A myriad of emotions flickered across Little Missy's face as she carried an unconscious Wang Baole away with her. There was loss and bewilderment, anger as she clenched her jaw, and hesitation and doubt. They were all the result of having seen the illusory starlight in Daoist You Ran's corpse.
Ordinary cultivators wouldn't have been able to see such starlight. This unique spell was only visible to special spiritual forms!
"Star-Seeding Dao… a legacy that the Vast Expanse Dao Palace inherited from a mysterious place. My father called it the sect's most powerful Dao after reading up on it!" Little Missy murmured to herself. She was no stranger to the Star-Seeding Dao. She hadn't been qualified to learn it, but she was aware of how powerful it was.
It could be viewed as a mystic art of cloning or, alternatively, that of enslavement. However, its true essence was neither. Its principles defied normal logic. One must know that despite the numerous stars in the universe, there were different types of stars, be it a planet or an eternal star.
However, the Star-Seeding Dao didn't differentiate between planets and eternal stars. The stars were instead divided into three tiers and three corresponding realms.
The Star realm, the Moon realm, and the Sun realm!
At the Star realm, the cultivator was required to fall into a deep slumber. Depending on the level of his cultivation, he would be able to give out numerous Star Seeds that would then fuse themselves with the living creatures of the universe. These creatures would then be able to practice cultivation until the time came when the cultivator harvested all the Star Seeds with a single thought.
The harvest wasn't merely for the Star Seeds but for all cultivation and vitality housed inside the Star Seed hosts. Then, by applying another mystic technique, the harvested gains would be augmented multiple times. The cultivator would break through the Star realm and enter the Moon realm!
This somewhat resembled what the State Preceptor had done when he had refined the giant python puppet, whose will had eventually been usurped by the donkey. However, it was much more powerful than what the State Preceptor had done.
As for living hosts for the Star Seeds, cultivators were considered inferior candidates. Hosts that fully unleashed the mystic art's power were entire stars. A Star Seed implanted in a star would allow all living creatures on the star to play host to the Star Seed!
As long as enough stars were harvested, one could attain powers that vastly surpassed that of a typical Star realm cultivator upon reaching the Moon realm. Of course, the most fearsome and powerful would be a cultivator at the Sun realm. One would be able to plant seeds in an entire patch of universe, harvest said region, and gain unimaginable power!
Little Missy had no recollection of anyone who had ever attained the Sun realm, though. There had only ever been one person who had attained the Moon realm in the entire Vast Expanse Dao Palace. She remembered clearly that her father had sighed after browsing the contents of the mystic art and said that this mystic art wasn't from this universe. He hadn't said anything more after that.
What she remembered about the Star-Seeding Dao made one thing very clear to Little Missy, and it was that… Daoist You Ran was but a mere Star Seed host. That meant… there was someone else in the ancient sword who was the true mastermind behind everything that had happened.
You Ran was but one of his dancing puppets!
This was a surprising revelation but not a shocking one. The part that made her clench her teeth and feel lost was related to the uniqueness of the Star-Seeding Dao. It was a legacy that had to be inherited. Such an inheritance… required someone with cultivation at the Star realm being willing to use his own soul to form a seed!
Basically, a Star realm cultivator had to surrender his own soul to create the original seed for the next partitioner of the Star-Seeding Dao. The first person from the Vast Expanse Dao Palace who had inherited this legacy from a mysterious place had acquired such a seed, which had been in slumber for an unknown number of years.
He had been the pioneer who had acquired the Star-Seeding Dao. The legacy had then been passed down from generation to generation in the Vast Expanse Dao Palace, and there had been only one cultivator every generation.
*The last cultivator of the Star-Seeding Dao was Lord Zhou… Could it be him? It can't be anyone from the Never-Ending Clan. Such a mystic art requires the predecessor's complete consent for the inheritance to be valid. Even a powerful cultivator at the Star realm wouldn't be able to influence the inheritance!* Little Missy fell silent. She was more confused than ever. She had fallen into a deep slumber after being injured severely and entering the mask. She had no inkling of what had happened after that.
The mask had been shattered, and she had become incomplete, losing many of her memories. She had found the enormous corpse on the moon familiar but had no recollection of him.
Of the memories she currently had, those regarding Lord Zhou showed a mild-mannered, dignified man with unbending righteousness. She didn't believe that such a person could be capable of these deeds—especially those that had taken place in the Death Dao Battleship.
The familiar heads hanging on the ends of the tentacles, the devouring of Dao Palace cultivators, and the plan to sacrifice the entire Federation—these couldn't be the actions or desires of the man in her memories!
Little Missy fell into a confused silence. Wang Baole rested in her arms as she continued racing through the skies. They finally found the Immortal Platform. She struggled to activate the Immortal Platform, sending Wang Baole away. Her blurry form finally dissipated, sending her and her confused heart back into a deep slumber.
While that was happening, in the damaged Death Dao Battleship, under the collapsed cavern of the third level… a fourth level was revealed!
Even Wang Baole hadn't managed to discover this level. It remained unaffected as the world outside shook and collapsed.
It was a completely different place compared to the other worlds, which had been dark and filled with corpses. Birdsong and floral fragrance filled the air, the skies were blue, and oceans covered the surface of this world. In the middle of the vast ocean, there was an island. On the island, there was a mountain. And, atop the mountain, floated a soft, glowing light.
Within the light sat a person, indistinct and fading in and out of view. It appeared to be a woman. Her long hair flowed to her shoulders. She was likely an incredible beauty.
If someone of incredible cultivation, who had the ability to see past all disguises and discern one's essence, were present now, they would be able to tell instantly, that this woman… was not of the Never-Ending Clan. Her incredible beauty wasn't merely a superficial piece of clothing!
If Little Missy was there, she would have been shocked to see this woman. That was because she was no stranger to her at all!
She had been one of Little Missy's friends in the past, a cultivator from the Vast Expanse Dao Palace!
The woman sitting in the glowing light had appeared to be asleep before Daoist You Ran had died. Her eyelashes fluttered then, and she opened her eyes, revealing the starlight held within!
*He has died… That's not surprising though, considering that his opponent is the Saint's chosen one.* The woman smiled. She felt a loss at Daoist You Ran's death, but she wasn't particularly upset. He wasn't the only Star Seed host she had in her possession. The Never-Ending Clan member who had discovered Wang Baole collecting fragments of the mask in the Sea of Fire on the sword handle had been another one of her Star Seed hosts as well.
She hadn't interfered with their affairs much. She had only observed silently through their eyes, allowing the Star Seed hosts to act according to their desires and will. They themselves had no idea that someone had planted a Star Seed inside them or that their deaths could be determined with a single thought.
*Since You Ran has carried out his plan to this point, he should be allowed to complete it. That should make a rather good game.* The woman smiled after some thought. She lifted a finger on her right hand. In the distance, waves rolled and the sea parted. Up rose a body!
It was the body of a Never-Ending Clan member that exuded Soul Conduit realm cultivation. Something drew the body over, before the woman. She pointed again. Daoist You Ran's memories materialized as a soft glowing light, which entered the body through its head. Then, she did something else, causing flesh and skin to begin to shift as clothes materialized on the Never-Ending Clan cultivator!
It wasn't conventional clothing, but… the body of a Dao Palace cultivator!
It was the exact image of Daoist You Ran as he had appeared in the Dao Palace!
After accomplishing all that, the woman waved her hand. The newly born Daoist You Ran vanished and reappeared on the second level. He shuddered, then opened his eyes and immediately climbed to his feet. Fury lit up his eyes as he howled.
He had no memory of being killed. He only remembered discovering Wang Baole draining the battle robes and rushing over to stop him. Before he had been able to do anything, Wang Baole had blown up his Thearch Armor and sent the entire cavern crashing down on them. The first and second levels of this world had caved in.
He had abandoned the idea of chasing after Wang Baole then decisively. Instead, he had begun salvaging the situation while carrying out his own plans!
He suspected nothing. The woman had allowed the newly reborn Daoist You Ran to inherit his control over the enslaved Mie Liezi and the other cultivators.
He had no idea that on the distant fourth level, there was a pair of eyes watching him secretly.
"Everything in this world, including the stars… has their destined path. Observing as their fates unfold, and instead of interfering directly, transforming into an omniscient power that nudges them in the right direction, that… is the Star-Seeding Dao! Perhaps we should call this… the Heaven-Seeding Dao! The past generations of cultivators have gotten it all wrong!" The woman enveloped in the glowing sphere on the fourth level murmured. Her eyes devoid of emotion, she turned and gazed in another direction.
Her gaze seemed to see right through the battleship, past the ancient sword, and past space, landing on the distant… moon!
"That is why… my dear husband, I don't regret what I've done. I'm clearly the more suitable of us both… Your master made the wrong choice. You lost the green lotus. What then gave you the right to inherit this mystic technique… In which case, even if I did steal the legacy left to you by your master through deception and caused your death, why did you continue to hold on to this grudge even after you died and turned into the living dead?"