Qianye and Nighteye glanced at one another. In the end, Qianye said with a cough, “Put down that… thing, first. Be careful.”
The ocean was the source of true danger. At first, Qianye and Nighteye weren’t worried about Zhuji because the girl’s body was extremely st.u.r.dy and almost as strong as Qianye’s own. Ordinary sea beasts weren’t her match at all—they could hardly even bite through her skin. Additionally, the arachne were different from the werewolves who were inherently bad in the water. There was even a subspecies called water spiders. There was no telling how much of this water spider bloodline Little Zhuji had, but at least the recent days had proven that she was a natural fighter under the water.
Hence, Qianye and Nighteye became more supportive over her going underwater, only warning her not to enter the deep-sea regions. After seeing this lobster, however, their expressions changed somewhat. Zhuji was quite obedient. She tossed the lobster onto the ground and stepped on it before the creature could turn around and retaliate. The stomp caused the creature to howl in agony and its sh.e.l.l to let out creaking noises.
The two adults exchanged a glance. Nighteye drew her vampiric blade, crouched down in front of the creature, and tapped its head with the blade. “Where exactly are you from? Can you speak our language?”
Little Zhuji became dazed. “It can speak?” Qianye and Nighteye had told her that she couldn’t eat anything that could ‘speak’. This development put her in an extremely bad mood.
Clearly quite terrified of the vampiric blade in Nighteye’s hands, the lobster began making hissing noises. Even if the lobster was an intelligent creature, its natural anatomical structure made it difficult for it to learn human speech.
Nighteye used the blade to flick off a translucent scale from its body. This carapace clearly had a locking mechanism near its edges that would fasten it tightly to the lobster’s body.
Qianye was also quite interested in the object. He took the scale and observed it for a while before crus.h.i.+ng it in his hands. The scale bent out of shape amidst creaking noises, but it actually didn’t break apart. One could see from this just how st.u.r.dy it was.
“This isn’t a natural sh.e.l.l but a type of armor.” Qianye studied the lobster and removed dozens more of such scales. After everything was pieced together, a neat, translucent lobster sh.e.l.l was formed.
The lobster became much less imposing after having its sh.e.l.l removed. It lay p.r.o.ne on the ground, blowing some bubbles in silence.
Nighteye knocked the sh.e.l.l on its head and said, “If you’re not willing to speak, we can make a good soup out of you.”
The lobster looked like it didn’t know what soup meant and merely remained limp on the ground.
In Qianye’s eyes, there was a clear flow of origin power in the creature, and the pathways were quite different from that of ordinary fierce beasts. Although its disguise was quite realistic, the origin fluctuations within grew stronger under Nighteye’s threat. It could hide its ident.i.ty from other people, but no small changes could escape Qianye’s notice.
Apparently, this lobster was not just intelligent but highly so.
After several fruitless attempts, Nighteye also became somewhat impatient. She tapped on the lobster’s skull and said coldly, “Since you’re not willing to speak, I’ll just take it as you can’t speak.”
It was at this time that the lobster suddenly erupted with extreme power. It tossed Zhuji away, bounced up from the ground, and shot straight toward Nighteye like a cannonball! The horn on its forehead flickered with a deep blue brilliance—the glow of origin power!
As fast as the lobster was, he was still slower than Qianye and Nighteye. The latter pulled back to evade that rock-crus.h.i.+ng attack, while Qianye caught the creature from the back, freezing it mid-air.
The lobster’s body flickered with origin power as it bent its body in a bid to struggle free. Despite being very powerful, it couldn’t escape Qianye’s palms after being caught. The exoskeleton started to creak and groan, almost as if it would start to crack the very next moment.
Finding no way to escape, it shot out several of its whiskers with a loud cry, aiming for Nighteye’s abdomen! These whiskers were incomparably sharp and the force behind them was no weaker than a bullet.
The attack came abruptly, but it still couldn’t do anything to Nighteye. Her vampiric blade drew out several beams of light as she deflected all of the incoming projectiles.
This attack, however, infuriated Qianye, who quickly increased the force from his hand and crushed the sh.e.l.l with a loud crack. Soon afterward, a dark golden blood energy advanced along the creatures spine and a.s.saulted its brain. The lobster unleashed a miserable scream, its limbs swinging about randomly as its origin power disappeared.
Qianye threw the creature to the ground with a snort. “Courting death.”
The lobster’s mouthpiece moved about and suddenly produced a harsh, peculiar speech, “You people dare invade the sea, you will die. All of you will die!!!”
Doubtlessly, this was human language, and in addition, it was the official imperial language. This also happened to be the common speech used throughout the neutral lands.
Qianye wasn’t afraid of the lobster’s threat. He had even betrayed the empire, so what could this little fellow from a corner of the neutral lands even do? Fearlessness was one thing, but this mysterious creature’s origins was something he needed to confirm.
“Throw this thing into the ice-room. I’ll go to town tomorrow and see if anyone knows its origins,” Qianye said.
Affirming the instructions, Nighteye picked up the lobster and left. Little Zhuji still wasn’t sure what had just happened. She followed Nighteye with a sour expression, mumbling, “No more extra dish.”
The little fellow wouldn’t even take a bite out of anything Qianye and Nighteye had absorbed with their vampiric blades, or things that had been attacked by blood energy. As she saw it, Qianye killing this lobster with his blood energy was akin to destroying a good dinner. However, the lobster had already proven its intelligence, so Qianye wasn’t going to let her eat it either way.
Moments later, the four sat down for dinner. The old man, who had been silent this whole time, said with a worried expression, “Maybe I should set up some ballistae and reinforce our defenses? Perhaps we should also move further away from the sea.”
Qianye laughed. “It’s the Black Grove behind us. Staying too close to it isn’t a great idea, either. We’re currently a fair ways from the ocean. Don’t worry, those aquatic creatures will have their combat strength halved on land.”
The old man’s countenance improved a bit, but he still wasn’t quite a.s.sured. “Zhuji shouldn’t go to the sea anymore.”
“I’m okay,” the little fellow replied while eating intently.
Qianye said after a moment of silence, “Elder Cui is right. Zhuji, you can’t play in the ocean in the future, understand?”
Begrudgingly, Zhuji promised to stay away.
After dinner, the old man returned to his room to rest. Habitually sleepy after eating her fill, little Zhuji climbed onto the sofa with difficulty and fell asleep.
After cleaning up the dinner table, Nighteye didn’t retire as she normally would. Instead, she dragged Qianye over and sat down together. “You haven’t cultivated for some time.”
Qianye said with a smile, “I need to maintain a balance between my daybreak and darkness origin powers. The problem is, my blood energy is developing too fast, so I need to cultivate daybreak energy. I’ll start training after you recover.”
“I’m mostly healed now.”
“Without the ancient blood pond, you’ll still need some time to fully recuperate. This is your weakest period. My cultivation can wait.”
Nighteye sighed lightly. “My strength is probably at the level of a third-rank viscount right now. I-I don’t want to delay you.”
Qianye replied, “There are a lot of things I can do without cultivating. Nighttime activities can also increase one’s strength.”
Nighteye sighed once more. “You’re just like that, always making me feel like a burden.”
Qianye laughed loudly and pulled Nighteye into his arms. “Who dares say our Monroe Princess is a burden? Be a good girl and recover first. After you’re healed, I’ll need you to protect me while I’m cultivating.”
Only after Nighteye fell into deep sleep did Qianye tiptoe out of the room.
There were several conditions for a vampire’s recovery—sufficient blood energy or essence blood, and sleep. Nighteye had absorbed enough essence blood from those fierce beasts during their last battle. All that was left was to slowly regenerate in sleep. Vampires possessed fairly powerful regenerative potential, but Li Fengshui had used a large number of medicines that inhibited her blood energy and blood core. Even until now, these effects hadn’t worn off entirely.
Qianye walked out of the room, picked up a piece of wood, and began carving it in the courtyard. The heavy East Peak was as light as a feather in his hands. Every stroke of the blade landed at the right time and place, soon forming the outline of a wooden vase.
Next up, Qianye calmed his mind and began carving flower patterns on the vase using East Peak as a carving knife. The wood from the Black Grove was both hard and st.u.r.dy, but the sword cut through it like tofu. A slight increase in strength would very well cause the vase to crack into two.
The night was quiet and time pa.s.sed by in silence. Qianye had lost track of how many strokes he had made, but the vase had become extremely exquisite and detailed. The carvings on the vase depicted the scene where Nighteye first arrived at the Red Spider Lily.  This work of art was about to be completed, yet Qianye hadn’t made a single mistake throughout the entire process.
Perhaps because its wood was being carved, the Black Grove emitted a continuous howl, accompanied by the occasional eerie roar. However, none of these could affect Qianye. Every night, the Dark Grove would roar, but Qianye only paid attention to his own business. One after the other, household utensils and decorative items, among other things, were produced by East Peak.
Regardless of whether the forest was seeking to express a threat or protest, neither beast tide nor native warriors appeared again. It would seem that they were intimidated by Qianye’s last ma.s.sacre.
The night, however, wasn’t entirely lonesome. There was a pair of eyes staring at Qianye from the sea, and it was the same every night.
There were no proper words to describe those eyes. Despite being separated by a large expanse of seawater, it could see Qianye’s every little move and refused to ignore even the slightest of details related to him.