The Blood Skull’s headquarters was the the largest trading center in Shatter City, where people could sell or purchase spirit stones, spiritual materials, spiritual tools, and spiritual incantation scrolls.
Those people whose identity medallion was about to run out of time could also come here to lengthen their allowed stay with spirit stones.
Other than that, the Blood Skull also had eight cultivation rooms set up in their headquarters.
They were designed for cultivators with different cultivation bases; two for each of the Lesser Heaven stage, the Heaven stage, the Greater Heaven stage, and the Worldly realm.
All the rooms were located in a four-story stone pavilion, with two on each floor. The first floor was where the Lesser Heaven stage cultivation rooms were located, and the cultivation rooms designed for Worldly realm Qi warriors were on the top floor.
The moment Li Ye led Nie Tian to the front gate of the stone pavilion, Nie Tian’s ears were caught by an uproar from behind. He turned around and found that a dead body was being carried out of the stone pavilion across the street.
A number of Qi warriors were gathered in front of that stone pavilion, each of whom had a ferocious look in their eyes and a strong killing aura around them.
As soon as they saw a body was carried out of the establishment by a cold-faced member of the Blood Skull, they clamored to get inside.
Not far from them, a few Blood Skull members were sitting behind a dilapidated stone table, beckoning for people gathered around them to place their bets.
Numerous spirit stones were piling up on the stone table, which apparently were the bets being placed.
Upon seeing this scene, Nie Tian asked, “What’s going on over there?”
Li Ye followed Nie Tian’s gaze and realized what Nie Tian was looking at. Then he said, “Oh, that’s the Blood Fighting Pit. Fights are forbidden in any part of the city. Those who are in violation of this rule will be thrown out of the city, or even worse, killed on the spot by the Blood Skull.
“The Blood Fighting Pit is the only exception.
“Those who hold deep hatreds against each other can apply to fight in the Blood Fighting Pit, where they are allowed to kill their opponents.
“Of course, whoever applies to fight in the Blood Fighting Pit will have to pay the Blood Skull with spirit stones. Only when the Blood Skull are paid in full will they permit them to fight each other to death within the pit.
“Wherever there are fights, there are gamblers. The Blood Skull is the banker, and they allow anyone to take part in the gamble. If they bet on the right fighter, they will get spirit stones several times the amount they put in, but if they bet on the wrong fighter, they will lose every bit of their wager.”
While Li Ye explained, a late Heaven stage expert walked out of the Blood Fighting Pit covered in blood.
Since he was walking with his chin up and his chest out, he must have won.
The moment he walked out, all those who had placed their bets on him burst into cheers, but those who had bet against him glowered at him, as if they planned to kill him the moment he stepped out of the city.
The man didn’t even clean up his wounds before he rapidly collected the spirit stones he had won and left.
Immediately afterwards, two Qi warriors who had been waiting were led into the Blood Fighting Pit by a member of the Blood Skull to start the next match.
“People die in the Blood Fighting Pit every day, don’t they?” Nie Tian asked.
“Yeah, you’re right. There are always men who can’t find better things to do than fight others to the death. Some of the fighters started their feuds in the Void Illusion Mountain Range and didn’t want to fight outside the city, since there might be others lurking in dark corners, waiting to jump in and kill whoever wins.” Li Ye’s face was filled with disgust as he explained.
“So they’ll usually choose to fight in the Blood Fighting Pit. Those kinds of people come in and die everyday.
“Let’s go. It’s nothing but a bunch of people who are strong in the back and weak in the brain winning money for the the Blood Skull. There’s nothing to see.”
Li Ye urged Nie Tian to follow him into the four-story stone pavilion.
The moment they went in, a member of the Blood Skull stepped over and said, “Wow, what brings you here, Lord Li?”
Almost every member of the Blood Skull knew him, and the fact that, rather than his own cultivation base, he was more infatuated with equipment forging.
Over the years, they had never known Li Ye to use one of the cultivation rooms, so they were all very surprised to see him here.
“I’m not here to rent one of your cultivation rooms for myself.” Li Ye pointed to Nie Tian as he said, “He’s a friend of mine. I’d appreciate it if you can arrange a Lesser Heaven stage room for him.
“Oh, right. Hua Tian, how long do you want to rent the room?”
“Twenty hours, I think,” Nie Tian replied.
“That’s one hundred spirit stones,” The Blood Skull member said. “Why don’t you register here.”
Without saying another word, Nie Tian took one hundred spirit stones out of his bracelet of holding and handed them to the man.
“One sec.” The man put away the spirit stones and glanced down at the form in his hand, saying, “Many people are waiting in line to use those cultivation rooms. It appears that you’ll have to wait for about three days.”
Li Ye went blank for a moment before saying, “Shi Qing, even the lowest-level cultivation rooms have become so coveted recently?”
The Blood Skull member pointed at one of the Lesser Heaven cultivation rooms and said with an apologetic expression on his face, “Our miss, oh sorry, our little lord is in there.”
Li Ye’s expression flickered slightly. “Since when has she become so diligent?”
Shi Qing explained, “As you probably know, the last time we Blood Skull had a battle against the Dark Moon outside Shatter City, she was hurt and felt humiliated. Since she came back, she has been devoted to practicing cultivation. She’s at the late Lesser Heaven stage, and not far from her next breakthrough, so she’s occupied one cultivation room recently, leaving the other one for everyone else. That’s why there’s a long line of people waiting.”
Li Ye rubbed his fleshy, beardless chin as he said, “Oh, I see…”
Then he pointed to Nie Tian and said, “Hua Tian here is my brother. Will you do me a favor and squeeze him in?”
Shi Qing took a look at Nie Tian and after a moment of hesitation, he gave in, saying with a reluctant face, “Alright, the person who’s using that room is going to finish in one hour, and so he can get in after him. However, he can only use the room for twenty hours and no longer. Otherwise, I’ll be in trouble.”
“Okay, okay, I understand,” Li Ye said impatiently.
Then, Nie Tian and Li Ye moved to the side and waited not far from the gate of the stone pavilion.
“Who’s the little lord you two talked about?” Nie Tian asked as a way to kill time.
“She’s the daughter of the head of the Blood Skull, and she doesn’t like people treating her as a girl,” Li Ye explained. “Although, you don’t need to worry about her too much. Just try not to offend her. Otherwise, she’ll make your life in Shatter City a nightmare.”
“I see,” Nie Tian nodded.
During the short while the two of them talked beside the gate, they saw two dead bodies being carried out of the Blood Fighting Pit from across the street.
Those who won cheered loudly and rampantly, and those who lost grunted and swore, as if they itched to charge into the Blood Fighting Pit themselves and fight those who had made them lose money.
Half an hour later, a middle Lesser Heaven stage Qi warrior walked out of one of the cultivation rooms, looking radiant and perfectly satisfied.
“Alright, it’s your friend’s turn.” Shi Qing called out to Li Ye from inside the stone pavilion.
“Go ahead.” Li Ye beckoned for Nie Tian to go inside. “It’s perfectly safe here. You don’t need to worry about anything. When you’re finished, follow the same route back to our residence. As long as you don’t enter that Blood Fighting Pit, every other place in Shatter City is regulated and secure.”
“Okay.” After bidding farewell to Li Ye, Nie Tian followed Shi Qing into one of the cultivation rooms.
The moment he entered, he caught a whiff of the rich spiritual energy, and felt that both his body and mind were calmed. He realized that the room was indeed very suitable for practicing cultivation.
He sat down in the middle of the spacious room. After a brief examination of the air, he realized that the intensity of the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in the room was quite exceptional, although it was still far inferior to that of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Even if he only relied on the pure spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in the room, the speed at which he progressed would be several times faster than cultivating with spirit stones outside.
“This place is great!” Nie Tian said in admiration before calming himself down and beginning to channel the spiritual energy into his spiritual sea to gradually stretch its limits.
Soon, he realized that he was by far more efficient in here than in his own residence.
After a short while, he was awoken from his cultivation by a thought; he suddenly thought of a secret magic he had learned from the mysterious land.
He had used it to condense the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth into spiritual energy balls in the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, and then absorb the pure and refined power from them.
“It’ll probably work in this place as well.” With that thought, he reached out with one hand and cast the spell in his mind.
HUFF! HUFF! HUFF!
In the next moment, the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth that filled every corner of the room began to flood madly into his palm from all directions.
Before long, a spiritual energy ball was created.
Without any hesitation, he channeled the half-mist, half-liquid power in the spiritual energy ball into his spiritual sea, which immediately caused the three vortexes of spiritual energy to speed up significantly and his spiritual sea to expand at a noticeable speed.
However, after all, he wasn’t in the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace or the mysterious land he had visited a handful of times before.
Furthermore, there was a limit to the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in the rooms, and it was continuously being refilled by a spell formation that had been laid under the rooms. It took time for the spell formation to convert spirit stones into spiritual Qi and channel it to the cultivation rooms.
Now that the speed at which Nie Tian was absorbing the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth had exceeded the speed it was being generated, a hidden spell formation was triggered, which connected the two Lesser Heaven stage cultivation rooms and balanced the amounts of spiritual Qi in both rooms.
HUFF! HUFF! HUFF!
Via numerous specially-made tubes under the rooms, rich spiritual Qi rapidly flowed from the other room to Nie Tian’s room.
At the same time, the spiritual Qi in the other room began to grow fainter.
All of a sudden, the daughter of the head of the Blood Skull awoke from her cultivation.
She keenly sensed the change.