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Nie Tian didn't say a word as Qin Yan gazed at him, her eyes filled with admiration and a hint of desire. "What if I had met him first, not Dong Li?"
A shade of redness appeared on Qin Yan's cheeks as she was carried away by her thoughts. Even her bright eyes glittered with mixed emotions. "I'm just not as lucky as Dong Li. If I had met this guy before Dong Li did, things might have been completely different..."
It wasn't very long before the members of the Gu Clan, the Cao Clan, and the Pill Pavilion Sect returned one after another. They all frowned deeply, as it seemed that none of them had caught or killed any outsiders.
Soon afterwards, Xuan Ke returned with a bundle of spirit plants in his hand. He was the only one who returned in high spirits.
"I killed one of the Stonemen and got these spirit plants from him." With these words, he took a deep look at Nie Tian and added, "Only after fighting those outsiders personally did I realize how powerful Brother Nie is."
The other Ice Pavilion Sect disciples who had returned with him nodded slightly, respect filling their faces.
Among them, w.a.n.g Rong and Luo Xue inwardly admired their leader's keen judgment of talent.
If Xuan Ke hadn't made those farsighted decisions and repeatedly urged them not to provoke Nie Tian, they probably wouldn't have become allies with him.
Only just now, when they had chased after the scattered Stonemen personally, did they finally realize how powerful those outsiders were.
Compared to Demons, Phantasms, and Fiends, Stonemen were only a minor and relatively weak race.
It was hard for them to imagine how powerful Nie Tian really was, considering he had not only scouted out this island, but also managed to slaughter so many outsiders single-handedly.
With these thoughts in mind, they inwardly marveled that Xuan Ke's decisions couldn't have been wiser.
If they had somehow become Nie Tian's enemies, then considering their strength, Nie Tian probably would have no problem annihilating them all by himself.
Gu Haofeng and the others from the Gu Clan had remained completely silent since they had returned.
After a short while, the members of the Yin Sect, the Yang Sect, and the Dong Clan also returned successively.
Among them, Dong Li and Dong Baijie were the only ones who had killed a couple of Birdmen and Phantasms, and looted some valuables.
Still, everyone looked rather grim upon returning, as if they had all been shocked by the outsiders' formidable strength.
Before this, even though they had learned that Nie Tian had single-handedly taken out more than a dozen outsiders, they had had no idea how powerful those outsiders were, and thus hadn't been so shaken by Nie Tian's battle results.
However, now that they had personally dealt with those outsiders, and learned how bizarre and powerful their bloodline magics were, they finally had a first-hand judgement regarding the outsiders' formidableness.
They simply couldn't understand how Nie Tian had not only managed to survive the joint attacks of so many outsiders, but also killed a large number of them without sustaining injuries himself.
Just like them, Nie Tian was also still at the Greater Heaven stage. Why did their battle prowess vary so greatly?!
"Where are those from the Heaven Palace Sect, the Flame G.o.d Sect, the Thunder Mountain Sect, the Heaven Expanse Sect, and the Poison Sect?" Nie Tian asked, frowning.
Ye Qin from the Yin Sect snorted a smile, and said with a disdainful look on her face, "They all believed that you'd die beyond the shadow of a doubt, and that abandoning the defenses they'd set up and rus.h.i.+ng to your aid was none other than seeking death. So we parted ways. They chose to hold fast to their defenses, since they believed that was the safest thing to do."
Nie Tian nodded. "I see..." Then, he smiled and added, "Since they decided not to come, they shouldn't be welcome here anymore."
"What do you mean?" Cao Qiushui asked.
With a casual tone, Nie Tian explained, "We've already spent months searching for valuables on that other island. There isn't much left to find now. This island, however, hasn't been over-explored by the outsiders. There's probably still a good amount of spiritual materials for us to find. I suggest that we split up into groups and allocate regions to different groups. People will keep whatever they find in their allocated regions."
Upon hearing his words, everyone's eyes lit up.
Just as Nie Tian had said, none of them had come across anything valuable on that other island over the past weeks.
The last major discovery was the eighth grade black phoenix's corpse, which Dong Li had eventually refined.
In their eyes, it was already not worth it to stick around on that other island.
Now that the outsiders had evacuated this island, this gave them a new land to explore for more spiritual materials and magical herbs.
Nie Tian pointed at Dong Li and said, "Why don't you determine how we should allocate the regions?"
With a charming smile, Dong Li said, "Gladly. All we need to do is divide this island evenly, and make sure there are no overlaps."
Then, with a wave of her hand, she beckoned for Xuan Ke, Ye Qin, Chen Hao, and the other leaders to come closer.
She took out her cyan awl and drew up a map of the island on the ground according to the information Nie Tian had given her. Afterwards, she started allocating different regions to each force.
Everyone realized that Nie Tian trusted her, and that without Nie Tian, they wouldn't have driven the outsiders away and taken the island for their own. Therefore, everyone listened to her.
Moments later, Dong Li finished dividing the island among the forces present.
After learning about the regions they were being allocated to, the leaders rapidly led their groups away in different directions, their eyes glittering with the light of excitement.
Dong Li was the only one who stayed with Nie Tian.
After everyone was gone, she made sure that no one was around before suddenly springing into Nie Tian's arms. With her ripe, red lips, she gave Nie Tian a vigorous kiss on his cheek. Then, she once again held tightly to Nie Tian, burying her head in his broad chest, and said, "I knew you'd be okay, but I was still worried sick. I, I was afraid that I'd never see you again..."
She whispered softly, her pleasant scent flying into Nie Tian's nose, making him feel as light as a feather.
This was the first time Dong Li had revealed her true feelings to him.
With a great beauty suddenly rus.h.i.+ng into his arms, Nie Tian, who had just relaxed from a fierce battle, subconsciously held her and felt her elastic body. After a moment of bewilderment, he said, "You shouldn't worry. I can manage."
"I knew you could, but I just couldn't stop myself from worrying." Dong Li's voice was as soft and smooth as water.
With Nie Tian's arms wrapped around her, she was truly happy. Even the corner of her mouth was filled with happiness. However, after a short while, she took the initiative to break away from his arms and said with a serious tone, "Many uncertainties still lie ahead. You'd better recover your strength as soon as possible. I saw you using your Flame Dragon Armor on my way here. I knew that you wouldn't have summoned it if you had a choice."
Nie Tian nodded. "You're right. I think I'll go recover by that black lake. The wood power over there is the richest."
"Do you want me to go with you?" Dong Li asked, a longing smile filling her face.
Nie Tian shook his head, smiling. "That's okay. Now that the outsiders are gone, I'll be safe. You should lead your clan members to look around and gather as many spirit plants as you can. Many of the spirit plants here are rare species that you can't find in the Domain of the Falling Stars. You'll be able sell them for good money after returning to the Domain of the Falling Stars."
"I don't care about spirit plants," Dong Li grumbled in a flirtatious manner, mesmerizing charm filling her deep, obsidian-like eyes. "I just want to stay by your side, fool!"
With a wry smile, Nie Tian said, "Alright, alright, I really need to focus on my recovery. You being there will affect me."
Dong Li stared at him. "How would I affect you? Tell me. If I'm happy with your answer, then I'll leave you alone."
Nie Tian cleared his throat and said, "I won't be able to concentrate if you're there."
Dong Li smiled, making her look ravis.h.i.+ngly beautiful. "A sweet tongue you've got there."
Then, after hugging him again with great force, she broke from his arms and said, "I'm off then. Remember to contact me with your Sound Stone as soon as you've recovered your strength."
Nie Tian nodded repeatedly. "Got it, got it."
Watching her speed off into the distance, he left for the black lake.
Unlike the other Qi warriors, he didn't go to gather rare spiritual materials or spirit plants. He knew that with the treasures he had gained so far, he wouldn't fall behind the others on that front.
After all, he had already looted the valuables of the two dozen outsiders he had killed earlier. It must have taken those outsiders a long time to gather those precious materials.
Thus, he was already rather satisfied with his gains.
A few hours later, he once again arrived by the vast, black lake. He sat down by the sh.o.r.e and summoned the seventy-two tree branches to form the Wood Thriving Formation.
As the Wood Thriving Formation came to form, a dark-green ward spread over his head and rapidly enveloped him.
He looked up, and discovered that there were still as many mysterious tree patterns floating about in the dark-green ward as before, and that the might of the ward hadn't weakened at all after being shattered by the outsiders.
"This grand spell formation, which Floragrim monarchs forged with tree patterns from the tree of life and their own blood essence, is indeed full of unfathomable wonders."
Sitting in the lotus position, Nie Tian soon sensed streams of rich wood power pouring down on the top of his head and converging directly on the vortex of wood power in his spiritual sea.
He calmed down and submerged himself in his cultivation, completely ignoring everything in the outside world.
On the other island, Lu Jian gave a cold harrumph and said, "Nie Tian should have been killed by now, right? I still can't believe those fools from the Ice Pavilion Sect, the Yin Sect, the Yang Sect, and the Realm of a Hundred Battles dared to rush over to the 'tiger's den' to save him. I suppose we won't see them again."
"Forget about them," Yu Yang said. "All we need to do is hold fast to our defenses here."
Su Lin's expression flickered as she exclaimed, gazing into the black sea, "Wait! I, I see outsiders fleeing from that island!"