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One Sound Stone after another made sounds as messages came through from the chosen ones' seniors.
Gasping with astonishment, Dong Baijie exclaimed, "Senior Dong Tuodi and three Worldly realm members were the only survivors!"
Cao Qiushui looked as if he had lost his dearest family members as he muttered soullessly, "I can't believe he died..."
The person he was talking about was the Profound realm Cao Zhaoji from the Cao Clan.
Ye Qin from the Yin Sect and Chen Hao from the Yang Sect also looked very gray as they almost collapsed.
Facing everyone's inquiring gazes, Ye Qin said, her voice filled with sorrow, "All of our Profound realm seniors have died in battle. Only a few Worldly realm disciples survived."
Chen Hao looked stunned as he said, "It's the same with my sect. All of our Profound realm experts are dead."
As for Xuan Ke from the Ice Pavilion Sect, the hand he used to hold his Sound Stone couldn't stop s.h.i.+vering as he said, "One of our Profound realm seniors survived, along with a handful of Worldly realm disciples."
"My grandfather Qin Yi also fought to the death..." Qin Yan said, her voice filled with grief. "Only a few Worldly realm members are still alive."
Qian Xin from the Pill Pavilion Sect looked very grim as he said, "Senior Zhong Pu has sustained heavy injuries, but luckily, he's still alive."
Gu Haofeng looked dispirited like a frost-stricken bud as he said, "Our Profound realm senior also died at the hands of outsiders."
Of the five Profound realm experts from the five forces of the Realm of a Hundred Battles, Dong Tuodi from the Dong Clan and Zhong Pu from the Pill Pavilion Sect were the only ones that were still alive.
Meanwhile, the Yin Sect and the Yang Sect had lost all of their Profound realm seniors, and the Ice Pavilion Sect had only one Profound realm expert that survived the battles.
After learning about the current situation, each and every young leader looked as if they had lost their souls.
Back when they had discovered the fourth grade outsiders, they had suspected that more powerful outsider experts had also come to this boundless black sea.
It was just that those fifth, sixth, and even seventh grade outsiders must have been on other islands.
They had felt that the situation didn't favor them, and that their seniors might also face tough challenges and suffer losses.
However, this was something they had never imagined. The deaths of their Profound realm experts struck them like a sharp blade through the heart.
"I'm not surprised," Nie Tian said.
Everyone turned to look at him.
"From my conversation with Armes, the Phantasm in charge, I learned that the six spatial rifts that led us into this dimension had been arranged by the outsiders." Nie Tian didn't intend to hold anything back. "Perhaps you've heard that Phantasms have been spotted in the Realm of Split Void recently. Those Phantasms traveled across the starry river to the Domain of the Falling Stars with great effort. Their goal was to open those six spatial rifts and lure us in."
Astonished, Xuan Ke exclaimed, "You're saying that this is all just a scheme of the outsiders?"
Nie Tian nodded slightly. "They made those arrangements to lure us into this dimension. So it's only natural that they'd send their powerful experts to take our seniors out one by one after we entered."
After a brief pause, Nie Tian's expression grew grim, and he continued, "This is only the first step of their plan."
"There's more to it?" Ye Qin asked, looking rattled.
Frowning, Nie Tian said, "After this, they'll probably go through those six spatial rifts to the Realm of Split Void, and from there, invade the Domain of the Falling Stars. I suppose, as we speak, the powerful experts of different outsider races are also rus.h.i.+ng towards that huge vortex at full speed, hoping to go through it to the top continent. It means that our survivors are still in danger. Not all of them will make it back home.
"I'm not sure how many outsiders are now in this dimension, and how long it will take for the outsiders to find those spatial rifts on the top continent and descend upon the Realm of Split Void.
"But I'm sure that it won't be very long before an army of outsiders marches into the Domain of the Falling Stars.
"The repercussions will be catastrophic."
After hearing Nie Tian's words, the chosen ones, who were drowning in grief, were then plunged into great fear.
They realized that the deaths of their Profound realm experts were not the end, but the start of a new catastrophe.
While silence pervaded over the crowd of young leaders, their Sound Stones made sounds one after another.
It was their seniors or sect members urging them to go to the huge vortex and telling them that it was the only way out of this horrible place, and that they shouldn't waste any time.
One after another, they snuck glances at Nie Tian as they told them about Nie Tian's take on the matter.
They said that this was all part of the outsiders' scheme, and that a spatial rift that led directly to the Domain of the Falling Stars would appear on this island in four days.
Moments later, Xuan Ke lowered his Sound Stone and cast a respectful gaze towards Nie Tian as he said, "Our senior confirmed with me that he also learned that the appearance of those six spatial rifts were the outsiders' scheme, and that many outsider experts are indeed planning on invading the Domain of the Falling Stars through them.
"However, they had doubts about your statement that a spatial rift will appear on this island that will take us back to the Domain of the Falling Stars."
With a complicated look in his eyes, Qian Xin chimed in, "Our senior held the same opinion. He also told me to join them and go through that vortex to the top continent. Perhaps the path will be full of danger, and we might have to face the outsiders' pursuit, but that will be the only way to leave here. Once we miss it, we might be stuck here forever."
Calm as ever, Nie Tian's eyes narrowed as he said, "I told you. Stay here if you trust me. If you don't, you're welcome to leave. I won't try to stop you."
"The Dong Clan stays!" Dong Baijie said with great determination. "Nie Tian, if what you just said is true, can I tell our surviving clan members to come to us so that they can figure out a way to return to the Domain of the Falling Stars with us?"
The eyes of many people in the crowd lit up.
All of their seniors had told them that their way back would be full of danger, and perhaps crawling with outsiders.
None of them were absolutely confident that they would make it back to the Domain of the Falling Stars.
If it was true that they could return directly to the Domain of the Falling Stars through a spatial rift on this island, it would definitely be the safer choice.
Not only that, if this worked, they might be able to return to the Domain of the Falling Stars months before the outsiders could find those spatial rifts.
Therefore, they all started to consider Dong Baijie's proposal.
"They can come, but others can't," Nie Tian said. "As you know, Worldly realm and Profound realm cultivators won't be able to enter this island. I don't know how things will work out. So even if you all invite your sect members to come here, it doesn't mean that they'll get to enter. Besides, if they somehow find a way to enter this island, that means the fifth and sixth grade outsiders will be able to enter as well.
"You don't need me to tell you how that will end for us."
After a brief pause, he added, "One more thing. If any of you advance to the Worldly realm on this island, everyone's life will be in danger."
"The Yin Sect also stays." Ye Qin made her stance clear.
Chen Hao nodded and said with a dispirited tone, "All of our Profound realm experts have died. It'll be a suicide mission if we try to go return through that vortex with just the handful of us. We might as well gamble on Nie Tian's judgment."
"The Pill Pavilion Sect stays!" Qian Xin said.
"The Water Moon Chamber of Commerce stays," Qin Yan said with a sad tone.
Her grandfather, Qin Yi, had died, along with many Worldly realm members of the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce. Without powerful experts to protect her, her best chance lay with Nie Tian.
Nie Tian, however, sat down and didn't say a word. He even closed his eyes.
The members of the Ice Pavilion Sect, the Cao Clan, and the Gu Clan huddled up and discussed what they would do in low voices.
Their discussion went on for an hour before Xuan Ke, Cao Qiushui, and Gu Haofeng came back and said that they decided to trust Nie Tian and stay.
At this point, every force of the small alliance that had formed around Nie Tian agreed on this matter.
They all gambled their lives on Nie Tian's judgment.
Nie Tian opened his eyes, and with a faint smile, he said, "There are five days to go. Let's cultivate while we wait. You can also go around to gather spirit plants during the first four days, but you've got to stay by my side on the last day. I won't wait for any of you."
Despite Nie Tian's words, none of the young leaders were in the mood to gather spirit plants. They were all submerged in great sorrow.
They all sat close to Nie Tian, with their sect members. They either discussed things in low voices, or sobbed softly.
Nie Tian, however, sat in his Wood Thriving Formation, completely focused on refining his vortex of wood power with the few days he had left.
None of them knew that outsiders would arrive in three days.