Nie Tian went blank for a moment before asking, "Since when did you know?"
"Not very long ago." Pei Qiqi slowly sat down next to him. "After I entered the Greater Heaven stage, I thought about you a lot. Your strange abilities had long since made me feel that you weren't an ordinary person. The fact that you escaped the pursuit of numerous Hunters and successfully met the Blood Skull's retrieval team made me even more curious about you.
"So I checked the Blood Skull's records and learned that you and Mr. Hua came from the Realm of Flame Heaven.
"Together with your assumed name, I came to realize that you're the man who all the major sects are looking for."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to hide the truth from you," Nie Tian said embarrassedly.
Pei Qiqi took out a canteen of water. She drank a mouthful and said, "It's alright. I understand. Everyone has their own secrets. Your situation is very special. It's understandable that you wanted to hide your true identity. After all, very few people are like Li Langfeng, who lives in the Realm of Split Void under a real name."
Then, she shot a glance at Xue Long, who was sitting far from them. "He's probably also using a fake name."
With a smile, Nie Tian said, "You're right about that. Uncle Xue is from the Realm of a Hundred Battles. I don't know what his real name is, but I know that everyone who chooses to come to the Realm of Split Void has their own stories."
"Why did Uncle Xue seek you out?" Pei Qiqi asked with a soft voice.
"Ning Yang from the Heaven Palace Sect is also here in the Realm of Split Void. He's currently in the forbidden region to the east of Ash City." Now that Pei Qiqi had already figured out who he was, Nie Tian no longer felt the need to hide anything from her. "Ning Yang has the third fragmentary star mark, which is very important to me. Uncle Xue is going to help me snatch it from Ning Yang."
"That's a bit rash, isn't it?" Pei Qiqi's beautiful eyebrows furrowed as she mulled over his choice of words. "Uncle Xue is very strong. There's no doubt about that. Since Ning Yang was given the important task of obtaining the legacies of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace during the Heaven Gate trial, the Heaven Palace Sect must have considered him their most talented disciple."
"I'm afraid it won't be so easy for Uncle Xue to single-handedly deal with such a powerful figure, don't you think?"
She was being implicit.
The fact was that she deemed that, considering Xue Long's cultivation base and battle prowess, he wouldn't have a chance of beating Ning Yang.
"There's another person who's also going to help me," Nie Tian replied in a soft voice.
"Who?" Pei Qiqi was very curious.
Nie Tian hadn't been to the Realm of Split Void for very long. Plus, she had been there with him most of the time.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't figure out how he had persuaded Xue Long to help him deal with Ning Yang.
Not to mention that another powerful expert would also be there to assist him.
"It's someone you know." Nie Tian smiled somewhat uncomfortably. "Li Langfeng."
"Li Langfeng!" Pei Qiqi's face turned pale with shock, as if she had seen a ghost. "H-have you lost your mind? How could he possibly be willing to help you? Are you sure that he's not going to betray you and sell you to Ning Yang as a favor?"
Nie Tian nodded. "Yes, I am."
He figured he had better not reveal his deal with the Spirit Condor. However, he knew that if Li Langfeng or Xue Long intended to sell him out, they would have done it already.
"Do you have any other secrets that you haven't told me yet?" Pei Qiqi asked with a suspicious look on her face.
"Yes, I do, but it concerns other people, so I'd rather not tell you about it." Nie Tian told the truth.
"Very well." Pei Qiqi didn't insist on asking about Nie Tian's secrets. "But you've got to let me join your operation against Ning Yang. Now that I don't have much to do anyways, I'd like to see how powerful the Heaven Palace Sect's most talented disciple really is."
"Huh?" A shocked expression stretched across Nie Tian's face.
Pei Qiqi gave him a hard look. "Huh what?"
"But... you have nothing to do with it," Nie Tian said.
"I recently entered the Greater Heaven stage, so I need to temper my skills with battles." Pei Qiqi slowly closed her eyes as she focused on adjusting her breathing. Then, she said with a peaceful tone, "Ning Yang from the Heaven Palace Sect will be a perfect opponent for me. Okay, it's settled. From now on, don't interrupt me. I need time to recover my strength."
With these words, she no longer spoke to Nie Tian, as she seemed to have entered the cultivation state.
Nie Tian scratched his head, as he was unable to make heads or tails of her sudden demand. He intended to tell her that Li Langfeng was about to enter the Worldly realm. Once he did, Li Langfeng alone would be strong enough to help him accomplish their goal. They wouldn't need her help at all.
However, from the look of it, Pei Qiqi seemed to have already made up her mind, and thus intentionally avoided hearing his reasoning.
Therefore, he had no choice but to drop it.
Afterwards, he calmed himself and started recovering the energies he had consumed with spirit stones and spiritual materials of different attributes.
As they cultivated, a few Hunters passed by and discovered their auras.
However, whenever people approached them, Xue Long would perceive their movements and unleash a fierce sword intent.
As soon as those Hunters sensed Xue Long's sword intent, they would immediately realize that it wasn't someone they could take, and thus retreated voluntarily.
One day passed...
Nie Tian had recovered most of the energies he had consumed, and thus he took out Qiu Yang and the other three's rings of holding.
The four rings of holding had belonged to four Greater Heaven stage experts. Nie Tian desired to know what was in them very much.
However, almost every ring of holding had their own unique restrictive spells.
If people tried to break the spell with force without knowing how to crack the spell properly, it would very likely result in the destruction of the ring of holding, along with everything inside of it.
After a moment of hesitation, Nie Tian turned to Pei Qiqi, who was sitting quietly with her eyes closed and said with a soft voice, "Well..."
Pei Qiqi opened her eyes and reached out with one hand, saying, "Alright, give them to me."
With a smile, Nie Tian handed the four rings of holding to her.
"It's really hard to imagine how you killed Qiu Yang and the other three." Pei Qiqi muttered to herself as slender beams of bright light blossomed at the tips of her fingers, which seemed to carry the profound truths of spatial energy. In the next moment, they flew into the rings of holding like extensions of her slender fingers, where they skillfully solved the restrictive spells within them.
As she removed the restrictive spells, she took a glance at the items in stock, and she discovered that each of the rings of holding was stocked with large amounts of spirit stones, spirit jades, and jars full of spiritual materials. "Wow, these guest elders of the Blood Skull were all filthy rich. Here you go. You've hit gold again." With these words, she handed the four rings of holding back to Nie Tian.
Nie Tian briefly examined the stocked items after receiving them, and found that there were at least a total of 20,000 spirit stones, along with 50 spirit jades, within the four rings of holding.
Aside from that, he also discovered several premium grade spiritual tools that were suited for their former owners, along with medicinal pills and spiritual materials.
His face was instantly filled with smiles.
Completely at ease, Pei Qiqi took her time as she said, "You must have paid Li Ye handsomely in order to get him to forge a spiritual tool that suits your needs. Now that both Xue Long and Li Langfeng are willing to help you, you must have made some kind of deal with them. I put my own business on hold so that I could come to your aid. You don't want to see me come out empty-handed, do you?"
Nie Tian cracked a smile and said, "Alright, spill it. What do you want?"
"10,000 spirit stones." Pei Qiqi reached out her jade-like right hand and opened it. Then, she said, looking directly into Nie Tian's eyes, "I'm at the Greater Heaven stage. It's a fair deal to pay for my service with 10,000 spirit stones."
"No problem." Nie Tian laughed heartily as he took out 10,000 spirit stones, put them into an empty bracelet of holding, and placed it in Pei Qiqi's palm.
As he did, his little finger accidentally touched Pei Qiqi's soft hand.
Pei Qiqi's hand trembled slightly as a ray of bright light shone from her eyes, which were looking right into Nie Tian's eyes.
In a split second, the light in her eyes rapidly disappeared as she retracted her hand, along with the bracelet of holding in her palm.
Then, she sat back down on the ground, closed her eyes, and asked with a calm tone, "Back when I sustained heavy injuries and fell unconscious, did you..." She didn't finish her question, but her long eyelashes slightly flickered.
"I didn't do anything!" Nie Tian replied hastily.
Pei Qiqi snorted back at him.
Upon hearing Pei Qiqi's question, Nie Tian couldn't help but remember the time he had carried her on his back while he had run away from Li Langfeng's pursuit.
As he relived the pleasant memories, his gaze wandered up and down Pei Qiqi, who was sitting in front of him, which reminded him of the scene where he had clenched Pei Qiqi's slender legs with his hands and arms.
Pei Qiqi's eyes suddenly snapped open. Glaring at him, she asked, "What are you thinking?"
With a guilty conscience, Nie Tian hastily replied, "I'm thinking about Li Langfeng."
"Nonsense!" Pei Qiqi blurted angrily.
At that moment, Li Langfeng's voice echoed out from the distance. "Hahaha! I can't believe someone would think about me."
In the blink of an eye, he arrived in front of them.
Upon seeing Li Langfeng appear out of nowhere, Nie Tian's expression flickered.
He didn't understand why his Heaven Eyes had failed to detect Li Langfeng's life aura and the fact that he was approaching.