Lei Tianqi didn’t go with Nie Tian.
He only briefly explained the situation to him before sending him on his way. He told him that the Lei Clan and the Divine Flame Sect had together established a total of seven inter-realm teleportation portals between the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries and the Domain of the Falling Stars.
Yue Yanxi was currently in the region where the fourth teleportation portal was located.
Following Lei Tianqi’s instructions, Nie Tian teleported three times, and finally arrived in the region where Yue Yanxi was waiting for him.
It was the region that was both marked out on the star map in the Spirit Pearl and designated as the fourth set of spatial coordinates in the teleportation portal in the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Nie Tian suddenly appeared in a teleportation portal.
He looked around and found himself inside a spacious sealed cave surrounded by dark brown rocky walls, with a faint lightning ward over them.
Lei Tianqi had long since told him what to do. He looked up at the dome of the cave, located a fine rift in the lightning ward, and made a vigorous leap.
The lightning ward instantly split up, as did the rocks behind it.
He went through without meeting any obstructions.
In the next moment, he found himself standing on a meteor that seemed to be floating in the depths of the starry river.
There wasn’t even a shred of spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth around him. There were only distant shining stars and countless meteors that floated wherever he looked at.
Very close to one another, they filled up this entire region.
If an enormous ancient starship were to sail into this region, it would definitely hit these floating meteors.
All of the meteors seemed extremely solid; even ancient starships might not be able to survive collisions with them.
Nie Tian finally realized why Qi warriors from the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries hadn’t been able to sail through this region to the Domain of the Falling Stars over the past thousands of years.
“Hmm?” As he looked back, Nie Tian realized that the rift he had just flown through was completely healed again.
Then, he was surprised to notice that about a dozen ice-cold human corpses were floating in places not far from him, all of whom were dressed in Divine Flame Sect garments.
He also noticed several air-transportation spiritual tools, which appeared to have been pierced by sharp weapons. Some had crashed into floating meteors, while others were floating in the dark ice-cold space with the dead Divine Flame Sect disciples.
“What the hell?!” His expression flickered as he unleashed his soul awareness to examine his surroundings, but failed to sense any flesh auras or soul fluctuations.
“Who killed these people from the Divine Flame Sect?! What happened here?!” With these questions, he blurred into action and flashed back and forth among the floating corpses to examine their cultivation bases.
Soon, he came to a conclusion.
All of these Worldly realm and Profound realm Divine Flame Sect disciples must have been waiting for him in this place. Now, they were all dead, their air-transportation spiritual tools destroyed and their rings of holding taken away.
They must have encountered powerful enemies while they had been waiting for him. Then, they had been killed while they had split up to flee.
“As one of the eight major powers in the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries, the Divine Flame Sect actually had their disciples ambushed by others. Those who did this must be from a sect that is equally powerful.
“Can it be that the fact that the Divine Flame Sect discovered something in this region has somehow leaked?
“It’ll be very troublesome if that’s the case!”
He frowned as he realized that his trip to this region might not be a pleasant one.
At this moment, Yue Yanxi and the other powerful experts from the Divine Flame Sect might be exploring this mysterious region in further locations.
Those dead disciples must have been charged with the mission of waiting for him and bringing him to them.
However, even Yue Yanxi probably didn’t know that these disciples had already been attacked and wiped out.
Without people from the Divine Flame Sect to show him the way, he had absolutely no idea where to go.
Furthermore, since someone had killed the Divine Flame Sect disciples in this region, they might still be in the vicinity. If he were to move around randomly, he might very well be discovered...
Eyebrows knitted, Nie Tian hastily unleashed his Heaven Eyes to conduct an extensive scan of his surroundings, fearing that someone might still be nearby.
He decided to terminate this trip and return to Domain of the Falling Stars through the teleportation portal he had come from if he were to discover anyone who wasn’t from the Divine Flame Sect.
Standing on the meteor where the teleportation portal was hidden, he continued to scan his surroundings with his Heaven Eyes. Soon, he discovered more dead Divine Flame Sect disciples and their air-transportation spiritual tools in further locations.
It seemed that everyone that had been waiting for him in this place had been killed.
However, the killers didn’t seem to have discovered the secret teleportation portal, which was somewhat surprising.
If they had discovered this teleportation portal, they would have been able to follow the vine to get the melon (idiom: track someone down by following clues), and descend upon the Thunder Mountain Sect after three transits.
“Lei Tianqi must have established a restrictive spell to hide this teleportation portal after setting it up. Lei Tianqi is at the early Void domain. Only cultivators at his level or higher will be able to sense the existence of his spell. Since the teleportation portal hasn’t been discovered, there’s only one possibility: there weren’t any Void domain experts among those who came here and killed the Divine Flame Sect disciples.”
Nie Tian didn’t dare to make any rash moves. Standing on the meteor, he pondered his choices and waited, prepared to leave at any moment.
A soaring firebird suddenly entered Nie Tian’s view. The bird was wreathed in fierce flames as it charged directly towards him like a crashing meteor.
A small figure of a female could be seen on the bird’s back, as if she had become one with her mount.
“Such fierce flame power... She must be from the Divine Flame Sect.” Nie Tian felt slightly relieved.
As the blazing bird approached the meteor he was standing on, he took a close look at it, and discovered that it was actually an air-transportation spiritual tool.
It seemed to be made from the skeleton of a bird. Each and every crimson bone was releasing raging flames.
The small figure on it was surrounded by crimson flames, and thus couldn’t be seen clearly.
As the spiritual tool flew closer, the small figure suddenly jumped off it. She turned out to be a young woman who was small, but extremely shapely. Brandishing a fire-wreathed long whip, she attacked Nie Tian without the slightest hesitation.
The whip seemed to be made from a tail of an Earth Flame Beast. Hearing its whoosh, Nie Tian felt like an enraged Earth Flame Beast was roaring and charging at him.
Even the soul awareness he unleashed to examine the long whip seemed to be burned, as he experienced a stabbing pain in his true soul.
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!
The girl struck out with the whip a few times, and a huge blazing net came to form, which seemed to be able to turn anyone into ashes, along with their souls.
“Wait!” Nie Tian shouted as he summoned the Flame Star, gathered strength, and slashed it towards the incoming blazing net.
Fiery light instantly came out of the Flame Star, extending the saber by several meters, as it approached the blazing net.
The moment his spiritual power made contact with the blazing net, a surge of fierce, unruly flame power bombarded the Flame Star, as if it had finally found a vent.
Nie Tian’s expression flickered as he watched flames crawl up the Flame Star and his saber-bearing arm.
His sleeve was instantly burned to ashes. The terrifying flame power then made reckless attempts to infiltrate his skin through his pores, as if it were hoping to burn him to ashes as well.
Frowning, he hastily summoned power from his spiritual core to contend against the invading flame power, and was barely able to stop those flames from entering his body.
Even so, his arm was burned and became as red as steel from a furnace.
Shaking his arm, he bolted backwards to put some distance between him and the girl.
As the girl struck the meteors that were even tougher than metal with her long whip, they crumbled and turned into flying dust.
Then, the girl flipped her wrist again, and her whip thrashed towards him again like a roaring Earth Flame Beast.
“If you’re from the Divine Flame Sect, you should know that I’m the one you’ve been waiting for!” Nie Tian shouted at the top of his lungs.
The girl suddenly went blank, her life-claiming whip freezing in midair. Then, she exclaimed in her soft voice, “Tell me your name then!”
“My name is Nie Tian!”
“Nie Tian!” The girl muttered, the blazing long whip in her hand going out instantly.
Afterwards, she jumped back onto her fire bird’s back and said with a cold face, “Get up now! I’ll take you out of here!”
“Take me out of here?” Nie Tian asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.
The girl gave Nie Tian a nasty look and said with an urgent tone, “That bitch from the Bliss Mountain Sect must still be looking for me in this area. I can’t stay here for too long.”
“If it’s not safe here, why don’t we return through that teleportation portal and seek help from the Lei Clan?” Nie Tian suggested.
In Nie Tian’s opinion, compared to going to Yue Yanxi and the others, returning through the unexposed teleportation portal would be a safer choice.
“Nonsense! I’ll never seek help from subordinate forces like the Lei Clan!” The girl said with a decisiveness that could sever nails and chop iron.
As she did, the firebird flew to Nie Tian’s side, and she waved impatiently at him again.
With a bitter smile, Nie Tian hopped onto the back of the blazing bird.
Then, the girl stimulated the firebird without delay, and the unique air-transportation spiritual tool soared away from the meteor at full speed.
Wisdom in Tao Te Ching:
2. "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
Can you make grass grow by pulling it? Can you bake a cake faster by turning up the temperature in the oven? In nature, things happen in their own way and at their own pace. Trying to make things happen faster than they do naturally often leads to disasters. The grass gets pulled out and dies. The cake gets burnt and has to be thrown away.
A river rarely takes a straight course, meandering instead through the natural shape of the landscape, keeping to the lowest points, moving around mountains and hills. But the water keeps flowing powerfully and eventually reaches the sea.
Like nature, our own achievements can take time, and this is no bad thing. For example, I have seen for myself the results of fast tracking students through the grades and promoting them to university courses at a young age. The adults they become are often socially underdeveloped and less able to function skillfully in the complex real world: they have, in a sense, been ruined by speed. Let's learn a lesson from nature, and do things well, in their own time.