"Hahaha!" Yao Shou from the Spirit God Sect let out a gruesome laugh as he rushed over with Cheng Qian and Lu Jianfan.
Elder Gongsun Pu from the Flame God Sect went blank briefly before learning from the Spirit God Sect disciples beside him that it was Pei Qiqi.
Then, without the slightest hesitation, he charged out of the group of Flame God Sect members and caught up to Yao Shou and the other experts.
As a short but extremely beefy man, Gongsun Pu was wreathed in a blazing aura that could melt stones.
After coming to a stop by Yao Shou's side, he laughed wildly, facing the group from the Realm of a Hundred Battles. "What a coincidence!"
Dong Baijie and the others from the Realm of a Hundred Battles looked rather composed as they watched the four Profound realm experts whiz toward them.
Eyes narrowed, Dong Tuodi took measure of the two Profound realm Flame God Sect experts who remained in their formation. Soon, he seemed to learn their identities, and let out a disdainful snort.
On the Lightning Shuttle, which was at the back of the formation, Nie Tian noticed that Pei Qiqi's eyes were filled with frosty light the moment she caught sight of Yao Shou.
"What? Don't tell me you want to start a fight with us here?" Cao Zhaoji from the Cao Clan said plainly with a fierce expression. Not the slightest bit of fear could be seen in his eyes.
He also noticed that there were two other Profound realm experts in the Flame God Sect's formation, one at the late Profound realm and the other at the middle Profound realm.
This meant that the Spirit God Sect and the Flame God Sect combined had six Profound realm experts on their side, five at the same realm as him and one at the middle Profound realm, slightly weaker than him.
Hence, from the look of it, the joint strength of the Flame God Sect and Spirit God Sect was slightly superior to that of the five powers from the Realm of a Hundred Battles.
Yao Shou raised his hand and said to Cao Zhaoji, "Wow, easy there. Our strengths are equally matched. If we get into a battle, neither side is going to benefit from it. In fact, others might."
With these words, he shot a glance at the floating landmass in the vortex, where members of the Poison Sect were.
Apparently, they had also noticed that those from the Poison Sect had beaten them to this place.
"If a fight is not what you want, then why did the four of you come to us?" Cao Zhaoji asked with a grim expression.
Yao Shou smiled slightly and looked over at the distant Pei Qiqi. "I see that Pei Qiqi is traveling with you, so I guess you've probably already learned about our conflict with the Tool Sect."
"Conflict?" Qin Yi jumped in and said coldly, disgust filling his face. "Master Zhen helped you before, yet you bit the hand that fed you by tricking the Tool Sect into teaming up with you and turning on them later. You call that a conflict?"
After Pei Qiqi and Nie Tian had joined their group, everyone from the Realm of a Hundred Battles had learned something about what had happened to the Tool Sect. Hence, their eyes were all filled with contempt as they cast their gazes towards Yao Shou and the others with him.
Not infuriated by his words, Yao Shou replied with a justified tone, "The Tool Sect is bound to change hands. It'll only be a matter of time before Zhao Shanling takes Qi Bailu's place and becomes the sectmaster of the Tool Sect. Unlike what you might think, Master Zhen didn't help me that much before. Besides, my sect and the Flame God Sect are both from the Realm of Dark Underworld. It's only right that we make plans that benefit us.
"Under such circumstances, can you blame me for making a move against the Tool Sect?"
Before anyone else could censure him, Yao Shou's face dropped as he pointed at Pei Qiqi and Nie Tian, and demanded, "We'll leave you alone if you give those two to us."
Qin Yi burst into a flaming rage. "Don't even think about it! Master Zhen and I have been friends for years. Unlike some people, I take it as my duty to protect Pei Qiqi!"
Dong Li shot a determined look at Dong Tuodi. "Mu Han is my friend!"
A concerned look also appeared on Dong Baijie's face.
Dong Tuodi was well-aware of Nie Tian's true identity and the significance of the successor chosen by the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace.
Furthermore, he had had a long talk with Dong Baijie in confidence, and learned that Dong Baijie had faith that Nie Tian would one day rise to prominence and become a person who could single-handedly change the course of the Domain of the Falling Stars.
Hence, he instantly knew what he was supposed to say. "Mu Han is with our clan! He's under our protection!"
He only mentioned Nie Tian's name because, in his eyes, Pei Qiqi was far from as valuable as Nie Tian.
Yao Shou spared Nie Tian another glance. "His name is Mu Han?"
With a cold snort, he nodded and said, "Alright, if the Dong Clan insists on protecting him, I'm willing to make a compromise and let him go, but you'll have to give Pei Qiqi to us."
He didn't know who Nie Tian was, and hadn't seen him display his outstanding battle prowess. Therefore, he took him for a nobody.
However, as for Pei Qiqi...
According to his observation, Pei Qiqi hadn't chosen the same cultivation path her master Zhen Huilan had chose.
He was worried that, if he let her live, she would grow into another Zhao Shanling one day. A formidable fighter well-versed in powerful spatial magics like Zhao Shanling was what he was truly afraid of.
Because of this, the moment he had decided to make a move against Zhen Huilan, he had realized that he would have to get rid of her as well to avoid future trouble.
"I told you that the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce and I are determined to protect her!" Qin Yi repeated his stance on the matter.
"What about the rest of you then?" Gongsun Pu from the Flame God Sect asked with a cold laugh.
"As the five major powers in the Realm of a Hundred Battles, we're known for our bellicose nature, but we always fight as a whole, and we only fight foreign enemies." As the only female expert present, Gu Yue from the Gu Clan showed nothing but toughness. "Brother Qin's attitude on this matter is our attitude on this matter! If your sects want to start a fight, just bring it on."
Dong Tuodi, Cao Zhaoji, and Zhong Pu nodded one after another.
Seeing that the five powers from the Realm of a Hundred Battles were actually ready to go to war with them just because of Qin Yi's attitude on this matter, Yao Shou and Gongsu Pu's faces instantly turned grim.
The two of them had originally wanted to force them to hand Pei Qiqi over with their slightly superior collective strength. They even gave Nie Tian up as a compromise. However, they hadn't expected that the people from the Realm of a Hundred Battles would adopt such a strong attitude.
At this moment, they found themselves stranded in a difficult situation, like people riding tigers who couldn't dismount. (idiom: lit. he who rides a tiger can't easily dismount. fig. unable to extricate oneself from a difficult situation.)
Nie Tian let out a sigh of relief.
Yao Shou's and Gongsu Pu's eyes flickered as they wrestled with their dilemmas. However, while they pondered whether they should go to war with those from the Realm of a Hundred Battles just for Pei Qiqi, Pei Qiqi suddenly said to Nie Tian in a low voice, "It's time we parted ways. Don't worry about me. The place I'm going is very special. I'll be able to protect myself there."
Then, before Nie Tian could say something, she suddenly flung Nie Tian out of her Lightning Shuttle, and right after she put the Lightning Shuttle away, she cast a profound spatial magic and vanished into thin air.
Just like her Ethereal Swords, she entered another space, and in the next moment, she reappeared in the vortex formed by colorful rings .
It seemed that she didn't want to cause trouble for Qin Yi, and thus decided to leave.
Nie Tian wasn't quick enough to stop her, so he could only watch her vanish and reappear in the swirling band that looked like a huge vortex.
A Rainbow Lightning flew over, where Dong Li caught Nie Tian by his hand and exclaimed, "Don't you dare do such a stupid thing like she is now!"
Dong Baijie helped pull Nie Tian into the Rainbow Lightning. His hand locked onto Nie Tian's shoulder as tightly as an iron vice, stopping him from doing anything rash as he said in a low voice, "Miss Pei is a smart woman. She must have her own plans. You don't need to worry about her."
Nie Tian thrashed about, but after he realized that he couldn't struggle free from the two of them, he gazed into the distance with rapt attention.
He saw Pei Qiqi let go of herself after entering the colorful band, and let the flow carry her to the lower part of the vortex, where she finally got a foothold on one of the floating boulders.
Boulders and landmasses of various sizes, ancient starships, outsiders' corpses, debris from buildings, dead trees, and many other odd things could be seen floating within the endless, wide band that swirled into a huge vortex.
He thought Pei Qiqi would end up in the outermost edge and top part of the band.
However, to his surprise, she somehow drifted to the inner edge of the bottom part of the band.
"Who of you at the Worldly realm wants to go after her!?" Yao Shou said.
Upon hearing his words, a Worldly realm member of the Spirit God Sect instantly charged out of the crowd and dashed towards the swirling band.
All of the others stayed put and observed.
As soon as that that man flew into the colorful band, a mysterious force also carried him to the far edge of the band, where he eventually landed on a dilapidated ancient starship.
However, he didn't end up on the same horizontal level as Pei Qiqi. He was above her.
The colorful band was like an endless rope that swirled as it stretched downward.
The man from the Spirit God Sect followed the flow down the band.
However, as he swirled his way down, he soon ran into some kind of ward that stopped him from going further down.
After running into that obstacle, he floated there and called out to Yao Shou. He looked so small in the band that he was like a grain of sand in a wide street. Even though Yao Shou could tell that he was trying to say something to him, he couldn't hear a thing, as if no sound could leave the band.
Yao Shou went blank for a moment before suddenly coming to a realization. "The band is separated into segments that only allow cultivators at certain levels to enter! I need some of you who are at the Greater Heaven stage to go and kill her! I don't want any future trouble!"
Six middle and late Greater Heaven stage Spirit God Sect Qi warriors charged out of their group as soon as Yao Shou laid his eyes on them.
Just as Yao Shou had expected, after entering, those Greater Heaven stage cultivators were rapidly pulled by some force into the same horizontal level of the band where Pei Qiqi was. They each landed on floating boulders or landmasses not very far from her, and there weren't any obstacles that stood between them and her.
Most of the people from the Realm of a Hundred Battles didn't seem to have expected that the swirling band would actually be divided into separate segments.
At first, Qin Yi had blamed himself for Pei Qiqi's sudden departure, and was prepared to start a battle with those from the Spirit God Sect and Flame God Sect. However, he slowly calmed down after realizing that only Greater Heaven stage cultivators would be able to enter the part where Pei Qiqi was.
After all, he had witnessed Pei Qiqi's shocking battle prowess before.
He laughed inwardly. "Six Greater Heaven stage disciples sent to their grave..."
Just like him, Nie Tian also laughed inwardly.
According to his understanding of Pei Qiqi's devastating strength, those six Greater Heaven stage Spirit God Sect disciples had just been sent to their doom.
As Pei Qiqi continued to refine the tiny spatial blades in her, her strength advanced by leaps and bounds every day.
Since he had been traveling with her the whole time, Nie Tian was very certain of this.
However, he saw something in the next moment, and his expression froze.
He suddenly noticed that a couple of figures were flashing about on another floating landmass, which was on the same level where Pei Qiqi was.
Even though Nie Tian was observing from an extremely far distance, he could still tell that those were Zhang Jiu and Sha Cheng.
"Poison Sect!" He immediately realized that Greater Heaven stage members of the Poison Sect had already entered the vortex and drifted to the same segment as Pei Qiqi.
Since Pei Qiqi had killed so many members of the Poison Sect, Zhang Jiu and Sha Cheng were bound to join the effort to kill her, considering they were in the same area and there weren't any obstacles between them and her now.
If they weren't there, with just the six Greater Heaven stage disciples from the Spirit God Sect, Pei Qiqi might be able to kill them with ease. However, now that they were there, and there might even be other Poison Sect disciples behind them, it would be hard to say if Pei Qiqi would still win the fight.
"Let the hell go of me!" Nie Tian bellowed.