Liu Ming's eyes sparkled. He did not retrieve his hands immediately, but instead, looked deep in thought.
When his fingers touched the stele, he had a familiar feeling, as if his blood and his life pulse were synced with it through multiple sacrifices having been made towards it.
Liu Ming was very much surprised. He thought for a moment and started to try instilling some of his power into the stele.
At that moment, the stele trembled and, with a humming sound, the golden sand on its surface suddenly shone with golden rays of light.
Startled, Liu Ming immediately took back his finger and, glancing at the sandglass pattern, he realized that the upper part of the sandglass became empty. Not a single grain of sand was left!
Then the surface of the stele blurred and the weirdest thing happened: the golden sandglass pattern turned itself upside down right in front of his eyes!
Immediately Liu Ming's sight went dark and his head felt heavy. Soon his spiritual sense exited the mysterious universe and reappeared above the altar again.
His face changed. Looking around, he realized that his body was floating high in the air and that the sealed giant foot was apparently ten times smaller than it had been; that giant mouth at the center of the foot pad had disappeared; and the foot itself had shrank into a ten-zhang-long dried stub, no sign of life at all.
Its scales were all withered and sallow. On the surface scattered several long lines of mysterious white powder.
Liu Ming stared at the powder for a moment, and finally realized that they were the remains of the previous white chains.
For some reason, they all turned to ashes.
Liu Ming looked at the altar up and down and found that the spirit patterns that had once been intact on the surface of the altar was now infected by cracks. There was not one good part spared intact of the formation.
Clearly the white chains turned to ashes because the formation was destroyed.
Even so, Liu Ming would not risk walking over. He formed a sign and with a wave, a wind blade darted out.
A sliver of green light flashed, and the wind blade slashed into the giant foot, which was already dried up.
This time Liu Ming was indeed dumbfounded.
The sealed limb of the ancient giant was destroyed just like that!
No one, even the celebrated cultivators in the ancient time, could do it!
Liu Ming stared unbelievably at the black ashes on the altar.
He didn't know that the seal set by the ancient capable cultivators was able to gradually consume the power in the giant fiend's limb. That atlas hand was luckier than this giant foot in that its seal was half broken by some demonic beasts and had lost most of its power. Therefore, when the atlas hand was awakening, it still retained a stunning amount of strength.
But the giant foot, which had always been confined by the intact seal on the altar, had already lost most of its power. So after it had injected its remaining fiendish spirit into the mysterious bubble in Liu Ming's body, it readily collapsed and went extinct.
Sensing no power coming from the sealed giant foot, the white chains also burnt up in flames.
Liu Ming, however, knew nothing of all this. But when he concentrated and pondered over it, soon he was no longer completely clueless.
The look of surprise disappeared from his face. He thoughtfully stared at the half-zhang's tall pile of black ashes and, pausing for a while, he patted on a leather bag tied at his waist and a ball of black smoke charged out of it. With a twirl, it solidified into a head of a man's with green hair.
It was no other than the Villain's Flying Skull!
Liu Ming pointed at the altar and ordered the Flying Skull.
Hearing this, the Flying Skull swiftly turned and charged towards the dried up giant foot without a single moment of hesitation.
Seeing this, Liu Ming felt somewhat relaxed.
If the Flying Skull, a creature most sensitive to fiendish spirits, did not sense any danger, then surely there was nothing to worry about on the altar.
Just when he was having this thought, the Flying Skull halted above the pile of black ashes. It moved its nose and was suddenly seized with ecstasy, plummeting into the black ash and started devouring.
Liu Ming was a bit taken aback. But then he understood.
The Flying Skull fed on fiendish spirits. Although the giant foot had been dusted, possibly it would still do some good to the Flying Skull.
Now Liu Ming's worries were completely gone. Slowly, he glided away and landed upon the altar, looking at the Flying Skull devouring the ashes.
The Flying Skull feasted really fast. After a few breaths' time, a small half of the ashes was gone. After sometime, it spitted out a green cloud and started supping it.
Then sucking in the last morsel of ashes, it raised its head and let out a joyful shrill.
Seeing that it had finished, Liu Ming thought of something else. He reached into his sleeve and took out a small package and flew it to the Villain's Flying Skull.
The Skull opened its mouth and a whiff of green wind rushed across, eroding the package into a sift. "Ding!" Black crystals fell all over the place.
It was no other than the hundreds of fiendish crystals that he had previously won from Gun Zhiyang.
The Skull paused in surprise. Then opening wide its mouth, it sucked in a black crystal into its mouth and started munching happily.
Then it sucked in all the black crystals altogether and flew in zigzag towards Liu Ming.
Liu Ming waved his sleeves.
The Flying Skull exploded into a cloud of black smoke and swiftly flew into his the leather bag at his waist.
Liu Ming gave out a breath and his face lightened up.
The Flying Skull passed a voice to him on its way towards the leather bag, telling him its big plan to have a nice long sleep.
Obviously the black ashes and the fiendish crystal were good for its recovery. Maybe they could even transform it and lift it to the next power level.
Having done this, Liu Ming did not leave right away. He patted another leather bag tied at his waist.
A cloud of purple gas whirled out of the bag and a zhangs' long giant black scorpion appeared on the ground. It let out a low call in joy, crawled towards Liu Ming and rubbed its ugly head against his legs.
"Go guard this area and let no one come near," commanded Liu Ming in a low voice, patting on the head of the giant scorpion, who was already about the height of his thighs.
Hearing this, the scorpion swiftly turned and crawled towards the edge of the altar and laid still on the ground.
Since the giant scorpion had entered the Liquid Stage, it could understand most of his language without using spiritual sense.
This had made it much easier for Liu Ming.
Then, Liu Ming sat cross-legged on the ground. He formed a sign and immediately his body was surrounded by clouds of black mists.
At the same time, he merged into his spiritual sense and started scanning his body.
When he was still in that mysterious universe, a whiff of remaining black air entered from between his eyebrows, though most of it was diminished.
Though he had not felt anything bad yet, he could not stop worrying and had to carefully examine his body when he came out.
Just like other times, the mysterious bubble in his spiritual sea was gone.
And no trace of that whiff of black smoke was found anywhere in his body. His meridians and his Dantian were all as normal.
But the more normal they were, the more worried Liu Ming was.
He sighed, forming another sign, he parted a whiff of his spiritual sense to scan his spiritual sea.
And the moment, Liu Ming was dumbfounded.
In his spiritual sea was not only the whiff of unknown black smoke, but also another unexpected object: a sparkling cuboid.
One half inky black, one half jade-white, and a golden sandglass pattern on the surface: it was the Round Sky Stele that he saw in the mysterious universe!
It should have stay in that space. What is it doing in my spiritual sea?
Liu Ming thought this was crazy.
But Liu Ming being Liu Ming, he soon resumed his calmness and was deep in thought.
That grey space was itself extremely unusual. None of the things inside of it was a real and concrete object. It wouldn't have been entirely crazy if he had taken away something and that it had appeared in his spiritual sea.
But the question now was whether it would be a threat to him if it stayed there.
At this, Liu Ming wielded his will power, and, with a swift move of figure, the giant stele was immediately before his eyes.
Liu Ming carefully inspected it and something surprised him.
If he had remembered correctly, the stele was white-top and black-bottom when it was in that mysterious space. But now it was black-top, white-bottom.
Dis someone turn it upside down?
While Liu Ming was thinking, he willed his will again, and immediately he was behind the stele, where the three purple ancient characters were clear and upright, not upside down.
He willed again and was back at the front of the stele, eyes fixed on the sandglass.
The lower case of the sandglass was now empty and the upper case was full of silver grains of sand.
Liu Ming squinted his eyes and thought back to the sight of the sandglass's empty upper half when in the mysterious space.
Could it be that…
His eyebrows raised, for he had a theory. And his face started changing.
A while later, Liu Ming decided to perform another test on the stele and see what would happen.
He took a deep breath, formed a sign and started sending a bit of his power into his own head, which, at the pull of his spiritual power, was slowly injected into the Round Sky Stele.
As soon as the power touched the stele, it disappeared into it, without any impediment or abnormality.
Liu Ming's spirit lightened up a bit, and he gradually increased the dose of power.