Wu Ling observed Nie Tian for a while longer as he continued to search in his head. However, since he couldn't locate any memory about Mu Han, he could only give up.
Over the following two days, Nie Tian stayed quietly with the Tool Sect juniors and practiced cultivation with fire-attributed materials whenever he could.
After observing and listening for two days, he had learned that the spatial rift wasn't quite stable yet.
If they forcibly entered the spatial rift before it stabilized completely, they would be most likely be carried to some isolated space mix-up zone by the intense and disorderly spatial energy turbulence.
According to the information the Tool Sect had obtained, many of the people who had entered the six spatial rifts as soon as they had appeared had been sent to unknown places, their survival uncertain.
As time passed, the six spatial rifts were gradually becoming more and more stable.
Every now and then, Zhen Huilan would unleash a wisp of her soul awareness to examine the spatial rift. Today, she told everyone that the spatial rift would be fully stable in about ten days. There should be no mishaps if they entered then.
Hence, everyone waited.
During that time, Pei Qiqi observed the spatial rift day and night, trying to derive enlightenment from it with her unique methods.
At first, Nie Tian had spent most of his time practicing cultivation, turning a blind eye to the remains of the spirit beasts.
Just like Pei Qiqi, he wasn't interested in communicating with the Tool Sect juniors.
Meanwhile, Zhu Han, who had originally harbored the intention of playing up to Pei Qiqi, dropped the idea after encountering that setback.
Another day went by, and Nie Tian finally failed to resist the temptation and rose to his feet when everyone else was practicing cultivation. He stepped over to the remains of the spirit beasts and stored the pieces of discarded meat into his ring of holding.
His action soon caught the attention of Bai Yu, Zhu Lian, and the other Tool Sect experts. However, they only shot him a brief glance and didn't say anything.
The dozen spirit beasts had laid under the blazing sun for days. The only ones that remained unspoiled were the few fourth grade and fifth grade spirit beasts.
After storing them into his ring of holding, Nie Tian quietly returned to Pei Qiqi's side.
As soon as he sat down, Huang Yuan asked with a sweet smile, "What do you plan to do with all that spirit beast meat, Big Brother Mu Han?"
Nie Tian, who had already had an excuse prepared, answered with a casual tone, "I'm raising a few spirit beasts back home. I just wanna take the meat back and see if I can feed them with it."
Huang Yuan didn't know that he was actually lying, and thus said with a serious face, "They probably won't eat it. I've heard that these spirit beasts were poisoned by the atmosphere in the Realm of Split Void. Not only can we not eat them, but neither can spirit beasts from the other realms."
Smiling, Nie Tian explained, "The spirit beasts I'm raising at home are special. Perhaps they will eat it. I'll have to try to see."
"Oh, really? Where are you from, big brother?" Huang Yuan asked, curious.
"The Realm of Flame Heaven," Nie Tian answered.
Huang Yuan's eyebrows furrowed. "The Realm of Flame Heaven... That's the only realm I haven't been to. I heard that there aren't any powerful sects or Soul realm experts in that realm. Also, it's said that a few other realms are planning to seize the Realm of Flame Heaven for their own."
At that moment, Zhu Han jumped in and said, his face filled with disdain, "Hahaha! I wondered which powerful realm you're from. Who would have thought that you're from the Realm of Flame Heaven? That place is..." He clicked his tongue as he looked at Nie Tian, contempt filling his eyes.
Without waiting for him to finish, Nie Tian withdrew from the conversation. Without saying a word, he took out another Flame Crystal, closed his eyes, and started practicing cultivation.
Soon, the day passed, and night descended.
Nie Tian suddenly awoke from his cultivation.
A man flashed into appearance and floated by the spatial rift, which was right above the dense forest.
Zhen Huilan, Bai Yu, and Zhu Lian had all been practicing cultivation.
The sudden arrival of that man instantly caught their attention.
Nie Tian and the other juniors also turned to see who it was, their expressions grim and nervous.
It was a tall, thin man, dressed in the garments of the Spirit God Sect from the Realm of Dark Underworld. He had a set of deep and unfathomable eyes.
"Master Zhen..." The man said, staring down at Zhen Huilan, as if he was surprised that she was here.
"Yao Shou!" Zhen Huilan exclaimed with furrowed eyebrows.
The late Profound realm Yao Shou gave a wry smile and said, "I didn't expect that I would see you here with these people from the Tool Sect."
He was an elder of the Spirit God Sect, and the leader of their team into the newly-found dimension. He had actually come with the intention of taking the spatial rift from the Tool Sect disciples by force.
However, he had once asked Zhen Huilan to forge spiritual tools for his children before. She had done it as a favor for him.
Hence, the presence of Zhen Huilan made him hesitant, and put him at a loss as to what to do.
Meanwhile, he also didn't know what he should do with Bai Yu, who was standing beside Zhen Huilan.
Her husband was Wu Langxie, who was an independent cultivator that possessed formidable battle prowess. It was public opinion that he had the potential to become the most powerful Qi warrior in the Domain of the Falling Stars some day.
Now that Zhao Shanling had returned, the Tool Sect was in a vulnerable place, so he wasn't afraid of tearing his face with the Tool Sect. (idiom: tearing off the veneer of respect for someone)
However, even if the entire Tool Sect was wiped out, Wu Langxie would probably still be unscathed. Once he entered the late Soul realm, he would most likely become the worst foe anyone could imagine in the Domain of the Falling Stars.
If he cast aside his scruples and injured Bai Yu today, he would be planting future trouble for the Spirit God Sect and himself.
After a moment of silence, Yao Shou said, "How about this, Master Zhen: Let me and the other Spirit God Sect members enter that mysterious dimension through this spatial rift. In return, my people and I will help you guard this spatial rift against anyone or any sect that wants to take it from you. What do you say?"
"You said your people. Who do you mean?" Zhen Huilan asked.
"I came with two fellow disciples who are also at the late Profound realm." Yao Shou was surprisingly honest. "If not for you and Elder Bai, we would have taken this spatial rift by force already."
As an elder of the Tool Sect, Zhu Lian let out a cold harrumph and exclaimed, "Yao Shou! You don't think I'm worth mentioning, do you?!"
Yao Shou gave a dry laugh and said bluntly, "Sorry, Brother Zhu. I'm just speaking the truth. If Zhao Shanling hadn't returned and safely left the Realm of Unbounded Desolation, our sect wouldn't have dared to do anything to jeopardize our relationship with your sect. After all, we might still need to ask your sect to help us forge spiritual tools.
"But now is a different time. The whole Tool Sect might fall into another's hands in the near future.
"Under such circumstances, we don't really care about our relationship with your sect anymore. If Master Zhen and Elder Bai weren't here, I would have told you to leave now, instead of proposing to share this spatial rift."
Zhu Lian fumed with anger after hearing these words.
The Tool Sect juniors beside Nie Tian also glared at Yao Shou, indignation filling their eyes.
Looking rather calm, Zhen Huilan asked, "Isn't there a spatial rift that hasn't been claimed yet? Why have you set your mind on our spatial rift when you can take that unclaimed one?"
Yao Shou sighed briefly and said, "The Thunder Mountain Sect and Heaven Expanse Sect from the Realm of Earth Sieve, and the Yin Sect and Yang Sect from the Realm of a Thousand Devastations are all fighting over that last unclaimed spatial rift. Compared to your spatial rift, it would be much riskier to fight for that one."
"Instead of fighting that pack of wolves, we might as well..."
He smiled and didn't finish his sentence.
Even so, everyone knew what he meant. In his eyes, compared to fighting the Thunder Mountain Sect, Heaven Expanse Sect, Yin Sect, Yang Sect, and Flame God Sect at the same time, fighting the Tool Sect was much safer.
Zhu Lian and the all the other Worldly realm experts from the Tool Sect were all struggling to refrain from lashing out, though their eyes were filled with burning rage.
"What do you think, Junior Martial Sister Bai?" Zhen Huilan asked in a low voice.
After whispering something to Zhu Lian and telling him to hold his temper, Bai Yu turned to her and said, "Even though his words were harsh to the ear, at least he was honest about his intentions. The way I see it, even if it wasn't the Spirit God Sect that came after our spatial rift, other sects might. If it was the Flame God Sect, I doubt they would even want to talk."
"That's very true, Elder Bai. I knew you were a reasonable person." Yao Shou said with a flattering tone.
Zhen Huilan nodded and said to Yao Shou, "It's settled then. You may summon your people to this place now, and we shall guard and enter this spatial rift together."
Yao Shou smiled. "Now that we're guarding this spatial rift together, I believe no one will dare to drool over it anymore."
With these words, he sent messages to his subordinates.
Before long, more than ten Spirit God Sect Qi warriors flashed out of the dark, dense forest like a bunch of ghosts.
As soon as they did, Yao Shou went over and explained the situation to them.
The other two Profound realm Spirit God Sect experts didn't seem content with his arrangement, which was their union with the Tool Sect. However, they eventually decided to give Yao Shou face and agreed to cooperate.
Watching those two Profound realm experts nod reluctantly, every Tool Sect member looked very displeased.