At the foot of a short mountain peak far from Black Water Lake...
Zhan Yuan, Nie Donghai, and others from the Cloudsoaring Sect had recovered their strength with spirit stones.
Zhan Yuan, the one with the highest cultivation base among them, asked with furrowed eyebrows. “Did you hear that? Brawling sounds from Black Water Lake. It seems that people are battling over there.”
Fear appeared in Jiang Lingzhu’s face as she said, “Those bad men must have laid their murderous hands on another exploration team!”
Nie Donghai, whose cultivation base was slightly lower than Zhan Yuan’s, smiled with a hint of sadness on his face as he said, “I must miss Little Tian too much for not being able to see him for so long. I thought I heard his voice just now.”
Being at the Greater Heaven stage, he and Zhan Yuan could hear things from a farther distance than the others, so he also heard the sounds from Black Water Lake.
It was just that they were quite far from Black Water Lake, so he couldn’t make out what people were saying over there. He could only tell that there were men and women’s voices, one of which sounded very similar to Nie Tian’s, who he had worried about day and night for the past few years.
However, he suspected that it had been an illusion caused by his excessive desire to see Nie Tian.
After all, this was the Realm of a Hundred Battles. How would Nie Tian suddenly show up here?
“Father, it must be that you’re missing Little Tian too much.” With a sigh, Nie Qian continued, “It’s said that he’s sealed the spatial rifts in the Realm of Flame Heaven, the Realm of Mystic Heaven, and the Realm of a Thousand Devastations successively. However, for some reason, he turned down the Heaven Palace Sect’s offer. Now that he’s refused to go to the Heaven Palace Sect, he must plan to stay in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations for some time. It doesn’t make sense that he would suddenly show up in the Realm of a Hundred Battles.”
News from other realms had spread to this place, and they had learned about Nie Tian’s recent actions from Xu Shan when they had met not long ago.
Both Nie Donghai and Nie Qian felt very proud of Nie Tian, but they had never imagined that he would actually come to the Realm of a Hundred Battles.
“It’s about time we went back,” Zhan Yuan said after a moment of pondering. “However, we’ll need to pass Black Water Lake if we want to return to Water Moon City. The way I see it, it won’t be easy to avoid those murderers by Black Water Lake. So we might as well take advantage of this opportunity, when they are engaged in battle with others, and march past Black Water Lake as quickly as we can.”
“That sounds like a good plan,” Nie Donghai said.
Upon receiving his support, Zhan Yuan sprung to his feet and appealed to the team, “That settles it then. Let’s move out! We’ll try our best to stay away from those men and pass Black Water Lake with our fastest speed possible! Considering that we’ve gained quite a fortune from this trip of ours, we’ll teleport back to Water Moon City via one of the Dong Clan’s teleportation portals!”
“Let’s go!” The team agreed.
Therefore, everyone rose to their feet, took out their spiritual tools, and marched towards Black Water Lake.
On the shore of Black Water Lake.
Nie Tian brandished the Flame Star, which constantly met Guan Yue’s sharp metal claws.
Every contact created enormous impacts, causing Nie Tian to shudder slightly and experience numbness in the web between his thumb and forefinger.
After all, Guan Yue was at the middle Greater Heaven stage. His internal spiritual power was rich and pure, and the spiritual power he had infused into his claws was also shockingly strong.
The fact that Nie Tian had been able to contend against him was, on one hand, thanks to the various types of power in his spiritual sea.
On the other hand, Nie Tian’s incomparably tough physique allowed him to withstand impacts that most others at his level couldn’t.
On top of that, he didn’t go all-out to battle Guan Yue.
He didn’t form a chaotic magnetic field, use the secret magics from the Fragmentary Star Incantation, or unleash his mighty Rage Punch.
The reason why he had been holding back was because he didn’t really want to work for Dong Li. He was only fighting the man because Dong Li had forced him to do so.
From what he could tell, as long as he came out and got into an extended fight with a Qi warrior from the Realm of Black Marsh, he could be considered to have given Dong Li what she wanted.
HUFF! HUFF! HUFF!
However, even though Nie Tian only wanted to pass the time, he found that more and more claw-shaped shadows had appeared in the air.
Like an eagle, Guan Yue repeatedly leapt into the air and swooped down at him.
The claw-shaped shadows created by the claws he wore hung in the air, strong spiritual power fluctuations emanating from each and every one of them.
Before long, Nie Tian found himself surrounded by hundreds of them.
It seemed that they had even formed some kind of spell formation, and the space between them was shrinking by the second.
Meanwhile, the claw-shaped shadows released a lingering foul smell that pervaded the ten meter radius around Nie Tian.
Knowing the foul smell contained toxins, Nie Tian held his breath, so that he wouldn’t inhale the toxins into his internal organs.
“Hey, brat! You killed my little brother! Now prepare to die!” Guan Yue said as he stopped in midair. The razor-sharp claws he was wearing started to shine with green, frigid light.
Numerous fine strings that were only visible to Nie Tian’s Heaven Eyes shot out of Guan Yue’s claws, connecting the hundreds of floating, claw-shaped shadows with his metal claws.
Then, he yanked his extended hands down.
The sky-filling, claw-shaped shadows whizzed down from midair like a large shoal of fish being caught by a huge net.
Enormous amounts of spiritual power burst forth from the hundreds of claw-shaped shadows, which came together and formed shockwaves more formidable than he had ever imagined.
Meanwhile, claw-shaped shadows appeared on the ground around Nie Tian. As they exploded one after another, the earth trembled non-stop.
The shock waves resonated with one another as they bombarded Nie Tian from above and under simultaneously.
It was at that moment that claw-shaped shadows started raining on Nie Tian.
As they fell on Nie Tian’s body, his body shook violently, feeling as if he was being hit by iron hammers.
As tough as his body was, he coughed up a mouthful of blood after taking repeated blows from the large number of claw-shaped shadows.
Guan Yue’s secret magic eventually inflicted severe injuries on him, which was a price he paid for not going all-out in the battle.
In a distant location.
Dong Li, who had instructed the other three groups of explorers to go after the people from the Realm of Black Marsh, seemed relaxed and carefree.
Her bright eyes spent most of their time fixated on Nie Tian, as if she were paying close attention to every move Nie Tian made.
Back when they had been in the Realm of Split Void, she had fought Nie Tian and lost. Then, she had summoned a massive number of forces to search for him in the wasteland outside of Shatter City and failed. Therefore, she knew better than anyone what Nie Tian’s battle prowess was really like.
She had long since realized that Nie Tian’s actual battle prowess was far beyond his cultivation base.
After all, Nie Tian was the freak who had risen up from a large number of the most talented disciples from the most powerful sects in the Domain of the Falling Stars, and obtained two fragmentary star marks during the Heaven Gate trial.
Not long after she had returned to the Realm of a Hundred Battles, she had suspected that Ning Yang, the most talented Heaven Palace Sect disciple of his generation, had died at his hands. Back then, Nie Tian had been busy sealing spatial rifts in the Realm of Flame Heaven, the Realm of Mystic Heaven, and the Realm of a Thousand Devastations.
She was well-aware that Nie Tian’s cultivation base didn’t do justice to his actual strength.
This could be proven by the fact that Nie Tian had appeared out of nowhere and killed an early Greater Heaven stage cultivator with a single strike.
Therefore, she had long since seen through what Nie Tian was trying to do with that middle Greater Heaven stage cultivator from the Realm of Black Marsh.
At this moment, seeing that Nie Tian had paid a price for reserving his strength, she couldn’t help but chuckle.
Enjoyment filled her gorgeous face as she called out to Nie Tian, “Hua Tian, I never imagined that you would end up in such sore traits!”
Seeing Nie Tian being injured, she remembered how Nie Tian had approached her posing as a man madly in love with her after she had secretly killed Shen Wei, locked her down from behind, teased her verbally, and disrespected her physically.
Over the past half a year, whenever she was not practicing cultivation and had time to spare, images of her encounters with Nie Tian would repeatedly appear in her mind.
As the precious daughter of the Dong Clan’s clanmaster, she had been taken care of by everyone in the clan, like the moon being surrounded by countless stars. She had managed to kill everyone who had drooled over her beauty without drawing attention.
Never had she ever been so humiliated by a man, not before she had met Nie Tian.
In her eyes, Nie Tian had already become her internal demon, who she couldn’t wait to get rid of.
This was why she seemed rather happy seeing Nie Tian suffer injuries in battle, so much so that she couldn’t help but call out to him.
As for those Qi warriors from the Realm of Black Marsh and the three groups of explorers, none of them really mattered to her.
Nie Tian was what she had come for. Other than him, nobody and nothing would really provoke her interest.
“Asshole!” After hearing her chuckles, Nie Tian cursed inwardly.
Translator: Alcohol Sword Immortal a.k.a. Beerblade. (Follow me on Twitter)
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虎 背 熊 腰 (hǔ bèi xióng yāo)
Meaning: With a back like a tiger’s and a waist like a bear’s; tough and stocky build.
Note: Don't use it on women. No woman like it.