The completely unbacked An Clan declined rapidly.
All of their guest elders had left after learning that the Spiritual Treasure Sect had discarded the An Clan.
Even some of their own clan members had left and drifted to other cities since they couldn't see any hope in their clan's future.
That being the case, the An Clan's strength had been weakened by a great deal.
Before, the citizens of Black Cloud City had treated the An Clan and An Rong with nothing but respect. They had even given him the title of "Lord of Black Cloud City".
However, at this moment, excitement for drama filled every onlooker's eyes, as if what was happening between the An Clan and the Yuan Clan was nothing but a show to them.
Standing in front of the clan gate, An Rong's expression was especially grim. Staring at Yuan Fengchun, he strongly protested against his unreasonable demand, hoping everyone present would preside over justice for him and the An Clan.
An He, who had escorted Nie Tian to attend the Green Illusion dimension, was standing beside An Rong, trembling from indignation.
The only remaining An Clan members who were strong enough to fight had all armed themselves to the teeth and rushed to their front gate, as if they were ready to fight the people from the Yuan Clan to the death.
In the meantime, Yuan Fengchun's expression was indifferent and arrogant.
The reason he had made his demand in front of the An Clan's gate instead of delivering his demand to An Rong privately was that he wanted to humiliate An Rong and the entire An Clan in front of everyone, and let people know who the Lord of Black Cloud City was now.
"My offer is final; You and every member of your clan will have the rest of today to move out of your property." Yuan Fengchun intentionally raised his voice as he said each and every word clearly, so that everyone present would be able to hear him. "I hope you can appreciate the current situation and take my kind offer. As long as you do that, I'll leave you and your clan members alone. However, if you don't, then don't blame me for not being polite."
An Rong was at the early Greater Heaven stage, while Yuan Fengchun was at the middle Greater Heaven stage.
Considering the noticeable gap between their strengths, Yuan Fengchun alone would probably be enough to overtake An Rong.
Not to mention that there was still a crowd of Yuan Clan members and Qi warriors who had attached themselves to the Yuan Clan, most of whom were at the middle or late Heaven stage.
Even if they decided to go to war with the An Clan, considering their collective strengths, they would probably be able to drive away or kill every single member of the An Clan.
"Yuan Fengchun! You've gone too far!" An Rong gave voice to his rage. "Shi Yi and Little Ying are in the Blood Sect. Even though the Blood Sect hasn't taken them in as formal disciples, sectmaster Li Jing is very fond of them. If you dare to make a move on us, the Blood Sect will never forgive you!"
Yuan Fengchun shook his head as a sneer appeared at the corner of his mouth. "The Blood Sect? Everyone knows that Li Jing only agreed to shelter those two girls from your clan because she was giving Nie Tian face. But now, no one knows if Nie Tian is still alive. Even if he is alive, he has become the sinner who took away the two fragmentary star marks that should have belonged to the Heaven Palace Sect, and turned the Realm of Flame Heaven into a living hell!
"You probably know that part of the reason why the Blood Sect has been hesitant to make you their subordinate clan is that many Blood Sect members detest Nie Tian for his rash behavior!
"At present, one fourth of the Realm of Flame Heaven is already submerged in demon Qi. Considering the speed at which the demon Qi is spreading, it won't be long before the whole Realm of Flame Heaven is doomed.
"Even if Nie Tian is still alive, it will be too late when he finally returns to the Realm of Flame Heaven.
"Open your eyes to reality. We're on our own now."
When Nie Tian's name came up, many onlookers cursed in low voices.
Some of them blamed Nie Tian for being too stubborn and blindly insisting on refining the fragmentary star marks, and eventually inflicting this great calamity on the Realm of Flame Heaven.
Yuan Fengchun's comments created a major stir among the crowd; everyone assumed an attitude as if they wanted the An Clan to pay for their connection with Nie Tian, the sinner.
The look in Nie Tian's eyes was very grim as he stood amongst the worked-up crowd.
He almost lost control and charged through the crowd, but upon second thought, he forced himself to hold it. He remained in his original place and let himself be submerged in everyone's endless blame.
Heart filled with bitterness and sadness, he shook his head. "Human nature."
He had a feeling that the last remaining sense of connection he had with the Nie Clan and Black Cloud City had been cut off.
An Rong let out a cold harrumph and said, "You're all fools if you believe this man. I know you blame Nie Tian for what's happening in the Realm of Flame Heaven. But, as far as I know, if Nie Tian didn't awaken the Blood Sect's Bone Giant after returning from the Heaven Gate trial, the Blood Sect would already be gone! If he hadn't helped lift the siege on the Blood Sect and then rushed to the Hell Sect's aid with the unoccupied Li Jing and Bone Giant, do you really think those Demons would have retreated so easily?"
"If it weren't for Nie Tian, the Realm of Flame Heaven wouldn't even have survived that calamity!
"You think about nothing but yourselves and your own benefits! None of you have the right to blame Nie Tian for anything!
"Why would he hand over his fragmentary star marks to Ning Yang? He obtained two fragmentary star marks, while Ning Yang only obtained one! Why don't you blame Ning Yang for not giving his fragmentary star mark to Nie Tian, so that Nie Tian could unite all three fragmentary star marks?!
"Nie Tian is a hero who has saved Black Cloud City, the Cloudsoaring Sect, and even the Realm of Flame Heaven. What right does the Heaven Palace Sect have to force him to make way?"
An Rong reasoned with a loud voice.
However, his voice was soon drowned by the curses and name-calling of the Yuan Clan members and the observing citizens of Black Cloud City.
None of them remembered the good deeds Nie Tian had done for the Realm of Flame Heaven. They only dwelt on the fact that Nie Tian had taken two fragmentary star marks and gone missing. In their eyes, Nie Tian had betrayed the Realm of Flame Heaven and put them in a hopeless situation.
They went on and on, clamoring about how Ning Yang was more competent than Nie Tian, and that since years had passed and Nie Tian still hadn't been able to refine those fragmentary star marks, he shouldn't have taken them.
From what they believed, as the chosen one from the Heaven Palace Sect, the noble and lofty Ning Yang was the one who would have been able to save them from their endless pain and fear.
"Unfortunate men must have detestable qualities," Pei Qiqi muttered to herself.
Hua Mu's face was still expressionless, as it seemed that he had been through situations worse than this, and thus his understanding of the dark side of human nature had become very deep.
The fact was that he had expected things to be like this.
He knew that if Nie Tian returned to Black Cloud City, he would have to face these ugly things. That was why he had intentionally taken a detour, hoping Nie Tian wouldn't see Black Cloud City for what it was now.
However, Nie Tian had insisted on coming.
Subconsciously, Hua Mu took a quick glance at Nie Tian, suspecting that, after witnessing what was going on in Black Cloud City at such close quarters, his temperament might even go through changes.
He was afraid that, after today, Nie Tian would become increasingly cold and cruel.
"Is it a good thing for him, or bad?" Hua Mu thought to himself with a frown. "Many people will change significantly after seeing so much of the dark side of human nature. They'll no longer be able to see the kind side of human nature, and then they'll become bloodthirsty and fall into depravity. I hope this doesn't happen to him."
The reason he didn't want Nie Tian to come so close to all this was that he worried that Nie Tian would have a nervous breakdown, and that he would develop a hostile attitude towards everything and grow into a fallen killer.
"I've changed my mind." Nie Tian said in a low voice. "I no longer want to go to the Cloudsoaring Sect after I settle things here. We'll go to the Blood Sect instead."
A surprised expression appeared on Hua Mu's face as he asked, "Are you sure?"
"Now that my master isn't in the Cloudsoaring Sect, I don't see why I would want to go there." Nie Tian answered.
Even before everything had gone sour, he had felt little sense of belonging in the Cloudsoaring Sect. Many years ago, the Cloudsoaring Sect had placed tremendous hope in his mother. However, his mother had somehow gotten pregnant and died soon after giving birth to Nie Tian. For this reason, many people in the Cloudsoaring Sect had thought his mother had betrayed their trust and wasted the substantial amount of resources they had provided for her.
They had even detested the Nie Clan because of it.
Nie Donghai had only gone through so much unpleasantness because the Cloudsoaring Sect had once lost their faith in him.
Now that Nie Donghai and Nie Qiao had disappeared from the Realm of Flame Heaven, some people within the Cloudsoaring Sect had adopted the same attitude as before, and once again became indifferent to the Nie Clan and Black Cloud City, which caused Black Cloud City to fall into a state of chaos.
It was only natural that Nie Tian held the Cloudsoaring Sect responsible to some extent for everything happening in Black Cloud City.
"Clanmaster of the Yuan Clan, a cultivator at the middle Greater Heaven stage..." After a moment of hesitation, Hua Mu said, "How about I take care of him for you when this whole thing is over?"
His identity was very tricky, so he would rather not overtly kill Yuan Fengchun for Nie Tian under so many people's gazes.
However, he sensed that Nie Tian was going to make a move on him even though he was only at the Heaven stage. Therefore, he was worried that Nie Tian might fail to kill Yuan Fengchun in single combat and cause future trouble.
"No, thanks. I'll do it myself." With these words, Nie Tian quietly stepped closer towards Yuan Fengchun.
As he took the first step, he unleashed his newly-acquired bloodline talent: Life Stealth.
The fluctuations of his spiritual power and flesh power rapidly quieted and became undetectable.
"Huh?!" Hua Mu exclaimed softly. If he didn't examine Nie Tian closely with his soul power, Nie Tian would seem no different from a normal mortal to him, and he would never raise his guard against such an unimpressive mortal.
Passing through the crowd of onlookers, Nie Tian quietly approached the members of the Yuan Clan.
He suddenly formed a chaotic magnetic field around him and cast a short-range Starshift.
In a split second, he appeared behind Yuan Fengchun's back and drew his Flame Star.