According to Zhen Huilan, every expert of spatial power throughout the entire Domain of the Falling Stars had been to the Void Illusion Mountain Range over the past two weeks, attempting to seal the six spatial rifts.
However, none had succeeded.
Seeing that they wouldn't be able to prevent the outsiders from invading, the sects from throughout the Domain of the Falling Stars were forced to assemble their forces to prepare for the upcoming war against the outsider invaders.
Nie Tian stood there in silence, listening as Cai Lan, Hu Rong, and the others discussed the situation.
From them, he learned that many cultivators that lived in the Realm of Split Void had abandoned their homes and left because of the upcoming war.
Meanwhile, the sectmasters and heads of forces from all over the Domain of the Falling Stars were dispatching their Worldly realm and Profound realm members to the Void Illusion Mountain Range, as well as those from their subordinate sects and clans.
It wouldn't be long before Worldly realm and Profound realm experts started pouring into the Realm of Split Void.
Nie Tian listened for a while, and soon realized that there was very little he could do to prevent this tribulation from happening. Thus, after a moment of pondering, he asked Cai Lan if he could use one of the Blood Skull's cultivation rooms to recover his strength.
After learning about his true identity and considering his close relationship with Zhen Huilan, Cai Lan granted him permission without hesitation.
At this time, the Blood Skull was no longer the overlord of the Realm of Split Void. With powerful experts from the major powers pouring into the Realm of Split Void, he couldn't see where the future of the Blood Skull lay.
In fact, this was the reason why he had sought Zhen Huilan out.
After learning that Nie Tian would spend some time cultivating in one of the Blood Skull's cultivation rooms, Zhen Huilan told him to be careful, and saw him off as he left the courtyard.
Soon, Nie Tian arrived at the Blood Skull's headquarters.
To his surprise, he ran into Shi Qing.
He was surprised that Shi Qing had survived the pursuit of those from the Thunder Mountain Sect. Shi Qing became very hospitable the moment he saw him.
After he stated his intentions, Shi Qing quickly led him upstairs and opened one of the cultivation rooms that was designed for Greater Heaven stage cultivators. Furthermore, he said that it would be free of charge, no matter how long he used the room.
Right before Nie Tian stepped into the room, Shi Qing once again expressed his gratitude, saying that if it hadn't been for him and Pei Qiqi, he wouldn't have made it back to Shatter City alive.
Afterwards, he even advised Nie Tian to leave the Realm of Split Void as soon as possible, because things would get very messy here soon.
Nie Tian didn't say a word. With a smile, he nodded and entered the cultivation room, where he started cultivating wholeheartedly.
A month passed.
Not only had Nie Tian fully recovered the wood power he had consumed to heal Li Langfeng, but he had also expanded and refined his vortex of wood power to the point where it was ready for his next breakthrough.
During this time, his eight vortexes of spiritual power also went through rapid expansion and refinement.
In comparison, the development of his vortex of flame power was rather slow, since no special events had happened that provided him with opportunities to achieve rapid progress.
Ending his cultivation, he opened the door to his cultivation room. The moment he stepped through it, he looked down and saw Shi Qing, who was standing on the ground floor.
"Are you finished?" Shi Qing asked, full of smiles. "It seems about time. People came for you repeatedly during the past month. Besides, under the Spirit Condor's instructions, the Blood Skull is going to host a trade fair for spiritual materials and spiritual tools in three days. Many rare and precious materials and high-grade spiritual tools will be presented at the trade fair."
"Who came for me?" Nie Tian asked curiously.
With these words, he subconsciously unleashed his psychic awareness, and discovered that the originally lifeless Shatter City was somehow vibrant with life again.
However, his psychic awareness caught the attention of many powerful experts. Their auras started to rapidly converge on him.
He hastily withdrew his psychic awareness and asked curiously, "What happened here? Why is Shatter City suddenly filled with people again?"
"The Yin Sect, the Yang Sect, the Ice Pavilion Sect, the Tool Sect, and the forces from the Realm of a Hundred Battles have sent Worldly realm and Profound realm experts here," Shi Qing answered with a somewhat reluctant smile. "They're all here to fight the outsiders that may descend at any moment. Master Zhen established another inter-realm teleportation portal in the city. It was through that portal that those experts got here.
"All of the sects with profound reserve power have dispatched forces to the Realm of Split Void. Some of their Worldly realm and Profound realm experts are currently stationed in Shatter City.
"The others were sent to the Void Illusion Mountain Range, where they're setting up defenses by those six spatial rifts with powerful experts from the Heaven Palace Sect, the Flame God Sect, and the other sects."
Nie Tian pondered in silence for a few seconds before asking with a grim expression, "Did anyone or any outsiders came through that spatial rift while I was in there?"
"So far, no," Shi Qing said.
Nie Tian seemed slightly relieved, then he went on and asked, "Right, who came for me?"
"People from the Realm of Flame Heaven," Shi Qing said.
"People from the Realm of Flame Heaven?!" Nie Tian was taken aback. "What are they doing here?!"
"Now that we're facing a great tribulation, every sect in the Domain of the Falling Stars is required to sent at least half of their Worldly realm and Profound realm experts here to join the battle against the outsiders," Shi Qing explained. "Even though the Realm of Flame Heaven is a weak realm, there are still a number of sects in the Realm of Flame Heaven, and they do have Worldly realm and Profound realm members. Also, since the forces from the other realms demanded that they join the action, they had no choice."
"Who came?" Nie Tian asked.
"Umm... I'm not very familiar with them," Shi Qing said with an awkward smile. "But I know that they were arranged to live in the same block as Hu Rong. You'll know who came once you go there."
Nie Tian frowned and asked, "Hu Rong's block? The run-down block assigned to the Spirit Condor?"
The block where the Spirit Condor had set up their secret quarters was the most gutted area of Shatter City. Only the poorest people lived in those small and dilapidated buildings.
Keh! Keh! With a embarrassed smile, Shi Qing said, "The head didn't mean to disrespect them. As you know, none of the sects in the Realm of Flame Heaven have ever produced a Soul realm expert. Now, powerful experts from the other sects that have longer histories and more profound strength have also gathered in Shatter City.
"Actually, it might not be a bad idea to separate the sects from the Realm of Flame Heaven from them.
"That way, it'll be more unlikely for conflicts to break out between them and those from the more powerful realms, due to attitude problems. Plus, the head consulted Master Zhen about such arrangements. Master Zhen agreed to them as well."
Nie Tian nodded reluctantly. "I see."
Afterwards, he bid farewell to Shi Qing and left the Blood Skull's headquarters for the poorest area of Shatter City.
After turning into the narrow block, Nie Tian sighed as he glanced over the short, dilapidated buildings on both sides of the street, as well as the unattended weeds that grew everywhere.
Due to the fact that the Realm of Flame Heaven hadn't produced a single Soul realm expert, the other realms had always attached little importance to the Realm of Flame Heaven. Sects from the Realm of Earth Sieve, the Realm of Dark Underworld, and the Realm of Black Marsh had even plotted to invade the Realm of Flame Heaven.
When it came to benefits, none of the major sects from the other realms would think of the Realm of Flame Heaven.
For example, when the powerful sects had arranged forces to go through the six spatial rifts to explore the new heaven and earth they had discovered, the sects in the Realm of Flame Heaven had long since been informed that they wouldn't be allowed to join them.
However, now that outsiders were about to invade, each and every sect in the Realm of Flame Heaven had been made to send forces to join the upcoming battle.
Before Nie Tian could walk into the block, the sounds of people arguing echoed from one of the dilapidated courtyards and caught his ears.
They argued so loudly that he could hear them with great clarity from a hundred meters away. Then, he put on the mask Zhen Huilan had gifted him and rushed over.
After going through an open gate, Nie Tian saw that many of his acquaintances from the Realm of Flame Heaven were standing in the courtyard, including Chang Sen from the Hell Sect, Li Jing from the Blood Sect, Ghost Eye from the Ghost Sect, Jiang Zhisu from the Cloudsoaring Sect, and Fang Hui from the Spiritual Treasure Sect.
Sitting in a stone chair in front of them was a Profound realm Qi warrior from the Heaven Expanse Sect.
Behind that person stood three male and one female disciple of the Heaven Expanse Sect. The three males were at the Worldly realm, and the female was at the late Greater Heaven stage.
Many in the crowd gave Nie Tian a quick glance as he walked in, but none recognized him.
Under the mask he had gotten from Zhen Huilan, he looked no different from a normal Qi warrior at the middle Greater Heaven stage who practiced flame power.
Looking like that, he was easily ignored by the Worldly realm and Profound realm experts in the courtyard.
Ji Qingyun, the one who was sitting in the face of a whole crowd of Qi warriors from the Realm of Flame Heaven, said slowly and expressionlessly, "Our sects agreed that you lot from the Realm of Flame Heaven would need to send all of your Profound realm members to join the battle. How come Wu Ji isn't here?"
Jiang Zhisu from the Cloudsoaring Sect said, while struggling to suppress his anger, "My martial uncle is still in the middle of his secluded cultivation. We couldn't get word to him even if we wanted to. We'll inform him the moment he comes out."
"That's one... Also, why are you lot still in Shatter City?" Ji Qingyun asked coldly. "You need to march to the Void Illusion Mountain Range right away, and set up defenses in front of one of the spatial rifts!"
"People from the Yin Sect, the Yang Sect, and the Ice Pavilion Sect are also in Shatter City. They're also going to attend the trading fair the Spirit Condor is holding in three days. Why didn't you tell them to go right away?" Ghost Eye confronted him angrily.
With a cold smile, Ji Qingyun said, "Who do you think you are? You'll get to enjoy the same treatment they're receiving when you also have Soul realm experts in the Realm of Flame Heaven."
From what he had heard so far, Nie Tian already knew what was happening. Ji Qingyun from the Heaven Expanse Sect was here to force the experts from the Realm of Flame Heaven to be at the forefront of their defenses, and to be the first ones to shoulder the outsiders' wrath.
They didn't dare to demand such a thing from the other powerful sects, so they picked the weakest ones and intended to use these folk from the Realm of Flame Heaven to test the outsiders' strength and determination.
If the Worldly realm and Profound realm experts from the Realm of Flame Heaven did as they were told, even if the humans eventually beat the outsider invaders, they wouldn't live to see that.
By that time, the snakes from the Realm of Earth Sieve, the Realm of Dark Underworld, and the Realm of Black Marsh would be able to take the Realm of Flame Heaven without breaking a sweat.
Jiang Zhisu and the others had long since seen through Ji Qingyun's intentions, yet they didn't dare to oppose him directly.
At this moment, Nie Tian stepped out of the crowd and stood unwavering before Ji Qingyun. "Is it just your sect's opinion, or that of all the sects that the forces from the Realm of Flame Heaven should be the at the forefront of the defenses?"
Ji Qingyun snorted coldly. "Who are you?"
Then, he glanced at Jiang Zhisu and Chang Sen from the corner of his eyes and asked, "Do you not discipline your juniors? How does he dare to interrupt our conversation?"
Jiang Zhisu and the other sectmasters were very confused as they sized Nie Tian up, who none of them knew.
They had long since warned their juniors not to join the important conversations, so they all wondered who this young man was and what he intended to do by confronting Ji Qingyun in such a direct manner.