On the east of the Realm of Flame Heaven, in the Hell sect.
By the side of a vast lake stood a majestic city which had been made by countless huge, black stones. It was the home of the strongest Qi warrior sect of the Realm of Flame Heaven, the Hell sect.
Next to the mirror-like lake, a large number of Qi warriors were gathered and clamoring.
Each and every one of them wore garments of different colors and came from the seven major sects of the Realm of Flame Heaven, as they waited there for the Heaven Gate to open.
According to the Hell sect, the Heaven Gate would open on the isle in the center of the lake in two hours.
In the area where the Cloudsoaring sect disciples were gathered, Li Fan, Liu Yan, Jiang Lingzhu, and ten other people were standing in a circle, whispering something to each other.
Liu Yan, who had previously been trapped within the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range, had a grim expression on his face as he talked idly with Li Fan. It seemed that he was low in spirits.
Luckily, both his master Wu Xing and his junior martial sister, Luo Xin, had made it back from the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range alive, and he ran into a meteor that carried a Heaven Gate key on his way back to the sect, therefore obtaining the key.
However, none of that cheered him up, since his junior martial brother, Shi Yi, had died a tragic death within the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range.
The person who killed Shi Yi was a Greater Heaven stage Qi warrior from the Ghost sect, who was currently standing not far from him, but he could do nothing.
Li Fan frowned and said, “Didn’t Nie Tian also get a key? How come he’s not here?”
Jiang Lingzhu shook her head and thought for a while before saying, “I don’t know, either. After he was taken away by the Thunder Beast from Black Cloud City, he stayed on the back mountain and hasn’t showed up since.”
“Could it be that martial granduncle... has other arrangements for him?” Li Fan said speculatively. “Maybe he doesn’t want him to take part in the Heaven Gate trial?”
Jiang Lingzhu thought in silence for a moment before saying, “I don’t think so. My cultivation base is the same as his, at the early Lesser Heaven stage, and my father knows just as well that the Heaven Gate trial is full of danger, yet he decided to let me go with you anyways.
“Martial granduncle has such high hopes for Nie Tian and must also know what the Heaven Gate trial will bring him. I highly doubt that he would let him give up on such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
As the Cloudsoaring sect disciples chatted with each other, An Shiyi, who was standing in a small group of Spiritual Treasure sect participants, constantly looked over, her eyes filled with anxiety.
She was also wondering why Nie Tian hadn’t showed up.
The time until the opening of the Heaven Gate got closer and closer, and she was worried that Nie Tian would miss such a good opportunity.
In an place further away, Yu Tong also looked over from time to time from within a group of red-garbed experts from the Blood sect, who were continuously releasing a faint bloody aura.
However, unlike An Shiyi, Yu Tong didn’t have the least bit of concern in her eyes. Instead, her eyes were full of begrudging hatred.
In a different way, she also hoped that Nie Tian would appear.
Off to the other side, Zhao Haifeng, Duan Yuan, and Hu Qingwen, who had previously appeared in Black Cloud City, also had the pattern of the Heaven Gate on the back of their hands. They also constantly turned their heads to check the Cloudsoaring sect group.
It was at this moment when the sound of a spirit beast flying in suddenly echoed out.
When the Thunder Beast, who carried Nie Tian, flew to the territory of the Hell sect, it seemed to be frightened by something and dropped Nie Tian off in a distant place.
As soon as Nie Tian jumped off its back, the Thunder Beast flew away, seemingly unwilling to stay for another moment within the territory of the Hell sect.
When he was flying on the Thunder Beast’s back earlier, Nie Tian saw the enormous city that was as big as a mountain from very far away. “The Hell sect!”
The city was where the Hell sect was located was pitch-black, like a giant piece of dark, cold steel.
When he landed, he narrowed his eyes as he looked at it, and discovered that there were portraits of numerous unknown demons and ghosts carved on the city walls.
Each and every one of them was extremely lifelike. They were either letting out fierce roars, tearing apart flesh to swallow, or killing each other.
By nothing other than seeing the portraits of the demons on the stone wall, Nie Tian already felt repressed, as if the demons and ghosts... would break out of the constraints of those portraits at any moment, killing anything that they saw.
A strange idea suddenly rose in Nie Tian’s mind. “Is it possible that they are actually alive?”
“Nie Tian! This way!” Li Fan waved at him from the lakeside, urging him to hurry over.
He looked over with rapt attention, and found that Li Fan was standing in a group of people, among whom were also Liu Yan and Jiang Lingzhu.
Upon seeing that Liu Yan was safe and sound, a smile immediately blossomed on Nie Tian’s face.
Earlier he was directly taken to the back mountain by the Thunder Beast, and thus hadn’t received any information from the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range.
Soon afterwards, he used the Flame Dragon Armor to travel to that unknown mysterious land, where he learned techniques and cultivated.
When he had returned, since he need to set off right away, Wu Ji didn’t have the time to tell him everything, but rather only imprinted the most important issues on the command medallion and gave him a few things before sending him off.
Therefore, he hadn’t been clear about what happened in the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range after he left and how many people survived till this moment.
Standing beside the lake, Qi warriors from the other six sects all cast their gazes towards Nie Tian, all of which had different emotions. “Nie Tian...”
Upon seeing him, a bone-piercing hatred shot out of Yu Tong’s glittering eyes, as if she was going to eat him alive.
Over at the Ghost sect group, Mo Xi cunningly laughed and said to his fellow sect members in a low voice, “I can’t believe that he’s here too.”
Duan Yuan from the Hell sect let out a cold harrumph. “He’s finally here!”
Over at the Mystic Mist sect group, Zheng Bin seemed to have remembered something as he shook his head and heaved a sigh.
Over at the Spiritual Treasure sect group, a faint gladness appeared in An Shiyi’s beautiful pupils.
Under the curious gazes of the crowd, Nie Tian walked along the stone path and arrived beside Li Fan and the others.
“Uncle Liu, it’s good to see you again,” Nie Tian said.
Liu Yan nodded and forced a smile as he said, “It’s good that you made it out of there too.”
“What is it? Something’s wrong?” Nie Tian inquired, seeing the strange expression on Liu Yan’s face.
“Oh, nothing.” Liu Yan didn’t explain. Instead, he said, “It’s something that happened in the Scarlet Flame Mountain Range. Anyways... we’re going to step through the Heaven Gate soon. Let me introduce you to the fellow sect members who are also going to participate in the trial…”
With these words, he introduced every Cloudsoaring sect disciple who was also going to enter the Heaven Gate to Nie Tian.
“Little martial uncle...”
“Greetings, little martial uncle...”
Most of these people were a lot older than him, with their cultivation bases being either in the Heaven or Greater Heaven stage. In the past, if they had visited the Nie clan in Black Cloud City, Nie Donghai and Nie Beichuan would have to personally receive them at the clan gate.
However, times change. Willing or not, when Liu Yan introduced Nie Tian to them, they could only politely greet him.
After all, Nie Tian was Wu Ji’s disciple.
After finishing introducing the participants from the Cloudsoaring sect, Liu Yan pointed towards the participants from the other six sects and started introducing them to him in a low voice.
Nie Tian only recognized a few of those people, while most were new to him.
He listened attentively, and memorized every single one of them in his heart. He knew very well that, once he stepped into the Heaven Gate, most of those people...would become his enemies.
Moreover, this trial was totally different from the Green Illusion dimension trial. In there, given they were strong enough, his opponents were allowed by rule to kill him anytime, anywhere.
On his way over, he had already read from the notes that Wu Ji had left in the command medallion that once he stepped through the Heaven Gate, he would be faced with battles, the cruelty of which might go beyond his imagination.
As Liu Yan gave the introductions, he carefully observed every single one who had come from the seven sects.
However, he noticed that other than the participants from the seven sects of the Realm of Flame Heaven, there were also a group of people who stood alone, away from all other groups.
They had a lazy attitude as they chattered with each other and laughed. At the same time, they kept pointing at participants from the seven sects in a manner that was very impudent.
Liu Yan didn’t introduce them.
Curious, Nie Tian asked, “Uncle Liu, are they also going to enter the Heaven Gate?”
Liu Yan nodded with a grim expression. He slightly lowered his voice and said, “Yes, they’re not from the Realm of Flame Heaven. They’re from the other realms. You see, every time, three Heaven Gates appear in three different realms of the Domain of the Falling Stars.
“However, there are nine realms in the Domain of the Falling Stars, which means six of them won’t have Heaven Gates appear in them.
“Therefore, normally, experts from those six realms will spare no means to send their most talented individuals or those who have the most powerful backgrounds to the realms where Heaven Gates do appear.
“I also don’t know where those people came from, but they all came over via the Hell sect.
“They could be from the same realm, or many different realms. I don’t recognize any of them, so I didn’t introduce them to you.”
“Oh, I see,” said Nie Tian. “But how did they obtain the Heaven Gate keys?”
“Meteors that fell to the Realm of Flame Heaven covered the entire realm.” Liu Yan explained, “Some of them landed in the territories of the seven major sects while others landed in some far, uninhabited corners. When they heard about the meteor rain hitting our realm, they traveled here via inter-spacial teleportation portals, and spread out to collect Heaven Gate keys from those remote meteors.” Suddenly, Liu Yan stopped talking and his expression turned grim.
“Something’s wrong?” Nie Tian inquired.
Hatred could be seen from Li Fan’s face as he interrupted, “None of them were from the Realm of Flame Heaven, so when they fought for the Heaven Gate keys on those meteors, their means were extremely brutal and savage.
“Every one of them has their hands covered in blood. At least a hundred cultivators from our realm were butchered by them.
“Most of the dead were cultivators from the subordinate clans of the seven major sects, and they all died miserable deaths.
“Some of them were from subordinate clans of the Cloudsoaring sect.” Li Fan explained their bloody doings.
A cold look appeared in Nie Tian’s eyes. “I see."Previous Chapter Next Chapter