The clamorous courtyard instantly went dead silent because of Qian Qiong's words and actions, so silent once could hear a pin drop.
After the arrival of the members of the Ice Pavilion Sect, the Yin Sect, and the Yang Sect, the small courtyard became increasingly crowded.
Ji Qingyun, Yu Wei, and the other Heaven Expanse Sect disciples were pushed away from the center of the courtyard by the new arrivals.
Ji Qingyun looked very embarrassed, since Qian Qiong had pushed him out of his way when he had trotted over to greet him, full of smiles.
However, he rapidly adjusted himself and smiled flatteringly towards Qian Qiong.
That was because he was fully aware of how formidable Qian Qiong was.
Qian Qiong was at the late Profound realm. It was said that he had recently derived new enlightenment, and was only a step away from entering the Soul realm. All he lacked was an opportunity.
Meanwhile, the strength of the Ice Pavilion Sect was second only to that of the Heaven Palace Sect throughout the entire Domain of the Falling Stars, since they had two Soul realm experts in their sect.
Compared to the Ice Pavilion Sect, the Heaven Expanse Sect was weaker, and Ji Qingyun's personal status in the Heaven Expanse Sect was also lower than Qian Qiong's in the Ice Pavilion Sect.
While everyone was deeply confused, Nie Tian bowed respectfully towards Qian Qiong and said, "You're being too kind, Senior Qian."
As he straightened his back, he saw Xuan Ke nodding slightly at him, smiling.
He instantly realized that it was Xuan Ke, who was rather familiar with his mask, that had told Qian Qiong about his actual identity.
Smiling at him, Xuan Ke said, "I learned from Shi Qing that you finished using that cultivation room and came here."
Lu Ling from the Yin Sect smiled like a blossoming flower as she said, "Hahaha, sorry for showing up here without notice. We want you to know that the sects in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations will always stand by your side."
With these words, she gave Kong Hong a sideways look.
Upon receiving his look, Kong Hong from the Yang Sect smiled as he said, "Of course! Every sect in the Realm of a Thousand Devastations will support you, no matter what!"
Upon hearing these words, Jiang Zhisu, Fang Hui, and the others from the Realm of Flame Heaven became even more confused.
As the only one who knew what was going on, Hu Rong didn't seem surprised at all. Instead, he continued smiling.
At this moment, Yu Wei, who was seriously injured by Nie Tian, finally stabilized her injuries, and thus asked again, "Who are you exactly?!"
Only then did Nie Tian take his mask off and say with a stern face, "I'm also from the Realm of Flame Heaven."
Li Jing from the Blood Sect and Jiang Zhisu from the Cloudsoaring Sect gasped at the scene.
"He's Nie Tian!"
"I can't believe that it's Nie Tian!"
Ghost Eye, Fang Hui, and the others also widened their eyes in shock.
However, they still didn't know why Qian Qiong and the other experts were here.
Nie Tian had assumed a different identity when he had gone through the spatial rift to that strange dimension.
Those from the Realm of Flame Heaven had assumed that Nie Tian was still holed up somewhere to avoid the Heaven Palace Sect and the Flame God Sect.
They had absolutely no idea what Nie Tian had done in that strange dimension.
By the time they had arrived in the Realm of Split Void, they had only learned from the Blood Skull that Nie Tian was also in Shatter City, and that he was cultivating wholeheartedly in one of their cultivation rooms.
However, after their return to their sects, Xuan Ke, Chen Hao, Ye Qin, and the other chosen ones had informed their seniors that it was under Nie Tian's leadership that they had fought off outsiders, defeated those from the Heaven Palace Sect and the other sects, survived Armes' devastating strike, and made it back to the Domain of the Falling Stars alive.
The fact that no one had returned one month after their return also proved how special Nie Tian was.
"Nie Tian!" An exclamation escaped Ji Qingyun's mouth. "The successor of the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace!"
Yu Wei was also flabbergasted as she stared at Nie Tian, as if she now found it acceptable that she had been defeated by him.
Nie Tian's name had long been imprinted in their minds since he had obtained the three fragmentary star marks, sealed the three major spatial rifts, and refused to join the Heaven Palace Sect.
"What was happening here?" Qian Qiong asked coldly.
Hu Rong laughed softly and briefly explained the matter to him.
Eyebrows furrowed, Qian Qiong glared at Ji Qingyun, and with a cold snort, he asked, "How come I didn't know about this agreement among the sects that the forces from the Realm of Flame Heaven would have to send all of their powerful members to set up defenses on the frontline?"
"I didn't hear of such arrangements either," Lu Ling from the Yin Sect chimed in with a sarcastic tone.
With an unpleasant expression, Kong Hong asked, "Since when can the Heaven Expanse Sect make decisions on behalf of all the sects?"
Cornered by the three, Ji Qingyun's expression flickered as he wanted to argue. However, he couldn't find any proper excuses.
Lu Ling gave a soft chuckle and added, "You might want to know that, not just us, but the Dong Clan, the Gu Clan, the Cao Clan, the Pill Pavilion Sect, and the Water Moon Chamber of Commerce from the Realm of a Hundred Battles will also stand by Nie Tian. If the Heaven Expanse Sect dares to plot against Nie Tian, you'd better think about the consequences first!"
"Also, don't forget that Nie Tian went to explore that new dimension upon Master Zhen and the Tool Sect's invitation," Kong Hong added.
At this moment, Hu Rong smiled as he bowed slightly towards Ji Qingyun and said, "Sorry, but the Spirit Condor share their attitude on this matter. After all, Nie Tian is Mr. Hua's nephew."
Ji Qingyun was at a loss for words.
With a shocked and uncomprehending gaze, he glanced over Kong Hong, Lu Ling, and Hu Rong, who seemed very respectful, but didn't make him feel any better.
He knew nothing of the fact that Nie Tian was the reason why the chosen ones had returned safely to the Domain of the Falling Stars, and why the sects had learned about the outsiders' invasion plan.
It was unprecedented that a young man from a remote place like the Realm of Flame Heaven should receive support from so many powerful forces from all over the Domain of the Falling Stars.
"The Realm of Endless Ice, the Realm of a Thousand Devastations, the Realm of a Hundred Battles, the Realm of Unbounded Desolation, and the Spirit Condor..." Ji Qingyun weighed the matter in his mind for a short while, and came to the conclusion that he had to back down. He believed that even the Heaven Palace Sect would do the same if they were facing pressure from such a powerful alliance.
Perhaps only by forming another alliance with the other powerful sects would they be able to contend against them.
However, he knew perfectly well that the entire Domain of the Falling Stars was now facing threats from outsiders. The other powerful sects like the Heaven Palace Sect, the Flame God Sect, the Spirit God Sect, and the Poison Sect had all agreed to deal with the outsiders first.
After all, they didn't want to fight among themselves at such a crucial moment. Otherwise, the outsiders would be able to take advantage of the situation and crush them all effortlessly.
Soon, Ji Qingyun realized what to do. With a dry smile, he said, "Well, what I said just represented myself, not the Heaven Expanse Sect, nor the other sects."
He clasped his hands and apologized, "I didn't know about the situation, so I said those things I didn't mean. Sorry, sorry.
"As for the arrangements of the forces from the Realm of Flame Heaven, I'll wait for the opinions of all the sects, and I won't decide for myself again."
As soon as he uttered these words, he rapidly gave Yu Wei and the others a meaningful gaze, and rushed towards the gate to the courtyard.
Just as the members of the Heaven Expanse Sect were about to rush through the gate, Nie Tian suddenly asked, "Yu Wei, is it? Who's Yu Yang to you?"
Yu Wei came to a stop and jerked around to look at Nie Tian. "He's my older brother. Why?"
"Ahh, no wonder I thought you looked familiar," Nie Tian said expressionlessly. "He, Liao Yan, and all the other disciples of the Heaven Expanse Sect and Thunder Mountain Sect that entered that dimension were torn to pieces by the outsiders on one of the islands."
Yu Wei was so grieved that she was barely able to ask, "How... How do you know that?"
"I was there and I watched it happen." Nie Tian said.
Xuan Ke, Chen Hao, and the others exchanged gazes with each other, but didn't say a word. They were well-aware that it was him and Dong Li who had killed Yu Yang and Liao Yan.
Ji Qingyun's face turned ashen as he asked, "If you were there, why didn't you try to help them?"
"Why would I?" Nie Tian's face was still expressionless. "They had tried to kill me and take my valuables before the outsiders appeared. When the outsiders swarmed onto the island, I was fast enough to escape. It was because the outsiders were busy killing them that I was able to leave unhurried.
"Come to think of it, I've got to thank them."
"Good! Nie Tian! Good!" Ji Qingqun said, gritting his teeth furiously. After giving Nie Tian a murderous gaze, he dragged Yu Wei out of the courtyard.