After Nie Tian had provided Dong Li and Qin Yan with the information he had, both of them assumed a prudent attitude and started making arrangements.
Dong Li instructed Han Mu to prepare a cultivation room for Nie Tian in the Dong Clan, and told Nie Tian to stay there. By sundown the next day, they would head off to the Realm of Dark Underworld together.
After spending a while in the spacious cultivation room, Nie Tian decided to go take a walk in the Dong Clan.
According to Dong Li, the Dong Clan was the most powerful force in the Realm of a Hundred Battles, more powerful than the Cao Clan, Gu Clan, and Pill Pavilion Sect.
The Dong Clan had designated an area for explorers who hunted spirit beasts in the Dong Clan’s territory to make transactions with one another.
Since there wasn’t much spirit beast meat left from what he had stockpiled in the Realm of Split Void, he hadn’t hunted any spirit beasts recently, and he had been eager to find Nie Donghai and Nie Qian, then he figured that he had better gather some more spirit beast meat before leaving for the Realm of Split Void, so that he would be able to provide the green aura in his heart with a continuous source of flesh power.
The number of the spirit beasts in the Realm of a Hundred Battles exceeded the number of spirit beasts in the other eight realms combined. Therefore, other than the large amounts of rare spirit plants, this realm was also very rich in spiritual materials harvested from spirit beasts.
Spirit beasts’ blood, skin, horns, and teeth were all necessary materials for forging spiritual tools.
As for spirit beasts’ meat, however, since only Qi warriors who had strong desires to temper their fleshy bodies would have a need for it, its price turned out to be very low.
The majority of Qi warriors would focus on accumulating spiritual power and refining psychic power.
In most Qi warriors’ eyes, subject to humans’ racial characteristics, humans wouldn’t be able to enhance the toughness of their fleshy bodies to the same level as the spirit beasts and Demon outsiders could, no matter how hard they tried.
Since human lifespans were limited, people would be considered to be heretics if they spent too much time and energy on tempering their fleshy bodies.
Most powerful sects believed that, with the special defensive shields formed with refined spiritual power, human Qi warriors would be able to make up for their disadvantage in physical strength.
Spiritual power, psychic power, and flesh power were the three major types of power. However, most human Qi warriors would emphasize the first two.
Only outsiders, spirit beasts, and those who were born with outstandingly strong physiques or special bloodlines would give emphasis to their cultivation of flesh power.
Due to the fact that very few humans would go to such lengths to temper their fleshy bodies, and that enormous amounts of spirit beasts in the Realm of a Hundred Battles were killed every day, the price of spirit beast meat was rather low.
Nie Tian took a walk through the Dong Clan’s transaction area, and noticed that very few people would stop in front of the stalls that sold spirit beast meat.
He was both surprised and elated.
Soon, he had purchased several thousand kilos of spirit beast meat, all of which was from third or fourth grade spirit beasts, with only one thousand spirit stones.
After storing all of it in an empty ring of holding, he went to purchase some spirit materials that carried frost power so that he could use them to freeze and preserve his spirit beast meat.
After getting all of this done, he returned to the spacious cultivation room Dong Li had prepared for him.
He made a fire by lighting a pile of cheap, fire-attributed spiritual materials with a wisp of his flame power. Then, he skewered pieces of fourth grade spirit beast meat with his Flame Star, and propped them on the fire.
Before long, the scent of roasted meat pervaded the entire cultivation room.
He took his time ripping chunks off the cooked spirit beast meat with his mouth as he sent a wisp of psychic awareness into his bracelet of holding to examine his belongings.
He had gathered quite a fortune through killing numerous Dark Moon members and Hunters in the Realm of Split Void.
He had traded most of his gains for materials to forge the Flame Star and some spirit stones.
He had stored the rest in the two rings of holding he had prepared for Nie Donghai and Nie Qian.
At this moment, the Flame Dragon Armor and the Flame Star were the only two spiritual tools in his possession.
Aside from them, he had kept some Flame Crystals that he could use to practice the Flame Spirit Incantation, some spiritual materials that contained wood power, and a substantial amount of Star Stones.
He didn’t keep any medicinal pills. He had put them all into the rings of holding for Nie Donghai and Nie Qian.
At last, he had found several thousand spirit stones that he could use for daily practice, and several hundred spirit jades for when he was ready to make a breakthrough in his cultivation.
He was well-aware that this trip to the Realm of Dark Underworld wouldn’t be smooth at all. Therefore, he did his best to check his spiritual tools and materials, so that he could make up for them if he was lacking something.
As pieces of roasted spirit beast meat disappeared into his mouth, he finished sorting through his belongings.
Considering that he hadn’t entered the Greater Heaven stage yet, he figured he had better stick with his bracelet of holding for the time being.
Meanwhile, he stored the ring of holding filled with spirit beast meat in the leather pouch on his waist so that he could fetch meat whenever he wanted.
Now that he had a good understanding of his belongings, his eyes narrowed as he went on to examine himself.
After entering the late Heaven stage, he had spent some time practicing cultivation in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations. Now, the powers in his six vortexes of spiritual power, one vortex of flame power, one vortex of wood power, and one vortex of star power had already gone through two rounds of refinement, but there was still a long way to go before he could reach the bottleneck leading to the Greater Heaven stage.
With a change of his thoughts, wisps of spiritual power of different attributes started to circulate through his meridians.
He focused on sensing the movement of those powers.
Moments later, his digestive system started to process the spirit beast meat he had just consumed, releasing wisps of flesh power.
As soon as the wisps of flesh power were born, they were attracted and savagely devoured by the green aura residing in his heart, which contained the profound truths of his bloodline.
It seemed that, after awakening the Life Stealth bloodline talent, the mysterious green aura had begun another round of plundering his flesh power.
Nie Tian, who had already become used to its unfathomable appetite, knew that only when it had gathered enough flesh power would it lie dormant again and wait for its next transcendence, and only when it had settled down would his body be able to absorb flesh power and become stronger.
“I wonder when my bloodline will transcend again, and what kind of bloodline talent will be awakened,” he muttered to himself.
Then, he sent a wisp of a mixture of psychic power and soul power into the second fragmentary star mark, which seemed as if it had been branded on his chest, hoping to derive enlightenment from the Starsoul and Starchain magics recorded in it. After scanning the magical symbols floating within the fragmentary star mark for a short while, he was seized by a strong sense of fatigue.
Therefore, he snapped back to reality. He pondered briefly, and realized that he was still too weak to learn them.
Apparently, limited by his current cultivation base, he hadn’t been able to transcend his psychic power into soul power yet. Therefore, it was unrealistic for him to master the magics recorded in the second fragmentary star mark now.
It seemed that formidable soul power was needed for him to derive enlightenment from the contents of the second fragmentary star mark.
That meant that he might have to be at the Worldly realm or even higher to be able to refine the second fragmentary star mark.
“Worldly realm...” He shook his head with a bitter expression at the corner of his mouth. “My cultivation base is still too low.”
At that very moment, the stone door of his cultivation room was slowly pushed open.
Nie Tian immediately snapped out of his thoughts and looked at the door with a frown.
A man stuck his head through the door. After seeing Nie Tian, he laughed heartily and said, “I caught a whiff of the meat’s scent, so I’ve come to fill my belly. You have meat. I have alcohol. I suggest that we mix it up a little bit. What do you say?”
The man was Dong Baijie.
Nie Tian understood that Dong Baijie definitely didn’t come by tracing the scent of the meat.
“Dong Li is your younger sister. Why didn’t you tell me when we met in the Realm of Split Void?” Nie Tian asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
Dong Baijie let himself in, shut the stone door, and sat in front of Nie Tian. He casually handed a bottle of alcohol to Nie Tian before taking a piece of cooked meat off the Flame Star. Under Nie Tian’s gaze, he ripped off a big chunk of meat and washed it down with a gulp of alcohol. Only then did he look at Nie Tian and say, “You didn’t suffer any losses from her in the Realm of Split Void, did you? On the contrary, she was the one who was repeatedly defeated.
“I take you as my friend, so it was between my friend and my sister. What could I possibly do?
“I could only pretend I didn’t know anything of it.”
“Friend? Really?” Nie Tian asked, curling his lips.
He took a gulp of Dong Baijie’s alcohol, feeling a burning sensation in his throat as he swallowed it. After it went down, he felt like it was burning in his stomach. Then, his mouth was filled with a lingering alcoholic scent as he started to feel lighter.
“Of course.” The look in Dong Baijie’s eyes was sincere. “I’m a person who is only interested in those who can beat me or make me suffer losses. I would never respect those who died at my hands or fled from our battles during the Heaven Gate trial. You, on the other hand, were only at the Lesser Heaven stage back then, yet you dared to enter my section, and eventually managed to take that fragmentary star mark from me. That I respect.”
“That was mere luck... your sister’s words,” Nie Tian said.
Dong Baijie smiled. “Perhaps. However, luck should be considered a part of strength. I don’t look at the process. I only look at the results.”
Nie Tian took another gulp of alcohol, feeling that the alcohol Dong Baijie had brought with him was strong and tasty enough. After taking merely two mouthfuls, not only did he become more talkative, but he also felt increasingly light and relaxed.
At that point, he finally understood why Li Muyang and Li Ye were so fond of drinking.
Under the influence of the alcohol, he opened his robe and showed Dong Baijie the second fragmentary star mark on his chest. “This fragmentary star mark belonged to you, and I took it from you. I don’t believe that you don’t hate me for that at all.”