The hundreds of thousands of tubes sucked Emperor Aragon dry in just a moment, devouring all his nutrients until he seemed less than a corpse. His body suddenly trembled, the fire in his eyes dying out.
However, a heated soul broke through the boundary of illusory and real before the moment of his death, moving through the tubes to reach the bottom of the tower instantly. Subsequently, a mind-blowing light beam suddenly soared into the sky!
“This is…” Xavier involuntarily exited stealth, a frightening expression on his face. Just a glance had sent terror into his heart, as if an inescapable crisis was approaching him.
“Project Tree of Life… I must stop it… Eh? Jill?!” Xavier shouted as he suddenly saw Jill’s silhouette within one of the twelve pearls. His little sister was sadly unconscious, not able to respond.
“I’m coming right away, I’ll save you! You have to persist!” Black scales instantly covered Xavier’s hands, and he released a strong power.
“Open for me!” Xavier attacked the defensive forcefield repeatedly with his fists, but his Snakebite Fist could not cause it to even tremble.
“How can it be? Why is this so?” Xavier was about to fall apart, the black shadows converging on his hands repeatedly smashing the light. However, this was the core of the Empire’s defence, using the most advanced technology and resources. It stood unmoving as a mountain, firmly rooted to the ground.
*Buzz!* A soul emerged from within the pillar of light at this moment, near the crown of the metal tower. It seemed to bellow out as it emitted a light that stirred the hearts of the people.
The Shadow Weave materialised on top of the tower, covering the entire world. The light beam crackled as it separated from the metal tower, connecting instead to the Shadow Weave.
Branches continued to spread out, and within a few moments a primordial tree made of light was formed in mid air, its many branches tightly linked to the Shadow Weave.
“The Tree of Life… It’s begun…” All the survivors in the Empire looked up at this moment, seeing the massive tree.
“Damn it! Damn it!” Xavier brandished his fists constantly. Even his scales shattered to the force of his blows, blood spilling onto the membrane of light.
“Snake Dowager, or Leylin… Either one of you… please give me strength!” Falling into despair, Xavier couldn’t bear it anymore as he prayed…
Within the palace, Leylin and Allsnake were in the middle of their chess match.
”It looks like those bloodline carriers are experiencing difficulties… What do you think?” Allsnake twirled a piece in her hand, a smile on her face. It was as if everything had happened in front of her.
“Regardless of what they do, the Empire… No, the royal family is destined to fail…” A trace of disdain could be seen in Leylin’s smile, “Even we can sense this easily, how could it escape Shar? I’m afraid she’s letting them continue these small tricks, waiting for the right time to harvest the rewards.”
“But what should be do about it?” The Snake Dowager stared at Leylin with her beautiful eyes, a trace of coquettishness in her expression. “I’ve noticed you have other plans in your mind.”
“That’s a secret, and the source of my confidence. Forgive me, I cannot reveal it to you right now.” Leylin shot the Snake Dowager a sincere look, “When the time is right, I’ll fulfill my end of the contract. Please trust in me until then.”
“What about now? Are we not doing anything?” The Snake Dowager leaned back lazily, whether she really believed in Leylin’s words unknown.
“Right now? We can add in a variable or two, waiting for Shar’s reaction.” Leylin smiled softly, placing a finger on a datura flower rune.
Outside the Imperial Garden, Xavier suddenly felt his body heat up.
“This feeling…” He tore his shirt apart, seeing a beautiful black flower slowly blooming on his chest above his heart. The pain seemed to tear his body apart, constantly eroding his nerves.
The last time this happened he’d been unable to endure the pain, losing consciousness. However, things were different this time; several upgrades in strength allowed Xavier to persevere, gnashing his teeth in an effort to remain conscious.
“Hee… AAAH…” The extreme force caused his gums to bleed. At the same time, he felt a terrifying power moving within his body.
“Snakebite Fist!” A black phantom snake with scarlet eyes suddenly emerged in front of Xavier, a few stories tall. An earth-shattering roar resounded as he punched out, the surrounding earth trembling as the defensive forcefield shattered.
“Jill!” Xavier instantly rushed towards Jill’s location.
“Scram!” The pillar of light radiated anger, and numerous needle tubes suddenly charged towards Xavier.
“These insignificant things…” Xavier used his hands to catch them, but the moment he made contact his face changed. ‘So hard, even harder than alloys. It’s also so powerful, and this current…’
*Bang!* The boy was sent flying.
“There cannot be any damage to the Tree of Life!” The tree completed its preparations amidst the fluctuations of the soul, suddenly spreading out.
“Eh?” Xavier suddenly felt light-headed, as if his spirit had been extracted. Fortunately, the datura flower’s protection had allowed him to remain conscious.
However, he would rather have fainted than watch the scene in front of him. Particles of light emerged from everywhere in the capital like rain, converging on the pillar of light. The twelve pearls lit up, the faces of the girls within revealing painful expressions.
Once the powerful soul energy was transformed, it gathered at the centre of the tower that housed the Tree of Life. The tree grew in size, slowly increasing its pull on Xavier’s soul.
“It has started!” Ling, in control of Dawn, released a sigh of relief as she separated from Crowley.
“Hateful! This is all your fault!” Crowley looked at his surroundings as an invisible net of energy began to materialise, looking like a bunch of branches that grabbed onto the fallen whose bodies had been infected with the X gene.
A particle of light was then drawn out of these people, moving towards the tree as if this web was a bunch of roots. Looking at the scene, Crowley could not help but feel extremely terrified.
“It’s useless even if you knock me down now…” Ling forced a bitter smile while looking at Crowley, “It’ll start with the bodies affected by the X gene, their souls providing the Tree of Life its initial nourishment. Then will be the ordinary people who weren’t infected, followed by ability wielders and bloodline carriers… With the Tree of Life’s rapid growth, the force with which it will absorb these souls will grow… No one can escape, and abandoning the Rapid Shadows just ridiculous. The Shadow Weave is everywhere, such a thing would only help delay the inevitable by a few minutes, nothing more…”
“Since you knew all this, why not do anything to stop it?” Crowley was thoroughly enraged. The chimera of snakes roared and rushed forward.
“Because… This is my fate…” Ling laughed bitterly, her eyes showing reminiscence.
“Cough…” She suddenly coughed and spat out fresh blood.
“It looks like I won’t be able to continue from now? After all, I only have an ordinary physique…” There was a trace of a smile on the princess’ face as the armour collided with the beast, roots from the Shadow Weave appearing to bore into her body. The feeling of one’s soul being grabbed caused her face to stiffen.
“Self-destruct!” Before losing her consciousness, Ling issued the last order.
*Boom!* The armour grabbed the chimeral beast, before disintegrating in a terrifying explosion.
“How I wish to go back to my childhood, looking at my father push my swing…” Ling smiled before she fell into total darkness, her body swallowed by the fire.
“Crowley! Crowley!” Bobbi rushed over, only to see a bottomless black hole. The range of the destruction had been surprisingly small, but this wasn’t Ling’s goodwill. She’d instead focused all the destructive might on her opponent.
The area surrounding them had been annihilated, the earth itself completely gone to reveal a bottomless underground tunnel. Crowley had borne the full brunt of this attack, would he be able to survive?
Bobbi’s face was filled with tears as she constantly called for Crowley.
“Cough… Rest assured! Before the destruction of the Empire, I will not die…” A few long back snakes similar to vines grabbed the edges of the pit before Crowley climbed out. However, he was not in a good state— Half of his body had been destroyed, both of his legs and his right arm gone.
“She was a respectable opponent, but also a pitiful person…” Crowley looked at the pit and sighed.
*Whoosh!* His body muscles suddenly squirmed, and he finally even grew out a new arm and legs. His newborn limbs had delicate white skin, seeming no different from the rest of him.
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