[V7C033– In Life and In Eternal Rest]
The sun had risen once again after the uneventful night.
The day and night here were different from Evernight, with each occupying half of each day. Qianye walked out of the log cabin under the faint light of dawn. He stood near the river for a while before returning with several big fish. In terms of catching fish, the Eye of Control was definitely better than its counterpart.
After cleaning his catch and hanging them outside the house, Qianye brought out the booklet Lil’ Knife had left behind and began reading through it in detail.
Life in the Eastern Desolace was largely dependent on the Eastern Sea. Seas are always abundant in natural resources, and the neutral lands were no exception. There were dozens of marine produce listed in the booklet, making up almost two-thirds of its contents.
For instance, there was a type of snail that could be found among the shoal rocks with numerous golden lines running along its sh.e.l.l. The mollusk was merely the size of a finger, but its taste was exquisite and it served as a delicacy on the dining table of many a major character. This kind of sea snail wouldn’t live past a single day after leaving the waters of the Eastern Sea and needed to be nourished with origin power at all times to keep it alive. Hence, the greater the distance from the sea, the higher its price. The price of this golden-threaded snail would rise over ten times in the core regions of the neutral lands. It wouldn’t be too strange for prices to jump a thousand times back in the empire or Evernight lands.
In the Eastern Desolace, most new pioneers would make a living gathering these creatures. Half a month of labor was enough to pay one’s taxes.
The lower he got down the list, the more Qianye felt that the Eastern Sea was a treasure trove. Just in the shallow sea region, there were more than ten types of rare sh.e.l.lfish in addition to several types of sea turtles and their eggs, both of which had medicinal uses. One could harvest blood corals deeper in the ocean, and a finger-sized piece of it was enough to pay half a year of taxes.
Additionally, there were many rare ores lying on the seabed that could be fished up, provided one was lucky enough. There were also numerous fish species living close to the shallow sea region, and all of them were bona fide fierce beasts. Hence, it could be said that fierce beast meat could be found everywhere in the Eastern Desolace and the prices were fairly cheap. Not everyone, though, could hook up a fierce-beast-level fish. Without being a champion and the aid of the origin power in the environment, the fisherman could very well become the food for the fish.
The river was also abundant in produce and ore beds. Qianye also found, to his surprise, that the wood from the Black Forest was also on the list, and the price was considerably high. Three whole logs or two logs carved into planks equaled a month of taxes. At this point, Qianye realized that the Black Grove wasn’t as calm as it seemed on the surface. There were sure to be unnoticeable dangers within—why else would they offer such prices?
Moreover, the roots of the trees in the Black Grove were interconnected and might have some other use. For instance, they might be able to produce mutant beast tides to clear out intruders, just like those in the Misty wood. Otherwise, why would the price difference between log and plank be so great?
However, Qianye had carved at least ten logs into planks last night and had ten or so of them piled up nearby. Yet, he didn’t notice any movement from the forest at all. Could it be that the forest was smart enough to know that Qianye wasn’t easy to provoke?
Qianye pondered while rubbing his chin and felt that it was definitely a possibility. A killer weapon like East Peak was indeed invincible against the wood. It could be that he had been too fast with his logging, and that had intimidated the Black Grove. Of course, he couldn’t exclude the possibility that the forest was preparing for a large-scale counterattack.
Qianye wasn’t really too concerned about the counterattack of the Black Grove. This kind of mysterious zone wasn’t much of a threat to him as long as he didn’t go deep into its center. With regards to fierce beasts, there weren’t many that wouldn’t go weak in the knees after seeing Zhuji, even the mature ones.
Soon, he had reached the last page wherein was recorded a number of legendary treasures. Finding one of them would raise one’s status and treatment by several levels, including the right to live in the core region and land a job with a major power. There was even a chance to obtain one’s own floating island and become its ruler.
Qianye had never seen any of the things on the list, nor had he even heard of them. However, the booklet contained detailed descriptions about these items to prevent people from missing them. And having nothing better to do, he decided to keep on reading about them.
Thus, the description regarding the last two treasures jumped into Qianye’s eyes. “Thunderous Flame Crystal: Effects are similar and just slightly inferior to a corresponding origin power crystallization, originates from the great maelstrom, very rare.”
“Marine Lotus: Effects mysterious and unclear, originates from the great maelstrom, only ever found once.”
Qianye was no stranger to the words “great maelstrom”, but he knew almost nothing about it. However, judging from how much attention both factions were paying to the quotas, it was clear that there were great fortunes there not inferior to the void essence from the depths of the floating continent.
There was also a great maelstrom in the neutral lands?
If that were the case, the abundance of resources here was probably even more significant than he had imagined. Why had the empire and Evernight not made a move on such a place? Perhaps there were other complications in this story.
Qianye stowed the booklet away and rekindled the bonfire. He then cleaned a big fish and began cooking more fish stew. Qianye’s skills were much better than the old man, and before long, the spreading aroma had even attracted the sleeping Zhuji.
Nighteye walked out of the house and began helping Qianye set the table. Just like that, a hearty breakfast was soon ready.
After consuming his morning meal, Qianye began making the house furniture. Most of his work involved producing wooden planks while the more detailed crafting was left to Nighteye and the old man. Household furniture was a piece of cake for the maker of the “bullet”.
Little Zhuji was sent to catch fish by the riverside or pick up golden-threaded snails by the beach. In truth, she was completely unsuited for such detailed work, but Qianye wanted to give her something to do. Catching fish and searching for things also served to train her hunting skills.
A whole set of furniture was completed in just one morning. Later on, Qianye added a workshop to the old man’s house and built a standalone kitchen nearby. A basic home thus took form.
The night was just as calm and everyone apart from Qianye slept soundly.
When dawn arrived, Qianye headed to the small town to exchange some tools and supplies. Before coming to the neutral lands, he hadn’t expected to have to build an entire house on a plot of empty land. Hence, there were many miscellaneous necessities he hadn’t prepared. He had a lot of supplies on Andruil’s s.p.a.ce, but most of them were ammunition, medicines, and pieces of spare armor. He had only prepared a small amount of ordinary water and food for emergencies. He naturally didn’t want to use up a large amount of precious s.p.a.ce on daily-use articles.
They were sent here by truck, but he could only walk on his way back. It just so happened that Qianye wanted to probe the Black Grove, too. So, he strapped a bundle of wooden planks to his back and traveled along the border region.
This time, perhaps because he was carrying the wooden planks, Qianye felt something off the moment he entered the Black Grove. The communication between the trees grew denser than before, and the leaves would sometimes sway against the wind in an attempt to turn toward Qianye. The ground trembled slightly as the entire forest began communicating with one another via the root system.
Qianye’s intuition told him that he had drawn the forest’s attention.
A sentient forest? Equipped with his experience in the Misty Wood, Qianye wasn’t afraid of this forest. The Misty Wood could suppress the perception of all trespa.s.sers to within ten meters—being able to warp the environment to such a degree, now that was truly frightening. In truth, both factions had suffered grave casualties from the beast tides. Up to this point, none of them had managed to clearly understand how this forest had come into existence.
The Black Grove couldn’t be that powerful, no matter how mysterious it was.
As Qianye went on, he suddenly noticed a black silhouette in front of him, almost as though someone was running through the woods. It was extremely fast and quite adept at hiding amidst the leaves. Add to that the absence of footsteps while running, it would be hard for any ordinary person to notice.
Qianye activated the Eye of Truth and switched to origin power vision, immediately bringing the shadow’s trajectory into focus. What surprised Qianye, however, was that the black shadow’s origin power leaned toward neither daybreak nor evernight and, instead, the void attribute. Who would’ve thought this shadow would possess some characteristics of a void creature?
Qianye became interested, but he pretended not to have sensed the other party’s movements and kept on walking steadily. That black silhouette probed several times and gradually approached Qianye.
Just as it was at its closest to Qianye, the latter smashed the nearby tree with his fist, sending out a wide-reaching shockwave. The origin power within the forest resonated with the shockwave and immediately grew chaotic. That black shadow was also affected by the disturbance and became petrified. Realizing that things weren’t looking good, it wanted to struggle and break free, but the very next thing it felt was Qianye’s hand around its neck.
It was actually a young woman. Her pet.i.te body was as slender as a young girl, and her skin was of a somewhat darker shade, glistening with moisture. She was clad in clothing st.i.tched together from beast skin and was wearing metallic rings both on her wrist and neck. The strange part was that these rings made no sound when they struck against one another.
The lady struggled with all her might. Her strength somewhat surprised Qianye because it was definitely not the power of a human. But Qianye was someone who could grapple with arachne, so how could such resistance get into his eyes? He swung the captive through the air and slammed her to the ground, stunning her on the spot.
The girl eventually clambered up with great difficulty and glared at Qianye with ferocious eyes. Qianye crouched down in front of her and asked, “Can you not speak?”
He asked repeatedly in the imperial, vampire, arachne, and even the common-use language but obtained no response. Just as Qianye was about to give up, she suddenly swung her hands together, striking the metallic rings together and emitting a crisp sound.
Origin power surged along with the soundwaves, causing Qianye to grow dizzy and his vision to darken. He remained calm in the face of this sudden development. Supporting himself on the ground, he unleashed a deep roar and activated the power of his oceanic vortex. The surrounding s.p.a.ce became congested with a strong pressure, under which even the giant trees began to creak and groan.
Qianye felt a faint vibration at the edge of his domain and nothing more thereafter. That odd lady had escaped out of his domain in the blink of an eye. As expected, by the time Qianye had recovered and opened his eyes, there was no longer anyone near him.
However, the malice of the woods gradually became more evident.