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The Nefarious Filthbird and the Trial’s Eye were eternal enemies. Since the Snake Dowager had allied herself with the Trial’s Eye, it was normal for her to be a target of the Nefarious Filthbird’s resistance and hostility. Hence, Leylin decided to rely on the Nefarious Filthbird’s support, using its chaos power to conceal himself.
Now, the Nefarious Filthbird saw Leylin take yet another step towards success, so its increased investment in him was understandable. It was too bad that Leylin had never placed his hopes on the Nefarious Filthbird.
From the beginning, Leylin never trusted the Nefarious Filthbird. After all, it was a treacherous and powerful dignitary from another world. When he came to the Purgatory World, he had always hidden his most important abilities and his trump cards, and had never revealed a single part of any of them.
‘A.I. Chip! Initiate mission!’ Leylin began to communicate with the A.I. Chip in secret.
[Beep! Mission established, opening the second spell formation.] Dark runes mixed with chaos power appeared on the walls and fence after the A.I. Chip’s voice sounded, before they disappeared completely.
These were Leylin’s own preparations. Apart from their concealment effects, they had all been arranged for this moment.
[Beep! Hybrid spell formation has been completed. Operating at 100% capacity, No signs of rejection.] The A.I. Chip loyally transmitted the information.
‘Excellent,’ Leylin nodded his head. With this spell formation, all the spying elements that the Nefarious Filthbird could have left behind would be exposed.
Only now could it be said that this apartment truly belonged to Leylin.
‘Time, time! I hope I still have enough time.’ Leylin sighed and walked to the flowerbed, with his hands clasped behind his back. What vegetation had originally been planted here had been completely uprooted by its host, leaving only a few agave plants with their pale yellow stamens behind.
A dense circle of yellowing grass wound around the plants, which themselves appeared to be full of vitality.
‘All things in this world are like illusory flowers, and cannot endure the passing of time. This is why I must pursue eternity!’ Leylin seemed to have an intoxicated expression in his eyes, as if he was absorbed in the plant’s beauty. Soon, however, the plants were wrapped up in a radiant light.
Shortly after, Leylin took out a small garden hoe and began to fix the small flowerbed. He got rid of all the weeds and agave plants, and erected a wooden fence around it.
The flowerbed was semi-circular and very small, its area even less than one square meter. However, it was a lot better than the places around him, with more than a dozen people clustered together like an unbearably chaotic hotel. Although it wasn’t the best, there were others who were less fortunate, so he would be satisfied.
The black soil seemed to hold a lot of water, and was clearly rich in top-grade nutrition. Obviously, all the radiation in the holy city would probably change the most ordinary of soil as well.
However, Leylin could not help but take out a few pieces of grey crystal. Within his strong grip, the crystals were immediately reduced to ashes and scattered evenly within the flowerbed. Lastly, Leylin covered them up with a fresh layer of soil.
After the preparation work was complete, Leylin grew even more cautious. A silver beam flashed, and space fluctuated as a translucent grey crystal appeared in Leylin’s palm. One could see green at its core if they looked through the magnificent exterior.
‘The Seed of Wisdom… It’s finally time to use senior’s gift.’ Leylin’s eyes had a tinge of reminiscence.He had encountered the Wisdom Tree in the Scarlet Ruins when he was but a rank 4 Warlock. This was the origin of wisdom! Thanks to it, Leylin had learnt to break through the bloodline shackles.
In the end, he had even obtained a gift from the Wisdom Tree, the green Seed of Wisdom.
‘Rumour has it that the Wisdom Tree is the apex of wisdom in the entire astral plane, including all dimensions, planes, and worlds. It is an ancient and powerful existence that has enlightened many living creatures including Magi. Its offspring also possess many unfathomable powers.’
“Sprout, root of all wisdom!” Following Leylin’s voice, the A.I. Chip emotionlessly notified him, [Beep! Releasing the seal on the Eternal Crystal.]
The translucent crystal shattered into a fine white powder which gradually disappeared with the wind. A ring of green light formed, growing in intensity within Leylin’s hands.
A bit of the green light caused even the agave plants that had already been uprooted to flutter happily. These plants were already being transformed into intelligent beings, even though they had only been touched by a small amount of it.
“Disappear!” Leylin said lightly, and all of the agave plants on the floor turned into ash.
‘If I hadn’t prepared the spell formation in advance, it would have been a mess.’ Leylin looked at the seed in his hand. The brown coating had complicated patterns on it, and the top end exposed a core that was as green as an emerald.
‘If this Seed of Wisdom were to grow for a very long time, would it ultimately mature into another Wisdom Tree?’ Leylin lost himself in his daydream for a while, but shortly after he buried the seed in the flowerbed and covered it with solid earth.
Afterwards, Leylin acted the part of an industrious farmer as he attentively took care of the entire flowerbed, paying no attention to the clumps of dirt on his elegant robes.
‘My seed of hope has been planted. From now on, I have to continuously water it, apply fertiliser, and wait until the day it puts down roots and grows to its full size.’ Leylin took up his spray bottle, with a hopeful expression in his eyes…
A lot had happened that evening, and in contrast a resident of the holy city planting a seed in his flowerbed was something extremely insignificant. While Leylin was engrossed in his flowerbed, a pair of Imperial Bodyguards solemnly stared at the scene before them, outside the Holy City.
“What did you see?” Aegnis touched the scratch on the floor and sensed the intent left behind by the creature, especially its intense hunger for food. This left her fearful.
“Very clean. Extremely clean.” Behind Aegnis, a black haired youth took off his helmet and placed a clump of soil squarely in front of his nose.
“What do you mean? Tell me the important stuff!” Aegnis glared at him.
“I meant that the marks left in the scene show that there were clearly two giant creatures here. I reckon the probability of it being a giant snake is over 70%. Thus, it is clear that the winner got everything from the loser.” The youth took out a device similar to a magnifying glass and attentively looked at the small purple crystals within the soil. The expression on his face was both sincere and focused.
“What I meant by ‘clean’, was the winner’s behaviour. It ate so cleanly that not even a single drop of blood fell to the ground. This level of food craving surpasses normal biological limits.”
“Biological limits?” Aegnis wrinkled her brow in confusion.
“Right! Creatures of nature, including serpents who devour each other, will always leave some traces of their meal, either blood, scales or any other remains. However, there’s none of that here. There’s nothing left. It seems that the winning serpent is under the control of a powerful evil existence instead of its own instincts.”
“Was it contaminated by a different kind of energy? Which dignitary dares reach out to the Serpent Plains? Don’t they know that this is our Matriarch’s forbidden land?” Aegnis’ anger was immense. It was clear that she resented being dragged here to carry out this mission.
The dark haired youth tactfully avoided trouble, stating with a businesslike expression, “Taking into account these traces, I believe that this case is connected to the violent occurrences in Central.”
“Are you saying that the contamination has already spread all the way here? So quick!” Aegnis’ pupils contracted. After all, even rank 4s or 5s like Leylin and Belinda, needed almost a month to cross the vast Serpent Plains.
“In that case, it’s only a matter of time before the contamination spreads to the holy city!” Aegnis had a heavy expression on her face.
“That’s correct. The contamination has already extended here. Although I would like to say it is only an isolated accident, we absolutely cannot take it lightly.” The dark haired youth put down the device in his hand with a trace of fear in his eyes.
“This type of contamination spreads quickly, and can also affect intelligent rank 4 and 5 snake tribes. It is a serious threat to those giant serpents in the wild. I propose we immediately report this to the Snake Dowager.”
“Are you joking? Just because of this small matter? Some gluttonous snakes? You want to alarm our almighty dignitary?” Aegnis looked incredulously at him.
Although she felt that the situation was rather serious as well, she had never thought that it was to the extent where she had to report to the Snake Dowager. The Stewarts, as the Holy City’s garrison family, could not allow such a humiliating thing to happen.
“Continue the search! Find a damned person! I want to cut open their stomach and finally see what’s inside!” Aegnis ordered. She had a faint premonition that this event could delay her for a very long time.
‘It’s a shame. Belinda… Little sister Sophia…’ In her heart, Aegnis was wailing with anguish, but she maintained an appearance of an icy commanding officer. The small squad went deeper and deeper into the plains. Soon, a cry specific to serpents was transmitted into Aegnis’ ear.
“Excellent! Let’s chase it!” Aegnis excitedly chased after it. What happened afterwards, however, became a nightmare that haunted her for life.
That night went down in the records of the holy city, remembered as the beginning of the Calamity of Gluttony.
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