In the Void Illusion Mountain Range…
In a secluded valley, roughly a dozen log cabins were scattered on both sides of a creek. It was the base of the Dark Moon, garrisoned by a dozen of their members year-round.
The three major forces, the Dark Moon, the Wild Fire, and the Blood Skull, had all set up inter-spatial teleportation portals in the depths of the Void Illusion Mountain Range, so that they could teleport directly from their city to the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
None of them had ever stopped exploring the Void Illusion Mountain Range. They all wished to discover new dimensions and make great fortunes from them.
That was why the three forces had set up bases in the Void Illusion Mountain Range and only provided support to their own members.
In the Dark Moon’s base…
It had been days since Hu Han had parted with Nie Tian. She hadn’t explored within a five kilometer range from Nie Tian as she had promised. Instead, she had shown up here.
As soon as Hu Han entered the base, she approached a Dark Moon Qi warrior and demanded, “I want to see Lord Ma Jiu.”
The man looked Hu Han up and down with a measuring gaze and then said, “Follow me.”
A while later, the man led Hu Han to the largest log cabin, inside of which there was also a small teleportation portal that could only be used to travel within the Realm of Split Void.
A burly, one-eyed man was sitting next to the teleportation portal. Barefoot and dressed in a sackcloth, he was lolling in a chair.
The moment Hu Han walked through the gate, she bowed to the burly man and asked with an anxious expression on her face, “Lord Ma Jiu, how’s my brother?”
Ma Jiu’s eyes shone with bone-piercing light as he took out a metal box from within his ring of holding and tossed it toward Hu Han.
Hu Han caught the metal box with trembling hands and slowly opened it. With a single glance at what was inside, her eyes welled up.
There was a human finger in the box.
“A finger from your brother’s hand, as we agreed.” Ma Jiu sounded indifferent. “You’ve worked for Li Ye for more than a year now, yet you haven’t gotten any of the valuable information we want. Considering your poor performance, we had to do this, although I didn’t want to.”
Hu Han’s shoulders trembled slightly as she seemed to be bowing her head and weeping. However, she didn’t make a sound.
Only after a short while did she recover and look up at Ma Jiu, as if she had something to say.
At that moment, Ma Jiu said coldly, “It’s one finger on your first year. If you fail again on your second year, I’m afraid I’ll have to take two fingers. As you know, losing one finger already has a pretty big influence on a Qi warrior. If he loses three fingers, I fear he won’t be able to cast many advanced spells.”
After hearing Ma Jiu’s words, Hu Han sounded as if she was on the verge of breaking down as she said, “Lord Ma Jiu, I-I came here via the teleportation portal that Pei Qiqi set up in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Li Ye forced me to take a Heart Crushing Pill. If you can find an antidote for me, I’ll gladly tell you the location of the teleportation portal.”
Ma Jiu’s eyes lit up, as it seemed that he had finally heard something interesting. “The antidote to a Heart Crushing Pill is rather hard to find, but we’ll manage. Good job there. Although, it’s a pity that you didn’t show up earlier with that piece of information. Otherwise, you would have saved your brother’s finger.”
Hu Han’s body shook as she said, “Is this piece of information enough for you to free my brother?”
Ma Jiu shook his head. “No, not enough.”
Hu Han hesitated for a brief moment, then decided to betray Nie Tian. “There’s another man I came here with, a man very important to Li Ye. He’s only at the Lesser Heaven stage, but he’s got quite a fortune with him. I bet if we can capture him, we can use him to threaten Li Ye to give us things or information.”
“Okay.” Ma Jiu didn’t seem thrilled at all. “It’s worth a shot. What we can get from Li Ye through that man will determine how we’ll treat your brother from now on. You know that, right?”
“I understand,” Hu Han said with a grim expression.
Ma Jiu slowly rose to his feet and said, “Now, give me the location of the teleportation portal. When I find it, I’ll make a few alterations to its spell formation and make it ours. And you, go get that Lesser Heaven stage person you talked about and bring him here.”
“Sure.” Hu Han obeyed his order.
In the middle of the day, at the location where Nie Tian was cultivating…
Nie Tian’s fist was wreathed with blazing flames as it smashed vigorously onto a huge rock.
The rock cracked upon impact, with numerous tiny flames splashing out from the contact point.
Eight days had passed since he had parted with Hu Han…
During this time, he had spent his nights channeling starlight from the heavens and converging the power into stardew.
During the day, since the stars had faded away, his efficiency of absorbing star power declined significantly. Therefore, he would spend the day cultivating the Flame Spirit Incantation and studying its attacking techniques and spells.
The reason why he hadn’t practiced the Starstrike spell was that he would have to use the stardew in his vortex of star power to cast it.
He had been stuck in the Lesser Heaven stage for a long time. If he wished to make a breakthrough soon, he had to try his best to save the star power, instead of spending it.
After all, only when he had stockpiled enough stardew, would he be able to fulfill the prerequisite to make a breakthrough.
After cultivating for eight whole days, he had a feeling that he had almost filled the stardew to the limit.
He had been careful to make sure not to use any of it. Otherwise, it might jeopardize his progress.
During this time, he hadn’t encountered any spirit beasts, unstable spatial rifts, or human explorers.
He was very glad that he had been able to cultivate wholeheartedly.
However, things always happened without any forewarning. While he was absorbing star power one night, the Heaven Eye he had deployed to scan the perimeter detected two life auras.
He frowned as he awoke from his cultivation and silently paid attention to the movements of those two life auras.
It wasn’t long before two bedraggled Qi warriors, who looked very much like beggars, entered his sight.
At first glance, the two of them seemed to be roughly at the same cultivation stage as Nie Tian. One was at the late Lesser Heaven stage, and the other was at the early Heaven stage. Both of them belonged at the bottom of the food chain in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
The two of them had searched in the Void Illusion Mountain Range for three months already. Not only did they not find anything valuable, but they had even used up their spirit stones, and had just barely escaped from an area filled with slithering spatial rifts.
Since they had already run out of spirit stones, they couldn’t afford to use their spiritual power to form shields to keep the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth away.
Therefore, both of them had impurities running in their veins, making their muscles hurt from time to time. If they couldn’t find spirit stones soon and use them to cleanse themselves, they would be in serious trouble.
The early Heaven stage cultivator caught sight of Nie Tian and exclaimed, “I can’t believe that there are people here!”
He took a deep look at Nie Tian before giving a fake chuckle. He approached Nie Tian while saying, “Little brother, can we borrow a few spirit stones? We’ve spent three months in the Void Illusion Mountain Range already, and have run out of spirit stones. Please, we’ll never forget your kindness.”
“My name is Qiu Shan, and this is my brother, Qiu Shi. We’re from Ash City.” He kept walking toward Nie Tian as he introduced themselves. Right when he was eight meters from Nie Tian, a killing aura shot out of his eyes as he suddenly dashed toward Nie Tian.
In the next moment, dark-golden sand shot out from his palm. Along with bright lights, they rushed towards Nie Tian.
The sand seemed as hot as a soldering iron, and had strong penetrating power.
Nie Tian, on the other hand, remained in his original location. He placed his hands in front of his chest, palms facing each other as he channeled a different type of power from within him. Immediately afterward, a small chaotic magnetic field was created.
It only covered a one meter range with him as the center.
As soon as the current-like sand entered the magnetic field, it became distorted and broken before falling to the ground in the next moment.
At the same time, Qiu Shan had already reached Nie Tian’s side. He laughed sinisterly as he swung a golden staff down toward Nie Tian’s head.
As the golden staff whizzed down, it emanated the bright light of gold-attributed spiritual power.
However, it was only a brief moment before all the lights faded away, since, at that moment, Nie Tian’s chaotic magnetic field had already extended to a three-meter radius and enveloped the staff.
When the golden staff grew dim in the magnetic field, Qiu Shan seemed to have taken a strong blow, as blood began to continuously flow out of the corner of his mouth.
“You must have a death wish!” Nie Tian raised his left hand and curled it into a fist that resembled a huge hammer as he cast the Flame Hammer spell.
In the next moment, Nie Tian’s flame-wreathed hand smashed into Qiu Shan’s head like a blacksmith’s hammer.
With the formidable might of the Flame Hammer and his inhuman strength, he actually managed to sink Qiu Shan’s head into his own chest.
He died before he could even make a sound.
Upon seeing his brother’s death, Qiu Shi didn’t hesitate in the slightest, and turned around and ran.
“Go!” Nie Tian splayed his blazing fist, and a few slender flames shot towards Qiu Shi like fiery snakes.
At the same time, Nie Tian bolted after him as well.
PUFF! PUFF! PUFF!
The moment the three fiery snakes pierced into Qiu Shi’s back, he began to stumble.
Within seconds, Nie Tian caught up to him and drove his blazing fist into his back, killing him on the spot.
“Li Ye was right,” Nie Tian muttered to himself. “There indeed isn’t a single honest person in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Then, he examined the two brothers’ bodies, but failed to find a single valuable item. All he found were three low-grade spiritual tools, which made him somewhat disappointed.
In the following days, Nie Tian concentrated on cultivation.
After his battle with the Qiu brothers, he was convinced that his speculation was right: his chaotic magnetic field could indeed protect him from the poisonous spiritual Qi.
Not only that, the impurities would be stripped away from tainted the spiritual Qi and added to the might of his magnetic field as a new type of power, leaving the purified spiritual Qi usable to Nie Tian.
However, compared to the spiritual energy in spirit stones, that spiritual Qi was rather faint, and therefore unworthy to cultivate with.
Soon, night fell…
Sitting cross-legged under the starlit sky, Nie Tian suddenly felt that he could no longer channel star power from the heavens.
That was when he realized that his vortex of start power was already brimming with stardew.
He became aware that he was now only one step away from entering the Heaven stage.
Just at that moment, the Heaven Eye that had been floating high above him detected a battle going on not far from him.
After a moment of pondering, he rose to his feet and marched over.