“Let’s do this.” Upon seeing that Pei Qiqi had headed out, the fat Li Ye took out a bracelet from his ring of holding. He handed it to Nie Tian and said, “Put it on.”
Flickering light could be seen inside the light-green jade bracelet. The moment Nie Tian grabbed it, a green light shield that looked like a layer of lake water spread out and enveloped him.
Li Ye took out another bracelet that looked exactly the same and wore it on his wrist. He was surrounded by a green light shield in the next moment.
At that time, Li Ye said with a serious tone, “I’ll take the jade bracelet back when we return to Shatter City.”
Nie Tian smiled. “I understand.”
He used a wisp of his psychic awareness to examine the jade bracelet, and discovered that a mysterious spell formation was branded within it, which was constantly drawing power from the bracelet to maintain the misty, green light shield.
From what Nie Tian could tell, it must serve the purpose of keeping the polluted spiritual Qi in the Void Illusion Mountain Range away from him.
“Alright, we’re good to go.” Li Ye walked out of the stone cave and stood within a crevice that was halfway up the mountain.
Nie Tian followed him out of the cave.
The moment Nie Tian left the cave, he noticed that wisps of green aura rose from the outer surface of the green light shield, whereupon they made contact with the polluted spiritual Qi.
Without putting too much thought into it, Nie Tian followed Li Ye as they rapidly went down a craggy stone path to the foot of the mountain.
Pei Qiqi was already waiting there.
After coming to a stop, Nie Tian released his psychic awareness to scan the vicinity.
He didn’t discover any signs of life within five hundred meters around him, which was the limit of his psychic power.
He stretched his sight as far as he could, but pale-white rubble and oddly-shaped rocks were all he could see.
When he looked up, he saw nothing but a few spatial rifts slithering in the sky.
From the look of it, they were moving without following any pattern. When they swam close enough to make contact with the mountain, they gashed the mountain like it was a piece of tofu.
That was when Nie Tian realized that the numerous crevices on the mountain had formed in this way.
Nie Tian’s expression flickered. “Something is wrong!”
He hadn’t been able to get a clear view at the waist of the mountain, but now that he was standing at the mountain’s base, he looked up and realized that the mountain peak must have been more than a thousand meters high.
He took note that the peak of the mountain was as smooth as a mirror.
As he thought about what the slithering spatial rifts could do, he realized that it must have been cut short by one of the rifts.
The mountain he saw now was probably only half the height of what it used to be, or maybe even less.
Just as he was pondering the matter, Li Ye’s warning woke him from his daze. “Hua Tian, stay close! Don’t get separated from us! Also, don’t try to use your psychic awareness to examine those spatial rifts. Stay as far away from them as you can. You never know what’s going to shoot out of them in the next second, but you should know that whatever comes out of them will kill you the moment it makes contact with you, considering your cultivation base!”
Li Ye’s words made Nie Tian feel as if he were going to face deadly enemies on the battlefield. He nodded nervously and said, “Don’t worry. I’m not looking forward to dying so young. From now on, wherever you go, I go.”
“That’s the smart thing to do.” Li Ye appraised.
Then, under Pei Qiqi’s leadership, the three of them began marching tightly together through the field of rubble.
As they traveled forward, Pei Qiqi could always skillfully steer clear of the spatial rifts floating low above them. On several occasions, she even seemed to march straight toward a spatial rift, making Nie Tian’s heart pound with nervousness, but when they drew near, the spatial rift would swim away for some unknown reason.
It appeared that she could anticipate the patterns that the spatial rifts moved in and act accordingly.
This ability of hers alone gave her great advantages while traveling in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. If they were to be involved in a battle, such an ability would undoubtedly give her the upper hand.
After marching for a long while, Nie Tian started to see numerous pale-gray skeletons in the cracks between the rocks along their path.
The majority of them seemed to belong to humans, with a small proportion seeming to belong to sizable spirit beasts.
Nie Tian turned to Li Ye and asked, “Didn’t you say that there were no longer spirit beasts in the Realm of Split Void?”
Li Ye, who seemed bored by the journey, answered, “Most of the spirit beasts died because they couldn’t adapt to the terrible living conditions in the Realm of Split Void. However, very few of them somehow managed to survive the hostile environment. Not only that, they even developed the ability to draw power from the tainted spiritual Qi in the air and use it to practice cultivation.
“Those mutant spirit beasts turned out to be much more powerful than they were before.
“Remember, you have to be extra careful if you ever run into a spirit beast in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Most of the poor guys who died here were either killed by spatial rifts or torn to shreds by those formidable spirit beasts.
“Many of them never even got the chance to explore any of the spatial rifts.”
“The strong prey on the weak, and the fittest survive.” Nie Tian muttered to himself. “It seems that those laws are especially true here.”
The two of them talked while marching forward.
Li Ye took his time to answer every question that Nie Tian asked.
After a short while, Pei Qiqi, who had been walking in the forefront by herself the entire time, suddenly came to a stop.
Li Ye walked up to her and asked, “Is something wrong, Senior Martial Sister?”
Brow furrowed, Pei Qiqi beckoned for Li Ye and Nie Tian to stop talking. “I smell blood,” she said. In the next moment, her ocean-blue figure blurred into a flash, and rapidly disappeared into the distance.
“Come on! Let’s go and see what’s going on!” Li Ye sounded quite excited as he sped off after Pei Qiqi.
Nie Tian chased after him.
It wasn’t very long before the two of them stopped behind an enormous rock where three bodies were lying on the ground. From the fresh bloodstains on them, they could tell that a bloody battle had just taken place there.
All three of them had a pattern of a meteor with a blazing tail on their garments. Apparently, they were with the Wild Fire, which controlled Ash City.
“Pei Qiqi!” A man’s cry rang out from a position not far from them. Extreme terror could be heard in the man’s voice.
Upon hearing the cry, Nie Tian and Li Ye rushed to the source of the sound, where they saw a Qi warrior, who had a gray, crescent moon pattern on his garments, pinned to a big rock by four sharp swords, one in each limb.
Pei Qiqi was standing in front of him and staring at him with a cold look in her eyes.
From the look of it, those four swords belonged to Pei Qiqi, and a brief battle had broken out between them before Nie Tian and Li Ye had arrived.
Nie Tian used his psychic awareness to examine the man’s cultivation base, and found that he was in the late Heaven stage, just like Li Ye.
“Pei Qiqi! As long as you spare my life, I’ll give you a very valuable piece of information!” The way the man looked at Pei Qiqi was as if he was looking at a demon. He pleaded, “I swear that the information is worth much more to you than my life!”
“Okay, spill it,” Pei Qiqi said indifferently.
“You’ll have to promise me that you’ll spare my life first!” The man stared straight into Pei Qiqi’s eyes.
Pei Qiqi nodded in reply.
The man was very emotional as he said, “The Wild Fire just discovered a spirit jade mine not far from here. Although it seems that someone has mined it before, it’s still quite rich! I know that you need spirit jades, since they are very rare and indispensable if you want to build teleportation portals.”
“I’ll tell you the location of the mine, and you’ll let me off, okay?”
Pei Qiqi shook her head. “No.”
In the next moment, the four swords that pinned him down on the rock suddenly flew into the air, before they whizzed down toward the man’s heart and neck.
“Pei Qiqi, you devil! You promised that you’d let me live!” The man’s miserable wails filled the air.
“Can’t believe you trusted a woman.” Pei Qiqi twitched her mouth as she watched the four swords pierce into the man’s heart and neck. After the man stopped breathing, she said, “Also, your information is worth nothing to me.”
Then, the four swords withdrew from the poor man and flew back into Pei Qiqi’s ring of holding without a single bloodstain on them.
“You’re here already.” She turned around and saw Nie Tian and Li Ye.
“Yes, Senior Martial Sister. We just arrived.” Li Ye said.
Looking at Pei Qiqi’s peerlessly beautiful face, a sense of coldness ran through Nie Tian’s body, even though he maintained a calm face.
“Wait for me here.” Pei Qiqi turned around and crouched down. She grabbed her victim’s bracelet of holding and thoroughly examined it for valuable items.
From the way she skillfully looted the man’s belongings, Nie Tian could tell that she had done the same thing to god knows how many people.
By this point, Nie Tian felt that he had come to a better understanding of the girl in front of him, which added to the reason why the outlaws in Shatter City had behaved and humbled themselves while facing Pei Qiqi.
“Looting the dead…” Nie Tian’s eyes lit up as he suddenly thought of the three dead Wild Fire members that he had seen on his way to this place.
Since he was in desperate need of spirit stones, he took the initiative to turn around with the intention to hurry back and search those bodies for valuable items.
Pei Qiqi, who was still searching the dead man up and down, realized what Nie Tian’s intentions were without even needing to turn her head around, and thus said, “It’ll be a waste of your time. I saw those bodies too. Do you think I would leave out valuable things?”
After hearing her words, Nie Tian went blank for a moment before he sped off anyways, since he didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to loot anything, no matter how little their value.
“Moron…” Pei Qiqi muttered.
“Apparently, he isn’t familiar with the way you do things.” Li Ye remained in his original place, as if he knew what the result would be, and was waiting to taunt Nie Tian when he returned.
As expected, Nie Tian returned in a short while, empty-handed and dispirited.
“Well…?” Li Ye asked with a smirking face.
Nie Tian’s face looked very grim as he shook his head and said, “She really did take everything. I couldn’t even find one spirit stone.”
“Hahaha. That’s what I thought.” Li Ye laughed broadly. “Now you know why senior martial sister beat us here. I’ve worked for her for so many years, and that’s how I learned her way of doing things.”
“Let’s go.” Pei Qiqi urged impatiently, as she seemed to think that Nie Tian was wasting her time.