In the Void Illusion Mountain Range...
Glowing auras surged about in the depths of the void as rivers of tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth poured into the Realm of Split Void.
All sorts of heaven-shaking, earth-shattering energies ravaged the entire mountain range. In some areas, snowstorms froze valleys and mountain peaks. In other areas, torrential flames burned across mountains and rivers.
In other parts of the mountain range, lightning bolts condensed into enormous lightning dragons that swam across the sky, unleashing devastating thunder power.
Meanwhile, a mountain peak that towered over a large area was shining with golden light, as if it was formed by a powerful Spirit Channeling grade treasure.
Bloodcurdling shrieks could be heard in every corner of the mountain range; wide ravines cracked open in the pale-gray earth; clear creeks were painted red by blood.
By one of the spatial rifts...
Basto, the Phantasm lord, was swinging his Nethersoul Saber, unleashing cyan blade lights that were as long as rivers. In those blade lights, millions of ferocious souls could be seen swarming and screaming madly.
Wherever his blade lights went, mountain peaks exploded, and the earth split open.
Zhao Luofeng, the sectmaster of the Heaven Palace Sect, and Ling Dong, the grand elder of the Heaven Palace Sect, were contending against Basto's blade lights with great effort, using their countless swords of frigid ice, and that glittering, golden mountain peak that looked as if it had been forged from pure gold.
The formation of huge stones, which the Heaven Palace Sect experts had established to form a defensive ward, was now crumbling bit by bit.
On another front...
Qi Bailu and Wu Langxie from the Tool Sect were fighting Auden from the fourth Demon Realm.
Auden, who was clad in heavy, black armor and wearing a sinister mask, was sitting on an enormous, black warhorse, his eyes burning with mysterious, black flames.
The spear he was holding was also pitch-black, like an eternal night. Every time he thrust it, raging Demon Qi would shoot out of its tip.
Qi Bailu, who was at the middle Soul realm, had channeled furious flames from fiery realms with his Flame Mirror, but he was only struggling to defend against Auden's attacks.
In the place where people from the Ice Pavilion Sect had set up defenses.
Qian Qiong had retreated three kilometers, where he watched the two Soul realm experts of his sect unleash frigid auras that froze heaven and earth.
However, in the frigid coldness, two seventh grade Fiend experts channeled the deadly toxins from the tainted spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, and with their unique bloodline magics, formed a multicolored miasma that spread rapidly.
In the frigid heaven and earth that the two Soul realm experts had created, their ice power and the Fiend experts' toxic power clashed violently.
Gradually, the frozen earth and the thick ice on it started to crack open.
Tainted blood seemed to be flowing in the depths of those ravines, giving rise to toxic mists.
Observing from a great distance, Qian Qiong saw the changes, and realized that the frigid realm created by his sect elders was under too much pressure, and it was collapsing.
The forces from the Realm of a Hundred Battles were defending by another spatial rift.
Dong Wangling, the middle Soul realm expert of the Dong Clan, was standing on top of the head of a huge, red ape, fighting a seventh grade Phantasm expert.
That huge, red ape was his beast spirit, which was roughly as mighty as the Bone Blood Demon.
However, at this moment, numerous vicious spirits and sinister ghouls were hanging all over it.
Those spirits and ghouls were created and being manipulated by the seventh grade Phantasm through the prismatic crystal between his eyebrows. Now, they were gnawing at the enormous ape like ants gnawing at an elephant.
Watching his beast spirit being weakened bit by bit, Dong Wangling looked very grim, as he couldn't think of a solution.
In a location not far from him, three Soul realm experts from the Pill Pavilion Sect, the Cao Clan, and the Gu Clan were also fighting three seventh grade outsider experts. Their situation was also very worrying.
Battles like these were now taking place throughout the entire Void Illusion Mountain Range. Experts from the Heaven Expanse Sect, the Thunder Mountain Sect, the Spirit God Sect, the Yin Sect, and the Yang Sect were all at a disadvantage in their battles against the seventh grade outsider experts.
The monarch of the Heaven Palace Sect, who was at the late Soul realm, was now at the most crucial moment of his breakthrough into the Void domain.
He wouldn't end his cultivation and rush to the Realm of Split Void even if heaven and earth were turned upside down in the Domain of the Falling Stars.
Xia Yi from the Flame God Sect was also in the middle of his breakthrough into the late Soul realm. He had long since spread the word that he would not end his secluded cultivation before entering the late Soul realm.
With two powerful Soul realm experts absent, the humans in the Void Illusion Mountain Range were being overpowered by the outsiders.
Therefore, they could only back slowly away from those spatial rifts. Even though the six spatial rifts shrank and expanded from time to time, they also stabilized sometimes.
Whenever one of them did, outsiders would swarm through it into the mountain range.
However, they were mostly at the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, and they didn't seem to be in a hurry to join the battle. Instead, they stood there and observed the battles between their experts and the human experts, as if they were waiting for something.
The formidableness of the outsiders and the perilous situation exceeded everyone's expectations. People started to grow desperate.
Many Qi warriors that had stayed in Shatter City, Ash City, and the Land of the Abandoned fled the Realm of Split Void after learning about the outsiders' strength.
Among them, rogue cultivators were the first to flee after learning that the Soul realm experts from the major sects were losing the battle for the Void Illusion Mountain Range.
Upon seeing the unfavorable situation, Qian Qiong, Dong Tengfei, and the other Profound realm experts had already issued orders that their Greater Heaven stage juniors should return to their sects or clans, activate their grand protective spell formations, and stay behind them.
All of the major sects and clans knew that peace wouldn't last. Over the past hundreds of years, they had used their savings to build up and strengthen all kinds of impregnable profound spell formations.
Almost all of those spell formations were strong enough to hold off the attacks of seventh grade outsiders.
Right now, they had ordered their core disciples to stay behind their grand spell formations for the purpose of protecting their future.
After receiving such orders, Xuan Ke, Ye Qin, Qin Yan, and the other Greater Heaven stage seniors left the Realm of Split Void.
Even Dong Li was dragged back to her clan by Dong Baijie.
Soon, Shatter City became a dead city. Throughout the entire city, only a couple of Qi warriors could be seen in the streets.
In the Blood Skull's headquarters...
Cai Lan stood on the balcony of the tallest tower. With a very grim face, he gazed off into the distance.
Standing beside him, Shi Qing let out a sigh and said with a sad tone, "All those who can be useful in battle, no matter how remotely, have been summoned to the Void Illusion Mountain Range. Those with poor strength have all returned to their own sects or clans. As for rogue cultivators, they were the first to flee the realm. Right now, our members are basically the only ones that haven't left."
Cai Lan's heart was filled with desperation and helplessness as he said, "Compared to the grand spell formations of those old sects and powerful clans, ours is not even worth mentioning. Even a handful of sixth grade outsiders would be able to break our defenses with ease, let alone seventh grade outsider experts.
"Meanwhile, our organization has never been accepted by the sects from the other realms. Even if we were to willingly give up Shatter City and move to another realm, those powerful sects and clans would probably refuse to shelter us."
Shi Qing nodded with a bitter smile.
He was well-aware that, in such a perilous time, major sects like the Heaven Palace Sect, the Flame God Sect, and the Dong Clan would only shelter their own members and those who had been serving them for hundreds of years.
The Blood Skull was clearly not on that list.
Without powerful clans and sects to take them in, even if they abandoned their own base and moved to another realm, they would also be the first to be slaughtered when the outsiders descended.
In such a tough situation, even Cai Lan didn't know where the future of the Blood Skull lay.
"I wonder where Nie Tian is now," Shi Qing said with another sigh. "If he were in the city with his Bone Blood Demon, we'd be able to hold on a little longer at least. Perhaps if things get bad enough, we could go the Realm of Flame Heaven with him. As long as we have that Bone Blood Demon to protect us, we'd be much safer."
"No one knows where he is," Cai Lan said, sounding powerless. "Perhaps he has already learned of the situation and left. With that Bone Blood Demon by his side, as long as he doesn't run into powerful seventh grade outsiders, he'd be safe wherever he goes."
"My lord, it seems that we're losing the battle in the Void Illusion Mountain Range for sure. Do... do we leave or not?" Shi Qing asked in a low voice.
Cai Lan glanced down at the empty city. His eyes reddened as he said, "It doesn't seem that we have a choice. This city is my lifelong achievement. Unfortunately, I can't keep it!"
Qian Qiong tore his eyes from the frozen heaven and earth, which was gradually being filled with miasma, and shouted at Chang Sen, Li Jing, and the others from the Realm of Flame Heaven, "Go! We no longer need you here. It seems that we won't be able to hold the Void Illusion Mountain Range for much longer. Those Soul realm experts will probably decide to leave soon as well."
Li Jing gazed into the distance, and all she could see was miasma that stretched as far as she could see. Feeling very powerless, she said, "Even if we return to the Realm of Flame Heaven now, our sect-protecting spell formations won't hold against the attacks of seventh grade outsiders."
"I wish we could shelter you." Qian Qiong sounded reluctant but helpless, "But there are simply too many that we need to take into our grand spell formation. We'll even have to abandon many of our own. Most of the commoners will probably die under the claws of the outsiders."
After a pause, he added, "I have a suggestion for you though. After returning to the Realm of Flame Heaven, you can hole up in one of the small realms that you used for trials. Even though there might not be rich spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in them, you'll be able to survive at least. Destroy the entrance once you're in. Rebuild teleportation portals that lead to the Realm of Flame Heaven when you think it's safe again."
Upon hearing these words, the Profound realm experts from the Realm of Flame Heaven all fell silent.
There weren't even high grade spirit beasts in small realms like the Green Illusion dimension. If they holed up in it, they would have to rely on spirit stones to cultivate.
However, no matter how many spirit stones they brought, they would run out eventually.
When it came to that, not only would they not progress in cultivation, but they would even regress.
That would be hard to accept.
Qian Qiong waved his hand, his expression very grim. It was as if he had suddenly aged by decades. "Go. We'll be leaving soon as well. All of our Profound realm and Worldly realm will also return to our sect and hold fast behind our grand spell formation."