The fat young man’s name was Li Ye. He showed Nie Tian to a remote stone room and took out an earthen jar of hard liquor from his ring of holding.
He drank in large gulps as he explained the situation in the Realm of Split Void to Nie Tian. It wasn’t long before his cheeks turned red and he seemed rather drunk.
Even still, he talked consistently, and everything he said made good sense to Nie Tian.
While listening to him, Nie Tian secretly used his Heaven Eye to examine Li Zhi’s cultivation base.
“He’s in the late Heaven stage and his cultivation attribute is fire!” Nie Tian was taken aback.
From what he could tell, Li Ye was roughly his age. Although he hadn’t progressed very fast when he had been in the Nie clan, his cultivation had advanced by leaps and bounds ever since he had learned the secrets of the Blood Core and participated in the Green Illusion dimension trial.
As of now, he was already at the late Lesser Heaven stage, higher than Yu Tong, Jiang Lingzhu, and his other peers from the seven sects.
He was even as strong as the top young disciples from the Hell Sect, if not stronger.
He had thought that reaching the late Lesser Heaven stage at his age was already a great achievement.
Never had he imagined that Li Ye, who was just around his age and had been cultivating in such a poor environment, would be at the late Heaven stage.
“Ring of holding!” Then, he soon came to notice that Li Ye was wearing a ring of holding instead of a bracelet of holding, which was cheaper and more common.
Ever since he had attended the Treasure Convention in the Spiritual Treasure Sect, he had learned that the value of a ring of holding would go far beyond a bracelet of holding.
Since a ring of holding was smaller in size than a bracelet of holding, yet its storage room was larger, the process of forging a ring of holding was much more difficult.
This made their price several times or even more than ten times higher than a bracelet of holding.
That was also why only young disciples like Jiang Lingzhu and Yu Tong, who were the core disciples of their sects in the Realm of Flame Heaven, were qualified to use a ring of holding.
Normally, only cultivators at the Worldly realm or higher would have accumulated a large enough fortune to purchase one of them.
The fact that Li Ye possessed such a valuable ring of holding even though he was quite young made Nie Tian increasingly curious.
As more liquor went down Li Ye’s throat, he became increasingly animated while he went on about the situation in the Realm of Split Void. Two hours later, he rose to his feet and staggered toward the door, saying, “Have a good sleep. I’ll come for you in the morning.” With these words, he stepped through the door while taking another jar of liquor from his ring of holding and starting to gulp it down.
Watching Li Ye wobbling away, Nie Tian frowned in silence, sorting through the information that Li Ye had poured onto him.
According to Li Ye, once upon a time, the Realm of Split Void used to be a very powerful realm in the Domain of the Falling Stars, even stronger than the current Realm of Mystic Heaven.
There was a special place in the Realm of Split Void, the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
It was in the central area of the Realm of Split Void. Its vast land area, copious spiritual and material resources, and rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth had once made it very popular among Qi warriors.
However, none of these made the Void Illusion Mountain Range unique.
What had made it known throughout the Domain of the Falling Stars was that there was a huge space disruption zone in the mountain range.
The space disruption zone was very unstable. Every once in awhile, numerous spatial rifts that led to unknown dimensions would appear within it, however they would constantly shift their positions throughout the mountain range. They never remained in one position for more than one day.
Some of them led to realms ruled by powerful outsiders, while others led to completely unexplored heavens and earths; on many occasions, they led to lands where danger lurked at every corner.
The Void Illusion Mountain Range attracted powerful experts from all over the Domain of the Falling Stars to come and explore. One after another, they went through those spatial rifts to unknown dimensions, but not every one of them returned.
Only a handful of them returned after successfully discovering brand-new dimensions and then extending their sects’ influence to them, resulting in their obtaining cultivating resources richer than they had imagined.
According to him, most of the dimensions affiliated with the nine realms of the Domain of the Falling Stars had been initially discovered through the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Afterwards, they had set up teleportation portals to facilitate travel between their own sects and the dimensions they found.
For example, the Green Illusion dimension had been discovered by a powerful expert from the Spiritual Treasure Sect who had gone through one of the spatial rifts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
The uniqueness of the Void Illusion Mountain Range made the Realm of Split Void the most popular realm in the Domain of the Falling Stars. An unending stream of powerful experts poured into the mountain range to try out their luck.
As the result, one of the most powerful Qi warrior sects in that era took root and flourished in the Realm of Split Void: the Void Palace Sect.
The Void Palace Sect had been considered as powerful as the Heaven Palace Sect in the Realm of Mystic Heaven. It even once overshadowed the Heaven Palace sect during its prime.
Through the spatial rifts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range, the Void Palace Sect discovered quite a few unexplored realms where they had looted countless cultivation resources, making them richer than any other sect in the Domain of the Falling Stars.
As the Void Palace Sect thrived, numerous talented youngsters from throughout the domain flooded in, hoping to join the sect; plenty of foreign, renowned experts also came knocking on their door and expressed their willingness to be nothing more than a guest elder.
However, just as they were in the middle of their prime, their powerful Qi warriors discovered a dimension where the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth was far richer, and the landmass was far vaster than the Realm of Split Void.
It wasn’t long before they decided to send out all their best Qi warriors to explore that new dimension.
Without any delay, their most powerful experts set out for the foreign dimension one after another, the place where unexplored spirit mines were supposed to be everywhere.
However, none of them ever returned. No one knew what had happened to them.
The mysterious spatial rift in the Void Illusion Mountain Range that led to that dimension also soon disappeared.
The Void Palace sect’s overnight collapse put the Realm of Split Void in utter chaos that lasted for decades. Until one day, when numerous sizable spatial rifts suddenly opened up in the Void Illusion Mountain Range and began to leak tainted spiritual Qi that was poisonous to human Qi warriors.
With one whiff of it, common people would lose their mind and go mad.
As more of the poisonous Qi poured into the Realm of Split Void, a significant amount of mortal residents died, along with numerous plants and spirit beasts.
As time passed, even powerful Qi warriors began to find the environment of the Realm of Split Void hard to endure, and thus evacuated.
It wasn’t long before only three settlements remained in the realm: Shatter City, the Land of the Abandoned, and Ash City.
All three of them relied on grand spell formations that were powered by massive amounts of spirit stones to keep the poisonous Qi out.
Once Qi warriors left these places and exposed themselves to the tainted spiritual Qi, they would have to spend great effort to resist its erosion.
Therefore, few powerful experts were willing to risk their lives to explore the Void Illusion Mountain Range, and even fewer returned with valuable findings.
Nine out of ten who were willing to try their fortune in the Void Illusion Mountain Range never returned, and among those who somehow made it back alive, the majority returned empty-handed.
Only a handful were able to bring back valuable information or resources.
The decline of the Void Palace Sect and the harsh environment of the Realm of Split Void made the once-prosperous Realm of Split Void rapidly hit rock bottom.
Since it was no longer fit for Qi warriors to live and cultivate in, it was soon abandoned by the other nine realms, and its name was removed from the Domain of the Falling Stars.
After that, the current Realm of Split Void became the place where Qi warriors who were driven out of their own realm gathered.
Some of them had committed serious crimes in their own realms and were wanted everywhere, which made the Realm of Split Void the only place they could stay off the radar and start a new life, if they were lucky.
Others were kicked out their sects and realms because they cultivated spiritual incantations and secret magics that were extremely evil or dangerous. By coming to the Realm of Split Void, they were able to continue with their experiments.
Those were the kinds of people who took shelter in Shatter City, the Land of the Abandoned, and Ash City.
In those settlements, three forces gradually came to power: the Blood Skull, the Wild Fire, and the Dark Moon.
The Blood Skull took Shatter City, the Wild Fire controlled Ash City, and the Dark Moon seized the Land of the Abandoned.
Technically, none of those forces were Qi warrior sects, but rather companies of powerful outlaws. Perhaps that was why their names seemed rather casual.
None of them would take in youngsters with low cultivation bases and temper them.
Instead, they would only take in members who were already strong.
The three forces’ main duty was to keep order in Shatter City, the Land of the Abandoned, and Ash City. As long as no riots broke out, they would have a consistent spirit stone income.
From time to time, they would also go on missions to root out dangerous bandits who wandered in the wasteland outside the settlements.
Meanwhile, conflicts between the three forces also broke out occasionally. Whenever that happened, their members would always spare no effort to fight.
After all, as long as their own side stood victorious in the end, they could continue to live in their territory without paying anything, and the contributions they made on battlefield would also be rewarded with cultivation materials, such as spirit stones, medicinal pills, and spiritual tools.
Sometimes, they would even arrange for fearless members to enter the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Those who volunteered to go would also be given handsome rewards.
Whenever they discovered a new dimension, they would either explore it themselves, or set up portals and sell them to powerful Qi warrior sects from the other nine realms, obtaining substantial fortunes in return.
Of course, it had become extremely difficult for people to discover new dimensions ever since the great upheaval in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Very few people could return alive, and even if they did, they would come back empty-handed and covered in wounds.
“The Realm of Split Void, the Void Illusion Mountain Range, and the once-most powerful Void Palace Sect.” Nie Tian muttered to himself as he pondered everything Li Ye had told him about this tenth realm of the Domain of the Falling Stars. For some unknown reason, he grew increasingly fascinated with it.