Chapter 31: Control
Just as Su Chen had said, Zhong Zhenjun merely stared at Lin Zuiliu for a moment before leaving without saying a word.
Lin Zuiliu clucked his tongue in amazement.
The fact that a Spirit Burning Realm cultivator could stop an Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivator in his tracks was an impressive feat regardless.
Su Chen was also quite surprised. Why was Lin Zuiliu so bold? Was he not worried that Su Chen wouldn’t be able to keep Zhong Zhenjun in line, and Zhong Zhenjun would fall on him and devour him alive?
But then again, Lin Zuiliu was also an Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivator. If he dared to show his face here, there was probably a good reason he dared to do so.
In fact, he realized that his guess was correct very quickly.
Lin Zuiliu’s trump card was the mixed bloodline techniques he had developed. This allowed him to quickly raise up an army of powerful subordinates. This was immediately obvious based on the rabbit and wild chickens that he was able to produce.
However, Lin Zuiliu’s mixed bloodlines had their own weaknesses as well. Typically, the host organism was incapable of bearing the load of so many bloodlines at once, and their lifespan would be greatly shortened as a result. Their vitality would be drained until they dropped dead. For instance, the rabbit that Ye Fenghan had fought with bitterly probably would have eventually died if Ye Fenghan had simply stayed defensive and wasted time.
However, this didn’t mean there was no solution to the problem.
In fact, there were two - the first was to lower the strength of the bloodlines being infused so that the sudden increase in strength wouldn’t be as large in magnitude. The second was to infuse these bloodlines into someone who was strong enough to bear it in the first place.
However, Lin Zuiliu was unwilling to do either of these things.
His goal was to combine the seven Desolate Beast Bloodlines to create a peerless bloodline. It was understandable that Lin Zuiliu didn’t hold back and insisted on being stubborn until the very end.
Lin Zuiliu had come to look for Su Chen precisely because Ye Fenghan had convinced him that Su Chen might have a way to increase the foundation of those without bloodlines. This would allow him to use even more brute force. Unexpectedly, however, he was able to see the Seven Bloodline Microcosm Aspect as soon as he met Su Chen.
How could his fancy not be tickled?
As such, the two of them were able to hit it off quite nicely, and their conversation went on and on without end.
“Aspects are derived from bloodlines, but they aren’t bloodlines. As such, in an actual battle these Aspects are far inferior to an actual bloodline. The most basic difference is that there is no way to emulate the kind of innate power that people can draw from an actual bloodline,” Su Chen explained to Lin Zuiliu within his laboratory.
“So what good are these Aspects, then?” Lin Zuiliu asked.
“Even though there is no way to draw out this core power, you are still at least able to obtain the outward manifestation, including the aura, the consciousness, and its attributes. It’s almost a perfect replicate. In addition, just because you can’t draw out the core power doesn’t mean that they have no strength. Aspects are illusory, while bloodlines are more tangible; but when an illusory strength reaches a certain degree, it can become likewise real,” Su Chen explained.
The Aspects that Su Chen had created were like amplifiers. They provided no Origin Energy of their own, but they could greatly amplify the power of Origin Skills used by Origin Qi Scholars. And a majority of the characteristics of a bloodline could be replicated by an Aspect.
For instance, Ye Fenghan’s Frost Aspect was actually extracted from Ji Hanyan’s Frostbird Bloodline. The Frostbird Bloodline itself was quite powerful, strong enough to encase any target in ice. The Frost Aspect didn’t have an intrinsic source of energy, but the freezing attributes of the Frostbird Bloodline were still preserved. As such, every one of Ye Fenghan’s attacks was actually imbued with the power of frost.
This was the importance of the Aspects.
As for Su Chen’s Seven Bloodline Microcosm Aspect, that was even more powerful. Even though only Windbite, Dream Beauty, and Luo You had been manifested at this point, these three had amplified his consciousness, water, and wind-type Origin Skills by a significant amount. Not only so, but he was an accomplished Arcana Master, and these Aspects were effective on Arcana Techniques as well. Su Chen’s newfound strength was quite apparent.
Even though he was only at the Spirit Burning Realm, his study of Arcana Techniques had reached the apex for quite some time.
However, because he refused to fully display that side of his abilities, most people continued to view him as a Spirit Burning Realm.
Zhong Zhenjun never would have expected that even the feat of demolishing the Sea Beast Wave was not Su Chen’s full strength. All he had shown so far was that he was stronger than your average Spirit Burning Realm cultivator.
In other words, Su Chen had many trump cards remaining up his sleeve, and one of those trump cards was his own personal strength.
“Unfortunately, it’s still merely an outward manifestation,” Lin Zuiliu shook his head, not entirely surprised.
“But at the very least, my Seven Bloodline Microcosm Aspect is already somewhat completed, while your endeavors haven’t borne any fruit yet,” Su Chen said with a slight smile.
“Who said they haven’t borne any fruit yet?” Lin Zuiliu opened his eyes wide. “I have already managed to merge bloodlines, but I just haven’t figured out a way for these bloodlines to be passed on.”
“If you only have a way to combine the bloodlines but not pass them on, isn’t achieving your dream still nothing more than an illusion?” Su Chen said bluntly.
“That’s why I came looking for you,” Lin Zuiliu chuckled. His skin really was quite thick. “I wasn’t able to pass on these bloodlines to anyone because I couldn't find a suitable target that was strong enough. But don’t you think that your bloodline-less path and your Aspects correspond quite well to my method of mixing bloodlines?”
Su Chen chuckled. “As I expected.”
If Lin Zuiliu was able to think of this possibility, it was only natural that he was able to as well.
Lin Zuiliu was only missing the foundation, while Su Chen’s work would provide him with that exact path that he was looking for. In the past, Lin Zuiliu had only managed to find Qi Drawing Realm cultivators without bloodlines, but now that those with Spirit Burning Realm cultivation bases were present, the difference in foundation was staggering.
What would happen if he let Xiao Ling use Lin Zuiliu’s mixed bloodlines?
Even Su Chen wanted to know the answer.
However, they still needed to take it one step at a time, which would take time.
The two of them both loved to do research, so they wasted no time in setting up their workbenches and getting to work.
Neither of them cared about what took place in the outside world. Even so, it was at this moment that the outside world changed greatly.
The hunting expeditions that were going out began to suffer from a series of sudden accidents.
Originally, the fleet believed that what had happened to Lin Xiao was merely a chance occurrence, but as they continued to launch expeditions, they discovered that situations similar to what had happened to Lin Xiao began to crop up everywhere. In the worst case, only two boats were able to return because the Sea Beasts had gathered too quickly.
When faced with these kinds of situations, even the fleet commanders couldn’t help but grow anxious.
Su Chen was still buried in his research when someone knocked on the door of his research lab.
Iron Cliff opened the door.
It was Li Chongshan.
“Is something wrong?” Su Chen knew that Li Chongshan wouldn’t disturb him with small matters. After taking care of the immediate task at hand, he had quickly stepped outside of his laboratory.
Li Chongshan followed after Su Chen, describing what had taken place.
Su Chen frowned. “Repeated accidents? How many people died?”
“Not including Lin Xiao’s accident, there were a total of five times, resulting in losses of 742 people, along with four hundred Oceanid warriors.”
“Those aren’t insignificant losses. It happened so many times, but you didn’t let me know until now?” Su Chen was a bit displeased.
Li Chongshan lowered his head and replied, “Sect Master’s research is extremely important. We were hoping to resolve the situation on our own.”
“You obviously weren’t able to. But since you have come looking for me, I imagine that you have made some discoveries, right?” Su Chen understood Li Chongshan quite well, and that he wouldn’t come to find him at the slightest hint of adversity.
Indeed, Li Chongshan replied, “We think it’s because of artificial causes.”
“Artificial?” Su Chen stopped.
At that moment, he had already arrived at the outer veranda of the palace.
Su Chen glanced off into the distance as he rested his hands on the railing.
As he gazed at the sea, off which sunlight was rippling, he realized that all of the boats were floating stationarily in the harbor. There was no sign that any boats were going to be sent out for the time being.
“Yes,” Li Chongshan said standing next to Su Chen. “The repeated nature of these accidents made us suspicious. I, Zhong Zhenjun, and Jiang Xishui went to the Abyss ourselves to see what happened but found nothing out of the ordinary. And every time we went, there was no sign that the Beasts were being attracted. One time, Kaihuang and I intentionally drove a boat out there, creating waves on the surface of the sea, but we only attracted a few Sea Beasts - not nearly as many Sea Beasts as had attacked the hunting expeditions.”
“But when you only sent out your subordinates, these accidents would occur?” Su Chen murmured.
“That’s right, Sect Master. That’s also why we think someone is intentionally wreaking havoc.”
“Could it have anything to do with the size of commotion?”
“We tried already, and Commander Zhong and Xishui even took two hunting parties out with them once, sailing across the surface of the sea for three consecutive days. However, no Sea Beasts ended up gathering.”
“So…… There’s someone hiding under the surface,” Su Chen said as he tapped his finger on the railing.
After a moment’s thought, he said, “Were the hunting expeditions that went out the same every time? Were the members of the expeditions the same?”
“They were not the same hunting expeditions, and the members of the expeditions weren’t the same either.”
“So it’s not just one person?” Su Chen’s eyebrow jumped. “Interesting. If it was one person who didn’t want our plan to succeed, that wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But if there is a group trying to sabotage us, this is no longer an individual matter, so there should be some kind of organized group attempting to stop us. Also, the members of this fleet were hand-picked carefully, and each of the soldiers was tested. Since we can assume that no outsiders have infiltrated our ranks, then it must be one of our men trying to create chaos. So why would so many people betray us all at once?”
Li Chongshan was taken aback momentarily before he said, “We wondered this as well. Perhaps they were bribed.”
Su Chen, however, shook his head slightly. “It might not be bribery. There might be some other methods at play.”
“Other methods?” Li Chongshan was taken aback for a moment before he understood. “Are you saying something like a consciousness control technique? But controlling this many people is not easy.”
“Maybe not for the Bloodline Nobility Clans, but there are others who might not find it as much of a challenge,” Su Chen calmly replied.
Li Chongshan immediately understood. “The Astrals?”
Who was more proficient than the Astrals at controlling others?
Most importantly, they did have a reason to disrupt Su Chen’s endeavors.
If Su Chen was able to successfully deal with the Deep Sea Sorrow, then they would undoubtedly be the next targets.
The Astrals were not like the Oceanids, and did not live in conditions of extreme duress.
If Su Chen didn’t have anything that could move them, it was only natural that he would just take it from them.
Under these kinds of circumstances, it was only natural that the Oceanids would attempt to strike first.