Chapter 49: Soul Stamp
When he heard Su Chen’s explanation of the Soul Stamp technique, Patelocke also realized the Harpies’ intentions. Obviously, they had planned on Soul Stamping this bug hive as they raised it so that they could permanently turn it into a part of the Harpies’ arsenal.
“So has it been Soul Stamped yet?” Patelocke asked.
“That’s where we got lucky,” Su Chen replied. “The Soul Stamp technique can’t be carelessly used, and even Sanskrit Chanters need to wait a certain length of time for the target to mature before using it. If I had to guess, this bug hive cannot be stamped before it reaches a certain age, and Flowing Flame Oriole had helped the Rong Clan by using Soul Stamp on Zhu Xianling’s slave in the meantime, making it impossible for her to use Soul Stamp again for some time. Later on, she fell into my hands, meaning that she had completely lost her chance to Soul Stamp the hive. Now, this bug hive has reached its fledgling stage and can be stamped. However, it will not be obedient to them, but rather to me.”
“But you are not a Sanskrit Chanter and cannot use the technique,” Patelocke sighed.
“I cannot possess the technique, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t use it.” Su Chen smiled as he explained, “This Arcana Technique Pattern itself originated from a Sanskrit Chanter and thus contains all of her attributes. And besides, I only need to use this kind of power once.”
As he spoke, he raised the Arcana Technique Pattern in his hand and began to infuse it with Origin Energy.
The Pattern began to glow brightly before it gradually dissipated after reaching its peak intensity.
As it dissipated, however, a consciousness tunnel was opened up.
A moment later, Su Chen could clearly sense the bug hive’s consciousness.
It was crying out for help.
Since it was small, its will was not fully developed and could not actually communicate through words. It didn’t even know what the word “help” meant.
At the very least, however, it could accept Su Chen’s intentions.
This consciousness was the only one that approached it, so the bug hive’s consciousness naturally drifted towards it, seeking affection.
Su Chen smiled slightly. “I am your father, your closest family member. Remember this forever.”
The bug hive had no way of understanding Su Chen’s words, but the consciousness connection made it possible for it to understand Su Chen’s meaning.
Perhaps because he was a bit late in using the Soul Stamp, the bug hive actually attempted to resist.
“I can help you take care of those bugs,” Su Chen said.
“Father!” the bug hive immediately responded.
Such a young organism had no concept of any kind of pride. A single sentence was enough to get it to lower its resistance.
“Then...... accept my will and bear my seal. Always obey me and submit to me. That is my order to you,” Su Chen continued as he followed the Soul Stamp technique’s instructions and imprinted the brand inside the bug hive.
“I am father’s son. I will obey father’s will!” the bug hive replied.
Su Chen could sense that the brand had been successfully cast.
Yes, it was indeed that simple.
The Arcana Technique Pattern disappeared afterwards, but the consciousness connection remained. Su Chen could sense that his Soul Stamp could actually be refined one step further.
At that point in time, a sudden thought surfaced in his head. He said, “This command will bury itself in the depths of its consciousness and will be very well hidden. It will not manifest itself to someone else until I need it to activate. As for the activation method......”
Su Chen’s voice began to trail off.
“A hidden command that will only activate when I receive a specific order!” the bug hive repeated.
“What are you doing?” Patelocke asked in surprise.
Su Chen shushed him and issued a third command.
“From now on, you will be the Harpies’ Floating Point Six. As long as the ‘awaken’ command is not given, you will obey the Harpies.”
“I will obey the Harpies as long as the command is not given!” the bug hive repeated.
“Very good.” Su Chen smiled slightly.
His work here was done.
Patelocke stared at him, dazed. “You want to......”
“As you have guessed. I will return it to the Harpies.”
Return it to the Harpies!
Su Chen’s words echoed through Patelocke’s ears like a thunderclap, sending him reeling.
“How despicable and shameless!” Patelocke yelled repeatedly, though he grew more and more excited each time he said it. “But I like that plan a lot!”
The bug hive would serve as a carrier for Floating Point Six and would definitely be pampered and improved thoroughly during that period of time. This improvement would obviously require a colossal amount of resources, much more than any single person could afford. Only an entire race would be able to feed and nourish it.
It was only natural that Su Chen had chosen to temporarily relinquish his control under these kinds of circumstances.
Thus, he was going to return it to the Harpies.
It could be easily imagined that, after the Harpies had shed their blood, sweat, and tears in order to produce the floating city, Su Chen would casually swing by and harvest all their hard work. That would absolutely be a heavy blow to the Harpies, no less than the Ravagers’ loss of the Origin Bone Scepter and Vitality Totem or their internal conflict that would likely last more than a hundred years.
“Before then, however, I need to gain a better understanding of this thing first.”
As Su Chen spoke, he began to widen the spatial vortex so that he could enter the strange realm.
This time, the bug hive did not attempt to attack him.
After entering the strange realm, Su Chen first dealt with the hybrid bugs he had unleashed to attack the bug hive before closely inspecting the bug hive.
The bug hive was a hundred feet tall. Even though it was already quite large, the bug hive was still very young. A fully mature bug hive could be as large as a small mountain, and hold as many as millions of distinct lifeforms. That made the bug hive without any modifications roughly equivalent to a floating city.
No wonder the Harpies were planning on using it as a carrier.
An ocean of Moonstones was piled beneath the bug hive, which had been harvested by those bugs and amassed here to support the bug hive’s appetite. Moonstones were quite rare, and it was exceptionally difficult to find high-purity Moonstones anywhere on the continent. A metric ton of Moonstone ore would usually only yield half a kilogram or so of pure material once refined.
The small mountain of purified Moonstone piled up beneath the bug hive obviously explained how the Moonstone Mine had been depleted.
Su Chen placed his hand on the young bug hive as he stood in front of it, carefully probing and analyzing the bug hive’s internal makeup.
After applying the Soul Stamp, a mysterious connection had emerged between Su Chen and the bug hive.
It was through this connection that Su Chen truly came to understand how the bug hive had come into existence.
Actually, calling it a bug hive was a bit inaccurate. It was actually a very extraordinary broodmother, and merely seemed like a bug hive in appearance as it also constantly produced young bugs. Even though it was young, it could still birth bugs all the same — the very same bugs that Su Chen had massacred earlier. They were not fighter bugs but rather worker bugs, specifically meant to harvest resources. Because of that, they didn’t have a high fighting capability. The threat they had posed earlier was merely because of their large numbers and their combined consciousness attack. If they were in an open area, without constricted and confusing terrain, there were countless ways of finishing them all off
The broodmother lived in a unique environment. Bugs skittered inside it left and right, and the broodmother was at the top of the food chain, the ruler of the tens of thousands of bugs.
Broodmothers were exceptionally rare in this world as a single broodmother represented an entire bug community.
Even though the broodmother had a strong consciousness, it was nowhere near as powerful as Su Chen had initially thought.
The broodmother wasn’t actually that proficient in using its consciousness energy. The reason this broodmother possessed such a powerful consciousness was because Su Chen had killed almost all of its worker bugs. After the worker bugs died, their consciousness power would flow back to the broodmother. For the sake of its own safety, the broodmother had unleashed the consciousness energy it had no way of storing, subsequently generating that storm of wind from before. It hadn’t actually been trying to kill Su Chen.
The broodmother’s consciousness power was still steadily decreasing.
This consciousness power was how the broodmother controlled her offspring, and it also gave the bugs a way to communicate with the broodmother regardless of how great the distance between them was. Apart from that, however, the broodmother didn’t really have any other consciousness techniques it could use.
In substance, it was still just a bug, so it relied on its physical strength, not its consciousness power.
At this moment, the broodmother was still absorbing the Origin Energy around it to grow. At the same time, it was also using the resources brought by the countless worker bugs around it to further strengthen and perfect its physical body.
Broodmothers weren’t normally capable of eating metal, so even though they were powerful, their bodies were still made of flesh. They typically relied on a hard outer carapace to protect them and large waves of minion-bugs to attack. But because their physical bodies were ordinary, they did not cultivate, so neither they nor the bugs they produced could really be considered powerful.
This was another reason why the Harpies’ believed they could capture this bug — it was not some kind of invincible creature.
But once it had fallen into the Harpies’ clutches, the Harpies would definitely find a way to massively boost its power so that it could become Floating Point Six.
Coincidentally, they had found the Gold-Devouring Ape’s corpse.
The Gold-Devouring Ape possessed the ability to convert the metal it ate into its own flesh and blood, which was a big reason why it was so powerful. The Shining Dragon’s source of power was time, so the bone it left behind possessed the powers of time; the Gold-Devouring Ape’s bones naturally contained fragments of its powers as well. As long as they could find the ape’s Origin Bone and fuse it with the broodmother, the broodmother would be able to digest metal and subsequently sharply increase its own defensive capabilities. It would even be able to pass on this ability to the bugs that it produced.
This was the reason Flowing Flame Oriole had brought this young broodmother here.
The current broodmother had already completely assimilated the Gold-Devouring Ape’s Origin Bone and was relying on its children to bring it more ore to eat. This ore was the Gold-Devouring Ape’s former body, making it the best form of nourishment for the broodmother.
This was the case for both the Moonstone and the Stargold Veins!
This battle between the three Demonic Emperor Clans had indeed been over these veins of ore.
However, no one was aware that an even greater secret was hidden behind that desire.
“It seems like we really are going to have to ask the Zhu Clan to relinquish control of the Stargold Mine,” Su Chen sighed.
Since the broodmother now belonged to him, he would naturally do his best to meet its demands. Now the “little guy” was in its growing stage. How could Su Chen ignore its requests? The Moonstones hadn’t been consumed yet, so the broodmother wasn’t too agitated yet. However, it was bound to finish off this pile of Moonstones sooner or later.
On the other hand, Su Chen wasn’t particularly concerned about how he would get the Zhu Clan to agree to his demands.
He had simply too many things that the Zhu Clan would be interested in.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find that puppet or the Lightless Ring,” Patelocke sighed with regret.
He could sense the fluctuations coming from the Lightless Ring, but had no way of pinpointing its exact location.
Su Chen replied, “Well, that might not necessarily be true. Don’t forget that this little guy here assimilated the Gold-Devouring Ape’s Origin Bone and devoured most of the metal veins here. It is more familiar than anyone else about the secrets hidden deep below the ground.”
Patelocke excitedly exclaimed, “So......”
“We can have it use some of its bugs to help us scout around. As long as those two items are still around, we will definitely find them eventually. The only problem is that this will take some time...... I killed almost all of its worker bugs, and it’s complaining about that to me right now. This will take a lot of time and energy on its part to accomplish.”
“Then I only have one more question,” Patelocke said.
“What is it?”
“How are you planning on returning the broodmother to the Harpies?”