As far as Qiao Yunxi saw it, Nie Tian was only bluffing and trying to enrage Hong Xian and Yin Yanan from the Beast-controlling Sect.
She hadn’t thought much of Nie Tian since she had learned that the most powerful experts in the Domain of the Falling Stars were only at the Soul realm.
Nie Tian’s weak cultivation base and background made her assume he was only a lucky guy who had somehow won Yue Yanxi’s favor.
Besides, her group had suffered great losses because they had to wait for him.
For these reasons, she found Nie Tian’s imposing manner laughable.
Nie Tian let out a cold snort. “Even if you didn’t help me just now, that Frost Blood Python wouldn’t have been able to hurt me.” Then, eyes narrowed, he looked over his shoulder at Yin Yanan from afar. “It’s just a seventh grade beast. If it truly angers me, it’s hard to say which one of us will become food!”
Even from afar, he could still see the disdainful look in Yin Yanan’s eyes.
Qiao Yunxi turned to stare at him and said with a rhetorical tone, “What? It’s JUST a seventh grade beast?! Do you know how powerful that seventh grade beast is?”
“A regular seventh grade spirit beast is as strong as a Soul realm human expert, but that one back there is a hybrid of a Frost Python and a Blood Stripe Python, which means its battle prowess at least equals that of a middle Soul realm expert!
“What makes you think that you can survive its deadly fangs?”
Qiao Yunxi was well-aware that she had suffered a great deal to ward off the Frost Blood Python’s frosty mist for Nie Tian.
If Yin Yanan hadn’t come over to restrain it, the only thing she could have done to save him would have been to take him as far away as possible with the help of her Flame Bird.
It would have been wishful thinking to fight it head-on.
Facing her taunting query, Nie Tian only curled his lips, not saying a word.
Of course Nie Tian had been confident enough to stand up to Yin Yanan and say those words to Hong Xian for a reason.
After all, the Frost Blood Python was no match for the Bone Blood Demon in his ring of holding.
He believed that the Frost Blood Python would become a lamb waiting to be slaughtered once he unleashed the Bone Blood Demon.
The Bone Blood Demon had already absorbed and refined the blood of many seventh grade outsider experts. Nie Tian was confident that its battle prowess would prove far higher than that of the Frost Blood Python.
Even though Hong Xian From the Beast-controlling Sect, Wei Yu from the Trisword Sect, and Chu Xuanji from the Chu Clan were all at the late Soul realm, Nie Tian reckoned the Bone Blood Demon would still win as long as they didn’t team up on it.
The reason why Nie Tian hadn’t summoned the Bone Blood Demon was only because he was worried that it would put him in danger.
After all, the Bone Blood Demon could only be used as a means to fight his enemies. It wouldn’t be able to protect him the same way Zhao Shanling had, with his profound spatial magics that could protect his soul from soul attacks.
Hong Xian and the other two were all at the late Soul realm. He would be in huge trouble if they were to unleash soul magics on him.
Seeing that Nie Tian didn’t say anything, Qiao Yunxi snorted. “I knew you were only bluffing.”
Then, with the help of her Flame Bird, the two of them flew farther and farther away from those from the Beast-controlling Sect.
Apparently, she had taken Hong Xian’s words to heart, fearing that the recently-tamed Frost Blood Python would attack Nie Tian again.
With Hong Xian’s permission, she landed the Flame Bird in a remote area and started picking spirit plants.
After the Flame Bird flew away, the Qi warriors that had gathered to this location out of curiosity gradually left to pick high grade spirit plants again.
Hong Xian and Yin Yanan were the only ones who remained in place.
Eyebrows furrowed, Hong Xian asked in a low voice, “Yanan, you’ve fully tamed that Frost Blood Python, right?”
“Yeah,” Yin Yanan answered quietly. “There’s something strange about that man, Senior Hong. As you know, even though the Frost Blood Python feasts on flesh, it’s been extremely picky about its prey. It won’t even look at spirit beasts of low grades. Also, it carries the Blood Stripe Pythons’ bloodline, so its perception of flesh aura is incomparably shrewd.
“Since humans don’t have vigorous flesh power, it has never shown any interest in anyone.
“I’m confident that it won’t ignore my orders even if it’s tempted by a sixth grade spirit beast.”
Hong Xian pondered in silence for a while before nodding and asking, “Did you say those things to provoke that man on purpose?”
Yin Yanan smiled. “Yeah, that man isn’t from the Divine Flame Sect, but Qiao Yunxi took him around on her Flame Bird. He must not be just anyone. Qiao Yunxi has always been arrogant. She won’t even allow any Divine Flame Sect disciples to ride with her on her Flame Bird unless it’s a matter of life or death. The fact that she’s traveling alone with that man has long since got my attention.”
Eyebrows furrowed, Hong Xian chimed in, “And that kid even asked me to put a price on you…”
With a serious expression, Yin Yanan said, “However, his eyes were filled with confidence when he spoke, so I don’t think he was threatening in manner but cowardly at heart. He must have something special at his disposal! I have a feeling that he may actually have what it takes to inflict serious damage on my Frost Blood Python. That’s why I tried so hard to calm it down. I didn’t want it to be hurt.”
Hong Xian gasped with astonishment. “What?! You really think that man has what it takes to severely injure your Frost Blood Python?!”
Yin Yanan nodded vigorously. “I do!”
Hong Xian fixed her with a deep look before nodding. “I see. I’ll pay more attention to that kid from now on.”
Since he knew that his sect had viewed Yin Yanan to possess talent that could only be seen once in a thousand years, he trusted her judgment and instinct.
Qiao Yunxi intentionally put a significant distance between them and the area where the Beast-controlling Sect disciples were. She found a remote corner of the unique lake to berth her Flame Bird.
As she jumped off to pick spirit plants, Nie Tian walked around casually. As he was impressed by the richness of the wood power in this place, an idea suddenly occurred to him.
“You go ahead and do what you’ve got to do. I’ll find a place to practice cultivation. There’s no need to mind me.” With these words, he walked away from her to a location where there weren’t many flowers, but was covered in green vegetation.
He summoned the seventy-two tree branches from within his ring of holding and planted them into the ground, forming a Wood Thriving Formation around him.
There were a total of five steps to refining his body with Heavenly Wood Heal, which were Bone Crystallizing, Internal Organ Nourishing, Meridian Toughening, Flesh Tempering, and Blood Condensing. At this point, he had only finished the first two steps.
It required not only a large amount of flesh power, but also copious wood power to refine his body with Heavenly Wood Heal.
The Wood Thriving Formation could take it upon itself to channel wood power from its surroundings. Because of this, it made a great team with Heavenly Wood Heal.
Once the Wood Thriving Formation formed, its mysterious green energy ward would separate him from the outside world completely. People wouldn’t even be able to detect his soul fluctuations.
Just like that, he started another round of body refinement.
He believed that, since he was rather far from the powerful experts from the three parties, and the Wood Thriving Formation had a perfect sealing effect, those people wouldn’t be able to sense any anomalies.
As soon as the Wood Thriving Formation formed, wisps of rich wood power quietly gathered from all directions.
Sitting in the middle of the spell formation, Nie Tian looked up at the green hemispherical ward over his head and the numerous patterns swimming in it. He took a deep breath, and immediately felt enlivened by the incomparably pure wood power.
Then, he cleared his mind and focused on toughening his meridians.
Soon, he got lost in his cultivation.
A quarter hour passed.
Qiao Yunxi, who was the person closest to him, was the first to sense a subtle change in the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth. She then scanned her surroundings with her soul awareness, and saw wisps of faint green aura slowly rising from every plant and blade of grass she could see before flying in Nie Tian’s location.
She also discovered that the few Premium grade spirit plants she had laid her eyes on seemed to have lost some of their power while she picked them.
Eyes narrowed, Chu Xuanji sensed his surroundings with rapt attention for a few seconds before saying, “Something is channeling wood power from the spirit plants that grow by the lake. If this goes on, the value of these spirit plants will suffer greatly.”
His eyes followed the wood power flow before finally fixing in the direction that Qiao Yunxi and Nie Tian had left in. “Let’s go take a look.”
Hong Xian and Wei Yu also sensed the anomaly from their locations.
Therefore, the powerful experts from the three parties tracked the wood power flow towards the location where Qiao Yunxi and Nie Tian were.
Wisdom in Tao Te Ching:
5. "Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge."
In the end, life is unpredictable. The wind blows as it will, and life takes us in its own direction. Despite our search for certainty and a clear vision of the future, we cannot know what the future holds for us, what new lands we shall discover when our ship has been blown across the sea. All we can do is lay the groundwork, keep a vigilant eye for danger or opportunity, and relax.
When I look back on my life, one thing is clear: I could never have predicated how things have unfolded over the years; I could never have dreamed I would be in my current situation, translating a Xuanhuan novel as a full time job.