Nie Li put Jindan down, then tossed it a spiritual stone. “This is your reward.”
Jindan immediately hugged the spiritual stone and began chewing on it, crunching away. Halfway, it raised its head and looked Nie Li. Inside Jindan’s clear eyes was an innocent intelligence, making the creature seem like a cute little child.
Nie Li looked at Jindan as he smiled helplessly. “I don’t have very many spiritual stones, so you can only eat two a day, at most. Otherwise, I won’t be able to afford you!” Jindan’s food consumption was simply too frightening!
A trace of grief flashed across Jindan’s eyes as it lowered its head to look at the half-eaten spiritual stone in its embrace, unable to bear the thought of eating the remaining part of its only treasure. It stuck out its tongue and licked the stone several times, leaking drool all over the floor.
Nie Li couldn’t help finding Jindan very funny. As time passed, Jindan’s intellect seemed to increase, at least compared to how he was in the past.
Yu Yan, who was next to him, opened her eyes from her cultivating state. When she saw this scene, even she couldn’t help finding it a little funny. She closed her eyes again and continued to concentrate on her cultivation. She’d already touched the profound nature of the Heavenly Fate Realm and began to form her Fate Soul.
However, she was different from other people. The Fate Soul that she formed was shaped like a bunch of faintly coloured golden flames. Although she didn’t know why her Fate Soul was different, she could sense that these golden flames contained a boundless energy.
Previously, when she encountered the foreign soul that tried to devour her, it was this golden flame that burned the enemy soul until there was practically nothing left. She could sense that these golden flames were deeply connected to her identity.
In just one evening, Nie Li had already used almost half of his three hundred spiritual stones.
It was then that he realised that this stock spiritual stones was simply insufficient. He had to find some way to obtain even more spiritual stones!
The next morning
Nie Li and Lu Piao were up so early that even the fog in the courtyard hadn’t dispersed yet. The flowers that lined the path and the artificial mountain were still clothed in dew, appearing very lovely.
Xiao Yu looked at Nie Li and Lu Piao and asked, “Nie Li, Lu Piao, do the two of you want to go to somewhere with me?”
“One of the three major testing grounds of Skysoul Institute: the Saint Soul Grounds!”
Lu Piao couldn’t help asking out of curiosity, “Oh? What kind of place is that?”
“The Saint Soul Grounds is the safest testing ground among the three of the Skysoul Institute; however, its requirements are pretty high. Only those who have a Soul quality of a certain degree are allowed in.” Xiao Yu lightly smiled as he continued, “Wait until we’re there, then you’ll know.”
The Saint Soul Grounds? Nie Li had never been there in his previous life; therefore, he also wondered what the place was like.
“Alright then, let’s go take a look,” said Nie Li as he nodded his head. His interest towards the Saint Soul Grounds had been piqued.
Guided by Xiao Yu, the three of them left the courtyard.
Some distance away from the main entrance of Xiao Yu’s mansion, a few people were eyeing the three of them as they left and held a discussion in soft voices.
“The three of them left together! We’ll go back and report to Young Master Hua Ling. You guys follow them and keep a close eye on them!”
“Yes!” Several people followed after Nie Li’s group.
Nie Li and the other two continued walking the road.
“There seems to be someone following behind us,” Lu Piao said to Nie Li in a soft voice.
Xiao Yu, who was next to him, smiled as he said, “They’re a bunch of clowns. Pay no attention to them. Within the Skysoul Institute, they won’t be able to do anything to us. If we were headed either of the other two testing grounds, perhaps they’d be able to cause some trouble for us. But inside the Saint Soul Grounds, they can just dream of it!”
As the three of them headed towards the Saint Soul Grounds, parties from various factions were already focusing their attentions on their actions.
At the south side of the Skysoul Institute was a valley that was part of a mountain range. The plants and trees that flourished here, reaching sizes that would require several people holding hands to encircle a single trunk. Hundreds of people were gathered in the wide field that served as the entrance of the valley, forming a sea of heads that bobbed back and forth. At the center of this crowd was a huge stone tablet dozens of meters tall that sparkled with a dazzling luster. On the top of this tablet was a line of ancient text that said ‘Saint Soul Board’.
“Over there is the Saint Soul Board. Only students who place within the top two hundred inside the Saint Soul Grounds are listed on the Saint Soul Board.”
The surface of the tablet was densely packed with names. Nie Li swept a quick glance over the list and actually saw some familiar names. That Long Yuyin from the Dragonseal Family was ranked tenth while Jin Yan of the Jin Clan was ranked twenty-third. Hua Ling was also included in the list, ranking sixty-seventh. Xiao Yu’s love rival, Yan Hao ranked one hundred twenty-first. Huang Ying was ranked in the one hundred thirty-seventh spot.
As for Gu Bei, he wasn’t listed at all. However, after considering it for a bit, it also made sense. Gu Bei was concealing his strength and biding for time; therefore, he definitely won’t reveal his strength so casually.
Nie Li knitted his brows as he inquired, “The Saint Soul Board isn’t ranked in terms of strength?”
If it had been based on strength, then the ranking definitely wouldn’t be like this. At least Hua Ling was currently stronger than Long Yuyin and Jin Yan by a little. However, he was also a lot older than Long Yuyin and Jin Yan.
“It’s not ranked in terms of personal strength, but their soul’s ability to communicate with the Heaven and Earth energies. To cultivate Heavenly Energy, one must communicate with both Heaven and Earth, thus obtaining energy from them. Under normal circumstances, those with stronger cultivations would be better at communicating, but that’s not an absolute rule. Some with extraordinary talent can break through their boundaries. Let’s take the top ten for example. Long Yuyin only reached her position a short while long ago.” Xiao Yu explained.
Nie Li skimmed over the board attentively. “A competition in terms of one’s ability to communicate with Heaven and Earth?”
“The Saint Soul Grounds is a mysterious place; it’s a spiritual well with extremely rich Heavenly Energy. Those who cultivate here can strengthen their ability to communicate with Heaven and Earth. However, due to the limited space, each student is only allowed to enter and cultivate for two hours a month. Those who rank within the top two hundred can cultivate for at least six hours; the closer you are to the top, the longer you’ll be allowed to cultivate.”
This Saint Soul Grounds was actually the location of a spiritual well. The effects would indeed be vast if one cultivated inside a spiritual well.
Xiao Yu continued his explanation. “Aside from that, those who are ranked towards the top receive a reward at the end of every year. The reward comes in the form of spiritual stones, elixirs and artifacts. The one who ranks first receives a Grade 5 Artifact, five spiritual stone essences, an Extraordinary growth rate demon spirit of a dragon bloodline, and a rare bottle of Demon Soul’s Essence Elixir! Those who rank among the top 5 receive a Grade 4 Artifact, three spiritual stone essences, an Excellent growth rate demon spirit of a dragon bloodline, and one thousand spiritual stones…”
At Xiao Yu’s words, a trace of light flashed across Nie Li’s eyes. Within the Skysoul Institute, a Grade 5 Artifact was already extremely pricy, worth at least five to six thousand spiritual stones. The effect of a single spiritual stone essence was at least equivalent to five hundred spiritual stones. Not to mention an Extraordinary growth rate demon spirit with a dragon bloodline wasn’t something easily obtainable, even outside the institute. As for the Demon Soul’s Essence, it was also an extremely rare item that could be used to refine the demon spirit.
Lu Piao’s eyes lit up as he enquired, “If we can place in the first seat on this board, then doesn’t mean that we’d be able to obtain those rewards every year?”
“That’s true. However, the top-five reward can only be claimed once by each person. Once you claim the reward, you must withdraw from the Saint Soul Board’s competition.” Xiao Yu continued, “The top five rewards are the hardest to obtain, and are also the most generous. Everyone’s been drooling at it for a long time. There’s still a month left before the cutoff point for this year.”
‘So the top-five reward can only be claimed once…” Inwardly, Lu Piao found it a pity. However, he was already filled with expectations towards the Saint Soul Grounds. Secretly, he guessed at what number he’d be able to obtain; after all, he was a 5-grade Heaven Spiritual Root genius! Lu Piao couldn’t help thinking of himself with a little narcissism.
Nie Li eyed the Saint Soul Board again. Indeed, it could be a shortcut for obtaining more cultivating resources. Although he could obtain spiritual stones through treating others’ illnesses, that method was, without a doubt, very time-consuming. Furthermore, not every client would be as generous as Gu Bei.
Now that the entire Skysoul Institute was aware that he possessed an 8-grade Heaven Spiritual Root, Nie Li no longer cared whether others find out even more about him.
Before a sect declines, there would always be signs. Take the Divine Feathers Sect for example. At that time, the internal fights between factions were already very severe; however, they were still somewhat controllable. There were still many rules in the Skysoul Institute that no one dared to cross.
Therefore, no matter how extraordinary Nie Li’s talent was, he’d still be safe within the Skysoul Institution.
After he thought it over a bit, Nie Li said, “Let’s go in and give it a try!”
If he could obtain a top-five reward, then he’d be able to step into the Heavenly Fate Realm sooner.
Nie Li, Xiao Yu, and Lu Piao followed a zigzag path into the Saint Soul Grounds.
When they saw Nie Li’s group enter the Saint Soul Grounds, the group that had been following them from a distance exchanged glances.
“I never expected them to enter the Saint Soul Grounds!”
“Among the three testing grounds, the Saint Soul Grounds is the safest. They’re probably afraid; that’s why they won’t dare enter the two other testing grounds!”
“At the very most, they’ll only be able to stay in there for two hours, so they’ll be out soon. I doubt they won’t give the other two testing grounds a try!”
Rapidly, the news spread that Nie Li, Xiao Yu, and Lu Piao had entered the Saint Soul Grounds. Everyone was paying attention to the two newcomers’ performances. As for Xiao Yu, they didn’t expect much, since even after so many years, he hadn’t been able to charge into the Saint Soul Board’s listings. Therefore, he probably won’t show many results in this attempt either.
Skysoul Institute, Yan Hao’s courtyard
“Young Master Yan, Xiao Yu has entered the Saint Soul Grounds!”
Yan Hao had been holding a book of records as the corner of his mouth curled into a chilly smile upon receiving his underling’s report. “For five years now, Xiao Yu hasn’t been able to enter the top two hundred of the Saint Soul Board. He probably won’t be able to enter this time either!”
“But…Young Miss Huang Ying seems to have run into the Saint Soul Grounds as well!”
At the words of his underling, Yan Hao’s face instantly turned green and he was no longer in the mood to read his book. He slapped the book on the table, stood up, and said, “We’ll go and take a look at the Saint Soul Grounds!”