It was human nature to fight among themselves.
Throughout history, humans had only united as one when they had faced great threats from foreign forces. Other than that, wars had broken out among themselves year-round.
This was true of the humans in the Domain of the Falling Stars, as well as other human realms and domains throughout the starry river.
The moment Yang Kan and his lot had seen the outsiders leave, they had been convinced that the outsiders were weak, and no longer a threat. Therefore, they instantly had other ideas.
Su Lin wanted to stop everyone from chasing after the members of the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce, yet Yang Kan and the others had already sped off into the distance, screaming madly.
Even the other Heaven Palace Sect disciples thought Yang Kan was making the right move. They had endured Nie Tian for a long time now. Knowing that he had turned down their sect's offer and killed their sectmates, every one of them hated Nie Tian's guts.
Su Lin was the only one who had a clear understanding of Nie Tian's formidable strength.
She wanted to figure out Nie Tian's situation before making her decision, yet everything happened too fast. Things got out of hand before she could do anything.
A bloodcurdling shriek echoed out from the distance as a member of the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce that had lagged behind was killed by the ferocious Yang Kan and those who had gone with him.
Knowing that there was no going back now, Su Lin sighed and reluctantly gave the order, "The damage has been done. We can only go down this road now."
Standing beside her, the few Heaven Palace Sect disciples smiled coldly upon hearing her words, and then hurried off into the distance as well.
All of these men believed that Nie Tian must have sustained heavy injuries, even if the outsiders hadn't killed him. In such a state, there would be very little he could do when facing them.
Just like that, all of the young Qi warriors joined the operation of chasing down and killing members of the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce.
A battle broke out again.
By the vast, black lake, Nie Tian was sitting in his Wood Thriving Formation and cultivating wholeheartedly.
A stream of rich wood power was pouring down through the top of his head all the way to the vortex of wood power in his spiritual sea, where it rapidly condensed and liquidized.
Since this required almost no effort on his part, he took out some Star Stones, and started recovering star power with them.
At this moment, he had already put the Flame Dragon Armor back in his ring of holding, and with the outsiders gone, he didn't consume his precious star power to form Heaven Eyes to keep watch over his surroundings.
Furthermore, since all the chasing was taking place in the coastal areas, he knew nothing of it.
All he did was focus on his cultivation.
He couldn't refine his body with Heavenly Wood Heal while replenishing his spiritual power. The copious amount of flesh power he had absorbed from the ball of outsider corpses was still roaming his every bone and muscle, making him feel full of vigor.
As he continued to absorb star power from the Star Stones in his hand with the Fragmentary Star Incantation, a strange phenomenon caught his attention.
He sensed that the speed at which he channeled star power by this mysterious black lake was at least sixty percent faster than in other places.
He was certain of this because he had recovered his star power when the outsiders had forced him to retreat to his Wood Thriving Formation.
Surprised, he examined himself with rapt attention, and then confirmed his feeling.
"Could it be caused by this black lake?" With this thought, he stopped channeling power from his Star Stones and gazed into the vast, black lake before him.
Nothing was happening on the lake's surface. Not a single ripple could be seen. As to what was going on under the surface, since the water was pitch black, he couldn't see anything with only his eyes.
Even after channeling a bit of his soul power from the fragmentary stars in his mind to his eyes, he still couldn't see any anomalies.
He realized that only by sending a cluster of soul power to the bottom of the lake would he be able to get a full understanding of what was going on.
However, the last time he did that, he had found nothing but pitch-black water under there.
He only suspected that this mysterious black lake was somehow linked to the black sea through its bottom, since he had sensed an ancient and immense awareness during his previous exploration of this lake.
However, it seemed to him that what he had sensed was merely a shred of the unfathomable awareness there.
"It seems that I'll have to do another scan of this lake later when I've recovered my strength," he muttered.
Afterwards, he refocused on recovering his star power with the Fragmentary Star Incantation.
One Star Stone after another was reduced to ordinary stone and cracked after losing its star power.
As his star power recovered at a fast rate, he would be able to launch the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace's secret magics again if he were to battle more powerful enemies.
Colorful mist was still floating over the black lake, swaying slightly and never leaving the lake.
A number of glowing spatial rifts could be seen half-hidden in the mist. They contracted and snapped open from time to time.
However, not a single outsider seemed to dare to go through them anymore.
After an unknown period of time, ripples suddenly spread on the originally silent lake.
Something seemed to be sparkling deep in the ink-black lake water. As the ripples grew larger, sparks that looked like small stars gradually rose from the bottom of the lake.
Nie Tian suddenly snapped out of his cultivation and stared at them, shock and confusion filling his face.
Moments later, the sparks seemed to be channeled by the three fragmentary star marks on his chest, and showered down on him like a rain of starlight.
Within seconds, he recovered all of the star power he had consumed during his battle with Armes and the other outsiders. The bottom of his vortex of star power was once again brimming with stardew.
Not only that, but as more sparks continued to fall on him, his vortex of star power started to expand.
This unprecedentedly large volume of star power even caused a swelling pain in his dantian region as it poured into his vortex of star power.
A shudder ran through Nie Tian.
It was as if this immense star power of unknown origin was forcing itself on him. He had to practice the Fragmentary Star Incantation to refine it.
As his vortex of star power spun at an incredible speed, the lake of stardew at its bottom looked as if it were being stretched by some force from the inside, expanding at a noticeable rate.
He knew that every time he made a breakthrough in cultivation, he would have to brim his vortexes with refined power before they would start expanding at a slow rate.
However, this time, his vortex of star power expanded as soon as star power came flooding into it. Such efficiency astounded him. However, he didn't have time to think about the reason behind the sudden change.
He could only exert himself to practice the Fragmentary Star Incantation to keep pace with the sparks of starlight that came pouring into him. Only in this way would he be able to relieve the swelling pain in his dantian region and prevent his vortex of star power from bursting.
In less than a quarter hour, his vortex of star power expanded to its limit, the lake of stardew at its bottom brimming with stardew.
Only then did the sparks of starlight stop rising from the black water to pour down on him.
However, as the sparks disappeared, the small water ripples suddenly turned into huge waves. An immense awareness seemed to suddenly descend upon the lake from the depths of the black sea.
Without much thought, Nie Tian sent a cluster of his soul power into the lake.
As soon as he did, the immense awareness infused into his cluster of soul power, giving rise to a deep, resounding voice. "According to our agreement, you people from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace shouldn't have come here until a hundred years later. Why are you here so early?"
Nie Tian went blank shortly before replying through his soul, "Who are you?"
The immense awareness seemed confused as it said, "You're from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace and you carry three fragmentary star marks. As a Son of the Stars, how can you not know who I am?"
"I..." After a brief hesitation, Nie Tian decided to tell the truth. "I've only obtained these fragmentary star marks recently. I haven't gotten in contact with anyone from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace yet, and I haven't visited the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace's headquarters."
The awareness was surprised. "A newborn Son of the Stars?" After pondering for a short while, it said, "Did you lead the other humans and those outsiders to this place?"
Nie Tian smiled bitterly. "Actually, they led me to this place."
After a moment of silence, the mysterious awareness went on with a snort, "Who would have thought that a Son of the Stars that knows nothing would enter this place by accident. So this is all just a mistake…
"Since the agreed time hasn't come yet, I won't deliver my half of the agreement now. Also, where did you come from?"
"The Domain of the Falling Stars," Nie Tian hastily replied.
"In two weeks, I'll open a spatial rift that leads to the Domain of the Falling Stars here and send you out." The awareness started to sound somewhat impatient as it continued, "You woke me ahead of the agreed time. You made me waste a tremendous amount of strength to bridge the top and the bottom continents to come and talk to you. I'll settle this with your seniors from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace in a hundred years."
"I still don't know who you are," Nie Tian said. "And what's going to happen in a hundred years?"
The awareness grew increasingly impatient. "You'll get your answer when you visit the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace as a Son of the Stars. One last reminder for you. The vortex that brought you here and these islands are all part of the arrangements of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. These two islands only allow Greater Heaven stage humans and fourth grade outsiders to enter.
"However, if any of you breaks through into the Worldly realm, or any of outsiders advances to the fifth grade here, the restrictive spell will lose its effect.
With these words, the immense awareness was gone. The waves quieted, and peace was restored to the vast, black lake, leaving Nie Tian in complete confusion.