As Hong He's skull was shattered by Nie Tian, his life force rapidly dissipated.
In the meantime, the green thorns inside of him stopped spreading and quickly withered.
As Nie Tian pulled the tree branch out of Hong He's back, Dong Li swooped down from the air with her black phoenix behind her back.
Dong Li smiled heartily. "You're finished?"
Still wreathed in intense killing intent, Nie Tian nodded and said, "Thank you for what you've done for me. You just rest here. I'll go send the other rat on his way to the Yellow Springs."
"Who?" Dong Li asked.
"Huang Hu from the Heaven Palace Sect," Nie Tian answered with a cold snort.
"Is he also here?" Dong Li asked, looking somewhat worried. "You just finished your breakthrough, and you consumed some power to kill this one. Are you gonna be okay?"
She hadn't expected that Nie Tian would kill Hong He with a single strike right after he made his breakthrough.
From her extended fight against Hong He, she had learned that, even though the man was a disgusting asshole, he wasn't easy to deal with.
After all, he was at the late Greater Heaven stage.
She was worried that, since Nie Tian had just made his breakthrough, he still might need some time to adjust to his newly-achieved cultivation base. Furthermore, he might have been so eager to kill Hong He just now that his new cultivation base was shaken.
Smiling viciously and confidently, Nie Tian said, "Rest assured. From the look of it, only Greater Heaven stage cultivators are brought to this part of the continent. From now on, I'll become the judge of life and death in this region! All of the so-called core disciples of the other sects will be at my mercy!"
"None of them who are sent to this region can match my strength!"
With these words, Nie Tian sped off towards Huang Hu, who was charging in his direction.
Dong Li's eyes shone with the light of excitement. "Unmatched strength!"
Having spent so much time with Nie Tian, she had long since understood that he practiced multiple powers, mastered the divine magics of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, and possessed unique abilities that she couldn't even fathom. In her eyes, he was a total 'freak'.
With his shocking battle prowess, Nie Tian had repeatedly proven to her that the so-called chosen ones from the powerful sects in the Domain of the Falling Stars weren't as formidable as they thought they were.
Now that he had advanced to the middle Greater Heaven stage, he was finally confident enough to declare that he was the brightest star throughout the entire Domain of the Falling Stars.
The strength and confidence she heard from his words put butterflies in her stomach.
In many ways, Dong Li was similar to her older brother. A good example would be that they both admired people who could defeat them.
The reason why she had thought up every possible method to force Nie Tian to go on that exploration trip to the Realm of Dark Underworld with her was because she had been repeatedly outplayed by Nie Tian in the Realm of the Split Void.
Only those who could put her at her wits' end would truly intrigue her and receive her attention.
Up to this day, Nie Tian was the only one who had managed to do so.
As Dong Li watched Nie Tian leave from behind, images kept flashing across her mind. Only after a while did she snap back to reality and mutter to herself, "Pei Qiqi, this man... is mine!"
Huang Hu had picked up his pace the moment he had seen Dong Li swooping down from midair with her black phoenix behind her back, hoping that he would help Hong He kill her.
However, he didn't realize that Nie Tian had already awoken from his cultivation and killed Hong He with a lightning quick strike.
After all, he didn't have any Heaven Eyes to help him obtain a full understanding of the situation over in Nie Tian and Hong He's location.
All he could see in that direction was the Earthshatter Beast's enormous corpse, and later Nie Tian, who had a vicious smile on his face.
Even then, he still thought that Hong He was alive and was fighting Dong Li behind the Earthshatter Beast's corpse.
As for Nie Tian, even though he hadn't figured out Nie Tian's identity during their first encounter, he had made out that he had been trying to break through into the middle Greater Heaven stage. Therefore, he hadn't viewed Nie Tian as a threat to him at all.
Even though he wasn't one of the Heaven Palace Sect's core disciples, he was able to learn and practice the Heaven Palace Sect's top incantations and magics thanks to his relationship with Huang Fan.
Aside from a few chosen ones from the other powerful sects in the Domain of the Falling Stars, he didn't think others at his cultivation stage would have what it took to subdue him.
He knew every single one of those chosen ones, and Nie Tian wasn't one of them.
Confident in his own strength, he came to a stop and waited for Nie Tian to come to him with a cold smile at the corner of his mouth.
However, his smile vanished in the next moment.
As Nie Tian approached at full speed, the chaotic magnetic field around him thrummed with terrifyingly intense fluctuations. The wisp of psychic awareness he had used to detect Nie Tian's strength was distorted the moment it entered the chaotic magnetic field, causing a stabbing pain in his mind.
In just a split second, the wisp of psychic awareness was shredded to pieces.
However, before his psychic awareness vanished, he managed to sense the torrential flesh power fluctuations Nie Tian was releasing, which were similar to that of a formidable, bloodthirsty spirit beast that lived in depths of the mountains in the Realm of a Hundred Battles.
He had never sensed such intense flesh power fluctuations from any Qi warrior, much less someone at his cultivation stage.
Only spirit beasts that were born with tough fleshy bodies and outsiders that emphasized the refinement of their fleshy bodies would give off such strong flesh power fluctuations.
Face turning pale with astonishment, Huang Hu no longer dared to think less of Nie Tian, but rather grew very vigilant.
In a breath's time, Nie Tian arrived before Huang Hu with a few flashes. "Huang Hu, is it? I've just sent Hong He on his way, and now you've come along. You're quite a pair of unfortunate brothers."
"Hong He is dead?!" Huang Hu exclaimed.
Upon hearing about the death of Hong He, whose cultivation base was higher than his, he was instantly rattled and hesitant over whether he should still fight Nie Tian.
Just as his expression flickered drastically, Nie Tian's figure suddenly blurred.
His eyes widened as he watched Nie Tian vanish into thin air from a location a few meters before him.
Without much thought, he hastily circulated his spiritual power and infused wisps of refined spiritual power into the suit of armor he was wearing.
Huang Fan had had the armor made for him. It was the work of a renowned equipment forger from the Heaven Palace Sect, and it matched his cultivation attribute perfectly.
Misty, yellow light rose from the spiritual armor, which he was wearing under his garments, rapidly forming the vague shape of the majestic Heaven Palace Sect around him.
A sacred aura that resembled the Heaven Palace Sect's transcendent status in the Domain of the Falling Stars quickly wreathed Huang Hu.
The shape of the Heaven Palace Sect gradually grew clearer, giving it an even more splendid and formidable look.
Normally, every Qi warrior from the Domain of the Falling Stars would think twice before going into battle with a man upon seeing that shape of the Heaven Palace Sect enveloping him.
The Heaven Palace Sect's deeply rooted strength would make anyone hesitate in battle, thus compromising their performance.
However, not only did Nie Tian not show the least bit of fear upon seeing the shape of the Heaven Palace Sect, but the killing intent in his eyes even grew stronger.
He suddenly appeared in the air three meters over Huang Hu's head, where he summoned his Flame Star and slashed it down vigorously as he descended on Huang Hu.
His flame power, wood power, and star power were all greatly enhanced as they flowed through the spell formations engraved inside the Flame Star, and became raging and torrential.
The moment Nie Tian descended with his Flame Star, Huang Hu finally sensed his presence and looked up.
In his eyes, dragging a blur of red, white, and green light, the Flame Star was slashing down at him like a plummeting, burning meteor that carried mysterious powers from the endless void, giving him a feeling that he would be smashed into a pulp in the next moment.
"How can he be so powerful?!" Huang Hu exclaimed in his heart. His face distorted as he madly summoned his spiritual power and infused it into the bright, yellow aura around him.
As he did, the shape of the Heaven Palace Sect seemed to become solid, as if the majestic palace that stood in the Realm of Mystic Heaven was being channeled here to protect Huang Hu from any harm.
The Flame Star slammed into it, sending tens of thousands of rays of blinding light in all directions.
Nie Tian's different types of power burst forth in a fashion as if a titan were unleashing its torrential rage on this heaven and earth.
The shape of the Heaven Palace Sect didn't even last a breath's time before exploding under the terrifying might of the Flame Star.
As the explosion rang out, colorful sparks of Nie Tian's power fell like a storm, instantly enveloping Huang Hu.
Before the Flame Star even touched him, the countless spiritual power sparks shattered the life in his eyes.
The Flame Star fell, splitting him in two.
Blood spewed out like a fountain. As Nie Tian landed on the ground, he was covered in blood.
With his hand, he wiped the warm blood off his face. Looking at Huang Hu's mangled corpse, he shook his head. "This is the strength of a Heaven Palace Sect disciple? Compared to Ning Yang, these are nothing but garbage that couldn't withstand a single strike."