Dong Li’s location wasn’t very far from the Astarte Clan’s headquarters.
Thanks to the Star Boat’s exceptional speed, it took Nie Tian only five hours to get there.
It was a vast, dark, overgrown forest where countless demonic insects and low-tier Demons devoured each other nonstop.
Seen from afar, the forest looked as if it was enveloped in complete darkness, and wouldn’t see a shred of light year-round.
As Nie Tian unleashed his bloodline power, he sensed nothing but countless puny insects and hordes of low-tier Demons in his surroundings.
Apparently, Dong Li and her black tortoise had already gone deep into the forest.
Instead of them, Nie Tian found Wu Yun, who was at the late Void domain, waiting outside the forest.
She bowed respectfully upon seeing Nie Tian, and said, “Lord Nie, Miss Dong went into the forest. That tortoise of hers showed her to this place.”
Scattered around Wu Yun were the corpses of about a dozen high-tier Demons. Judging from the way they were dressed, they seemed to be members of the Astarte Clan.
“We found these Demons when we got here, and I killed them,” Wu Yun explained. “They were members of the Astarte Clan, whose job was to keep other Demons from entering this forest. Apparently, this place is a forbidden area controlled by the Astarte clan, and that tenth grade grand monarch had been born in this very forest.”
Taken aback, Nie Tian asked, “How do you know all that?”
Wu Yun pointed at the dead high-tier Demons that were lying at odd angles on the ground. “I stripped their memories. These Demons were only at the fifth or sixth grade. It wasn’t hard to extract memories from their souls.”
Nie Tian seemed impressed. “I see. So that grand monarch was actually born in this forest?”
Wu Yun nodded. “According to the memories of these Demons, yeah. Apparently, that Demon grand monarch, who died millions of years ago, had been nothing but a low-tier Demon in this forest at the very beginning. He had dwelt in the depths of the forest and upgraded his bloodline by devouring his own kind.
“After his bloodline had risen to a high grade, he gained remarkable intelligence, and became the overlord of the forest.
“After that, he had left the forest to roam the Sixth Demon Realm, and had soon become the master of the entire realm. Then, he had left the Sixth Demon Realm and taken his descendants to higher Demon realms.
“After he had left, the Astarte Clan gradually rose to power and gained control of this area.
“It’s said that members of the Astarte Clan carry bloodlines that partially originate from his bloodline.
“Every member of the Astarte Clan would be arranged to battle against low-tier Demons in this forest when they’re young, so that they can temper themselves.
“Many of them would be able to benefit from such experiences, and upgrade their bloodline. According to them, this forest was the very place where that Demon grand monarch derived his enlightenment regarding the profound truths of dark power.
“Therefore, the Demons now call this forest the ‘Dark Forest’ and view it as the most mysterious place in the Sixth Demon Realm.”
“So why didn’t you go in there?” Nie Tian asked curiously.
Wu Yun smiled bitterly. “I tried, but even my domain couldn’t fend off the dark power in the forest for long. However, Miss Dong and that black tortoise of hers didn’t seem to be affected at all. They even found the environment very agreeable.”
Nie Tian quickly realized the reason behind this.
Both Dong Li and her black tortoise strengthened themselves with dark power.
Therefore, even though people like Wu Yun, who didn’t know anything about dark power, would find this forest inaccessible, it didn’t affect her or her black tortoise in the slightest.
Rubbing his chin, Nie Tian pondered briefly before taking out his Sound Stone.
Through it, he received another message from Dong Li that told him to come find her in the forest.
Nie Tian turned to Wu Yun and said, “Why don’t you stay here and keep an eye out? Let me know if there’s a problem.”
Just as he was about to steer his Star Boat into Dark Forest, Wu Yun reminded him, “But Lord Nie, you... you don’t practice dark power.”
“Well, let’s see.” Nie Tian smiled and flew into the forest on his Star Boat.
“Be careful, Lord Nie!” Wu Yun called out as Nie Tian disappeared into the darkness.
Nie Tian waved his hand, signalling her to leave.
Perhaps it was because Nie Tian didn’t have a domain to use, but he didn’t feel much discomfort while traveling in the forest.
Neither Demon qi nor dark power infiltrated his body.
It was just that the Star Boat’s star power ward continued to grow dimmer in Dark Forest, as if it was being worn down by some unknown force.
After traveling for awhile in darkness, Nie Tian suddenly lost contact with Dong Li.
No matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t get in touch with her through his Sound Stone anymore.
However, that was when Nie Tian found a sense of familiarity in the forest.
The environment he was in reminded him of the black tortoise’s bloodline talent ‘Evernight’, which it had activated a few times on the floating continent.
Now, he had also lost his soul perception, vision, and hearing.
He could only rely on his bloodline power to scan his surroundings, and found demonic insects and low-tier Demons that practiced dark power killing and devouring each other in complete darkness.
Even though he had lost contact with Dong Li, his bloodline power somehow allowed him to vaguely detect the black tortoise’s location.
Many years ago, it was his Blood Essence that had stimulated the black tortoise’s life force and allowed it to hatch.
For this reason, the black tortoise still carried his residual flesh aura, which was vaguely detectable.
He flew deeper into the forest, tracking the flesh aura.
As the dark power grew even richer and richer, he suddenly lost his flesh aura connection to the black tortoise, rendering him unable to locate Dong Li or the black tortoise anymore.
Besides that, he found that the increasingly intense dark power had started to infiltrate his exceptionally tough body, giving him a sense of danger.
Therefore, he decided not to go any further. Instead, he slowly backed out from the depths of the forest. Just as he was about to leave the forest, something occurred to him. He took out the ring of holding Pei Qiqi had given him, and started channeling flesh power from the spirit beast corpses it held. Days passed...
He finished absorbing and refining the flesh power of all of the spirit beast corpses in the ring of holding.
Then, he was thrilled to discover that his bloodline aura had finally settled down, with its endless desire for flesh power completely gone.
“At long last... I’ve finally satisfied its need for flesh power!”
The fact that his bloodline aura had entered dormancy meant that it had started preparing for its advance to the eighth grade, and awakening of brand new bloodline talents.
The process might take months or years. He didn’t know for sure.
However, now that his bloodline aura had finally fallen dormant, he could use the flesh power he would gain to refine his body with Heavenly Wood Heal again.
Furthermore, he wouldn’t have to go out of his way to find outsider and spirit beast corpses anymore, unless he consumed his Blood Essence and needed flesh power to generate more.
Days passed, and there was still no word from Dong Li and her black tortoise. Nie Tian knew that even if he returned to the depths of the forest, he still wouldn’t be able to locate them.
“I suppose she found something. Otherwise, she should have come out to get me after losing contact with me.”
He pondered the matter briefly and decided to stop trying to find Dong Li and her black tortoise in the Dark Forest.
As he came out of the forest, Wu Yun, who had been waiting outside the forest, saw him and asked with a puzzled face, “How come it’s just you, Lord Nie?”
“I didn’t find Dong Li or her tortoise,” Nie Tian explained casually. “And I found the dark power in the depths of the forest too intense to adapt to. How is our operation in the Sixth Demon Realm going?”
“Everything is going according to the plan,” Wu Yun, who had kept contact with Qu Mingde, answered. “Almost all of the eighth, seventh, and sixth grade members of the local Demon clans have been killed. Only a small portion of weaker Demons, demonic insects, and low-tier Demons have scattered and fled to remote corners of the realm.
“Since we only have a limited amount of time here, they didn’t feel the need to chase after the Demons that are too weak to pose a threat, or the fleeing low-tier Demons. So disciples of my sect and the Divine Flame Sect are now collecting and looting any materials we need under Zhao Shanling’s instructions.”
There were millions of low-tier Demons and demonic insects. It would take a tremendous amount of time to exterminate them.
Nie Tian nodded and said, “Good. Now that everything is going according to the plan here, tell Sectmaster Qu and Sectmaster Zhongli to leave for the Fourth and Fifth Demon Realms and see how things are going there.”
Now that all of the powerful Demons had been killed, it was no longer necessary for Qu Mingde and Zhongli Jian, the two Saint domain experts, to remain here.
The latest situation in the Fourth and Fifth Demon Realms remained unknown. The two of them would probably be much more useful there.
The numerous Soul realm cultivators would be more than capable of looting battle spoils and picking demonic grass on their own.
Wu Yun sent out word without delay.
“Alright, you may go help the others. Nothing to worry about with me here.” Nie Tian beckoned for her to leave.
Wu Yun bowed and flew off into the distance.
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