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In the mysterious s.p.a.ce disruption zone.
Unidentified light would streak across the void like falling stars.
A floating bright spot suddenly expanded, and two figures flew out of it one after another.
Nie Tian was the first to fly out of it. The moment he did, he started to feel a terribly strong twisting force.
Affected by such a force, he felt a strange soreness all over, as if someone were trying to rip his flesh and meridians away.
Not just that, he sensed that, just by floating still in the void, he was rapidly losing his spiritual power, flame power, wood power, and star power. Even the vortexes within his spiritual sea started to rotate at a very slow speed.
It seemed that, by doing nothing, Qi warriors would soon lose all of the various powers that they had acc.u.mulated with great effort.
Meanwhile, there didn't seem to be a single shred of the energy of heaven and earth in this place. People would have to replenish their spiritual power with spirit stones and other spiritual materials.
"Go!" An octagonal seal shot out of Zhao Shanling's palm towards the bright spot, which was now rapidly shrinking after the two of them had flown out of it.
The moment the seal flew into it, the bright spot stopped shrinking at the size of a fist.
"Okay, I've cast an immobilizing spell on this spatial point. We'll need to return to the Domain of the Falling Stars through it." Zhao Shanling took a deep breath and added with a grim expression, "Back in the day, I was banished to this place by my master. I found this location and returned to the Domain of the Falling Stars by luck when I was on my last breath."
It appeared that he still felt uneasy now that he recalled his previous experience in this place.
Surprised, Nie Tian asked, "On your last breath?"
Zhao Shanling let out a deep sigh and explained, "s.p.a.ce disruption zones are the strangest and most curious places in this world. There isn't a shred of the energy of heaven and earth that we Qi warriors can use, but once we enter such a place, we'll start to lose our spiritual power at an alarming rate.
"Also, the higher our cultivation base, the faster we'll lose our spiritual power. No one can stop it.
"Back when I was banished to this place, I had a large stock of spirit stones with me. I replenished my spiritual power with spirit stones day and night, but since I consumed it even faster, I ran out of spirit stones shortly afterwards.
"Sometimes, I would come across dangers that I needed to defend against with spiritual power. That accelerated my spiritual power loss.
"Once people run out of their spiritual power and spirit stones in this place, all they can do is wait for death, because they won't be able to protect themselves when the next mortal danger appears."
As Zhao Shanling explained the features of this place to him, Nie Tian examined his own spiritual sea and discovered that, even though he was losing all sorts of spiritual power, his flesh power remained unaffected.
This meant that if powerful outsiders were to come to this place, they would have great advantages over human Qi warriors.
According to Zhao Shanling, the place he was going to suited beings with incomparably tough bodies, and the Bone Blood Demon happened to be this kind of being.
"You'll be able to travel around in the void by using your spiritual power, since there is almost zero gravity in this place." With these words, Zhao Shanling took out a compa.s.s made from a turtle sh.e.l.l and started looking at it closely, as if he was trying to get ahold of his bearings. "I hope this spatial point won't stray too far from this location by the time we come back. Otherwise, it'll be very troublesome to find it again."
Upon hearing these words, Nie Tian looked over at the spatial point through which they had come to this place and noticed that it was indeed moving very slowly.
Even though it had stopped swelling or shrinking, it seemed to be moving away from them on a certain track.
That was when Nie Tian realized why Zhao Shanling had cast that immobilizing spell.
If he didn't, it would be very likely that the spatial point would have floated to a distant and unknown location by the time they came back, and it would be very difficult to locate it again.
Nie Tian also noticed that there were other bright spots like this one in the distance, which were flickering and floating slowly towards unknown locations.
While he pondered this with his eyebrows furrowed, Zhao Shanling suddenly grabbed him by the arm and flew out of the way of a das.h.i.+ng streak of light.
As powerful as Zhao Shanling was, he seemed very apprehensive about the lights that flashed by, as if he knew that they would undoubtedly die if they were touched by any of them.
Over the following days, Nie Tian traveled with Zhao Shanling in the endless void.
Every few hours, Zhao Shanling would stop and tell him to recover with spirit stones so that he didn't drain his spiritual power completely.
Zhao Shanling seemed to know this s.p.a.ce disruption zone like the back of his hand. Apparently, he had spent many years roaming this place.
With him there to lead the way, they didn't encounter any noticeable dangers along their way.
They only came across a few das.h.i.+ng lights, but Zhao Shanling grabbed Nie Tian and flashed sideways to safe locations with his spatial magics every time.
However, Zhao Shanling consumed a significant amount of power on each of those occasions.
It took an increasingly long time for him to recover his strength with all sorts of spiritual materials.
"d.a.m.n this Nine Stars Flower..." he thought to himself.
He needed his power more than ever now that he was in a s.p.a.ce disruption zone. Every step was full of danger. However, the Nine Stars Flower was still absorbing his stardew and liquidized wood power.
As his star power and wood power ran increasingly low, the Nine Stars Flower seemed to be regaining its vital energy, and its stem and leaves started to grow translucent and sparkling.
Whatever little stardew and liquidized wood power that he went to great lengths to form would be taken away by the plant the moment they were generated, as if its needs were endless.
He had a headache every time he thought of the Nine Stars Flower. He even somewhat regretted taking it in the first place. "Even though the green aura in my heart also has an endless desire for flesh power, it at least pays me back with brand new bloodline talents every once in a while. What good is this Nine Stars Flower?"
Not just that, but it even occurred to him that it could be like the Heavenly Demonsbane in Hua Mu's body.
What if it kept draining his power until it eventually possessed him and took control of his body?
However, after he calmed down, a thorough contemplation diminished such a speculation.
Since the powerful experts from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had searched for them wherever they had gone, they must be something helpful for their cultivation.
Time flew as Nie Tian followed Zhao Shanling in the s.p.a.ce disruption zone...
On this day, he suddenly caught sight of a floating corpse.
It was an old Qi warrior that seemed to have died a very long time ago. Dressed in n.o.ble garments, he had loose, gray hair.
"There's a human corpse..." he said in a soft voice.
Zhao Shanling followed his gaze and discovered the corpse as well. After a moment of hesitation, he stopped moving towards his destination and said, "Countless humans and outsiders have come to this place over thousands of years. They either came on purpose or by accident. But most of them died here and became floating corpses like this one.
"Even the dead lose their spiritual power at an alarming rate here. They lose their flesh power faster after they die.
"Even powerful seventh grade outsiders will become valueless bags of bones soon after their deaths."
With these words, he pointed at the floating corpse with one finger.
A streak of white light fell into the floating corpse, instantly turning it into ashes.
Frowning, Nie Tian asked, "Don't you want to check it for valuables?"
"Valuables?" Zhao Shanling laughed. "This one has clearly died after running out of spiritual power. He must have used up all of his spirit stones and valuable materials long ago. Who knows how many years his corpse had been floating around in this place. Even if he had any valuable tools on him, others must have taken them. We wouldn't have found anything useful even if we checked."
With these words, he turned around and moved on, saying, "Let's go. You'll see many more like him. You'll grow used to it. Countless humans, outsiders, and spirit beasts have come to this place, and most of them shared his fate. Very few got to return to their homes alive."
Like he said, Nie Tian came across more floating corpses like that one in the following days as the two of them traveled onwards.
Some belonged to humans, some belonged to outsiders, while others belonged to large spirit beasts.
All of the corpses had lost all of their power as time pa.s.sed. Zhao Shanling didn't show the slightest interest in them, as if he knew that he would get nothing from them.
Days pa.s.sed before the two of them came across another floating corpse.
It was a human female dressed in fine garments. She seemed to be in her thirties, and her face was bereft of any blood.
Zhao Shanling didn't spare her a single glance as he flew past her.
However, the woman's eyelashes flickered right after the two of them flew past her.
A streak of dazzling lightning shot out of the spot between her eyebrows towards Zhao Shanling's back.
"Hmm?!" Zhao Shanling was taken by surprise. However, just as the lightning was about to reach his back, it was stopped by an energy ward.
"Soul realm!" The woman's face turned pale with fright as she hastily backed away from them, drawing a sword as she did. With an anxious voice, she exclaimed, "Senior, this sword is a Premium grade spiritual tool. I hope to trade it for some spirit stones. Would you..."
Before she could finish, Zhao Shanling let out a cold harrumph, and the Death Reign flew out of the back of his neck.
In the blink of an eye, the gray mist swallowed the woman.
"Since you're so good at faking death that you even fooled me, I'll let you die for real," Zhao Shanling said, his face filled with disgust. "I didn't expect that we'd come across people so soon this time. I wonder if this is good luck or bad luck."
He reached out with one hand, and the sword flew out of the Death Reign and into his hand.
Storing it in his ring of holding, he said to Nie Tian, "There are many others who came here by accident. Perhaps only one out of a thousand people like her can find their way back, and that's given they all had high attainments in spatial manipulation magics.
"Those who can't find their way back will only end up dying after using up their power. It can take months, it can take years, but the results are the same.
"If you want to last longer in this place, you'll have to have a large amount of spirit stones on you, and you need to be lucky enough that no dangerous people find you.
"This woman ran out of spirit stones. Even if I didn't kill her, she wouldn't have been able to last longer than two weeks.
"She must have cultivated incantations that can help her hide her aura. Even I didn't detect any aura or fluctuations from her. Unfortunately, her cultivation base was too low. She's only at the Worldly realm. I can't believe that such a puny insect actually dared to try and jump me. She must have had a death wish."
"So do we kill everyone we come across?" Nie Tian asked curiously.
"Killing them means I'll have to consume my power," Zhao Shanling explained. "In here, every shred of power is of great importance. We can't afford to waste power on irrelevant things."
Upon hearing these words, Nie Tian hastily examined the spirit stones and materials in his ring of holding with a wisp of his psychic awareness.
Only after seeing that he still had piles of spirit stones and outsider corpses did he feel somewhat relaxed.