In the Realm of Split Void…
In the center of Shatter City, numerous human Qi warriors were gathered by the side of large inter-spatial teleportation portal.
Every once in awhile, the portal would emanate bright light, and human figures would gradually became clear in its center, after which a black-garbed Qi warriors would walk up to them and demand spirit stones.
The amount of the spirit stones would depend on the distance of the teleportation, but the deal was that everyone needed to pay in spirit stones to use the portal, whoever it was.
Other than that, those who came to Shatter City for the first time would need to get a identity medallion, within which the time that they were allowed to stay in the city was marked.
The portal began to shine with misty, bright light. When the dazzling light faded away, Nie Tian and Hua Mu slowly walked out of the portal.
At that moment, a Qi warrior in black garb rapidly approached them.
“Three hundred spirit stones,” The person said indifferently.
Hua Mu nodded, not saying a word. Then he took out three hundred spirit stones from his ring of holding and handed them over to the person.
Nie Tian secretly used his psychic awareness to wrap a bit of the light of the fragmentary stars in his soul, and then used this Heaven Eye to pry into the person’s cultivation base. As it turned out, he was at the early Greater Heaven stage.
A bloody-red skull was embroidered on the man’s chest, which seemed to serve as a sigil of his identity.
Nie Tian glanced around and found that every black-robed Qi warrior around him had the same skull pattern on their chest. Apparently, they were from the same force.
The man stared coldly at Nie Tian. “This one doesn’t have an identity medallion.”
Just as Hua Mu was about to say something, a Qi warrior suddenly rushed into the teleportation portal, which was now lit up again and already had three people standing inside.
Those three seemed to have paid in full to leave the place, but the one of them didn’t.
Before he could even get a firm foothold on the portal, a burly, black-robed man stepped over, grabbed his head with one hand, and dragged him out of it. It seemed as if he was picking up a chicken.
“Your identity medallion has expired,” The burly man said with an indifferent expression on his face. “You can either extend your stay with more spirit stones, or pay for the teleportation service with spirit stones so you can leave.”
“I don’t have any spirit stones. Please, let me leave.” The poor man pleaded.
“Alright. Since you don’t have any spirit stones, I’ll have to let you leave Shatter City.” The black-robed man grabbed the poor man and picked him up from the ground as numerous threads of lightning shot out of his sturdy hand. Like chains, they wrapped the poor man so tightly that he couldn’t even struggle any more.
“No! I don’t want to leave the city! I want to use the portal to leave the Realm of Split Void! Please!” The poor man begged and cried.
The black-robed man grinned sinisterly. “Do you think we Blood Skulls will let people use the portal for free? Since you dared to come here, you should know the rules. If you don’t have any spirit stones, you’ll rot out there.”
With these words, the black-robed man dragged the person towards the gate of Shatter City, completely deaf to his screams.
From the way he screamed, Nie Tian realized that being kicked out of the city meant nothing but death.
Nie Tian turned to Hua Mu and asked, “What’s outside of Shatter City?”
Hua Mu pointed up. Nie Tian looked up and found that the entire city was enveloped by an enormous light shield, which seemed to be shimmering with faint spiritual power.
“There are two upsides to staying inside of Shatter City; first of all, you won’t need to continuously spend spiritual power to resist the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth. Second of all, fighting is prohibited in Shatter City. Whoever has paid for their stay will be given an identity medallion and receive protection from the Blood Skulls while they are in the city.
“However, once they are out of the city, the Blood Skulls will protect no one. They can kill and loot all they want.
“A bunch of extremely violent and vicious people always lurk outside of Shatter City, waiting for people to walk through the city gate. If they think they can take the person, they will instantly jump on him and kill him.”
As he explained this to Nie Tian, Hua Mu handed a few spirit stones to another black-robed man to apply for an identity medallion for Nie Tian.
After receiving a triangular identity medallion from the Blood Skull member, Hua Mu shoved it into Nie Tian’s hands. “Here. This identity medallion is yours now. You can infuse it with a wisp of your psychic awareness.”
Nie Tian did as he was bid and sent a wisp of his psychic awareness into the identity medallion, where he saw an exquisite spell formation with ninety light dots floating inside it.
The moment his psychic awareness flew into the spell formation, it was seized by an unknown force.
Then, he found that one of the ninety light dots had already started to shimmer, as if it were spending power to keep the wisp of his psychic awareness within the spell formation.
“Those ninety light dots represent the time you’ve bought in Shatter City.” Hua Mu explained. “For every day that passes, one light dot will die out. In ninety days, all the light dots will vanish, and the wisp of your psychic awareness will dissipate with them.
“That will means that your allowed time is up.
“If you wish to continue to stay in Shatter City, you’ll have to pay spirit stones to get more time from the Blood Skulls.
“One spirit stone for one day.
“Of course, if you want to use the inter-spatial teleportation portal to leave the Realm of Split Void, you’ll have to prepare more spirit stones.”
As they spoke, Hua Mu led Nie Tian away from the portal.
“The psychic awareness in every identity medallion is unique. So even if you kill someone, you won’t be able to take away their time and add it to yours.
“Plus, as soon as the owner of the identity medallion is dead, the psychic awareness in the identity medallion will vanish, and the light dots along with it.
“The reason why the Blood Skulls are doing this is because they can get more spirit stones this way.”
“Ninety light dots stand for ninety days,” Nie Tian muttered to himself. “That means I have three months.”
“Exactly. You have three months in your identity medallion.” Hua Mu looked at him with an measuring gaze and asked, “How many spirit stones do you have in your bracelet of holding?”
After a brief examination, Nie Tian replied, “A little more than three hundred.”
Those spirit stones were either bestowed upon him by Wu Ji or looted from foreign cultivators during the Heaven Gate trial.
When he had parted with Li Fan, he had given him the majority of the spirit stones and cultivation materials he had looted during the Heaven Gate trial for him to take back to the Cloudsoaring Sect as payback.
After all, he had learned that, at that time, the Cloudsoaring Sect had been under siege, and Li Jing would never let him return to the Cloudsoaring Sect. That was the only way he could make his contribution.
As of now, he only had three hundred spirit stones, a handful of Blood Pills, a few Flame Crystals, and the Flame Dragon Armor in his bracelet of holding.
If he had known that he would have to leave the Realm of Flame Heaven and come to a place where he could only buy his stay with spirit stones, he would have never been so generous.
“A little more than three hundred?” Hua Mu rubbed his chin and pondered for a while before taking out three translucent stones. He handed them to Nie Tian and said, “These are spirit jades. Each one of them is worth one hundred spirit stones in the other realms. However, in Shatter City, the Blood Skulls will only give you ninety spirit stones for one of them.”
Nie Tian rubbed them with his hands and sensed that the spiritual energy they contained was indeed a hundred times richer than spirit stones.
Hua Mu noticed his wonder, and thus explained to him, “Spirit stones, spirit jades, and spirit crystals are the main currency that we Qi warriors use. Spirit stones usually exist close to the surface; spirit jades can be found in deeper parts, while spirit crystals can only be mined from the heart of the earth.
“One spirit crystal is worth a hundred spirit jades, and one spirit jade is worth a hundred spirit stones.”
As they continued to walk, Hua Mu explained the value and nature of the three major types of materials that contained spiritual energy to Nie Tian in detail.
“Those spirit jades are for you to break through into the Heaven stage. Don’t use them on anything else unless you have to.
“You’ve probably noticed yourself that the light shield can only stop the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth from entering the city, but it can’t purge it and turn it into usable spiritual Qi.
“So you’ll have to use spirit stones in your future cultivation.
“You’ll need copious amounts of spiritual energy when you make the breakthrough. I reckon three spirit jades will be enough.
“You can use your spirit stones to practice cultivation. But the amount you have is far from enough. You need to come up with ways to earn more, because only in that way will you last in Shatter City.
“From now on, you won’t have a clan or a sect to rely on, and you’ll have to make your own living. This is also part of the reason I brought you here.”
They talked and walked before coming to a stop in front of a sizable residence, and then Hua Mu said, “We’re here. This is the place I’ve arranged for you to work in.”