After Pei Qiqi left, Nie Tian walked out of his stone room for the first time in seven days.
It was in the middle of the day.
Nie Tian looked up at the fiercely burning sun and noticed that not a single ray of sunlight was able to penetrate the protective shield and shine on Shatter City.
Standing in the courtyard, Nie Tian carefully glanced around for the first time.
There were decorative rocks, creeks, and stone bridges in the spacious courtyard.
Across from the gate of the courtyard was a seven-story stone pavilion, which was noticeably higher than the other pavilions beside it.
The stone pavilion was Pei Qiqi and Li Ye’s master’s residence. According to Pei Qiqi and Li Ye, their master spent most of her time practicing in secluded cultivation, and when she wasn’t cultivating in her residence, she was fond of traveling to other places.
When Hua Mu had brought Nie Tian here, their master had been in her residence, but she had left Shatter City when the three of them had gone on their exploration trip to the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
To the left and right of the seven-story stone pavilion, two five-story stone pavilions sat on either side of the courtyard.
They were the residences of Pei Qiqi and Li Ye, their master’s only two disciples.
To either side of the two five-story stone pavilions sat a few stone bungalows, each of which was very similar to Nie Tian’s residence.
Standing in the middle of the courtyard, Nie Tian unleashed his psychic awareness to scan the vicinity, and discovered seven life auras other than Pei Qiqi’s, Li Ye’s, and his own.
According to Nie Tian’s speculation, those seven people should be Pei Qiqi and Li Ye’s helpers. They probably did chores for those two to get spirit stones.
With a thought, he formed a Heaven Eye with a wisp of power from the fragmentary stars in his soul, via which he began to carefully examine the seven people’s life auras.
Nie Tian’s expression flickered. “Five of them are at the Heaven stage, and two of them are at the Greater Heaven stage!”
He never expected that everyone who worked for Li Ye and Pei Qiqi had cultivation bases higher than his, much less that two of them had cultivation bases higher than Pei Qiqi’s.
His new findings shocked him.
Afterwards, Nie Tian walked to the five-story stone pavilion where Li Ye lived. After a loud call, he heard Li Ye rush down to the first floor and open the gate.
“Why are you here?” Li Ye’s hair was messy and his face was covered in ash. It seemed that he had been working on something.
Over Li Ye’s shoulder, Nie Tian saw a woman with a plump figure standing behind Li Ye. She was wearing blue garments and looking Nie Tian up and down with a measuring gaze.
Her name was Hu Han, a middle Greater Heaven stage equipment forger. She had been living in Shatter City for many years.
The fact that she was willing to lower herself and do things for Li Ye was obviously not because he had a superior cultivation base.
What she had actually set her mind on were the equipment forging skills Li Ye had learned from his master. She hoped that she would receive enlightenment while she worked for him as an assistant.
She had been working for Li Ye for a year, and thus had heard of Nie Tian.
Before Li Ye, Pei Qiqi, and Nie Tian had gone to the Void Illusion Mountain Range, she had heard Li Ye talk about Nie Tian occasionally, but he had never said a single kind word about him.
However, recently, whenever Li Ye mentioned Nie Tian, his attitude had been completely different, praising Nie Tian as a talented young man.
The change in Li Ye’s attitude had made Hu Han very curious. Therefore, now that she finally got to meet Nie Tian, she couldn’t help but measure him up and down. When she found out that Nie Tian was only at the Lesser Heaven stage, she grew even more curious.
Nie Tian didn’t step through the door. Instead, he asked, standing at the door, “Li Ye, does the Blood Skull have rooms dedicated to cultivation?”
Li Ye went blank for a moment and said, “Yeah, they do. Why? You want to rent one for yourself? There are only a few of them, and they are very expensive.
“Considering your Lesser Heaven cultivation base, you can use the lowest-level one, the rent of which is five spirit stones for an hour.
“That’s more than one hundred spirit stones for a day. It’s a very fast way to spend your spirit stones.”
At that moment, Li Ye suddenly seemed to come to some realization and asked, “Did senior martial sister give you your spirit stones?”
Smiling, Nie Tian nodded in reply.
“Oh, so that’s how it is,” Li Ye said. “If that’s the case, you’ll be fine. With that big of a fortune in your hands, you’ll be able to last quite some time.”
Hu Han seemed a bit surprised. “This guy wants to rent a cultivation room from the Blood Skull after making a big fortune?” After all, she still remembered that Li Ye had told her, only a few days ago, that Nie Tian had been cutting Blackbound Wood for him in order to get one spirit stone in return for several days of hard work.
She couldn’t understand how he had managed to make a great fortune in such a short time.
She had been living in Shatter City for years, and she had been working for Li Ye for quite some time. However, the spirit stones she had earned working for him were very humble, so much so that she constantly had to worry about her income and life in Shatter City.
The fact that Nie Tian had already become rich enough to rent a cultivation room from the Blood Skull made her extremely envious.
“Yeah,” Nie Tian answered. “I feel that I’m improving far too slowly, and I want to see if renting a cultivation room will change that.”
“Sure.” Li Ye wet his hands in a basin next to him and ran them through his messy hair to fix it, before turning to Hu Han and ordering, “I’ll go with him for a few hours. You take over while I’m gone.”
He didn’t wait for Hu Han to say anything and led Nie Tian away as they strode towards the Blood Skull’s headquarters.
Confusion was written all over Hu Han’s face. After all, Li Ye, who had always bossed her around, had never attached much importance to her.
However, Nie Tian was only at the Lesser Heaven stage, and didn’t know a single thing about equipment forging. It was very unlikely that he had provided Li Ye with enormous help, yet Li Ye was much warmer towards him.
Hu Han couldn’t figure out the reason.
On their way to the Blood Skull’s headquarters, Nie Tian couldn’t help but ask, “That woman seems to be at the Greater Heaven stage. Does she really work for you, just like I did?”
Li Ye held his head high as he said nonchalantly, “Yeah, so? In Shatter City, there are so many Greater Heaven stage cultivators like her. That’s nothing unusual. She knows something about equipment forging, but her methods and techniques are garbage in my eyes.
“My master won’t even lay her eyes on an equipment forger like her, and neither will I.”
Li Ye’s arrogance puzzled Nie Tian. “You’re merely at the middle Heaven stage. What right do you have to look down on her?”
“Hahaha!” Li Ye grinned and laughed. “We equipment forgers aren’t rated according to our cultivation bases. You don’t understand. She learns a lot from me by working for me. Why else do you think she’s insisted on staying even when I wanted her to leave?”
“What? Really?” Nie Tian was increasingly astounded.
Li Ye gave a snort and said, “Of course! There’s long line of equipment forgers waiting to work for me. The second she leaves, people will come and beat down my door.”
“Wow, I didn’t know you were so good!” Nie Tian said with a surprised tone.
Li Ye grew more animated as he said proudly, “I’m destined to become a Spirit Channeling grade equipment forger one day! If I’m lucky, I might be able to forge a spiritual tool that lives on long after I’m gone! People like me are god-chosen. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I’ll shine gloriously.
“As for Hu Han, she’ll probably end up being a Premium grade equipment forger if she works hard enough for the rest of her life. How can she compare herself to me!?”
Li Ye talked big as the two of them walked to the gate of the Blood Skull’s headquarters in Shatter City.
It held a courtyard more than ten times larger than where Nie Tian lived, within which a number of ten-story stone pavilions were scattered in several different regions.
All the guards at the main gate were Greater Heaven stage experts.
Numerous Blood Skull members and Qi warriors from Shatter City were chatting with one another as they entered and left through the main gate.
“Let’s go. I’ll show you to the part where the cultivation rooms are.” Li Ye dragged Nie Tian as they approached the main gate.
It seemed that all the Blood Skull guards knew Li Ye. The moment they saw him, they stepped forward to greet him with smiles on their faces.
However, Nie Tian noticed that right before they caught sight of Li Ye, every one of them had been wearing a cold and gruesome expression.
Every time someone had wished to pass through the gate, they would examine them without giving them any face.
There was a great contrast between how they treated those people and how they treated Li Ye.
Then, as the two of them walked though the main gate, numerous fierce-looking men of Shatter City approached with warm smiles and greeted Li Ye as if they were very close.
“Hahaha, long time no see, Lord Li!”
“How’s your master doing?”
Apparently, they knew what Li Ye liked to hear. Even though they were all much older and had higher cultivation bases than Li Ye, they called him Lord Li to flatter him.
Li Ye exchanged some pleasantries with some of them as they walked through the crowd in the courtyard.
After Li Ye and Nie Tian were gone, everyone fell into an uproar.
“Who’s that kid with him?”
“I don’t think I’ve seen him before.”
“No, I’ve never seen that kid in Shatter City before. He’s definitely not from here.”