Li Ye stood aghast. "My mother and father?"
Looking blankly at his master, he asked, "Didn't you say I was an orphan?"
Li Muyang's eyes grew red as he said in a slightly choked voice, "You are not! And you never were! Conflicts break out between the Yang Sect and the Yin Sect all the time. The enmity our seniors held against each other was too deep to be reconciled, so..."
He glanced at Xing Huanyue. "So in order not to enrage our seniors, your mother and I chose to hide our relationship.
"In fact, when your mother and I were young, as chosen ones from the Yin Sect and the Yang Sect, we actually fought a lot. But as time passed, we gradually grew to have feelings for each other...
"However, fierce battles still kept breaking out between our sects. Even after we both became sectmasters, the grudge our sects held against each other was still unforgivable. We didn't dare to defy our sects' opinions, so we could only secretly put you in Master Zhen's hands."
Xing Huanyue's eyes welled up as she walked up to Li Ye. With an intense look in her eyes, she said, "I'm so sorry, son."
A violent shudder ran through Li Ye as he gazed back and forth between Li Muyang and Xing Huanyue, his eyes gradually reddening.
"Alright, you should find a place where you can have a good talk," Zhen Huilan said.
Xing Huanyue grabbed Li Ye's hand and walked away from the magnificent palace with him and Li Muyang. "Come, son. We'll tell you whatever you want to know."
Nie Tian was astonished by the unexpected revelation. "I can't believe that Li Ye is actually their son!"
Pei Qiqi, however, seemed to have known about this all along. Her expression didn't change in the slightest as she curiously examined the grand palace that was channeling starlight from the depths of the starry river.
Everyone else seemed surprised as they started to discuss things with each other.
"It's hard to believe that the Yin Sect and the Yang Sect actually have special connections to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace."
"Who would have known that Li Muyang and Xing Huanyue not only secretly fell in love with each other, but also had a son."
"We can't blame them for what they did. The feud between the Yin Sect and the Yang Sect has lasted generations. The previous sectmasters wouldn't stop fighting until the other side was annihilated. What could those two have done?"
"If Nie Tian didn't secure those two items for them and confirm that the Yin Sect and the Yang Sect shared the same origin, the two of them still wouldn't reveal this matter. Now that they have those items, they'll be able to show their sect members that their brawls with each other have been meaningless."
Looking rather excited, Dong Li asked, "How did you manage to get this palace to rise to the earth's surface, Nie Tian? And what's in there?"
As soon as she asked these questions, everyone laid their eyes on Nie Tian.
After a moment of hesitation, Nie Tian said, "I realized that some something was hidden here a long time ago. It was just that my cultivation base was still too low back then, so I couldn't pry into it."
He didn't give a straight answer as to why the palace had risen to the earth's surface, and what was inside.
"You three may leave now," Zhen Huilan said. "You can find another time to talk to Nie Tian."
Cai Lan exchanged glances with the other two, and then they left with reluctant expressions.
After they left, all that remained in this place were people from the Spirit Condor, the Ice Pavilion Sect, and the Dong Clan.
They were all rather close to Nie Tian. Nie Tian didn't felt the need to hide the truth from them, and thus said, "There's a large-scale teleportation portal in the palace."
"Where can you go through it?" Hua Mu asked without delay.
"There were four sets of coordinates," Nie Tian said. "Three sets were coordinates for locations in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations, the Realm of Flame Heaven, and the Realm of Mystic Heaven. The fourth set of coordinates was a little different. They're not for a location in the Domain of the Falling Stars. I tried to teleport to that location, but failed..." Nie Tian went on and told them about his teleportation attempts in detail.
He hoped that Hua Mu, Zhen Huilan, and the other experts could give him some useful information.
"If that's the case, the problem is not on this end." Zhen Huilan was the first to express her opinion. "Something must have happened to the teleportation device on the other end. It's either broken, or has run out of materials to power it."
Hua Mu chimed in, "Yeah, that's probably it."
"That's what I figured," Nie Tian said, nodding. "The location for the fourth set of coordinates is a place between the Domain of the Falling Stars and the Domain of Heaven's Boundaries..." he went on and explained the matter in detail.
Dong Wangling was deeply intrigued after hearing Nie Tian's words. "What? There is actually such a region? And Yue Yanxi invited you to go explore it?"
Hua Mu also seemed very intrigued as he said, "The star map in the Spirit Pearl also has that region marked out? I wonder what secrets lie there."
"Nie Tian, is it possible... that we go there with you and take a look?" Zhen Huilan asked.
Nie Tian gave a bitter smile. "Yue Yanxi told me that the Divine Flame Sect will only have me go there. He's afraid that the Domain of the Falling Stars will get into trouble if the other sects from the Domain of Heaven's Boundaries discover us and come for our land and resources. I'll go first, and see what I can find out about that place. I'll also try to find and fix the teleportation portal that connects that place to here.
"If I can do that, then we won't need the Divine Flame Sect to visit that place anymore. We'll be able to teleport there from the portal in this palace."
Dong Wangling pondered briefly before saying with a reluctant expression, "It seems that we don't have a choice for now. Actually, it's about time we went out of the Domain of the Falling Stars and explored the universe. After all, we'll have to gather the precious materials necessary to build our inner domains after entering the late Soul realm."
Hua Mu, Zong Zheng, and the other experts nodded along.
Afterwards, the Soul realm experts split up to circle around the majestic palace and examine it carefully with their soul awareness.
With a shocked expression, Zhen Huilan exclaimed, "Nie Tian! This palace left by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace has countless star formations carved on its surface, and they seem to be channeling star power from the heavens on their own. As far as I see it, since this palace has spent the past thousands of years in the depths of the earth, it must be in need of a great amount of energy. And once it has absorbed enough star power, it'll reveal its true form.
"I have a feeling that this whole palace... is a special ancient starship, which can charge out of the Realm of Split Void and sail into the boundless starry river."
A shudder ran through Nie Tian as he exclaimed, "An ancient starship?!"
"That's right," Zhen Huilan said in an assertive tone. "I believe this is an ancient starship that the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace left for you. Right now, the star formations on the palace's surface are still gathering power, so we can't see it for what it really is for the moment. But in several years, or perhaps decades, when it has accumulated enough power, it'll regain the ability to sail across the starry river."
Hua Mu chimed in, "Those star formations are all dim and lifeless now, and we can't see anything from them. But when they have gathered enough star power, they'll definitely show us their profound use."
Nie Tian pondered their speculations, and thought that they both made sense.
At this very moment, Dong Li came to the closed stone gate to the palace and tried to push it open with her hands.
SHEW! SHEW! SHEW!
One streak of starlight after another appeared, weaving into a net that covered the stone gate. Dong Li felt a sudden counterforce. She staggered a few steps backwards before falling to the ground.
After getting back up, she said angrily, "How come I can't push this damn gate open?"
Hua Mu laughed in an unrestrained manner and said, "This palace was left here by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace. It's only natural that they'll only allow their successor to enter. I can't even penetrate these walls with my soul awareness. That's how I knew it wouldn't be that easy to enter this palace. Otherwise, why haven't I tried?"
"Nie Tian, take me inside!" Dong Li said like a spoiled girlfriend. "I want to see what's in there!"
Zhen Huilan's eyes lit up, as did the others'.
They were all curious about what was inside. Yet none of them dared to make rash attempts.
Now that Dong Li had made such a demand, they wanted to see if that was possible.
Nie Tian laughed broadly before flashing to the stone gate. With an effortless push, the stone gate opened.
He stood sideways and beckon Dong Li. "Come on."
Dong Li smiled heartily and walked through the gate. Upon seeing this, all of the experts gathered over. Seeing that Nie Tian was still standing there for them, they entered the palace one after another as well.
"There's not only rich star power in here, but also rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth!" Han Mu marveled.
Dong Li glanced around and saw the numerous stone rooms on each side of the great hall. A meaningful look appeared in her eyes as she grabbed Nie Tian and dragged him towards one of the stone rooms. "I have something to say to you."
After entering the room, she closed the door behind them in an alluring manner.
In the next moment, she threw herself into Nie Tian's arms, her charming red lips inches away from Nie Tian's face.