The voice that spoken so abruptly in the room had been so shocking to Bai Yunfei that he dropped the stone like if it was on fire.
That was because this voice was coming from the stone itself!
It was a sharp but groggy voice, as if the speaker was a young boy only just waking up.
"Who's there! Who's speaking!"
Even Xiao Qi was startled out from his boredom. Head twitching from corner to corner, Xiao Qi scanned the room with his soulsense to detect the owner of the voice, only to find nothing but Bai Yunfei and himself in the room.
"Eh? I'm…you there! What did you do to me!?"
Before Bai Yunfei could even say anything, the stone was again saying something, this time a little more flustered than before.
"Uh…" Bai Yunfei looked stunned. There was now a faint orange light radiating from the stone now, a warm light that was finally starting to resonate with the Soul Sentinel Scarf on his forehead.
"Are you the one talking??"
He looked directly at the stone.
"Of course it's me that's talking, are you deaf?" The stone replied derisively. A 'hologram' of another stone appeared just three inches above the head of the actual stone. With how this stone was flickering as it moved, it looked as though it was 'turning' around to scan the room. "It's you…so I was found by you after all. Good. I wasn't disappointed then."
The hologram flickered yet again, looking as though the stone was nodding its head, to which, Bai Yunfei felt a little strange about. It really did feel like to him that this stone was giving him a 'cursory look-over', but this stone had no eyes, so it was strange how it was 'looking' at him.
As strange as the situation was, Bai Yunfei didn't exactly feel like it was a 'dangerous' situation. Had it been such a 'dangerous' situation, he would've thrown the stone at a moment's notice.
"What…what kind of object are you?"
"I'm not an object, pah. You're the real object here…I'm a spirit, a spirit of the armament, you understand?! How haven't you seen one before? Don't you have Sentinel? How do you not know then?"
The voice of disdain he was hearing from the stone confused Bai Yunfei, but the stone paid no heed to that.
"Hold on!" The stone gasped after a moment's silence, "Sentinel? …Sentinel?! Why can't I sense Sentinel's presence?! What's going on?!"
The hologram of the stone rose a little higher up as it spoke. Soon, it was at eye-level with Bai Yunfei so that it could study the Soul Sentinel Scarf on Bai Yunfei's forehead. At the same time, Bai Yunfei could feel the pulsations from the Soul Sentinel Scarf grow stronger and stronger. The spirit within the stone was 'communicating' with the Soul Sentinel Scarf somehow.
"Nothing…there's nothing! Why! Sentinel's presence is gone!" Came the incredulous response two seconds later. Lowering its head, the stone 'glared' at Bai Yunfei, who could feel the 'anger' radiate from the stone.
"What have you done to Sentinel?! Why can't I feel Sentinel's sentience?!"
Something within Bai Yunfei's mind started to shake with each word spoken by the stone. "I…what have I done?" Bai Yunfei asked, confused. "You recognize the Soul Sentinel Scarf?! It had 'sentience' before? It was like this when I got it. I did sense a 'soul' inside of it, but it never had any sentience before."
"Impossible!! Sentinel was fine the last time I saw him! He was a bit stupid but he could still talk at the very least! How is he like this now?!" The stone pressed on.
"I really don't know…" Bai Yunfei replied, "I said it before, it was like this when I found it. It was also sealed, I had a lot of trouble when unsealing it…"
"Sealed?!" The stone sounded taken aback, "Sealed you say? Is that true?"
"Without a doubt."
"Sealed…a spirit will only become sealed when there's damage done to it. How was Sentinel damaged?" The stone muttered, primarily to himself rather than Bai Yunfei.
It 'turned' back to Bai Yunfei, "Are you Sentinel's master already? You said it was sealed, and that you unsealed it? You'd have to be an Emperor or so…oh. Just what did you do to me earlier! What did you do? And why didn't you ask for permission before messing with my workings?!"
"Ho—hold on a second…" Bai Yunfei waved his left hand as if to reassure the stone's hologram. "You're asking too many questions, at least let me ask first, yes? What are you? The spirit of this Regalia? How does a stone become a Regalia? What can you do?"
"Of course, I'm the spirit of the Core Stone." The stone 'nodded'. "I am the Regalia known as the Core Stone. My name is Xiao Fang; that was the name given to me by master Tianhun."
"Core Stone?" Bai Yunfei repeated, "What can the Core Stone do?"
"You don't know even that?" Xiao Fang gasped, "The Core Stone is the pinnacle of space-type soul armaments. There's thousands and thousands of kilometers of space inside, like a world within a world."
"Kilometers of space?!" Bai Yunfei cried out with bulging eyes, "Is the stone an equipment like a space ring? But with a much greater area of storage?!"
A space-type soul armament with that large of a volume of storage—what kind of item was that?! The normal space ring was no more than just a few meters in storage, with the larger ones being several dozen meters usually. The Violet Soul Ring Bai Yunfei had was only capable of nearly a hundred meters in storage, and that was already considered a tremendous amount. But this Core Stone boasted of a volume almost infinitely larger than that!
"Space ring?" Xiao Fang snorted. "How can an inferior product like that be compared to the Core Stone? It's not just a place of storage. It's a 'world'. The environment of the Core Stone is no different than to the world outside of it, didn't you already come inside before?"
"No different than the world outside of it? I went in before?"
Bai Yunfei blinked.
"You mean…the spatial pocket?! The pocket I went in before was the world inside the Core Stone?!"
"That space was just an artificial construct I made, not the genuine world of the Core Stone. You've not the right to enter, but in any case, it's origins are based on that world. I only created a secondary pocket to that world for people to enter. So in simpler words, what you entered was an artificial layer and extension of that world."
"That's…"Bai Yunfei thought back to the explanation he got from Zheng Kai earlier in regards to spatial pockets. Between that and what Xiao Fang was telling him, Bai Yunfei was completely befuddled. "So you're saying…the spatial pocket was created by you? Everything?"
"Something like that. I created the pocket, but the collapse was a result of your actions. It was only just a weak pocket of space and unable to withstand the energy of a Soul King. With so many people fighting and killing each other inside, there was definitely no way it'd be able to handle anything after that. I had no other choice but to throw you all out."
Bai Yunfei blinked several times again. He hadn't thought that Xiao Fang would be so powerful to create a pocket like that. Still not quite sure of what was going on, he asked, "Then…why did you do that?"
"I…can't tell you that."
"Uh…what?!" The shout Bai Yunfei made then was the loudest one yet; he hadn't expected such a response.
"Why can't you tell me?"
"That's important information I can only tell my master, which you are not."
"Your master?" Bai Yunfei asked, "The Core Stone is in my hand, so doesn't that make it mine? Am I not allowed to be your master?"
"You think just holding onto me would make you my master? What do you think I am, a piece of trash soul armament?! How naive…" Xiao Fang cried out with disdain, "The Core Stone is a Regalia, and I, Xiao Fang, am its spirit. I am the Core Stone, and the Core Stone is me. If I don't agree, then the Core Stone will never accept you as its master and you will never be able to use it."
Bai Yunfei was speechless. He never thought that he'd have to gain consent of the soul armament of all things. Today would mark the third time he had ever any experience with a Regalia, and yet this one experience with the Core Stone was drastically different to his experiences with the Nephrite Throne and the Soul Sentinel Scarf.
The experience he was having with the Core Stone was leaving him dumbfounded, and even just a little bit 'revereful' for it.
"Then…what do I have to do to be recognized?"