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As discontent as Zhou Shang was, since an agreement had been reached, he had to respect the new rule he had just established.
He threw a sideways glance at the Pure Heaven Sect disciple who was one step too late.
After letting out a sigh of frustration, that disciple withdrew his soul awareness from the spot between the eyebrows of that stone statue.
Up to now, a total of three stone statues had gone through changes. Two had been caused by disciples from the Pure Heaven Sect, and one had been caused by a member of the Chu Clan.
While the other five stone statues were still pale-gray, these three stone statues had become translucent like jade, and emanated s.h.i.+mmering light, which gave them peculiar looks.
Seeing that five statues were still unchanged, the members of the five major sects and three major clans exerted all their effort to establish connections to them using their soul awarenesses in attempts to seize the precious opportunities within them.
Nie Tian grew bored after observing for quite a while, and thus unleashed a wisp of soul awareness himself.
It flew into a stone statue that looked like a giant lizard, where it made contact with others’ soul awarenesses from time to time as it roamed about.
However, the contacts between their soul awarenesses were all very brief. That was because everyone exercised restraint, and did their utmost to avoid conflicts and soul battles with one another over the stone statues.
After roaming about inside the stone statue for a while, Nie Tian gradually realized that wisps of soul awarenesses that belonged to Pure Heaven Sect disciples were all gathered in the spot between the statue’s eyebrows.
Meanwhile, all of the Chu Clan members focused their soul awarenesses on the heart region of the statue.
“The Pure Heaven Sect and Chu Clan must have found their respective methods of interacting with the stone statues. The Pure Heaven Sect is focusing on the spots between the statues’ eyebrows, while the Chu Clan is focusing on their hearts. These two places seem to be the key to interact with the stone statues.”
Soon after figuring this out, he discovered that Qia Yunxi, Mu Biqiong, Yin Yanan, and many other chosen ones also saw what was happening.
Gradually, they all focused their soul awarenesses on the stone statues’ hearts and the spots between their eyebrows.
After a moment of pondering, Nie Tian sent his wisp of soul awareness to the spot between the lizard statue’s eyebrows.
He examined that region with rapt attention, and discovered that more than ten wisps of soul awarenesses that belonged to different parties were already gathered there.
Since it was a rather narrow spot, people’s soul awarenesses inevitably convened with one another. Nie Tian sensed Yin Yanan’s aura from one wisp of soul awareness.
He then realized that Yin Yanan had also figured out what was going on, and set her mind on this stone statue.
Meanwhile, nothing happened when his soul awareness touched any of the others’.
But as soon as his wisp of soul awareness made contact with Yin Yanan’s, he instantly felt intoxicated by a wondrous feeling.
He had experienced this feeling before...
Back in that forbidden region, Yin Yanan had sent her soul awareness into his sea of awareness to help him defend against the powerful Phantasm soul’s soul attacks.
Soon, the Phantasm soul had discovered their joint effort, and thus had withdrawn from his sea of awareness, but had intoxicated Nie Tian and Yin Yanan’s awarenesses with l.u.s.t and desire.
Nie Tian had experienced this overwhelming desire towards her back then as their soul awarenesses entangled with each other.
Perhaps because they had a similar experience before, as soon as they experienced this peculiar feeling, a violent shudder ran through Yin Yanan’s body, which was as shapely as a female leopard’s. Her breaths grew heavy, and her expression grew strange.
One of the Beast-controlling Sect disciples who was standing close to her noticed the changes. Looking overjoyed, he asked, “Have you sensed something, junior martial sister?”
He a.s.sumed that Yin Yanan had established a profound connection with that stone statue.
Too embarra.s.sed to tell him the truth, Yin Yanan tore her wisp of soul awareness away from Nie Tian’s with great force, and summoned it back to her sea of awareness.
Separated from each other by a thousand meters, she glared at Nie Tian, fury filling her bright eyes.
She a.s.sumed that Nie Tian had done that intentionally.
However, even though Nie Tian knew that wasn’t the case, he could only smile bitterly facing her furious gaze, since he couldn’t really explain.
At the same time, since Nie Tian didn’t want to fight so many people over the narrow s.p.a.ce between the stone statue’s eyebrows anymore, he also withdrew his wisp of soul awareness from that statue.
Just as he did that, a weak soul echo came from the Flame Dragon Armor, which was still in his ring of holding. “Master, I’m sensing great danger from those stone statues. The residual soul imprints in the deepest parts of my bloodline make me afraid of them. You’d better get out of here as soon as possible, and don’t make any more attempts.”
The soul echo from the Flame Dragon Armor was on and off, but Nie Tian got the message.
After gaining ten drops of Blood Essence from him and gathering a large amount of earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings in the Realm of Withering Flame, the Flame Dragon Armor had entered a new round of bloodline awakening.
However, Nie Tian’s Blood Essence seemed to have awakened certain fragmented memories in the deepest parts of the Flame Dragon Armor’s bloodline, allowing it to see the danger Nie Tian was facing.
Nie Tian’s expression flickered instantly, but just as he was about to ask for more information, he discovered that the Flame Dragon Armor had already cut off its connection with him.
He then realized it must have strained its power to the limit just to warn him.
Also, it wouldn’t have contacted him at such a crucial moment if it hadn’t sensed great danger.
For some reason, now that he had received the Flame Dragon Armor’s warnings, the eight stone statues suddenly looked sinister to him as he ran his eyes over them again.
“The Flame Dragon Armor’s soul was a flame dragon, which is a branch of Ancientspirits. If its residual memories that are buried in the deepest parts of its bloodline made it fear those stone statues, they must be very unusual and powerful!”
With these thoughts, Nie Tian took a deep breath, and then an idea occurred to him.
At this very moment, another disciple of the Pure Heaven Sect established a connection with another stone statue.
Overjoyed, Zhou Shang from the Pure Heaven Sect laughed broadly.
However, Nie Tian felt a subtle fear as he looked over at the stone statue, which gradually started to emanate a l.u.s.ter that was unique to jade.
Face serious, Nie Tian said in a low voice, “Qiao Yunxi… We need to leave now. Tell Zhou Shang that your sect is going to give up their opportunity to derive enlightenment from these stone statues.”
Qiao Yunxi, who was exerting all her effort to derive enlightenment from the stone statues, withdrew her soul awareness and fixed him with a very confused look. “What the h.e.l.l are you talking about? Each of us paid ten thousand spirit jades in order to derive enlightenment from these stone statues. The Pure Heaven Sect and the Chu Clan already have people who successfully interacted with and learned from them. This means these stone statues are going to be very helpful to us.”
Since she intentionally lowered her voice as she talked to Nie Tian, and Zhou Shang, who was still submerged in ecstasy, didn’t pay attention to them, he didn’t notice the content of their conversation.
However, all eight Divine Flame Sect disciples who were gathered closely around them heard everything.
They opened their eyes and fixed Nie Tian with cold gazes.
Even within the Divine Flame Sect, very few people knew about Nie Tian’s ident.i.ty as a Son of the Stars.
All of these eight disciples were rather young, and hadn’t partic.i.p.ated in the exploration of that forbidden region. Therefore, they only knew that Nie Tian was a guest Yue Yanxi had invited from some other domain and nothing else.
Nie Tian’s arrival had cost one disciple of the Divine Flame Sect his opportunity to gain fortune from these stone statues.
That disciple had been very reluctant when Yue Yanxi had ordered him to leave.
What made him so special that the grand elder had been willing to pay twenty thousand spirit jades, and order one of their own to leave, so that he could observe these stone statues?
The eight of them all gazed coldly at Nie Tian, resentment filling their hearts.
Unlike Nie Tian, they would have to repay the ten thousand spirit jades Yue Yanxi had paid for them with considerable amounts of meritorious service.
“You can communicate with senior Yue with your Sound Stone, right?” Nie Tian seemed somewhat anxious.
He knew that it would be hard for him to convince these people from the Divine Flame Sect, so he could only rely on Yue Yanxi’s authority within the Divine Flame Sect.
Qiao Yunxi nodded reluctantly. “Yeah, I can.”
“Good, message Senior Yue that I said that we need to get out of this place as soon as possible,” Nie Tian said with a determined tone.
Even though Qiao Yunxi was very confused, she could only secretly communicate with Yue Yanxi via her Sound Stone, lest he hold her accountable after this. “Grand Elder, Nie Tian said that we need to give up deriving enlightenment from the eight stone statues and leave the Seven-star Blue Sea immediately.”
Standing on the Divine Flame Sect’s ancient stars.h.i.+p that was berthed right outside the Seven-star Blue Sea, Yue Yanxi was the middle of a conversation with Jiang Feng, Guan Fu, and Jian Tong.
With icy expressions, the four of them were condemning Zhou Shang for making up new rules, and the Pure Heaven Sect’s overbearing manners.
Yue Yanxi went blank upon receiving the message from Qiao Yunxi.
He pondered in silence for a few seconds before sending a message back.
Holding the Sound Stone close to her ear, Qiao Yunxi shot a sideways glance at Nie Tian and said, “Grand elder asks why.”
“These stone statues are actually very dangerous,” Nie Tian said with the decisiveness that could sever nails and chop iron. “Unlike what you’re thinking, they won’t present precious opportunities, but instead great danger!”
Astonishment appeared on Qiao Yunxi’s face as she hastily relayed Nie Tian’s words to Yue Yanxi.
Yue Yanxi’s expression flickered drastically as he exclaimed, “Get out of there on your Flame Bird and I’ll meet you halfway!”
Qiao Yunxi shuddered before she called out to Zhou Shang from afar, “Senior Zhou! Our sect has decided to give up on this chance to derive enlightenment from these stone statues, and we’re leaving now.”
Even though Zhou Shang was surprised, he gazed back at her for a second before a hint of mockery appeared at the corner of his mouth and he said, “Sure.”
He a.s.sumed that the Divine Flame Sect had good sense. Since they couldn’t interact with any of the stone statues, while the Pure Heaven Sect and the Chu Clan took turns doing so, they must have realized that miracles wouldn’t happen for them, and thus decided to leave.