a sudden, the huge black phoenix beast spirit flew out, gliding cheerfully in the frigid wind.
“Let’s follow it and see if we can find out what’s attracting it.” With these words, Nie Tian readjusted the Star Boat’s direction and flew off in the direction the black phoenix beast spirit was heading.
The others took orders from him, and thus could only follow along.
It wasn’t long before the black phoenix, which was in pure soul form, flew to a short mountain of ice.
It swooped directly into it.
Its illusory body fused into the mountain like water into a lake.
Cracks started to appear on the mountain of ice, with large pieces of sparkling ice rolling down to the ground.
The mountain of ice gradually grew semi-transparent.
A winged shape could be vaguely seen inside of it. Even though they couldn’t get a clear view of it, they could tell it was very large.
“That’s an ice phoenix!” Jing Feiyang exclaimed, his expression flickering with astonishment. “It must have died and been sealed in this mountain of ice. Ice phoenixes are Ancientbeasts. We met one in the Realm of Maelstrom not long ago.”
“This is strange…” Nie Tian muttered in a low voice. Normally speaking, his unique bloodline would allow him to detect anything that contained even the slightest flesh power, dead or alive.
However, this ice phoenix was right in front of him, yet he failed to capture its aura.
“Could it be the mountain of ice it’s sealed in? Or something special with this place?”
While he searched his mind for an answer, the black phoenix beast spirit flew out of the mountain of ice and let out a sad cry that only Dong Li could hear.
As Quan Zixuan swung his hand, one spiritual sword after another flew out to carve into the mountain of ice like numerous carving knives. Giant blocks of ice fell off, giving rise to loud rumbles.
Moments later, the mountain of ice was completely gone, revealing the ice phoenix inside of it.
The ice phoenix’s wings that were dozens of meters long spread out in a graceful manner, as if it were going to soar into the heavens.
However, a long gash could be seen in its neck, which was so deep that it almost severed the ice phoenix’s head from its body.
Nie Tian sighed softly. “It was probably killed by outsiders. A deadly war broke out between the top and bottom continents countless years ago. Back then, enormous Ancientbeasts like ice phoenixes lived on the bottom continent, while Demons, Phantasms, and other powerful outsiders lived on the top continent. Even though the outsiders lost that war eventually, the Ancientbeasts suffered heavy casualties as well.
“This ice phoenix was only one of them.”
Now that the ice mountain was gone, revealing the dead ice phoenix inside of it, Nie Tian was able to sense its residual flesh power.
He instantly realized that it was the mountain of ice that had stopped him from sensing the dead ice phoenix’s aura earlier.
At the same time, Dong Li communicated with her black phoenix beast spirit in her unique way.
Eyes narrowed, she explained to everyone. “It says that this area was the phoenixes’ ancestral land. After the ultimate war, many dead phoenixes were brought back and buried here.”
Jing Feiyang’s expression flickered with astonishment. “So does that mean there are other dead phoenixes sealed away in these ice mountains?”
Dong Li nodded. “Yes, there are.”
Quan Zixuan’s eyes lit up. “If that’s the case, there must be outsiders searching for them in this area! Ancientbeast corpses are considered very precious materials, which can be used to forge all kinds of Spirit Channeling grade spiritual tools. Meanwhile, outsiders can channel flesh power from dead Ancientbeasts to speed up their bloodline upgrades.
“Phoenixes are categorized into black phoenixes, ice phoenixes, and flame phoenixes. Different types of phoenixes carry bloodline power of different attributes. If they could find dead phoenixes that shared their attributes, they would be able to use them to accelerate their bloodline upgrades.
“The only thing I don’t understand is that even the outsiders have found their way back to this abandoned continent many years after the great war, but why haven’t the Ancientbeasts returned?”
Qu Mingde shook his head. “It is a bit strange.”
Nie Tian was also puzzled. He turned to Dong Li and asked, “Do you know why?”
Dong Li smiled bitterly. “Beats me. My black phoenix beast spirit only gained a small amount of residual power from that eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse. The amount of bloodline imprints it gained was very limited. There’s no way that it could learn something that happened on this continent so long ago.”
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!
Frigid currents suddenly changed directions, and converged on the dead ice phoenix. Soon, a thick layer of ice formed over its body again.
As soon as that happened, Nie Tian lost his sense of its aura again, no matter how he strained his bloodline perception.
“What the...” Nie Tian muttered, with shock written across his face. “The frigid aura in this place can actually converge on the ice phoenix corpse on its own for the purpose of concealing it.”
“Do we take this eighth grade ice phoenix with us, Nie Tian?” Jing Feiyang asked for his opinion.
The corpse of an eighth grade ice phoenix was of great value, especially to cultivators who practiced ice incantations. It could be used to forge Spirit Channeling grade spiritual tools, or refined and added into medicinal pills that would boost people’s cultivation.
However, Nie Tian pondered for a short while, then shook his head. “No. Our mission is to get rid of those outsiders, not collect valuable materials.”
As he said these words, the black phoenix beast spirit sprinted off again. Everyone flew after it.
In the next few days, they flew around in this frigid heaven and earth and found many more phoenix corpses that were sealed away in ice mountains. There were ice phoenixes, black phoenixes, and flame phoenixes.
Every single one of them was at the eighth grade, and thus didn’t have the ability to revive themselves.
Even though all of them had suffered fatal attacks and died, their hearts were all intact.
For eighth grade Ancientbeasts, as long as their hearts weren’t destroyed, their ninth or tenth grade seniors would have a chance at bringing them back to life by fusing them with their own Blood Essence and triggering it with secret bloodline magics.
“If there are no mishaps, all of these dead phoenixes still have a chance at rebirth!” Jing Feiyang exclaimed.
“I bet the reason why the phoenixes sealed their dead clan members, whose hearts were still intact, in this place is because they planned to bring them back to life when the time was right!” Nie Tian chimed in. “The question is: why have they not returned to this place to after so long?”
No one present was able to answer this question for him.
“The ultimate war was between outsiders and Ancientbeasts. Now, the outsiders have returned to this continent, while the Ancientbeasts haven’t. As the side that lost the war and had their homeland destroyed, the outsiders definitely won’t leave these dead Ancientbeasts alone as we have.” With these words, Dong Li gazed off into the distance. “Perhaps as we speak, outsiders are carving dead phoenixes out of the ice mountains and collecting them.”
“To the seventh spatial tunnel!” Nie Tian exclaimed.
He didn’t have positive feelings toward the outsiders or the Ancientbeasts.
However, since Demons and Phantasms had invaded the Domain of the Falling Stars repeatedly over the recent decades, he had developed a deep enmity towards Demons and other outsiders.
Meanwhile, no Ancientbeasts had ever offended him.
Two weeks later, the seventh spatial tunnel entered Jing Feiyang’s detection range. He informed Nie Tian that there were only two eighth grade outsiders guarding it, a Demon and a Phantasm. All of the rest were at the sixth or seventh grade.
Furthermore, he didn’t detect any human slaves in the vicinity. Apparently, they had been taken to mine spiritual materials in other locations instead of here.
“This place is far too cold for most human slaves,” Dong Li said. “That’s probably why we didn’t see a single human on our way here.”
Jing Feiyang nodded with an approving expression. “I think you’re right.”
“We won’t be getting any external assistance this time,” Nie Tian said. “We’ll have to rely on ourselves to take them out.”
“A considerable number of low-grade outsiders seem to be wandering in areas close to that spatial tunnel. Why don’t we take them out first?” Qu Mingde suggested.
“The three of us will suffice,” Quan Zixuan chimed in.
In the next moment, the three Saint domain experts left the main group. They spread out to take care of the outsiders that were gathering phoenix corpses in different locations.
An hour passed...
Meng Li received a message, and told Nie Tian that the three Saint domain experts had taken out a few dozen sixth and seventh grade outsiders soundlessly.
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Hey guys, it's been some time since our last festival feature, but today comes an important one: Qixi Festival! aka Chinese Valentine’s Day
If you have a Chinese girlfriend or wife and you forget to get her anything on this day, then YOU ARE DEAD! Luckily, I surprised my wife with something I made and dodged a bullet. PHEW
Okay, the following are something you might want to know about this festival.
The Qixi Festival (Chinese: 七夕節), also known as the Qiqiao Festival (乞巧節), is a Chinese festival that celebrates the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in Chinese mythology. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar. It is sometimes called the Double Seventh Festival, the Chinese Valentine's Day, the Night of Sevens, or the Magpie Festival.
The festival originated from the romantic legend of two lovers, Zhinü and Niulang, who were the weaver maid and the cowherd, respectively. The tale of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd has been celebrated in the Qixi Festival since the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). The earliest-known reference to this famous myth dates back to over 2600 years ago, which was told in a poem from the Classic of Poetry (Chinese: 诗经). The Qixi festival inspired the Tanabata festival in Japan and Chilseok festival in Korea.
The general tale of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd is about a love story between Zhinü (the weaver girl, symbolizing Vega) and Niulang (the cowherd, symbolizing Altair). Their love was not allowed, thus they were banished to opposite sides of the Silver River (symbolizing the Milky Way). Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for one day. There are many variations of the story. A variation follows:
A young cowherd, hence Niulang (牛郎; "cowherd"), came across a beautiful girl—Zhinü (織女; "weavergirl"), the Goddess's seventh daughter, who had just escaped from boring heaven to look for fun. Zhinü soon fell in love with Niulang, and they got married without the knowledge of the Goddess. Zhinü proved to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang to be a good husband. They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven (or in some versions, Zhinü's mother) found out that Zhinü, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhinü to return to heaven. (Alternatively, the Goddess forced the fairy back to her former duty of weaving colorful clouds, a task she neglected while living on earth with a mortal.) On Earth, Niulang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his ox began to talk, telling him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the ox, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between Altair and Vega. Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children (his flanking stars β and γ Aquilae or by their Chinese names Hè Gu 1 and Hè Gu 3). But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge (鵲橋; "the bridge of magpies") over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon. However, sometimes in the year, there is no stars regarding to the mythology appearing in the sky.
Here's a video of the tale: https://youtu.be/ZrXx-6cacG4
Girls take part in worshiping the celestials (拜仙) during rituals. They go to the local temple to pray to Zhinü for wisdom. Paper items are usually burned as offerings. Girls may recite traditional prayers for dexterity in needlework, which symbolize the traditional talents of a good spouse. Divination could take place to determine possible dexterity in needlework. They make wishes for marrying someone who would be a good and loving husband. During the festival, girls make a display of their domestic skills. Traditionally, there would be contests amongst those who attempted to be the best in threading needles under low-light conditions like the glow of an ember or a half moon. Today, girls sometimes gather toiletries in honor of the seven maidens. (Apparently, none of the girls I know do it, so this is possibly false.)
The festival also held an importance for newlywed couples. Traditionally, they would worship the celestial couple for the last time and bid farewell to them (辭仙). The celebration stood symbol for a happy marriage and showed that the married woman was treasured by her new family.
During this festival, a festoon is placed in the yard. Single and newlywed women make offerings to Niulang and Zhinü, which may include fruit, flowers, tea, and face powder. After finishing the offerings, half of the face powder is thrown on the roof and the other half divided among the young women. It is believed that, by doing this, the women are bound in beauty with Zhinü. Tales say that it will rain on this fateful day if there's crying in heaven. Other tales say that you can hear the lovers talking if you stand under grapevines on this night.
On this day, the ancient Chinese gaze to the sky to look for Vega and Altair shining in the Milky Way, while a third star forms a symbolic bridge between the two stars. It was said that if it rains on this day that it was caused by a river sweeping away the magpie bridge or that the rain is the tears of the separated couple. Based on the legend of a flock of magpies forming a bridge to reunite the couple, a pair of magpies came to symbolize conjugal happiness and faithfulness. (In fact, me and my wife got a pair of coushions as a gift when we got married, and they had magpies sewed on them.)