After a moment of pondering, as much as he didn't want to admit it, Nie Tian felt that Zhao Shanling's words made sense.
If they could kill the seventh grade outsiders that were currently in the Realm of a Hundred Battles, then adding the two his master had killed in the Realm of Flame Heaven, they would have killed seven seventh grade outsiders in total.
After they were finished, the four Soul realm experts of the Realm of a Hundred Battles would be able to go help defend the Tool Sect, the Ice Pavilion Sect, and the other major sects.
The humans' overall strength would outmatch the outsiders'.
By that time, the outsider invaders would face a joint attack by human experts. They might not even get to return to their own realms alive.
If that happened, Zhao Shanling would have saved the Domain of the Falling Stars from this calamity.
What he wanted in return was for Qi Bailu to kneel, admit that he was wrong, and give up the position of the sectmaster of the Tool Sect.
Nie Tian was well-aware that what Zhao Shanling was asking was immoral, but considering the bigger picture, it would probably achieve good results.
The question was: would Qi Bailu set his dignity aside for the Domain of the Falling Stars?
"But I don't think I'll be able to talk to the sectmaster of the Tool Sect," Nie Tian said, frowning.
Zhao Shanling let out a cold snort. "Of course you won't, but you can tell the Dong Clan about my stance and have them talk to my senior martial brother."
"Senior Zhao, did you know from the beginning that you had the ability to end this calamity for the Domain of the Falling Stars?" Nie Tian asked.
Zhao Shanling laughed but didn't say a word.
Looking at Zhao Shanling's expression, Nie Tian had an increasingly strong feeling that he had known how things would develop from the very beginning, and that he would be the one to determine the fate of the entire Domain of the Falling Stars.
He even started to suspect that this person was actually capable of sealing those six spatial rifts...
Perhaps he only didn't do it because the outsiders' invasion suited his needs.
However, was all he wanted really just for Qi Bailu to admit that he was wrong and hand over the position of the sectmaster of the Tool Sect?
Was that worth being spit on for ignoring the lives of millions for thousands of years?
Nie Tian couldn't find the answer.
The way he saw it, Zhao Shanling was a maniac, whose way of thinking couldn't be understood by normal people.
He pondered the matter for some time with a complicated expression. Eventually, he decided to go talk to the Dong Clan, and get their opinion about Zhao Shanling's demand.
Then, he took out his Sound Stone.
In the Dong Clan...
Everyone had their eyes on Dong Li as they waited for word from Nie Tian.
The moment her Sound Stone rang, the Dong Clan members' eyes lit up. They even started to breathe heavily.
Soon, Dong Li lowered her Sound Stone with a deep frown on her charming face.
"How did it go?" Dong Qianqi couldn't help but ask.
"That maniac didn't show the slightest interest in what we have to give him," Dong Li said. "He demands only one thing, which is for Qi Bailu, the sectmaster of the Tool Sect, to kneel before him, admit his mistakes, and hand over the position of sectmaster of the Tool Sect."
"What does Qi Bailu have to do with what we've asked of him?" Dong Tengfei asked furiously.
"A lot, actually." Dong Wangling seemed to have seen through Zhao Shanling's logic. "Once we've killed all the seventh grade outsiders in the Realm of a Hundred Battles, the four of our Soul realm experts will be free to join the battles against the outsiders in the other realms. We'll be able to overwhelm them with our superior numbers on the other battlefields."
Upon hearing these words, all of the other Dong Clan members were suddenly enlightened.
Dong Tengfei's expression flickered. "So that means if we can win our battle in the Realm of a Hundred Battles, the calamity that the entire Domain of the Falling Stars is suffering from will come to an end soon? Not only that, but we'll also teach the outsider invaders a good lesson! Perhaps even for a thousand years after this war, they won't even think of invading us again!"
Dong Wangling took a deep breath and said with determination in his voice, "This plan seems to be feasible! We need to teach these outsiders a lesson and make them remember what will happen to them if they dare to invade us!
"Is it possible that this is what Zhao Shanling actually wants? That he's been waiting because he wants the outsiders to suffer a complete defeat so that we can avoid future trouble?"
Dong Tengfei snorted disdainfully and said, "He'd never be that kind! The way I see it, he only did it to have Qi Bailu apologize to him and admit that he was right in front of everyone. To achieve that goal, he can even sit back and watch people from different realms be massacred. He cares about no one but himself. The lives or deaths of others don't concern him at all."
Dong Wangling shook his head and sighed. "I can't see through that person..." Then, he turned to Dong Qianqi and said, "The Tool Sect probably still has their teleportation portal. Why don't you make a trip there and see if Qi Bailu is willing to set aside his dignity and morals for the time being to save us from this calamity?"
"Okay!" With these words, the clanmaster of the Dong Clan set out.
In the Tool Sect in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation.
Evil spirits were screaming madly as they threw themselves into the Tool Sect's grand spell formation. Multi-colored miasma was corroding the grand ward of flames, giving rise to crackling sounds.
Qi Bailu was standing among Zhen Huilan, Pei Qiqi, Wu Langxie, and many Tool Sect elders.
Each and every one of them looked very grim, as they were suffering from the same situation as the Dong Clan.
They had sent their juniors into small arcane realms. Now, they were hesitant over whether they should abandon the Realm of Unbounded Desolation and evacuate to those realms as well.
"What should we do, sectmaster?" One of the sect elders asked with a bitter expression. "We've connected the fiery realms we own to our grand spell formation. The only reason the grand spell formation has held this long is because it's draining earthflame essence from those realms. If we don't act soon, the flame power in those fiery realms will become weaker and weaker.
"If we evacuate too late, we might even have no flame power to use after moving to those realms.
"Most of our disciples practice fire incantations. If we drain those realms of their flame power, I'm afraid..."
Qi Bailu sighed, looking down. "If we leave, we'll have cut our connections with the Realm of Unbounded Desolation completely. And we'll have to destroy all of the teleportation portals that lead to those fiery realms we own. If we do that, we're throwing everything we have away. I've only waited this long because I hoped the patriarch of the Heaven Palace Sect would enter the Void domain and turn the situation around."
One of the sect elders smiled bitterly and said, "That's far too difficult. It's hard to say when he'll be able to enter the Void domain. Actually, he might not even succeed at all."
FIZZ! FIZZ! FIZZ!
At that moment, intense spatial fluctuations came from the teleportation portal not far from the crowd.
In the next moment, Dong Qianqi walked out of it.
He stepped directly towards Qi Bailu, bowed respectfully, and said, "Sectmaster Qi, I have a piece of information that may save the Domain of the Falling Stars from this calamity."
Qi Bailu's eyes lit up. "I'm all ears!"
However, Dong Qianqi grew hesitant. He looked down to avoid eye contact with Qi Bailu as he said, "Zhao Shanling said that if you can..." He went on and explained everything.
One of the elders burst into a flaming rage. "That traitor actually dares to use this to threaten sectmaster!"
Every single Tool Sect elder then showed their strong disdain towards Zhao Shanling. They competed to accuse Zhao Shanling of his despicable deeds, as if they would never agree to his outrageous proposal.
"He got countless innocents killed, including our late sectmaster. That was clearly his fault! How does he dare to demand that we admit that it was our fault!"
"Isn't he afraid that he'll be spit on by people for distorting the truth so deliberately?"
"If he has the ability to stop this calamity, why didn't he do something?"
"Sectmaster! Don't listen to him! The Tool Sect can't be given to someone like him!"
"Not so long ago, he associated himself with the Flame God and spilled innocent blood in the Realm of Unbounded Desolation. Such a person doesn't deserve to be the sectmaster of the Tool Sect!"
Dong Qianqi stood in silence, knowing that Zhao Shanling's demand was very unreasonable.
Qi Bailu was the only one who seemed to be pondering Zhao Shanling's proposal with a complicated look on his face.
After a long while, Qi Bailu lifted his buried head and said with a grim face, "Tell him that I'll kneel before him, admit that I was wrong, and make him the sectmaster of the Tool Sect after he helps the Domain of the Falling Stars through this calamity."
Dong Qianqi's expression flickered.
Upon hearing these words, all of the Tool Sect elders advised against it in loud voices.
Even Zhen Huilan chimed in, "You don't need to agree to such terms."
"Enough," Qi Bailu said, waving his hand with determination. "That's my decision, and my decision is final!"
Dong Qianqi sighed inwardly before saying, "Every sect in the Domain of the Falling Stars will remember what you've done to save the Domain of the Falling Stars."
With great respect, he once again bowed towards Qi Bailu, and then walked away.
As he entered the teleportation portal, he could still hear the elders cursing Zhao Shanling furiously, but he didn't turn his head to look.
Soon, he returned to the Dong Clan and explained Qi Bailu's attitude to everyone.
Dong Wangling sighed deeply. "Zhao Shanling has torn what Sectmaster Qi has held dear his whole life, his dignity and his notion of right and wrong, to shreds. But since that maniac threatened him with the fate of the Domain of the Falling Stars, what choice does he have? After all, he's not like Zhao Shanling. He can't abandon the Tool Sect and the Realm of Unbounded Desolation."
Immediately afterward, Dong Li took out her Sound Stone and contacted Nie Tian.
After receiving her message, Nie Tian looked at Zhao Shanling, who had sat with his eyes closed after making his demand, and said, "Senior Zhao, Sectmaster Qi has agreed to your terms. He will kneel before you, apologize, and give up the position of sectmaster after this calamity is over."
Zhao Shanling's eyes snapped open and shone with a light that made Nie Tian nervous.
Then, he burst into a wild laugh.
His laughter shook heaven and earth. Even the space around him seemed to be trembling.
As an incomparably terrifying aura rapidly built up within him, fine spatial blades flashed across the depths of his eyes, as if new space nodes were connecting into nets.
"Hahaha! What's moral and what's immoral? I can determine it all!"
"Whatever I say is right will be right! If you don't agree, then I'll make you agree!"
At this moment, it seemed that a shackle that had been chaining Zhao Shanling for years was suddenly broken.
All this was because Qi Bailu had agreed to lower his head towards him and give him what he wanted.
"I've finally shattered the emotional knot that has been weighing on my mind for years. Thanks to this, my cultivation base shall advance to the middle Soul realm!"
With a casual wave of his hand, a spatial rift appeared in front of him. Nie Tian, Li Langfeng, and the Bone Blood Demon were suddenly pulled into it by an unknown force.
In the next moment, they appeared in the air above the Dong Clan.