The majority of the nearly one thousand Qi warriors from the three parties were still focused on picking valuable spirit grasses and flowers. Those who had sensed the anomaly and gathered to Nie Tian’s location were all important figures who didn’t need to do such chores.
Moments later, Hong Xian, Yin Yanan, Chu Xuanji, Chu Bowen, Wei Yu, and Xing Beichen tracked the wood power flow to Nie Tian’s location, along with a few other Soul realm experts.
By the time they arrived, Qiao Yunxi was already standing in front of Nie Tian.
Nie Tian, however, was still sitting in the middle of the Wood Thriving Formation, enveloped by a hemispherical green ward.
The wisps of wood power were so concentrated as they flowed into the spell formation that they were even visible to the naked eye.
“This spell formation is actually channeling wood power from its surroundings...” With these words, Chu Xuanji’s attention was suddenly caught by the swimming tree patterns in the mysterious green ward. “Those tree patterns seem to carry some very profound power! This spell formation is definitely beyond ordinary!”
At the same time, he unleashed his soul awareness in an attempt to penetrate the green ward to conduct a close examine of Nie Tian and the spell formation.
A spot on the green ward suddenly shone with bright green light as his soul awareness was warded off.
Afterwards, bright green light shone in a few other locations on the ward.
Hong Xian, Wei Yu, and the few other Soul realm experts frowned as their soul awarenesses were also rejected.
Furthermore, their attempts seemed to have provoked the protective mechanism of the spell formation.
The speed at which it channeled wood power from its surroundings became even faster.
“That kid seems to be practicing cultivation in there,” Hong Xian said.
“What are you doing here?” Qiao Yunxi asked with an unpleasant expression. “He’s only practicing cultivation. That doesn’t affect you, does it?”
She actually said these words with a guilty conscience.
She had been the closest to Nie Tian, and thus she had been the first to notice the changes with the wood power.
She was well-aware that they were here because they had also noticed the anomaly.
The Frost Blood Python had come with Yin Yanan. Being so close to Nie Tian, it once again fixed its beady eyes on Nie Tian, its pupils gradually turning scarlet.
Its unique bloodline power allowed it to sense the vigorous life force inside of Nie Tian.
In its eyes, Nie Tian was like a piece of meat that was giving off a delicious smell. It couldn’t wait to devour him with a single bite.
Yin Yanan reached out with one hand and stroked the python’s large head while trying to calm it with her soul awareness. “Settle down.”
“Who in the world is he, Qiao Yunxi?” Hong Xian seemed eager to know. “Spell formations that can absorb wood power are not exactly rare. What’s rare is that this spell formation of tree branches is actually stopping our soul awareness from penetrating it. Also, I have a feeling that that spell formation has unusually high defensive force.
“I can’t know your sect better. Every disciple of your sect is skilled in fire-attributed incantations, but I’ve never known any of you to achieve high attainments in wood-attributed incantations.
“He’s not just anybody, right?”
Qiao Yunxi gave a cold snort and said, “Our grand elder brought him here. I don’t know what kind of incantations he practices. Grand elder just put him in my hands and told me to keep him safe.”
Hong Xian was taken aback. “Senior Yue brought him here...”
After a moment of silent pondering, he added, “Alright, since he’s Senior Yue’s guest, we’ll give Senior Yue face and let him off this time. But you should get him to stop cultivating.
“His spell formation is channeling wood power from his surroundings, undermining the quality of the spirit plants here.
“Like I told you, you don’t get a share of the spirit plants on this meteor. I won’t have it if he continues to jeopardize our gains.”
Wei Yu and Chu Xuanji nodded to show that they shared the same thoughts.
There were a large number of spirit plants around the lake, a third of which were Premium grade materials. Some of them were even hard to find in the Domain of Heaven’s Boundaries.
They wouldn’t let someone with an unknown origin spoil those precious herbs.
“Okay, I’ll tell him to stop.” Qiao Yunxi had no choice but accept.
Hong Xian’s strained face eased a bit. “Good. If you’ll do that, I won’t need to break that defensive ward. You have a quarter hour to stop him from hurting our gains.”
Qiao Yunxi nodded reluctantly. “Alright.”
The important figures from the three parties once again fixed Nie Tian and his spell formation with an measuring gaze.
However, since they couldn’t send their soul awarenesses through the ward, they failed to find out more about Nie Tian or his spell formation.
“Remember: you’ve only got a quarter hour.” With these words, Yin Yanan was the first to leave with her Frost Blood Python, which was unusually restless.
She had a feeling that this Nie Tian person wouldn’t be easy to deal with.
Furthermore, they had no reason to go to war with the Divine Flame Sect over a man like him.
The others left after her, but didn’t go very far. They gave orders while the other disciples of their sects did the gathering work.
After they left, Qiao Yunxi shouted at Nie Tian, “Stop what you’re doing, Nie Tian!”
However, no matter how loudly she shouted, Nie Tian didn’t give any response, as if he couldn’t even hear her. This made her rather angry.
A quarter hour later...
Just as Qiao Yunxi was about to flip out, Nie Tian opened his eyes and deactivated the Wood Thriving Formation.
“Meridian Toughening...” he said inwardly.
The third step of body refinement turned out to be much more difficult than the first step, ‘Bone Crystallizing’ and the second step, ‘Internal Organ Nourishing’.
The rich wood power the Wood Thriving Formation channeled from the vicinity was only enough to start the process.
It would probably take a long time to refine all of his meridians with this method.
In fact, as soon as Hong Xian and the others had arrived, he had sensed their presence, and grown alert.
However, he had felt relieved as he realized that none of them were able to send their soul awareness through the protective ward.
After hearing Hong Xian say that he would have a quarter hour to stop, he refocused on cultivation, hoping to made good use of this time.
“You heard me, right? Why didn’t you stop?” Qiao Yunxi asked furiously.
“Did they say I had a quarter hour to stop?” Nie Tian asked. “I did exactly what they said. Is there a problem with that?”
Qiao Yunxi didn’t know what to say, so she just gave him a nasty look.
While Nie Tian had practiced cultivation with the help of the Wood Thriving Formation, he had discovered that the wood power that had been channeled into the spell formation was actually from the vegetation that covered this entire meteor, and the mixture of wood power and spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth that continued to rise from the lake. It wasn’t just from the rare spirit grasses and flowers around the lake.
The way he saw it, the wood power in the air was the fundamental reason why this meteor was covered in thriving vegetation.
Therefore, he decided to resume tempering his meridians with the help of this unique environment after the three parties finished gathering spirit plants.
Time flew, and three days passed.
The three parties finished gathering valuable spirit plants.
After realizing this, Nie Tian reestablished the Wood Thriving Formation and resumed cultivation. The three parties, however, focused on examining the mysterious lake, and didn’t mind him.
Two more days passed, and the Qi warriors gathered by the lake suddenly sensed changes in it.
Strange fluctuations started to come from the bottom of the lake.
The emerald green lake started to shine brightly, as if some unique treasure were about to rise to the surface.
However, at that moment, all of the Qi warriors had a strange feeling that their souls were being attracted by the lake, and hoping to leave their bodies and fly into it.
Nie Tian was awoken from his cultivation, his expression flickering.
The few powerful discarnate souls in the Spirit Pearl, which was still in his ring of holding, charged out of it and flew off towards the lake.