No battles or brawls were allowed in Shatter City. This was the rule set by Cai Lan, the head of the Blood Skull. Anyone who dared to break this rule would be punished severely.
The Blood Skull had set up special spell formations to cover every inch of Shatter City, so that they could detect any clash between spiritual power and determine the location of a fight the moment it took place.
Once they discovered a battle anywhere in Shatter City, the Blood Skull would immediately send people to deal with it.
Nie Tian had learned about it soon after he had become a guest elder of the Blood Skull. Even so, he was prepared to use everything within his power to kill the man in front of him!
After all, Hu Rong being alive was such a huge threat to him.
Considering his current relationship with the Blood Skull, if he killed Hu Rong, he would probably still be punished by the Blood Skull, but after weighing the punishment against the peace he would gain by killing Hu Rong, he felt that it would be worth it to receive a punishment from the Blood Skull.
As soon as the thought of killing Hu Rong appeared in his mind, Nie Tian unleashed a murderous aura so palpable that he could almost cut it with a knife.
Hu Rong, whose cultivation base was two levels higher than Nie Tian’s, saw the soundproof, ocean-blue light screen being distorted by Nie Tian’s chaotic magnetic field to the point where it was on the verge of falling apart, and that the murderous aura Nie Tian unleashed was growing more and more intense and suffocating. He said hastily, “Mr. Hua is also a member of the Spirit Condor.”
“Which Mr. Hua?” The strong killing intent in Nie Tian’s eyes didn’t weaken a bit.
“Hua Mu, of course!” A bitter smile spread out across Hu Rong’s face. “Actually, our first encounter wasn’t an accident at all. Do you really think us members of the Spirit Condor would simply wander in the street and sell information? If Mr. Hua hadn’t asked me to deliver that information to you, I would never have taken the initiative to approach you!”
Upon hearing Hua Mu’s name, the strong killing intent around Nie Tian immediately disappeared.
“How come he’s a member of the Spirit Condor?” Nie Tian sounded very surprised.
“Not only is Mr. Hua a member of the Spirit Condor, but he’s also a high-ranking official in the Spirit Condor.” Hu Rong also seemed to feel deep veneration when he talked about Hua Mu. “Let me put it this way: considering my status in the Spirit Condor, if Mr. Hua didn’t want to give me a mission, I wouldn’t even be allowed to meet him in person.”
Nie Tian’s chaotic magnetic field gradually weakened, and eventually dissipated into the air. Then, he asked, “Why have you sought me out this time?”
“You need to answer my question first. How much of the first fragmentary star mark have you learned and refined?” Hu Rong said with all seriousness.
“The first fragmentary star mark carries three profound magics. So far, I’ve learned and refined the first two. It won’t be long before I fully master the third magic. I just need some time to practice it.” Nie Tian didn’t hide anything. Instead, he told Hu Rong the truth.
Hu Rong nodded briefly as he said, “Good. The circumstances have changed. Originally, Mr. Hua wanted you to stay in the Realm of Split Void and refine both of the fragmentary star marks. However, according to the newest information we’ve received, Mr. Hua believes that as long as you can learn and refine the first fragmentary star mark, you won’t need to worry about your real identity being exposed anymore.”
“Why?” Nie Tian was surprised and curious.
Hu Rong smiled as he said, “Even Mr. Hua himself didn’t know that the three fragmentary star marks need to be learned and refined in the right order. The third fragmentary star mark was obtained by Ning Yang from the Heaven Palace Sect. However, up till now, he still hasn’t been able to receive any enlightenment from it.
“According to Ning Yang, he won’t be able to learn the third fragmentary star mark unless he obtains the first two fragmentary star marks and starts from there.”
Upon hearing these words, Nie Tian’s eyes instantly lit up. “Does that mean that the third fragmentary star mark has been completely useless to Ning Yang?”
“Exactly!” Hu Rong nodded, smiling.
“That was why he ignored orders from the Heaven Palace Sect and hid away. Now even the Heaven Palace Sect is asking us to help them search for him.”
Confused, Nie Tian asked, “Why did they do that?”
Hu Rong took another sip of his hot, strong tea as he organized his thoughts. Then, he went on and explained, “The Heaven Palace Sect believes that since you’ve disappeared for quite some time, you’ve probably already learned and refined the first fragmentary star mark. Once you’ve done that, the fragmentary star mark will become a part of your body and soul. By that time, even the Heaven Palace Sect won’t have the ability to separate and strip it from you.
“Thus, you’ve become the key to this.
“Even though Ning Yang is the ‘chosen one’ of the Heaven Palace Sect, since he couldn’t learn anything from the third fragmentary star mark, he will be forced to give it up so that you’ll be able to master all three fragmentary star marks and seal the three huge spatial rifts, which connects the outsider demons’ world with ours, as soon as possible.
“For that reason, the Heaven Palace Sect intended to strip Ning Yang’s fragmentary star mark from him and offer it to you when you showed up.
“Ning Yang learned about their decision through his connections in the sect, so he claimed that he was going on a trip to search for you and disappeared.”
Hu Rong took his time as he explained the ever-changing situation to Nie Tian in great detail.
Nie Tian pondered in silence for a while. After obtaining a thorough understanding of the current situation, he asked, “Is this all you wanted to tell me?”
“For one thing, I hope you can refine that first fragmentary star mark as quickly as possible. For another, I’ve come to tell you that you don’t need to be overcautious any more. Even if you expose your true identity here, it probably won’t be a big deal.” With these words, Hu Rong suddenly assumed a serious expression. “Another thing that I need to inform you of is that Ning Yang is also in the Realm of Split Void right now.”
“What?! He’s also in the Realm of Split Void? Where exactly? Is he here because of me?” Nie Tian asked a series of questions without pause.
Ning Yang was at the late Greater Heaven stage. Back when they were in the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, he had risen up, slain numerous powerful Greater Heaven stage experts, and eventually gained a fragmentary star mark.
Even the valiant Tang Yang from the Flame God Sect suffered a disastrous defeat from him.
Back then, Nie Tian had witnessed Ning Yang’s formidable power, even though they had been separated by a seven-colored river of light.
As the “chosen one” of the Heaven Palace Sect, Ning Yang’s battle prowess far exceeded that of the other late Greater Heaven stage Qi warriors.
Now, as he thought about it, Ning Yang probably would be as fierce and deadly as Li Langfeng, if not more.
However, Ning Yang was much younger than Li Langfeng, which meant he had much more potential than Li Langfeng.
The news of Ning Yang appearing in the Realm of Split Void came as a great threat that weighed on Nie Tian’s mind. He believed that once his identity was exposed, Ning Yang would seek him out in no time.
“From the information we’ve acquired, Ning Yang is in the Realm of Split Void now. After all, only such a special place would be out of the reach of the Heaven Palace Sect. Even we would have to go through great trouble to find a person here.” Hu Rong frowned as he added, “As for his current location, we don’t know for sure, and we can’t tell if he’s here for you, or to escape from the Heaven Palace Sect’s network.”
After a moment of pondering, Nie Tian said, “I have a feeling that I won’t be able to hide my true identity for long.”
“You won’t need to,” Hu Rong said with a smile. “You’ll only need to hide your true identity until you finish refining the first fragmentary star mark. When you do that, even if your true identity hasn’t been exposed, we, the Spirit Condor, will spread the word that you’re Nie Tian.”
“What?! Why would you do that?” Nie Tian asked with a puzzled expression.
“So that Ning Yang will show up and come for you,” Hu Rong said with a serious face. “In the Realm of Split Void, as long as Ning Yang changes his appearance, adopts another identity, and keeps a low profile, even we will have great difficulty finding him. If he doesn’t show up, we won’t be able to have the third fragmentary star mark transferred from him to you.
“Only you will be able to tempt him to stop hiding and take the initiative by attacking you.
“Of course, you won’t need to worry about your safety. We’ll make arrangements to make sure you’re safe. When you’ve refined the first fragmentary star mark, you can come and find me here. I’ll find you strong allies so that you’ll be able to deal with Ning Yang together.”
“I see,” Nie Tian said, glassy-eyed.
“Alright, try not to concern yourself with other matters, and focus solely on refining the first fragmentary star mark.” With these words, Hu Rong called off the ocean-blue light screen, opened the door, and signaled to Nie Tian that he could leave.
Then, Nie Tian walked out of the room with a complicated expression on his face.
It was already the middle of the night.
Walking down the chilly, desolate street that was filled with a foul smell, Nie Tian frowned as he continued to mull over the overwhelming information he had just learned from Hu Rong.
Just as he was about to walk out of the block, he took note that a man was sitting at a corner of the street. In the darkness, the man’s glittering eyes never left him.
As he stepped closer, the man waved at him, and beckoned for Nie Tian to come closer.
Nie Tian first came to a stop, and then examined the man with a Heaven Eye.
“Early Greater Heaven stage!” After learning the man’s cultivation base, Nie Tian’s expression flickered slightly as he secretly raised his guard.
After all, he didn’t have the confidence to beat a Greater Heaven stage expert yet, so the man was a threat to him.
On second thought, he was now in Shatter City, where the Blood Skull kept a close watch on everything happening in every corner. Once a battle broke out, Blood Skull members would immediately detect the violent clash of spiritual power, and arrive at the scene shortly afterwards.
With a thought, Nie Tian quietly formed a chaotic magnetic field around him and walked slowly towards the man.
The man grinned as he said, “Long time no see.”
Nie Tian suddenly went blank as he looked the man up and down with rapt attention. Then, he asked, “Have we ever met?”
The man glanced around. When he was convinced that no one was around, he took off his mask and showed his real face. Flabbergasted, Nie Tian called out, “Dong Baijie!”
At that very moment, the man put the mask back on with lightning speed and hastily explained, “Wait! Calm down! I’m not here to get things back from you or seek revenge.”
As he said these words, he rapidly put a bracelet of holding on the ground, and stepped backwards with a smile on his face. “Consider what’s inside to be a gift from me. I wish we can be friends from now on.”
By standing at least 50 meters away from Nie Tian, Dong Baijie seemed to be showing Nie Tian that he didn’t have any ill intentions, so that Nie Tian could put his mind at ease.
With great caution, Nie Tian walked to where Dong Baijie stood earlier and picked up the bracelet of holding from the ground. Then, he sent a wisp of psychic awareness into it.
There was a mask and approximately 300 stones that contained star power within the bracelet of holding.
“There will be occasions where that mask will come in handy. As a matter of fact, you should have been wearing a mask like this since the day you came to the Realm of Split Void.” Dong Baijie gave a low laugh as he continued, “As for the Star Stones, consider them a token of my good intentions. I know you’re in need of them, so please take them.”
Before Nie Tian could say anything, Dong Baijie added, “I’ve come to make friends with you, and that’s all. You can rest assured. I’m a discrete man. Your secret is safe with me.”
With these words, Dong Baijie turned around and flashed into the next block. Within seconds, he disappeared from Nie Tian’s sight.