Realm number thirteen wasn’t a vast one.
Any Void domain expert would be able to cover its surface within days without relying on air-transportation spiritual tools.
Saint domain experts would be able to travel through it within a day.
Of course, it would take longer if they were going to search for disciples of the Nether Spirit Society.
A few hours later, a message from Huang Jinnan came through.
Nie Tian, Pei Qiqi, and the late Saint domain expert from the Void Spirit Society received the message through their Sound Stones simultaneously.
The late Saint domain expert from the Void Spirit Society returned and stood beside Pei Qiqi in a split second.
Pei Qiqi rose to her feet. “Let’s go take a look.”
As her fingers scraped across the air, a spatial rift appeared. The three of them entered.
In a secluded mountain valley that seemed like a huge tear in the earth.
Huang Jinnan’s face was very grim. Gold flames of fury seemed to be burning in his eyes as he exclaimed, “Even death cannot atone for the Nether Spirit Society’s crimes!”
A ravine in the mountain valley was filled with dead humans.
After a quick glance, Nie Tian realized that there were tens of thousands of human corpses in the ravine.
The actual number might be even higher, since they didn’t know how deep the ravine was.
Pei Qiqi frowned deeply. “Was this the Nether Spirit Society’s doing?”
Huang Jinnan gnashed his teeth. “Who else could it be? We’ve examined the bodies. They belong to sects from different domains. Those sects got along with each other well a few years ago. I don’t know what happened recently, but it seems to have ignited all of their old grudges.
“In just a few years, the war between those domains took millions of lives, Qi warriors and commoners alike.
“The fact that their bodies have shown up here means that the Nether Spirit Society probably prompted this war in secret. They must have done that so they could harvest the souls of the dead, refine them into soul crystals, and sell them to the Phantasms.
“And since these bodies are still piled here, this means they’re probably colluding with the Bonebrutes as well.”
In an icy voice, Pei Qiqi said, “It’s the Bonebrutes again!”
“Outsiders can’t reproduce as efficiently as humans do, and it takes very long for their bloodlines to upgrade,” Huang Jinnan said. “This contributed to us gradually gaining an upper hand in our interracial wars. We have a much larger population than they do, so those of us who have the potential to become cultivators also account for a great number.
“Once humans set foot on their path of cultivation and are provided with enough cultivation resources, it’ll be easy for them to grow stronger and stronger.
“Even though we also suffer heavy losses in interracial wars, since we have a much larger base, we can easily make up for those we lose.
“The outsiders, however, are naturally disadvantaged in this aspect.
“For races like the Phantasms, which rely on soul crystals to strengthen themselves, the main source of their soul crystals is dead humans.
“Also, soul crystals apply to not only Phantasms, but Demons, Fiends, and many other powerful races as well. They can all use soul crystals to strengthen their souls.
“For this reason, soul crystals are traded among many outsider races.
“Meanwhile, Bonebrutes need corpses to build burial grounds, which can provide their people with death power and help upgrade their bloodlines.
“If there are no mishaps, these dead humans are what the Nether Spirit Society disciples have prepared for the Bonebrutes.”
After Huang Jinnan said these words, both Nie Tian and Pei Qiqi fell silent.
Only after a while did Pei Qiqi ask, “Have you spotted any Nether Spirit Society disciples?”
Huang Jinnan shook his head. “No. I suspect that they must understand that we would send our powerful experts to the Domain of Nether Heaven soon after the deaths of three of our elders. So they must have evacuated to safe places.
“But they probably left in a hurry, so they didn’t have a chance to finish their transaction with the Bonebrutes.”
Zhao Heng, who was at the late Saint domain, flew over. Upon seeing Huang Jinnan, he reported, “I covered the whole realm, but didn’t capture any spiritual or soul auras. However, I found a number of graveyards very much like this one, all of which are filled with dead humans.”
“From the look of it, we’re not going to find any Nether Spirit Society disciples in this realm,” Huang Jinnan said with a cold, frustrated tone.
He had originally planned to slay the Nether Spirit Society disciples himself to vent his anger after finding them.
Huang Jinnan’s Void and Saint domain subordinates returned successively, and they all shook their heads upon seeing him.
They had searched every corner of realm number thirteen, but failed to find a single Nether Spirit Society disciple.
“Burn the bodies, all of them!” Huang Jinnan ordered.
Under his command, experts who were well-versed in flame incantations or held fire-attributed spiritual tools flew off to the graveyards to burn the dead humans to ashes.
They did that to prevent the Nether Spirit Society from recovering them after they left. They didn’t want them to fall into the Bonebrutes’ hands and become their source of power.
“Let’s move on to the next realm,” Pei Qiqi said. “The closest one to us is realm number nine.”
After another spatial rift split open in the sky, everyone streamed into it.
In realm number nine in the Domain of Nether Heaven.
Pei Qiqi’s expression flickered as soon as she flew out of the spatial rift.
The irregularly shaped crystal appeared in her palm. Spatial blades could be seen flashing across every facet.
The crystal suddenly vanished into the void.
Explosions then came from different parts of the realm.
The crystal returned to Pei Qiqi’s palm. With a grim face, she said, “There are a total of three teleportation portals. I destroyed two of them. But the last one...”
“What?” Nie Tian asked.
Pei Qiqi took a deep breath and explained, “It’s guarded by a powerful expert. He’s protecting it with his own domain. I couldn’t get through.”
Zhao Heng then asked, “Can you take us to that teleportation portal?”
Pei Qiqi nodded somewhat hesitantly. “That I can do, but I exposed myself attempting to destroy that teleportation portal. I’m worried that it’ll be heavily guarded. So I suggest that we communicate with Mo Heng, Lu Jiefeng, and Ji Yuanquan first.”
“Yeah, we’d better do that.” The Saint domain Void Spirit Society expert, who had remained silent the whole time, spoke up for the first time. “This realm has seen some fierce battles. A Saint domain expert seems to have died here. If my speculation is correct, it was Elder Xiao Xihe from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace who died here. The aura of his shattered domain is still lingering in this heaven and earth.”
Zhao Heng, who was also at the late Saint domain, spread out his immense soul awareness, and muttered with narrowed eyes, “There’s a frosty aura... Elder Xiao Xihe practiced frost power, just like you do. This realm is now wreathed in bone-piercing frigid Qi. But since it’s not covered in snow and ice, it must be the residual aura of Elder Xiao’s shattered domain that has caused the changes.”
Nie Tian’s expression flickered.
Xiao Xihe had been one of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace’s twelve elders, well-versed in frost power.
His actual strength must have surpassed Zhao Heng’s, and matched that of the expert from the Void Spirit Society, even though the three of them were all at the late Saint domain.
However, such a figure had died here, his domain destroyed...
“Alright, let’s send word to the three leaders, and plan our next move after they get here,” Huang Jinnan said.
“The effective range of our Sound Stones is limited to this realm. So I have to go find them and tell them about our situation.” With these words, Pei Qiqi lifted her hand to create a spatial rift that led to Ji Yuanquan’s current location with Void Travel.
Countless spatial blades flew out and gnawed at the void like a shoal of blood-thirsty fish. However, as soon as a tiny rift appeared in the void, a frosty aura that seemed to carry some sealing spell poured into it.
The spatial blades that were weaving within the rift went out like extinguished fireworks.
The late Saint domain Void Spirit Society expert’s face grew cold as he said, “Heaven Freezing Spell!”
Zhao Heng’s expression also flickered. “Who fused Elder Xiao’s shattered ice domain into this realm’s realm barrier and formed a Heaven Freezing Spell? All the spellcaster needs to do is think about it, and this entire realm will be ‘frozen’. In that situation, no spatial rifts will form in this realm!”
Pei Qiqi stopped casting her incantation, but didn’t seem frustrated at all as she said, “It must be disciples of the Nether Spirit Society who did this. It seems that leaving realm number nine through a spatial rift I create is no longer an option.”
Nie Tian frowned deeply and asked, “Does that mean we’re trapped here?”
“Yeah, you are,” Pei Qiqi said with an expressionless face. “If I want to leave, I still can. The crystal I’ve obtained from the Shatter Battlefield will be able to split the Heaven Freezing Spell and carry me out of here. But since the consumption will be significant, I don’t see the necessity of using it yet.”
Puzzled, Nie Tian asked, “What do you mean?”
A derisive look appeared in Pei Qiqi’s eyes as she explained, “We were able to pass through earlier because the spellcaster wanted us to. Clearly, he’s thinking that he’ll be able to catch us like shooting fish in a barrel this way. I suppose more Nether Spirit Society disciples are heading toward this realm right now under the spellcaster’s command.”
“Okay then,” said the expert from the Void Spirit Society. “Let’s see what game they want to play.”
But after a moment of pondering, he added, “You’ll be able to extricate yourself this realm whenever you want to, right?”
Pei Qiqi nodded. “Yeah.”
Her word put the man’s heart at ease.
Eyes narrowed, she added, “I can leave and return whenever I want. But even if I do come back, I doubt that I can get others through the Heaven Freezing Spell with me. If they want to come into realm number nine, they’ll have to break the Heaven Freezing Spell first.
“However, given their strength, it’ll only take them a bit of time to do that.”
With a bitter expression, Huang Jinnan asked, “So why don’t you get out of here to send word to our three seniors, Miss Pei?”
Pei Qiqi shook her head. “That’s not necessary. Their cultivation bases and experience will allow them to discover the anomaly in realm number nine soon. It won’t be long before they come here, break the Heaven Freezing Spell, and descend upon this land.”
Just as Huang Jinnan was about to say something, she wove her hand and said impatiently, “Alright. Time to spread out and prepare for battle. The Nether Spirit Society disciples will get here soon.”
“Establish defenses and prepare for battle!” Huang Jinnan addressed the crowd.
He and his subordinates then started bustling around to set up spell formations and lines of defense with their various spiritual materials.
After they spread out, Pei Qiqi gave Nie Tian a sideways glance and said, “If we find ourselves in a desperate situation before the Heaven Freezing Spell is broken, you have to stay within a hundred meters from me.”
Dumbfounded, Nie Tian asked, “Why?”
“Within this range, if I activate my bloodline power and that Heaven Nourished grade unique treasure, I’ll be able to take both of us out of this realm,” Pei Qiqi said with a serious face.
The late Saint domain expert from the Void Spirit Society was standing off to the side as she said these words. She didn’t seem to feel the need to avoid him at all.
“Only the two of us?” Nie Tian exclaimed softly.
Pei Qiqi nodded slightly. “To cast that secret magic, I’ll have to mix Void Travel with my bloodline talent. Only you and I will be able to withstand the tearing force generated during space travel. Any regular human would have their spiritual power scattered by the intense spatial fluctuations. Their flesh power is too weak for them to survive the process.”
With these words, she turned to the expert from her sect. “Senior Ling, I won’t be able to take you with me if it comes down to that.”
Ling You nodded slightly to show that he understood.
“It won’t come down to that, will it?” Nie Tian asked with a concerned face.
“I suppose not, but we have to be prepared for the worst,” Pei Qiqi said, looking calm and composed. “I think we’ll be able to hold on till the Heaven Freezing Spell is broken, as long as the sectmaster of the Nether Spirit Society doesn’t come.”
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