The Phantasms' ancient starships came to a stop in the middle of the void.
Looking at the Soul-devouring Lake, Yuna's emerald eyes were filled with a grim look as she said, "The grand patriarch's aura is gone."
Upon hearing these words, the powerful Phantasm experts beside her all fixed the Soul-devouring Lake with bewildered gazes. It was just that, considering their strength, they couldn't sense anything from it.
"What does that mean, my lady?" Armes asked respectfully.
Eyebrows furrowed, Yuna said, "I'm afraid something has happened to that grand patriarch. He left his aura here intentionally. He must have counted on his people to sense his aura and track it to his location, so he wouldn't have stopped leaving it willingly.
"Now that his aura is gone, there must have been a mishap. Perhaps, he's been... annihilated."
A seventh grade Phantasm warrior gasped and said, "The soul of a grand patriarch is not that easily annihilated, right?"
Yuna sighed. "He would be very hard to kill if he still had his fleshly body and were at his peak state. But I didn't sense any flesh power from the aura he left behind. His fleshly body must have perished long ago. All he had left was his soul body.
"With only his soul body, he wouldn't be able to unleash our race's most powerful magics, so it's possible that someone annihilated him."
Armes let out a sigh. "But he's a ninth grade grand patriarch!"
The other Phantasm experts also sighed rather emotionally. "If he's really dead, it'll be a great loss for our race!"
In their eyes, any ninth grade grand patriarch was an important figure who was capable of shaking heaven and earth.
Since they didn't have a single grand patriarch in their clan, if they could find that grand patriarch and win his favor, their clan would rise to a high position among the numerous Phantasm clans.
Yuna pondered for a while and added, "Although, it's possible that he hasn't been annihilated. He might just be too weak to release any aura. Send word to the other parties, and tell them to inform us as soon as they discover anything that has a connection to our race."
"Got it," The seventh grade Phantasm warrior answered loudly.
"Now that we've lost our directions, we need to spread out in all directions with this starship as the center, and start searching for clues," Yuna said. "Once you find anything, report to me at once. Even if he's really dead, we'll need to confirm his identity."
"Got it!" With these words, the Phantasm experts spread out and started searching for clues.
On the unimpressive floating meteor.
The weaker members from the three parties were doing their best to recover with spirit stones and medicinal pills.
Some were summoning spiritual power and soul power with unique methods to repair their damaged air-transportation spiritual tools, hoping to get the spell formations within them to work again.
Qiao Yunxi's Flame Bird was curiously structured and as solid as a piece of divine metal. Therefore, there wasn't a single scratch on it.
After refilling it with fire-attributed materials, she sat down next to it and started channeling flame power from Heavenflame Stones she took out from her ring of holding.
Nie Tian had long since noticed that she had overly consumed her spiritual power, but hadn't sustained any serious injuries.
It was different with Yin Yanan from the Beast-controlling Sect.
She was sitting among the other Beast-controlling Sect disciples. A pained look filled her face as she seemed to be digesting the medicinal pill she had just swallowed.
The wounded members of the three parties let out agonized screams and low sobs from time to time, filling the air with depression.
The shoulders of a few Greater Heaven stage young women trembled as tears brimmed their eyes. They seemed to have lost their family in their previous battles against the outsiders.
Expressionless, Nie Tian gazed off into the distance and waited for the Stonemen's arrival.
He had seen and experienced so much over the years. This could no longer cause waves in his heart.
Furthermore, he didn't have any positive feeling towards the three parties. Therefore, no matter how many people they lost, it wouldn't have a strong impact on him.
Gazing into the dark void where countless meteors of different sizes floated, Nie Tian started to feel a sense of uncertainty.
"Now that outsiders have come to this region, it has become dangerous to travel around in this heaven and earth.
"If I can't get in contact with Yue Yanxi within a short time, my only option will be to return to the Domain of the Falling Stars through the teleportation portal the Lei Clan set up.
"Then, I'll have to give up on searching for the teleportation portal the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace established in this region."
The Frost Blood Python beside Yin Yanan suddenly let out agonizing hissing sounds as its large tail swung about, shattering nearby rocks.
Yin Yanan sprang to her feet and said with a heartache, "Are you still in pain?"
The violent woman seemed surprisingly gentle when she talked to the Frost Blood Python.
Overhearing her, Nie Tian looked over at them.
Qiao Yunxi noticed his gaze, and thus explained to him, "Without that seventh grade Frost Blood Python, they wouldn't have been able to escape from the Stonemen at all. It was their main force to deal with the Stonemen pursuers. However, the sixth grade Stonemen joined up and injured it with a special weapon.
"Many strange-looking thorns pierced deeply into its body, nearly killing it.
"Yin Yanan has been trying to figure out a way to get those thorns out this whole time, but has failed in all her attempts thus far."
Intrigued, Nie Tian started walking towards the Frost Blood Python.
Seeing him approach, all of the Beast-controlling Sect disciples put their cultivation on hold. Staring at him, several of them asked with unpleasant expressions, "What are you doing here?"
Yin Yanan was anxious for not being able to help the Frost Blood Python, and thus also said angrily, "Get the hell out of here!"
"This Frost Blood Python helped me before," Nie Tian said. "Can't I even take a look at it?"
Yin Yanan let out a cold snort and said with a mocking tone, "It amazes me that you still remember that. If it weren't for it, that Phantasm soul would have possessed you long ago! How do you plan to help it, ingrate?"
Nie Tian ignored her mockery and went to the Frost Blood Python's side. He reached out with one hand and pressed it on its large body.
Wisps of his flesh aura flew out of his palm and started swimming around inside of the Frost Blood Python.
He called out softly.
As Qiao Yunxi had just said, there were indeed a large number of strange thorns in it.
They had pierced deeply into the Frost Blood Python's veins, meridians, and bones, making even regular circulation difficult.
Whenever the Frost Blood Python moved, those thorns would pierce even deeper, hurting it to the point where it wanted to die.
It unleashed wisps of rich flesh power in an attempt to dissolve the strange thorns, but the result was almost negligible.
Seeing what Nie Tian was doing, Xing Beichen from the Trisword Sect said, "Those things are called Bone-piercing Blood Thorns, which are small thorns from a special insect called the Bone-devouring Leech.
"Bone-devouring Leeches are an ancient and powerful species that has existed since the Desolate Antiquity Era. The humans have killed them in all human domains and realms. Now, they can only be found in certain outsider realms.
"Once they cling to any living being, they'll drill into their bodies and start living on the nourishment from their host's blood and flesh. And they're very hard to get rid of.
"Even powerful outsiders with profound bloodline power can't always get them out once they enter their bodies.
"Unlike normal leeches, Bone-devouring Leeches have tiny bones, which can be refined into Bone-piercing Blood Thorns. When they pierce into living beings, they will achieve similar effects as Bone-devouring Leeches.
"Fortunately, those are only Bone-piercing Blood Thorns, which pierce into the host's bones and meridians and absorb the host's life force at a slower rate.
"If they were Bone-devouring Leeches, the Frost Blood Python wouldn't have lived for so long."
Yin Yanan shot Xing Beichen a nasty look. "What did you tell him that for? Even if he knows what Bone-piercing Blood Thorns are, what will he be able to do? Don't tell me that he can help my Frost Blood Python get rid of those Bone-piercing Blood Thorns."
Xing Beichen touched his nose and said somewhat embarrassedly, "Sorry, I couldn't help it."
"Bone-piercing Blood Thorns..." Nie Tian muttered, his eyes narrowed. "Let me try something out."
Soon, wisps of his flesh aura found the Bone-piercing Blood Thorns. Like tentacles, his flesh auras attempted to touch them, and immediately sensed strong flesh power from within them.
The thorns were only about half a meter long, yet each of them contained rich flesh power, along with an ancient, tenacious aura that seemed to be from a Bone-devouring Leech, which seemed incompatible with the Frost Blood Python's aura.
At the same time, he sensed the presence of the Frost Blood Python's auras, which were attempting to refine the Bone-piercing Blood Thorns.
However, no matter how much flesh power the Frost Blood Python summoned, it didn't seem to be able to harm those Bone-piercing Blood Thorns.
"I should be able to solve the problem by draining the Bone-piercing Blood Thorns of their flesh power." With this thought in mind, Nie Tian activated Life Drain without hesitation.
As soon as he did, his flesh auras started to pull a mixture of flesh power from the Frost Blood Python and the Bone-devouring Leech out of the Bone-piercing Blood Thorns.
As his wisps of flesh aura rapidly grew thicker, the connections between the Bone-piercing Blood Thorns and the Frost Blood Python's meridians and bones were severed as if by an invisible blade.
The Frost Blood Python, which had been swinging its tail in agony, rapidly settled down.