Chapter 49: Strange Stone

Back in the capital, Raas had pretty much given up all hope. If even Munoor had been defeated, no one could save him now. He was fated to join the bottom end in this trial. Jeraldine looked at Lu Yin in disbelief, recalling the first time she had seen him where he was just a Seeker. Now he was an unparalleled Sentinel, just what was his background? Yatar from the Pagoda Planet, grandson of the headmaster, a top-notch powerhouse? Was that really the truth?

Munoor was famous amongst the trainees, and news of his defeat stunned all of them. Their first reaction was disbelief, but the network never lied. Gerlaine verified the news quickly, ensuring that everyone took this powerhouse guarding the capital more seriously. At the same time, the trial itself grew much more complicated. The two Melders who had shown themselves so far had already been defeated.

Not long later, a few more students were captured by Qingyu. Lu Yin updated his count, “Seventeen, he’s caught seventeen students.”

Bai Xue was puzzled, “What are you counting this for?”

“He’s fighting for numbers,” Lu Yin pouted, but seeing everyone speechless, he took a deep breath and explained, “This fellow isn’t stupid and thought of the same thing we did. He wants to use these students to reach some compromise. Pity, the natures of our sides are different; he’s a criminal on the loose, while we’re just natives. He’s fated for judgment no matter how many students he captures.”

“Then doesn’t that settle things? It’s unrelated to you,” Gerlaine batted her eyes.

Lu Yin turned to her, “Every student he captures is one fewer for us. They’re our only bargaining chips.”

Gerlaine widened her eyes, “You really want to negotiate with the Empire using students? That’s impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible. Everyone who dared to enter this trial is an elite; they’re very important to the Empire.”

She sneered, “Do you know how many students participate in these trials every year? Let me tell you; this planet is one of many running right now, and even if all of them were wiped out, there wouldn’t be any impact. You’re dreaming!”

Bai Xue, Zhou Shan, and the rest felt depressed upon hearing her words. The Great Yu Empire was simply too large, and there were too many students and academies within. The trial on Earth only involved a small portion of its students.

“That’s not for sure,” Lu Yin consoled them, pulling Raas over, “This guy’s status should be enough for us to get something.”

“Let go of me!” Raas was furious.

Lu Yin tossed him aside and smiled, “The Vice Treasurer holds a very high position in the Empire; I’ve even heard he has some influence within the Thirteen Imperial Squadrons, which is perfect for me. The greater his influence, the better our chances of a successful negotiation, no?”

Gerlaine sighed and looked at Raas. What Lu Yin had said was true, and this guy was Sicar’s only son. For his sake, the man might even be willing to give up his own life. Raas leveled a furious glare at Lu Yin; this bastard actually dared to use him to threaten the Empire! Whether the negotiation was successful or not, he would become a laughing stock to the Empire’s younger generation.

……

In northern Europe, a group of students were similarly angry. Over twenty students had banded together from all over to hunt for Qingyu, led by Yan Gang who actually wasn’t from the Great Yu Empire but another power within the Frostwave Weave called the Fireforge Planet. They were just as well-known as the Empire despite their limited scope; the planet was enormous and filled with seas of fire. It was said that all creatures from there had extremely high resistance to fire, and could use powerful flame-based battle techniques.

“Qingyu, release Huo Xiaoling,” Yan Gang stared down from his towering position in the sky. He himself was a sealed Melder like Huo Xiaoling, but many believed that he was even stronger than her. His body that had a hint of dark red was radiating scorching heat even in the freezing north, melting the snow below.

“You’ve got guts, kid. Do you think you can snatch someone from my grasp?” Qingyu teased the youth, his eyes full of contempt. In fact, he was still lounging on the ground with the seventeen captured students behind him, Huo Xiaoling among them. He had once been an Explorer; he couldn’t be bothered with mere students.

“Let me warn you, Huo Xiaoling is engaged to Yan Feng, the strongest youth of the Fireforge Planet. Touch so much as a hair on her head and you’ll face my entire planet’s wrath!” Yan Gang stated coldly.

“A little planet in a savage borderland really thinks highly of itself. Whatever, I’ll give you a chance to take her away, but it will depend on your ability.”

“Speak!” Yan Gang growled.

A slight smile grew on Qingyu’s face, “Go to China’s capital and fetch my stuff in exchange for this woman.”

Yan Gang’s eyes flashed, “Release Huo Xiaoling first, and then I’ll go and get it for you.”

Qingyu burst out in laughter, “Are you an imbecile, or do you think I’m an idiot? Release the hostage first? I do hope your brain hasn’t burnt to a complete crisp.”

Yan Gang was furious and clenched both fists, the air around him further distorted by the heat, “Fine, I’ll go, but you must promise not to harm her.”

Qingyu shrugged, “That depends on how long it takes you to get it. I wouldn’t give you a guarantee if you take too long; this girl is quite pretty.”

Yan Gang was furious, “Xiaoling is a Melder; if you dare touch her, we’ll slaughter you even if it means we must break our seals.”

“Wouldn’t that mean you forfeit your chance to join Astral-10? Do you think the Astral Combat Academy accepts trash that can’t even handle Sentinel trials? How will you answer your leader?” Qingyu continued to mock him.

Yan Gang snorted, then told the student behind him, “Watch him, I’m going to China.”

“Munoor just fled after being defeated, are you sure you’ll be alright alone?” The student came from the Huo Family and Huo Xiaoling was his only concern.

“Don’t compare me to such trash!” Yan Gang snapped before flying away, a white trail of smoke behind him. Assuming no mutant beasts barred the way, it would take about two days to get from where he was to Beijing.

……

Said city was mostly dark, with only a small part of the city lit up so it could avoid attracting mutant beasts. Lu Yin arrived at the basement of the Research and Development Center under President Lian’s guidance to see what Qingyu had left behind—a stone about the size of a human skull. It seemed round at first glance, but it actually had sixteen faces, each smooth and flat with an indecipherable mark in the center. The entire stone emitted an aura that felt like it had weathered countless changes since the start of time.

Beside Lu Yin was Bai Xue; it was her recommendation that had finally allowed him to see this thing. She had been strongly opposed to him even laying eyes on Qingyu’s belongings before, even claiming that such permission required the Seven Sages to agree, but now the entire capital was under his sole protection; there was simply no reason not to let him take a look.

He looked at the stone that was placed in a glass box with curiosity, “It looks like carved stone, but it feels… different.”

“Do you know how old it is?” President Lian asked, answering when he shook his head, “We don’t either. It’s impossible to estimate.”

“Impossible to estimate?” Lu Yin was shocked. It was rather inconceivable that Earth’s current technology couldn’t even measure a stone’s age.

President Lian continued, “It’s just too old for our knowledge, we can’t track some of the changes it has lasted through. The traces of its age are everywhere, and we simply can’t come to a conclusion. We’ve tried many approaches but were unable to glimpse anything.”

Bai Xue followed up, “We did manage to put together some information. This Qingyu came here from the depths of the universe, and no news was spread despite the incredible distance of his escape. The best explanation is that he’d stolen something far too valuable, this stone.”

“When you guys brought him back from Neptune, what else did he have besides this stone?” Lu Yin asked

She looked at President Lian, who said, “A sword, several crystals that turned out to be star crystals, and a chip that contained cultivation methods. It was rather damaged, so we couldn’t read much, but we did what we could.”

She elaborated, “The blade is with Zhang Dingtian, and we absorbed the star crystals long ago to help with cultivation. We were already close to the Realm of Sky before the Apocalypse started, or what the aliens call the Sentinel realm.”

Lu Yin looked at the stone, “So this stone and that sword are the only things Qingyu left behind?”

President Lian answered, “We have examined the war blade. The material is very sturdy and far surpasses any metal or alloy that can be found on Earth, but that’s it. As for this stone, we can’t make heads or tails of it at all.”

“Can I examine it?”

“Of course.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Neshi/Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA