Moment Queen stayed in the spirit base for the longest time and did not return. Han Sen had no fear, though, for he could feel what she was up to.
Providing one waterdrop to the tree every day, it only took another four days for the small fruits that hung from its boughs to increase to the size of an average car tire. The texture of the fruits was peculiar, scaly and reptilian like the creatures that were supposed to be within.
One fruit finished maturing and fell from the tree. Quickly, and quite ecstatically, Han Sen retrieved the fruit and peeled back the layers of its scaled-exterior. After he did so, a red light shot out from the interior and entered his Sea of Soul.
"Mutant Pet Beast Soul Obtained; Dragon-Blood Snake."
Looking inside his Sea of Soul, he noticed the presence of a new creature. It was a red snake with four legs.
It was more like a gecko than a snake, but not quite. Its skin wasn't leathery like a gecko or smooth like an amphibian; it was more reptilian and scaled like dry, cracked mud.
From out of its mouth, a forked tongue rattled; it was definitely a snake of sorts.
Of course, Han Sen knew appearances could be deceptive, and so he didn't pay too much heed to its odd look. What he was most interested in were its statistics, and that was what he spent much of his time perusing.
"Mutant Dragon-Blood Snake: Second Gene Lock Open."
Han Sen was a little disheartened at the result. Mutant pets were capable of having six open gene locks, so this was at the lower end of the spectrum.
"It is fortunate I have another three to test my luck with." Han Sen resolved to only be grateful if one of the pets had five gene locks open.
Another dragonfruit fell from the tree. Hastily, Han Sen scrambled over to pick it up. When it was in his hands, he peeled away the layers, all the while saying, "God? Please bless me with a pet that has five of its gene locks open. Amen."
After the layers were peeled and removed, another red light burst forth like a beacon and entered Han Sen's Sea of Soul. Uncaring for the little creature's appearance, he raced straight for the statistics.
"Mutant Dragon-Blood Snake: First Gene Lock Open"
"F*ck you!" Han Sen wanted to flip the nearest table he could find, as this was the worst possible result one could receive.
Although mutant creatures had a high fitness level, ones that had only opened their first gene lock were unlikely to be able to take down anything greater than an ordinary creature.
Since Han Sen wanted to take down mutant creatures on his own next, this pet was useless.
"It looks like I've been praying to the wrong god," Han Sen thought to himself.
The third dragonfruit dropped from the tree and hurtled to the ground, but before he went over to pick it up, he requested that Zero bring him water. When she brought the bucket over, he washed his face and summoned his iron bug armor.
Han Sen approached the fruit and started peeling it. As he did so, he said, "God? It's me again; perhaps you didn't get the message last time, but I request that you bless me with the fortune to receive that which I most desperately need. I will sacrifice lambs, goats, or whatever in your name, if that is what it's going to take. Please, God. Amen."
After he finished peeling it, a red light moved to nestle in Han Sen's Sea of Soul once more.
"Mutant Dragon-Blood Snake: First Gene Lock Open."
After hearing the voice, his face blackened. He shouted, "Oh, come on! This is not even funny."
Seeing the three snakes, Han Sen wanted to bang his head into the nearest concrete surface.
The final dragonfruit fell from the tree, and considering his current string of bad luck, Han Sen felt reluctant to open it himself.
"Zero, help me peel it!" He hoped Zero would be luckier than he was.
Zero approached the fruit and gently started peeling it with her small and delicate hands. When she was done, a red light shot into her forehead.
Han Sen pointed at Zero and asked, "Hey, I thought you couldn't use beast souls?"
Zero could not eat the flesh of creatures, and neither could she make use of beast souls; this was because she did not have a Sea of Soul. Her situation was similar to the shura, in that regard.
But with ease, the Dragon-Blood Snake entered her forehead, signifying she now had a Sea of Soul.
Han Sen had once tried to send her a beast soul in the past, but it didn't work. He knew for sure she had no Sea of Soul, but clearly, things were different now.
Zero looked at Han Sen but did not say anything, and the expression she wore made it seem as if she didn't know what to say.
Han Sen tried sending her one of his other, now-useless Dragon-Blood Snakes and the transfer actually worked this time.
"What is this?" Han Sen was shocked with this revelation, but judging from Zero's relative silence, it seemed as if she too was unsure what had happened or what had changed.
Zero merely stood where she was, staring back at Han Sen at a loss for words.
Han Sen asked Zero to return the snakes to him, and lo and behold, they were transferred back to Han Sen correctly. Her Sea of Soul seemed to function just as any other's would.
"Was she too young before or something? Perhaps that is why her Sea of Soul had not yet activated." Han Sen mulled over this curious development with great interest.
After thinking about it some more, her being too young may have indeed been the correct answer. He observed Zero's figure some more and noticed she appeared a little more grown-up than she had previously. Rather than a child, she looked more like a teenager.
That being said, she should have fully grown-up a long time ago. Why this was happening now befuddled Han Sen.
"Humans need to be sixteen before they can enter the First God's Sanctuary. Before sixteen, you haven't fully grown-up, thus the ineligibility. It is true she is not a pure, average, run-of-the-mill human... so is her slow growth a result of this peculiarity?" Han Sen wondered some more.
He couldn't prove his theories, but looking at her matured facial structure, it seemed likely.
Regardless of what the cause was, Han Sen was just happy she could now use beast souls.
Han Sen asked her if she could receive geno points from the consumption of meat, but she merely shook her head.
Han Sen took a look at the Dragon-Blood Snake she had obtained and returned to him, in the desperate hope her fruit-opening result was better than his own three tries.
"Mutant Dragon-Blood Snake: Sixth Gene Lock Open."
Han Sen's jaw dropped to the ground. He ran over to Zero, picked her up in his arms, and started spinning about with her. Then, he kissed her on the cheek, telling her, "My dear little Zero, you are my lucky goddess. Yes, yes you are! You just got me the best snake possible!"