That jade tablet was sparkling, translucent, and as thin as a cicada’s wing. However, it was also incomparably sturdy.
The detailed golden patterns covering its four sides weren’t just decorations. They were actual origin array lines used to protect the jade tablet from damage. The cost of the array alone was worth thousands of gold coins. On the other hand, this jade tablet was carved so thin yet was capable of sustaining the array. Its material was definitely worth more than a thousand gold coins.
There was a line of large, straight words at the very center of the tablet: Fortune Courtyard, Marrow Cleansing Pond.
Qianye examined the object repeatedly and couldn’t help but ask, “What’s this?”
Song Zining laughed, “The right to use the Marrow Cleansing Pond once in exchange for military contributions.”
“Marrow Cleansing Pond?!” Qianye was startled. Zhao Yuying had mentioned before that it was best for him to advance in the Marrow Cleansing Pond, but he didn’t put that to heart. It was of secondary importance where his advancement would take place, but this meant that he would have to go to the Zhao clan.
Song Zining knew what Qianye was thinking. He patted the latter’s shoulder and said, “You’ll have to face this matter sooner or later. The one-year agreement between you and Zhao Jundu is also fast approaching. He’s fighting in the Evernight bloody battle, so it’s quite likely that he’ll visit you. Since you’ll have to go there once anyway, why not perform your advancement in passing? The Zhao clan’s Marrow Cleansing Pond is by no means inferior to the Song Clan’s Sky Grade Cultivation Chamber. It might even be more suitable for your present situation.”
“But…” Qianye stopped midway through a wry laugh.
Song Zining said with a smile, “No buts! If you think you owe me for the contributions, then you’ll pay for the wine from here on out. But I must have girls to accompany me.”
Qianye’s heart, at this moment, was wracked with myriad emotions, and he didn’t know what to say. At this point, his gaze suddenly froze as though he had sensed something and soon realized that the abnormal feeling was coming from Andruil’s Mysterious Realm. He had little reservations in front of Song Zining. Thus, he proceeded to scan the space and immediately found the source of alarm.
Song Zining sensed Qianye’s odd expression and couldn’t help but say, “It’s just some girls. Do you really need to be so distressed about such an expenditure? Qianye, you can be considered the owner of a home and business now. You must learn to enjoy life!”
Qianye was too lazy to retort and only said, “Do you remember the count-level arachne egg I told you about?”
Song Zining quickly recalled the matter. At first, he had planned to have someone pick it up from Qianye and send it to an affiliated research facility. However, Qianye went missing soon afterward, and he himself was surrounded by the dark race army. The matter was thus delayed. Arachne eggs had a limited survival time after leaving the magma-filled incubation chamber; that egg should’ve died completely after such a long time.
Song Zining muttered, “A dead arachne egg isn’t worth any money. The couple of gold coins we can get for it won’t even cover travel expenses. Let’s just fry and eat it.”
Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. It was fine even if the egg was made into a scramble since expired arachne eggs were usually served as raw materials for ordinary recovery medicine. “That arachne egg isn’t dead yet. I unexpectedly discovered that it can absorb my blood energy to retain its vitality.”
Song Zining’s expression turned solemn. With a flick of his finger, an autumn gale filled the room amidst a swirl of fallen leaves. “It absorbed your blood energy?”
Seeing that the room had been enveloped in Song Zining’s domain, Qianye simply took out the spider egg from Andruil’s Mysterious Realm.
Song Zining’s brows couldn’t help but jump as he watched the lustrous black arachne egg appear in Qianye’s hand. Qianye didn’t make any special effort to hide it since the two were inside Song Zining’s domain. The latter could clearly sense the space around Qianye’s necklace distort momentarily.
A muffled heartbeat reverberated throughout the room as the arachne egg appeared. It was like the beating of a war drum. If Song Zining had been present to see the egg back at Black Nest, he would’ve noticed that it had grown one circle smaller than before, and that the green veins forming the natural array upon it had turned into a dark golden color.
Song Zining was somewhat startled. “What intense vitality! Is Stuka even that powerful?”
Qianye replied, “Its aura was weak when I obtained it, almost as if it’s congenitally deficient. I’ve been instilling blood energy into it at regular intervals since finding out that it can maintain its vitality. Just like that, it grew stronger over time and even seems to have undergone a transformation. I remember the patterns on the shell were green when I first found it.”
“A transformation?” Song Zining frowned. He was no expert in biological technology, and neither was Qianye. The knowledge they possessed regarding the dark races was limited to where their vitals were and how to kill them the quickest.
Song Zining stared at the egg seriously for a good while. If the transformation was indeed born of Qianye’s blood energy, then they couldn’t let just anyone take it for research. Otherwise, it might reveal Qianye’s secrets. However, Song Zining felt something special about this transformed count-grade arachne egg which prevented him from suggesting its immediate destruction.
Song Zining fished through the air to grab a couple of fallen leaves. He then arranged them in front of him to perform a simple divination.
“How is it?” Although the Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art was a divination art, Qianye had rarely seen Song Zining perform it in earnest. But from another perspective, it was clear that Song Zining had no clue since he had even brought out such a method.
After observing the shape of the leaves in front of him, Song Zining glanced at Qianye with a fairly odd expression.
Baffled by Song Zining’s gaze, Qianye glared back and said furiously, “Stop acting all mysterious. Just say it!”
Song Zining dispersed the leaves with a wave of his hand. He had only performed this divination on a whim but had reached a truly unexpected result. “This little thing seems to be linked deeply to both you and I. It’s truly odd. Why don’t we just eat it? That way, any and all karma we have with it will be resolved in a couple of days.”
“Be serious!” Qianye was completely puzzled.
Song Zining wore a serious expression and spoke with an aged tone, “Fine, let this young master display his talents and broaden your barbarian horizons! Perhaps this will save you from acting like that Wei family boar and thinking about solving everything with a slap.”
The evil Qianye flicked at a fallen leaf and said, “Anything that can be solved with a single slap can't be important. Why the trouble? Why don’t I try slapping your domain?”
Song Zining was momentarily petrified. The Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art was a marriage of three thousand great daos and was unrestricted by any attribute. Merely from how he had repelled a special domain like the Nangong family's Origin’s End, one could see what “good skill can overcome a thousand-kilogram force” meant.
However, there was also another saying that went “tricks are useless in the face of absolute power”. The great sea vortex of Qianye’s Profound Combatant Formula had the power to crush the world and shatter the void. Under its suppression, it was likely that Qianye would be able to disperse the Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art’s domain with a single slap.
Song Zining would be restrained in every aspect if his strength was lacking even a little bit.
With a sigh, Song Zining no longer paid Qianye any attention and proceeded to fish out a palm-sized square box from his robe. As his hand brushed over the cover, a hazy green light flickered over the previously empty surface to form the words: “Three Thousand Great Daos.”
The square box floated exactly one inch above Song Zining’s palm. The lid flew open with a click to reveal the countless gears and machinery within. The pinions began to turn under the activation of Song Zining’s origin power, raising the octagonal array plate hidden within the box.
Song Zining respired deeply. As he opened his mouth, a single floating leaf shot toward the array plate and landed at its center. There were tens of thousands of meticulously carved runes on the array plate and countless thread-like grooves connecting them all together.
The hundreds of runes—each only as big as a brush tip—lit up on the plate just as the leaf landed and formed a miniature array. Qianye activated the Eye of Truth and saw that countless strands of origin power were about to bind Song Zining, himself, and the arachne egg together, while the remaining strands stretched into the void.
But the dozen-odd strands of origin power had just touched Qianye’s body when they trembled violently, and the great half of them immediately shattered. Following which, the Book of Darkness appeared in the depths of Qianye’s consciousness and completely wiped out the remainder. He hadn’t made any effort at all to circulate his origin power, but his body had sensed the danger out of instinct and moved on its own to eliminate it.
Meanwhile, the leaf on the array plate suddenly fluctuated between light and shadow to reveal the shape of an arachne egg, followed by the appearance of a boundless deep ocean with a giant maelstrom at its center. Soon afterward, a shadow emerged from the ocean to devour the entire imagery before vanishing just like that.
Song Zining’s face turned pale as he turned toward Qianye and said, “I knew it! This young master always fails when the divination is related to you!”
Qianye felt that his charge was baffling to say the least. He couldn’t help but ask, “Does that mean you can correctly divine things that aren’t related to me?”
“At least three out of ten!” Song Zining spoke with great confidence.
Qianye gave it some thought before coming to a realization. “From what you said, wouldn’t it be better for us to toss a coin instead? At least we’ll get half of it right.”
“How can my divination art of the three thousand daos be compared to tossing gold coins?!” Song Zining retorted while putting away the square box.
Qianye dismissed the words with a laugh since he was merely joking before. In truth, after seeing the strands of origin power with his Eye of Truth, Qianye knew that Song Zining’s secret art was full of profound secrets—it was indeed extraordinary. The divination’s failure was perhaps due to a lack of power. It might also be due to the connection of Qianye’s Profound Combatant Formula and Book of Darkness to the great powers of the world and the secrets of Evernight—how could it be so easily fathomed?
After putting away the square box, Song Zining—half-curious and half-helpless—proceeded to gaze at the arachne egg with his hand on his forehead. He tapped the egg with his fan and said, “What do you say we do with this little thing? Don’t tell me we really should fry it?”
At this point, there was no telling what kind of transformation this arachne egg would undergo. There was a possibility that Qianye’s secret would be revealed if they brought it into public eyes just like that. However, a live count-grade egg was a rare commodity—even if they didn’t hand it over to the imperial military for resources, they could still sell it at the auction house for an exorbitant price. It would be such a pity to destroy it just like that.
“Pop, pop, pop!” Song Zining knocked thrice on the egg with his fan. It was just a subconscious action he performed in his mental distress.
Qianye suddenly shouted, “Stop! You’ve broken it!”
“How can it be?” Song Zining was stunned. The light tapping just now likely wouldn’t even break a chicken egg. It would be a joke to try and shatter the steely count-grade egg with that force.
But beneath Song Zining’s fan, a small crack had appeared on the smooth, black-ceramic-like eggshell!
Song Zining was startled and, without much thought, reached out to lift the egg up for a detailed examination. A sudden crisp sound was heard as the shallow crack lines grew deeper and longer, quickly extending across the greater half of the shell’s surface.
Following which, a series of popping sounds emerged as the arachne egg cracked open. A tiny hand reached out and groped about in the air before grabbing the border of the eggshell with great force. A fair little face stretched out from the egg with its damp golden locks hanging down from the forehead.
It was actually a little girl!
She batted her long lashes a couple of times, Song Zining’s face clearly reflected on her ash-green feline eyes. She tilted her head with a naive and confused expression before opening her little mouth and crying out with a childish voice, “Mama!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter