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As little as it was, it required psychic power and soul power to use Heaven Eyes.

Since Nie Tian had been traveling with the Blood Skull's group recently, he didn't expect that he would run into trouble at all. After all, the Blood Skull was one of the most dominant forces in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.

Therefore, he hadn't unleashed his Heaven Eyes and used them to scan the vicinity for movement during these past days.

Furthermore, he had never been far from the Blood Skull's group, so he didn't feel the need to unleash his Heaven Eyes.

That was why he had failed to sense Li Langfeng's existence.

The sudden appearance of Li Langfeng made Nie Tian assume Xue Long had lured him into a trap. His expression immediately changed as he rapidly formed a chaotic magnetic field around him and prepared to call for help.

"Hua Tian!" Xue Long hastily called out in a soft voice to stop Nie Tian. "Li Langfeng is also here to help you! We both came upon the Spirit Condor's request. Our mission is to help you deal with Ning Yang!"

Upon hearing these words, Nie Tian felt slightly relieved.

Yet, he still kept a secure distance from Li Langfeng as his chaotic magnetic field replaced the protective light shield created by his green jade bracelet.

Li Langfeng's face was still sickly and pale. After flashing into appearance, he coughed softly where he stood, as he seemed to know what Nie Tian was worrying about.

"I made a deal with the Spirit Condor, which is to help you deal with Ning Yang." Then, Li Langfeng let out a snort as he continued, "But in return, you will spend some time to help me with my cultivation after our mission is accomplished."

At that moment, Xue Long explained to Nie Tian, "Ning Yang is only one step away from entering the Worldly realm. Also, since he's from the Heaven Palace Sect, not only is he skilled in various profound magics, but he also possesses high grade spiritual tools. Hence, I don't have the confidence that I'll be able to overtake him single-handedly. It will only be possible if Brother Li joins me."

"The Spirit Condor…" Nie Tian was secretly shocked.

Nie Tian hadn't known a thing about this mysterious organization before he came to the Realm of the Split Void, including how they worked and how powerful they were.

However, they were actually capable of getting Xue Long, a guest elder of the Blood Skull, to work for them, and persuading Li Langfeng, a guest elder of the Dark Moon, to set his enmity towards Nie Tian aside and go on a mission with him.

Although it was like looking at a leopard through a bamboo tube (see note 1), he realized how profound the Spirit Condor's strength and influence was.

He had examined Ning Yang via his Heaven Eyes when he had encountered him in the forbidden region to the east of Ash City. Then, he had been convinced that he still wouldn't stand a chance fighting him.

He had a feeling that Ning Yang, who was a core disciple of the Heaven Palace Sect, possessed battle prowess far higher than other late Greater Heaven stage cultivators.

Even if it was Li Langfeng or Xue Long, he suspected that neither of them would be able to take Ning Yang single-handedly.

However, if the two of them joined hands, they might be able to overpower Ning Yang and take the third fragmentary star mark from him. After all, both of them were outstanding fighters at the late Greater Heaven stage.

Upon thinking of the fragmentary star mark, Nie Tian's eyes flickered as he asked, "What else do you know?"

"We only know that the Spirit Condor wants us to take Ning Yang's fragmentary star mark, and they seem to be doing this upon the Heaven Palace Sect's request." Then, Xue Long's eyes rolled as he said, "According to the Spirit Condor, you have something that will help us locate Ning Yang. Also, they want us to hand the fragmentary star mark to you once we successfully strip it from Ning Yang."

The information the Spirit Condor had given Xue Long was limited, yet the rumor about Ning Yang running away from the Heaven Palace Sect had already provoked animated discussion among people. Xue Long knew about it as well.

He naturally understood the focus of the matter was Ning Yang's fragmentary star mark.

When it came to fragmentary star marks, another person was concerned: Nie Tian, a young man from the Realm of Flame Heaven, who had been missing for a long time. Up to this point, the Heaven Palace Sect and many other powerful Qi warrior sects were still searching for him.

Nie Tian, Hua Tian, fragmentary star mark, Nie Tian…

Connecting all these dots, Xue Long had already figured out Nie Tian's true identity. He just didn't want to reveal such knowledge.

"Do you really dare to fight Ning Yang?" Nie Tian questioned their determination.

Xue Long pondered for a moment before replying, "If Ning Yang hadn't run away from the Heaven Palace Sect, and he were still a talented core disciple of the Heaven Palace Sect, I probably wouldn't have had the audacity to do anything to him."

With these words, he shot a glance at Li Langfeng and said, "Perhaps Brother Li would.

"However, times have changed. Ning Yang went against the Heaven Palace Sect's will, which means he has broken away with the Heaven Palace Sect. Adding in the assurance from the Spirit Condor, I don't think there will be a problem." At that moment, Xue Long seemed to have thought of another matter and thus added, "However, you've got to understand that I will only help you take Ning Yang's fragmentary star mark, but I will never help you kill him.

"All things said, he still belongs to the Heaven Palace Sect. They have the final say on his life or death. I don't ever want to anger the Heaven Palace Sect!"

"Xue Long, you've been overcautious your entire life. This is where you need to learn from me." Li Langfeng's tone was filled with ridicule. "It's just because you're burdened by too many fears that you can never beat me. If I were you, and I was caught up in a situation like you were in the Realm of a Hundred Battles, I would have…" Li Langfeng didn't finish his sentence.

Xue Long suddenly assumed a cold face. "I don't need you to judge me!"

Nie Tian's expression flickered as he thought to himself, "The Realm of a Hundred Battles!"

Since he had overheard conversations between Song Li and Han Mu, he had learned that Song Li and Xue Long knew each other, and that 'Xue Long' wasn't his real name.

From the look of it, Li Langfeng knew about Xue Long's history. The fact that he mentioned that Xue Long was from the Realm of a Hundred Battles made Nie Tian realize that Song Li and Han Mu from the Fang had also come from the Realm of a Hundred Battles.

"Ning Yang is currently wandering in the forbidden region to the east of Ash City." Nie Tian blurted.

Xue Long's eyes lit up as he said, "Good! We'd better hurry over there now and strip that fragmentary star mark from him while he's still at the late Greater Heaven stage. I've long since heard people talk about this man. It's said that if he hadn't been distracted by his fragmentary star mark, he would have broken through into the Worldly realm already."

It appeared that Xue Long also harbored fear towards Ning Yang.

"With the just two of you?" Nie Tian asked with a frown.

"The two of us should suffice," Xue Long said with a smiled. "I know how powerful Brother Li is. Ning Yang might be slightly stronger than him. However, with me there to help Brother Li, our success is pretty much guaranteed."

"You two are not enough." Nie Tian shook his head as he explained the problem to them, "Ning Yang is traveling with a guest elder of the Wild Fire. That man is also at the late Greater Heaven stage, and just like Ning Yang, he also used to be a disciple of the Heaven Palace Sect. Not only that, I overheard Ning Yang refer to that man as 'senior martial brother', so I doubt that he's any weaker than you."

Xue Long's expression changed as he asked, "Have you ever seen the man in person? Can you briefly describe his appearance to me?"

Nie Tian describe the man's appearance according to his impression of him.

After hearing his description, the facial expressions of Li Langfeng and Xue Long both flickered as they called out simultaneously, "It's Tong Jianfeng!"

"You both know that man?!" Nie Tian was taken aback.

A grim expression clouded Xue Long's face as he said with a deep frown, "Yeah, Tong Jianfeng is probably a fake name. He's a guest elder of the Wild Fire. His status among the Wild Fire's guest elders is similar to Brother Li's status amongst the Dark Moon's guest elders. That man and Brother Li are probably evenly matched in strength, but he might be slightly stronger than me."

"You were right. If he is indeed traveling with Ning Yang, I'm afraid the two of us won't be able to take them."

After learning that Ning Yang had Tong Jianfeng by his side, Li Langfeng also fell silent.

After a moment of pondering, Xue Long said, "That changes everything. We can't go into the forbidden region to the east of Ash City now. I'll inform the Spirit Condor of the current situation. If the Spirit Condor doesn't send other powerful experts to our aid, our operation against Ning Yang will be doomed to fail!"

With a deep breath, he turned to Nie Tian and said, "Luckily, you told us that Tong Jianfeng was Ning Yang's senior martial brother and that they are traveling together now. Otherwise, if we acted rashly and engaged in battle with the two of them, we would definitely have suffered a great loss!"

At that point, a fierce aura seemed to suddenly burst forth from within Li Langfeng's sickly body as he said, "We don't need to ask the Spirit Condor for reinforcement. There's another way to turn the situation around.

"Hua Tian! You come with me and help me with my cultivation for a few days. I've got a feeling that with your help, I'll be able to step into the Worldly realm in ten days!

"Once I enter the Worldly realm, I'll be able to overtake Ning Yang and Tong Jianfeng by myself!"

"What?!" Xue Long asked with a shocked expression on his face. "Are you really that close to your next breakthrough?"

"Yes, I'm just one step away, but this last step is very crucial. If there's no one to help me, I'm afraid it will still take me three months to finish this final step. However, if Hua Tian agrees to help me, I have confidence that I'll be able to break the barrier and enter the Worldly realm in ten days." Confidence could be seen on Li Langfeng's face as he continued, "Once I enter the Worldly realm, Ning Yang and Tong Jianfeng won't be able to pose any threat to me! I won't even need you to do anything, Xue Long!"

Xue Long's expression flickered as he asked, "How about this: I'll inform the Spirit Condor of the current situation. In the meantime, Hua Tian will help you with your cultivation. If you can advance to the Worldly realm in ten days, we'll act according to our original plan. If you fail to do that in ten days, we'll sit tight and wait for the Spirit Condor to make other arrangements."

"Very well!" Li Langfeng agreed.

Xue Tong turned to Nie Tian and asked, "What do you say?"

"That sounds good to me," Nie Tian blurted.


"looking at a leopard through a bamboo tube" is a Chinese saying which means having a limited view of something.

Hi guys, today is the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of New Year celerbration, as well as the start of next year.

I wish you health and fortune in the year of the dog!

Okay, here’s something you might want to know about the festival:

The Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Usually falling in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar, it marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE-CE 25), it had become a festival with great significance. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns

In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in the shape of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune.

The festival acts as an Uposatha day on the Chinese calendar. In Hong Kong, Taiwan, and among Chinese communities in South East Asia, it has become identified as the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day. It should not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival; which is sometimes also known as the “Lantern Festival” in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia. The Lantern Festival has also become popular in Western countries, especially in cities with a large Chinese community. In London, the Magical Lantern Festival is held annually.

Here’s a video of interesting stories of this festival as well as how people celebrate this festival:

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