Yang Kan and Lu Jian were wreathed in the aura of Yang Kan's breakthrough as Yang Kan carried him through the thick, colorful mist into the next segment of the swirling band.
The six crimson stone columns morphed into a streak of flames and flew back to him right before he disappeared into the misty barrier.
However, due to the sudden appearance of the Flame Dragon Armor, each of the six stone columns were forcibly drained of their earthflame crystal strings, which eventually converged on the dragon bone at the central chest area of the Flame Dragon Armor.
The series of quick changes flabbergasted everyone present. By the time they came back to their senses, Yang Kan and Lu Jian were already nowhere to be found.
After a moment of silence, Dong Baijie said with a grim expression, "That guy had actually been at the peak Greater Heaven stage this whole time, and he was able to make the breakthrough at any moment. Apparently, he had been suppressing himself from entering the Worldly realm. He must have been waiting for something to happen and looking for the right time.
"Perhaps this was the reason why he acted so recklessly in this segment. He knew he would be able to cross into the next segment whenever he wanted."
Dong Li panted heavily, highlighting the perfect curves of her ample chest, as she chimed in, "The way I see it, this Yang Kan person is an even more formidable opponent than Tang Yang."
Dong Baijie seemed to have the same notion as he nodded and said, "He could have made the breakthrough long ago, yet he intentionally held himself back. Clearly, he had bigger ambitions and schemes than Tang Yang!"
The Flame Dragon Armor floated high in the air, where wisps of earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings were still converging on it.
As the crystal ball discarded by Yang Kan lost all of its earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings to the Flame Dragon Armor's Blood Core, it exploded.
Nie Tian was taken aback.
In fact, he had been hesitating before Qin Yan revealed his true identity.
The moment Yang Kan's six crimson stone columns had flown out, and he had seen the earthflame crystal strings slithering within the engraved magical beasts in them, he had sensed the Flame Dragon Armor's joy and yearning.
When Yang Kan had taken out his crystal ball that had been filled with earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings, the Flame Dragon Armor grew even more thrilled.
The reason he hadn't unleashed the Flame Dragon Armor to absorb all the earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings was that he had been hesitant to reveal his true identity.
Just as he had been weighing the pros and cons of it, Feng Ying had once again called out to him for help. The fact that he had ignored her call for help and his previous refusal to help them had finally enraged Qin Yan, who had then revealed his true identity.
Having the decision made for him, he had summoned the Flame Dragon Armor, which had not only broken the Spiritual Hexaflame Formation effortlessly, but also absorbed all of the earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings it could find.
However, he hadn't expected that, as one of the core disciples of the Flame God Sect, Yang Kan actually had more cards to play.
After he had realized that his Spiritual Hexaflame Formation was a lost cause, he had recognized the unfavorable situation he was in, and known that if he had continued to stay, he would have soon become the target of everyone.
Therefore, he had made the breakthrough without any hesitation, which had worked out for Lu Jian from the Spirit God Sect as well, since he had luckily left as Yang Kan's tag-along.
Yang Kan's decisiveness and calmness at the crucial moment had deeply impressed Nie Tian. He secretly categorized Yang Kan as one of his most formidable opponents.
"Senior martial brother!" the other two Flame God Sect Qi warriors cried out at the tops of their lungs as they watched Yang Kan disappear into the thick mist.
The fact that he had taken the brazen Lu Jian instead of them made it clear that he had attached little importance to them, and left them to die. At this moment, as the six crimson stone columns disappeared with Yang Kan, the flame ward disappeared along with them.
Dong Kang, Cao Qiushui, Gu Haofeng, Qian Xin, and the others who had arrived after them rushed into the colorful area and vented their anger on the two Flame God Sect disciples that were left behind.
Not only were Qin Yan and Feng Ying instantly relieved of their crisis, but they worked together with the others to trap the two Flame God Sect Qi warriors.
Gritting her teeth, Dong Li stepped over to Nie Tian's side. Looking coldly at Qin Yan from afar, she said in a low voice, "I can't believe Qin Yan would do that! Now that she's revealed your true identity to so many people, if we run into people from the Heaven Palace Sect later, I'm afraid that you'll be in danger."
Dong Baijie let out a sigh, but didn't say anything. He also deemed it was a rather rotten thing for Qin Yan to reveal Nie Tian's true identity and put him in danger just to save herself. She could have gone another way.
"How are you doing, Nie Tian?" Dong Li asked concernedly.
At this moment, the Flame Dragon Armor had already gathered every last wisp of earthflame essence and earthflame crystal string it could find.
After the satisfying feast, it circled around in the air and flew back into Nie Tian's ring of holding after failing to identity any new targets.
Instead of answering Dong Li right away, Nie Tian briefly communicated with the Flame Dragon Armor, and then his eyes lit up.
From the message he received from the Flame Dragon Armor's soul, he learned that the Flame Dragon Armor would recover its peak state after refining the earthflame crystal strings and earthflame essence it had just absorbed.
Furthermore, with a joyful tone, it also told him that the earthflame crystal strings would help it grow and transcend.
Afterwards, the Flame Dragon Armor's soul took the initiative to end the communication with him and focused wholly on refining the earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings.
Nie Tian smiled heartily. "I'm alright. It's just that I've just consumed a considerable amount of my strength. That's all. How about you?"
"I've sustained some injuries, but nothing major," Dong Li said, pointing at her shoulder.
Her tender shoulder had been pierced through by one of the earthflame crystal strings earlier. Blood was still coming out of the charred puncture wound, along with a pungent, sulphuric smell.
"Let me help you." With these words, Nie Tian reached out one hand and held it over the puncture wound as he practiced Heavenly Wood Heal.
Vigorous life force instantly flew out of Nie Tian's fingertips and into Dong Li's wounded shoulder.
Like slow, warm currents, the vigorous life force slowly infused into Dong Li's flesh and bones. Wherever it flowed, damaged tissues healed at an alarming speed.
Dong Baijie, who was standing beside them, could actually see his younger sister's open wound heal after Nie Tian held his hand over it.
Dong Li's eyes flickered with disbelief as she felt the miraculous changes happening in her shoulder. Meanwhile, she couldn't tear her eyes away from Nie Tian.
After some time, Nie Tian withdrew his hand and said, "You should be fine now."
Astonished, Dong Baijie hastily stepped forward to check his sister's wound carefully. He even subconsciously touched it.
He discovered that the puncture wound caused by the earthflame crystal string was fully healed, not even leaving a scar.
"How in the world did you do that?!" he exclaimed.
"It's a wood power healing magic," Nie Tian answered casually.
"As far as I know, even those who are born with outstanding wood power cultivation talent can mostly only heal themselves," Dong Baijie said, eyes wide. "Only when they've reached peak cultivation domains will they be able to occasionally heal others with their wood power.
"Even Worldly realm, Profound realm, and Soul realm experts can't heal a wound so thoroughly for someone within such a short time."
Dong Li rolled her eyes at her brother and said, "You ask too many questions!"
Then, she turned to Nie Tian and said with a smile, "Nie Tian is no ordinary person. I'm not surprised at all that he can do something that others can't."
"But this is..." Dong Baijie said with mixed emotions.
At that very moment, miserable screams echoed out as the two Flame God Sect Qi warriors, who had been left behind, were killed by the crowd.
Gu Haofeng swung his long sword, which was wreathed in slithering lightning, to get rid of the blood on it as he said coldly, "These guys from the Flame God Sect actually thought they could do whatever they liked after their little lark in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation. How laughable!"
"Yang Kan is a very formidable enemy." Qian Xin said with a grim expression. "Let's be extra careful if we run into him in the future, everyone."
The winner's arrogance and ecstasy couldn't be seen in his eyes. Instead, his eyes were filled with concern. As the others checked the contents of the two Flame God Sect disciples' rings of holding, he looked over his shoulder at the distant Nie Tian and said, "If Nie Tian didn't summon his Spirit Channeling grade Flame Dragon Armor and break Yang Kan's Spiritual Hexaflame Formation, we couldn't have gotten through it so easily."
Upon hearing his words, the noisy crowd fell silent.
Feng Ying snuck a glance at Nie Tian before pulling the tip of Qin Yan's garment and asking in a low voice, "Big Sister Qin Yan, how did you know that Mu Han was Nie Tian? Also, he clearly tried very hard to hide his identity. I've heard that people from the Heaven Palace Sect and Flame God Sect are all looking for him.
"Now, you've revealed his identity. I-is it gonna be a problem?"
Qin Yan let out a sigh and said softly, "You saw it yourself that he only wanted to help Dong Baijie and Dong Li, and didn't care whether we lived or died. If I hadn't revealed his identity and forced him to break the Spiritual Hexaflame Formation with his Flame Dragon Armor, the others would have still been kept out of here.
"It wouldn't have taken long before we died under Lu Jian's insidious sneak attacks.
"Since he didn't want to help us, in order to survive, I could only force him to help us."
With these words, Qin Yan slowly stepped towards Nie Tian with an apologetic smile on her face. "Nie Tian, I hope you understand that I didn't do it to put you in danger. I simply ran out of options. If you didn't summon your Flame Dragon Armor, there was no way we could have beat Yang Kan.
"Plus, all that earthflame essence and those earthflame crystal strings will be very helpful to your Flame Dragon Armor, right?
"Anyways, I'm very sorry for what I've done. I hope you can forgive me."
Eyebrows furrowed, Dong Li said coldly from the side, "Even if Nie Tian forgives you, I won't!"
"I really had no choice," Qin Yan said, looking helpless. "He was bent on saving you and your brother. I had to do something to save Feng Ying and me."
"Alright, tell me what you're going to do if those from the Heaven Palace Sect learn about Nie Tian being here with us?" Dong Li asked with a cold tone.
"Who would know that if none of us say anything?" said Qin Yan.
"Can you guarantee that everyone here will keep their mouths shut?" Dong Li questioned. "You know what? Let's forget about the others. Tell me how you can make sure that Gu Haofeng doesn't leak the information?"
"I'll do my best to talk to Haofeng," Qin Yan said with a guilty look on her face.