The aura Nie Tian released gave Xuan Ke a sense of familiarity, a feeling that he had met him somewhere before.
Xuan Ke possessed a shockingly keen sense for danger. The moment he had seen Nie Tian, he had sensed something that had alarmed him.
He didn't know that Nie Tian had discovered them through one of his Heaven Eyes long before they had discovered him.
What he had sensed that made him feel insecure and uneasy was actually the aura of that Heaven Eye, which Nie Tian had used to determine the cultivation bases of the four of them.
Furthermore, Nie Tian's extremely intense killing intent made it clear that Nie Tian was full of wrath. Hence, to be safe, he didn't want to initiate a battle with Nie Tian before he figured out who he was and how powerful he was.
Followed by his three subordinates, he ran after Nie Tian at a controlled speed, wondering what Nie Tian was after.
Meanwhile, Nie Tian saw every move they made through that Heaven Eye of his.
He snorted inwardly and kept dashing forward at full speed, not showing the slightest interest in learning their intentions.
After traveling for quite some time, one of his Heaven Eyes finally located Su Lin a place full of rubble at the foot of that magnificent mountain peak.
She wasn't alone. Standing beside her were a handful Qi warriors from the Heaven Palace Sect.
This didn't surprise Nie Tian at all.
What did surprise him was that a gigantic, black phoenix was lying in the midst of the rubble.
Apparently, it was dead. However, it was so huge that its spread black, feathered wings covered a very large area.
"A black phoenix!" Nie Tian's expression flickered slightly the moment he saw it, for it was almost identical to Dong Li's black phoenix beast spirit.
The only difference was that this dead black phoenix was noticeably larger.
He instantly reached the conclusion that this black phoenix was of a higher grade than Dong Li's black phoenix beast spirit.
He also also realized that Su Lin must have been communicating with these Heaven Palace Sect disciples through Sound Stones.
Those people must have discovered this gigantic, black phoenix first, and then informed Su Lin at the first opportunity.
Upon receiving such important information, Su Lin had rushed over at her fastest possible speed, ignoring her search plans with Hong He and Huang Hu.
That was why Su Lin had been able to come to such a distant location within such a short period of time, escaping the detection range of Nie Tian's Heaven Eyes.
At this moment, Su Lin was discussing something with the other Heaven Palace Sect disciples beside the black phoenix's enormous corpse.
Meanwhile, a few Thunder Mountain Sect disciples were standing by a huge rock slightly farther from the black phoenix's corpse, eying the Heaven Palace Sect disciples indignantly.
From the look of it, it was them who had found this black phoenix first.
Later, when the Heaven Palace Sect disciples had come, they had been forced to give it up.
The reason why those Heaven Palace Sect disciples had informed Su Lin at the first moment possible must have been because they had been worried that those from the Thunder Mountain Sect would daringly challenge the Heaven Palace Sect's authority.
One Heaven Eye after another converged from all directions, and then floated silently around the black phoenix's corpse.
After noticing the special situation via his Heaven Eyes, Nie Tian instantly slowed his dashing pace, and started moving stealthily.
He intended to get a full understanding of the situation with the help of his Heaven Eyes first, then make a move when an opportunity showed itself.
Counting Su Lin, there were a total of five Heaven Palace Sect disciples gathered by the black phoenix's corpse. The atmosphere was quite still.
One of them examined the black phoenix while the other four silently eyed the few Thunder Mountain Sect disciples, who didn't show any intention of leaving at all.
Other than Su Lin, the other four Heaven Palace Sect disciples were all at the middle or late Greater Heaven stage.
On the Thunder Mountain Sect's side, they only had four people, but they were also at either the middle or late Greater Heaven stage.
From an objective point of view, the two sides seemed almost equally strong. However, the Thunder Mountain Sect had decided to take a step back and give their finding to the Heaven Palace Sect.
The only reason for such an action was that the Heaven Palace Sect's position as the overlord of the Domain of the Falling Stars made the Thunder Mountain Sect scrupulous.
Back in the Realm of Split Void, the Thunder Mountain Sect had forcibly taken the Blood Skull's inter-realm teleportation portal in Shatter City. Afterwards, they had established a blockade to stop local Qi warriors from entering the Void Illusion Mountain Range, killing anyone who had dared to disobey their orders.
All of their doings indicated that they were by no means a group of kind people. Nie Tian was fully aware of this.
However, they had now put away their arrogance and cowered at the presence of the Heaven Palace Sect.
The Heaven Palace Sect's unique status gave the Thunder Mountain Sect disciples scruples. Now that they weren't certain that they were able to kill all five Heaven Palace Sect disciples without others knowing about it, they didn't dare to make a move.
"How come we can't get in touch with Hong He and Huang Hu, Junior Martial Sister Su?" One of the Heaven Palace Sect disciples asked in a low voice, while keeping his eyes on the Thunder Mountain Sect disciples that refused to leave.
"I tried to contact them with my Sound Stone, but neither of them is responding," Su Lin said, looking somewhat irritated. "I don't know what's wrong with them."
She had long since speculated that the reason why those from the Thunder Mountain Sect disciples were still not leaving was because they were also calling for backup with their Sound Stones.
She was aware that the Thunder Mountain Sect and Heaven Expanse Sect were the two major sects from the Realm of Earth Sieve. They had reached a mutual understanding earlier, and had entered this dimension via the same spatial rift.
Once the four of them got in contact with others from the Thunder Mountain Sect or the Heaven Expanse Sect, and summoned them to this location, the four of them might not still want to stand down by then.
By that time, when they had confidence to annihilate all five Heaven Palace Sect disciples in this place, they wouldn't necessarily be scrupulous anymore.
As long as no one learned about their actions, they would have nothing to be afraid of.
"This black phoenix appears to have been an eighth grade spirit beast before it died!" The Heaven Palace Sect Qi warrior who had been examining the black phoenix's corpse straightened his back and exclaimed with nothing but astonishment on his face. "The strength of an eighth grade spirit beast equals that of a Void domain human Qi warrior, and right now, we don't have a single Void domain expert throughout the Domain of the Falling Stars."
Overwhelmed by his shocking discovery, he had exclaimed quite loudly, so much so that the four Thunder Mountain Sect disciples, who were gathered not far away, caught every word.
Su Lin jerked her head towards the four of them, and discovered that their eyes were shining with the light of greed as their breathing became increasingly rapid.
Spiritual materials harvested from an eighth grade spirit beast could be used by peak Soul realm experts to enter the Void domain.
In order to enter the Void domain, Soul realm experts would need to forge their inner domains. There might just be parts on the eighth grade black phoenix that were critical spiritual materials for the process.
Even though the seventh grade Earthshatter Beast had been dead for thousands of years, by the time Nie Tian and Dong Li had discovered it, there had still been copious amounts of flesh power in its corpse, as well as a perfectly preserved eye. Hence, there must be even more valuables in this eighth grade black phoenix's corpse.
Nie Tian shuddered as he heard the man's exclamation, learning that the black phoenix was a eighth grade spirit beast.
He was very certain that Dong Li had never even imagined to come across an eighth grade black phoenix on this continent.
If she could ever obtain it, her cultivation base and strength, and even the strength of her black phoenix beast spirit, would probably go through heaven-shaking and earth-toppling changes.
With this thought in mind, he secretly tried to get in contact with Dong Li with the help of one of his Heaven Eyes.
The reason he had felt safe enough to leave Dong Li was because he had left one of his Heaven Eyes with her.
Through that Heaven Eye, he had learned while he was dashing towards this location that Dong Li had already taken Huang Hu's ring of holding and come after him.
At this moment, she was still traveling in the dense forest, a sizable distance from the foot of the mountain peak where he was.
With a thought, he commanded that Heaven Eye to descend from the sky to float before Dong Li's eyes.
Even though she still couldn't see it, since it had come so close to her, she sensed the presence of some strange aura, and thus scanned her surroundings with her psychic awareness.
The moment her psychic awareness made contact with the Heaven Eye, a wisp of Nie Tian's thoughts found it way to Dong Li's mind.
She instantly learned that Nie Tian had discovered a dead eighth grade black phoenix at the foot of the majestic mountaintop ahead of her.
A shudder ran through Dong Li's dashing body as a fierce light of excitement burst forth from within her eyes.
With her slightly trembling hand, she took out her Sound Stone and whispered in a stern voice, "You could have contacted me via the Sound Stone I gave you, you fool! Stay where you are and don't make a move! I'll be there shortly!"
After sending the message out, she summoned her black phoenix beast spirit and flew directly towards Nie Tian's location at full speed with its help.