Pitch blackness transformed into an eerie darkness, then into gradual clarity after Wang Baole stepped into the palace. Wang Baole froze. He felt his hair stand. He stood, immobile, as his instincts told him to retreat.
The inside of the third palace was completely different from that of the former two palaces. There was no one inside testing his qualification. The space was also wider.
Those weren't the only things that caused Wang Baole's heart rate to pick up. There was also a huge pool in the palace spanning a thousand feet. It was filled with milky white water that resembled something dairy. It gave off a strange fragrance that tempted one to drink a sip from the pool.
A thin, wispy mist enveloped the space. Waves of spirit energy rippled in the area, enveloping the entire palace, and a strange weight seemed to hang in the air.
The source of this pressure was the milky white pool in the middle of the palace!
Eleven lotus leaves gathered in the pond. There were people sitting atop ten of those leaves, and only the eleventh leaf was empty.
That made ten people in total!
There were men and women amongst the ten people. Through the mist, Wang Baole could see that they were all thin and skeletal, unmoving as they sat there. The aura of death emanated from these ten figures. They were like… corpses!
Their clothes looked similar to the clothes the corpse in the middle of the sea of blood wore. They were likely Vast Expanse Dao Palace elders of similar high ranking. Each one of them emanated power equally strong as well. Wang Baole began to tremble, and the tremors intensified as the corpses' auras continued to affect him.
*What's going on with this palace? It's not simply different from the other two palaces, it also has so many corpses hiding in it!* Wang Baole's teeth chattered with fear. His breathing stopped momentarily, and he could hear his heart beating loudly in his ears. The corpses' auras and the atmosphere were giving him the creeps, making him feel incredibly uncomfortable.
He had half a mind to leave, but his body stuttered to a momentary stop after taking a step back. His eyes narrowed, then widened suddenly.
*There's Spirit Qi in the mist. It's incredibly rich too…* He hadn't noticed that because of how nervous he had felt earlier. Now, he tried to relax part of his body and attempted to absorb a slight bit of the mist surrounding him. His body shuddered.
The mist flowed inside him and spread throughout his body instantly. Comfort and a sense of fullness that he had never experienced before settled inside Wang Baole. He felt eased and nourished.
*This Spirit Qi… is different from the Spirit Qi found in the Federation and the Dao Palace. It seems to be more dynamic and of better quality!* Wang Baole licked his lips. He stared at the pool obscured by the mist and its milky white waters. He had no idea what the water was formed from, but it was obvious that it was some transformational liquid. There was Spirit Qi in the mist that had risen from the water, so the water itself must be extraordinary.
Wang Baole was slightly concerned about the corpses in the pool though. It didn't take him long before he cast his worries aside and walked into the mist. It might seem like a reckless action, but he had exercised full caution while doing so. He didn't step directly into the pool. Instead, he sat down outside, in the mist, and attempted to absorb the Spirit Qi within.
Vast quantities of Spirit Qi entered his body. It began to emit sounds of cracking as an incredibly comfortable feeling spread throughout his body. It felt like being massaged by countless tiny hands, causing his exhaustion to melt away. Even his spirit felt comforted. He almost couldn't stop a moan from escaping his lips. Fortunately, he caught himself in time and reined himself in, preventing himself from making any strange noises.
As his entire body relaxed and continued being nourished, his hair started to grow. His skin, flesh, and blood, as well as his bones, were transformed. He had resembled parched earth after his recent breakthrough to the Nascent Soul realm. Now, it was as if rain had suddenly descended and nourished him. He was completely revitalized!
He could feel his body growing stronger as vitality rushed inside him and nourished his body. His cultivation seemed to grow more powerful as well.
The excitement inside Wang Baole intensified as half an hour passed. His eyes shone brightly when he discovered that his cultivation had increased considerably.
*This must be some legendary, powerful spirit liquid. What a waste leaving it here. The elders' corpses can't absorb it anyway…* Wang Baole blinked. He stood up suddenly and cupped his fists towards the pool before him.
"Your humble disciple has intruded upon your rest rudely today. I was forced to do so and humbly request that the esteemed Patriarchs do not fault my intrusion. The Vast Expanse Dao Palace is currently in an upheaval. I had no choice but to seek a breakthrough here and try to save the Dao Palace from danger with my increased cultivation!"
"I seek your permission to bring the spirit liquid in this pool away with me so that it might help the Vast Expanse Dao Palace. Please give me a sign if you do not permit this." Wang Baole had a serious expression on his face. He cupped his fists again and bowed after speaking, waiting there silently and obediently for a reply.
A dozen or so seconds passed. Wang Baole blinked and lifted his head, the expression on his face serious. He even looked slightly touched as he spoke again.
"The esteemed Patriarchs are indeed righteous and just. I thank you for not objecting to my request!"
He felt incredibly consoled. In his opinion, there was nothing wrong with him absorbing some of the Spirit Qi here. After all, he was an adopted disciple of the Vast Expanse Dao Palace and had Little Missy with him. This was like home to him. Besides, it wasn't as if he hadn't asked first.
*The Patriarchs didn't object to my request. It means they approve of me.* Wang Baole ignored the fact that they were unable to voice their objections and grew increasingly assured of his actions. He lifted his head and puffed his chest outward, then took a few steps forward, all the while continuing to absorb the Spirit Qi in the air. He kept absorbing Spirit Qi while advancing, stopping once in a while to digest the Spirit Qi he had absorbed. Four hours passed. The mist in the air had grown significantly thinner. Nourished by the Spirit Qi he had absorbed, Wang Baole's cultivation continued to grow after its initial stabilization. He was reaching the peak of the early-stage Nascent Soul realm.
He steadily approached the pool as he continued advancing while absorbing Spirit Qi. Finally, he stood before the pool, excitement bright in his eyes. He stared at the water, hesitating for a moment before he muttered a few words of comfort to himself. Then, he formed a series of hand seals and pointed, retrieving a drop of milky liquid from the pool.
The droplet exuded an enticing fragrance, almost tempting Wang Baole to swallow it. He was quite the clean freak though and stopped himself from doing so. The devouring seed inside his body started to churn, causing an explosive suction force to erupt from his body, which traveled down to his finger and began sucking. The droplet of water vanished immediately. It turned into a white mist that entered Wang Baole's finger and flowed through his entire body.
There was an explosion in Wang Baole's head. He shut his eyes. An incredible, unimaginably rich Spirit Qi erupted inside his body, flooding it like a tsunami. His Nascent Soul opened its eyes then. It sucked a breath in and began to absorb the Spirit Qi. A long while later, Wang Baole opened his eyes, which were filled with intense excitement.
*Jackpot!* He licked his lips. He assessed the increase in his level of cultivation and confirmed that the liquid had no adverse effect on his body. Then, without any hesitation, Wang Baole immediately took a step forward and sat on the edge of the pool. He unleashed the full power of his devouring seed.
A deafening rumbling resounded in his head, like a series of explosive thunder. Vast quantities of liquid rose from the pool and transformed into mist. They entered Wang Baole's body through his pores, and he shuddered. His Nascent Soul was working overtime as it absorbed Spirit Qi hungrily. Waves of spirit energy rose and ebbed inside Wang Baole, growing stronger with the passing of time.
Blessed with the sudden and rich nourishment, his cultivation rose and reached the peak of the early-stage Nascent Soul realm!
"I can still go on. Come on!" Wang Baole's breathing quickened as he muttered to himself. He directed the devouring seed towards another round of mad absorption. His Nascent Soul emerged from his body and hovered above his head, forming a series of hand seals and drawing more liquid from the pool, increasing the rate of absorption.
Mist rose and enveloped Wang Baole in a thick blanket of Spirit Qi as he continued absorbing it, spiraling around him and seemingly transforming into an enormous vortex, the center of which sat Wang Baole. He sat, oblivious… as one of the dried corpses on the lotus leaves in the middle of the pool suddenly stirred. Its eyelashes fluttered, and its eyes were on the verge of opening.