Wang Baole scratched his head, then looked around. Despite how hard he had pleaded, there was still no reply from his senior brother, who clearly enjoyed spying on him. He couldn't help but wonder if the senior brother he had the fortune to stumble upon had left…
*No way. Is he really gone?* Wang Baole blinked. He tried shouting for his senior brother a few more times and received no reply. He sighed. His senior brother was likely gone. Even if he was still around, it wasn't likely that he was going to make an appearance before Wang Baole.
"So be it. I, Wang Baole, have always relied on my own abilities. It must be my fate. I'm not destined to take shortcuts and rely on others," Wang Baole muttered and tried to console himself. He ignored the soft snort that Little Missy made when she heard that.
Wang Baole had reached a point where he could now ignore the scornful words that Little Missy said that he felt were clearly spoken out of envy. Besides, he was an optimist by nature. He might have sighed at his current predicament, but he moved on quickly, growing excited after assessing his current level of cultivation.
*The Nascent Soul realm!* Wang Baole's heart burned, and excitement colored his eyes. He realized how much more powerful he was now compared to when he had been at the Core Formation realm. The difference was unimaginable. This only intensified the excitement he was feeling.
*I should learn my lesson, though, and not be too full of myself. I should only declare my choice after hearing everything the other party has to say.* Wang Baole recalled everything that had happened in the Dao Disciple's Palace, then concluded seriously. He didn't start thinking about how to get into the third palace. Instead, he sat down, crossed his legs, and began to stabilize his cultivation.
The devouring seed, the green lotus, and the scabbard had all returned to his body. There was now a tiny person on the green lotus though. A translucent, tiny person, with starlight emanating from its tiny body. He was built… like a tiny fat person. He looked exactly like Wang Baole and was sitting on the green lotus with a serious look on his face.
His scabbard had shrunk considerably. It circled his Nascent Soul, emanating a fearsome aura. His devouring seed radiated a similar light. It was rotating in time with his breathing.
It was as if he was the center of everything. All living things were but an audience to his majesty!
His heart raced wildly. It was as if he had just been crowned as ruler of all living things. As his cultivation stabilized, he began to organize and go through the information on the Stellar Nascent Soul that had flooded his brain.
A long time passed before Wang Baole finally opened his eyes. The excitement in his eyes didn't fade with the gradual stabilization of his cultivation. Instead, it intensified. He had gained new knowledge as he went through the volumes of information in his head, and his heart raced at the new discoveries.
*Is the Stellar Nascent Soul… really that powerful?* Wang Baole's breathing quickened. He was still in a state of disbelief, despite having repeatedly gone through the information in his head. The Stellar Nascent Soul had been labeled as a forbidden art not simply because of how difficult it was to master, but also because of how powerful it was!
The Stellar Nascent Soul was born from a collision with a planet. As a result, it possessed a certain quality that other Nascent Souls lacked. It might be more accurate to call it an intrinsic property.
Because of this intrinsic property… the closer in proximity a cultivator was to a planet, the more powerful he would become. His strength was influenced by the planets. In fact, one might argue that the owner of a Stellar Nascent Soul could absorb the incredible powers of a planet… In conclusion, a cultivator with a Stellar Nascent Soul was a terrifying opponent in battle as long as there was a planet in the vicinity.
In fact… the boost in power increased with the size and uniqueness of the planet. Based on the information that Wang Baole had received… there was no limit to how much one's power could be augmented. The only limiting factor was the size of a planet, as there was a limit to how big a planet could get!
Theoretically speaking, if there existed an infinitely big and indestructible planet, Wang Baole would be near invincible as long as he stayed within its vicinity.
This was the power granted by one of the five legendary Nascent Souls, the forbidden art… the Stellar Nascent Soul!
*Incredible!* Wang Baole's heart raced wildly, and his breathing grew uneven. He almost couldn't believe his luck. It took him some time to come to terms with how powerful he had suddenly become. He lifted his face skyward and burst out laughing, his spirits soaring. The hardships he had suffered were all worth it.
"The heavens are indeed fair. The world might be filled with people who have gained plenty without working hard for it, or who have landed themselves in accidental fortunes out of sheer luck, but… the fates would never deny a man the reward he had toiled and sweated hard for!"
Little Missy noticed the smug look on Wang Baole's face and heard words that rendered her speechless. A sense of exasperation and powerlessness fell over her. She sighed.
"As long as you're happy…"
Wang Baole ignored Little Missy's sarcastic comments and got to his feet. He puffed his chest out and placed his hands behind his back. Brimming with pride and arrogance, he glanced sideways at the last sealed palace. The look in his eyes turned sharp. The aura of a powerful cultivator erupted from his person moments later, rumbling.
It was an aura that surpassed that of a Core Formation realm cultivator. It belonged to a cultivator at the Nascent Soul realm. A storm howled around him, and starlight sparkled, fading in and out inside the storm. The strength of this howling spirit energy grew as Wang Baole unleashed his full cultivation. His Spirit Qi intensified and finally materialized as an illusory shadow of Wang Baole's Nascent Soul.
The appearance of this mere illusion sent the heavens and earth quaking. Fierce winds started howling as the storm around Wang Baole gained strength. An intense light flashed in Wang Baole's eyes. He yelled, then charged forward with a sudden burst of speed.
He broke the sound barrier instantly, forming afterimages of his person in his wake as he headed straight for the third palace. Upon approaching, he roared and sent his fist flying while unleashing the Divine Armament arm.
A deafening thunder rippled through the air. Then… following it, a cry of pain. Wang Baole was flung backwards, his body curled outwards as he flew through the air and crashed into the ground. The land shook upon impact, a crater forming from his crash.
Silence descended. Wang Baole took a while before he finally crawled out of the crater. He looked in a sorry state. He stared miserably at the third palace, which was unaffected by his earlier blow. He rotated his aching wrists and sighed.
*I was too full of myself…*
Wang Baole rubbed his wrists and stared at the third palace resentfully. It would be a great loss if he simply left. His gains from the last two palaces had been too attractive. The prize to be won from entering the third palace was likely as or more attractive.
*How do I get myself inside… I'm not qualified enough…* A considering look appeared in Wang Baole's eyes. He had been able to enter the first palace because he had been qualified, while he had managed to get into the second palace by making use of the bones of Li Wuchen's previous incarnation.
*So, even a Dao Disciple isn't qualified to enter the palace. Only someone whose rank is higher than a Dao Disciple's can meet the requirements for entry?* Wang Baole thought. Based on his understanding of the Vast Expanse Dao Palace, only an elder was higher in rank than a Dao Disciple. But it was obvious that possessing an ordinary elder's rank wasn't going to get him through the doors. What he needed was a Grand Elder or even a Grand Supreme Elder, that would be perfect.
*Where am I to find such things?* Wang Baole sighed, exasperated. He had half a mind to give up. Then, something flickered in his eyes, and they started to shine fiercely. The gears in his head began spinning furiously as countless images flooded his brain. The last image that lingered was that of a gigantic corpse lying in a sea of blood, emanating incredible power, invulnerable even to the spatial tears around it!
That was what Wang Baole had seen the first time he had used the Immortal Platform, the sight that had sent him reeling back with shock. He suspected then that the corpse must have belonged to someone really important.
Wang Baole's heart stuttered at the thought of the corpse. He soon came to a decision.
*I'll find the corpse and retrieve a bit of its flesh. It'd be better if I could get its blood as well. The aura emanating from that might be able to help me unlock the third palace!* At that thought, Wang Baole turned around and immediately rushed off in search of the Immortal Platform!
The Vast Expanse Dao Palace on the ancient sword was vast, and numerous Immortal Platforms could be found in the region. Some might have been destroyed when the heavens and earth had collapsed, but many more still existed in the sword tip. Wang Baole soon located one after a brief search. After some shameless pleading from Wang Baole, a resigned Little Missy taught him how to operate the Immortal Platform. It didn't take long before the Immortal Platform began to tremble. Smoke rose to the skies as Wang Baole melded with the smoke and rose to the heavens!
He remembered vaguely where the corpse had been found. Now that he could operate the Immortal Platform with greater control, it didn't take him very long—only half a day—before the smoke that he was traveling in arrived at… a sea of blood!
Blood Qi rose from the sea of blood below him, red lightning bolts streaked the skies as thunder roared, and a gigantic corpse floated in the middle of the sea of blood, awe-inspiring and imposing like a god.
It might be dead, but its powerful aura still remained. It was powerful and far-reaching, casting an oppressive weight over the spatial tears and distortions around it!