Nie Tian had failed to reestablish contact with Dong Li ever since.
However, without anything else to do, he reentered the forest soon after Wu Yun left.
He had set his mind on the countless demonic insects and low-tier Demons that lived in the forest. With Life Drain, he absorbed their flesh power in swarms.
However, the amount of flesh power the low-tier Demons and demonic insects could provide was very limited.
The only thing that kept him doing this was they were in great numbers. Wherever he went, he would be able to detect tens of thousands of flesh auras in his surroundings.
One blood string after another shot out of him into the low-tier Demons and demonic insects, bringing back pure flesh power.
By the time he had drained close to ten thousand of them of their flesh power, he found a place in the forest to establish the Wood Thriving Formation.
To his surprise, the trees and plants in the Sixth Demon Realm could also provide rich wood power.
While he sat motionlessly in the middle of the Wood Thriving Formation, wisps of wood power were channeled from his surroundings and converged on him. Then, with the flesh power he had recently accumulated, he resumed Flesh Tempering, the fourth stage of Heavenly Wood Heal.
He hadn’t done this for years, since he had had a tremendous need for flesh power after his bloodline had advanced to the seventh grade.
In order to temper his flesh, he would need rich flesh power to rip his flesh first, before wood power could come in to heal the ripped flesh. Even though the process would be accompanied by lots of pain, every muscle would become unprecedentedly tough afterwards.
Furthermore, he had a feeling that his tempered muscles could hold more flesh power.
Time passed bit by bit.
He moved from place to place in the forest as he continued to absorb flesh power from the low-tier Demons and demonic insects, and absorb wood power with the help of the Wood Thriving Formation, in order to sustain Flesh Tempering.
He lost track of time until Zhao Shanling came to find him.
Nie Tian sensed Zhao Shanling’s arrival. He put his cultivation on hold and flew out of the forest on his Star Boat.
“It’s about time we left,” Zhao Shanling said with a frown. “All of the disciples of the Golden Vast Sect, the Divine Flame Sect, and the other sects are waiting for your order to back out of the Sixth Demon Realm.”
Nie Tian was taken aback. “It’s been a month already? Is everyone happy with their gains?”
A hint of a smile appeared in Zhao Shanling’s eyes as he said, “They are. Everyone looted a good number of materials that help with human cultivation from the Demon clans, and collected quite a lot of useful grass. Everyone has gained a fortune.”
Nie Tian smiled and asked, “What about you?”
Zhao Shanling grinned. “I’m pretty happy with my gains too. Dementing Demonic Grass was my main target, since I plan to have someone make Barrier Breaking Pills with it for me. It won’t be long before I enter the late Void domain, and I’ll need Barrier Breaking Pills when I attempt to break through into the Saint domain. I thought I’d better make preparations ahead of time.”
“Have you found the person to make Barrier Breaking Pills for you?” Nie Tian asked.
Zhao Shanling shook his head. “Not yet.”
Nie Tian remembered the alchemist Bo Shiming. “I know someone. I can make arrangements for you.”
Zhao Shanling’s eyes lit up as he nodded. “That’d be great.”
“Would you tell the others to return to the Realm of Flame Heaven first?” Nie Tian asked. “Dong Li is still in this forest. I might have to stay here a bit longer.”
Zhao Shanling’s face dropped. “Stay here a bit longer...? Do you know what that means? A month is a reasonable amount of time. I don’t think it’ll be wise to stay in the Sixth Demon Realm longer than that.”
Nie Tian smiled bitterly. “I understand.”
Word of what had happened in the Sixth Demon Realm would spread to the First, Second, and Third Demon Realms sooner or later. Those realms were much stronger than the Sixth Demon Realm.
They had more eighth and ninth grade Demon experts than they could count, and they had Demon grand monarchs in the First Demon Realm.
By the time those powerful Demons came to the Sixth Demon Realm on ancient starships, or by relying on their grand patriarchs and grand monarchs’ power, those who failed to leave in time would face bloody revenge.
“You’d better tell Dong Li to get out of there as soon as possible.” With these words, Zhao Shanling left to arrange for the waiting Qi warriors to return to the Realm of Flame Heaven.
He returned the next day.
Upon arriving, he said, “Everyone has returned to the Realm of Flame Heaven. Now you, Dong Li in there, and I are the only ones that haven’t left the Sixth Demon Realm.”
“You should have gone with them,” Nie Tian said.
“With me here, if powerful Demons from the other realms come here before you leave, I might still be able to get you out of here by relying on my mastery of spatial power,” Zhao Shanling said with a proud face. “But if a ninth grade grand patriarch was to come here after I left, you and Dong Li would become a pair of dead love birds.”
With a wry smile, Nie Tian said, “I want to tell her to get out of there too, but the thing is that I can’t get in touch with her.”
“Well, let me give it a shot.” With these words, Zhao Shanling shot into Dark Forest.
Nie Tian’s eyes lit up.
Zhao Shanling was a master of spatial power who could split open spatial rifts to travel from place to place. Perhaps he could find Dong Li and her black tortoise in the depths of the forest.
Therefore, Nie Tian placed hope in him.
However, such hope died soon afterwards.
A quarter of an hour later, Zhao Shanling whizzed out of the forest. With a knitted brow, he said, “My power was suppressed by this mysterious forest. I couldn’t move around by splitting spatial rifts. My vision, hearing, and other senses were all impaired while I was in there. The deeper I went, the stronger the influence became.
“Sorry, it seems that I can’t find Dong Li for you.”
Looking somewhat disappointed, Nie Tian said, “It’s alright. I’ll just wait.”
“How long do you plan to wait?” Zhao Shanling asked with a grim face.
“Till she comes out of there,” Nie Tian answered.
Zhao Shanling pondered in silence for awhile before saying, “I’ll wait with you for a bit. But I’ll leave as soon as I sense the aura of a Demon grand patriarch, with or without you.”
Nie Tian nodded. “I understand.”
The two of them didn’t speak anymore, but instead focused on any movement in the forest.
A few days passed...
The complete darkness at the edge of the forest suddenly started to retreat towards the heart of the forest like the ebbing sea.
As dark power gradually gathered towards the depths of the forest, the outermost areas of the forest soon shed their pitch-black color. Even though it was still dark, scenes could already be seen.
Somewhat taken aback, Zhao Shanling muttered. “This is...
“The dark power is rapidly withdrawing towards the heart of the forest. If this continues, it won’t be long before we can find Dong Li.”
Without any hesitation, Nie Tian summoned the Star Boat and jumped on board with Zhao Shanling, before they flew in the direction the darkness was retreating in.
As they did, countless shriveled corpses of low-tier Demons and demonic insects that Nie Tian had killed flashed past underneath them.
Only after flying for a while did they see living low-tier Demons and demonic insects again. They had all stopped the endless fights between themselves, and were glancing around with confused looks on their faces.
The dark power in this area was what they relied on to strengthen themselves and upgrade their bloodlines.
Apparently, they were alarmed by the rapidly weakening dark power, and started galloping in the direction the dark power was retreating, as if they were desperate to get a few last gasps of the dissipating power.
The Star Boat continued to fly at a high speed, giving rise to a loud whoosh.
A few hours later, Nie Tian finally sensed the black tortoise’s flesh aura.
It came from a mountain peak that didn’t seem very impressive. Halfway up the mountain peak, something large seemed to have been gouged out, leaving a deep hole.
Dong Li and the black tortoise were now standing in front of the mountain peak.
A large stone that looked like a black jade finished absorbing the last wisps of raging dark power from its surroundings, and Dong Li put it away in her ring of holding.
“Hmm?!” Zhao Shanling exclaimed. “The girl has entered the Soul realm!”
Only now did Nie Tian realize that Dong Li had actually broken through into the early Soul realm from the late Profound realm, which meant she must have come to incredible gains in the depths of this forest.
“I’m finished here,” Dong Li said, beaming. “I found this demonic stone, which seems to be branded with the profound truths of dark power. This lazy thing found it embedded in that mountain peak, and sensed profound wonders that are helpful to its bloodline upgrade within it.
“It appears that heaven and earth vested this stone with those wonders over countless years.”
Nie Tian’s expression flickered. “Is that a Heavenly Talisman?! A Heavenly Talisman that contain the secrets of dark power?!”
Overjoyed, Dong Li said, “Yeah, I guess this is what we humans would call a Heavenly Talisman! I’ve already made a breakthrough in my cultivation with its help. And I have a feeling that as long as I keep it by my side, I’ll be able to make advances much faster in my future cultivation. And this lazy thing will benefit even more from it than me!”
Zhao Shanling’s expression flickered drastically. “We’ve got to leave now, Nie Tian! I sense that something is entering the realm barrier of the Sixth Demon Realm!” With the dark power gone, he managed to tear space open, creating a spatial rift.
“It seems that a grand patriarch is here.” Without any delay, Nie Tian grabbed Dong Li and her black tortoise, and flew into the spatial rift before Zhao Shanling even told him to.
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