Considering Xia Yi's current cultivation base, he actually had the ability to keep the Realm of Flame Heaven safe for a thousand years. He wasn't being blindly arrogant.
"No way!" Nie Tian said with great determination.
It was just that his voice didn't seem to spread out of the void realm.
Eyebrows furrowed, Xia Yi looked at him from afar, but didn't seem to have heard him.
With a disdainful smile, Zhao Shanling pointed his hand in the air, and the multiple layers of space that separated them from Xia Yi started to change. A special ward seemed to gradually peel open.
"Alright, he can hear you now," Zhao Shanling said.
"The Flame Dragon Armor belongs to me," Nie Tian said, facing Xia Yi with decisiveness that could sever nails and chop iron, "No one can take it away from me, not even you!"
Xia Yi heard him perfectly clearly this time.
To Nie Tian's surprise, Xia Yi didn't seem angered by his words. He nodded and said with curled lips, "So it wasn't Hua Mu who refused to hand over the Flame Dragon Armor. It was you. You've got some nerve, kid. You actually dare to refuse my demand. Alright. Since you've made your choice, you can just open your eyes and watch those who you care about die miserably one by one."
With these words, he didn't attempt to take the Flame Dragon Armor from Nie Tian. Instead, he sat still in the air and closed his eyes again.
Underneath them, Basto was brandishing his Nethersoul Saber, unleashing rivers of countless evil spirits that wept and screamed as they gnawed on the ancient bell, jade ruler, and miniature pagoda.
The three Spirit Channeling grade treasures formed wards of blinding light to hold off the evil spirits with great effort.
Distinct, vein-like patterns could be seen on the surface of the Nethersoul Saber. Like meridians, they seemed to have torrential flesh power flowing within them.
All of a sudden, the Nethersoul Saber expanded a thousand times over. Wreathed in countless evil spirits, it took up almost all of the space between heaven and earth.
"The three potentates of the Spirit Condor won't be able to hold on much longer," Zhao Shanling said with an expressionless face. "The reason Xia Yi hasn't joined the battle yet is that he's been waiting for Basto to kill them. Once they are dead and there's no one to hold Basto off, it will spell doom for the other Soul realm cultivators.
"Unlike my senior martial brother, Xia Yi won't care how many people will die and how many sects will be wiped out in this calamity. I don't think he'll even care if the Flame God Sect is annihilated.
"As long as he lives on, he'll be able to rebuild the Flame God Sect. When he becomes the strongest cultivator in the Domain of the Falling Stars, the Flame God Sect will become the most powerful sect."
After a short pause, Zhao Shanling snorted a laugh and said, "Perhaps he will join the battle after Hua Mu and the other two are dead. After killing them, Basto will have consumed a significant amount of power. By that time, even without the Flame Dragon Armor, Xia Yi will probably be able to defeat Basto."
"So are you saying that he's using Uncle Hua and his friends to wear Basto down so that he'll be able to swoop in and defeat him eventually?" Nie Tian asked with a grim face.
"Perhaps, I don't know." Zhao Shanling shook his head. "That's just my conjecture."
"I can't wait anymore." Nie Tian took a deep breath and summoned the Bone Blood Demon with a cry in his mind. In the next moment, the enormous Bone Blood Demon morphed into a streak of blood-colored light that flew out of his ring of holding.
Zhao Shanling's expression flickered, as he seemed to know that even his void realm wouldn't be able to contain the Bone Blood Demon's formidable aura.
Therefore, upon seeing this, Zhao Shanling hastily formed a hand seal, channeling that streak of blood-colored light from within the void realm.
After flying out of the void realm, the streak of blood-colored light rapidly expanded into the hundred-meter tall Bone Blood Demon, which stood unwavering in the middle of the sky, completely ignoring the heavy rain and slithering lightning bolts.
Separated by multiple layers of space, Nie Tian was still able to sense the intense flesh power fluctuations from the Bone Blood Demon.
He even had a curious feeling that the Bone Blood Demon had become a part of himself that he could manipulate with his thoughts under any circumstances.
It was as if their bloodlines were somehow connected.
With this thought in mind, he fixed the Bone Blood Demon with a gaze, and it instantly dashed down from the sky head first.
Zhao Shanling's expression flickered. "I can't believe that you can actually maintain a close connection with that puppet while you're in my void realm... Impressive..."
After entering the middle Soul realm, his void realm had become even more profound. He had expected that Nie Tian probably wouldn't be able to manipulate the Bone Blood Demon from within his void realm.
He had even prepared to open a secret soul tunnel for Nie Tian to maintain his connection with the Bone Blood Demon.
However, before he could create the tunnel, the Bone Blood Demon had already bolted directly towards Basto, which was enough proof that it had received a clear order from Nie Tian.
He was deeply surprised that even his void realm couldn't cut off the connection between him and the Bone Blood Demon.
Zhao Shanling suddenly burst into a wild laugh and said, "Excellent! With such a curiously close connection, I won't need to worry that you won't be able to maintain your connection with it after we go to the place I mean to take you to."
In a split second, the Bone Blood Demon shot down from the highest heavens and slammed hard into the expanded Nethersoul Saber.
Basto was standing on the ground as he manipulated the Nethersoul Saber high above him. With the large amount of evil spirits hovering around it, the Nethersoul Saber seemed to be wreathed in a river of souls.
Hua Mu and the other two potentates of the Spirit Condor looked like three fish in that river of souls.
As the Bone Blood Demon crashed hard into the Nethersoul Saber, the Nethersoul Saber shook violently.
Countless cyan auras, which seemed to be refined from Basto's blood, flew out from within the wide blade. Sounds of weeping souls could be heard from them as they did.
The Bone Blood Demon's image suddenly appeared in the prismatic crystal between Basto's eyebrows.
"A dead Bonebrute turned into a puppet!" Basto's eyes widened, surprised that someone could actually turn the corpse of a powerful Bonebrute into a battle puppet.
With bloodcurdling screams, countless cyan auras shot into the Bone Blood Demon like sharp arrows.
After its previous body refinement, the Bone Blood Demon's bones had already shed their original pale-gray color and taken on a translucent and sparkling look that made them look like jade. Inside of them, blood was running in its unique meridians.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Cyan auras flew into the Bone Blood Demon's jade-like bones like raindrops falling onto a hard rock. Cyan light sputtered from the contact points, but not a single change could be seen on the Bone Blood Demon's bones.
"The Bonebrutes' indestructible form!" Basto exclaimed as he stared at the Bone Blood Demon with a grim expression.
The Bone Blood Demon had been a powerful Bonebrute during the time when the Realm of Unbounded Desolation had still been home to the Bonebrutes.
Later, it had been killed by powerful experts from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace and left deep underground. Thousands of years later, humans had somehow discovered it. After being passed through many hands, it had eventually ended up in the Blood Sect's hands.
Basto stared closely at the Bone Blood Demon. As a bright light flashed across the prismatic crystal between his eyebrows, the enormous Nethersoul Saber suddenly sank in the air.
In the next moment, its incomparably wide blade slashed up towards the Bone Blood Demon with a momentum that could split heaven and earth.
Hua Mu and the other two potentates of the Spirit Condor were then flung out of the river of evil spirits. Enveloped in the protective wards created by their Spirit Channeling grade treasures, they stared up into the heavens, their faces filled with astonishment.
The Nethersoul Saber's wide blade slammed into the Bone Blood Demon's leg bone.
As blinding light blossomed from the contact point, the Bloodline Crystal Chains within the Bone Blood Demon's heart suddenly twisted tightly together to activate a special bloodline magic.
In the next moment, a thin layer of misty white energy spread out on the Bone Blood Demon's leg bone and soon covered its entire body.
Nie Tian looked down with rapt attention and discovered that countless evil spirits had flown out of the Nethersoul Saber and converged into a river of spirits that poured madly into the Bone Blood Demon's leg bone.
However, the strange thing was that as soon as the river of spirits made contact with the layer of white energy, the countless evil spirits were reduced to sparks that flickered a few times before vanishing completely.
Not a single evil spirit could penetrate the ward and enter Bone Blood Demon's leg bone.
After taking the Nethersoul Saber's devastating slash, its leg bone was still translucent and sparkling, like a piece of beautiful jade. Not even a dent could be seen on it.
A shudder went through Basto. "It's an eighth grade Bonebrute!"
As this moment, he finally realized that the Bonebrute he was facing possessed eighth grade bloodline power.
Even though the Bonebrute had already been turned into a puppet, and it couldn't use some of its bloodline magics without a complete soul, it had already recovered its indestructible form, which only eighth grade Bonebrutes would possess.
The Bonebrutes' most formidable weapon was their incomparably tough bodies. Only after thousands of years of body refinement would eighth grade Bonebrutes enter their indestructible form.
After his failed attack, Basto realized that he wouldn't be able to break the Bone Blood Demon's indestructible form with his Nethersoul Saber.
Basto thus changed his way of thinking and looked up into the heavens. "Since it's a puppet, it needs its owner to function. Killing its owner will deactivate the puppet!"
With a single glance, he caught sight of Zhao Shanling and Nie Tian, who was hiding in a void realm.
As soon as he tracked them down, their images appeared in the prismatic crystal between his eyebrows.
Even separated by many layers of space, he seemed to be able to lock onto them with the Phantasms' profound soul magics.
"He's coming for you!" Zhao Shanling said with a cold harrumph, as if he had known that Basto would set his mind on Nie Tian after failing to kill the Bone Blood Demon.
Xia Yi, who had originally closed his eyes, had opened them the moment the Bone Blood Demon swooped down from the heavens.
"Such a powerful puppet!" he muttered to himself.
His expression flickered slightly as he witnessed the Nethersoul Saber, which had given Hua Mu and the other two a hard time, failing to shatter the Bone Blood Demon's leg. He finally understood why Nie Tian had dared to refuse his demand for the Flame Dragon Armor.
"Let's see if you'll be able to protect the kid's soul from being crushed, Zhao Shanling," Xia Yi muttered with an expression as if he was enjoying an interesting show.
"Nie Tian, tell your puppet to attack Basto!" Zhao Shanling bellowed. "I'll help you defend against his soul attacks!"
"Got it!" Nie Tian said immediately.
The Bone Blood Demon slammed the Nethersoul Saber vigorously with its translucent, bony arm. With a loud boom, the Nethersoul Saber was pounded into the ground.
Basto's eyes shone with murderous light as he sprayed a mouthful of blood on the huge blade. "Rise!!"
In the next moment, the numerous meridians rapidly expanded and suddenly broke free from the blade.
As thick as ancient trees and hundreds of meters long, the meridians rose into the sky like roaring dragons.
In the blink of an eye, they wrapped themselves around the Bone Blood Demon like chains, binding it temporarily.
"It's time for you to have a taste of my soul power!" With these words, Basto spat out another mouthful of blood, which mixed with the pure soul aura that shot out from the prismatic crystal between his eyebrows and morphed into an enormous ghostly claw that grabbed towards the void realm where Zhao Shanling and Nie Tian were hiding.
As the gruesome claw approached, Nie Tian was struck by a terrifying feeling, as if his soul was going to be ripped from him.
The moment the ghostly claw made contact with the void realm, fizzing sounds echoed out, as if layers of space were being gradually penetrated.
Under Nie Tian's gaze, the giant fingers of the claw came closer and closer, as if they would reach him at any moment.
Before he realized it himself, the nine fragmentary stars in his soul lit up on their own. Rays of chilly starlight poured down on his sea of awareness, stabilizing his soul from the influence of the ghostly claw.