As Nie Tian's soul awareness descended about a thousand meters underground, it once again ran into the mysterious ward left there by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Like an enormous film, the ward sealed a vast space under the forbidden region, not even letting air through.
Nie Tian had made numerous attempts with his psychic awareness before, and not once had he managed to penetrate the ward and get a sneak peek at what had been lying there for thousands of years.
However, this time was different.
As his soul awareness touched the mysterious ward, changes suddenly occurred to the three fragmentary star marks that were branded on his chest.
He had only fully refined the first fragmentary star mark by now.
The first fragmentary star mark recorded the first part of the Fragmentary Star Incantation, from which Nie Tian had learned three powerful magics: Starstrike, Starshift, and Starfall.
However, he hadn't had a chance to refine the other two fragmentary star marks yet.
Even so, it seems that that didn't prevent all three fragmentary star marks from serving their magical use. At this moment, they suddenly flew out of his chest, morphed into three bright stars, and sank deep underground.
Through his soul awareness, which was in the depths of the earth, he saw that the three fragmentary star marks flew into the ward like rocks that were thrown into a lake, causing ripples to appear on the mysterious ward.
Immediately afterwards, his soul awareness was pushed up towards the earth's surface by an unknown force.
Merely a couple of seconds later, his soul awareness returned to him.
A heaven-shaking, earth-moving quake came from the depths of the earth.
Nie Tian's expression flickered as his eyes snapped open, then he saw the earth fluctuating like a carpet that was being shaken.
The rumbles grew more and more deafening as the fluctuations spread from the place Nie Tian was sitting on far into the distance.
Soon, Nie Tian realized that the entire Void Illusion Mountain Range had started to shake. Even Shatter City, Ash City, and the Land of the Abandoned, which were rather far from this region, seemed influenced.
At the center of the forbidden region, the rocky bottom of a huge crater suddenly crumbled and sank, creating a deep hole that rapidly spread in every direction.
While lands shook and mountains were rocked, something enormous gradually rose from the depths of the earth.
"W-what's hapening, Nie Tian!?" Li Langfeng asked with a stutter.
He had a feeling that Nie Tian was causing these great changes.
However, Nie Tian hadn't been doing anything but sitting beside him with his eyes closed. Could he have caused such upheavals just by doing that?
"I don't know either." With these words, Nie Tian rushed towards the central area, where something was rising from a deep hole in the earth, thinking that he was finally going to uncover the secret that had been hidden underground for an unknown amount of time.
The earth continued to tremble as all of the rocks in that area shattered and sank into the deep hole.
The tip of a magnificent ancient palace rose to the earth's surface, like a huge monster that had barely gotten its head out of a deep pit.
After rushing to the site, Li Langfeng's eyes brimmed with shock and disbelief as he asked, "What... what the hell is that?! Why was there a palace in the depths of the earth?"
Nie Tian didn't know how to answer his questions.
He only stared blankly at the grand palace that was still slowly rising, causing a larger area around it to crumble and sink.
The palace was greenish-black. Countless star formations could be seen engraved on its surface.
Upon first glance, Nie Tian realized that those star formations were very similar to the ones that were carved on the inside of the lofty mountain peaks in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations and the Realm of Mystic Heaven.
It was just that the star formations on the surface of this magnificent palace were now dim and lifeless, as if only when they were infused with star power would they display their magical use.
Like an enormous beast that had awoken from its deep slumber, the majestic palace gradually rose to the earth's surface.
Loud rumbles continued to shake heaven and earth.
Every Qi warrior in the entire Realm of Split Void felt the changes. It didn't matter whether they were in Shatter City, Ash City, the Land of the Abandoned, or the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
One figure after another started converging on the forbidden region from different directions with worried expressions on their faces.
Several minutes later, the ancient palace that had been buried in the depths of the earth for many years finally stood before Nie Tian.
Compared to the Heaven Palace Sect's former headquarters, which had been destroyed by the Phantasms' ancient starship, this palace was even larger and more magnificent. Its surface seemed to be covered in countless star formations. Not a single spot was left out.
Now that the palace was completely unveiled, the earth stopped rumbling.
Nie Tian's three fragmentary star marks, which had flown out of his chest earlier, morphed into three streaks of starlight and returned to him.
Gazing up into the heavens, Li Langfeng said, looking overwhelmed, as if he were in a dream, "Great changes are happening to the Realm of Split Void!
"Look, Nie Tian! The air in the Realm of Split Void used to be filled with tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth. We could almost never see a starlit sky like this.
"Also, it seems to me that the distance between those dazzling stars in the sky and us is now closer now than ever.
"And the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth that used to fill the sky seems to have been purged somehow."
With these words, he took a deep breath, then his expression flickered violently as he exclaimed, "No, the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth has not been purged! It's been changed! The Demon Qi, Phantasm Qi, Fiend Qi, and many other energies that were harmful to us cultivators are being refined and turned into rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth!"
Nie Tian didn't respond. Instead, he focused on sensing the air around him with his eyes closed.
His perception of the changes in the air was deeper than Li Langfeng's. Since he practiced the Fragmentary Star Incantation, he had shrewdly discovered the subtle change in the increase of star power in the air.
The stars in the heavens were shining increasingly brightly since the magnificent ancient palace had risen from the depths of the earth.
Countless wisps of star power seemed to be attracted by the ancient palace, as they quietly converged on it.
Nie Tian wondered what kind of material the palace was made from, which actually allowed it to automatically channel star power from the heavens.
Meanwhile, the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in an increasingly large area around the ancient palace was being converted into rich and pure spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth.
The Realm of Split Void was once the largest and most special realm in the Domain of the Falling Stars.
Back in the day, the Void Palace Sect, which had possessed unparalleled power in the Domain of the Falling Stars and overshadowed the Heaven Palace Sect for many years, had been based in the Realm of Split Void.
The Realm of Split Void was only crossed from the Domain of the Falling Stars because its once rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth had been tainted by all sorts of impurities that had leaked into it through the spatial rifts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range, which had rendered it unfit to cultivate in.
Now, thanks to the appearance of the ancient palace, the various kinds of impurities in the air throughout the entire Realm of Split Void were going to be refined and turned into the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth.
Originally, the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in the Realm of Split Void had been richer than that in the Realm of Mystic Heaven. It was just that it was polluted by all sorts of impurities.
If all of the impurities could be refined and turned back into spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in the Realm of Split Void would become even richer than it had ever been.
Not just that, but poisonous foreign energies were still pouring into the Realm of Split Void through the spatial rifts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
If all of those energies were to be continuously turned into spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, it would make the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in the Realm of Split Void even richer.
Rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth would allow Qi warriors to gather power and make breakthroughs more efficiently.
At the same time, if copious spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth filled every corner of the realm, it would eventually produce large amounts of spirit stones and spirit jades.
From the look of it, the Realm of Split Void would become a blessed land in the near future.
Perhaps powerful experts from all over the Domain of the Falling Stars would choose to come and cultivate in the Realm of Split Void.
Li Langfeng ran his gaze up and down the majestic palace for a long time before finally saying, "This palace… It has something to do with the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, doesn't it?"
Smiling, Nie Tian said, "That's right. It was left here by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. You'd better stay here. I'll go take a look inside."
With these words, he strode towards the palace.
The palace looked like a sealed fortress with only one huge stone gate, which was now tightly shut. All of the windows were also shut at this moment.
After marching up to the stone gate, he reached out with both hands and summoned his star power.
Misty starlight wreathed his hands as he gave the huge stone gate a vigorous push.
The heavy gate opened, and he stepped inside.
As soon as he stepped through the gate into the spacious hall, he felt like he was reliving the time when he had fought for fragmentary star marks in the mysterious palace in the depths of the starry river during the Heaven Gate trial.
The inside of this palace had so many similarities with that one.
The dome of the hall was transparent, and he could see the starlit sky. Each and every star looked extremely close to him, as if he would be able to touch them just by extending his arms.
The inner walls were also engraved with countless star formations. Numerous stone rooms surrounded the great hall.
In the middle of the great hall stood a large-scale teleportation portal, through which he wondered where he could teleport to.