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The purplish golden tree knew the bald crane, and judging by the two's words, the tree was known as Ecang. Also, based on what it said about the bald crane, the latter was a traitor and a failure.
The bald crane knew the tree's name. It had even mentioned that the tree was incomplete, and that it had been injured gravely. Most importantly… Su Ming had also heard the bald crane mentioning Sui Chen Zi's name while having a dazed expression on its face!
'You weren't killed by Sui Chen Zi… Judging by these words, not only does it now this Ecang, it also… knows Sui Chen Zi. Could it be… that the bald crane is an existence that belongs to the same generation as Sui Chen Zi?
'Why did Sui Chen Zi want to kill the tree? What sort of connection do they have?'
Several questions rose in Su Ming's heart. There was something bizarre about this, and the amount of guesses he had regarding the bald crane's existence rose up once more. He had originally thought that the bald crane, with its mysterious background, had a great connection to the fifth True World, but due to some form of accident, it had lost its memories and became this way, wandering about until it arrived in Yin Death Region. There, it had turned into various things, enjoying acting a menace to others.
When they arrived in the Barren Lands of Divine Essence, the experiences the bald crane went through and the hesitation on the Duke of Crimson Flame's face were all seen by Su Ming. But right then, when the purplish gold tree said his piece, Su Ming's assumptions became even more complicated.
It could be that the bald crane did not possess its memories even during the era of the Fifth True World. Su Ming was almost certain now that the event that resulted in its memory loss had not happened in the fifth True World's time, but an even more ancient age.
However, this was not the time for him to ponder over this. Currently, he was in an incredible hurry. As the crane shouted out at him, he spread his soul outwards again and sent it filling up even more venous pathways.
Thirty-one, thirty-three, thirty-five… Su Ming's expansion was incredibly fast. As he was doing that, Ecang roared, and the bald crane let out a piercing screech that grew increasingly more intense as they continued shrieking amid the ceaseless booms echoing within the tree's body.
"Damn you, you failure! Even if I'm incomplete and am badly injured, you are still not my opponent, because you… are also incomplete and similarly injured. By the looks of it, you weren't just gravely wounded once, but thrice, up to the point that your real body broke down and you only have your soul left, and besides being useful in my body, you have nothing worthy of praise in the world outside. You can only be trampled by others, you piece of trash that can only imitate other people's presences, failure, traitor!"
Boom! Boom! Boom!
As the bald crane's and Ecang's wills fought repeatedly, the crane's body disintegrated multiple times. While it might be able to gather together itself each time, the body was growing increasingly duller.
"Ecang, your Grandpa Crane is mighty and powerful, and I have an endless amount of crystals, why should I be afraid of you?!" The bald crane let out a shrill screech, and turned into a windstorm in a single move that charged towards Ecang's will.
Su Ming's soul covered the venous pathways at an even faster rate as the bald crane fought against Ecang. He saw the bird's continuously dimming body, and even though its words were as sharp as ever, Su Ming could sense that it's soul was rapidly scattering away.
Thirty-nine, forty-one, forty-three… Su Ming growled with his soul. The time he had now was gained for the price of the bald crane's soul fading away—all of it was just so that he could successfully Possess the tree, but even so, it was still difficult for him to do so in a short period of time. He was still only at the halfway point toward complete Possession.
Ecang's enraged howls rang nonstop. It had tried multiple times to bypass the bald crane and stop Su Ming's soul from spreading further, but the bald crane would block it recklessly every single time in its bout of madness to buy time. And as it did so, it would also let out hoarse, piercing screeches.
"Damn you, your Grandpa Crane might have forgotten many things, might be unable to bully anyone except the various Runes and seals, and are indeed capable of fighting against you in this place and only this place, but your Grandpa Crane knows that you are a crystal, and as long as I hold you back, I will get thirty thousand crystals!
"For crystals, I'll fight with everything I've got against you! Su Ming! I'm exerting all my strength here! I need stimulation!" As the bald crane roared, Su Ming's soul only needed a little more before it would have covered half of all the venous pathways within the tree.
"A hundred thousand crystals!" Su Ming immediately shouted.
The moment he spoke those words, the windstorm that was the bald crane let out a roar and grew larger by several sizes. The light shining within the eyes in the windstorm were shocking to see.
"A hundred thousand crystals! A hundred thousand!" The bald crane looked as if it had gone mad and held back Ecang's will, which was trying to prevent Su Ming from Possessing it, once more. Ecang's enraged roars rang through the whole tree.
Su Ming's soul continued spreading. At that moment, with a bang, he reached the coverage of forty-seven-hundredths of all the venous pathways. At a glance, half of the large amount of golden venous pathways were black, and they were filled with the dense power of Su Ming's soul.
"Damned thieving crane, my real body is here, and you don't have yours, for how many breaths can you possibly hold me back?" Ecang's will decisively gave up on trying to stop Su Ming and instead used its full power to crush the bald crane, intending to first destroy it before it took care of Su Ming.
"Five hundred thousand crystals!" Su Ming shouted out the moment his soul covered forty-eight-hundredths of the venous pathways.
"One million crystals!" When he shouted this out, the entirety of the bald crane's soul, from the inner parts to the outer parts, were so stimulated by his words that it completely burst forth.
"Get bigger! Bigger! BIGGER!!" The bald crane's eyes turned completely bloodshot. In its madness, the windstorm around it instantly grew endlessly and swept in all directions. As if its soul had been set on fire, it rushed towards Ecang's incoming will.
"You lunatic! You were a lunatic all those years ago, and now, you are still a lunatic! You're burning your own soul for those stupid crystals?! Y-Y-You…"
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The entire world of the golden venous pathways trembled. The tree that was Ecang started swaying intensely, and large cracks even spread out through the cultivation planet. By the looks of it, it was about to be torn to pieces.
Amid the booming sounds, the bald crane let out a shrill scream of pain. As Ecang roared furiously, the windstorm that was the bald crane collapsed, and its body rapidly shrank until it was only the size of a palm. In an almost transparent state, it fell back to the area that was covered by Su Ming's soul.
Once it was enveloped by Su Ming's soul, the bald crane immediately fell unconscious, but before it fainted, it used whatever remained of its strength to send a divine thought to Su Ming.
"Remember… that you owe your Grandpa Crane… one million and thirty thousand crystals…"
"Failure, traitor, thieving crane, you aren't my opponent! I'll swallow you so that I'll recover even faster. Give me time, and I'll even devour the other nine and become the real Ecang!" Ecang's will shook the entire area, but just as it was about to echo in the sky, Su Ming's soul spread out and covered half of the area, truly Possessing half of the venous pathways!
Once he did so, a similar scene as before surfaced once again. At that moment, booming sounds that could shake the world rang in his soul, and a picture manifested before him. However, compared to the scene he saw when he had only occupied a third of the area, this was something at an even greater scale. In fact, Su Ming's soul almost froze at that moment.
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