After a brief moment of hesitation, Nie Tian swam towards Yin Yanan.
The Frost Blood Python and the Bone Blood Demon, however, seemed to have completely forgotten about their masters, and were rushing towards the lake's surface at full speed.
Since the fierce souls had chased after them, Nie Tian and Yin Yanan were safe for the time being.
However, once the Frost Blood Python and the Bone Blood Demon left the lake, the two of them would probably become the vicious souls' new targets.
If it came down to that, it would be hard to say whether their lives would be in great danger.
In order to survive, Nie Tian also wanted to see if Yin Yanan had a plan that would save them from this dangerous situation.
Soon, the two of them came together.
Wisps of soul power kept flowing out of Yin Yanan's ward and dispersing into the lake water, and a pained look appeared in her eyes.
It was the Frost Blood Python's soul guarding magics that had allowed her to sink this deep without her true soul being stripped from her mind.
However, she had lost the protection of the Frost Blood Python after it fled by itself. Now, her true soul was suffering a strong attractive force, as if it were itching to fly out of her mind.
In order to stop that from happening, she was now guarding her true soul with her own soul power.
However, as soon as she drained her soul power, her mental defenses would give, and her true soul would sink to the bottom of the lake.
"Come here!" Yin Yanan beckoned for Nie Tian to join her in her protective ward.
As Nie Tian's protective ward made contact with hers, bright sparks of spiritual power suddenly sputtered from the contact point.
Nie Tian deactivated his protective ward just in time as he entered Yin Yanan's ward with a swift wiggle of his body.
Yin Yanan's protective ward had a weak silver luster and emanated a faint flesh aura.
Since Yin Yanan's protective ward was rather small, Nie Tian had to stay very close to her.
"What should we do?" Yin Yanan asked anxiously while looking up. "I wonder where those evil spirits came from. They've already devoured the souls of many of our weaker members earlier. Even together, our seniors failed to annihilate them.
"They seem even more dangerous now that they're in this lake. I'm afraid they'll target us as soon as they're finished with my Frost Blood Python and your puppet.
"The worst part is that they're close to the surface, so we can't charge out of the lake without encountering them."
Yin Yanan lost soul power unceasingly as she spoke, which made her even more anxious.
If things didn't change soon, it wouldn't be long before she ran out of soul power and lost control of her true soul.
However, if they rushed to the lake's surface now, they would probably be intercepted by those powerful souls.
She had never been in such a desperate situation. This was why it occurred to her to seek Nie Tian's help.
In her eyes, Nie Tian was a mysterious person from an unknown background, so he might have many resources at his disposal.
Being so close together, Nie Tian could smell Yin Yanan's scent, which was healthy and full of vigor, and sense her rapid soul power loss. "You're losing your soul power."
"I know!!" Yin Yanan barked.
Eyebrows furrowed, Nie Tian was just about to say something to her when he discovered that the Frost Blood Python and the Bone Blood Demon had managed to charge through the lake's surface and disappeared from their sight in the blink of an eye.
After losing their favorite targets, the fierce souls finally remembered them, and whizzed down from above them at full speed.
Yin Yanan's face turned pale with fright. "Oh no!"
Nie Tian took a deep breath, forcing himself to remain calm.
Seeing that the evil souls were unleashing heaven-shaking, earth-shattering soul attacks as they came at them at full speed, Nie Tian no longer hesitated, and took out the Spirit Pearl.
Holding the Spirit Pearl in his right hand, he fixed those evil souls with a fierce stare.
He assumed that, since it was the Spirit Pearl that had sucked them out from the cauldron's surface, it might also be able to restrain them.
Yin Yanan's curvaceous body shuddered as she saw the Spirit Pearl.
He bright eyes suddenly lit up, an overjoyed look appearing on her face.
As soon as Nie Tian took the Spirit Pearl into his hand, she stopped losing her soul power.
The lake's strange attractive force on her soul seemed to have suddenly disappeared.
Her soul no longer suffered any negative influence.
"What's that?!" she asked curiously.
Instead of answering her, Nie Tian raised the Spirit Pearl, which was glowing with faint cyan light, towards the incoming vicious souls.
As the evil souls came close to the Spirit Pearl, their powerful soul attacks were instantly melted away like snow that was scorched by flames.
The evil souls roared ferociously, but didn't dare to come any closer to Nie Tian or Yin Yanan. They only hovered around them from a certain distance, as if even though they had become much more powerful in this place, they were still rather afraid of the Spirit Pearl.
"This pearl can restrain them?!" Yin Yanan asked, looking deeply surprised. "Why didn't you use it earlier?! If you did, my Frost Blood Python and your puppet probably wouldn't have fled in fear!"
"This is only a desperate attempt," Nie Tian explained. "I didn't know whether it would work or not."
Of course, he couldn't tell her that these powerful souls hovering around them had escaped from within the Spirit Pearl in the first place.
They had slaughtered many members of the three parties. Who knew what Yin Yanan would think if she learned about this?
Yin Yanan sighed deeply and said, "Forget about it. I've got to thank you for this. We would have probably died already if you didn't use that pearl. Also, it really wasn't my intention that my Frost Blood Python attacked you earlier. I only said those words to provoke you because I wanted to know how powerful you really are.
"I'm sorry for what happened, and I promise that similar things won't happen again."
Nie Tian grinned and said, "Apology accepted. If you had adopted such an attitude back then, I would have allowed your people to take shelter in my spell formation."
Yin Yanan smiled somewhat bitterly upon hearing these words.
Then, her bright eyes suddenly lit up as she proposed excitedly, "Since this pearl can protect us from those vicious souls, we might as well continue to go down. What do you think? Soul crystals are simply too precious. They are extremely helpful when it comes to the cultivation of true souls. Now that we're already halfway to the lake bottom, there's really no reason for us to give up now."
She fixed Nie Tian with a measuring gaze as she realized that this man of unknown origin must have practiced some profound body refining incantation just like her. He was only able to float here because of his unusually vigorous flesh power, and his flesh, meridians, and bones that had been tempered hundreds of times over.
Otherwise, he would have been pushed to the lake's surface by the terrifying buoyancy as soon as the Bone Blood Demon had left.
Nie Tian nodded slightly. "Even though I don't know much about soul crystals, I can tell that they must be of great value from the way you all talk about them. Let's go then."
With these words, the two of them started sinking towards the bottom of the lake again.
The deeper they went, the stronger the buoyancy became, and the slower they could go.
Shortly afterwards, Yin Yanan finally couldn't go down against the buoyant force anymore.
Nie Tian, however, didn't seem to face much difficulty as he slowly continued downwards.
"Well... Give me a hand, will you?"
Yin Yanan put on a smile as she reached out to Nie Tian with one hand. "It's hard to believe that your achievements in body refinement are even higher than mine. I suppose you're capable of taking me down with you."
In a natural and graceful manner, she held out her hand towards Nie Tian, which slightly improved Nie Tian's opinion of her.
Without much thought, Nie Tian grabbed her hand and carried her downwards.
After a few more minutes...
The two of them were only meters away from the bottom of the lake, yet no matter how hard Nie Tian tried, he couldn't make them go an inch deeper.
At this level, Yin Yanan was feeling a buoyant force that she couldn't resist by herself.
It was Nie Tian who was pulling her down like a floating balloon. Therefore, it was only natural that Nie Tian had difficulty going downwards with her.
After watching Nie Tian make a few attempts and fail, Yin Yanan looked somewhat embarrassed as she said, "Why don't you let go of me? Without me, you'll be able to go a bit deeper."
Nie Tian glanced around at the vicious souls that were swimming around and waiting for their prey. "You'll be killed if I let go of you. If you dare to leave the influence of my Spirit Pearl, those fierce souls with immediately pounce on you and devour your true soul."
"That seems about right..." Yin Yanan said bitterly. "So what do we do?"
"Let me try something else." Eyebrows furrowed, Nie Tian hesitated briefly before summoning the Flame Dragon Armor.