There seemed to be an independent world inside the cyan Spirit Pearl, which was divided into five regions.
Each region swarmed with numerous discarnate souls and one overseeing evil spirit.
The five evil spirits, each of which oversaw one region, thrummed with fear, despair, rage, and bloodthirst respectively.
Meanwhile, they continuously absorbed the five negative energies from the discarnate souls in their respective dominions.
Normally speaking, negative energies such as fear, despair, rage, and bloodthirst were considered impurities that were usually attached to soul power, which couldn’t be refined into one’s true soul.
However, to the five evil spirits, they happened to be the nourishment they needed to strengthen themselves.
As the evil spirits absorbed negative energies to strengthen themselves, wisp after wisp of pure soul power flew towards the Spirit Pearl’s soul that resided at the center, like silk extruded by silkworms.
As the Spirit Pearl’s soul refined the pure soul power it kept receiving, it gradually grew distinct.
Nie Tian examined it with rapt attention, and discovered that fine strands could be seen within its blurry soul body, and that how it strengthened its soul was very similar to how he strengthened his true soul.
The only difference was that he relied on soul crystals to refine his true soul.
The Spirit Pearl’s soul, however, had the five evil spirits devour the impurities, then fused itself with the purged soul power to boost its growth.
Fragments that looked like incomplete maps could be seen floating over each of the five regions.
Nie Tian, who had long since understood the Spirit Pearl’s wonders, stared at those fragments for a while before realizing that the memories of the outsiders, whose discarnate souls had been sucked into the Spirit Pearl, had formed these fragmentary maps.
However, the memories those discarnate souls carried had become fragmented after their violent deaths.
Adding in the fact that they belonged to different races, such as Demons, Fiends, and Florigrims, even the Spirit Pearl couldn’t integrate such heterogeneous memories to form complete maps of the domains they had lived in.
“It’s hard to believe that the Spirit Pearl actually has a use that’s similar to that of Soul-devouring Lakes. So the Spirit Pearl drags discarnate souls into itself with the help of the five evil spirits. Afterwards, the five evil spirits devour the discarnate souls’ negative energies and use them to strengthen themselves.
“Meanwhile, after being rid of their negative energies, the discarnate souls are refined into pure soul power, which is fused into the Spirit Pearl’s soul, allowing it to grow bit by bit.
“The Phantasms’ Soul-devouring Lakes generate soul crystals that can be used by all races. Even though the Spirit Pearl doesn’t produce soul crystals, it produces pure soul power that can be used to strengthen itself.
“At the same time, the five evil spirits can strengthen themselves with the impurities within the discarnate souls.
“But I don’t seem to be getting anything from the Spirit Pearl.”
A wisp of Nie Tian’s soul awareness morphed into an illusory shadow that drifted into the cyan heaven and earth inside the Spirit Pearl.
The discarnate souls in the five regions didn’t seem to notice his arrival.
However, the Spirit Pearl’s soul and the five evil spirits did.
His soul shadow passed through the areas where numerous discarnate souls were hovering, and eventually came to the center where the Spirit Pearl’s soul was.
The Spirit Pearl’s soul took the initiative to approach his soul shadow in an affectionate and cheerful manner.
Even though they didn’t communicate in any sort of language, Nie Tian understood it perfectly. He felt its joy and learned that after gaining a large number of discarnate souls, it was now growing at a high speed.
After a moment of pondering, Nie Tian sent out a soul message, expressing that he needed pure soul power to strengthen his star souls.
He asked for its help.
The Spirit Pearl’s soul was intelligent enough to understand him.
It suddenly let out a sharp screech that filled every corner of the Spirit Pearl.
As soon as this happened, every single discarnate soul that was confined in the five regions made desperate attempts to escape, as if they knew that they were facing some catastrophe.
At the same time, the five evil spirits, which worked under the Spirit Pearl’s soul, bore their fangs and gave sinister grins.
They started chasing and massacring discarnate souls in their respective regions. One discarnate soul after another was torn to pieces and devoured.
The incomplete maps that floated inside the Spirit Pearl instantly exploded.
As the discarnate souls were eliminated, the memories that had been taken from them vanished as well.
Simultaneously, wisp after wisp of fine soul strands started to rise from the five evil spirits’ enormous blurry bodies.
Each and every soul strand contained pure soul essence, completely devoid of impurities.
The soul strands flew ethereally out of the Spirit Pearl.
Nie Tian’s eyes snapped open, and he saw them flying into his forehead between his eyebrows before streaming into his sea of awareness.
Such pure soul essence was practically the same as the soul power he had channeled from soul crystals before.
As soon as the soul strands entered him, his star souls that floated over his sea of awareness were like sharks that sniffed blood. They swooped down and pulled the soul strands directly into themselves.
As his star souls gradually grew stronger, they were filled with more refined soul power.
The Spirit Pearl, however, was losing its discarnate souls by the hundreds. The five evil spirits had kept them like livestock, which they could use for power in the future. However, in such a short time, a third of them were already gone.
Countless soul strands continued to rise from the evil spirits and fuse into Nie Tian’s sea of awareness.
His star souls grew stronger and stronger...
The process seemed to last a long time, but at the same time, it felt as if everything was happening in a split second.
Nie Tian suddenly touched the obstacles that were stopping him from entering the next level, blasting them into shatters in the next moment.
“Breakthrough!” Ecstasy filled Nie Tian’s eyes as spirit jades, Star Stones, Heavenflame Crystals and materials that contained wood power flew out from within his ring of holding. Moments later, the spiritual materials were piled into a hill beside him.
Normally speaking, minor breakthroughs in cultivation weren’t accompanied by risks or fundamental changes.
As long as the cultivator wasn’t disturbed, a minor breakthrough at the Profound realm would usually be safe and smooth.
At this point, no one on this floating continent would disturb his breakthrough, as the other human experts and Ancientbeasts were all very far from his current location.
This allowed him to focus on his breakthrough without worrying about being disturbed.
He then commenced his breakthrough in cultivation.
Time flew. Two weeks passed before he knew it.
He had already consumed most of the spiritual materials he had taken out, leaving just a few lying around him.
Dong Li had come over at a certain point. Her curvaceous, charming body seemed to be able to devour light, as she was enveloped in a mysterious darkness.
Sitting there, she looked at Nie Tian from afar and muttered, “This guy...”
After months of painstaking cultivation, she had finally broken through into the middle Profound realm, assuming that she had finally caught up to Nie Tian. But seeing him now, she felt very frustrated.
“This asshole practices star power, flame power, and wood power simultaneously. How in the world did he progress so fast?!” She sounded like she was complaining, yet a heartfelt smile could be seen at the corner of her mouth. “But after all, he’s the man I chose. It’s only natural that he’s beyond ordinary.”
She couldn’t help but chuckle as she thought these things aloud.
Another six months passed.
On an island in the middle of the boundless black sea stood a palace built by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. At this moment, Jing Feiyang and the others were already waiting in front of it.
About a year had passed since their parting with Nie Tian.
During this time, Jing Feiyang had arranged for the Saint and Void domain experts to spread out and bring the human slaves they had previously freed to this island, where he had teleported them back to the Realm of Split Void.
All of the human slaves that had been previously taken from the Domain of Heaven Python had been returned to their homes under the arrangements of the Divine Seal Sect, the Thousandsword Mountain Sect, and the Golden Vast Sect.
However, there were still a large number of people whose home domains had fallen into the outsiders’ hands, and thus didn’t have homes to return to.
As for these people, Jing Feiyang allowed them to choose from the Domain of Heaven Python, the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries, and the Domain of the Falling Stars.
After learning that all three domains belonged to Nie Tian, the seventh Son of the Stars of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, they gave the matter serious consideration and made their choices. Afterwards, they set out on new paths of cultivation in their new homes.
At this point, all of the freed slaves had been properly taken care of. Most of the Void domain experts had returned home as well.
The only ones who had stayed to wait for Nie Tian were the three Saint domain experts, along with Fan Kai, Yue Yanxi, Jiang Feng, and a few others who were close to Nie Tian.
The long-lost Star Boat suddenly appeared in the distant sky, shooting towards them like a bolt of lightning.
Jing Feiyang let out a sigh of relief, a smile appearing on his face. “I told you that kid wasn’t in trouble. I mean, how could he be?”
The anxiety on the others’ faces also vanished instantly.
In the next moment, the delight in the three Saint domain experts’ eyes suddenly grew more intense.
As the Star Boat approached, their immense soul awareness allowed them to shrewdly detect that Nie Tian’s cultivation base had taken another step forward, and entered the late Profound realm.
“It appears that it was his breakthrough that delayed his arrival,” Qu Mingde said with a knowing expression.
Standing on the Star Boat, Nie Tian and Dong Li’s garments fluttered elegantly against the wind, as if they were a couple of immortals.
Standing next to Fan Kai, Su Lin stared blankly at the two of them. She sighed inwardly, blaming herself and the fact that life was unfair.
The reason why Fan Kai had kept Su Lin by his side was because of the ups and downs she had gone through. As a chosen one of the Heaven Palace Sect, whose status had only been second to Ning Yang, she had struggled as a slave of the outsiders for many years. Her experience was her fortune, which had changed her significantly.
Therefore, he planned to expend time and effort to cultivate her. By passing the Heaven Palace Sect’s most powerful secret magics to her, he hoped that he could help her regain her confidence, and eventually become the Heaven Palace Sect’s future tower of strength.
“You can forget about comparing yourself to Nie Tian or Dong Li,” Fan Kai said in a low voice. “Even I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to match their achievements. However, you don’t have to feel frustrated about that. Your special life experience has given you a unique edge. You should cherish the opportunity you’ve been given. I’ve no doubt that you’ll rise above all of the other chosen ones from the Domain of the Falling Stars.”
“But... He’s always been the one I want to surpass,” Su Lin said emotionally, her eyes fixed on Nie Tian.
“I don’t see why you shouldn’t set him as your goal. All I’m saying is don’t overdo yourself...” After a short pause, Fan Kai added, “Perhaps it wasn’t a wise decision to keep you here. Nie Tian might have become an insurmountable mountain to you. Seeing him might take a toll on your spirits.
“But you’ve got to understand that you’re not the only one. Every single chosen one from the Domain of the Falling Stars has seen the fact that Nie Tian is insurmountable.”
Before Su Lin said anything back, Fan Kai took her into the palace and sent her back to the Realm of Split Void.
The reason why he had done this was because he was worried that more contact with Nie Tian would further scar her mentally, and that the influence would be lasting.
WHOOSH! The Star Boat descended. After glancing through the crowd, Nie Tian asked, “Did you make proper arrangements for the slaves we freed?”
Smiling, Jing Feiyang said, “Rest assured. The three of us are more than capable of handling such matters well. I knew that you’d be able to advance to the late Profound realm with the help of those soul crystals.”
“Yeah.” Nie Tian didn’t say more about it. “So this mission has turned out to be a success. You can all go back now.”
Surprised, Qu Mingde asked, “What about you?”
Nie Tian shot a glance at the black sea. “I still have some communicating to do.”
The others followed his gaze, and suddenly snapped out of their bewilderment.
They had long since learned that a powerful being was hiding in the depths of the black sea.
Since Nie Tian didn’t explain it, they assumed that it had something to do with the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, and that he couldn’t let too many people know about it.
They nodded and entered the palace, where they left the floating continent one after another.
Only after Nie Tian and Dong Li were the only ones left on the island did Nie Tian release his Star Eyes, plunge into the sea, and let out soul calls.
Soon, the Star Behemoth’s immense soul awareness spread over from the distance.
Nie Tian cut to the chase. “I’m here to show you this thing as we agreed.”
He took out the Star Behemoth bone and cast it into the bottomless sea.
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