Chapter 40: An Unspeakable Secret (1)
“Your name,” Su Chen demanded from the female Harpy.
“Flowing Flame Oriole,” the female Harpy replied obediently, her eyes filled with fear.
It was impossible for her not to be afraid. She was filled with hatred for Su Chen in the beginning, but after all of the experiments that had taken place, all of the Harpy female’s anger, hatred, and arrogance had turned into fear.
Even the most severe punishment probably wouldn’t have caused her to feel such fear, but Su Chen’s repeated experimentation had managed to do so.
It wasn’t because of the suffering itself, but because of Su Chen’s attitude towards life.
In the eyes of a researcher, all of this served as motivation for progress, but in the eyes of Flowing Flame Oriole, this dissection of life down to the bone was even more frightening than the cruelest torture. In Su Chen’s hands, life lost its meaning. The Harpies were like useless sacks of meat that were labeled and divided by functionality.
Life was no longer life. It had become just another component of functionality.
Most shockingly, this kind of research had actually managed to produce results.
Flowing Flame Oriole had personally witnessed Su Chen extract those Arcana Technique Fragments from the other Harpies' bodies, preserve them, and even...... duplicated the Arcana Techniques contained within.
This completely overturned Flowing Flame Oriole's understanding and made it seem as if her world was going to collapse around her.
That was why she gazed fearfully at Su Chen now like he was some kind of nightmarish demon. How could she possibly still have the guts to resist?
"Flowing Flame Oriole? Not a bad name......" Su Chen muttered.
This wasn't mere flattery. Most Harpies had very pleasant-sounding names. They had a certain kind of religious pursuit of beauty. Many people viewed them as being synonymous with the loftiness and elegance.
However, in Su Chen's eyes, they might be lofty, but they certainly weren't elegant - Harpies were just as vicious when it came to killing humans.
"As you can see, I am a scholar, a human who likes to analyze things. Under normal circumstances, you would have suffered the same fate as your compatriots. After you passed along everything that you have learned to me, I would have killed you. Can you guess why I haven't done so yet?" Su Chen asked with a smile.
Even though he was smiling genially, Flowing Flame Oriole still found it incredibly frightening.
She trembled and refused to utter a single word.
Su Chen frowned. "Knowing how to fear is a good thing, but losing the ability to respond to the situation is quite disastrous. Your acting has gone a bit overboard, Miss Harpy. This is not the way you should look. You cannot deceive me. I know you are fearful, but not to the point that you are showing now. If you try to lie to me again, I will put you back on the research workbench."
Flowing Flame Oriole froze. After some time, she said, "I don't know why you haven't killed me. Perhaps it's because of...... you did it for...... that......"
She glanced down at her own body.
Su Chen understood what she meant.
Apart from their large wings, Harpies appeared the same as humans, and they were generally quite attractive as well. As such, many humans would be attracted to them, and acts of rape were not uncommon.
Flowing Flame Oriole obviously viewed Su Chen as such a person as well.
This made him a bit unhappy.
He said, "I'm not that lowly. The only reason I haven't killed you is because there is one thing I am very curious about. How were you able to convince the Rong Clan to betray us?"
As a Demonic Emperor Clan, their status amongst the human race was quite special. Even if they were the Zhu Clan's enemies, they wouldn’t have been wiped out if they hadn’t been so reckless. So what if their mines were emptied out? Couldn’t they just find a new location and set up again? The Zhu Clan had no interest in wiping them out completely, and there was no way that Liaoye Country would allow it to happen anyways.
So why had the Rong Clan agreed to betray humanity?
The differences between the races were far more than physical. There was no way that you would live a good life even if you completely switched allegiances over to a different race.
Throughout the tens of thousands of years of fighting amongst the five races, armed rebellions were few and far between. No one would lightly betray the human race unless they were pushed to dire straits, especially for a race that was so fundamentally different from them. They would be thrust into a completely different kind of society that would make it very hard for them to live.
Not to mention that the Rong Clan had decided to ally with the extremely xenophobic Harpies.
Even though the Harpies possessed weak physiques, they were incredibly proud, and all of them looked down on the other races.
This was due to Harpy history.
Even in the darkest period of time in their history, when the Origin Beasts ran rampant, the Harpies had always possessed higher status than others. While the humans and the Oceanids were being eaten as food, and the Ravagers were serving as the Beasts’ shepherds, the Harpies were of no food interest to the Origin Beasts due to their thin body sizes and flight agility. As such, they were given the task of cleaning the Origin Beasts; even though the Origin Beasts had the ability to clean themselves, they enjoyed this kind of special treatment.
This was what Wang Doushan had meant when he said that “those Harpy birds are like flies around food, and they exploited the Beasts’ might for their own benefit, pretending as if it was their own.”
Even so, it was true that they possessed the highest status amongst all the Intelligent Races during this period of time. It was from that very early point in time that they began to develop this prideful, arrogant attitude of theirs.
The strong xenophobia expressed by most Harpies made them the least likely to want to rope humans into their side. Not even most common clans would have done something like this, let alone a proud Demonic Emperor Bloodline clan, so the Rong Clan’s actions were truly a mystery.
Zhu Yunyan had interrogated Rong Xiangsheng and the others as well, but the only answer she could get out of them was that this decision was made by the Rong Clan’s ancestor, Rong Guluo.
As for why he, a Thought Manifestation Realm expert half a step into the Ultimate Emperor Realm, would do something like this, no one knew.
Usually, clans only existed to serve the person at the very top. The Ancestor was the person supporting the entire clan, so their will became the will of the clan as well.
Even though Rong Xiangsheng and the others disagreed with Rong Guluo’s decision, there was no point in voicing their disagreement, so they could only obey.
Now that Rong Guluo had run away, this question would perhaps forever remain unanswered.
After Flowing Flame Oriole was sent back to the capital, the Emperor Li Wuyi had sent people to the Rong Clan’s former territory in order to figure out why they had chosen to betray everyone. However, they were unable to obtain any answers - Flowing Flame’s Oriole mind had been affected by secret technique that would automatically activate when she was captured, wiping out some of her memories in the process.
Upon hearing Su Chen’s question, Flowing Flame Oriole replied, “I don’t really know the answer either.”
“I know that. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have returned you to me. But just because your memories have been wiped doesn’t mean that I can’t find the truth. After all, the only memories that have been wiped out are the memories directly related to this incident, not any other memories. Am I correct?” Su Chen asked.
Flowing Flame Oriole was stunned. “So what?”
“Tell me about your identity first.”
Flowing Flame Oriole remained in a daze for some time before replying, somewhat unwillingly, “I am a Sanskrit Chanter from the Gentle Voice Nest.”
Nests were the internal dividers of Harpy society, akin to Ravager tribes or human countries. Sanskrit Chanters possessed a unique status, just like the Soulless or the Bone Diviners did in Ravager culture, and unique abilities. Sanskrit Chanters could sing songs that purified a person’s consciousness, sharpening their mind and simultaneously increasing their consciousness power. These songs were specifically used to deal with consciousness attacks. They were somewhat like priests, and they belonged to one of the Harpies’ three main special professions.
The fact that Flowing Flame Oriole was a Sanskrit Chanter explained how she was able to nullify Zhu Xianling’s control over her puppet. After all, Harpies surpassed humans both in their application of Origin Energy and understanding of the consciousness, not to mention that Sanskrit Chanters usually possessed great talent in those aspects.
But why would the Harpies send a Sanskrit Chanter all the way into human territory?
Just to free an insignificant human slave?
Su Chen didn’t believe it.
After thinking for a moment, he said, “So your memories were wiped out by a secret technique?”
“Yes,” Flowing Flame Oriole replied obediently.
Sanskrit Chanters weren’t warriors in the first place, and the Harpies did not rely on an iron will to sustain their society. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have needed to create such a secret technique in the first place.”
“Does this secret technique deal with a certain period of time or with a certain matter? What I mean is, even if the technique can wipe your memories, it should do so systematically and by a certain set of rules.”
“...... It’s by a specific set of words. I cannot remember what those specifically designated words are nor how they are related. My head hurts as soon as I try to think about it, so it’s impossible for me. My brain doesn’t allow me to think about the contents of these memories in order to preserve myself,” Flowing Flame Oriole replied helplessly.
“Is that so.” Su Chen rubbed his chin. “Then you should at least know where these words and their content came from in the first place, right?”
Flowing Flame Oriole nodded. “My leader, Matriarch Glimmering Clear Mist.”
“So was she the one who sent you to the human country to look for the Rong Clan? Or you came on your own?”
Flowing Flame Oriole replied after some thought, “No, she gave me a mission and I went to execute it. That is what led me all the way here.”
“So it wasn’t your Matriarch who instructed you to come to the Rong Clan?”
Flowing Flame Oriole shook her head.
“So the target of this mission is not the Rong Clan, but somehow they were involved. You just happened to come into contact with the Rong Clan while carrying out your mission, am I right?”
Flowing Flame Oriole said with some agitation, “I suppose so.”
Su Chen asked, “Then how were you able to find this place?”
“That is part of the memories that I cannot access.”
“Is that so......” Su Chen rubbed his chin and paced back and forth a few times, then asked, “When did you receive the commission?”
“Three months prior.”
“And when did you arrive at Flat Sky City?”
“About a month ago.”
“When did the Rong Clan and the Zhu Clan begin to show hostility towards one another?”
“Half a month ago?”
“So it only took you half a month to buy out the Rong Clan and convince them to fight against the Zhu Clan. Did you need to wipe out the Zhu Clan in order to complete your mission?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did the price you paid to buy out the Rong Clan have anything to do with your mission?”
“I don’t know.”
“What kind of price or treasure is enough to convince a Thought Manifestation Realm expert from a Demonic Emperor Bloodline Nobility Clan to hand over their clan?”
“I don’t know?”
“How many of you were sent from the nest for this mission?”
“Just the three of us.”
“Before you left, what items did you take with you?”
“A few of our own things, and some......”
Flowing Flame Oriole began to shriek as she cradled her head, falling into torment.
“Some things that you cannot say?”
“Do you know where they are?”
“No...... I cannot access the related memories.”
“But you at least should know that, at the time you were captured, these treasures were not on you. Right?”
Flowing Flame Oriole’s expression changed.