Numerous figures flew out of the surrounding stone pavilions and landed by the teleportation portal one after another.
Many shook their head and sighed with sorry faces.
"Why did you come?"
"You must know what you'll face by coming to Desolate City. Why did you still come?"
Nie Tian, however, stepped out of the teleportation portal and glanced around, noticing that almost everyone he knew was here.
Dong Wangling, Li Muyang, Qin Yan, Dong Baijie, Zhen Huilan, Pei Qiqi, Li Ye...
Each and every one of them gazed at him, their eyes filled with sadness and pity.
Nie Tian forced a smile and said, "I had to."
Days had dragged by since he had learned that his grandfather, aunt, and Dong Li had been kidnapped by the Lei Clan. Every day he waited felt like torture.
By the time he had learned that Zhao Shanling's efforts to help him had failed, he had realized that he was out of options.
Even if he could break through into the Worldly realm within a short time and secure the legacies the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace had left in the forbidden region in the Realm of Split Void, what would he be able to do with them?
His grandfather, aunt, and Dong Li were being held hostage by the Lei Clan. Even if he could obtain those legacies, he wouldn't possibly gain the ability to contend against a Void domain expert within such a short time.
Even his Bone Blood Demon, which had absorbed a copious amount of seventh grade outsider blood, was still only at the late Soul realm. It still had a long way to go before it could wield the battle prowess of a Void domain expert.
Not only did the Lei Clan have an early Void domain expert and multiple late Soul realm experts, but they also had a powerful sect like the Divine Flame Sect at their back.
He had wracked his mind, but still failed to come up with a way to force the Lei Clan to release his family and Dong Li.
The only thing he could do was to do as the Lei Clan had demanded of him by coming to the Realm of Unbounded Desolation and seeing what they wanted from him.
Wu Ji came through the crowd. "I knew that you'd come."
With a complicated look in his eyes, he took a deep look at him and added, "Do you know what awaits you?"
Nie Tian nodded. "Yes, I do, master."
Wu Ji had a thousand words that he wanted to say to him, but in the end, they were replaced by a deep sigh.
With Lei Ze and Yu Wei standing beside him, Ji Qingyun from the Heaven Expanse Sect said with a taunting smile, "I thought you'd hole up somewhere like a scared turtle. I guess you're a bit more responsible than I thought. However, the days of you showing off your talent in the Domain of the Falling Stars will soon come to an end."
With a cold face, Yu Wei blurted, "You deserve this!"
Lei Ze, who was Lei Zhenyu's grandson, held his head high and said arrogantly, "I told you that his happy days were coming to an end. In the end, he's still only a guy who was lucky enough to obtain the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace's legacies. Without them, he's only a brat from a low family in the Realm of Flame Heaven."
"I still can't believe that those Profound realm losers actually failed to kill you outside Shatter City," Hou Qingsen from the Poison Sect said with an icy smile. "You're a lucky brat indeed, but you still don't deserve to have those fragmentary star marks. How can someone like you imagine to hold on to the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace's legacies?"
Nie Tian fixed him with a furious stare and said, "So are you admitting that it was you who arranged for those rogue cultivators to ambush me back then?"
Hou Qingsen laughed out loud. "What if I am? Nie Tian, I might as well tell you something else. We also singled out the spatial rift that led to the Realm of Flame Heaven for the outsiders."
Ji Qingyun let out a cold harrumph and chimed in, "The Realm of Flame Heaven should have been sacked long ago!"
Upon hearing these words, all of the Qi warriors from the Realm of Flame Heaven all eyed Hou Qingsen and Ji Qingyun angrily.
Of the numerous spatial rifts in the Void Illusion Mountain Range, the spatial rift that led to the Realm of Flame Heaven had been the first to be discovered by the outsiders.
According to Zhao Shanling, someone must have singled that spatial rift out for the outsiders on purpose.
If the outsiders hadn't underestimated the resistance they would meet in the Realm of Flame Heaven, and Wu Ji hadn't unleashed his mighty time power and turned the situation around, the Realm of Flame Heaven would have been the first to fall into the outsiders' hands.
Nie Tian had long suspected that it was the doing of the Poison Sect, the Spirit God Sect, and the Heaven Expanse Sect. However, he hadn't had any proof.
Now, Hou Qingsen and Ji Qingyun admitted to it openly.
Strong killing intent flickered in Nie Tian's eyes.
At this moment, Hua Mu patted him softly on his shoulder and shook his head at him, signaling him not to make any rash moves.
Nie Tian knew that if he were to summon his Bone Blood Demon, he would be able to annihilate Ji Qingyun and Hou Qingsen. However, his grandfather, aunt, and Dong Li might be killed because of this.
After a few deep breaths, he calmed himself and asked loudly, "Who here can take me to the Lei Clan?"
As he uttered these words, pity and helplessness appeared on the faces of many experts that were gathered in this place.
They were well aware of what was waiting for Nie Tian if he went to the Lei Clan's stronghold.
Lei Zhenyu appeared on the balcony of the loftiest stone pavilion. With a hint of a complacent smile on his pale face, he gazed down at the experts on the ground and said, "There's no rush. The clanmaster of the Lei Clan won't return until tomorrow."
Even though he still hadn't recovered from the injuries Zhao Shanling had inflicted on him two weeks ago, he seemed to enjoy this moment.
Hua Mu, Zong Zheng, Dong Wangling, Li Mu Yang, and many other Soul realm experts were gathered by the teleportation portal. Before, these experts had been on equal footing with him, if not higher.
But now, they had become people who he could order around as he pleased, with the Lei Clan at his back.
His gaze swept across the faces of these Soul realm experts, as if he enjoyed seeing the insecure and uneasy looks in their eyes very much.
Hua Mu looked up. Face filled with awe-inspiring righteousness, he said, "Brother Lei, now that Nie Tian is here, and he's willing to offer everything he knows and has about the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace, I hope you can give us face and spare his life. As you know, it was Nie Tian who single-handedly sealed the spatial rifts in the Realm of Flame Heaven, the Realm of a Thousand Devastations, and the Realm of Mystic Heaven, and killed the Demons' invasion in its cradle.
"Four years ago, because Nie Tian annihilated the Phantasms' ancient starship with the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace's grand spell formation, we eventually got to win the battle of the Realm of Mystic Heaven.
"If it weren't for him, I'm afraid that the Domain of the Falling Stars would have long since become another rangeland of the outsiders. We all benefited greatly from his efforts, including your sect, so I hope that you can..."
Before Hua Mu could finish, Lei Zhenyu interrupted him. Looking rather impatient, he said, "Alright, alright, I don't have time to listen to this! I won't get to determine how we'll dispose of Nie Tian. He'll be our offering to the Divine Flame Sect. His life will be in their hands, not ours."
Hua Mu forced a smile on his grim face and said, "I just hope that you can say something in Nie Tian's favor to the experts from the Divine Flame Sect."
Lei Zhenyu refused indifferently. "Sorry, the powerful experts of the Divine Flame Sect won't be swayed by me."
At this moment, Xia Yi appeared on the balcony of another stone pavilion. In a casual manner, he called out, "Brother Lei! I couldn't care less about Nie Tian's life. I only hope that you can talk to the Divine Flame Sect and see if I can have the Flame Dragon Armor in his possession. As you know, the Flame Dragon Armor belonged to our sect in the first place.
"As long as they grant me this favor, I'll immediately pledge my loyalty to them and join their sect, along with all of my sect members!"
"I'll try to get word to them through the Lei Clan," Lei Zhenyu said.
Xia Yi clasped his hands towards Lei Zhenyu and said, "Many thanks, Brother Lei! If they agree to this, I'll personally make sure your effort is well rewarded!"
With these words, he gave Nie Tian a nasty grin, as if the Flame Dragon Armor in Nie Tian's ring of holding had already fallen into his hands.
"Brother Lei!" Han Mu said loudly. "Can we have a moment alone? There's something I'd like to talk to you about."
Lei Zhenyu hesitated briefly before nodding slightly and saying, "Alright, come with me."
Hua Mu shot up and landed lightly on the balcony where Lei Zhenyu was standing. Then, he followed him into the stone pavilion.
With a wave of his large hand, Lei Zhenyu filled the six faces of the stone room with fine lightning bolts, soundproofing the room.
Afterwards, Hua Mu took out a ring of holding and handed it to Lei Zhenyu. Lei Zhenyu's eyes widened greatly after he examined its content with his soul awareness.
"The Heaven-shattering Crystal Cannon and three Spirit Channeling grade treasures," Hua Mu explained. "That hammer is a thunder-attributed Spirit Channeling grade treasure, which I believe will agree with you perfectly, Brother Lei. I only hope that I can buy Nie Tian's life with them. Nie Tian will cooperate and hand his fragmentary star marks over to the Divine Flame Sect. His survival is all that I'm asking."
Eyes narrowed, Lei Zhenyu put his ring of holding away and said, "I can only tell you that I'll try to get through to them, but I can't promise you anything."
Hua Mu nodded. "That'd be great. Many thanks, Brother Lei."
With these words, Hua Mu turned around and left the room.
After he left, Lei Zhenyu held that ring of holding close and fondled it, his eyes glittering.
Sneering, he muttered, "How can he not die? If he doesn't die, he'll still have the memories of the profound incantations he has learned from the Ancient Fragmentary Star Palace over all these years. With the help of those incantations, he'd still be able to rise to an extremely high level. Since we've already made a move against his family and lover, how would we still let him live, and give ourselves such big future trouble?"
With an easy expression, Lei Zhenyu put the ring of holding away, not showing the slightest intention of talking to the people from the Lei Clan or the Divine Flame Sect.