A Hunter was a special term those who lived in the Realm of Split Void used to refer to a notorious group of people.
They usually lurked outside Shatter City, Ash City and the Land of the Abandoned year-round. Sometimes they also roamed about in the Void Illusion Mountain Range, ambushing Qi warriors on exploration trips.
Only members of the Blood Skull, Wild Fire, Dark Moon, and their guest elders had the privilege to use their teleportation portals to travel to the Void Illusion Mountain Range. All others would have to travel long distances on foot to get here and face the threat of Hunters.
Hunters were also divided into different groups and had their own territories. They would never show mercy to those who dared to explore the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
The only meaning of their existence was to rob adventurers of their gains in the Void Illusion Mountain Range and kill them.
Every Qi warrior who wasn’t with the three major forces would have to go through them if they wished to return to their cities.
Many Qi warriors were very lucky and gained good fortunes in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
However, they weren’t as lucky on their way back to their cities. A good proportion of them had all their gains reaped by Hunters, along with their precious lives.
After learning from Song Li that they could also encounter Hunters in deeper parts of the forest, Nie Tian was somewhat shocked.
Since he had only hunted at the outer edge of the dense forest, he had never realized that there might be Hunters in the heart of the forest.
At that time, he remembered that, before he had come to this location, Pei Qiqi had warned him that he shouldn’t go on a suicide mission by exploring deep into the forest.
Perhaps Pei Qiqi had known that there might be Hunters here.
“Are the Hunters also after high grade spirit beasts in the depths of the forest?” Nie Tian asked.
“Not entirely,” Song Li said with a grim expression on her face. “They do hunt spirit beasts, but it’s not their primary goal. Their primary targets are adventurers like you and me, who have come to hunt spirit beasts and trade the valuable parts for spirit stones.
“In fact, the Hunters know this dense forest much better than us. They know which parts of the forest the powerful spirit beasts live and forage in. Once they make a move on them, they usually have very good chance of succeeding.
“On the other hand, since we don’t get to spend as much time here as they do, we’re very disadvantaged in this aspect.
“There have been many occasions where exploration teams encountered two or even three fourth grade spirit beasts at the same time. Once this kind of situation happens, the whole exploration team will usually be annihilated.
“Even if there are any survivors, they will fall prey to Hunters.
“However, most Hunters will take advantage of their familiarity with the forest and steer clear of powerful spirit beasts. They preserve their strength and find opportunities to swamp teams like ours.
“Our way ahead won’t continue to be peaceful. Not only will we have to be on guard against powerful spirit beasts, but we will also need to look out for Hunters at all times.”
“Thank you for telling me this,” Nie Tian said.
Song Li put on a charming smile and said, “You’re welcome. Now that we’re on the same team, it’s only right that we share information. I’m only telling you about the Hunters so that you can be prepared and stay on guard against them.”
At that moment, the other three cultivators on their team rose to their feet.
“We’re ready to go,” A man named Yin Tuo said loudly.
“Let’s head out!” Shen Wei called out.
He strode to Nie Tian and Song Li’s side, glanced at Nie Tian out of the corner of his eyes, and said to Nie Tian with an unpleasant tone, “All our previous battles are nothing compared to what awaits. I want you to prepare yourself for the real battles ahead.”
Ever since Song Li had started flirting with him, Shen Wei’s heart had been itching towards her. He was already bent on taking her flower after their trip to this dense forest was over. In his eyes, she was like a piece of meat for his exclusive consumption.
Therefore, the fact that she was so warm towards Nie Tian made him very unhappy, and the way he treated Nie Tian began to change.
However, since Nie Tian didn’t do anything technically and he was a guest elder of the Blood Skull, he could only endure and remain calm before things between Nie Tian and Song Li exceeded what was proper.
After a brief adjustment, the six of them once again headed out towards the heart of the dense forest.
More vigilant than before, Nie Tian formed all seven Heaven Eyes and spread them all around his group, keeping a close watch on everything in their vicinity.
Before his conversation with Song Li, he had only used four Heaven Eyes.
After all, it required a wisp of soul power from the seven fragmentary stars in his soul to form a Heaven Eye, and his soul power was very precious and hard to recover.
That was why he had intentionally reserved his soul power before facing real danger.
However, now that they were marching closer towards the heart of the forest and they might encounter powerful spirit beasts at any moment, he couldn’t afford to reserve his strength any longer, and released the seven Heaven Eyes together.
A hour passed…
One of Nie Tian’s Heaven Eyes caught sight of three Qi warriors, who he had seen before at the outer edge of the forest.
It was from the three of them that Nie Tian had learned about the newest situation regarding the Blood Skull, the Wild Fire, and the Dark Moon, and the fact that Li Langfeng had been looking for him everywhere.
He had never expected to see the three of them here.
It seemed that they had just killed a fourth grade Blood Eye Crocodile. Immersed in excitement, they were cutting its blood-colored eyeballs and sharp teeth out of its head and peeling off its tough skin.
They were all covered in blood and looked rather bedraggled. Apparently, they had just gone through a fierce battle.
Seeing this, a meaningful expression appeared on Nie Tian’s face as he said to his group, “I smell a faint bloody aura coming from that direction.” He stretched his arm and pointed in the direction of the three explorers.
“Bloody aura?” Shen Wei’s nose flared as he took a sniff of the air, but he didn’t smell anything. With a strange look in his eyes, he asked, “Are you sure you are not mistaken?
“I’ve got a keen sense of smell,” Nie Tian answered.
“Alright then,” Shen Wei nodded and said. “Hey everyone, let’s take a look over there. Watch out, and I hope we can gain something.”
Upon hearing his words, everyone picked up their pace.
It wasn’t long before Shen Wei led their group close enough to the other group that he was also able to sense a distinct bloody aura.
Also at that moment, he rapidly made the judgment that they could easily take the other group.
With that thought in mind, Shen Wei immediately grew spirited.
He and Song Li dashed towards the other group at a speed that was faster than anyone else, and were the first ones to arrived on the scene.
“Hahaha! We’ve hit gold!”
The moment Shen Wei arrived and saw the condition the other group was in, he grinned.
Nie Tian and the others arrived shortly after them, and they also caught sight of the dead Blood Eye Crocodile and the three Heaven stage Qi warriors standing around it.
Amongst the three, one was at the late Heaven stage and two were at the middle Heaven stage.
Even if the three of them were at their peak state, their strength wouldn’t have been comparable to Shen Wei’s group, much less considering that they had just gone through a bloody fight.
“Where did you come from?” Shen Wei asked, holding his head high.
“Ash City,” one of the three answered.
“Ash City, good.” After hearing the man’s answer, Shen Wei seemed relieved as he waved his hand and said nonchalantly, “The Blood Eye Crocodile is ours now. As for the three of you, you can each leave one thousand spirit stones, and then you are free to go. Don’t let me see you again.”
The reason he didn’t attack them immediately was that he could tell that the three of them hadn’t lost all of their battle prowess, and one of them was at the late Heaven stage, the same as him.
Shen Wei made a rough assessment in his heart and concluded that, with their strength, they would be able to take the other group in battle, but they would also consume a considerable amount of energy themselves.
The area they were standing in was much more dangerous than the outer edge of the forest. Not only could they encounter high grade spirit beasts at any moment, but they might also be ambushed by Hunters.
Therefore, Shen Wei didn’t want to spend too much energy on the other group. For that reason, he just demanded that they leave their spoils and hand over some spirit stones before letting them go.
With long faces, the three of them secretly blamed their bad luck.
Since they had the courage to come to the mountain range, they were familiar with the cruel rules. The leader of the three took out three thousand spirit stones from his bracelet of holding and placed them on the ground without uttering a word. Then, he rapidly turned around and left with his two friends.
“Smart choice.” After the three of them left, Shen Wei stepped forward and stored the three thousand spirit stones in his own bracelet of holding.
“Big Brother Shen, shouldn’t we all have a share of the spoils?” Yin Tuo asked with a frown.
The corner of Shen Wei’s mouth rose as he said with an somewhat indifferent tone, “You? We didn’t fight them in battle, and you didn’t contribute anything, so these spirit stones are not yours to share. They left because they feared me and Song Li. You don’t think that it was you who scared them off, do you?”
Unpleasant expressions could be seen on the faces of Yin Tuo and the other two.
“Then where’s my share?” Song Li asked with a smile.
Shen Wei chuckled and answered, “I’ll give you your share when we recuperate tonight.”
Song Li nodded and said, “Alright.”
Seeing that Yin Tuo and the other two looked somewhat dissatisfied, Shen Wei added with a comforting tone, “Alright, alright, Song Li and I will each take one eye of the Blood Eye Crocodile. You three and Li Tian can have the rest of it.”
“The only good parts on a Blood Eye Crocodile are its eyes.” Yin Tuo mumbled. “All the rest are next to worthless.”
“It’s not like you did anything.” Shen Wei said, his face filled with displeasure. “I think it’s more than reasonable to let you have that that much.”
At that moment, Nie Tian jumped in and said, “I’ll just take the meat and blood. You’re welcome to have its skin and teeth.”
After hearing Nie Tian’s words, Yin Tuo’s indignation was slightly eased, and he stopped arguing with Shen Wei.
However, from the expressions on his and the other two’s faces, Nie Tian could tell that a grudge towards Shen Wei had already been formed in their hearts.
Yin Tuo mumbled, “Sure, we didn’t do much to contribute, but we’re only here because of Li Tian’s directions. At least Li Tian should have a share of the spirit stones…”
He defended Nie Tian against the injustice.
However, Shen Wei turned a deaf ear to his comments and stepped towards Song Li with a broad smile on his face, after which he helped Song Li gouge out the Blood Eye Crocodile’s eyes.