The negative emotions weren't vested with soul power, so they didn't cause any unwanted changes in Nie Tian's sea of awareness.
However, they were trying to infiltrate his mind, and Nie Tian had to contend against them with his will.
The Phantasm soul was aware that since it hadn't absorbed enough soul power, it still wasn't powerful enough to breach the defenses of the fragmentary stars in Nie Tian's soul. Because of this, it chose to influence Nie Tian through another approach.
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!
Approximately ten soul crystals flew to Nie Tian's side under the Phantasm soul's control.
Without much thought, Nie Tian made a grabbing motion in the air, and they disappeared into his ring of holding.
As they did, the mysterious soul fluctuations in the lake vanished completely.
However, the negative emotions unleashed by the Phantasm soul were like an intangible devil that was slowly enchanting Nie Tian. It continued to bring out his darkest side, causing his evil desires to build up inside of him.
Nie Tian knew that he had better not do anything at this moment, and focus on maintaining his positive state of mind, so that the Phantasm soul wouldn't slowly twist his mind.
At the same time, he raised his hand and hooked his fingers to the prismatic crystal that had embedded itself between his eyebrows.
He summoned spiritual power and flesh power to give it a vigorous pull in an attempt to stop it from bewitching him.
However, the crystal seemed to have taken root in his head. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't tear it off.
It seemed that the prismatic crystal's soul strings had long since pierced into and clung to his skull.
He had a feeling that if he were to forcibly tear it off regardless of the consequences, it was very likely that the bones in his forehead and brow ridges would come off with it.
This wasn't what he wanted.
"From the look of it, I can only do my best to defend against its bewitchment first, and at the same time, try to find ways to eliminate the Phantasm soul in the crystal. Only that way will I be able to get it out eventually."
He took a few deep breaths in an attempt to fend off the negative emotions, yet dark thoughts still came to him from time to time.
Floating underwater, he looked up and saw Hong Xian, Wei Yu, and the other experts standing on the lakeshore, looking down at him with unpleasant looks in their eyes.
Then, he glanced around at the other Qi warriors from the Trisword Sect, the Beast-controlling Sect, and the Chu Clan, and felt that they all harbored evil intentions as they gazed at him.
A strong desire to charge out of the lake and kill them all rose uncontrollably in his heart.
He knew that he would be in huge trouble if he did that, but he just couldn't suppress the desire to do so.
"No! I can't leave the lake! If I did, I'd walk right into the Phantasm soul's trap. That's what it's hoping for!"
He did his utmost to calm himself and tell himself that he mustn't make any rash moves.
However, Hong Xian from the Beast-controlling Sect saw that he was floating right under the lake's surface, and witnessed him putting ten soul crystals away in his ring of holding.
"Nie Tian!" he shouted.
Upon hearing his unpleasant shout, Nie Tian's struggling eyes were instantly filled with malevolence.
Hong Xiang let out a cold harrumph. "What are you doing? Are you going to hide in the lake forever? Even though you collected those soul crystals, don't you imagine that you can keep them all.
"You'd better get out of there now. Give us the soul crystals, and we'll try to help you get rid of that soul core between your eyebrows."
Wei Yu chimed in with a cold tone, "That soul core will try to possess you. The fact that it hasn't succeeded means that it's not powerful enough. But considering your cultivation base, you clearly can't eliminate that Phantasm soul on your own.
"So you'd better get out of there and give us the soul crystals in exchange for our help."
Standing beside Wei Yu and Hong Xian, Chu Xuanji didn't speak up with a domineering tone like they did, but he also had a strong desire for the soul crystals at heart.
"Senior Hong!" Yin Yanan said anxiously. "We need to get rid of that Phantasm soul first!"
Hong Xian waved at her, showing that he had everything under control, and said, "Don't worry. That Phantasm soul hasn't even possessed him. It must not be very formidable. Plus, even if it manages to possess him, so what? He's only at the Worldly realm. The Phantasm soul won't be able to cause us much trouble with such a vessel."
Wei Yu chimed in, "We can help him get rid of that Phantasm soul, but he'll have to give us the soul crystals first."
An urgent look could be seen in Yin Yanan's eyes. After all, she knew that Nie Tian had powerful means at his disposal, including the Spirit Pearl, the Flame Dragon Armor, and the Bone Blood Demon.
Furthermore, Nie Tian's body was even tougher than hers. If he was indeed possessed by the Phantasm soul, he would definitely cause great trouble to them.
However, Hong Xian and Wei Yu didn't take her reminders and warnings seriously.
Instead, they threatened Nie Tian and fixed him with cold stares.
Nie Tian was having enough difficulty handling the negative emotions that were trying to infiltrate his mind.
The fact that Hong Xian and the other experts threatened him instead of helping him was like adding oil to the fire.
As a result, their words finally ignited Nie Tian's desire for violence.
Water splashed as Nie Tian charged out of the lake and landed heavily beside Qiao Yunxi.
Qiao Yunxi's expression flickered as she summoned the Flame Bird without any hesitation. "Nie Tian! Let's get out of here!"
Since all of the soul crystals had been taken away from the lake bottom, the strange fluctuations were gone, along with the restrictions on using air-transportation spiritual tools.
Qiao Yunxi knew that, considering her Flame Bird's unmatched speed, even Hong Xian and Wei Yu wouldn't be able to catch them.
"You can leave, but he can't," Wei Yu called out.
Shining with golden light, a huge sword suddenly flew out and formed a wall of golden light between Nie Tian and the Flame Bird.
One magical symbol after another quietly appeared in the wall of golden light, each of which seemed to contain enough power to damage the Flame Bird.
Even so, Qiao Yunxi drove the Flame Bird directly into the wall of golden light. As she did, the magical symbols swam in the wall of golden light like a shoal of fish, generating a strong counterforce.
The Flame Bird bounced off the wall of light and crashed heavily to the ground.
Golden sparks sputtered off the Flame Bird's wings as Qiao Yunxi's head spun upon the violent crash.
It was as if a fire were about to burst forth from within Qiao Yunxi's eyes as she thundered, "Wei Yu! You dare to make a move against me! Our grand elder is in this area. Have you considered the consequences?!"
Wei Yu snorted disdainfully. "Consequences? I'll worry about that when Senior Yue actually shows up. You think we don't know that you two are traveling alone? If Senior Yue were actually in the vicinity, he would have arrived long ago!"
Hong Xian rose up and stopped in a place a few meters from Nie Tian. Looking down at Nie Tian, he said, "We're not being unreasonable here, kid. Just give me your ring of holding you used to store the soul crystals, and let me check how many you have in there. We three parties will each take three-tenths of the soul crystals, and you'll get to keep the remaining one-tenth.
"Also, we promise that we'll help you with the soul core between your eyebrows.
"What do you say?"
Many other Profound realm and Soul realm experts from the three parties also rose into the air and quietly gathered around Nie Tian from different directions.
Some of them had even taken shelter in Nie Tian's Wood Thriving Formation earlier.
But now, when Hong Xian and Wei Yu were ready to force Nie Tian to cough up the soul crystals, they forgot about Nie Tian's kindness and joined them.
Nie Tian glanced around. "You'll take ninety percent of the soul crystals?" Then, he laid his eyes on the Bone Blood Demon.
THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!
The Bone Blood Demon took huge steps to rapidly approach him like a moving mountain of bones.
Nie Tian grinned as he felt the soul connection between him and the Bone Blood Demon was reestablished. Facing the greedy and disdainful gazes, he could no longer suppress his thirst for blood, and thus yelled, "Fuck you!"
At the same time, he sent the Bone Blood Demon a message.
An aura of death that could wither everything around it burst forth from the mountain-like Bone Blood Demon as it raised its sharp bony hand and brought it down with shocking force.
The wall of golden light created by the large golden sword shook violently as the magical symbols within it rapidly went out like candles in the wind.
In the next moment, the light screen that separated Nie Tian and the Flame Bird exploded, sending countless sparks in every direction.
Wei Yu's hunched body shuddered violently. "How dare you, kid!"
Then, as he made a grabbing motion in the air, the golden sword shrank to the size of a regular sword and flew into his hand.
"Nie Tian!" Qiao Yunxi shouted. Apparently, she was also shocked by Nie Tian's action. She had never expected that Nie Tian would strike without even negotiating with them.
"I don't care where you're from. You won't be able to leave with those soul crystals!" Wreathed in a strong killing aura, Wei Yu swung his golden sword, and numerous golden magical symbols flew out of it towards Nie Tian like a swarm of locusts.
As he did, Nie Tian leapt onto the Bone Blood Demon's shoulder. Eyes shining with a thirst for blood, he gave the order, "Kill as many as you can!"