The Blood Core had been in the form of a bone slip when he had first obtained it.
After he had carried it around and nourished it with his own flesh power for so many years, and adding in the flame power it had gathered over all these years, it had gone through many mild changes.
It had gone through a significant change when it had reunited with the Flame Dragon Armor.
The Blood Core had long since shed its form as a bone slip, and assumed the form of a dark-red walnut that was the size of a fist.
Drops of Blood Essence that were as translucent and sparkling as red agate dripped on the Blood Core.
Immediately afterwards, the Blood Core that looked like a dried walnut absorbed all ten drops of Blood Essence like a sponge absorbing water.
It suddenly seemed full of life again.
The fine, densely-packed furrows on the Blood Core’s surface that looked like dried rivers seemed to be filled with water again, giving rise to vigorous life force.
Like rivers of flames, countless streams of fiery light flew out of the Flame Dragon Armor and fused into the Blood Core, which continued to gather flame power and induce some sort of upheaval with the help of Nie Tian’s Blood Essence.
After a long time, incomparably clear heartbeats suddenly came from the Blood Core.
Nie Tian instantly sensed ecstasy in the Flame Dragon Armor’s soul.
The Flame Dragon Armor was almost mad with joy as it called out, “Master! I feel like I’ve been reborn! Your Blood Essence has infused me with new life force!”
Nie Tian’s eyes instantly lit up.
He vaguely sensed that a small heart seemed to come to form inside the Blood Core that looked like a walnut. It seemed to be a condensation of flame power and his ten drops of Blood Essence.
Before, he had only been able to sense flame power from the Blood Core and the Flame Dragon Armor.
But now, he sensed distinct life force burst forth from within the Blood Core.
This Flame Dragon Armor had been forged by taking a bone from the remains of a flame dragon, erasing its old memories from its soul and refining them with all kinds of special spiritual materials.
Originally, it was nothing but a spiritual tool. Even though it had its own spirit and awareness, it was bereft of any life force.
However, as his Blood Essence dripped and fused into it, it seemed to be vested with flesh and blood, as if it was being given life!
The Flame Dragon Armor’s soul was very excited as it yelled, “Master! I need more earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings!”
Nie Tian examined it with rapt attention, starlight shining in his pupils, enabling him to see through the Blood Core’s surface and into its depths.
He saw numerous sparkling fiery strings at the heart of the Blood Core, as if they were the earthflame crystal strings it had gathered. Not only did they contain fierce flame power, but they were also branded with the profound truths of flame power.
Numerous fiery strings were wreathing a heart that was only the size of a thumb.
The fiery strings were like fibers that were providing the tiny heart with flame power and helping it reforge its Bloodline Crystal Chains.
He wasn’t sure how these changes were helping the Blood Core.
However, he decided to give the Flame Dragon Armor what it desired.
“You’re free to take the earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings in the volcanoes within a five kilometer radius.” Nie Tian gave the range. “Remember, five kilometers. Don’t exceed this range!”
He was worried that the Flame Dragon Armor would act without restraint and ruin the environment of the entire Realm of Withering Flame, therefore infuriating his senior martial brother.
“Enough! That’s more than enough!” The Flame Dragon Armor exclaimed cheerfully.
In the next moment, the Flame Dragon Armor flew away from Nie Tian to another nearby volcano, and instantly sank into its heart.
That volcano seemed very active, as if it could erupt at any moment. However, as the Flame Dragon Armor plunged into its heart, it seemed as if it had instantly reached the end of its life and died.
Moments later, Nie Tian couldn’t sense even the slightest flame power fluctuations from within the volcano anymore.
Then, the Flame Dragon Armor morphed into a streak of flames that shot out of that volcano’s mouth and rapidly plunged into its next target.
Sitting in the lotus position in the Star Boat, Nie Tian started to have a fatigued feeling as he watched the Flame Dragon Armor madly gather earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings.
This feeling of fatigue originated from his loss of those ten drops of Blood Essence.
“Even though I’m not quite sure what wondrous uses my Blood Essence has, once I lose it, I feel powerless,” He muttered to himself. “This isn’t a good sign... I’d better find more flesh power and regenerate the ten drops of Blood Essence I’ve given to the Flame Dragon Armor as soon as possible.”
Inside the city...
Duan Shihu and Jing Rou were cuddling and talking to each other in low voices.
The topic of their conversation was Nie Tian, Xing Bo, and Pei Qiqi.
Eyes narrowed, Jing Rou said, “That junior martial brother of yours is far beyond ordinary. You probably sensed the immense flesh power inside of him too. Most fifth grade spirit beasts and outsiders don’t have flesh auras as vigorous as his.”
Duan Shihu nodded slightly. “Yeah, I’ve noticed.”
Jing Rou then said, “At first, I cooked fourth grade spirit beast meat for him, and I was a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to process the rich flesh power it contained.
“But soon, my worry turned out to be groundless.
“He didn’t seem to feel anything after finishing that piece of fourth grade spirit beast meat.
“So I switched to fifth grade spirit beast meat. However, he absorbed the copious flesh power it contained as just easily.
“Eventually, I switched to sixth grade spirit beast meat.
“The battle prowess of a sixth grade spirit beast is equal to that of a Profound realm Qi warrior. Even so, he still managed to absorb the flesh power it contained without effort.
“He seems to have the fleshly body of a Taotie (A ferocious mythological animal, the fifth son of the dragon king, a voracious eater), which allows him to eat all of the spirit beast meat he gets without ever stopping. I was truly shocked by his appetite.”
Jing Rou seemed shaken as she said these words. “I even suspect that he’s a hybrid, and his bloodline belongs to the most profound kind which neither of us can begin to fathom! A Son of the Stars, a successful hybrid... If this guy can follow the path the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace has designed for him and eventually reach the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace’s headquarters, he’ll attract the attention of the entire starry river.”
Duan Shihu grinned. “He’s my master’s disciple. It’s only natural that he’s beyond ordinary.”
Jing Rou rolled her eyes at him. Just as she was about to say something, her expression suddenly flickered.
Her slender eyebrows furrowed as she said, “All of the raging volcanoes in the region he went to seem to have died out within such a short time! He’s only at the middle Worldly realm. Even if he’s extremely talented with flame power, it’s not likely for him to drain those volcanoes of their earthflame crystal strings and earthflame essence within such a short period of time, right?”
Duan Shihu also looked confused as he said, “Indeed.”
“Why don’t you go over there and take a look?” Jing Rou rose out of Duan Shihu’s arms to her feet and tossed a ring of holding to him. “Inside of this ring is the spirit beast meat I’ve collected these past years, most of which is at the fifth and sixth grade. A small part of it is at the seventh grade. Nie Tian’s appetite is shockingly large, and he doesn’t seem to care about the taste or texture of the meat. All he wants is the flesh power it contains. You might as well give it all to him, so I won’t need to make efforts to cook for him anymore.”
“Okay.” Duan Shihu grabbed the ring of holding, pushed the door open, and left.
He summoned an air-transportation spiritual tool that was engraved with numerous magical symbols and flew off in it. A few minutes later, he reached Nie Tian’s location.
As he approached, he saw the Flame Dragon Armor flying out of the mouth of a volcano and plunging into the mouth of another.
Duan Shihu let out a soft exclamation, “So it’s this spiritual tool all along.”
Then, he steered his air-transportation spiritual tool towards Nie Tian and threw him the ring of holding he had in his hand, “Your sister-in-law was worried that you’d get hungry during cultivation, so she sent me here to give you this spirit beast meat.”
Nie Tian grabbed the ring of holding and briefly examined its contents with his soul awareness. His eyes lit up as he said, “Thank you, senior martial brother. And please thank my sister-in-law for me too. This is indeed what I need the most right now.”
He secretly activated Life Drain while talking to Duan Shihu. Wisps of his flesh aura flew into the ring of holding, where they started to absorb flesh power from the spirit beast meat.
The spirit beast meat within the ring of holding shrank at an alarming rate, like sponges that had gone dry.
As wisps of his flesh aura returned to him, carrying rich flesh power, a drop of Blood Essence rapidly came to form within his heart.
Duan Shihu sensed that something was different, but he couldn’t tell what was happening inside Nie Tian exactly.
He could only sense subtle changes in Nie Tian’s flesh aura after he got that ring of holding.
He didn’t ask about it. Instead, he reminded Nie Tian that he was free to practice cultivation anywhere in the Realm of Withering Flame, and then left, looking causal and at ease.
After he left, Nie Tian landed the Star Boat. He took numerous pieces of spirit beast meat out of the ring of holding and started draining their flesh power with Life Drain without any scruples.
A few hours later, he recovered all ten drops of Blood Essence he had lost.
Afterwards, as the Flame Dragon Armor continued to gather earthflame crystal strings and earthflame essence, he practiced cultivation wholeheartedly, refining his spiritual core and vortexes of three different attributes with spiritual materials.
His strength built up as days passed.
A few days later, the Flame Dragon Armor returned on its own after gathering enough earthflame crystal strings and earthflame essence.
“Master, I need to enter a fairly long period of dormancy to process the flame power I’ve gathered.” With these words, the Flame Dragon Armor flew into Nie Tian’s ring of holding and fell into a deep slumber.
Even though Nie Tian was full of questions, seeing that the Flame Dragon Armor had fallen dormant, he could only let it go.
Instead of roaming the realm, he stayed in this region and practiced cultivation day and night.
Two weeks later, Duan Shihu came for him again and said, “Xing Bo didn’t return to the Thousandsword Mountain Sect’s headquarters directly, but changed his route and went to the Realm of Maelstrom.”
Nie Tian was confused. “The Realm of Maelstrom?”
“There’s this place that’s very similar to the Void Illusion Mountain Range, where there are also a large number of spatial rifts that lead to outsider realms,” Xing Bo explained. “What makes it special is that humans live in harmony with outsiders there. They even trade cultivation resources and communicate all kinds of information. Little Rou has made some arrangements to rescue that Pei Qiqi girl in the Realm of Maelstrom. You’re coming with me.”