Spirit Realm - Chapter 606: The Price of Evolution
Lei Yan’s explanation left Qin Lie feeling conflicted and deeply troubled. He looked at the three tiny beings with a somber expression. Xing Yumiao also took a second look at the seemingly innocuous entities, his eyes now reflecting the disturbing thoughts in his mind. He was looking at terrifying harbingers of the apocalypse.
Continuing to hold the three Spirits of Void and Chaos within his intense gaze, the Asura Race expert spoke in a calm, unhurried manner.
“Any living being that evolves into its final form will possess the power to destroy worlds,” he said, “but before reaching that stage, most powerful beings end up having the flames of their souls snuffed out. The same applies to the Spirits of Void and Chaos. According to the records of my Asura Race, very few of them have ever reached the ninth stage of their evolution. A legendary tenth stage Spirit of Void and Chaos is only whispered of in stories!”
“Yet Spirits of Void and Chaos are already born at the fifth stage of their evolution,” Lei Yan interjected helplessly.
“These creatures are separated from ordinary beings by the distance between heaven and earth! As such, their evolution is infinitely more difficult and deadly than the evolution of the average spirit beast.” Hester nonchalantly continued, “It would take these fledgling Spirits of Void of Chaos at least ten years to evolve from the fifth to the sixth stage. On top of that, every subsequent stage of evolution takes ten times longer to complete than the previous one.”
“Ten times longer!” Qin Lie exclaimed.
The Spirits of Void of Chaos were at the fifth stage of their evolution from the moment they were born. If the Asura Race expert was right about their normal evolution speed, it would take them a short ten years to reach the sixth stage. Then it would take them a hundred years to reach the seventh stage, and an entire millennium to reach the eighth stage. From that point, he would need to wait a full ten thousand years only for them to reach the ninth stage! The evolution of his Spirits of Void and Chaos was an endless one, filled with limitless uncertainty.
“The course of their evolution may not be smooth either…” Hester carried on. “There’s no telling what kind of unexpected peril they might encounter. A single misstep would guarantee their death.”
Throughout the time Hester spoke, and Qin Lie listened, the Spirits of Void and Chaos remained at his side. At first, they listened to the conversation but slowly lost interest as it continued on. The blasé cadence of Hester’s voice was a soothing lullaby to them, and they started to grow more and more drowsy. As their consciousnesses drifted away from them, they transformed into wisps of dim light that floated into the space between Qin Lie’s eyebrows one after another. Once inside the Soul Suppressing Orb, they went directly to a space inside of it that Qin Lie couldn’t enter.
Hester’s words slowed to a crawl. “In your hands, assuming that everything goes smoothly, it would take them ten years to evolve to the sixth stage, and a hundred years after that evolve to the seventh. However… if you give them to me… my Asura Race would be willing to use its tremendous resources to raise them for you. The three spirits would reach the sixth stage in a mere three years. Thirty years later, they would reach the seventh…”
Despite the tempting offer, Qin Lie knew that it was too good to be true. He implicitly understood that there had to be more to it than Hester stated, and that there was no way the Asura Race expert would offer to raise them without good reason. Qin Lie remained silent, waiting for Hester to explain further.
“The blood from seventh stage Spirits of Void and Chaos is extremely… useful to us,” Hester said. His words took on an almost ominous tone. “If you want us to raise your spirits until they reach the seventh stage, all you have to do is let us extract blood from them for a full year. Worry not, for this would only keep them from growing for that period of time. It won’t have any negative effects on them, they’ll reach the seventh stage of their evolution, and we’ll even be able to return them to you in thirty-four years!”
After a moment of hesitation, Hester added, “If you’re still alive, that is.”
“Is that all?” Qin Lie asked dryly.
Hester’s face darkened.
“Do you have any idea how much spirit material Spirits of Void and Chaos need in order to reach the seventh stage in thirty-three years?” he snorted.
“How much?” Qin Lie asked.
“It would take nearly a hundred years for a Silver rank force to accumulate the resources needed!” Hester sneered. “And I’m talking about a genuine Silver rank force, not the fakes that those pieces of trash the three great families are!”
This revelation made Qin Lie go deathly pale. He was well aware of how extremely wealthy every Silver rank force was. They constantly obtained astronomical amounts of spirit materials, spirit stones, and crystals from mines, forests, and sub worlds. And his Spirits of Void and Chaos required a hundred years worth of such resources to reach the seventh stage of their evolution in thirty-three years.
Qin Lie did not dare to even imagine how much resources that would amount to.
“You’re just a puny Netherpassage Realm martial practitioner, kid. With your realm and lack of accomplishments, even if you spent a thousand years trying, you wouldn’t be able to get even one of those spirits to the seventh stage!” Hester’s brows leaped as he continued speaking. “You have no idea what profound secrets lay behind the existence that is a Spirit of Void and Chaos. You are completely ignorant about what one can be used for. Even if you have three such spirits, you would never be able to utilize them properly!”
“Even Terminator Sect, a close ally of my Asura Race, does not truly understand the profound secrets contained within a Spirit of Void and Chaos. They are only aware of the sheer destructive capacity of these creatures,” Hester said, briefly glancing at Lei Yan. “If you give me the three Spirits of Void of Chaos, not only will they be in the seventh stage of their evolution when you get them back in thirty-four years, you’ll even know how to appropriately utilize them! No matter how you look at it, this is the best option available!”
Hester’s words prompted Qin Lie to look to Lei Yan. From his body language alone, Qin Lie could tell that the Terminator Sect expert felt embarrassed.
“Truth be told… Terminator Sect’s understanding of Spirits of Void and Chaos did, indeed, come from the Asura Race,” he said with a dry laugh. “I already told you what I know about them. I haven’t been informed about anything beyond that.”
Hester’s expression twisted into a disdainful sneer.
“Only a truly powerful and ancient race would understand just how incredible Spirits of Void and Chaos are,” he said. “Humans like you… hmph!”
These words offended everyone present as soon as they left his lips.
“The Asura Race holds promises in high regard, Qin Lie.” Chu Li’s quiet voice rang out, “They rarely, if ever, break their word once it’s been given.”
Chu Li actually didn’t need to remind Qin Lie about this. Although the Asura Race was brutal and bloodthirsty, virtually every Land of Chaos martial practitioner knew about how important promises were to them. There were no known precedents in which they broke their word, and Terminator Sect had yet to encounter a problem when dealing with them. Qin Lie simply needed to nod his head to seal their accord.
At first glance, it seemed as though Qin Lie would benefit tremendously from this deal. If Qin Lie were still alive after thirty-four years, the Asura Race was almost guaranteed to hold up their end of the bargain, return his Spirits of Void and Chaos to him in the seventh stage of their evolution, as well as explain their secrets to him. On the other hand, the Asura Race only wanted to extract the blood of his three spirits for a year, a time period in which their growth would be suspended. Not only would the Asura Race have to watch over Qin Lie’s spirits of Void and Chaos, they would even have to consume unimaginable amounts of spirit materials doing so.
—Just thinking about the expense made it difficult for Qin Lie to breathe.
The implications of this deal forced a bitter, painful struggle between Qin Lie’s heart and mind. It went on for an eternity, but he eventually gritted his teeth and came to a decision.
“I can raise them myself!” he said firmly.
As if summoned forth by Qin Lie’s declaration, a cold, dark light gushed from Hester’s cross-shaped pupils. A hair-raising, hostile aura instantly flooded from the Asura Race expert’s body, growing more violent by the second.
“Don’t be so stubborn, kid!” Lei Yan yelled, frantically trying to persuade Qin Lie. “I know Hester. The conditions he set aren’t bad at all! He isn’t taking advantage of you.”
“Qin Lie!” Chu Li also attempted to catch Qin Lie’s attention, gesturing toward Hester with subtle eye movements.
Mesmerized by the intimidating light of Hester’s eyes, Xing Yumiao, the island master of Gold Sun Island, froze from head to toe.
That light filled the depths of his soul with terror.
Qin Lie’s True Soul was currently in control of the Blood Progenitor’s body, which sat atop the Bloodthirsty Dragon and was surrounded by the eight god corpses.
Yet Qin Lie still couldn’t help but feel like he was in a precarious position.
Every fiber of his being told him that, if Hester were to launch an all-out assault at him, not even the body of the Blood Progenitor or the god corpses would be able to save him. This feeling spurred Qin Lie into action, and he slipped a wisp of mind consciousness into his spatial ring. He moved between the miscellaneous objects inside of it like a drowning man in the middle of the sea, flailing about in a desperate search for something that might allow him to survive.
All of a sudden, a jade token appeared to his mind consciousness. It radiated a ruthless aura that seemed like it would never end.
That aura washed over Qin Lie, leaving him momentarily dazed. In the next moment, a steely sheen flashed through his eyes. The jade token shot forth from the spatial ring his actual body wore and instantly came to rest in the palm of the Blood Progenitor’s hand.
Back when Qin Lie was about to enter the Trial in the Graveyard of Gods, Li Mu gave him that token. A lifelike, snarling dragon was engraved upon the front of the token. On its back, a simple etching of the word “Duan.”
And that was all it took.
The moment the token appeared in Qin Lie’s hand, both Lei Yan and Hester went deathly pale. Their eyes practically popped out of their sockets.
Li Mu told Qin Lie that as long as he infused this token with his mind consciousness and said his own name, someone would come and help him. Qin Lie moved to do this, preparing to strike the token with all of his mind consciousness.
“Stop!” Lei Yan screamed right before Qin Lie could go any further.
“Forget it,” Hester said, an ugly grimace on his face. “I won’t speak of the Spirits of Void and Chaos any longer.”
“Where did you get that token, kid?” Lei Yan exclaimed.
Noticing the change in their demeanor, Qin Lie refrained from infusing the jade token with his mind consciousness.
“Li Mu of Heavenly Sword Mountain gave it to me,” he replied in confusion. “Why?”
“Li Mu?” Although he had already been astonished by the appearance of the jade token, Qin Lie’s answer made the expression on Lei Yan’s became even stranger. “Li Mu, the Sixth Heavenly Sword? That Li Mu!?”
Hester snorted, a heavy burst of air rushing out of the Asura Race expert’s nose.
“Damn it!” he swore in the ancient language of the Asura Race, completely unaware of the fact that Qin Lie happened to understand exactly what he was saying. “I can’t believe those two are supporting this brat. I guess I can’t just seize the spirits, f*ck…”
Since Qin Lie nodded and revealed that Li Mu had given him the jade token, Lei Yan coughed a few times, then suddenly laughed uproariously.
“Serious matters first,” he said, no longer mentioning the Spirits of Void and Chaos. “Let’s go and examine the bodies of ancient elites!”
Considering how this entire conversation had gone, anyone could tell that Lei Yan had been working with Hester to pressure Qin Lie into submitting. The Asura Race was Terminator Sect’s staunchest ally, after all. They contributed to more than half of the wealth that Terminator Sect possessed. In spite of all that, the second that Qin Lie took out the Jade Token and mentioned Li Mu, Lei Yan immediately stopped helping Hester. Surprisingly enough, even Hester no longer showed any desire in forcing Qin Lie to accept.
This was a subtle show of power and intimidation.
Qin Lie wore a thoughtful expression as he processed this sudden turn of events, rubbing the jade token in his hand. Then, in a cold voice, he said, “Heavenly Sword Mountain will be the first force to pick from the bodies of the ancient elites. After that, Illusory Demon Sect will have the opportunity to do the same. You of Terminator Sect… you will go last.”
“What are you talking about, kid?” Lei Yan erupted in anger. “We got here first!”
“Who said this was first come, first serve?” Qin Lie snorted.
“Y-you!” Fury coursed through Lei Yan’s body, making every single one of his hairs stand on end.
“Junior Uncle. Forefather told us to bring Qin Lie to the Thunder God’s Roar after taking care of this matter,” Chu Li said in a soft voice. “You haven’t forgotten… have you?”
Chu Li’s reminder instantly took the wind out of Lei Yan’s sails.
“Never mind,” he said listlessly. “I’m tired. Let’s rest for a bit.”