“Was it Xuan Ke from the Ice Pavilion Sect who just left?” Dong Li asked. She had learned about what had happened from Nie Tian’s message. Therefore, when she saw the four Ice Pavilion Sect disciples evacuating from this location while she descended from the air, she guessed their identities.
Nie Tian nodded. “Yeah, Xuan Ke and those people observed in the dark for a long time, hoping to steal the spoils. But after they got the rings of holding from those dead Heaven Palace Sect and Thunder Mountain Sect members, Xuan Ke made a sensible decision and left.”
Dong Li laughed. “What?! The Xuan Ke I know is no sensible person.”
“Well, I talked some sense into him,” Nie Tian said with a smile.
Dong Li realized what he meant. “Oh, I see. But your cultivation base alone isn’t very impressive. Did you somehow display your actual battle prowess to make him see the difference?”
Nie Tian’s expression grew somewhat serious. “Xuan Ke has an exceptionally keen perception and can shrewdly discover danger. Ever since he first discovered me, he constantly told his three subordinates to stand down. I guess he knew that they wouldn’t be able to take me, much less the two of us. And later, he discovered who I actually am...”
Dong Li was taken aback. “He recognized you?!”
With a grim look in his eyes, Nie Tian said, “Yeah, but that’s alright. As long as no Worldly realm or Profound realm experts can come here, I’ll have nothing to worry about.”
“Still, you should have been more careful.” Dong Li didn’t want to say too much to blame him.
Finally, she laid her eyes on the black phoenix’s enormous corpse. Her bright eyes shone with the light of excitement as she marveled, “An eighth grade black phoenix!”
With a swift leap, she landed lightly beside the black phoenix’s large head, which was partly buried in the rubble. Then, she sat down in the lotus position. Her black phoenix beast spirit hovered in the air, letting out low, sad crows.
A wisp of dark spiritual power quietly flew out of Dong Li’s head and entered the black phoenix’s corpse.
After a brief scan, she snapped her eyes open and exclaimed, “Nie Tian, this black phoenix’s corpse is going to be very helpful to me and my beast spirit! But it’s gonna take me days to absorb and refine its residual power and essence. During that time, I’d have to focus all of my attention on the process. I’m afraid that...”
“You just do what you have to do,” Nie Tian said in a low voice. “Leave the rest to me.”
Dong Li’s eyes glittered as she took a deep look at him and nodded. “That’d be so great of you.”
After a brief moment of pondering, Nie Tian took out the seventy-two tree branches from within his ring of holding. As he stepped about around the black phoenix’s enormous corpse, he planted them into the hard, stony ground one after another.
Each and every one of them became translucent and sparkled with emerald light as he infused them with his wood power.
Without much effort, he plunged them deep into the ground that was as solid as metal.
Nie Tian moved about as swiftly as a ghost as he planted the seventy-two tree branches according to the formation he remembered.
Earlier, when he had been cultivating by the dead Earthshatter Beast, he had used the same formation of tree branches to ward off Hong He’s deadly would-be hit.
The only difference was that back then, he had laid out the formation within a one meter radius around him, and this time, the formation was spread out over an area that was hundreds of times larger.
The moment the formation was finished, he saw that, inside the sparkling green tree branches that he had planted into the stony ground, numerous mysterious tree patterns seemed to be channeled by some unknown force, and started converging on the tips of the tree branches.
In the next moment, a dark-green hemispherical ward that was as thin as a cicada’s wings instantly covered a very large area over the black phoenix.
Like wisps of green smoke, one tree pattern after another rose from the tips of the tree branches and joined the thin ward, where they started floating about like ripples on the water, vesting the ward with endless mysteries.
Immediately afterwards, a profound magnetic field came to form inside the ward.
Nie Tian shrewdly sensed that fine strands of wood power were starting to rise from the nearby bushes and plants that he had never seen before. They seemed to be channeled by the newly-established formation, and rapidly converged from all directions.
As the green ward that was as thin as a cicada’s wings received the nourishment from the countless strands of wood power, it grew increasingly tough and resilient.
Seeing this, Nie Tian’s eyes gradually lit up. “The formation is automatically absorbing wood power from its surroundings to enhance its intensity!”
He didn’t even need to infuse the ward with much wood power, and it would power itself and maintain functionality by automatically absorbing wood power from the vicinity.
Nie Tian was overjoyed to uncover more and more of the incredible features and profound power of the tree branches he had obtained from the floating continent.
Sitting beside him under the green ward, Dong Li felt very relieved and calm, as if she had left all of the weariness from the traveling behind. “Nie Tian, this is the secret you discovered on that floating continent, right?”
Now that they were sitting among the formation, not only were they protected from any harm from the outside, but they were also wreathed in rich wood power.
Anyone who attempted to break into the formation would be stopped by the green ward. The great force of expulsion might even cause serious damage to the intruder.
Those who stayed inside would not only be protected by the green ward, but they would also be surrounded by rich wood power, which would help calm their soul and heal their wounds.
After a short while, Dong Li realized that not only would she be safe and uninterrupted as she refined the eighth grade black phoenix’s residual power, but the ward also had soothing and healing effects.
“Get on with it,” Nie Tian said.
“Okay.” Dong Li listened to him and closed her eyes, focusing all of her attention on taking the grand fortune that was meant for her.
The hovering black phoenix seemed somewhat uneasy when the green ward was first established, and it was enveloped.
However, it soon learned that the green ward was only created to protect it and Dong Li.
Gradually, it settled down, and landed lightly on the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse like a piece of silk cloth.
Nie Tian observed curiously, and discovered that the moment it made contact with the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse, it merged with it like a drop of water merging with the sea.
Moments later, Dong Li’s beast spirit completely disappeared into the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse.
Seeing that Dong Li had started the process, Nie Tian sat straight and started communicating with the nine Heaven Eyes he had scattered in the vicinity.
He had already decided that he would kill anyone who dared to try and snatch the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse from them, no matter which sects they were from.
Just like that, he guarded Dong Li in silence.
After a quarter hour, three Qi warriors from the Heaven Expanse Sect in the Realm of Earth Sieve appeared in the vision of one of his Heaven Eyes, and they were marching over at a fast speed.
One of them was at the middle Greater Heaven stage, while the other two were at the early Greater Heaven stage.
Judging from the excitement and urgency they were showing, Nie Tian instantly knew that they must have received word from the Thunder Mountain Sect and learned about the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse in this place.
When they were still a significant distance from him, Nie Tian suddenly launched a Starshift, which was followed by a series of lightning quick attacks.
Moments later, he returned, dragging the corpses of the three Heaven Expanse Sect disciples, all of whom had been penetrated by his Flame Star. Then, he left them with the dead Heaven Palace Sect and Thunder Mountain Sect disciples.
Afterwards, he recovered with spirit stones while keeping a close watch on everything in the vicinity.
An hour passed, and one of the Thunder Mountain Sect survivors returned.
Without the slightest hesitation, he once again launched a Starshift.
Soon, the man’s corpse was added the pile of corpses.
In this manner, he guarded Dong Li while she refined the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse. Whenever he caught sight of someone that was coming after the black phoenix’s corpse, he would respond immediately.
A day passed before he knew it.
On this day alone, he killed five disciples of the Heaven Palace Sect, the Thunder Mountain Sect, and the Heaven Expanse Sect, most of whom were at the middle Greater Heaven stage, with only one at the late Greater Heaven stage.
With these kills, there were now about a dozen corpses scattered around him.
He didn’t spend any time examining the rings of holding he had looted from them. Instead, he recovered spiritual power with every moment he had, then he just sat there, wreathed in intense killing intent and ready to pounce on his next target.
On the following day, two Poison Sect Qi warriors rushed to his location successively. Nie Tian cut them down with ease.
Shortly afterwards, Yang Kan from the Flame God Sect and Lu Jian from the Spirit God Sect entered the detection range of one of his Heaven Eyes.
At the same time, through another Heaven Eye, Nie Tian caught sight of Su Lin and a late Greater Heaven stage Heaven Palace Sect disciple, who were rapidly approaching from another direction.
Then, he discovered that disciples of the Thunder Mountain Sect and the Heaven Expanse Sect were coming from a third direction.
In that moment, Nie Tian found that three groups of people were approaching him from three directions at the same time.
Furthermore, they all seemed to have come after the eighth grade black phoenix’s corpse.
Nie Tian intended to take them out one group at a time before they came close. However, he worried that something might happen to Dong Li while he was away. After pondering for some time, he decided to stay put.
Moments later, the three groups arrived one after another.
Upon arrival, they rapidly caught sight of the corpses scattered around Nie Tian. Expressions flickering drastically, they all looked at Nie Tian as if they were looking at a monster.