In the beginning, the Realm of Split Void had been filled with extremely rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, the richest of all the realms of the Domain of the Falling Stars.
Back then, the Realm of Split Void had been the optimal place for cultivation. Its status was even higher than the Realm of Mystic Heaven.
Meanwhile, the Void Palace Sect, which was based in the Realm of Split Void, was the most powerful sect throughout the entire Domain of the Falling Stars.
However, after that devastating upheaval, impurities and various toxic and corrosive energies from outer space had flooded the Realm of Split Void, completely changing its environment.
The mixed Qi that had leaked into the Realm of Split Void had even contained foreign energies that could dement people and spirit beasts.
The overwhelming changes to the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth had eventually driven the powerful Qi warriors out of the Realm of Split Void.
That was when the Realm of Split Void had been ostracized from the Domain of the Falling Stars.
Before, Phantasm Qi, Demon Qi, and Fiend Qi didn't make up a large proportion of the energy of Heaven and Earth in the Realm of Split Void. However, recently, intense Phantasm Qi, Demon Qi, and Fiend Qi kept pouring out through the six spatial rifts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
This had made the environment in the Realm of Split Void even more uninhabitable.
With a grim expression, Dong Li said, "As you know, we humans have to make efforts to defend against the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth if we want to go out to open areas in the Realm of Split Void. Now, with the recent changes, we'll be under even greater pressure if we leave Shatter City, Ash City, or the Land of the Abandoned, which are protected by grand spell formations.
"However, the outsiders have extremely tough fleshly bodies. Such changes won't affect them at all.
"In fact, they would even be able to absorb energies that agree with them from the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in battle. Their cultivation and recovery efficiency would both be elevated.
"This means that the environment of the Realm of Split Void is becoming more and more habitable for outsider races, and more and more uninhabitable for us."
Upon hearing these words, Li Langfeng chimed in, "She's right. I sensed the changes in the energies of Heaven and Earth on my way to Shatter City to attend the trading fair. But I didn't give it much thought back then. I didn't expect that the environment of the Realm of Split Void would worsen so much within just a month."
After a moment of pondering, Nie Tian quickly linked the phenomenon with the upcoming outsider invasion.
Apparently, the outsiders were quietly and gradually turning the Realm of Split Void into an ideal battlefield for them.
"How are our defenses?" Nie Tian asked.
"During this month that you cultivated wholeheartedly, almost every Worldly realm and Profound realm expert in Shatter City was summoned to the Void Illusion Mountain Range. That includes the experts from the Realm of Flame Heaven. They've all teleported to the Void Illusion Mountain Range by now."
Nie Tian's expression suddenly grew grim as he asked, "Are they deployed at the forefront? Will they be used as cannon fodder?"
Dong Li smiled, squaring her shoulders. "You don't need to worry about that. The new alliance won't allow the Heaven Expanse Sect to call the shots. With the support of my clan, the Ice Pavilion Sect, the Yin Sect, the Yang Sect, and the Spirit Condor, the sects from the Realm of Flame Heaven are now being treated fairly. We won't let them be sent to their graves while others sit back and watch."
Nie Tian felt slightly relieved as he asked, "So how's our strength in the Void Illusion Mountain Range?"
Dong Li's expression grew grim as she said, "After you told us that there will be seventh grade outsiders in the outsiders' army, no sect dared to treat this war lightly. Zhao Luofeng, the sectmaster of the Heaven Palace Sect, and Ling Dong, their grand elder, have already come and joined our defensive forces. A few other Soul realm experts, who hardly ever leave their cultivation rooms, are also here, waiting for our formidable foes."
Zhao Luofeng and Ling Dong were respectively at the middle and early Soul realms, and with a few other Soul realm experts joining the defensive forces, Nie Tian believed that the outsiders would be quite surprised when they marched through those spatial rifts.
He was convinced that the outsiders didn't know that he had already returned to the Domain of the Falling Stars with a few chosen ones.
They probably still assumed that the humans in the Domain of the Falling Stars were unaware of their invasion plan.
"If that's the case, does that mean there aren't many powerful experts left in Shatter City?" Nie Tian asked.
Dong Li nodded slightly. "That's right. Most of them have left for the Void Illusion Mountain Range. But there are still some rogue cultivators who have either refused to answer the summons or stayed after finding some excuses. I bet some of them still harbor ill intentions towards you and your valuables. My clan seniors have reminded me repeatedly that I shouldn't let you leave Shatter City."
Li Langfeng nodded and chimed in, "Since all of the Profound realm experts from the Realm of Flame Heaven have been summoned to the Void Illusion Mountain Range, it's indeed very unsafe for you to leave the city, Nie Tian."
Nie Tian's face split into a grin as he said, "But I am going out of Shatter City to examine the changes to the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth."
Since Shatter City was protected by a grand spell formation that could ward off the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, he would have to leave the city to see how bad the environment had become.
More importantly, he wanted to shock and awe those who harbored evil intentions towards him with the Bone Blood Demon.
Another reason was that he wanted the newly-formed alliance to know that the Realm of Flame Heaven now had a Soul realm expert equivalent!
Even though the Bone Blood Demon wasn't a human Qi warrior, as long as it followed his command, and possessed the formidable battle prowess of a Soul realm expert, it would be enough to make those who would plot against the Realm of Flame Heaven reconsider.
Exasperated, Dong Li exclaimed, "What?! You want to leave the city?! Are you out of your mind?! Do you know that those rogue cultivators have absolutely no respect for the rules agreed upon by the sects. They won't care if the Domain of the Falling Stars falls or not. They only know that you're a piece of greasy meat. I bet many of them are waiting for an opportunity to kill you, take your valuables, and hole up in some remote corner, where they can make rapid progress in their cultivation! They won't care who'll come for them!"
"Are any of them at the Soul realm?" Nie Tian asked, smiling.
"No…" Dong Li answered. "All of the Soul realm experts are now in the Void Illusion Mountain Range, and they're all bound by the 'no killing among ourselves' rule. Even if they weren't, I doubt that they would lower themselves by killing you personally."
"There's no problem then." With these words, Nie Tian slowly rose to his feet and walked towards the gate to the courtyard. "As long as there aren't Soul realm experts among them, I've got nothing to fear. No matter how many Profound realm experts come at me, I'll have them all killed! Just watch!"
Dong Li was flabbergasted, but since he looked so confident, she decided to say no more, and followed along.
Li Langfeng, who was also shaken, didn't know what to say either, and thus followed him out of the courtyard.
"What?!! Nie Tian is going outside the city?!!"
In a spacious, six-story stone pavilion on a high-end block of Shatter City, an exclamation escaped Qin Yan's mouth.
She was sitting at a table with Dong Baijie, Qian Xin, Cao Qiushui, Gu Haofeng and a handful of Worldly realm members, discussing what they would do when the outsiders started swarming into the Realm of Split Void.
Upon learning that Nie Tian was going out of the city, they were all flabbergasted.
With a complicated look in his eyes, Qian Xin broke the silence by saying, "All of our Profound realm seniors are now in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Who can protect him if he leaves the city?"
Cao Qiushui's expression quickly turned grim. The same went for the others. "Our seniors reminded us very specifically that we can't let Nie Tian leave the city. Dong Li must have told him not to, but why does he still insist on doing such a dangerous thing?"
Qin Yan's expression was very stern as she said, "Many rogue cultivators didn't answer the summons of our alliance. They don't belong to any sect, and they're bound by no rules. Some of them are definitely thinking of ways to take Nie Tian's numerous precious spiritual materials."
"No matter what, let's go find him. Hopefully we're not too late to bring him back." With these words, Dong Baijie was the first to jump off the balcony and dash towards the city gate.
Meanwhile, Xuan Ke from the Ice Pavilion Sect, Ye Qin from the Yin Sect, and Chen Hao from the Yang Sect also received word of Nie Tian leaving the city.
They were all shocked, and rushed to the city gate.
In the Blood Skull's headquarters, Shi Qing tumbled into Cai Lan's private cultivation room and exclaimed, "My lord, Nie Tian has left the city!"
Taken aback, Cai Lan asked, "What?! Is he crazy?! Doesn't he know that many people will be after his valuables?! How come he dares to leave the city?!"
With a bitter smile, Shi Qing shook his head, showing that he didn't understand either.
Cai Lan let out a sigh. "Master Zhen isn't in Shatter City right now. And we've long since lost actual control of this city. Some of the rogue cultivators are even at higher realms than me. If they're really going to do something to Nie Tian, I doubt we'll be able to stop them."
"What should we do now?" Shi Qing asked, his voice filled with distress.
A bitter expression spread across Cai Lan's face as he said, "Beats me… It's probably already too late to contact the Profound realm experts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range. What the hell was that kid thinking?!"