Nie Tian’s shout was so loud and clear that even people in the farthest corners of the mountain range could hear him.
Since Zhao Feng’s wound hadn’t fully recovered, Cai Yuan, Zhao Feng, and Wang Zhuo were traveling at a slow speed in a valley when they heard Nie Tian’s voice.
Surprise could be seen on Cai Yuan’s face as he stopped and turned around.
“That’s Hua Tian’s voice,” Wang Zhuo said.
Cai Yuan pondered for a short while with his eyes narrowed. Then, he turned to Zhao Feng and ordered, “You stay here and recover!”
With those words, he dashed towards the source of Nie Tian’s voice like a sword leaving its sheath.
Upon seeing that he had moved out, Wang Zhuo followed him without the slightest hesitation.
Originally, considering Nie Tian’s speed, it would have taken a while for him to catch up to Cai Yuan and his men, during which Hu Han would very likely catch up to him.
However, the fact that Cai Yuan and Wang Zhuo had turned around and charged in his direction rapidly shortened the distance between them.
It wasn’t long before Nie Tian caught sight of the approaching Cai Yuan and Wang Zhuo behind him.
Panting heavily, Nie Tian called out the moment he caught sight of Cai Yuan, “I’ll give you back the 1,600 spirit stones! On top of that, I’ll throw in another 2,000 spirit stones if you can help me fight Hu Han!”
“This might be a trap, my lord!” Wang Zhuo warned Cai Yuan from behind his back.
He had suspected Nie Tian’s motives the moment he had learned that Hu Han was connected with the Dark Moon and Nie Tian had come with her.
He believed that Nie Tian and Hu Han might be putting on a show to get close to Cai Yuan again.
After all, Nie Tian and Hu Han had just parted ways with them. The fact that they had turned on each other in such a short time made Wang Zhuo suspect that it was a set-up.
After hearing Wang Zhuo’s speculation, Cai Yuan didn’t respond to Nie Tian. Instead, with a discreet look in his eyes, he took out his gloves from within his ring of holding and put them on.
Then, he took out two medicinal pills and swallowed them while staring Nie Tian in the eye.
Hu Han finally arrived and came to a stop ten meters from Nie Tian, wreathed in a blazing aura.
With a calm face, Hu Han gently smiled at Cai Yuan and said, “Lord Cai, you just engaged in a fierce battle with some bandits not long ago. It seems that you haven’t fully recovered your strength. I know that you’re no ordinary man, but you’re at the late Heaven stage after all. You wouldn’t risk your subordinate’s and your own lives for Hua Tian, who’s neither your kin nor your friend, would you?”
Cai Yuan frowned and didn’t answer. Rather, he turned to Nie Tian and asked, “What happened?”
Nie Tian smiled bitterly and explained, “This woman wanted to capture me. I actually didn’t know her up until I came to the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Li Ye is my close friend. She learned that I was coming to the Void Illusion Mountain Range and pleaded with Li Ye to let her tag along. In order to prevent her from having any evil thoughts, Li Ye forced her to take a Heart Crushing Pill.
“He ordered her to look after me and keep me alive while we’re here. Otherwise, she wouldn’t get the antidote after returning to Shatter City.
“I thought that would ensure a safe trip with her, but I never expected that she would actually attempt to capture me for whatever her intentions are.”
“You’re close friends with fat Li Ye?” Cai Yuan asked.
“Yeah,” Nie Tian answered. “He allowed me to teleport to the Void Illusion Mountain Range via Miss Pei’s small teleportation portal.”
He had overheard Cai Yuan and Wang Zhuo’s conversation via his Heaven Eye, and speculated that Cai Yuan was somewhat close with Pei Qiqi.
Therefore, he intentionally mentioned the teleportation portal to indicate that he had close relationships with both Li Ye and Pei Qiqi.
As expected, after learning that Nie Tian had traveled here from Shatter City via Pei Qiqi’s teleportation portal, Cai Yuan made up his mind to help Nie Tian.
Cai Yuan was aware that Pei Qiqi had set up her own teleportation portal in the mountain range, but never allowed people to use it other than Li Ye and herself.
The fact that they were willing to let Nie Tian use it made it clear that Nie Tian was close to Pei Qiqi and Li Ye.
Cai Yuan clenched his fist, and his strange-looking gloves seemed to become like the opened mouths of a ferocious beast. “Hu Han, I’d suggest you go back where you’ve come from.”
He stepped to Nie Tian’s side and stood right beside him. Staring into Hu Han’s eyes, he prepared himself for what would come.
Wang Zhuo also summoned his long, pitch-black spear and stared at Hu Han while emitting a strong, killing aura.
Even though Cai Yuan was at the late Heaven stage and Wang Zhuo was at the middle Heaven stage, and they had just gone through a bloody battle, not a shred of fear could be seen in their eyes while facing the early Greater Heaven stage Hu Han.
Eyebrows furrowed, Hu Han sighed and said, “Why are you doing this, Lord Cai?”
“Save your breath!” Cai Yuan called out, impatience written across his face. “Either you fight the three of us to the death, or get out of here now and I’ll forget what happened here today!”
After hearing his words, Hu Han seemed indecisive.
She had heard about Cai Yuan’s fierceness even before she had moved to Shatter City. According to the rumors, he had already killed hundreds of powerful experts from the Dark Moon and the Wild Fire in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
In their eyes, Cai Yuan would definitely become the Blood Skull’s leader. It was only a matter of time.
Although Cai Yuan was at the late Heaven stage, the gap between their strengths wasn’t unbridgeable, and rumor had it that Cai Yuan had unearthly spiritual tools at his disposal.
Adding in Wang Zhuo, who was also a seasoned warrior, and Nie Tian, who seemed to have many mysteries, and she didn’t have the confidence to win if a battle broke out.
While she was hesitating, Zhao Feng, who Cai Yuan had ordered to stay put, also appeared on the distant horizon and called out, “Little Lord! Our reinforcements are on the way. I’ve just got in contact with them!”
Upon hearing these words, Hu Han’s expression flickered.
She took a deep look at Nie Tian and sighed. “I had no other choice. I hope you understand. The Dark Moon has my brother. Their leader Ma Jiu imprisoned him in the Land of the Abandoned. If I refuse to work for them, they will kill my brother.”
With these words, she bowed slightly towards Nie Tian to express her apologies, and then turned around and left.
As soon as Hu Han left, Nie Tian dropped to the ground and took out 1,600 spirit stones from his bracelet of holding.
When he was about to bring out 2,000 more, Cai Yuan stopped him, saying, “There’s no need for more.”
He put away the 1,600 spirit stones and said, “You helped me and I returned the favor. We’re even.”
Just as Nie Tian was about to say something, Cai Yuan shook his head and said, “Where’s Qiqi’s teleportation portal, the one you used to come here?”
Nie Tian furrowed his brows.
Cai Yuan saw the hesitation in his eyes and added, “Hu Han betrayed you, so it’s very likely that she also sold Li Ye and Qiqi out by revealing the location of the teleportation portal to Ma Jiu.
“A teleportation portal is very valuable. Even the smallest and simplest one is easily worth 100,000 spirit stones.
“Ma Jiu will never pass on such a good opportunity to get one. If my speculations are correct, they’ve probably already moved out.”
Only after hearing those words did Nie Tian take out the map Li Ye had given him and show Cai Yuan the location of the portal, saying, “It’s right here.”
With a single glance at it, Cai Yuan understood which route he should take. Then, he turned to Wang Zhuo and said, “You take Zhao Feng back to our base first, and then arrange for our men to meet me there. We can’t let the Dark Moon take Qiqi’s teleportation portal. I’ll try my best to stall them.”
Wang Zhuo’s expression flickered. “My lord, you want to go over there by yourself?”
Cai Yuan smiled and said, “Don’t worry. I won’t get myself in danger. After all, I know Ma Jiu is going to be there. I’ll hide close to the portal and keep my distance from the Dark Moon people.”
“B-but…” Wang Zhuo was still worried.
“This is an order,” Cai Yuan said with a stern face.
Wang Zhuo took a deep look at him, and then sighed and said, “Alright.”
He was well-aware of Cai Yuan’s temper, and that Cai Yuan had always been fond of Pei Qiqi. Part of the reason he had been training himself in the Void Illusion Mountain Range was because he wanted to get stronger and thus be worthy of Pei Qiqi.
As long as it was related to her, Cai Yuan had always shown great interest and enthusiasm, as opposed to his normally cold attitude.
Wang Zhuo knew that persuasion would fail even if he attempted it, so he decided to return as soon as possible and assemble their best warriors to support Cai Yuan.
“Take care, my lord!”
With those words, Wang Zhuo turned around and sped toward Zhao Feng. He dragged the reluctant Zhao Feng away, and the two of them disappeared into the distance.
“Are you okay, Hua Tian?” Cai Yuan asked.
Nie Tian nodded and answered, “I’m fine.”
“Great.” Cai Yuan nodded back. “I think this area is relatively secure. I suggest you stay here and wait for my brothers to come back with reinforcements. They’ll definitely pass this place, so you can join them then. It’ll be the safest choice for you.”
“Alright.” Nie Tian nodded, and crushed the Sound Stone Hu Han had given him under Cai Yuan’s gaze.
“Good,” Cai Yuan said with an appreciative tone before he turned around and left.
As soon as he left, Nie Tian sat down and assumed the lotus position. He put on the green jade bracelet that Li Ye had given him to hold off the polluted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth.
Since he had almost drained every type of power he had during his previous battle, the magnetic field around him was already on the verge of disappearing.
He took a deep breath and took out a spirit jade from within his bracelet of holding. Without any hesitation, he operated the Qi Refining Incantation to absorb its spiritual energy.
Spiritual energy that was ten times richer than that contained within a spirit stone poured out of the jade and flowed madly into his spiritual sea.
At the same time, the three vortexes of spiritual power in his spiritual sea sped up a few times.
Wisp after wisp of refined spiritual energy dispersed from the vortexes into his spiritual sea.
Only a short while later, the spirit jade cracked and was reduced to rubble.
Without any delay, he took out another one and started channeling its energy into his spiritual sea.
As his spiritual sea was filled with madly surging spiritual power, a new vortex gradually took shape and grew larger.
According to his master, with every breakthrough, one vortex of spiritual power would come into existence within his spiritual sea, so by the late Greater Heaven stage, he would have nine vortexes of spiritual power.
Every time a new vortex of spiritual power was added to his spiritual sea, his spiritual sea would expand.
An additional vortex of spiritual power would allow him to be more efficient at absorbing and refining the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, and thus accelerate the expansion of his spiritual sea.
Since he had made the breakthrough when he had used the Rage Punch to destroy Hu Han’s red pearl, all he had to do now was to fill his spiritual sea with spiritual power, and the new vortex of spiritual power would form by itself.
This was exactly what Hua Mu had given him three spirit jades for before he had left.
With the energy from the two spirit jades, the fourth vortex of spiritual energy gradually expanded.
Only a short while passed before the second spirit jade lost its glow and cracked open.
Without the slightest hesitation, Nie Tian took a third spirit jade from within his bracelet of holding and began to absorb its copious amount of spiritual energy.
Just like that, he went through seven spirit jades.
It was not until he had drained the seventh spirit jade of spiritual energy that he sensed that the new vortex of spiritual energy had finally formed fully.
“Seven spirit jades!” Nie Tian was quite shocked. He realized that if he hadn’t obtained five spirit jades from Yang Ling early on, he wouldn’t have been able to finish the process so smoothly.
Hua Mu had anticipated that Nie Tian would need an enormous amount of spiritual energy to finish the process of entering the Heaven stage.
However, according to his understanding, a Lesser Heaven stage cultivator would need no more than two spirit jades to fully form their new vortex of spiritual energy after breaking through into the Heaven stage.
Considering Nie Tian’s extraordinary physique, he had given him one more to make sure he had enough.
Never had he imagined that Nie Tian was so much different from normal cultivators.
It took him seven spirit jades to create and expand his fourth vortex of spiritual energy to the same size as the other three.
At that time, he had truly finished the transformation from the Lesser Heaven stage to the Heaven stage.
By the time the seventh spirit jade was drained, Nie Tian’s spiritual sea was brimming with refined spiritual power.
Instead of stopping, he took out his last remaining spirit jade and used the energy it carried to expand the size of his full spiritual sea.
An unknown period of time passed.
By the time the eighth spirit jade broke into pieces, Nie Tian awoke from his cultivation and sprung to his feet. “Finally, the Heaven stage!”
Then, he threw his head back and let out a thunderous roar that was like the cry of a tiger or dragon.