Jing Rou left in a hurry.
In her eyes, as long as Nie Tian could get in contact with the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, perhaps they would help defeat the outsiders’ united army to stop the Domain of Heaven Python from falling.
It was known that medicinal pills and spiritual materials that contained soul power were very hard to find. Even with Nie Tian’s Silicon Silver, Duan Shihu had only gotten his hands on a few.
However, the Divine Seal Sect was the number one sect in the Domain of Heaven Python after all. With their two Saint domain experts and reserve power they had accumulated over thousands of years, if they exerted themselves to look for the medicinal pills and ingredients Nie Tian needed, they would still be able to find some.
Watching Jing Rou leave full of hope, Nie Tian felt tremendous pressure on his shoulders.
Nie Tian sighed inwardly. “Even if I manage to get the medicinal pills I need, form the third sub-soul and enter the Profound realm, I’ll still have to go to the Realm of Shattered Earth...”
Then, he explained this to Duan Shihu.
Duan Shihu was somewhat distressed after learning that Nie Tian would have to use the large-scale teleportation portal in the palace in the Realm of Shattered Earth if he wanted to eventually enter the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
“Perhaps that Zhao Shanling will come back after you break through into the Profound realm, right?” Duan Shihu said, holding onto his hope.
Nie Tian smiled bitterly. “That’s the hope.”
Without Zhao Shanling, he wouldn’t be able to teleport to the Realm of Split Void through Zhao Shanling’s teleportation portal.
Only from the grand palace the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had left for him in the Realm of Split Void would he be able to return to the Realm of Shattered Earth.
Duan Shihu forced a smile onto his face. “Jing Rou should be able to get some of the spiritual materials you need from the Divine Seal Sect. Don’t worry about anything else. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Nie Tian nodded. “I understand.”
Bad news came over the following days.
Soon after the Realm of Withering Flame had fallen, the outsiders’ ancient starships started traveling among and raiding the major realms in the Domain of Heaven Python.
One after another, realms that belonged to the Golden Vast Sect and the Divine Seal Sect fell. Numerous human experts were killed or driven from their homes.
In those realms, the outsiders slaughtered humans and plundered resources with brutal means.
The Golden Vast Sect and the Divine Seal Sect were aware that they wouldn’t be able to hold multiple places simultaneously, and thus summoned their powerful experts from the other realms to their headquarters.
Since they had lost faith in initiating attacks, they adopted the method of total defense, hoping to defend their headquarters with the help of their grand spell formations.
Most of their Qi warriors who had been stationed in the Realm of Maelstrom had retreated as well.
Even fewer people could now be seen in the Realm of Maelstrom.
Standing on the balcony of the stone pavilion the Divine Seal Sect had assigned to them, Qi Bailu gazed off into the distance. Slowly withdrawing his soul awareness, he said, “Many have left... It’s been a long time since I last detected soul fluctuations in the Thousandsword Mountain Sect’s stronghold. I could still sense quite a few people in the Golden Vast Sect’s stronghold a few days ago, but now... only a handful of people are garrisoned there.”
“Isn’t it the same with the Divine Seal Sect?” Hua Mu chimed in.
Nie Tian had also noticed that many Divine Seal Sect disciples had entered the hall where their teleportation portal was, and never came out again.
They had taken all kinds of materials with them, which made it obvious that they had been moving.
When he had practiced cultivation before, he had been able to sense countless weak but noticeable flesh auras. But now, as he scanned his vicinity with his bloodline power, he could only sense a handful of flesh auras.
Eyes narrowed, Zong Zheng looked up at the interweaving spatial lines in the watery curtain that connected the Realm of Maelstrom to the rest of the starry river. “Great changes are almost upon us. The Divine Seal Sect and the Golden Vast Sect have trouble defending even their headquarters, so they pulled back into their headquarters to maintain their high battle prowess. That’s actually a smart move. The three local sects have already sealed or destroyed the spatial rifts that lead to outsider domains so that outsiders won’t be able to pour through them.
“Besides, the Realm of Maelstrom is only special because of its numerous, interweaving spatial rifts, not because it produces any rare spiritual materials.
“Now that they’ve destroyed those spatial rifts and all of the powerful experts have evacuated, the Realm of Maelstrom has lost its value.
“So I suppose the outsiders don’t have any reasons to invade the Realm of Maelstrom now. That means we’ll be safe within a short period of time.”
Everyone felt slightly relieved after hearing these words.
At this moment, Jing Rou suddenly returned with Duan Shihu. She held out a ring of holding and said with an exhausted look on her face, “There are quite a few spiritual materials and medicinal pills within this ring of holding that will help strengthen your soul, but I’m afraid their efficacy won't match that of a few soul crystals. However, they are already all that I can find throughout my sect. I hope you’re not disappointed.”
“How could I be?” Nie Tian grabbed the ring of holding and scanned its contents with his soul awareness.
There were all sorts of medicinal pills within it, along with spirit grass and spirit beast skulls that contained faint soul power.
Like Jing Rou said, there were quite a number of items within the ring of holding, yet the amount of soul power they contained was very limited.
Not just that, but the soul power within some of them was impure, and would be rather troublesome to refine.
Therefore, compared to soul crystals, refining the medicinal pills and spirit grass Jing Rou had found for him would be much less rewarding, and much more time-consuming.
“Alright, I’ll try my best,” Nie Tian said. “Hopefully, I’ll break through into the Profound realm with these things within a short time. But here’s a thing: Even if I manage to break through into the Profound realm, I’ll have to figure out a way to return to the Realm of Split Void first. So let me know as soon as you receive word of Zhao Shanling. Also, if you can find my senior martial sister, she may be able to help me return to the Domain of the Falling Stars as well.”
Jing Rou seemed exhausted as she said, “That senior martial sister of yours vanished completely after killing those Thousandsword Mountain Sect disciples. In fact, it’s best that she doesn’t show up. After all, the outsiders are trying to find her too. She’ll be in serious danger if the outsiders learn her whereabouts.”
Nie Tian sighed. “Yeah, okay.”
That said, Nie Tian started practicing cultivation and attempting to form the third sub-soul with the medicinal pills, spirit grass, and spirit beast skulls Jing Rou had found for him.
Soon, he discovered that the effects of these items were far inferior to that of soul crystals.
Sometimes, he would have to use different methods to get rid of the impurities within some of the materials.
Then the pure soul power that remained was next to nothing.
But fortunately, he had a large number of them, so compared to channeling soul power from the stars, this method was actually more efficient.
Therefore, he concentrated on his cultivation in an attempt to form the third sub-soul and break through into the Profound realm as soon as possible.
A few days passed...
Qi Bailu suddenly woke Nie Tian from his cultivation, and showed him to the balcony of the stone pavilion, where he pointed at the watery curtain in the sky and said in a low voice, “Spatial rifts of various sizes are gradually vanishing from the watery curtain. As you know, the watery curtain over the Realm of Maelstrom is kind of like the Void Illusion Mountain Range, as they both hold a large number of spatial rifts.
“Only a small number of them have been explored, and proven to lead to outsider or Ancientbeast domains.
“However, for most of them, where they lead to still remains a mystery, since none of the people who entered them ever returned.
“The Golden Vast Sect and the Divine Seal Sect recently destroyed all of the spatial rifts that were known to connect to outsider domains in order to prevent more outsiders from swarming into the Realm of Maelstrom.
“Meanwhile, numerous unexplored and unidentified spatial rifts remained open.
“But now, they have started to vanish one by one.”
Hua Mu and Zong Zheng gazed off into the watery curtain. Their expressions grew complicated as they sensed unusual spatial fluctuations.
Nie Tian’s eyes also widened.
“What’s happening now is very similar to what happened in the Shatter Battlefield,” Hua Mu said in a low voice. “In the Shatter Battlefield, all of the stable spatial rifts and teleportation portals that led to other places either vanished or collapsed. According to Yue Yanxi, the anomalies in the Shatter Battlefield were caused by that Heaven Nourished grade spiritual material.”
Nie Tian’s expression flickered as he was instantly enlightened. “Are you saying that these changes in the Realm of Maelstrom are also caused by my senior martial sister?”
Hua Mu nodded slowly. “That’s very likely.”
“Has the Divine Seal Sect noticed the anomaly?” Nie Tian asked aloud.
Hua Mu shot a glance in the direction of Duan Shihu and Jing Rou’s residence and said in a low voice, “Duan Shihu and Jing Rou are the only Divine Seal Sect disciples still here. Even Meng Li has returned to their headquarters through a teleportation portal. I suppose their cultivation bases aren’t high enough for them to sense the changes, but they will sooner or later if the changes don’t stop.
“Besides, I talked to Duan Shihu earlier, and learned that they found that, whichever realm Qiqi appeared in, the spatial rifts and teleportation portals in that realm would gradually vanish or collapse on their own.”
Qi Bailu chimed in. “So our speculation must be correct. That Heaven Nourished grade spiritual material is in Qiqi’s hands, and now she’s come to the Realm of Maelstrom.”
Hua Mu took a deep breath and said, “She must have realized that the Realm of Maelstrom is basically an empty realm now, so she came back in secret to channel spatial power from the spatial rifts in order to strengthen herself and that Heaven Nourished grade spiritual material.”
Eyebrows knitted, Nie Tian gazed off at the watery curtain in the sky that looked like an enormous vortex, and asked, “Does she know that we’re in the Realm of Maelstrom?”
Hua Mu shook his head. “It beats me, but we need to give serious consideration to whether we want to meet her.”
“Yeah, if we do meet, her whereabouts might be exposed,” Qi Bailu chimed in.