Within the Sky Palace Formation, the ten million solarians of the Myriad Solar Sects looked at the changes in the flaming clouds above. The new barrier that sealed off the skies was the Flameyellow Guard Formation, but most people wouldn't know its name until Tianming emerged. They even believed it was a result of Tianming gaining control of the solar core and starting up the astralguard formation together with the sun emperor.
However, that didn't mean they didn't know what the astralguard formation was supposed to look like, so seeing something different did make some of them wonder. When they learned that the barrier was seemingly supported by the sky pillars that had emerged from their respective territories, they were even more surprised. Looking at the flaming veil, they had much to talk about.
Only Tianming knew the truth of the Flameyellow Guard Formation. Since none of the rest were able to come up with any sensible theories, they just accepted the appearance of the formation for what it was. It seemed that the happenings across the entire world were under the sole control of the sun emperor, whereas those who entered the Sky Palace Formation were the losers, Tianming included. After they accepted that fact, they talked less and less about it.
Occasionally, they looked at the solar core, which was the sole moral support that remained to them. All of them shared one belief: all they had to do was to support Tianming with all they had. That mindset of solidarity was thanks to Tianming coming back for them and going against the grain. Though they had lost, they were united and bound together.
"Brother Feng," Yu Ziqian said as he interrupted Lingfeng and Qingyu's cultivation.
"What is it?" Lingfeng opened his eyes and asked.
Yu Ziqian squatted down beside him. "How’d the divine pill I gave you yesterday make you feel?"
"It's alright, better than before. You've improved at using the Divine Worldeater Cauldron, it seems."
"But of course! I can't match you in a fight, but I'm much better than you at pill refining." He chuckled and took out a few bottles from his spatial ring. Giving them an unwilling look, he said, "These are the results of today's work. One of them is as good as a grade-six pill. That means I'm a grade-six alchemy guru now—impressive, right?"
"It sure is." Lingfeng took the bottles. "Thanks, Gan Gangan."
"Sheesh, even someone as good-natured as you is mocking my name.... Hmph!" he snapped, drawing a giggle out of Qingyu. Yu Ziqian's name was indeed quite funny.
"I went through the trouble of refining that for you, you know. Give it a taste. I want to know how I can improve it firsthand," Yu Ziqian said.
"Try it? Sure." Lingfeng was just about to put the pills away before Yu Ziqian’s suggestion. He opened one of the bottles and took out a snow-white pill. It looked incredibly smooth and tempting, like a precious pearl that didn’t have any impurities within.
"This is called the soulsanct heartpill. It's—hey!"
Lingfeng threw the pill into his Primordial Gate before Yu Ziqian could finish explaining. The pill instantly disintegrated. "Not bad. It's a little sweet and it seems to be working. Thanks."
"Is that how you consume pills every time?" Yu Ziqian said, feeling a headache welling up.
"Yeah. I get better efficacy like that. Is there something wrong with it?"
"Not really, just... it's a little weird. And I find it hard to believe you can even taste the sweetness without your mouth. Oral consumption seems more direct." As he spoke, he slightly stuttered and repeated some things. While his expressions were exaggerated, they were stiff and seemed slightly forced. Lingfeng found it a little weird.
"My vita is alright, so it doesn't seem to hurt the soul." He eyed the pill a little longer before popping another into his mouth and swallowing it in one gulp. "It does taste sweet. Is that alright?"
"No problem. Thanks for being such a good brother," Yu Ziqian said, patting his shoulder.
It's the same to me, Lingfeng thought, but didn't feel the need to voice it out. He had always been a quiet one. Initially, he had thought that Yu Ziqian would go back and refine more pills, but he snuck out a red bottle and turned to Qingyu. This time, his expression seemed more serious.
"Sister Qingyu, I don't know too much about what’s happening to you, but I did ask that portable grandpa of mine, so we had a few guesses about the old gods' blood. It turns out to be quite the boon, but the side effects are unavoidable. As it's not necessarily a bad thing to have, I don't really know how to console you.
"However, my grandpa taught me how to refine something called an apex face nourishment pill. I heard it's good for the face and has really gentle effects. It's made using a grade-seven divine herb called the Apex Dew. Even though it's the first time I tried refining it, I think it turned out quite well. Do give it a try. I'm not saying it'll solve all your problems, but it should at least help. And if it works, I can bring you some every day," he said in an earnest, trustworthy manner, which was out of character for him.
"Thanks, Brother Yu," Qingyu said with surprise before accepting the pills. She really didn't have much hope for them, as the curse of the old gods' blood would no doubt be hard to dispel. However, taking the pills would help with her mood, if anything, and that was decent in and of itself.
"Don't mention it. I have a lot to pay back for what your brother’s done to me, you see, and I'm just getting started," Yu Ziqian said, smiling.
"Thank you." Qingyu put the bottle away. Then, she saw a flash and called out to someone behind Yu Ziqian. "Big Brother!"
Tianming was talking to Long Wanying. Hearing Qingyu call out to him, he turned around and smiled at her. He had emerged to tell Long Wanying about what he’d learned in the wooden house so that she could relay it to the Saintdragon Emperor and other core members.
"I’ll be going straight back. Yin Chen will tell you more about the Flameyellow Imperial Star. I believe I can take control of the solar core after some time, ranging from two months to a year. I have to hurry up," Tianming said.
"Got it. Leave the affairs out here to me. I'll tell you what happens out here using Yin Chen," Long Wanying said.
"Alright. The Ninedragon Imperial Tomb is still charging, so we can leave it be."
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"As for my sister, if you have the time, do try to console her for me."
"Don't worry. Aunt Ying knows the human heart well. Leave it to me."
"Great. Then I'll take my leave." Tianming waved to Yu Ziqian, Lingfeng, and Qingyu, but didn't go over to talk to them as time was running out. However, he did notice that the Sky Palace stigma on Yu Ziqian's forehead was gone.