Chapter 521: Devious Invasion
After eight days of using the soul crystals and the immense blood aura of the Demon Sealing Tombstone, Qin Lie finally made a complete recovery.
His soul energy and blood finally reached the levels they had been at before the Soul Suppressing Orb initially drained them from him. His blood flowed vigorously, and his soul shone bright with energy.
As of right now, his tokens, as well as the tokens his companions possessed, had been rendered useless. Their group had completely vanished from the radars of the eastern barbarians and the three forces.
Since Song Tingyu, Xie Jingxuan, Luo Chen, Du Xiangyang, Pan Qianqian, and Xue Moyan still needed to maintain their shields of light, they were sitting and using spirit stones to replenish their spirit energy.
Qin Lie, however, stood exposed to the Forbidden Land of Ice.
Having frozen the Demon Sealing Tombstone with the power of frost, he surveyed the landscape before him, eyes narrowed.
Out of everyone in the group, he was the only one who didn’t protect himself with a shield of light, instead leaving himself vulnerable to the harsh, frigid winds.
The cold, bone-chilling air of the Forbidden Land of Ice could cut through flesh like blades of frost. This place was a nightmare for most people who entered.
But Qin Lie was an exception.
As someone who had tempered his flesh and blood with the cold of the land underneath the Arctic Mountain Range, Qin Lie was able to adapt to this environment easily. He even felt extremely comfortable.
After replenishing his soul energy and blood, Qin Lie once again had absolute control over his body and his dantian’s spirit sea.
As he stood in this freezing land, he circulated his frost spirit art.
With just a thought, his aura changed in a split second, his gentle eyes abruptly becoming icy.
The frigid air of the Forbidden Land of Ice rushed toward him from every direction, entering his pores and flooding into his dantian’s spirit sea at his command.
Wisps of frigid air turned into cold white mist, which then progressed into extremely cold clusters of clouds that hovered around Qin Lie’s three frost natal palaces.
Since they expanded during his crisis earlier, the three frost natal palaces absorbed the cold energy on their own accord and merged it into the space within them.
All three gradually filled with frost energy...
Time slowly passed, and one hour later, the three frost natal palaces resembled translucent balls of ice that had been completely filled with frost energy.
Rays of icy light shone from Qin Lie’s cold, narrowed eyes.
He raised his eyebrows involuntarily.
Although his frost natal palaces were full to the brim with frost energy, they continued to absorb more.
The absorption process wasn’t stopping!
Three wisps of soul consciousness entered Qin Lie’s frost natal palaces, writhing around like ethereal tentacles.
He could see freezing wisps of white light flowing throughout the spaces within his natal palaces like snakes. They appeared to be devouring the frost energy that had been gathered from the outside, opening and closing their bloody maws.
These frigid snakes seemed to be streams of clouds formed from frost energy. One end of each snake seemed to stretch out of Qin Lie’s body, connecting to the Forbidden Land of Ice, while the other end was greedily eating up the frost energy in his frost natal palaces.
As the snakelike streams of clouds continued to consume the stored frost energy, Qin Lie’s frost natal palaces began to resonate with icy cracking noises. It seemed as if the spaces within them were expanding, freezing everything around them to turn everything into a world of ice.
At the same time, thousands of icy lights burst from Qin Lie’s three frost natal palaces like sharp arrows, heading in every direction.
His other six natal palaces, three thunder and three earth, underwent an abrupt change in response, discharging the power of thunder, lightning, and earth.
As a result, his spirit sea became chaotic once more, embroiled in intense conflict.
“Swoosh swoosh swoosh!”
Qin Lie’s wisp of consciousness split into several pieces, each spreading to different positions of his spirit sea like shadows.
All of a sudden, it was as if countless eyes were closely watching the world within Qin Lie’s spirit sea. They hovered deep within the nine sun-like natal palaces and examined every miniscule change inside of them, trying to figure out what was making them behave so strangely.
This time, Qin Lie had plenty of soul energy, and his blood thrived with life. He had plenty of power to support his spirit sea and make sure it endured the fighting.
While Qin Lie focused on the world of his spirit sea, the ice surrounding the Demon Sealing Tombstone exploded without warning.
Before he could react, the seven divine lights within it blossomed and transformed into seven divine chains that actually writhed toward him.
In an instant, the Demon Sealing Tombstone flew over to hover above his head.
Divine light shone down upon him like a colorful shield of light that enveloped his entire body.
Qin Lie opened his eyes, instantly discovering that all of the frost energy that had converged on him from all over the Forbidden Land of Ice and surged into his spirit sea… had completely vanished.
The intense conflict within his dantian’s spirit sea came to an abrupt halt. The powers of earth and thunder withdrew into their respective natal palaces, and the three frost natal palaces no longer unleashed icy beams of light.
Even the frigid clouds shaped like snakes no longer greedily devoured the frost energy within the icy worlds of each frost natal palace.
Everything had returned to normal.
Just before they shackled Qin Lie, the seven divine chains came to a stuttering stop and withdrew back into the Demon Sealing Tombstone hovering above him, quick as lightning.
All of the frost energy that had rushed into his spirit sea dissipated after the Demon Sealing Tombstone arrived, exiting Qin Lie’s body and flowing in a specific direction.
The Demon Sealing Tombstone emitted a shrill noise, as if it wanted to chase after that energy and prevent it from escaping.
Before it could fly away, Qin Lie reacted instantly and grabbed hold of it, restraining it despite his astonishment.
It was then that he realized what had been going on.
The strange things occurring in his spirit sea... how his frost natal palaces were behaving aggressively and his thunder and earth natal palaces acted in retaliation… none of that was his fault.
—He had actually been invaded by a foreign entity!
The frost energy that had flooded his spirit sea contained the aura of the ice spirit! It may have even possessed a tiny amount of its consciousness!
The ice spirit had secretly entered Qin Lie’s spirit sea as he cultivated his frost spirit art, attempting to use the frost energy as a vessel and alter his frost natal palaces.
The ice spirit tried to use the frost energy to secretly gain control over him!
Qin Lie’s six other natal palaces had detected that the aura inside of his three frost natal palaces didn’t belong to him, which was why they fought against it!
The aura and consciousness of the ice spirit existed within all of the frigid air in the Forbidden Land of Ice!
Absorbing the frost energy in the air was the same voluntarily granting the ice spirit entry to his natal palaces. If Qin Lie had continued to do so, allowing his three frost natal palaces to expand unchecked, the consciousness of the ice spirit probably would’ve superseded his own. Even his True Soul would’ve been taken over!
Qin Lie took a deep breath, breaking out in a cold sweat. If the Demon Sealing Tombstone hadn’t taken action, forcing the cold air infused with the ice spirit’s consciousness to retreat…
He probably would’ve fallen prey to the ice spirit’s influence.
Then a realization occurred to Qin Lie.
“Just like how the wood spirit attempted to use Ye Yihao to escape the Graveyard of Gods… the ice spirit probably wants to leave using a martial practitioner who cultivates a frost spirit art and can endure its power!”
Ye Yihao and the wood spirit had cooperated with each other, reaching an agreement that left his soul free and independent.
They had shared a symbiotic relationship, which was relatively normal.
The ice spirit’s methods, however, were far more malevolent and domineering!
It didn’t seek a symbiotic relationship, it was looking for someone to outright dominate! It would quietly take over that person’s body and soul without them realizing it!
The ice spirit’s aura mingled with all of the frigid air that existed in the Forbidden Land of Ice. That meant it was probably even more powerful than the wood spirit and thunder spirit!
Having realized all of this, Qin Lie no longer dared to cultivate his frost spirit art. Without the Demon Sealing Tombstone, the ice spirit could’ve invaded him and he never would’ve known.
This entire situation had been an extremely close call.
“Qin Lie?” Song Tingyu said, getting to her feet and approaching him after awakening from her meditative recovery. “Why do you look so shocked? You’re extremely pale! What happened?”
Her words jolted the others from their own meditative states, causing them to stare at Qin Lie out of curiosity and worry.
“Something… happened,” Qin Lie said, brow deeply furrowed.
He took some time to explain his earlier predicament from beginning to end along with all of the revelations that came with it.
“The ice spirit is clearly choosing martial practitioners who cultivate frost spirit arts, possess high realms, and are able to endure its frost energy!” he eventually exclaimed. “Its methods are devious, gradually encroaching upon a person from within until it completely dominates them!”
Realizing the gravity of Qin Lie’s harrowing experience, shock filled Du Xiangyang’s face. “Not only is this ice spirit extremely intelligent… it might even be the most powerful of the seven spirits!”
“The ice spirit is capable of spreading its consciousness through the frigid air of the Forbidden Land of Ice. This means that its soul is extremely powerful,” Song Tingyu said with somber eyes. “It clearly knows where the Land of Buried Gods is! Maybe the miracles in the Land of Buried Gods helped it evolve and obtain such an obscene power!”
“We definitely need to be careful!” Xie Jingxuan exclaimed softly.
“The white eastern barbarian girl we saw a few days ago, the one called Jia Yue, also cultivates a frost spirit art.” Xue Moyan frowned slightly, thinking carefully for a moment before saying, “Unlike you, she cultivates only that frost spirit art. All nine of the natal palaces in her spirit sea should be frost natal palaces.”
“Neither her body nor her ability to endure frost energy are stronger than yours,” Xie Jingxuan added. “Yet she may very well be one of the ice spirit’s targets.”
Qin Lie’s eyes shone with an odd light.
After a moment of contemplation, he spoke.
“If we encounter the white barbarians again, I’ll let them know.”
Atop an icy stone, Jia Yue of the White Barbarian Tribe sat with her legs crossed, her eyes closed. Wisps of cold white mist surrounded her.
Her beautiful, snow-white face flowed with an icy luster, almost like it was made of translucent crystal. The air around her grew increasingly cold.
Some time later, she opened her eyes. Rays of icy light as sharp as blades could be seen in her pupils.
“Hehe, this Forbidden Land of Ice is wonderful!” She smiled with joy. “I’ve been improving by leaps and bounds since I got here!”
She looked at Gao Yu, who was standing beside her.
“I don’t know why, but I find myself ill at ease when you cultivate using the frost energy in the air.” Whenever he was alone with Jia Yue, Gao Yu would stow away his grim expression. However, this made him look somewhat stiff and aloof instead. “I cultivate the Nine Hell Wandering Soul Record. My soul perception is extremely sensitive, and I can vaguely detect an aura in the air that isn’t yours.”
“An aura that isn’t mine?” Jia Yue asked, yet continued to smile. “Whose aura might that be?”
“It’s too weak for me to tell,” Gao Yu said with a shake of his head. “I’m not even sure if I’m just being paranoid…”
“Don’t think about it too much!” she exclaimed excitedly. “I’m feeling fantastic! My natal palaces are magically expanding, which means that they can contain even more frost energy and I’ll grow even stronger!”
“That sounds like a good thing,” Gao Yu replied stiffly.
“Of course it’s a good thing! Sen Ye, Di Fei, and I may all be in the late stage of the Netherpassage Realm, but they’re stronger than I am. This has been a source of disappointment among the elders of my tribe.” The excitement in Jia Yue’s eyes died down for a second, then she immediately grew happy again and exclaimed, “However, if my natal palaces undergo a new period of expansion and my strength increases by twenty to thirty percent, I’m confident that I won’t be at a disadvantage in a match against either Sen Ye or Di Fei.”
She paused, taking a deep breath to regain her composure.
“This is what the tribe elders expect of me!” she exclaimed seriously. “I won’t let them down!”
Gao Yu simply nodded in response, not bothering to say anything else.
He agreed with Jia Yue.
The cold air containing another aura wasn’t a big deal.
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