The news that the Heaven Palace Sect from the Realm of Mystic Heaven and many other powerful sects from other realms had launched a joint search for a young man from the Realm of Flame Heaven named Nie Tian had long since spread to every corner of the Domain of the Falling Stars.
The Realm of Split Void was no exception.
Qiu Yang had also learned that the young man named Nie Tian had only attracted the attention of so many powerful Qi warrior sects because he had obtained legacies from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
After witnessing Nie Tian cast Starstrike and attack him with a mysterious formation of five starsparks, Qiu Yang thought about the numerous unbelievable things that had happened to Nie Tian. Connecting the dots, he immediately guessed Nie Tian's real identity.
"Nie Tian! Hahaha! You're Nie Tian!" Qiu Yang was more thrilled than shocked.
His eyes shone with the light of excitement as he said, "Legacies from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace!! This is great!!"
Like a dazzling, bright mark, the formation of five starsparks shot directly towards his chest.
Qiu Yang waved his hands through the air to form exquisite hand seals. In the next moment, more fine, pitch-black strings flew out of his open sleeve cuffs.
The numerous pitch-black strings acted as he commanded as they attempted to bind that star formation.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
However, as soon as they made contact with the star formation, each and every string exploded.
Qiu Yang let out a muffled groan as his expression flickered. No longer daring to fight the star formation head-on, he moved about swiftly to avoid it.
However, the star formation, which Nie Tian was able to control with great accuracy, continued to pursue him and changed directions whenever he did.
Watching Qiu Yang shift between locations like a ghost as he avoided the star formation, Nie Tian grew increasingly determined to kill him as his expression grew grim. "I've got to kill this man. I can't afford to let him live!"
He had consumed half of his strength to launch that Rage Punch. Yet, he had failed to kill him with it.
Thus, he had no choice but to bring out Starstrike of the Fragmentary Star Incantation to deal with Qiu Yang.
Ever since he had cast that Starstrike, he was bent on killing the seriously injured Qiu Yang in this region.
After all, he couldn't afford to expose his identity before he arrived in the forbidden region and stripped the third fragmentary star mark from Ning Yang.
He didn't want to scare the snake by beating the grass.
Only when Qiu Yang was dead would Nie Tian's true identity remain a secret, and would Ning Yang not be alarmed.
Only in that way would they be able to carry out the plan he had made with Li Langfeng and Xue Long. If he let Qiu Yang get out of here alive, Ning Yang might somehow learn about his whereabouts.
If it really came down to that, it would be much more difficult to deal with Ning Yang.
A spiritual energy ball filled with the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth of the Realm of Split Void rapidly came to shape and shot towards Qiu Yang.
Since Nie Tian had infused the spiritual energy ball with some of his own spiritual power, it became completely controllable. In the blink of an eye, it flew to the location where Qiu Yang was standing.
The spiritual energy ball exploded, sending multicolored light in every direction. The gray light shield Qiu Yang protected himself with instantly shattered.
At that very moment, the star formation composed of five starsparks seized the opportunity and rushed over.
Engulfed by sputtering, multicolored light, Qiu Yang let out an agonized shriek as he was struck by the star formation, dazzlingly bright rays of starlight shooting out in every direction from the contact point.
Immediately afterwards, another surge of devastating force burst forth from within the star formation and inflicted serious damage on Qiu Yang for a second time.
Meanwhile, Nie Tian also puked a mouthful of blood after exerting his power repeatedly.
Some of the numerous pitch-black strings Qiu Yang had used to attack him were still roaming inside of him.
Even though the green aura was ripping apart and devouring many of the pitch-black strings, some of them were still ravaging his flesh and releasing air currents that could cause him to expand.
Since he had to spare some of his attention to condense the spiritual energy ball and cast the Fragmentary Star Incantation, he didn't focus all of his attention on stabilizing his injuries, which gave the pitch-black strings an opportunity to create an outburst.
"Flame Dragon Armor!" Bent on killing Qiu Yang to keep his secret, Nie Tian finally dropped all scruples and called upon his Spirit Channeling grade treasure using his psychic awareness.
The Flame Dragon Armor, which had lay dormant within his bracelet of holding for a long time, whizzed out of Nie Tian's bracelet of holding, leaving a trail of blazing flames behind it.
The Flame Dragon Armor seemed to be able to read his mind, and it seemed to understand that it didn't need to act in discretion any more. Therefore, it flew right out, unleashing raging flames.
Nie Tian looked up into the air and discovered that the Flame Dragon Armor was covered in numerous sparkling, red threads, which seemed like streams of lava flowing on the crimson surface of the Flame Dragon Armor.
Under his gaze, the Flame Dragon Armor seemed to turn into a river of flames or a slithering flame dragon as it swooped down from the air towards the area filled with sputtering, multicolored light and flashing starlight.
Qiu Yang, who was struggling to defend himself against the overwhelming toxic energies and the aftermath of the star formation, exclaimed, "Spirit Channeling grade treasure! This is the fire-attributed Spirit Channeling grade treasure people have been talking about!"
HUFF! HUFF! HUFF!
Torrential flames spread out, filling the sky over Qiu Yang's head, and seemed to turn the area where he was standing into a world of flames.
Cracking sounds even echoed out from the air, as if everything within this area, including the air, was being burned by the raging flames.
As powerful as Nie Tian's Heaven Eyes were, they couldn't see into the area, which looked like a fire-wrought dome from the air.
He could only hear Qiu Yang's voice, which transitioned from excited cries to threatening roars.
It wasn't long before it turned into hysterical screams as he charged about in an attempt to break out of that world of flames.
Moments later, Nie Tian sensed via his Heaven Eyes that Qiu Yang's life aura seemed to have been burnt out by the blazing flames as it gradually disappeared.
It took about ten minutes for the violent struggle and intense energy fluctuations to finally calm down.
The Flame Dragon Armor whizzed back after the job was done. As it did, it summoned the raging flames back into itself. Right after that, it returned to Nie Tian's bracelet of holding and fell silent again.
At this moment, the raging flames in the area Qiu Yang had been in had already dissipated, leaving only scattered sparks visible in certain locations.
With a frown, Nie Tian summoned his remaining strength to contend with the residual black strings in him. With the help of the green aura and his wood power, he finally eliminated every last black string Qiu Yang had left inside of him.
Only after some time, when he was certain that he had stabilized his condition, did he march over to the area where the land had already been burned black.
On the charred, sandy land, Qiu Yang's flesh had already melted away. All that was left was a scorched, red-gray skeleton.
Nie Tian's broadsword was lying at the abdominal area of the skeleton, giving off tiny sparks from time to time.
"That broadsword..." Nie Tian's expression flickered as he suddenly realized that when the Flame Dragon Armor had descended and enveloped that area with blazing flames, the broadsword that had been lodged in Qiu Yang's abdomen must have also been stimulated and displayed its full might because it shared the same fire attribute as the Flame Dragon Armor.
If it hadn't caused severe damage to Qiu Yang's abdomen, he probably wouldn't have been burned into a pile of bones so easily. The broadsword must have sped up the process.
"This guy is finally dead." Nie Tian stepped forward and took Qiu Yang's ring of holding from his finger bone. After a thorough scan of the area, he made sure that nothing valuable was left behind and quietly left.
Afterwards, Nie Tian found a secluded location and immediately started recuperating with spirit beast meat, spirit stones, and Star Stones.
One night, he awoke from his prolonged cultivation. With the help of the mysterious green aura and his wood power, he had healed seventy percent of his wounds.
In the meantime, however, he had only restored approximately forty percent of his various types of spiritual power, each of which was far from their peak state.
After a moment of pondering, he decided to put his cultivation on hold and march back to the location where Xue Long and Shi Hui had been fighting.
Now, with Qiu Yang and the other three dead, Shi Hui was the only one left, and he wasn't any stronger than Xue Long.
Therefore, he felt that he could openly return to the area where Shi Hui and Xue Long had been without worrying about being surrounded and attacked by powerful enemies.
Bathed in the bright and clear moonlight, Shi Hui and Xue Long clashed and exchanged dozens of attacks in midair, filling the air with their sword blasts and fire beams.
After landing, the two of them panted heavily, but judging from their facial expressions, their fighting spirits were still soaring.
It was the first time the two of them had engaged in a real fight. Since they were both at the late Greater Heaven stage and their strengths were equally matched, they had been fighting continually for days.
The both of them had been stuck at the late Greater Heaven stage for many years, and they were both eager to break through the bottleneck. Therefore, the battle between them hadn't been as fierce and desperate as Nie Tian had imagined.
Since they both knew they didn't have what it took to kill the other party, they both reserved their strength as they attacked. It was like they were testing their understandings of their power with this battle in order to find the key to a breakthrough in their cultivation.
Furthermore, since Qiu Yang and the other three hadn't returned, Xue Long didn't feel the urgency to withdraw from the battle and leave.
On the other hand, he had heard some stories regarding Nie Tian's resourcefulness. He assumed that since Nie Tian had successfully escaped from those Hunters' blockades, if there were no mishaps, he would probably be able to escape from Qiu Yang and the other three as well.
Also, since Li Langfeng had promised to return to this location, he stayed and drew enlightenment from his battle against Shi Hui.
Panting heavily, Shi Hui cracked a smile and said, "I bet my men have already captured Hua Tian by now. It won't be long before they come back here. But don't you worry. I won't let them interfere with our fight.
"You and I have both been stuck at the Greater Heaven stage for years. We both need an opportunity to break through the bottleneck. This battle between us might just be what we need!"
Xue Long nodded and said, "I was thinking the exact same thing!"
At that moment, another voice suddenly echoed out, "Alright. Since you want to continue with this battle, Uncle Xue, I'll just sit back and watch then."
In the next moment, Nie Tian slowly walked out from behind a sand dune.
Only when he appeared did Shi Hui and Xue Long discover him.
Astonished, Xue Long asked, "How come you are back, Hua Tian?"
"Because Qiu Yang and the others are dead." With a hearty smile, Nie Tian waved the rings of holding he had looted from his four pursuers at Xue Long and Shi Hui so that they could get a clear view of them.
Shi Hui's expression flickered drastically as he said, "How can that be?!"