The sun hung high in the sky, scorching the desert.
Nie Tian hid in a sand dune and masked all of his life aura with the Life Stealth bloodline talent.
He left a shred of his garment on the sand dune, making it fairly easy to notice.
Then, he spread his Heaven Eyes in the vicinity, keeping a close watch on Shi Qing and the man pursuing him.
Hiding in the sand dune, Nie Tian gripped his Flame Star tightly, strong killing intent filling his heart. "The Thunder Mountain Sect from the Realm of Earth Sieve..."
Even if Lei Yao hadn't so openly robbed the Blood Skull of their inter-realm teleportation portal in Shatter City, he still wouldn't have had any good feelings for the Thunder Mountain Sect.
He still vividly remembered what the young man from the Realm of Earth Sieve had said right before entering the Heaven Gate that had appeared by the Hell Sect.
Back then, the Realm of Earth Sieve, the Realm of Dark Underworld, and the Realm of Black Marsh had all sent their most talented youngsters to the Realm of Flame Heaven, where they could enter the Heaven Gate and participate in the trial.
Right before they had entered, they had arrogantly revealed that their realms had already reached a mutual understanding to carve up the Realm of Flame Heaven.
If the Demons had failed to kill everyone in the Realm of Flame Heaven after the Heaven Gate trial was over, then they would invade the Realm of Flame Heaven themselves. They had even agreed on how to divide the Realm of Flame Heaven.
Meanwhile, during the Heaven Gate trial, Qi warriors from those three realms had specifically chased and slaughtered participants from the Realm of Flame Heaven.
Nie Tian had never forgotten about those old grudges. Hence, his enmity towards the sects in those three realms had always been there.
Recently, he had witnessed the Thunder Mountain Sect openly rob the Blood Skull's inter-realm teleportation portal.
He had witnessed powerful experts from the Thunder Mountain Sect slaughtering Hunters and Qi warriors from Shatter City more than a few times on his way to this place.
Killing intent had long since been brooding in his heart.
However, he hadn't expected that he would catch a Qi warrior from the Thunder Mountain Sect chasing after Shi Qing now that he was about to reach the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Before, Shi Qing had treated him fairly in Shatter City. Seeing that he was being chased by a Thunder Mountain Sect disciple, Nie Tian couldn't hold it any longer.
He secretly gathered his strength, hiding in the sand dune.
Moments later, Shi Qing trudged into the area where he was hiding, soaked in blood.
The pursuing Thunder Mountain Sect disciple occasionally shot bolts of cyan lighting out of his fingertips. Despite Shi Qing moving about to avoid them, some of them bombarded his back, making him look even more miserable.
The man sneered, looking very relaxed. "You can't get away," he said. It was as if he was enjoying this so much that he still wanted to play with Shi Qing for a little longer.
Via his Heaven Eyes, Nie Tian saw that Shi Qing wasn't heading towards the sand dune where he was hiding.
Therefore, he manipulated one of his Heaven Eyes to quietly float towards Shi Qing, and at the same time, sent a wisp of his awareness into that Heaven Eye.
Blood kept flowing out of the wounds on Shi Qing's charred back, and his eyes were bloodshot.
In his eyes, the whole world seemed to be painted with blood, and was dark-red.
At this moment, the only thought in his head was to run as fast as he could. Perhaps he still had a chance of making it back to Shatter City.
Another bolt of lightning struck his back, causing blood to spill from his mouth. Staggering, he didn't dare to turn to look back. He struggled to summon his last remaining spiritual power and trudge forward.
At that moment, a strange wisp of a message seemed to echo out by his ears, "This is Hua Tian. Run past the sand dune that has a piece of cloth on it, and I'll sneak an attack on that Thunder Mountain Sect disciple from under the sand!"
"Hua Tian!" Shi Qing's eyes, which had been painted red by blood, suddenly lit up.
He didn't know how Hua Tian had gotten that clear message through to him.
He also wondered why Hua Tian would appear in this region after being gone for so long.
However, desperate as he was now, Nie Tian's message came as a silver lining in complete darkness. No matter what, he had to hold on to it.
Therefore, without any delay, he followed the directions Nie Tian had given him and ran toward the sand dune with a piece of cloth on it.
In the scorching sunlight, blood dripped onto the sand from Shi Qing's back as he climbed over that sand dune. However, he didn't stop, but instead kept rushing forward without the slightest hesitation.
He didn't even look back, yet his heart was filled with hope.
He was one of the few Blood Skull members who had personally witnessed Nie Tian's formidable battle prowess, and knew that he had worked miracles and killed Greater Heaven stage opponents before.
However, the Thunder Mountain Sect disciple who was chasing after him was at the late Greater Heaven stage.
Therefore, he slightly doubted that Nie Tian would be able to achieve good results by launching a sneak attack on his pursuer.
"Your head, Cai Lan, didn't know his place," The Thunder Mountain Sect pursuer said with a sinister grin. "We've long since issued an order for irrelevant organizations and personnel to evacuate from the region, yet he still dared to stay. He has only himself to blame. I can't believe that organizations like the Blood Skull even dared to come to the Void Illusion Mountain Range and compete with us. You deserve to be annihilated."
Taunting unceasingly, the man adjusted his direction and headed straight towards the slightly raised sand dune.
The sand dune exploded, sending sand flying in all directions. A long saber, which exuded green, white, and red auras, suddenly thrust out from underneath the sand.
At the same time, a chaotic magnetic field was instantly formed, enveloping the man.
The Flame Star's sharp blade pierced into the man's abdomen, causing him to let out an ear-piercing cry.
Immediately afterwards, countless tiny lightning bolts appeared around the man's abdomen, desperately resisting the three types of power the Flame Star was exuding.
Nie Tian, who was still partially covered in sand, formed a small star formation in his other palm, the look in his eyes fierce like a cold blade. Without any hesitation, he pressed his starlight-glittering palm on the man's left leg.
Bombarded by the mysterious formation composed of starsparks, the man's left leg instantly shattered and exploded.
The violent impact sent the man into midair with the Flame Star in his abdomen.
At that moment, Pei Qiqi's Ethereal Swords suddenly appeared, as if they had suddenly descended upon the real world from the unknown void.
Before the man could react, they pierced into his lower back, right leg, chest, and abdomen.
A loud roll of thunder echoed out from within the man. As he struggled to swing his arms at Nie Tian, the countless lightning bolts on him converged into a lightning ball which flew directly towards Nie Tian.
As it did, Nie Tian cast a short-range Starshift and appeared right before him like a ghost.
"I can't believe that didn't kill you!" With these words, he grabbed the hilt of the Flame Star and buried it deeper into the man's belly.
The tip of the Flame Star immediately came out of the man's back. As he fell uncontrollably from midair, Nie Tian threw a vigorous kick at the top of the man's head.
The sound of bone cracking echoed out. The man stopped breathing before he hit the sand.
Landing next to him with a loud boom, Nie Tian pulled the Flame Star out of him and swung it a few times to get rid of the blood on the blade.
Pei Qiqi flashed into appearance beside Nie Tian. With a subtle move of her slender, jade-like fingers, her Ethereal Swords flew out of the corpse and disappeared into her cuff.
Nie Tian took off the mask Zhen Huilan had given him as he walked over to Shi Qing, who was resting nearby, and said, "Long time no see, Uncle Shi."
Covered in blood, Shi Qing's bewildered gaze switched back and forth between Nie Tian and Pei Qiqi before he asked, "Hua Tian, Miss Pei, why are you here?"
Pei Qiqi didn't respond, but rather walked to the dead Thunder Mountain Sect disciple's side with a disgusted expression. She took the man's ring of holding, buried him in sand, and erased all traces of his presence.
"We were on our way to the Void Illusion Mountain Range when we saw you being chased by that man, so we came to help you," Nie Tian answered.
"The Void Illusion Mountain Range..." Shi Qing took out a handful of medicinal pills and stuffed them down his throat. Wiping the blood on his face with a handkerchief, he continued, "Listen to me and go back. The Thunder Mountain Sect has issued an order for all members of the Blood Skull, the Wild Fire, and the Dark Moon to leave the Void Illusion Mountain Range."
Eyebrows furrowed, Nie Tian asked, "Is the Thunder Mountain Sect the only one that has issued such an order?"
"It seems that all of the foreign powers have reached a mutual understanding, and they're driving local Qi warriors out of the mountain range simultaneously." Shi Qing forced a smile and added, "In their eyes, the Blood Skull, the Dark Moon, and the Wild Fire are nothing but lambs waiting to be put to the knife. At first, we fought among ourselves for the rights to those six spatial rifts. We each lost many brothers and sisters, hoping to make deals with foreign powers when they come.
"Who would have known that, when they actually came, they didn't even give us the chance to negotiate?
"Hua Tian, Miss Pei, I strongly suggest you go back and leave the Realm of Split Void as soon as possible. Even if you have to stay in the Realm of Split Void, don't ever get anywhere near the Void Illusion Mountain Range. It's already become hell on earth over there."
After properly disposing of the Thunder Mountain Sect disciple's body, Pei Qiqi came to Nie Tian and Shi Qing's side and said, "It's the same with Shatter City. I don't think you want to go back there."
"I kinda guessed it," Shi Qing said with dried-up bloodstains on his face, looking to be in extremely sore straits. "I suspected what would happen after I heard that the Thunder Mountain Sect seized our inter-realm teleportation portal. Everything is out of control! Everything is chaotic! The current Realm of Split Void is no longer a place where powers like the Blood Skull can rule."
Pei Qiqi took a glance at Shi Qing and said, "Where is the spatial rift that's controlled by the Tool Sect? How can we get there without running into people from the Thunder Mountain Sect?" With these words, she took out a map and unfurled it before Shi Qing.
After a brief pondering, Shi Qing drew a route on the map and said, "Follow this route."
"Okay, you take care. Shatter City isn't worth returning to anymore, and wherever you go, watch out for powerful experts from the Thunder Mountain Sect." With these reminders, Pei Qiqi gave Nie Tian a look, signaling that it was time to leave.