All of a sudden, the spiritual energy ball exploded on its way to the early Heaven stage bandit.
In the next moment, multicolored light spots almost filled the sky, and some of them found their way to the man’s protective light shield as they rained down from the heavens.
Almost at the same time, the man’s spiritual power shield shattered, and some of the purple and green sparks fell onto the man’s skin.
Like strong acid, they immediately ate their way deep into the man’s flesh; the contaminated parts rapidly festered and emitted smoke.
At that moment, a Blood Skull member found the perfect opportunity and hurled his pitch-black spear towards the man’s chest.
In the blink of an eye, the long spear pierced through the man like a black bolt of lightning, pinning him to a huge, pale stone.
Surprised, Nie Tian went blank for a brief moment before turning to Cai Yuan and asking, “Who takes credit for this kill?”
“Hahaha!” The Black Skull member let out a heartily laugh and said with a pleasant smile, “You! I’ll give you the eight hundred spirit stones!”
The name of the man with the black spear was Wang Zhuo. He and Zhao Feng had been struggling with defending against five attackers when Nie Tian had first appeared.
If Nie Tian hadn’t appeared and killed two of the raiders consecutively and injured one with his spiritual energy ball, Zhao Feng, who had already sustained injuries to his abdomen, probably would have already been killed.
However, since Nie Tian had showed up and caused the deaths of three early Heaven stage attackers, Zhao Feng and Wang Zhuo now only needed to focus on two middle Heaven stage cultivators, so the burden that had been weighing on them was greatly relieved.
Delighted to see their situation turned around by Nie Tian, Wang Zhuo was very glad to pay Nie Tian the eight hundred spirit stones, which was nothing to him.
“Straightforward! I like it!” Nie Tian laughed broadly after seeing that Wang Zhuo was willing to pay him out of his own pocket. Then, he suddenly asked, “Wait, what about that man’s valuables?”
“Help yourself to them!” Obviously, the man’s belongings were far from enough to intrigue Wang Zhuo, and Nie Tian’s enthusiasm for money didn’t disgust him at all. Therefore, he blurred into action and arrived by the corpse in a split second.
The moment he pulled his long spear out of the corpse, a black aura immediately wreathed the spear.
With a ferocious smile on his face and strong killing intent in his eyes, he turned around and once again charged toward one of their remaining enemies.
Off to the side, surrounded by a thunderous aura, Zhao Feng dashed toward the other enemy, holding his wide sword tightly with both hands.
Both Wang Zhuo and Zhao Feng were warriors who had gone through the tests of hundreds of battles in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Both their battle prowess and resilience were far superior to their opponents.
Their two opponents, on the other hand, didn’t meet the standards to join the Blood Skull, and thus wandered outside Shatter City, awaiting opportunities to sneak out and kill those who left the city alone.
No matter their spiritual tools or fighting skills, they couldn’t be compared with Zhao Feng and Wang Zhuo.
Since there was a rather sizable gap between their strengths, Nie Tian only watched for a short while before becoming convinced that Zhao Feng and Wang Zhuo would prevail if there were no mishaps.
Hence, he didn’t feel the necessity to join the battle.
Thus, he grabbed the staff with a tiger head on top from the ground and put it away into his bracelet of holding. Afterwards, he paced to one of his victims, squatted down to take his bracelet of holding, and then checked his other pockets. After finding nothing worthy of note, he moved on to his second victim.
Just as he bent down to take the man’s bracelet of holding and search the corpse for valuables, a familiar voice echoed out.
“Hua Tian! Where are you, Hua Tian!” Hu Han’s voice rang out from within the Sound Stone in Nie Tian’s pocket. She sounded somewhat anxious after failing to find Nie Tian in the place where he had been cultivating.
Nie Tian took out the Sound Stone and held it close to his mouth before giving Hu Han a general idea of his location, “I’m here.”
“Just wait for me!” Hu Han called out. “I’ll be there in a second!”
The two late Heaven stage experts, who had been attacking Cai Yuan together, heard Nie Tian and Hu Han’s conversation.
“Someone has come!”
“It must be the Blood Skull’s backup!”
They rapidly exchanged a glance and made up their minds. “Let’s go!”
The two of them immediately ended their battle against Cai Yuan and fled in opposite directions.
The other two who had been fighting Wang Zhuo and Zhao Feng shrewdly noticed their leaders’ retreat, and thus made a sensible decision by scattering and speeding off in different directions as well.
“Hey, where are you going?!” Wang Zhuo and Zhao Feng respectively followed each of them while blood continued flowing out of Zhao Feng’s wound on his abdomen.
“Leave them be!” Cai Yuan shouted. “Come back, you two! We’ll have plenty of opportunities to get them after we recover. Your wound needs to be tended to immediately, Zhao Feng. Otherwise, you might die from massive blood loss.”
Upon hearing Cai Yuan’s order, Wang Zhuo and Zhao Feng both instantly ceased their pursuit.
Zhao Feng descended to the ground, supporting himself with his wide sword. Then, he used his other hand to take out a handful of medicinal pills before stuffing them down his throat.
Cai Yuan scurried to his side and took out a bottle of external ointment from his ring of holding before carefully addressing the messy wound on his abdomen.
Zhao felt extremely flattered as he said, “This is too precious, Little Lord. You’re wasting it on me.”
Cai Yuan waved his hand, beckoning for him not to speak anymore, and then said, “You’ve got to absorb the ointment into your flesh and blood, and get better as quickly as possible. No matter how expensive it is, as long as it’s used on those who matter, it’s well worth it. The three of us have been fighting side by side for years. Although you two call me young lord all the time, deep down, I’ve always considered you my brothers.”
Upon hearing these words, Zhao Feng’s round, fierce-looking eyes welled up slightly as he nodded vigorously. Afterwards, he focused on refining the efficacy of the ointment.
Nie Tian noticed that not only did the originally dreadful wound in Zhao Feng’s abdomen immediately stop bleeding after the ointment was applied, but the flesh in the wound even seemed to become more alive as the wound rapidly healed.
Meanwhile, Zhao Feng’s ghastly face gradually regained its former healthy color.
Seeing the changes in Zhao Feng’s condition, Cai Yuan appeared much relieved as he beckoned for Nie Tian to come over to him.
As Nie Tian approached, Cai Yuan’s ring of holding shone with subtle light, and in the next moment, a pile of spirit stones appeared in front of him. “Here’s 1,600 spirit stones. You can count them yourself.”
“Little Lord,” said Wang Zhuo, “I promised those 800 spirit stones to the kid…”
Cai Yuan waved his hand as he stopped him. “Are you saying you have more wealth than me?”
Wang Zhuo grinned as he understood Cai Yuan’s intentions, and thus no longer insisted on paying those 800 spirit stones himself.
After witnessing every act and word between Cai Yuan and his two brothers, Nie Tian approved of his way of doing things.
As he walked towards Cai Yuan, Nie Tian secretly canceled the chaotic magnetic field around him and stimulated the power of the green jade bracelet, enveloping himself within a green light shield.
“I trust that you wouldn’t trick me.” Then, Nie Tian put the 1,600 spirit stones away in his bracelet of holding while asking, “You’ve been organizing activities in the Void Illusion Mountain Range for a long time already. How come you guys got into such trouble?”
The fact that the son of the Blood Skull’s head, who was no stranger to the Void Illusion Mountain Range, had been trapped in a dangerous situation made Nie Tian somewhat puzzled.
“Our base in the Void Illusion Mountain Range is rather far from here,” Cai Yuan explained. “Plus, I’m not a big fan of acting obediently and growing under my seniors’ protection, even though many say I should. Therefore, this isn’t the first time that I’ve encountered tough situations this far from our base, and I doubt that it will be the last.
“However, I’m a lucky man. I’ve survived every ambush and assault throughout the years.”
After providing Nie Tian with an explanation, Cai Yuan looked him up and down with a measuring gaze and asked, quite intrigued, “If my assessment is correct, you’re only at the Lesser Heaven stage.”
“Yes, I’m at the late Lesser Heaven stage, looking for a breakthrough.” Nie Tian answered without holding anything back.
“The Lesser Heaven stage…” Cai Yuan nodded, and then asked, as if he had grown more interested, “Are you from Shatter City? What’s your name? I don’t think we’ve met.”
Nie Tian smiled heartily. “It’s Hua Tian. I’m rather new to Shatter City.”
Looking deeply at Nie Tian, Cai Yuan pondered for a moment and said, “You’ve got some good skills there. If you don’t have a better place to be, you’re welcome to join the Blood Skull. I’ll recommend you. When you’ve become an official member, you’ll be able to live in the city without having to pay anything.
“There are many other benefits as well. For example, you’ll be allowed to use our teleportation portal to travel back and forth between Shatter City and the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
“Furthermore, if you can kill members of the Wild Fire and Dark Moon, not only will you get to keep everything you loot from them, but you’ll also receive an additional reward from us.”
Cai Yuan untiringly explained the numerous advantages of becoming a member of the Blood Skull to Nie Tian because he considered Nie Tian to be a young man with great prospects.
If he could draw him into his organization, then as his cultivation base rose in the future, he could potentially grow into his right-hand man.
“I don’t plan to do that anytime soon, but l’ll let you know if I change my mind.” Nie Tian promised.
“Alright,” said Cai Yuan. “Truth be told, I don’t like persuading people, much less forcing people. This is my first time encouraging someone to join the Blood Skull.”
“Thank you for your kind offer,” Nie Tian said.
At that very moment, Hu Han flashed into appearance.
She caught sight of Cai Yuan the moment she arrived. Her expression flickered as she gently exclaimed, “Cai Yuan!”
It appeared that Cai Yuan knew her as well. The moment he saw her, he frowned and turned to Nie Tian and asked, “You came with her?”
Unsure of what was happening, Nie Tian nodded.
“I take my words back. The Blood Skull doesn’t need people like you.” As soon as he learned that Nie Tian and Hu Han had come together, Cai Yuan assumed a completely different attitude. He rose to his feet and turned his cold face to Zhao Feng and Wang Zhuo, saying, “We’ve spent too much time here. It’s about time we got back.”
Even Zhao Feng, who was in the middle of recuperation, rose to his feet upon hearing Cai Yuan’s words, and strode away after him.
Confusion could be seen on Nie Tian’s face.
He had engaged in a warm and friendly conversation with Cai Yuan right before Hu Han had showed up. Cai Yuan had even offered to take him in as a member of the Blood Skull.
However, Cai Yuan’s attitude turned around as soon as he learned that they were companions.
“I’ve got things I need to talk to you about, Hua Tian,” Hu Han said. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Okay.” Even though he harbored heavy suspicions towards Hu Han, Nie Tian chose to walk after her as the two of them marched towards the place where he had practiced cultivation.
Meanwhile, with a thought, he sent a Heaven Eye to tail Cai Yuan, in an attempt to find out why he had adopted such frigid manners towards Hu Han.
As the three of them strode in the direction of their base, Wang Zhuo couldn’t help but ask, “Do you know that woman, Little Lord? Why did you change your attitude toward Hua Tian the moment you learned that they’re traveling together?”
Cai Yuan let out a cold harrumph and said, “That woman’s name is Hu Han, and she works for Li Ye. About six months ago, Qiqi asked me for a favor. She wanted me to investigate that woman’s background. According to the information I gathered, that woman is deeply involved with Ma Jiu from the Dark Moon, and so she must be hiding something.
“I’m afraid she has ulterior motives working for Li Ye. However, that fatty, Li Ye, is a meticulous man. Adding in the fact that he almost never leaves Shatter City, and Qiqi is always there to look after him, and nothing will happen to him.
“On the other hand, Li Ye must also be smart enough to keep an eye on her. He only sees her equipment forging skills, and uses her to do menial work for him.”
Wang Zhuo was shocked. “She’s connected with the Dark Moon?”
Cai Yuan nodded and continued, “Since Hua Tian came here with her, it’s very likely that he’s also been deployed in Shatter City by the Dark Moon. He might even have helped us to get close to me, and actually has some dirty trick up his sleeve.”
Enlightened, Wang Zhuo said, “Oh, that’s how it is.”
At the same time, Nie Tian managed to overhear the conversation between Cai Yuan and Wang Zhuo via his Heaven Eye. His eyes glittered as he stared closely at Hu Han from behind.
He recalled how Li Ye had warned him that he had better guard himself against Hu Han at all times before he set out to the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Adding in Cai Yuan’s comments about her, Nie Tian secretly formed a chaotic magnetic field around him. Only then did he come to a stop and say to Hu Han, “Alright. Whatever you’ve got to say, say it. I’ve still got to practice my cultivation.”
Hu Han turned around and said, “I’ve discovered a hidden spiritual mine. Since I can’t mine it myself, I need your assistance.”
“I’m not interested,” Nie Tian shook his head and replied. “I’ve got enough spirit stones with me, and I’m only here to practice cultivation. Besides, I’m only at the Lesser Heaven stage. What can I possibly help you with?”
With those words, Nie Tian quietly expanded his chaotic magnetic field to a five-meter radius.
Eyebrows furrowed, Hu Han looked deeply at Nie Tian for a moment before saying, “Are you suspecting anything? You saw me take the Heart Mastication Pill that Li Ye gave me, so I’ll never attempt to hurt or kill you. If I do that, I won’t be able to get the antidote from Li Ye after returning to Shatter City, and soon my heart will be gnawed away.”
“I don’t care what your intentions are. I’m just not interested. All I want is to practice my cultivation!” Nie Tian grew somewhat irritated.
Hu Han’s expression changed subtly as she seemed to have sensed something. She let out a sigh and said with a shrug, “That being the case, I have no other choice but to use force.”
Upon hearing those words, Nie Tian immediately turned around and dashed madly towards the direction that Cai Yuan and his men had left in.
He was well-aware that since Hu Han was at the early Greater Heaven stage, he wouldn’t stand a chance if he were to fight her single-handedly under normal circumstances. The only way to defeat her would be to seek help from Cai Yuan.
“You can’t get away,” Hu Han said with a plain tone while chasing after him.