The powerful experts from different sects left contentedly after Nie Tian expressed his intention to bring a number of their members to the wondrous continent in recent future.
They were all rather eager to return to their sects to make arrangements.
After everyone left, Hua Mu was the only one who stayed behind to have a private conversation with Nie Tian.
Hua Mu seemed somewhat hesitant as he said, “Now that you’re back, you’d better pay your master a visit in the Realm of Flame Heaven as soon as possible. I visited the Cloudsoaring Sect not long ago. It seemed to me that your master had already broken through into the Soul realm, but his true soul still seemed rather unstable. I don’t know why that was.”
“Sure, it was my plan to visit him first too,” Nie Tian said.
Hua Mu nodded. “Good. Master Zhen and Pei Qiqi discovered a hidden spatial rift somewhere in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. They went to explore it, and haven’t returned yet. It appears that girl still hasn’t given up on looking for the people of the Void Palace Sect, and doesn’t want to miss any opportunity that might lead to them.
“She thought that spatial rift might have some sort of connection to the vanishing of the Void Palace Sect.”
“They’ve been gone for some time now. I wonder if they’ve found something.”
Eyebrows furrowed, Nie Tian said, “They’re not in danger, are they?”
“Probably not.” Hua Mu sounded somewhat worried himself. “I wanted to go look for them, but I don’t know much about spatial power, and that spatial rift looked rather special. I didn’t have the confidence that I would be able to go through it.”
Nie Tian pondered briefly, then said, “Have you received any word of Zhao Shanling?”
Hua Mu shook his head. “The man vanished completely after you left. No one has seen him again in the Domain of the Falling Stars. It seems to me that he went into secluded cultivation. He was at the late Soul realm when he gained the Voidspirit Pagoda. He must want to break through into the Void domain as soon as possible.”
“He might come look for me once he learns about my return,” Nie Tian said. “I promised him that I’d take him out of the Domain of the Falling Stars.”
Hua Mu frowned. “You need to be careful with that man. I hope he won’t cause you trouble and put you in a difficult position. Back when the Lei Clan first came here, they drove the Tool Sect out of the Realm of Unbounded Desolation and destroyed his master’s tombstone. Knowing his personality, I doubt that he’ll let it go so easily.
“If he enters the Void domain, Lei Tianqi is probably going to be the first person he’ll go after.”
Nie Tian smiled bitterly and said, “I see.”
Back when he had followed Zhao Shanling back to his secret base in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation, Zhao Shanling had fumed with fury upon seeing his master’s memorial stele shattered.
Even though the Lei Clan had returned the Realm of Unbounded Desolation to the Tool Sect later, that was most likely not enough to satisfy Zhao Shanling.
The man was a maniac. As a man with no scruples, he probably wouldn’t give anyone face once he gained the strength to kill Lei Tianqi.
“Zhao Shanling is always an X factor.” Hua Mu sighed. “Luckily for us, it won’t be easy to break through into the Void domain, so we don’t need to worry about that potential problem for the time being.”
“How are you handling the Heavenly Demonsbane inside of you, Uncle Hua?” Nie Tian asked abruptly.
Hua Mu’s face grew grim as he answered, “I can still suppress it for now, but it’s destined to be a lifetime problem for me. There doesn’t seem to be a solution to it yet. After all, it has taken root in between my eyebrows, and is growing stronger and stronger. I even have a feeling that the speed at which it grows beats the speed at which I make progress in my cultivation.
“Perhaps the day will eventually come when I’ll be completely possessed, and become its puppet.
“If it comes down to that, I want you to kill me without hesitation, no matter what method you have to use. If you can’t find a way to kill me, do your best to drive me out of the Domain of the Falling Stars and banish me to some Demon realm or other remote area to die."
“I saw an incredibly huge plant wrapped around that continent, Uncle Hua!” Nie Tian went on and explained to Hua Mu, “Its enormous vines seem to be keeping that continent from falling apart. Strangest of all, it seems to have intelligence. It’s just that I haven’t been able to communicate with it yet.”
Hua Mu gasped with astonishment. “A plant with vines that were as huge as mountain ranges!”
He took a deep breath to calm himself before continuing, “I don’t think that’s a Heavenly Demonsbane, but perhaps it’s some other ancient plant though. It’s natural for a plant that huge to have its own spirit. I suppose I can go check it after you take us there, and see if I’ll be able to find a way to get rid of the Heavenly Demonsbane from it.”
Nie Tian smiled bitterly. “I’m afraid that’ll achieve the opposite result. There was this girl from the Bliss Mountain Sect who had a demonic plant growing inside of her, which had two blossoms of completely different colors. She somehow attracted the enormous vines’ attention, and the vines vested the plant inside of her with some mysterious power, which greatly boosted its growth.”
“Huh?!” Hua Mu grew looked astonished and confused.
Looking worried, Nie Tian continued, “I’m afraid that the Heavenly Demonsbane’s growth will accelerate once you go there, and then you’ll...”
After a moment of pondering, Hua Mu said, “Alright, I’ll try to look for that enormous plant you mentioned and that demonic flower in that girl in ancient records and see if I can find any information about them. I’ve no idea what those enormous vines are, but that demonic flower you mentioned does ring a bell.
“I’ll also rethink the matter of me going to that continent. I’ll let you know my decision before you set out.”
Their conversation went on as they talked about the recent changes in the Domain of the Falling Stars.
After that, Hua Mu left, and Nie Tian returned to the bamboo forest.
In the depths of the bamboo forest, Dong Li, Nie Donghai, and Nie Qian were talking and laughing.
A few Nie Clan youngsters were gathered around them. Those young boys and girls seemed to know Dong Li rather well, as they all called her ‘Big Sister Dong’, and from the way they talked to her, Nie Tian could tell that they liked her very much.
Nie Donghai and Nie Qian’s eyes were filled with adoration as they talked to Dong Li, as if they had already taken her as Nie Tian’s wife.
Even though Dong Li had a bad name in other realms, she was apparently very popular among these people from the Nie Clan, young and old.
She would come to talk to Nie Qian and Nie Donghai from time to time. Every time she came, she would even bring gifts for the Nie Clan youngsters, which had clearly won her their favor.
Dong Li’s bright eyes rippled with glorious light as she saw Nie Tian walk in.
“Little Tian, I think you should pay your master a visit as soon as possible,” Nie Donghai said with a serious expression. “You wouldn’t be who you are today without your master. Now that you’re back, you’d better go visit him in the Realm of Flame Heaven as soon as possible. Plus, I once heard Jiang Zhisu say that he’s gotten into some trouble.”
“Yeah, I’d thought of visiting him too,” Nie Tian said.
Nie Donghai nodded. “Good.”
A teleportation portal that led to the Cloudsoaring Sect had been built in the bamboo forest not so long ago.
The Cloudsoaring Sect had provided the necessary spiritual materials and asked Zhen Huilan to build it for them.
Nie Tian turned to Dong Li and said, “Well, I’m going to take a short trip to the Cloudsoaring Sect.”
Dong Li smiled faintly. “Sure, do what you’ve got to do. I’ll stay here until you return.”
The ends of Dong Li’s eyebrows suddenly rose as she said, “I heard that you didn’t come back alone.”
“Umm, yeah. It’s a woman from the Beast-controlling Sect,” Nie Tian explained. “I didn’t trust her enough to leave her on that continent, so I had to bring her back here with me.”
Dong Li smiled, but didn’t say anything.
However, Nie Qian said with a berating tone, “Don’t you dare toy with flowers and grass out there!” (idiom: dally with women)
“What?! No, I didn’t!” Sulking slightly, Nie Tian rapidly walked to the teleportation portal, activated it, and arrived in the Cloudsoaring Sect.
As soon as he walked out of the teleportation portal in the Cloudsoaring Sect, excited cheers caught his ears. “Nie Tian is back!”
He looked around, and discovered that many Cloudsoaring Sect disciples were gathered in this place, and fixing him with feverish, worshiping gazes.
A number of air-transportation spiritual tools were berthed in a further location in the mountain valley. Li Jing from the Blood Sect, Chang Sen from the Hell Sect, and Fang Hui from the Spiritual Treasure Sect were standing there, as if they had been waiting for him.
They hadn’t rushed to the Realm of Split Void earlier to meet him at the first moment like Hua Mu and the other experts had.
They seemed to know that Nie Tian would come visit his master in the Cloudsoaring Sect sooner or later, and thus had been waiting here.
Nie Tian clasped his hands and bowed. “Greetings, seniors.”
“Enough pleasantries.” With these words, Li Jing waved her hand and pointed at the short mountain peak behind Cloudsoaring Mountain. “Your master is going through some trouble. You’d better go take a look now. His true soul seemed to have suffered some damage when he broke through into the Soul realm. We found him some soul-nourishing medicinal ingredients, but none of them seem to be able to help him.”
“Soul-nourishing pills and materials are very hard to find,” Fang Hui said softly. “The ones we found for him were of fairly low grades, so their efficacy didn’t seem to be strong enough.”
“Soul-nourishing...” Nie Tian nodded slightly before summoning the Star Boat and flying towards the back mountain.