Nie Tian had sensed the danger before the huge python even spewed the frosty mist.
As soon as it opened its mouth, Nie Tian's expression flickered, and he jumped backwards without any hesitation.
The white mist carried tiny ice shards and terrifying ice power that could freeze everything between heaven and earth. Wherever it spread, the green vegetation was first frozen, and then exploded.
Not only was the mist frigidly cold, but it spread at an alarming speed. Like a misty white river, it chased Nie Tian wherever he went.
Even though the mist was still meters from Nie Tian, he felt that the bone-piercing coldness had already reached the depths of his soul, making him stiff and very uncomfortable.
"Yin Yanan!!" Qiao Yunxi thundered again as she summoned her Flame Bird.
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!
As the Flame Bird fluttered its wings in front of Nie Tian, it was instantly wreathed in raging flames.
The frosty mist slammed into the blazing Flame Bird like a thick ice pillar.
The Flame Bird shook violently as it spewed fierce flames from its mouth. Crimson flames and white, icy mist clashed in a violent manner, giving rise to loud crackling sounds.
A ward of flames came to form around the Flame Bird and expanded like a blossoming flower.
The Flame Bird stood between the frosty mist and Nie Tian, keeping the unyielding frost mist from engulfing him.
The python was unusually ferocious. Its red eyes shone with a strong thirst for blood.
It was very unhappy to see that its frosty mist failed to freeze Nie Tian. It then slithered towards the Flame Bird at full speed.
The black and white rings on its body, which was more than ten meters long, looked unusually distinct.
"Stop!" At that very moment, Yin Yanan from the Beast-controlling Sect finally rushed back. She landed swiftly on the python's head and muttered with a confused expression, "What happened to you?"
"Yin Yanan! Did you tell it to do this?!" Qiao Yunxi asked furiously.
Face cold, Nie Tian chimed in, "Please keep an eye on your pet beast, Miss Yin!"
He was also rather confused as to why the python had shown such a strong interest in him since the beginning.
He had already masked his flesh aura, which was every bit as vigorous as Yin Yanan's, with his Life Stealth bloodline talent.
Normally speaking, even outsiders more powerful than him wouldn't be able to see through his disguise.
Furthermore, the fact that Yin Yanan, who also possessed vigorous flesh power, didn't seem to show any interest in him proved that even she had failed to see through his disguise.
The fact that not a single Soul realm expert from the Trisword Sect, the Beast-controlling Sect, or the Chu Clan had paid much attention to him showed that they didn't sense anything either.
Who would have thought an animal would pursue him so unyieldingly?
In fact, he had already sent a wisp of soul awareness into his ring of holding. He was on the verge of summoning Flame Dragon Armor and using this fire-attributed Spirit Channeling grade treasure to contend against the python's icy mist when Yin Yanan finally showed up.
He suddenly received a soul message from the Flame Dragon Armor, asking about what had just happened.
Nie Tian briefly explained the matter to it.
The soul then said, "Master, since that python is a hybrid of a Frost Python and a Blood Stripe Python, it possesses the Blood Stripe Python's bloodline power, which allows it to shrewdly sense the flesh auras in its surroundings. Also, since it's at the seventh grade, it must be rather intelligent already.
"Many seventh grade spirit beasts even have the ability to take human forms.
"This hybrid python is a bit special. It might take even longer for it to gain the ability to transform. Even so, its bloodline power and intelligence already allow it to capture the unique flesh aura you're releasing, no matter how faint it is.
"Even though I've lost most of my old memories, I can still sense your unique aura, and know for sure that the Blood Essence in your heart will help me a great deal."
Nie Tian then realized that, to that huge python, his unique flesh and blood were none other than the best nourishment pills.
SHEW! SHEW! SHEW!
Upon sensing the python's unusual behavior, Wei Yu, Xing Beichen, and the Soul realm experts from the Beast-controlling Sect and the Chu Clan rushed to the scene.
Face grim, Hong Xian from the Beast-controlling Sect asked Yin Yanan, "What happened?"
Then, he laid his eyes on the python.
"It..." Yin Yanan sounded hesitant. "It seemed to want to devour that man."
Yin Yanan pointed at Nie Tian.
As the python's master, there was a vague soul connection between her and the python. She was aware that the python had shown a strong interest in Nie Tian when she had left to gather spirit plants earlier.
Therefore, she had warned it against making any rash moves, which she knew would cause unnecessary trouble.
Before, as long as she had issued an order, no matter what it was, the python would act by it with absolute obedience.
She had thought it would be the same this time.
To her surprise, soon after she had ordered the python to consume spirit plants, it had actually gone against her order and attacked Nie Tian.
This was the first time the python had disobeyed her since she had tamed it.
Hong Xian pondered briefly before saying, "This is only a misunderstanding, kid. We'll restrain the Frost Blood Python and make sure things like this won't happen again."
After all, Qiao Yunxi had the Divine Flame Sect at her back, not to mention that Yue Yanxi was personally leading their exploration team this time.
Hong Xian didn't want to break the temporary peaceful relationship with the Divine Flame Sect over such a trivial matter.
Qiao Yunxi snorted coldly. "That beast almost injured me!"
"Is he a member of your sect, Qiao Yunxi?" Yin Yanan asked curiously.
"Nope," Qiao Yunxi said with a displeased expression.
"He's not from your sect..." Yin Yanan's eyes lit up as she proposed, "My Frost Blood Python has shown a strong interest in him. Why don't you name your price? I'll buy him from you."
Enraged by her words, Nie Tian asked coldly, "Do you think you can afford to buy me?"
"You're merely an early Worldly realm nobody," Yin Yanan said, disdain filling her face. "People like you can be found everywhere. What kind of treasure do you think you are? Tell me, Qiao Yunxi, what do you want in exchange for him? My Frost Blood Python seems to be truly hungry. Otherwise, it wouldn't have gone against my order to attack him."
Furious, Nie Tian pointed at Yin Yanan and said, "Senior Hong, what's her price? I'll buy her from you!"
Hong Xian's expression grew cold upon hearing these words. "Watch your mouth, kid. Yanan is our chosen one. No one can put a price on her."
Nie Tian gave a cold laugh. "So what made her think that I can be priced?"
Yin Yanan chuckled disdainfully. "Who do you think you are? The Divine Flame Sect's future sectmaster?" She then fixed Qiao Yunxi with an inquiring gaze and added, "So? What's his price?"
"He's not mine to sell," Qiao Yunxi said coldly.
Yin Yanan shrugged. "Alright then."
In fact, it wasn't that serious of a proposal. She had expected that Qiao Yunxi would probably not agree to it. Therefore, slightly displeased, she stroked the Frost Blood Python's head with her hand and sent her soul awareness into it to comfort it.
The redness in the Frost Blood Python's beady eyes gradually faded, recovering their original, silver-white color.
"You'd better keep a safe distance from it. It hasn't been very long since I tamed it. Even I can't promise that it'll listen to me at all times." With these words, Yin Yanan shot Qiao Yunxi and Nie Tian a cold stare.
At this moment, Hong Xian said, "Alright, alright, this one was our fault. You two may walk around and gather a few spirit plants as compensation. But don't take too many. Also, Yanan was telling the truth. This Frost Blood Python still has its fierce nature. It may try to attack you again if you get too close.
"We don't want anything to jeopardize the peaceful relationship between our sects, but you need to do your part as well so that we can avoid unnecessary conflicts."
Nie Tian fixed the Frost Blood Python with a cold look and said, "Don't blame me for 'returning the favor' if that beast tries to attack me again."
Yin Yanan gave a cold harrumph, not saying anything.
Qiao Yunxi dragged Nie Tian onto the Flame Bird and flew away. After they were a significant distance from the Frost Blood Python, she asked, "What makes you think you can 'return the favor' to that seventh grade Frost Blood Python?"