At the mention of the Heavenschild Pasture, Ji Tianqing and Li Kuanglan’s eyes started glowing. There was no disguising their greed at this point. The two ladies had formed a united front regarding this matter, overruling Qianye’s objections until he could do nothing else but smile wryly.
The three paid attention to the surrounding resources while traveling. At first, Qianye had decided to pick up a sample of all the flora along the way, but he soon realized that Andruil’s space was filling up at an alarming rate. Seeing no other choice, he had to start discarding bulky items that didn’t seem very useful, some odd ores and giant fruits for instance.
In addition to necessary medicines and emergency supplies, most of the space had been occupied by the white-fruit wine. Qianye couldn’t bring himself to discard them after learning of their effects and value. He more or less came to understand the mood of their predecessors—it wasn’t a comfortable feeling to see but not take away the treasures scattered across the land.
Ji Tianqing and Li Kuanglan were feeling the same. The former possessed spatial gear still, but Li Kuanglan’s was destroyed during the transit. All she could do was put some of the things she most wanted in Qianye’s storage.
Even after carrying Li Kuanglan’s stuff, the size of Andruil’s Mysterious Realm drew sidelong glances from the other two. Even someone of Ji Tianqing’s ability could only fit two crates worth of items in her storage, more or less a small corner of Andruil’s space.
Qianye knew how valuable the pendant was and naturally didn’t dare disclose how many jars of wine he had stored inside of it. If they were to realize the truth, there was no telling how many things they would stuff into his spatial gear.
The treasures they saw along the way distressed Ji Tianqing and Li Kuanglan more and more. All they could do was map down their route for a future revisit.
Li Kuanglan cut out a wooden board and started plotting the parts of the Great Maelstrom they were familiar with. Ji Tianqing snatched the board and scribbled as they ran. By the time they stopped for a short break, she had already mapped the entire known area.
Ji Tianqing carved the final symbols before passing the board back to the other two. “Once we find the way back, we should visit a couple of important places in addition to the Heavenschild Pasture. I’ve marked them on the map, take a look.”
Li Kuanglan pointed at one of the markings. “This is the Constellation Well, an environment similar to the spatial passage that contains the eye of the void storm. Casting the Storm Pearl in will allow it to absorb void energy, which would then fuse with the owner’s origin power and ultimately form an origin crystal.”
At this point, Li Kuanglan glanced at Ji Tianqing. “Such a big marking on the map, just how many pearls did you bring?”
Ji Tianqing chuckled. “Take a guess.”
“Two, at most three,” Li Kuanglan said with certainty. The Storm Pearl was produced by the Li family, so she couldn’t be clearer about its production rate.
Who would’ve thought Ji Tianqing would break into a laugh. “My name would be smeared if I had that little. Let it be, I won’t make things difficult for you. I have nine!”
“Nine!” Both Li Kuanglan and Qianye were astonished. Back then, he had to risk his life many times for the Li family, beating up Eden until he was almost starting to doubt his demonic life. All that work gained him only one Storm Pearl, but now, Ji Tianqing had nine of them!?
“Yes, nine indeed. When we get to the Constellation Well, each of us can use three to have some fun. Let’s see who produces the most powerful origin crystal.”
Li Kuanglan said, “From what I know, less than ten Storm Pearls were produced in recent years. How could you have gotten nine?”
“Some are mine, some are from my family. Others I traded, stole, or borrowed. What, do you have a problem?”
Li Kuanglan’s face was wooden. “No.”
Ji Tianqing said with a relaxed expression. “It’ll be funny if some people can’t produce even three origin crystals when the time comes.”
Li Kaunglan was furious. “Who are you referring to?”
Ji Tianqing blinked innocently. “The one with the biggest boobs, of course.”
“…” Li Kuanglan was stunned and her face was flushed red. She gnashed her teeth in anger, but there was nothing she could do. She subconsciously shot Qianye a glance and calmed down only after seeing that he was entirely unperturbed.
Qianye asked, “Is there anything we need to pay attention to?”
Ji Tianqing only smiled in response.
Li Kaunglan glared at her briefly before turning toward Qianye to explain, “We need to head deep into the Constellation Well in order to form an origin crystal. Once inside, we must contend against the origin tempests and, at the same time, activate our origin power to guide the stormy clouds into the pearl. There are numerous kinds of vital origin powers in the depths of the well. At a glance, they look like dense smokey clouds, and that is what we’re trying to absorb. That’s why our ancestors named the treasure, Storm Pearl.
“The deeper inside the well, the more vital origin power the Storm Pearl can absorb. At the same time, however, it will also drain more origin power from the owner. The resultant origin crystal is highly variable as it is decided by the integration between the owner’s origin power and that of the well. No two crystals are alike.”
Qianye had formed an understanding at this point. “That means we’ll need to expend large amounts of origin power while producing the origin crystal. We might also fail without sufficient origin power.”
Li Kuanglan nodded. “With our cultivations, it won’t be too difficult to produce two origin crystals if we’re not greedy. For the third, however, we might have to go all out.”
Qianye understood why Ji Tianqing was teasing Li Kuanglan just now. It would seem three origin crystals was the limit for experts of their level.
Qianye couldn’t be discussed on equal grounds as his origin power capacity had transcended common sense. Ji Tianqing boasted deep foundations, as well as numerous secret arts and treasures. Who knew how many things she had that could restore her origin power. Only Li Kuanglan had suffered injuries inside the passage—her spatial gear was damaged, and her divine sword was nowhere to be found. Apart from her beauty and good-looking figure, there was no other advantage to speak of.
“But what else would she need?” Qianye thought all of a sudden.
Noticing the slight turbulence in his heart, Qianye quickly looked up to see that it was noon—no wonder his mind would stray.
Li Kuanglan pointed at a different marker, saying, “There’s a giant tree here, the fruits of which can increase one’s vitality and help with cultivation bottlenecks, we call it the World Tree. However, there are hordes of vile beasts around the tree throughout the year. We have to launch a sudden raid and escape after snatching a couple of fruits. Otherwise, even divine champions might fall if surrounded by a beast horde.”
“As for this place…” Li Kuanglan tossed the wooden board to Ji Tianqing. “You explain!”
Ji Tianqing caught the map with a chuckle. “I’ve seen and touched every part of you, what are you being embarrassed about?”
Li Kuanglan was furious. “When did that ever happen!?”
“Well, you can’t deny that you’ve been groped all over.”
“That’s not groping!”
“Is there a difference?”
“Of course… right?” Li Kuanglan lost her momentum.
Ji Tianqing also knew when to stop teasing. “Let it be, I’ll let you off this once. Remember not to provoke me in the future!”
Li Kaunglan was both embarrassed and angry, but she didn’t dare to act up.
Ji Tianqing pointed at one of the markers, saying, “This place is called Pond of Life. The name sounds good, but that place is no different from the daytime effects here. Those who approach the pond will lose control of their primal desires and start doing things! The weirdest thing about that place is that willpower is the key to suppressing one’s desires, not cultivation. Many famous experts have suffered in this place. It’s not serious enough to take your life, but the embarrassment is real. Those people will slowly sink into depravity even after returning to the empire.”
At this point, Ji Tianqing shot Li Kuanglan a meaningful glance. “I’m sure Qianye will have no problem passing a test of willpower, but a certain big-chested fellow will definitely be in trouble! Qianye, remember to save her if she can’t handle things.”
Qianye was tongue-tied. How was he supposed to save her?
Li Kuanglan blushed in fury and embarrassment, but there was no way she could retort. She endured the situation for a good while before saying, “I’ve been having some issues for the past couple of days, but don’t worry, I should be fine by the time we get to the Pond of Life.”
“Really? That’s not a good thing.” Ji Tianqing seemed to have other implications. Only after seeing Li Kuanglan staring daggers at her did she restrain herself. “The Pond of Life is actually quite dangerous, and the fish in there are highly venomous. Many experts will suffer environmental limitations under the water. They might get bitten in their distraction, even if they don’t end up doing embarrassing things.”
Qianye felt somewhat relieved upon hearing this. His dark golden energy was a peerless toxin to all lifeforms, so all types of poison would be eight parts nullified against him.
Such an environment was lethal to both the dark races and humans. Only the arachne would have it a bit easier.
“What is there in the Pond of Life that so many people would be willing to take this risk?”
“Actually, the pond is as big as a lake or a sea, and no one has really reached its depths before. But there’s a treasure that grows not far off from the shore, something coveted by every generation of imperial experts.”
“What would that be?”
“The Marine Lotus.”
Qianye was shaken as he recalled the name he had seen in the neutral lands booklet, back during the early days of his arrival. The Marine Lotus was a divine medicine for repairing the soul and would have miraculous effects on Nighteye. It was just that he had no idea if she still needed it.
They had rested for a good while by this point, so Qianye got up and said, “Let’s go.”
Li Kuanglan hesitated momentarily, but she eventually clenched her jaws and followed the other two.
Way behind the trio, Anwen and Bai Kongzhao were standing atop a tree, gazing at the massive stone keep.
Anwen looked left and right but didn’t dare take action. In the end, he sighed. “Such a fat piece of meat, but it’s too big for us to devour.”