“We’re only a few hundred kilometers from our target portal,” Nie Tian said.
Jing Feiyang nodded. “That seems right. Enslaved humans are laboring here, which usually means that an outsider spatial tunnel is in the vicinity.”
At this point, they had already drawn experience from their previous operations.
They had discovered human slaves working on islands that were close to every one of the five portals they had previously eliminated.
Therefore, they knew that a portal was nearby as soon as they discovered those human slaves.
“Let’s do this the old way,” Qu Mingde said in a deep voice.
After hearing his words, Quan Zixuan and Jing Feiyang exchanged a glance. Then, they seemed to reach a mutual understanding as they masked all of their auras and flew off into the distance.
Like ghosts, the three Saint domain experts flashed forward through the gaps among the trees.
Two hours later, Meng Li from the Divine Seal Sect received word from them. He turned to Nie Tian and said, “They’re finished.”
Only then did Nie Tian and the others move out.
It didn’t take very long for the Star Boat and the Void domain experts to fly to the battlefield.
Upon arriving, they saw hundreds of humans weeping or howling around Quan Zixuan. All of them had silver rings around their necks.
Quan Zixuan sighed repeatedly as he talked to them with comforting tones.
Seeing that these poor people seemed to know Quan Zixuan, Nie Tian couldn’t help but ask, “What’s going on?”
Many of the ancient trees in this area had been cut down or pulled up by their roots.
This seemed to the job of these human Qi warriors.
A number of dead Phantasms and Fiends were scattered around. The most powerful one seemed to have been a seventh grade Fiend.
“These people were taken from the Domain of Heaven Python,” Jing Feiyang explained to Nie Tian in a low voice. “Most of them were from the Thousandsword Mountain Sect’s subordinate forces. The outsiders killed their powerful seniors and imprisoned those who they deemed non-threatening. They put silver rings around their necks and shipped them here to chop down ancient trees, which they’d sell to Floragrims later.
“The ancient trees here contain wood power that’s far richer than the trees in medium-scale realms.
“Floragrims will be able to channel power from these trees and use it to accelerate their bloodline upgrades. They can also vest some of the unusually hard timber with their bloodline imprints, and turn them into mighty weapons.”
As they spoke, Quan Zixuan had a headache dealing with the clamoring crowd he had just saved. He exclaimed softly, telling them to shut up.
Only after they gradually fell silent did Quan Zixuan open his mouth again. “Don’t worry. We’re here to save you. Now go in the direction we came from and see if you can retreat to an island surrounded by the black sea. After we finish off the outsiders, I promise you that we’ll come back for you and take you back to the Domain of Heaven Python!
“Thank you, sectmaster!”
The Qi warriors that belonged to the Thousandsword Mountain Sect’s subordinate sects wept as they expressed their gratitude.
Quan Zixuan seemed rather generous to these poor people who had depended on his sect, as he gave them large amounts of food and spirit stones.
Not just that, but he even summoned a few air-transportation spiritual tools from within his ring of holding, so that they would be able to ferry themselves to an island after reaching the coast.
“It’s people taken from the Thousandsword Mountain Sect’s subordinate forces this time,” Qu Mingde said. “Perhaps we’ll come across slaves that were taken from our subordinate forces later. If we can free all those who the outsiders have taken from the Domain of Heaven Python and bring them home at the end of this mission, I guess that might help relieve the guilt and regret that burdens our hearts.”
Jing Feiyang didn’t say anything, but the determined look in his eyes suggested that he had the same opinion.
Back when the outsiders had invaded the Domain of Heaven Python, because their joint army had been led by multiple ninth grade grand patriarchs, and the Void Spirit Society had intended to teach the Domain of Heaven Python a lesson by demanding that other parties stay out of it, the Domain of Heaven Python had ended up suffering great losses.
Even the Thousandsword Mountain Sect, the Divine Seal Sect, and the Golden Vast Sect had only been able to protect their most valued disciples by either shipping them to remote dead realms that outsiders wouldn’t think of searching, or keeping them in their headquarters where their ancient grand spell formations could temporarily ward off the outsiders’ attacks.
As for their subordinate forces, they hadn’t had the ability to protect them all.
Therefore, the fact that members of their subordinate forces had been butchered or taken as slaves made them blame themselves every time they thought of it. They felt that they had failed them.
Who would have thought that this trip to the floating continent would give them an opportunity to free those who had been taken from the Domain of Heaven Python as a remedy for their dereliction of duty?
“From now on, we need to hide ourselves even better,” Qu Mingde added. “Once we are exposed, the outsider overseers will kill our people immediately by triggering the silver rings around their necks.”
Jing Feiyang nodded vigorously.
That said, everyone moved out again.
On their way to the target, the three Saint domain experts struck four more groups of outsiders with the speed of lightning.
The slaves they saved were mostly Qi warriors from the Domain of Heaven Python. Some had been taken from the Thousandsword Mountain Sect’s subordinate forces, while others had been taken from forces that clung to the Divine Seal Sect or the Golden Vast Sect.
The experts on Nie Tian’s team, who were from these three sects, took special care of these freed slaves.
Not only did they leave them plenty of medicinal pills, spirit stones, and food, but they even gave them quite a few air-transportation spiritual tools before instructing them to try find an island to stay on.
After that, they eventually came to the place in the dense forest where the target spatial tunnel was.
After conducting a thorough scan, Jing Feiyang withdrew his soul awareness meticulously, lest he be discovered. “There are three eighth grade outsiders there, a Demon, a Phantasm, and a Fiend... The strongest of them seems to be that female Phantasm, who’s at the peak of the eighth grade. This is a bit tricky.”
Upon hearing this, everyone subconsciously turned to look at Nie Tian.
Nie Tian smiled bitterly facing everyone’s gazes.
He hadn’t spotted a single black stream or lake on their way to this location.
This meant that it was no longer an option to communicate with the Star Behemoth, and have it seal the area with a black mist first.
Even though they would lose all of the battle spoils to the Star Behemoth if they asked for its assistance, at least it would help make their operation safe and smooth.
Only at this moment did it occur to them that they wouldn’t have been able to destroy the five portals before this so safely and effortlessly if it weren’t for the Star Behemoth’s secret assistance.
After pondering for a while, Nie Tian said, “Okay. Everybody spread out and see if you can find any black streams or lakes.
“Someone has assured me that there are such streams and lakes in this forest. If we can find them, and they’re not very far from the portal, then we’ll be able to use our old method to kill the three eighth grade outsiders and destroy the sixth spatial tunnel without letting other outsiders know.”
After briefly reflecting on Nie Tian’s words, Jing Feiyang chimed in, “Why don’t the Void domain people just stay here? Perhaps other eighth grade outsiders are wandering around in this forest. The strength of eighth grade outsiders matches that of Void domain cultivators. This will allow them to sense the faint flesh power fluctuations you emanate.”
No one was opposed to this proposal.
Only Nie Tian thought briefly and said, “I can go search by myself.”
Quan Zixuan fixed him with a shocked gaze.
“I can mask my flesh aura, making it very hard to find me,” Nie Tian said, sounding very confident. “I’ve hidden myself and killed quite a few eighth grade Lizardmen before.”
“But Nie Tian, you’ve got to understand that the Lizardmen you dealt with were far weaker than Demons, Phantasms, or Fiends at the same grade,” Jing Feiyang said with all seriousness. “I heard about the domain you explored and those Lizardmen you killed. It was said that they didn’t even know how to cast any bloodline or soul magics.”
Quan Zixuan and Qu Mingde also advised against this rash action.
Before Nie Tian could say anything, Jing Feiyang added, “If you somehow expose yourself, the outsiders may alarm the others, and even summon more powerful experts to this continent through the three remaining portals.”
“Umm...” Nie Tian grew hesitant after hearing these words.
At this moment, the three Godspirit Tree leaves in his wood power core suddenly shone with dazzling emerald light.
His expression flickered as he examined himself carefully. Moments later, he pointed in a direction and exclaimed, “Take me there, Senior Jing!”
“Why? What’s wrong?” Jing Feiyang was confused, since the direction Nie Tian had pointed out wasn’t the direction of the target portal.
“I don’t know for sure yet, but let’s go take a look first,” Nie Tian said.
After a moment of pondering, Jing Feiyang said, “Alright. The ninth grade grand patriarch is probably at one of the other two portals. As long as he’s not here, I should be able to hide the two of us from the eighth grade outsiders.”
Quan Zixuan and Qu Mingde then said that they would head out in other directions to search for black streams and rivers.
With these words, the three parties split up.
Nie Tian gave his Star Boat to Dong Li before Jing Feiyang carried him away into the distance, not making a sound.
A dozen magical symbols supported Nie Tian as the two of them flew through the dense forest. Jing Feiyang frowned slightly as he said, “Oh my… How come you’re so heavy? Most enormous spirit beasts aren’t as heavy as you are.”