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“Qi?” both Alex and Hao Ya spoke at the same time.
“What do you mean by that, master? Qi is depleting?” Hao Ya asked.
“We’re running out of Qi?” Alex asked.
The man looked troubled. “Yes, we are,” he said. “Qi is not something that’s infinite. There is a finite amount and day by day, we are running low on it,” he said.
Alex stood there with wide eyes, unable to comprehend the statement. “How… how can that be?” he asked.
“Why can it not?” the man asked. “Qi is a resource too. And like every other resource, it runs out as well.”
“Then… aren’t we doomed?” Alex asked. If the world, no, all worlds were running out of Qi then… how was he to cultivate endlessly?
“It’s not as bad as it sounds,” the man said. “You have no reason to worry just yet.”
“Can you elaborate, senior?” he asked.
“It’s like this,” the man said. “There was always a finite amount of Qi. Even finite, the amount is so incredibly massive, that you likely can’t comprehend it. And what’s more, the Qi will never disappear at all.”
“It will change forms for a while, get stored in a spirit vein, or get absorbed by something, but it will never be destroyed. Eventually, after they all disappear, the Qi will return to how it was,” the man said.
“So… what’s the problem?” Alex asked.
“Time,” the man said. “Time is what is causing all this problem. It will take time for the Qi to turn back to Qi again. It will take time for the resources to be found. It will take time before the ones at the top find enough Qi to get higher.”
Alex nodded as he thought about it. He could understand the theory behind what was being said, although there were still questions floating in his head. Unlike those questions, however, there was a separate question he wanted an answer to now.
“If time is what is needed then… how will the war help? Are they trying to lower the number of beings that will use Qi? Are they controlling the population to reduce the usage of Qi?” he asked.
“That’s a result, but not the intention of these gods at all,” the man said. “Doing so wouldn’t help them increase the amount of Qi that exists, which is their main problem right now.”
“Then why? Why would the gods want to start a war if what they want is Qi?” Alex asked.
The man smiled meekly. “Because that is the best way to actively turn stored Qi into usable Qi,” he said.
“How?” Hao Ya asked. “Will the spirit veins and natural treasures dissipate Qi faster if there is a war?”
“Of course not,” the man said. “Where do you think the most Qi is stored in our world? In Spirit veins? No. In natural treasures? Again, no. Then where can it be?”
Hao Ya and Alex both looked at each other, trying to guess the answer. Alex turned back towards the man and thought by himself.
‘War… if a war is involved then…’
“NO WAY!” he shouted. “The cultivators.”
The man nodded. “Exactly. It is the cultivators that have the most Qi in their bodies. Individually, they can never compare to stuff like Spirit veins or natural treasures. But collectively, there is a lot of Qi out there in the cultivators, be it Human, Demon, Beasts, or even Plants.”
“Imagine a Divine realm cultivator who had been gathering Qi in his body, improving it for over a hundred thousand years. Imagine how much Qi would be gathered in that one Divine realm cultivator’s body?”
“If you somehow manage to kill that person then… you suddenly have a lot of Qi available to you as the stored Qi in the corpse will quickly turn back to usable Qi,” the man said. “Kill a thousand… and you suddenly have enough Qi to raise another 1000 of your own people as Divine realm cultivator. Kill people with higher cultivation, and then they have Qi for themselves.”
“And the Gods want to start a war because they think killing people will restore enough Qi to help elevate their own cultivation base?” Alex asked. “Those bastards!”
The man looked surprised at the sudden cussing of gods. “Uhh, don’t say it out loud even if you think so inside,” he said. “You never know who or what is listening.”
“Yes, you’re right. Sorry, I got worked up because of that,” Alex said with a bow.
“It’s fine,” he said. “Also, that is not the only reason the gods really want to start a war again. They want to attack the demons because they want something else from them.
“What else could they want?” Alex asked with anger still audible in his voice.
“They want a method that only the elder demons know about,” the man said. “They want to know how one could plant and thus grow a World Tree.”
Alex’s eyes narrowed. “The World Tree? Why the World Tree?” he asked.
“Because of the specific property that a World Tree holds,” the man said. “The World Tree is capable of converting sunlight and moonlight into Qi.”
“Wait… what?” Alex was stunned for a moment. “Are you saying… the World Tree is capable of creating Qi?”
“Yes, but it’s only temporary Qi. It doesn’t last forever,” the man said. “However, because it works with both sunlight and moonlight, around the world tree is an everlasting area with plenty of Qi for one to cultivate and reach higher realms easily.”
“That was how the demons managed to push us, humans, to the brink of losing in the Eternal War. Was it not for a sneak attack on their World Tree that destroyed it, we would’ve never won at all,” the man said.
“And now they want to plant a World Tree of their own so they can enjoy its benefits,” Alex said.
“Why don’t they just ask the demons?” Hao Ya asked. “Why go through a war just to learn something?”
“Because the demons do not know that there exists a seed of the World Tree,” the man said. “If they did, we would be forced to give it back based on the treaty we signed when the war ended.”
“They would live on their own in a few realms, giving up the others, but they wanted in return everything that was taken from them,” the man said. “When making the list of things they wanted back, they left a clause that if they come to find anything that belongs to them still exists, they would want it back as well.”
“Which… is why the war is the only time they can ask such a question,” the man said.
“Is that why you stole the seed, master?” Hao Ya asked.
“Yes,” the man said. “Everything else I stole was just a distraction. Something to keep them occupied while I took away the seed. My master knew that too, so she targeted the ring where the seed was. Thankfully, I managed to bring it back with me. Although, I’m not sure where it could be right now.”
Alex had already stopped caring about the information about the war and was instead lost in his thoughts about the World Tree’s seeds.
“Senior,” he said, unable to hide his guilt anymore. “I had the World Tree’s seed before, but I lost it. It was the one item that was in the ring that I lost. It has most likely been destroyed by the Qi barrier. I’m sorry.”
“Yes,” Alex said while drooping his head. “I apologize, senior.”
“Hahaha!” the man suddenly laughed. “Why apologize? This is great news.”
“Great news? How?” Alex asked.
“Do you know how thick the World Tree’s seed’s skin is? There is no way it was destroyed by mere Saint Qi,” the man said. “If what you said is true, then the World Tree’s seed is still out here waiting for us.”
Alex stopped for a moment. “Then… there’s a chance that the seed isn’t destroyed?” he asked.
“A chance? It’s pretty much a guarantee,” the man said. “The seed is something that Divine Realm cultivators failed to destroy when they first got it. Something like that won’t be so easily destroyed in this realm.”
Alex hesitated to feel relief just yet. “Then, can we recover it?” he asked.
“Yes,” the man said. “Do you know exactly where you dropped it?”
Alex thought for a bit and shook his head. “I have no clue where it was that I appeared when I was teleported here,” he said. “I was immediately hurt by the Qi barrier.”
“Hmm, then I will have to search everywhere,” the man said.
Alex felt a wave of spiritual sense flow around him. The might of the spiritual sense nearly made him balance himself even while he was on the ground already.
The man had tried to be gentle with how he used his spiritual sense, and even then he had ended up frightening Alex and Hao Ya.
Even Scarlet turned around from next to the lake when she sensed the movement of the senior’s spiritual sense. Even the thing in the lake could sense it and shuddered.
The man closed his eyes and focused on searching for the World Tree’s seed with everything he had. His sense reached deep into every nook and corner of the Qi wall, looking even into the Qi itself.
Alex and the rest waited silently for as long as it took for the man in front of them to finish doing his job.
The man opened his eyes 10 minutes later and looked at Alex.
“I can’t find it.”
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