The Lightning Shuttle could cover thousands of kilometers in a day.
By the time the Lightning Shuttle arrived in the Blood Sect's territory, word of Nie Tian's deeds in Black Cloud City hadn't spread to the Blood Sect yet.
After Nie Tian got off the Lightning Shuttle, Hua Mu said to him, "We're not going to the Blood Sect with you. I'll take Qiqi to check the spatial rift. Also, there's no need to let that woman from the Blood Sect know that I took you to the Realm of Split Void."
Nie Tian nodded, saying, "I know."
After a moment of hesitation, Hua Mu added, "Plus, you might want to spend some time to adjust yourself. There are two sides to human nature. Lately, you've experienced a lot of the dark side. I hope you can understand how ugly and disgusting people can be, but at the same time, I want you to hold fast to what you believe, and don't err from the right path."
Nie Tian nodded again.
"Alright, that's about all." Hua Mu took another deep look at him before steering the Lightning Shuttle around and disappearing into the distant horizon.
Nie Tian traveled by himself in the Blood Sect's territory.
It wasn't long before he ran into a disciple of the Blood Sect. After Nie Tian stated his identity, the man's expression flickered dramatically, and he hastily showed him to the Blood Sect's headquarters.
As the man led the way in front, he repeatedly turned his head to check Nie Tian out.
The man's eyes were filled with respect, and it looked as if he wanted to say something, but stopped on second thought.
"What's wrong?" Nie Tian asked curiously.
"My name is Zhang Xu." After stating his own name, the man slowed his pace to express his gratitude towards Nie Tian, "I always wanted to thank you, but I never had the chance."
"Thank me?" Greatly surprised, Nie Tian adopted a self-mocking tone. "Thank me for what? I holed up somewhere right after obtaining two fragmentary star marks, which makes every man and woman in the Realm of Flame Heaven live in fear. Everyone takes me as a great sinner. What do you want to thank me for?"
A sincere and serious expression filled Zhang Xu's face as he said, "I don't care what others think, but most of my sectmates and I are very grateful to you. If you didn't awaken the Bone Blood Demon, the Blood Sect would have been annihilated when the Demon armies invaded us.
"It was you who saved the Blood Sect, rushed to the Hell Sect's aid with our sectmaster and the Bone Blood Demon, and eventually forced the Demons to retreat from the Realm of Flame Heaven.
"You're our savior!"
"Savior?" Nie Tian was at a loss for words.
"Exactly! You're the one who saved our sect!" Zhang Xu said with decisiveness that could sever nails and chop iron. "Actually, you made great contributions to the entire Realm of Flame Heaven. If it weren't for you, our sect would have been gnawed away by the Demons. If you didn't awaken the Bone Blood Demon and rush to the Hell Sect, the Demons that were besieging the Hell Sect wouldn't have retreated so easily."
After hearing these words, Nie Tian's thoughts drifted away, and a current of warmth flowed into his heart.
At that moment, the two of them arrived at a area filled with blood cisterns that stretched as far as the eye could see.
Each and every blood cistern was brimming with blood. Numerous Blood Sect disciples were bathing in the blood cisterns, practicing the Blood Sect's secret magics by refining the spirit beast blood.
All of a sudden, a woman's figure flew out of one of the blood cisterns.
It was Yu Tong, her curvaceous body soaked in blood.
The moment Yu Tong saw Nie Tian, she recognized him. Her eyes instantly turned as red as blood as she launched the Blood Sect's secret magics. Her slender, jade-like hands waved in the air, sending out numerous scarlet blood strings, which flew straight towards Nie Tian's chest like spirit snakes made of pure blood.
"Senior Martial Sister Yu!" Zhang Xu exclaimed, his voice filled with fright.
Nie Tian's expression remained as calm as ever. With a thought, he summoned his flame power and rapidly formed a barrier of blazing flames in front of him.
PUFF! PUFF! PUFF!
One blood string after another flew into the barrier, and were rapidly burned away by the raging flames.
Yu Tong stopped in front of Nie Tian and restrained herself from launching another attack. She coldly looked him up and down, and then asked with a somewhat surprised tone, "Did you also advance to the middle Heaven stage?"
Nie Tian nodded, saying, "Your cultivation progressed impressively fast as well."
He discovered that, although only two years had passed, Yu Tong had already advanced to the middle Heaven stage, the same as him.
Such speed was actually very stunning.
"I practiced cultivation day and night over the past two years, and never have I ever missed a single day," With a cold snort, Yu Tong spoke through her slightly gritted teeth. "I only practiced so hard so that I can defeat you fair and square one day!"
A surprised expression spread across Nie Tian's face.
He knew that Yu Tong hated his guts for the things he had done to her, so much so that every time Yu Tong had mentioned him, she had claimed that she would rip him apart.
However, this time, Yu Tong only said she would defeat him, instead of killing him.
This was enough evidence that Yu Tong's attitude towards Nie Tian had undergone essential changes.
"Alright, we can have a battle whenever you want." Nie Tian grinned.
The other young men and women, all of whom were at the Qi Refining and Lesser Heaven stages, whispered to each other as they sneakily looked at Nie Tian with measuring and worshipful gazes.
"Nie Tian! That's Nie Tian!"
"He's the one who awakened the Bone Blood Demon and commanded it to slaughter countless low-tier Demons! He's the reason why our sect survived that calamity."
"I heard that he obtained two fragmentary star marks during the Heaven Gate trial."
"You might not know that those who participated in the Heaven Gate trial were all the most talented disciples from the most powerful sects from different realms of the Domain of the Falling Stars. Not only were there Lesser Heaven stage cultivators, but there were even extremely powerful Heaven stage and Greater Heaven stage experts!"
"He's a legend of our generation!"
There wasn't any hate or disgust in their eyes. There was only gratefulness and veneration.
"Thank you, Zhang Xu. That will be all." Yu Tong waved her hand at Zhang Xu and signaled to him that he could go. Afterwards, she turned to Nie Tian and said, "Come with me. I'll take you to the sectmaster."
Nie Tian nodded. "Alright."
Under the Blood Sect's young disciples' revering gazes and marveling whispers, Nie Tian followed Yu Tong through the area filled with blood cisterns meant for beginner cultivators.
On their way, Yu Tong suddenly turned to Nie Tian and asked, "Do you want to see An Shiyi and An Ying first?"
"That would be the best." Nie Tian answered without any hesitation.
Accordingly, Yu Tong took a turn just as they were about to enter the Blood Sect's sect gate and led Nie Tian towards a secluded valley.
Before they even entered the mountain valley, Yu Tong's footsteps caught An Ying's attention, and thus An Ying asked, before even seeing either Yu Tong or Nie Tian, "What good stuff did you bring us this time, Yu Tong?"
Over the past two years, Yu Tong and the An sisters had long since forgotten about their previous disagreements and resumed good relations.
Whenever Yu Tong had the time, she would come to the valley to discuss the Dao of cultivation with An Shiyi. Every once in a while, she would bring over some cultivation resources for the sisters.
That was why, upon hearing footsteps, An Ying immediately assumed Yu Tong had come to visit them again. By the time An Ying walked out from the belly of the valley, and she saw that Nie Tian had come with Yu Tong, she was shocked into a daze. She subconsciously rubbed her eyes and called out, "Nie Tian!"
"Who? Who is it? Am I hearing right?" Upon hearing An Ying's shout, An Shiyi immediately rushed to the mouth of the valley, where An Ying was standing.
Wearing a fiery-red, long dress, An Shiyi seemed like a blossoming flower, mature and glorious. Having entered the Greater Heaven stage, her entire body was releasing an imposing flame aura.
She seemed to be practicing her fire incantations when Nie Tian and Yu Tong had first arrived, and thus, at this moment, there were some ashes on her beautiful face and fiery dress.
Standing several dozen meters away, her bright eyes instantly fixed on Nie Tian. She gently bit her plump and smooth lower lip. Her curvaceous body trembled slightly, huge waves surging in her pounding heart.
"Long time no see, Big Sister An," Nie Tian said with a smile.
An Shiyi recovered from the shock of seeing him, and said somewhat sheepishly, "F-finally, you're back. Give me a second."
She rushed back into her cottage and hastily tidied up her appearance. After getting rid of even the slightest bits of ash and dust on her face and dress, she walked out of her cottage, looking enlivened and radiant.
At that moment, Nie Tian and Yu Tong had already walked to An Ying's side.
An Shiyi smiled embarrassedly at Nie Tian and said with a somewhat complaining tone, "How come you didn't even say a word before you left? You made me, sorry, us worry about you for two whole years!"
"Well, I didn't worry about him. You're the one who worried about him." An Ying pursed her lips into a smile and said to Nie Tian, "Over these two years, she talked about you all the time, fearing that the Heaven Palace Sect might find you, that Ning Yang might take your fragmentary star marks, and that the Heaven Palace Sect might kill you."
"She's right. I can testify to that," Yu Tong said calmly.
"What? No!" Embarrassment filled An Shiyi's face. Immediately afterwards, she said with a harsh tone, "Nie Tian is my sworn brother, and I care about him. What's wrong with that?"
"You're right. There's nothing wrong with that, and I didn't say there was." An Ying blinked a few times, smiling.
"You go ahead and catch up. I'll wait for you right outside the valley." With these words, Yu Tong turned around and intended to leave.
"Why are you leaving? Come back." An Shiyi stepped forward and grabbed Yu Tong by her arm. Then, she said to Nie Tian with a serious expression, "Yu Tong took good care of us during the past two years we spent in the Blood Sect. She's a nice person. I'd say you two should let bygones be bygones and forget about the unpleasantness between you."
"Fine by me." Nie Tian laughed softly. "I didn't suffer any loss from her, anyways."
"You!" Remembering how Nie Tian had repeatedly violated her, Yu Tong glowered at him and said with a tone full of hate, "Sister Shiyi, the feud between me and him can't be settled so easily!"
"Come on. Let it go already." An Shiyi did her utmost to persuade Yu Tong. "Ever since Nie Tian awakened the Bone Blood Demon, he could be considered a member of the Blood Sect. Not to mention that your sectmaster openly declared that he had become a member of the Blood Sect. Do you dare to oppose her? Furthermore, he saved the Blood Sect. Many people who are close to you and your martial brothers and sisters survived because of him. What feud can't you forgive?"
"Nevertheless, we're far from over!" Yu Tong said stubbornly.
That was when Nie Tian intentionally changed the subject by saying, "Well, Sister An, I came from Black Cloud City."
"Black Cloud City!" The smile on An Shiyi's face instantly vanished. "How is the situation over there?"
"Everything is fine now," Nie Tian said. "The Yuan Clan is done for."
"What?!" An Shiyi and An Ying exclaimed at the same time.