"I don't blame you," Nie Tian said with a calm and expressionless face. "Even if you didn't call out my name, I still would have summoned my Flame Dragon Armor.
"As you just said, the earthflame essence and earthflame crystal strings will be very helpful to my Flame Dragon Armor. I would have gathered them anyways, even at the price of revealing my identity."
Qin Yan pursed her lips into a smile and her watery eyes glittered with gracious light. "Thank you for being so understanding. I'd be even more grateful if you would help me in the future when my life is in danger."
With these words, she turned around and walked towards the area where everyone was gathered under Dong Li's furious gaze.
"What right does she have to demand help from Nie Tian?" Dong Li still sounded very angry. "I knew she deliberately provoked dissension between Nie Tian and Gu Haofeng."
"Alright, alright," Dong Baijie said. "We're all from the Realm of a Hundred Battles. You'll still need to cooperate on many occasions. You've been friends with her for many years. Don't ruin all that just because of this one incident."
Dong Li snorted coldly and said, "I might have to reconsider how I treat her from now on."
Nie Tian, however, didn't pay any attention to Dong Li's complaint. With Yang Kan gone and the two Flame God Sect disciples killed, the crisis was temporarily relieved. Therefore, he dropped to the ground.
After a brief examination of himself, he learned that, even though his battle against Yang Kan had been very short, he had consumed a significant amount of strength.
Considering that he wasn't sure if new challenges would come up later in this strange place, he needed to recover his strength as quickly as possible.
Just as he was about to recuperate with spiritual materials of different attributes, Qian Xin from the Pill Pavilion Sect came over.
"What do you want, Qian Xin?" Dong Li asked with a frown.
Since she wasn't very close with him, she didn't know his intentions in approaching Nie Tian.
Qian Xin was known for his maturity among the junior leaders from the Realm of the Hundred Battles.
He had never been very close or very distant with anyone. He had never had any friends he truly trusted.
Qian Xin came to a stop before Nie Tian, took out a grayish-brown skull, and handed to him. "Nie Tian, this is something I looted from Chang Yuan. But since he wasn't one of the Spirit God Sect's core disciples, he didn't have many valuables on him. This is the one I think is the most valuable."
"Chang Yuan?" Dong Baijie asked, eyes narrowed.
"I ran into him on my way here. Later, Nie Tian came along and helped me kill him." After a moment of hesitation, he added, "In fact, Nie Tian was the one who killed him."
Dong Baijie nodded. "I see."
After realizing that Qian Xin had only come to share loot with him, Nie Tian smiled at him as he grabbed the skull.
However, his expression flickered as soon as he sent a wisp of soul power into it.
He found, to his surprise, that a ferocious discarnate soul was living inside the skull. The moment his soul awareness entered the skull, he experienced an ice-cold and malicious aura, which almost swayed his judgment.
"Even Chang Yuan himself wasn't able to refine the discarnate soul in the skull, so it appears to still be sealed in there." Qian Xin must have already examined the skull. "I don't know much about psychic magics, but I saw that you seemed quite skilled when you were dealing with Chang Yan's psychic attacks, so I thought perhaps you could harness or make some use of this discarnate soul."
After a brief scan, Nie Tian put the skull away in his ring of holding and said, smiling, "Thanks a lot, though I also don't know what to do with it for now."
Qian Xin also handed him a dozen crimson stones and said, "These fire-attributed materials belonged to those two Flame God Sect disciples we just killed. Here, take them."
Dong Li's eyes lit up as she exclaimed softly, "Heavenflame Stones!"
Then, she looked Qian Xin in the eye and asked, "Did Cao Qiushui, Gu Haofeng, or the others say anything when you told them that you were going to give these Heavenflame Stones to Nie Tian?"
Slightly surprised, Nie Tian received the dozen Heavenflame Stones with two hands.
Heavenflame Stones were sixth level Premium grade fire-attributed spiritual materials, and were even more precious than Flame Crystals. It was said that Heavenflame Stones came from fire-attributed meteors that crashed into the Domain of the Falling Stars. They could either be used to forge many fire-attributed spiritual tools or to recover flame power.
They were very valuable, so even those two Flame God Sect disciples must have gone to great lengths to get them.
Qian Xin must be giving the most valuable loot they had gained from those men to Nie Tian. Dong Li doubted that Cao Qiushui, Gu Haofeng, and the others didn't have a problem with it.
"If Nie Tian didn't break the Spiritual Hexaflame Formation with his Flame Dragon Armor, none of us would even have been able to come in here," Qian Xin said with a serious expression. "It was him who let us in, saved Qin Yan and Feng Ying, and forced Yang Kan to escape. It's our rule that whoever makes the biggest contribution be rewarded with the most valuable battle gains. What can they say about that?"
"That's good," Dong Li said with a smile.
Qian Xin nodded at Nie Tian, Dong Li, and Dong Baijie, before turning around and heading towards the area where the other Pill Pavilion Sect disciples were gathered.
"That Qian Xin seems to be a nice person," Nie Tian said.
Dong Li curled her lips. "He's not a popular guy. None of my operations with him ended up very pleasant." Then, with a smile, she added, "But I didn't expect that he would actually treat you so well."
Dong Baijie laughed heartily and said, "Well, perhaps that's because he didn't think any of you were worth being friends with."
Dong Li's smile froze.
Afterwards, Dong Baijie walked towards Dong Kang and the other Dong Clan members, where they discussed matters in low voices.
"I've got to recover my spiritual power first." Without saying anything else, Nie Tian took out spiritual materials of different attributes from within his ring of holding, and started channeling power into his spiritual sea.
Upon seeing this, Dong Li felt that she had nothing better to do, and thus also started recuperating.
Gradually, all of the juniors from the Realm of a Hundred Battles quieted down and started recuperating in different locations within the colorful area at the end of the segment.
During this time, more floating landmasses, boulders, and remains of ancient starships drifted to this area and disappeared into the thick, colorful mist.
Even though everyone was quietly practicing cultivation, they also secretly paid attention to the objects that were slowly floating past them.
However, the floating objects passed them one after another. There didn't seem to be anything about them that was worth noting.
Some time passed...
A few high-tier Demons' corpses floated to this area. As the juniors from the Realm of a Hundred Battles caught sight of the Demons' corpses, they all grew intrigued.
They each put their cultivation on hold and formed a variety of hand seals to wrap ribbons of spiritual power around the floating Demons' corpses and drag them towards them.
Dong Li managed to drag one of the Demons' corpses towards her, and started examining it with her unique dark spiritual power.
However, the moment her dark spiritual power entered the Demon's corpse, it was instantly reduced to flying ashes, as if the ages had rendered it too fragile.
Deeply disappointed, Dong Li muttered, "All the years have washed away its residual power, and made it even more fragile than a human commoner's body." Afterwards, she lost interest in pulling over and examining more Demon corpses.
The people with the other four forces also seemed rather disappointed after pulling over and examining the floating Demon corpses from around them.
Nie Tian opened his eyes. Watching the Demon's corpse turn into ashes before him, he said, "The reason why Yang Kan was the first to rush to this area is probably because he knew all of the floating objects would eventually pass this area and disappear into the colorful mist."
"He probably came here to search those floating objects for valuable materials.
"We should keep looking. If there are any secrets or valuable materials within these floating objects, they'll eventually show themselves."
Dong Li nodded slightly, but still couldn't mask her disappointment as she said, "No matter whether it's spiritual tools or outsiders' corpses, after thousands of years, it's only natural that they've lost their power and become fragile. Unless they were outsiders with eighth or ninth grade bloodline power, or Spirit Channeling grade treasures. Only they can defy the ages and remain unchanged after thousands of years.
"However, outsiders with eighth or ninth grade bloodline power were probably strong enough to have evacuated from this place.
"Even if they died here, considering their status in their clans, their clansmen would have probably retrieved their bodies and left with them.
"I really doubt that we're going to find anything useful here."
Nie Tian smiled and said, "Sometimes we've got to have some faith. Maybe it's in our fate."
"Maybe it's in your fate, but ours?" Dong Li rolled her eyes at him and suddenly lowered her voice. "Hey, tell me what you've discovered about those tree branches."
"Not much yet," Nie Tian said. "I just know that they're very sharp and can be used as weapons."
"So what do you know about this place?" Dong Li asked.
After a moment of hesitation, Nie Tian explained the series of images he had previously obtained from the tree branch formation to her in a very low voice.
After he was finished, Dong Li went blank for a moment before exclaiming softly, "There were two vast continents at first, one on top and one at the bottom, and many intelligent outsider races went to war with each other?"
She suddenly came to a realization and added, "Perhaps the bottom continent is at the bottom of this vortex under the boundless gray mist!"
Nie Tian nodded. "That's exactly what I think."
"But you said that humans never lived here," Dong Li said glancing around at the slowly rotating band. "All the segments in this band that separate cultivators at different cultivation levels are definitely not the doing of outsiders. Only the most powerful human Qi warriors who know enough about our race would be able to establish such a majestic and sophisticated system."
Nie Tian's expression flickered slightly as he asked, "Are you saying that this endless band that spirals downwards was created by human experts?"
"I believe so!" Dong Li sounded very certain. "Perhaps powerful human experts have been here before us and established this thing!"
Frowning, Nie Tian pondered for a short while, and came to agree with Dong Li's judgment.
No matter how powerful outsider races were, they couldn't have been so clear about humans' cultivation levels to have created something this elaborate. It must have been humans.
However, what could their intentions be by leaving this mysterious creation here?