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A fair bit of worry emerged in Bluemoon’s expression, and she pondered for a good while before she made up her mind. “How about this? If you’re willing to help me, we’ll give you the Dreameater King from our tribe’s collection.”
“Dreameater King, what’s that?” Qianye was moved, but he was unaffected on the surface.
“Since you need Dreameater Bugs, you definitely must need the Dreameater King. As the name suggests, it is the king of their species. Ordinary bugs can strengthen the spirit, but the Dreameater King is far more effective in this regard, capable of bringing about a fundamental change. The more you use Dreameater Bugs, the less effective they’ll become, but that’s not the case for the king.”
“Isn’t the reward too excessive just to hire me?”
Bluemoon sighed. “That’s because the underground maze is a battlefield that suits you best.”
“Tell me the details and I might consider it.”
“The Earth Dragon’s lair is exceptionally large, complicated, and filled with all kinds of odd creatures. Their abilities are strange and their numbers are vast—it would be highly dangerous once surrounded. All of these monsters follow the Earth Dragon’s will. Although the dragon has been pacified at the moment, it is still very sensitive to power. Those with higher cultivation have a greater chance of being detected. At that time, only an earth-shattering sea of monsters will await them.”
“That means, people like Liu Daoming won’t be able to go down?”
“They can with due caution, but it’ll be very dangerous. I wouldn’t go if I were them.”
Qianye understood that Bluemoon was referring to his combat strength, which was much higher than his rank-twelve cultivation. That was indeed a unique advantage in the underground maze. It was just that the Highbeards had been mercenaries for almost a thousand years and there were countless experts in their tribe. Why would they need him?
“This reward is too generous. There are much stronger people outside, why me?” Qianye asked once more.
“They might be stronger than you on paper, but they’ll surely die if they were to fight you.”
“How come you’re so confident in me?”
Bluemoon softened her voice. “There’s no such thing as too excessive in evaluating the person who killed hundreds of mercenaries in the Black Grove.”
Qianye’s eyes became serious. “You know that, too.”
“You might look different, but your fighting style didn’t change, especially that sword. We Highbeards recognize people by combat.”
Qianye was rather speechless, but he knew he had no other choice because the Dreameater King on offer was quite attractive. After her second awakening, Nighteye had said that she would need a hundred more Dreameater Bugs. This number meant that the injury to her spirit was still quite serious. What she gained from the awakening was a rank-surpassing level of origin power, control arts, and a series of terrifying abilities. However, there was no change to her body, which was still at the level of a newly ascended count. Such a Nighteye was already extremely terrifying, more than enough to beat down any existence below the level of a duke. If the Queen of the Night were to suppress her blood energy to the count level, she wouldn’t have the qualifications to even challenge Nighteye.
Such a person saying she needed Dreameater Bugs meant that they were irreplaceable to her.
Despite the dangers and countless traps, Qianye still looked up and said, “Fine, I agree. But I have a condition, give the Dreameater King to me first.”
Anger flashed through the two elders’ eyes, but Bluemoon stopped them. “Fine, we’ll send it to you at this time tomorrow.”
“Very well, when do we set out?”
Bluemoon hadn’t even started speaking when the entire courtyard began to shake. Dust streamed down from the roof along with pieces of shattered roof tiles. The earth itself was trembling, much like when Qianye was in Port City.
It was just that Southern Blue seemed to have never experienced such shockwaves before. The entire city was in chaos, filled with screams and shouts. A building not so far away could no longer stand the shaking—one of its walls cracked open, and the entire structure collapsed from the defect.
“Earth Dragon?” Qianye’s expression changed slightly. This tremor was quite similar to the one he had felt back in Port City; moreover, there was a kind of violent will surging up from the earth. However, Southern Blue was almost five hundred kilometers away from Port City. This went to show just how terrifying the quake was. Port City was likely half-destroyed by now—even the noble district buildings might not be spared, except perhaps the city lord’s mansion.
Bluemoon wasn’t surprised. “It’s the Earth Dragon. Their pacification rite has begun, passages will appear in two days at most.”
Bluemoon left after saying all this, leaving Qianye alone in the courtyard.
From his experience on the floating continent, Qianye knew just how dangerous the underground endeavor was. The remnant will of a void colossus was already so dangerous, to speak nothing of a live one. Yet Qianye was willing to go anywhere for the Dreameater King. All he needed right now was to leave this courtyard.
This place was already empty—she was no longer here.
Qianye looked up at the sky and thought to himself. “Let’s just consider this the last thing I can do for her.”
The sky turned dark, and then it was dawn once more.
Bluemoon arrived at the break of dawn and placed a wooden box into Qianye’s hands. The container was made of dark wood and covered in carvings of mountains, rivers, fish, and insects. These things weren’t just simple decorations but contained an intricate array capable of locking origin power inside.
Qianye activated the array according to Bluemoon’s method and opened the box. There was a translucent, palm-sized Dreameater Bug inside, shrouded in mist. Qianye could sense a shred of origin power from its body, but it was extremely weak, almost as though the creature was standing between life and death.
“Is it dead or alive?”
“Dreameater Kings will die very soon after leaving the Dreameater Queen. Its medicine effects remain preserved over several hundred years because my ancestor used a secret art to seal it.”
“There’s a Dreameater Queen?”
“Dreameater Bugs live in groups, led by a Dreameater Queen and several Kings. The latter’s only responsibility is to mate with the queen. If you’re lucky enough, you might encounter the queen deep underground.”
Qianye was moved even more. If he could obtain the Dreameater Queen, he wouldn’t need the Marine Lotus anymore.
After Bluemoon had left, Qianye placed the wooden box into Andruil’s Secret Realm and woke Zhuji up. The little fellow was still quite sleepy, but the first thing she asked was: “Where’s Aunty Nighteye?”
Qianye felt pain in his chest. “She left on some business.”
“Oh, does that mean you’re leaving too?” The little lass was unusually smart at such times.
Qianye nodded. “I need to go to a very dangerous place, and I might have to stay for a long time.”
Zhuji’s eyes lit up. “I’m not afraid of danger. Aunty Nighteye said I should be able to fight on my own at this age. She said that, for a true arachne, the entire world is their battlefield.”
Qianye felt his vision darken. “When did she say that?”
As expected! Qianye knew that only the awakened Nighteye would do something like that. In the past, she had always loved and protected little Zhuji.
“What else did she do?” Qianye had a vague feeling that Zhuji was too smart right now.
“She seemed to have given me something, but I don’t know what it is.”
Qianye sighed. Regardless, Zhuji being smart was a good thing. He looked into her eyes and said, “Do you remember the Black Grove where we fought together?”
Zhuji nodded. “I do! That place has a very special smell, I can even find my own way there.”
“Good, you have to wait for me there. I’ll come and find you in the Black Grove after my return.”
“You can bring me along if you’re going to a dangerous place! The people visiting us these days aren’t very strong. I only need to stomp on them a couple of times.”
“That place is really too dangerous. You’re still young, you can’t go. Be a good girl and go to the Black Grove!”
Qianye was quite imposing when he was serious, prompting little Zhuji to nod obediently.
Moments later, Qianye packed their things up and accompanied Zhuji ten kilometers out. The little girl was lugging a backpack almost as large as herself. She waved energetically at Qianye before heading toward the nearby forest.
Partings were always sad. Just as Qianye was filled with sadness and worry, Zhuji cheered delightfully. She leapt several meters through the air and dived into the forest like a chicken.
Chaos erupted inside the woods.
Qianye’s mouth fell open, but no words came out. It would seem someone with a powerful bloodline like her shouldn't have been raised indoors.
He was suddenly a bit worried. What if she was having too much fun playing in the forest by the time he returned from his underground journey?
She would still return, wouldn’t she?
At this moment, the earth shook even more violently than before. Evident cracks appeared in the ground, stretching beyond dozens of kilometers. Southern Blue couldn’t withstand such destruction. One of its cannon towers collapsed with a boom and segments of the wall also started to crack and collapse.
The earth sank in not far from Qianye and therein appeared a deep hole. Having gotten an idea, Qianye jumped over to the side of this seemingly bottomless pit and looked down. A natural cavern had appeared at the base leading into the unknown. After seeing this, Qianye realized what Bluemoon meant when she said the passage would appear soon.
However, the underground maze was really complicated, and there was no telling where this one would lead to. Naturally, Qianye wouldn’t go down recklessly just to explore it. He jumped into the air and gazed at the surroundings. As expected, there were several caves that had formed from the collapse, all of them entrances that led into the underground world.
After returning to Southern Blue, Qianye purchased a large batch of medicines, supplies, and ammunition. Despite the inflated prices, Qianye was able to afford everything due to the rewards from Port City and his gains from killing the mercenaries in the Black Grove. He shopped without restraint, buying hundreds of origin grenades and emptying all the shelves in the city.
Sensing crate after crate of origin grenades in Andruil’s space, Qianye couldn’t help but feel sad for the enemies in the underground world. These explosives would pose some measure of danger for anyone below the divine champion realm, and even more so for ordinary champions. Qianye’s enemies in this underground expedition were about to suffer a nightmare.
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