Time passed quickly and quietly like a running creek.
The raging demon Qi that had covered the mountain ranges in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations had already scattered and dissipated thanks to the sealing of the spatial rift and the purging of the starlight.
Nie Tian had already spent half a month sitting atop that mountain peak.
During this time, as the sectmasters of the Yang Sect and the Yin Sect, Li Muyang and Xing Huanyue never left Nie Tian’s side, but rather guarded him silently.
However, even though Nie Tian had exhausted all methods, he hadn’t been able to get the scrolls they desired out of the bellies of the mountain peaks.
Later, he had suspected that it might be his poor cultivation base that was stopping him from succeeding, so he refocused on practicing cultivation and tempering his spiritual sea with all kinds of materials.
About ten days passed. Practicing silently, he suddenly had a feeling that the vortexes of spiritual power within his spiritual sea had all reached their breakthrough points.
Then, as soon as he sensed that his spiritual power had built up to the critical point, he made the breakthrough smoothly with the help of his spirit jades, not encountering any obstacles in the process.
With Li Muyang and Xing Huanyue there, he couldn’t find a safer location.
Therefore, with a peaceful mind, Nie Tian successfully entered the late Heaven stage two days later, and another vortex of spiritual power appeared in his spiritual sea, making the total rise to six.
After making a minor breakthrough in his cultivation, he could feel that subtle but noticeable changes had happened to his spiritual sea, soul, and fleshy body.
Shortly thereafter, he once again sent his seven Heaven Eyes into the bellies of the mountain peaks, hoping to find a way to get them out of there.
However, he soon discovered that even though he had entered the late Heaven stage, there was still nothing he could do to secure the three items left there by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Therefore, he went back to building up his strength.
During this period of time, people from the Yin Sect and Yang Sect would come and meet Xing Huanyue and Li Muyuang from time to time to discuss important matters regarding their sects.
The two of them would usually have brief discussions with them before urging them to leave, fearing that they might affect Nie Tian’s cultivation.
These two Soul realm experts, who were among the top Qi warriors throughout the Domain of the Falling Stars, showed great patience. It seemed as if they were even willing to wait there for decades for Nie Tian to secure those two scrolls.
Two more months passed.
Nie Tian was still cultivating devotedly. Whenever an idea popped up in his head, he would try it out without any hesitation.
He no longer hung onto the profound use of the Fragmentary Star Incantation and star power.
Rather, he tried to derive enlightenment from the Flame Spirit Incantation and contemplate the possible use of his flame power, flesh power, and wood power. He even attempted to infuse these types of power into his Heaven Eyes in order to find a viable way out of the bellies of the mountain peaks.
However, the numerous attempts he made only allowed him to gain deeper understandings of those different types of power.
The three miraculous items still didn’t move a bit, or show any changes because of his efforts.
Even still, Li Muyang and Xing Huanyue seemed patient enough to keep waiting.
After all, those two scrolls were simply too important for them.
The two of them already had a good idea of what those scrolls were. Before, they had assumed that their predecessors had lost them long ago, and they never thought that they had actually been in the bellies of those mountain peaks this whole time.
The discovery of the scrolls made them so wild with joy that they were willing to put many important matters on hold just to wait for Nie Tian to solve the mystery and get the scrolls out.
Even though they still had plenty of time and patience, Nie Tian’s patience gradually wore out as he failed over and over again.
Nie Tian smiled bitterly after failing another time. He turned to the two and said, “Senior Li, Senior Xing, I’m afraid... I won’t be able to get those scrolls out of there any time soon... Well, my grandfather and aunt are currently taking shelter in the Realm of a Hundred Battles. I haven’t seen them for a long time, and I miss them quite a bit.”
Li Muyang didn’t try to mask his disappointment as he said, “Yeah, I’ve figured that.”
“I’m guessing only when I’ve refined the second fragmentary star mark, entered the Worldly realm, and transcended my psychic power into soul power, will I be able to solve the mysteries within these mountain peaks.” Nie Tian pointed at his only chest and continued, “I’ve only refined one of the fragmentary star marks. The second and third are branded on my chest, but I’ve still got to merge them with my flesh and blood. Perhaps that’s why I can’t figure out a way to fulfill your hopes now.”
“We don’t blame you for it.” Li Muyang nodded with an understanding expression on his face. “If you want to go to the Realm of a Hundred Battles, I’ll arrange for someone to take you there. As for your family, if you want, you’re welcome to bring them back to the Realm of a Thousand Devastations. Both the Yin Sect and the Yang Sect will be happy to take them in.”
“I think I’ll make a decision after I meet with them,” Nie Tian replied.
“Okay.” Li Muyang rose to his feet. “Not a word has come from the Heaven Palace Sect. I don’t know what their plans are, and I didn’t take the initiative to approach them. But considering you’ve turned them down, you’d better be careful. I’m afraid...”
“I understand,” Nie Tian replied before Li Muyang could finish.
The short-spoken Xing Huanyue looked deeply at him as she said, “Is there anything else we can do for you? Any special spiritual materials that you’ll need for your future cultivation? Or medicinal pills?”
Li Muyang smiled unrestrainedly. “She’s right. Those are some practical things. Considering your current cultivation base, whatever you need, we’d probably be able to get them for you.”
Nie Tian pondered for a moment before shaking his head and saying, “Nothing I can think of.”
“Alright. " Li Muyang seemed a bit disappointed. “I’ll arrange for your trip to the Realm of a Hundred Battles. Would you like a few people to escort you there? The Realm of a Hundred Battles is such a godforsaken place. Too many forces with complicated relations and wars lasting year-round, I’m afraid that you won’t be able to handle all that, considering your current cultivation base and strength.”
Nie Tian waved his hand. “It won’t be necessary. But thank you for your kind offer. I understand that I’ve already become a thorn in the flesh of the Heaven Palace Sect and that I need to be cautious. I’ll take on a different identity after I arrive in the Realm of a Hundred Battles. If members of your sect go with me, those who are trying to catch me will easily figure out who I am.”
“But I’m worried that something might happen to you.” Li Muyang let out a sigh. “I guess I won’t be able to stop worrying about your safety before you enter the Profound realm.”
Deep down, he was also worried that, if Nie Tian got killed before he could help them secure those scrolls, he and Xing Huanyue would lose their hope of obtaining them.
In fact, the two of them had placed all their hopes in Nie Tian. They wished they could keep Nie Tian in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations forever.
Only by doing that would they be assured of his safety. However, since they both knew that would be against Nie Tian’s will, they were torn inwardly.
“Ever since I obtained those fragmentary star marks, every major sect, including the Heaven Palace Sect and your sects, have been searching for me, but I lived through that, didn’t I?” Nie Tian smiled with pretended ease.
“Alright then, I’ll make the arrangements.” Li Muyang didn’t insist.
“I’ll arrange for him to go to the Realm of a Hundred Battles via one of our teleportation portals,” Xing Huanyue said with a plain tone.
Surprised, Li Muyang shot a look at her before saying, “Okay.”
Immediately afterwards, Xing Huanyue summoned a Silver Chariot that looked exactly the same as the one in Liu Ling’s possession. She took Nie Tian on board and flew the chariot directly towards the Yin Sect.
When the war chariot was about 100 kilometers from the spatial rift, Xing Huanyue, who had been standing in front with her back facing Nie Tian, sudden opened her mouth. “I heard that you were hiding in the Realm of Split Void, right?”
“Yeah.” Confusion could be seen on Nie Tian’s face.
“The Land of the Abandoned, Ash City, Shatter City, which one of those did you stay in?” Xing Huanyue asked softly.
“Shatter City,” Nie Tian replied.
Xing Huanyue fell silent, gazing forward as she always had. A while later, she asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, was the Hua Tian, who created a major stir in Shatter City not long ago, you?”
A shock ran through Nie Tian’s body as she asked her question. He looked at her from behind and asked, “How do you so much about what happens in Shatter City?”
“Someone very important to me lives there,” Xing Huanyue said with a plain tone.
However, in Nie Tian’s eyes, she seemed somehow saddened.
“You’re right, that was me,” Nie Tian said.
Xing Huanyue’s shoulders trembled slightly, as if she were being hit by huge waves of emotion. A complicated expression appeared on her front-facing face.
It seemed that she had questions to ask, but she was struggling to keep them in, an agonizing look filling her eyes.
A while later, she killed the silence. “If you don’t mind, can you tell me about your encounters there?” She changed the direction of the conversation. Instead of asking about the things she wanted to know, she asked for Nie Tian to describe his encounters in Shatter City.
“Oh, okay.” Then Nie Tian went on and explained how he had lived with Pei Qiqi and Li Ye after arriving in Shatter City, how he had worked for Li Ye, as well as his dangerous trips to the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Xing Huanyue kept silent with her back facing him the entire time.
By the time they were about to arrive in the Yin Sect’s spacious square, Nie Tian had finished telling Xing Huanyue about his encounters in the Realm of Split Void.
Apparently, something he had described or someone he had mentioned made Xing Huanyue quite emotional.
After some time, she turned around. With a expressionless face, she said, “The leader of the Fang, that Hunter organization you encountered outside Shatter City, her real name isn’t Song Li, but rather Dong Li. She’s a member of the Dong Clan in the Realm of a Hundred Battles.
“Dong Baijie, who gave you the Star Stones and the mask, is her older brother.
“Dong Li has already returned to the Realm of a Hundred Battles, and so has Dong Baijie.
“It’s very likely that you’ll run into them on your trip to the Realm of a Hundred Battles. The way they treated you seemed rather strange. You’d better think about how you want to deal with them.
“Alright, it’s about time I sent you to the Realm of a Hundred Battles.”
Translator: Alcohol Sword Immortal a.k.a. Beerblade. (Follow me on Twitter)
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青 梅 竹 马 (qīng méi zhú mǎ)
Meaning: a children’s game of riding on a bamboo stick for a horse; friendship formed in childhood, especially between boys and girls.