In the barren land filled with erupting volcanoes.
After hiding from Wu Ling’s search, Nie Tian and Dong Li didn’t choose to return to Desolate City, but rather went deeper into the wilderness.
They came across two volcanoes on their way, but Nie Tian didn’t unleash the Flame Dragon Armor to absorb earthflame essence from them.
Whenever the Flame Dragon Armor expressed its yearning for earthflame essence, Nie Tian would suppress it with his thoughts and restrain it from acting recklessly.
He knew it wasn’t safe to do that yet.
However, that didn’t mean that he had given up on that idea. He just wanted to find a place very far from the Tool Sect, where he would seek an opportunity to restore flame power for the Flame Dragon Armor.
During the past two days, Dong Li had repeatedly asked him how had he managed to escape Wu Ling’s psychic scan.
Every time, Nie Tian had muddled through his answer.
During this period of time, Nie Tian had also noticed via his nine Heaven Eyes that a few Rainbow Lightnings had whizzed past with Profound realm experts from the Tool Sect in them.
Every time, he had grown very nervous, suspecting that those powerful experts from the Tool Sect had come for him, just like Wu Ling and his people.
Qi warriors with cultivation bases at the Worldly realm or higher would have transformed their psychic power into soul power, therefore enabling them to sense the subtle fluctuations of souls.
His bloodline talent, Life Stealth, only allowed him to hide the signs of his life, but not his soul fluctuations.
If those experts’ target had been him, he wouldn’t have possibly been able to hide from them.
The strange thing was that those experts seemed to have preset targets. Even though they had clearly sensed their existence from the air, they didn’t even spare them a single glance as they flashed past them.
Watching another Rainbow Lightning flash past in the distant sky, Dong Li came to a stop and said with furrowed eyebrows, “Something is wrong...
“Judging by the date, the Tool Sect’s assessment assembly should have opened already. Those powerful experts from the Tool Sect should be guarding the volcanoes close to Desolate City and supervising the equipment forgers who have attended the assessment assembly.
“Instead, they are now flying back and forth. It doesn’t seem right.”
Nie Tian also noticed the anomaly.
It was indeed strange considering they had seen Profound realm experts riding Rainbow Lightnings towards the deepest parts of the barren land during the past two days.
Wu Ling’s Rainbow Lightning returned.
Upon noticing it, Nie Tian immediately hid himself with the same method he had used days ago.
Moments later, the Rainbow Lightning stopped in the air right before Dong Li. The girl named Huang Yuan looked down at her and said, “Big sister, great changes have occurred in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation. Many people are gathering earthflame essence. All of our disciples have been summoned back to our sect. You’d better head back to Desolate City as well!”
As soon as she uttered these words, the Rainbow Lightning shot off into the distance.
After the Rainbow Lightning disappeared into the distant sky, Nie Tian climbed out of the hole he hid in and said with a shocked expression on his face, “Many people are gathering earthflame essence? What’s happening?”
Looking worried, Dong Li said, “Wu Ling and those with him are at the Greater Heaven and Heaven stage, but the Tool Sect is ordering them to return as quickly as possible. This means that the Tool Sect is afraid that, considering their cultivation bases and strength, not only will they not be able to help with the situation, but they may easily get killed.”
Gazing at a distant volcano that had smoke rising from it, Nie Tian said, “Something big must have happened in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation. I don’t think it’s wise for us to continue marching forward, considering our current strength.”
Nie Tian had also sensed danger.
While he was hesitant over whether he should give up the idea of letting the Flame Dragon Armor gather more earthflame essence, one of his Heaven Eyes discovered an anomaly.
He saw that the old man that they had passed twice recently was running at full speed, his face filled with fear.
Chasing after him was a huge cluster of pale-gray smoke.
The late Greater Heaven stage old man ran madly on the ground covered in rivers of flowing lava, before he was eventually engulfed by the huge cluster of pale-gray smoke.
He let out blood-curdling screams.
Via that Heaven Eye, Nie Tian could see with great clarity that the old man had lost all signs of life seconds after he was devoured by the smoke, which carried an aura of death that could wither all plants and extinguish all lives.
A Profound realm expert from the Tool Sect arrived from another direction. Looking at the pale-gray smoke, his face turned ghastly with fright. “The Death Reign! That’s Zhao Shanling’s Death Reign!”
The cluster of pale-gray smoke continued to move in a preset track at a very high speed. The Profound realm expert from the Tool Sect could only follow it from a safe distance as he took out a Sound Stone and whispered warnings into it.
Since this was happening in a location far from Nie Tian and Dong Li, Dong Li had absolutely no idea what was happening. However, she noticed the strange look on Nie Tian’s face, and thus hastily asked him what was going on.
Considering that the current location of the smoke was quite far from them, and that it was moving directly towards Desolate City and the Tool Sect, Nie Tian deemed that he and Dong Li would be safe from it.
Even so, he was deeply shocked and terrified after witnessing the late Greater Heaven stage old man being extinguished within seconds.
“I saw the old man, who was at the end of his life... H-he was engulfed by a cluster of pale-gray smoke, and died almost instantly.” With a deep breath, Nie Tian forced himself to calm down, and then he added, “A Profound realm expert from the Tool Sect is following the smoke from a great distance, and reporting to their sect via his Sound Stone.
“As he did, he repeatedly mentioned the names ‘Death Reign’ and ‘Zhao Shanling’.”
Dong Li’s face turned pale with fright. “The Death Reign?! And Zhao Shanling!?”
Even her body stiffened somewhat. “Are you sure that expert from the Tool Sect said ‘Death Reign’ and ‘Zhao Shanling’?”
Nie Tian was surprised by her reaction. “I’m sure! Why? Do you know something?”
“Where is that pale-gray smoke going? It’s not coming towards us, is it?” Dong Li was freaking out. “If it is coming towards us, I need to summon my black phoenix and get us out of here immediately!”
“No,” Nie Tian said. “it seems to be moving towards the Tool Sect.”
After learning that horrible thing was not coming towards them, Dong Li felt greatly relieved. She sank down to the ground without the slightest regard for proper manners. “Oh boy... I thought the Death Reign was coming for us. If it does come our way, considering our puny strength, we won’t have the slightest chance of surviving it!”
“What’s going on?!” Nie Tian asked with a grim expression.
Dong Li still seemed rather shaken as she explained, “The Tool Sect’s previous sectmaster had three disciples: the eldest disciple, Qi Bailu, who’s currently the sectmaster of the Tool Sect, the second disciple, Zhao Shanling, and the youngest disciple, Zhen Huilan, who’s Li Ye and Pei Qiqi’s master. During the time when the three of them competed for the position of sectmaster, each of them was required to forge a spiritual tool, which would be subject to the assessment of all the sect elders. The disciple whose spiritual tool got the most votes would become the new sectmaster of the Tool Sect.
“The spiritual tool forged by Zhao Shanling turned out to be the most formidable, far more powerful than the spiritual tools forged by Qi Bailu and Zhen Huilan.
“However, not only was he not appointed as the new sectmaster of the Tool Sect, but he even received the disapproval of all of the elders, and was evicted from the Tool Sect.
“The spiritual tool he forged was the Death Reign!”
Dong Li paused to gather her thoughts before continuing, “I heard this from seniors in my clan. No one knew how Zhao Shanling forged that Death Reign and made it so formidable. Back then, even though the Tool Sect was the most powerful Qi warrior sect in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation, it wasn’t the only one.
“However, after Zhao Shanling created the Death Reign, even he seemed to be unable to gain control of it right away. As a result, it got away from him and wiped out all of the other Qi warrior sects in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation.
“Wherever the Death Reign passed, Qi warriors were sucked into it and turned into dried corpses.
“Even powerful experts at the late Profound realm couldn’t survive after being sucked into it. They just lasted a bit longer, but that was all.
“All of the Tool Sect elders were terrified by its formidable might. Even the sectmaster of the Tool Sect, Zhao Shanling’s master, wasn’t able to subdue the Death Reign. Eventually, he managed to send it into a spatial rift that led to an unknown dimension along with Zhao Shanling, but it cost him his life.
“Zhao Shanling has disappeared since then.
“Everyone assumed he was withering away in a remote and chaotic dimension. Who would have thought he has actually found his way back!”
Nie Tian was shocked. “Are you saying that the Death Reign is a spiritual tool?!”
Dong Li smiled bitterly. “That’s what I’ve heard, but I’m not sure if it is. Thousands died because Zhao Shanling brought the Death Reign to this world. It was because of this monstrous calamity he inflicted upon the people of the Realm of Unbounded Desolation, which even killed the sectmaster of the Tool Sect, that he was eventually evicted from the Tool Sect.”
“Are you saying that this man managed to survive a chaotic dimension and return?!”
“Nie Tian! We can’t stay in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation any longer. We’ve got to get out of here as quickly as possible if we don’t want to die!”
“You’re not suggesting we should return to Desolate City now, are you?” Nie Tian asked with a grim expression on his face. “Desolate City and the Tool Sect are right next to each other. We’d be seeking death if we went back to Desolate City now.