The Phantasm's corpse was instantly reduced to flying ashes.
As the discarnate soul within the skull in Nie Tian's hand continued to ram into the soul ward Chang Yuan had established, crackling sounds began to echo out of the fleshless skull, as if it would explode at any moment.
Through the Heaven Eye, which was still within the skull, Nie Tian saw an endless craving in the discarnate soul the moment the Phantasm's body turned to ashes, leaving nothing but the prismatic crystal that was the size of a fingernail.
It seemed as if the discarnate soul was desperate to break out of the skull and fly into the prismatic crystal, no matter the cost.
Since Chang Yuan's cultivation base wasn't very impressive, the ward he had condensed with his psychic power was far from impregnable.
Soon, Nie Tian had a feeling that the skull was going to crack if he didn't do something right away.
As he let out a cold harrumph, misty starlight instantly flew out of his Heaven Eye.
The misty soul power floated in all directions and merged with the ward left by Chang Yuan, instantly strengthening it.
As the Phantasm's discarnate soul rammed into the ward again, and made contact with the misty aura, it immediately shrank back as if had suffered great pain from the contact, its vague shape becoming even frailer.
After a handful more failed attempts, the discarnate soul consumed a large proportion of its last remaining strength, and finally realized that, after Nie Tian had strengthened it with his soul power, the ward inside the skull was no longer something it could break.
Eventually, it let out begrudging groans and stopped trying.
Seeing that it had settled down, Nie Tian started converging his spiritual power on the finger he was using to press on the prismatic crystal.
However, he found to his surprise that his spiritual power couldn't enter the crystal.
Eyebrows furrowed, he pondered, "What in the world is it?"
He caught the attention of Qian Xin and the others when he channeled the Phantasm's corpse towards him. However, after he placed his finger on it and it turned into ashes, they withdrew their gazes one after another.
The way they saw it, the Phantasm corpse Nie Tian discovered was no different from the valueless ones they had examined before.
None of them saw the prismatic crystal that stuck to Nie Tian's fingertip.
Dong Li was the only one who saw it, since she was right beside him.
Staring at the prismatic crystal, Dong Li's eyes glittered with the light of excitement as she asked in a low voice, "Nie Tian, is that the crystal from between that Phantasm's eyebrows?"
Turning nothing but his eyes, Nie Tian looked at her and nodded in a very subtle way.
Dong Li's eyes lit up as she said with a voice as soft as a mosquito, "Each and every Phantasm corpse Gu Haofeng and the others have examined turned into ashes the moment they touched them, including the prismatic crystals between their eyebrows.
"But when this one turned to ashes, its prismatic crystal remained intact.
"Perhaps only the corpses of Phantasms with a very high bloodline grade will be less prone to corrosion, and because of that, their prismatic crystal can be preserved.
"As far as I know, the prismatic crystal between the Phantasms' eyebrows are vital to them.
"They seem to be the vessels that carry their souls and the source of their soul power."
Nie Tian's expression flickered. "Vessels that carry their souls!?"
After a moment of silence, Nie Tian withdrew his Heaven Eye from the skull and returned it to his ring of holding.
He attempted to examine the prismatic crystal with his Heaven Eye.
However, even the Heaven Eye that contained soul power from the fragmentary stars failed to enter the crystal.
He could only sense faint signs of violent soul fluctuations from within the prismatic crystal.
"Don't tell me that the Phantasm's soul is still in the prismatic crystal?!" With that question in mind, he made a few more attempts to pry into the secrets within the prismatic crystal, but all of them failed.
Eventually, he gave up and stored the small crystal in his ring of holding when no one was looking.
Time flew. Ten days passed in the blink of an eye.
No one seemed to have discovered anything noteworthy during this time. Hence, they could only keep practicing cultivation.
Watching all kinds of strange-looking objects float into the colorful mist at the end of the segment, people gradually lost their patience.
They all knew that the enormous band had been swirling downwards at a slow speed.
They were aware that they would eventually be carried down to the bottom of the vortex-shaped band, which they were all curious about. However, since weeks had passed without any noticeable progress, they gradually grew impatient.
With the help of a special time-measuring device, Dong Li discovered that another three days had passed, and also started to worry.
Many of the juniors from the Realm of a Hundred Battles had stopped their cultivation, and started discussing where the giant vortex was going to take them and why it existed. However, no one could provide any answers to those questions.
On this day, while people were still discussing, they suddenly noticed that the misty barrier separating the segments was growing fainter and fainter, as if the originally thick mist was gradually being blown away by wind.
Gu Haofeng sprang to his feet, and full of expectations, he stepped towards the dissipating colorful mist.
To everyone's surprise, he quickly disappeared in the mist.
Upon seeing this, the crowd that had long since grown tired of waiting suddenly became thrilled.
The Greater Heaven stage Qi warriors from the Pill Pavilion Sect, the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce, the Gu Clan, and the Cao Clan clamored as they followed Gu Haofeng into the thinning mist.
"We've reached the bottom of the vortex?!"
"The misty barrier seems to have lost its magic, and we can go through it now!"
Dong Baijie called out to Nie Tian and Dong Li from afar, "We've probably reached the bottom!"
Afterwards, he gathered the other Dong Clan members and led them into the colorful mist.
In no more than a few minutes, everyone from the Realm of a Hundred Battles disappeared into the mist.
Nie Tian and Dong Li, who had been sitting in a distant location, were the last ones to pace to the edge of the thin mist.
"Shall we go in?" Dong Li asked.
Nie Tian nodded.
Dong Li smiled and said, "To avoid us getting lost in the colorful mist, I think we..."
With these words, she squarely wrapped her arm around Nie Tian's, and then led Nie Tian as they slowly stepped into the mist.
With a whiff of her pleasant scent, Nie Tian felt that his heart had suddenly lightened. He let her lead him forward, as if he were enchanted.
He couldn't help but turn to look at her, and saw a faint smile on her gorgeous face.
The two of them slowly walked forward in the colorful, thin mist. However, Nie Tian rapidly discovered that he couldn't sense a thing with his psychic awareness when he walked into the mist.
The same went for his Heaven Eyes. He couldn't capture anything or detect any signs of life in his surroundings through them.
Even his vision was compromised. He could only see up to five to six meters around him. Everything beyond that was a blur.
The others from the Realm of a Hundred Battles had entered only a few seconds before them, yet they didn't see any of them.
A mysterious force suddenly came out of nowhere and started pushing them towards the depths of the colorful mist. As that happened, Dong Li grabbed tightly onto Nie Tian's arm.
Two days passed.
They didn't encounter anyone or any living beings along their way, as if everyone had somehow been separated the moment they entered the mist.
If Dong Li hadn't clung to Nie Tian's arm the whole time, they might also have been separated the moment they entered the mist.
After some time, the two of them finally walked out of the colorful mist and ended up in a mountain valley, where they stood aghast.
They looked back and discovered that the colorful mist gradually shrank, and soon vanished completely behind them.
A lofty, flat-topped mountain peak, which seemed to be tens of thousands of meters high, instantly caught their eyes. The top of the mountain peak seemed to have been cut off by an enormous blade, making the mountaintop very level and smooth.
A thick, gray mist that stretched as far as the eye could see filled the sky.
"We're finally standing on the bottom continent!" Thrilled, Dong Li pointed up at the boundless gray mist in the sky. "Above that gray mist must be the vast space filled with floating continents, boulders, and all kinds of remains, where we first landed."
"But I don't think we're under the huge vortex we came from," Nie Tian said with a fascinated look on his face. "Apparently, we've been transported to different locations."
Immediately afterwards, he formed nine Heaven Eyes and spread them out to scan the vicinity.