Lanruo heaved a deep sigh as she, alongside others, observed the moss-covered ruins populated with broken structures and sprinkles of vines here and there. There was not even a semblance of humanity since the Ancient Orchid Ruins were heavily infested with spirit beasts shortly after its downfall. The ruins and forest were no longer differentiable, and according to Chen Linjian, the mighty Ancient Orchid Ruin's infrastructure now resembled Holy Orchid Institute's total size.
"We finally reached!"
Ning'er wiped away the sweat on her face with a handkerchief before turning her face towards Korra.
"Don't you feel hot, Senior?"
Ning'er inquired with an irritated expression. She felt the effect of the sun increasing just by looking at Korra's current state.
Korra pushed away the flappy head of the duskgold dreadclaw bear with her back covered with its hide and grinned with her face dripping with sweat.
"Of course, not! Well, I do feel pretty hot~"
Korra chortled with a pleased expression as the students around her displayed a strange expression. After waking up in the morning, Korra did her quickest skinning ever and instantly dr.a.p.ed the hide over herself to saunter. Now that she had digested the gains entirely, she could easily match a rank 4 spirit master!
"Leave that dumb bear alone," Lanruo called Ning'er, her words vague enough to let the imagination of the listeners decide if the pinkette was talking about the bear's hide or the person brutish enough to swagger under it. "I suggest that we don't separate. I have read many tales... a single person should never try his or her luck in such cases."
Lanruo muttered with an unnatural expression. Undoubtedly, one of the few horror films that Nik shared with Lanruo was working. Either way, Lanruo's words were rational to all, but Korra soon pointed towards a rigid girl within the group.
"What about her?"
Xiao Xue instantly felt out of the place when the gazes of remaining girls fell on her. After Lu Piao's indecent request yesterday, Xiao Xue remained alongside Ryu'er's group. She didn't even feel like greeting Lu Piao this morning and felt even more disheartened when Lu Piao did not take the chance to apologize. In fact, he was happily chatting with Nie Li and Du Ze.
"She will be with us!"
Ryu'er spoke up quickly, pulling nods of agreement from the group. Xiao Xue held Ryu'er's hand with a grateful expression while Ziyun's eyes darted around and she smiled innocently, "It will be great if we actually manage to find a gold cave!"
"Gold? Hmm! This is also gold!"
Korra cackled and turned on her heels to show the pure brilliance of the thick fur of her hunt, making other girls roll their eyes.
Chen Linjian's voice suddenly resounded within the group as he walked forward and stood in the front. He pointed at the ruins and then continued, "We can either find for treasures on our own. Same rule finder's keeper. But, no fatal attacks are to be issued. We all belong to the same institute and should try and promote healthy competition." Saying so, a few of his lackey cheered up and formed a group behind him. Thinking for a moment, Ye Hong didn't move and stood beside Ray while the succubus swept his gaze in the group before walking out and smiling.
"I want to find suitable spirit rings for my martial spirits. When should we meet?"
After a single night, Ray's control over the group of myriad talents had grown to a shocking degree. Seeing Ray walk-up, Chen Linjian looked towards the silent Ye Hong for a moment and then offered, "In fact, why don't we team up? I will not lie. I have a full map of the ruins and also a certain assurance of finding treasures. After this, we will hunt for your spirit rings collectively."
Chen Linjian's words instantly attracted many loners who were going to try their luck someplace else. Of course, Linjian also had the motive to pull all this workforce for himself. Seeing through Linjian's thoughts, Ray smiled beautifully, making the youth's heart thump for a moment before he spoke sweetly, "How can I refuse such a kind invitation, isn't that right, Dear?"
Ray turned to face Ye Hong, who nodded his head and grinned, "Treasures are meant to adorn you, honey!"
Countless boys already adored Ray, and when they found 'her' super fluffy relationship with Ye Hong, well, they felt crushed. Besides Nie Li, even Lu Piao had a look of dismissal. Alas, nobody noticed the apparent change in his heart. While Linjian gathered forces to dig up the ruins, Nie Li made his own plan. He wanted to invite Ziyun, but after a moment's thought, rejected the notion. A person learns from failure. His hasty attitude had already made Ziyun more than cold towards him, and even now, Nie Li was unaware that Lu Piao's divine intervention had made things even glacial as Xiao Xue could only admit her fiance's heinous plan. She felt guilty and thought that apologizing for Lu Piao's sake was only natural.
Within an eerie blood pool in the deepest corner of the Star Dou Forest, a white figure with a featureless face and a hat-like extension of head submerged itself within the blood pool.
'Crimson and I have been beside Empress' side for countless years. She has turned human. Crimson already has a body befitting humans... she now has an edge.'
The figure thought carefully. Every now and then, on the surface of the blood pool, rotten faces would resurface before submerging once again. The frequency of most of the heads, whose blood contributed to this pool, was quite small. But there was one particular head that kept on bobbing up. Its head was round, and there was a subtle sheen on the cheeks of the face, even if it was on the verge of rotting.
If Nik, Klas, or Ray peeked on this beast's sensual bath, they would find that this face belonged to the host that decided to venture into the forest on his own. Of course, it was now clear that his adventure didn't go exceptionally well.
"And this human... he tastes a little bad."
The figure whispered even when the contours of her lips did not move. The whole situation was more than eerie.
Finally, the figure stood up, and its pure-white, leathery skin instantly absorbed the dripping blood. For a moment, the figure looked back at the pool and 'inhaled' as a vortex of air consumed all the blood. The fat host's head plopped over the bed of human skulls. In fact, this pool went down to 80 meters in depth, filled with human heads completely.
From the thin palms of the figure, two blood swords instantly filled up before droplets of blood dripped on the ground. Before long, the spirit beast let out a screech that translated to Hail the Empress before torrents of blood overflowed from the figure and covered the body into a gigantic blood cocoon that thumped every now and then. The moment the spirit beast hid within the cocoon, another figure with raven wings, human's physique, and reddish skin floated down and guarded silently.
"Hail the Empress," she whispered.
As the Star Dou Forest was on the verge of losing another one of its top ten savage species Blood Cardinal; the commotion finally alerted a snowy white silkworm the length of a young body sleeping deep within the earth. Not just this spirit beast, many other spirit beasts felt moved by the ceremony of turning into a human and decides to observe it from a distance. Even now, savage beast or not, none dared to stop Blood Cardinal's ascension. First, the loss of Blood Cardinal could mean peace for the entire forest. After all, the notorious dragon-slaying Gojira had long disappeared. With Blood Cardinal's retreat, the Hell Raven might follow, too.
"Kekeke, beasts turning into humans? Hmph! What's the benefit? We beasts would soon prevail!"
A landshark beast cackled wildly as he looked towards the fiery inscription patterns stopping him from entering the black spring's landscape. He licked his lips with his heart thumping loudly.
"There may be a divine inheritance inside! We can finally break the limits placed by heavens and become stronger!"
The beast began once again.
Just like this, a single decision of a loyal retainer had instantly changed the situation of the Star Dou forest. Needless to say, such changes would trigger the wild nature of the slumbering spirit beasts and would only bring forward the time of the much-feared attack of the forest against the humans.
Meanwhile, instead of ruining the chance to try out new things, Nik sat down in the backyard and carefully started to probe the surrounding space. Since he did not have enough inspiration to level his other manipulation skills, Nik finally diverted his attention to one of the most dangerous skills he will ever handle Space Manipulation.
By this time, Klas was already a few meters away from Nik and started her training in Nik's technique whose benefits instantly attracted the crystal-men while Asami was preparing for the exams. Shen Xiu had to leave for some minor purchases, Shen Yue was meeting up with a few friends he used to hang out with, Xue Yin was concentrating on building the city, and finally, Gojira purred on Nik's laps as she demanded in a thuggish tone, "Hey, scratch this part, too!"
Nik sighed deeply and scratched the lower corner of her head as she sighed in content.
This wouldn't do. Nik was deeply aware of this fact. If Gojira doesn't find a good way to spend her time with, she'll just become a lazy kitten. With a thought, Nik extended his gravity suppression over to Gojira as she let out a surprised yelp and stood up as if the 100% increase in gravity was nothing. Of course, her head did buzz a little.
Gojira inquired in curiosity as she stood up and stretched her limbs. This sort of pressure was satisfying for her.
"This is my skill in manipulating gravity. Since the paradise limits me, pressurizing myself to a greater extent would be counterproductive. But not for you... so, do you want to try out your physical limits?"
Nik smiled while Gojira turned her head and grinned.
"Don't you already know it? Sure, hit it up!"