Chapter 177: Trust
Of the Mother Goddess Sect’s five divine treasures, the only one that Su Chen hadn’t been able to immediately figure out was the bug sealed inside amber.
After going through all of the Harpies’ records, Su Chen finally understood what it was.
The Catastrophe Bug!
Apparently, this bug was an incredibly scary bug with the power to multiply and regenerate endlessly. Its claws and teeth were both incredibly sharp, and its appetite was virtually insatiable. When a horde of them darkened the skies, they would destroy everything in their path.
At their peak, they were apparently even able to fight against an Origin Beast.
But as the environment had grown more and more inhospitable, the bug had also suffered from the same kind of pressure as the Origin Beasts.
However, rather than choosing to slumber like the Origin Beasts, it instead chose to regress its evolution, allowing it to adapt to its surroundings.
But unlike the Origin Beasts, the Catastrophe Bug was a eusocial creature, which meant that it relied on numbers and not on individual strength to survive.
To them, the degradation of the environment was not a death sentence. They just needed to adapt to their circumstances; their overall decrease in strength could be offset by simply increasing their numbers.
For this reason, the Catastrophe Bug was viewed as a constant threat throughout all of history. Even when the ambient Origin Energy was declining, the Catastrophe Bug could still move around as they pleased.
What restricted them the most was not the environment but rather their voracious appetite.
At this point in time, most of the Catastrophe Bugs had died off due to starvation. Only a few remained alive, but they could easily recover to their peak as long as they had enough food.
Their decline had really been caused by the Arcana Kingdom.
They had risen to power right when the Catastrophe Bugs were at their weakest. With that opportunity, they killed off a large number of them, and from then on, the bug’s population was perpetually kept in check. Whenever they were about to get out of control, the Arcanists would step in and cull the population. This way, they would never get out of hand.
Perhaps it was this accomplishment that had given the Arcana Kingdom a feeling of invincibility, enough so as to openly challenge an Origin Beast. That had eventually resulted in the destruction and decline of the entire kingdom.
The Catastrophe Bug had basically been strangled in the cradle, and very few of them still existed. Su Chen didn’t expect that the Mother Goddess Sect would actually possess a living specimen.
According to the Harpies’ records, this bug had been passed down from the Illustrious Divine Dynasty. One of the sect’s Bishops had stumbled across it completely by accident, and they had kept it intact and brought it back to the Harpies.
The Bishop originally thought that the bug could have become one of the Harpies’ trump cards.
If the Harpies one day faced a perilous situation, then they should theoretically be able to revive the bugs and use them to attack their opponents. However, because it was impossible to control the Catastrophe Bug, releasing it was the same as releasing a demon into the world. This was a last resort, one not meant to be used lightly.
But after grasping the situation, Su Chen grew excited.
Just because the Harpies couldn’t control didn’t mean that Su Chen couldn’t.
After all, this subject was precisely what Su Chen was most proficient in.
Even though Su Chen’s main research area was still bloodline-less cultivation techniques, those techniques were still a breakthrough that took place on a biological level. As a result, Su Chen had naturally come to understand how to improve and alter lifeforms through his research.
Other aspects of his research, which included Origin Formations, talismans, and tool and puppet refining, were also interesting to him. However, his understanding of lifeform alteration was the deepest among them all. Even his alchemical breakthroughs were based off of this foundation.
In any case, Su Chen was much more proficient in studying lifeforms, which made his job much easier.
Of course, there were many different kinds of lifeform alteration, and Su Chen’s main focus was on the human cultivation system. His familiarity with insect alteration was limited. Now, however, with the experience he had gained from infiltrating the Chaos Tower, Su Chen had already come up with a way to control the Gluttonous Parasite.
The Gluttonous Parasite had died of starvation during Su Chen’s imprisonment in Eternal Night’s care, but the experience and skills that Su Chen had accumulated while raising it were permanent.
As such, Su Chen was already somewhat familiar with this field.
As long as he continued to tread this path, it was entirely possible that he would eventually develop some kind of universal skill for controlling insects.
Apart from the Catastrophe Bugs, the Harpies’ library also contained a lot of information about Neptune’s Eye and the Immortal Soul.
Earlier, Su Chen only knew that Neptune’s Eye and the Immortal Soul were crucial to the control of Sky City, but he didn’t know about any of the details. After reading through the library’s records, however, Su Chen quickly realized why the Harpies had lusted after these two treasures for so long.
They were simply too valuable to the Harpies.
Any kind of treasure, no matter how rare it was, ran the risk of being stolen; this could be especially seen in the case with the Mother Goddess Sect’s five rare treasures. They had been hidden quite well, but not well enough to escape the notice of someone paying very close attention.
And why was that? It was because the treasures were in a hidden state.
After an item was hidden, rarely would it still continue to have robust defenses. Actually, that was a signal in and of itself, as having a large group of soldiers guard it around the clock was a waste of resources.
However, if that treasure was in constant use, then the situation was totally different.
The person guarding the treasure would always be on high alert, and because the treasure was generating value, it was worth it to set up a rotation of guards to watch it around the clock.
Most of the treasures that Su Chen had managed to pilfer were all hidden and kept in a passive state. This was a major factor in his success.
Neptune’s Eye and the Immortal Soul were meant to be constantly used, and the two races that currently possessed them had managed to progress in leaps and bounds because of them. Their importance was probably roughly equivalent to the importance of the Ravagers’ Origin Energy Temple.
There was no way Su Chen could quietly steal this kind of treasure. The only way for Su Chen to get his hands on them would be to forcefully seize them.
But the difficulty of forcefully seizing these two precious treasures from two separate races was quite obvious.
No wonder Eternal Night had placed his hopes on Su Chen.
The only person capable of accomplishing this feat in the world was probably Su Chen.
After reading through all the appropriate materials, Su Chen fell into a period of deep thought as he activated his consciousness crystal to its greatest extent.
If he wasn’t able to come up with a plan even after using his consciousness crystal for an entire afternoon, then it was probably useless for Su Chen to continue thinking about the problem given the rate at which the crystal processed information.
Soon enough, Su Chen pieced an approximate plan together.
That evening, Su Chen appeared before Eternal Night once again.
Eternal Night’s expression was one of shock as he stared at Su Chen’s plan. “That’s your plan? Are you kidding?”
“You know that I’m not kidding. This is the plan that I have come up with after considering countless possibilities,” Su Chen replied sincerely.
Eternal Night deeply contemplated the proposal.
After a long time, he said, “A laughable, idiotic, illogical plan…… But I must also admit that, after the Harpies’ countless failures, it does seem like there is a possibility for this plan to succeed. Su Chen, tell me. Are you confident in pulling this off?”
Su Chen shook his head. “At the moment, I estimate that I only have a one percent probability of success.”
“One percent, huh?” Eternal Night didn’t grow angry. Instead, he nodded and said, “That’s already pretty good. Having even a little bit of hope is better than having no hope at all. Also, that one percent chance is only given the current situation, right? You should be able to improve those odds in the future.”
Su Chen nodded. “The beginning is always the hardest, but as long as we take it one step at a time, we will eventually succeed. Just because our chances of success now are low, it doesn’t mean that they will still be low in the future. The only thing that I’m worried about is your patience. No matter how much ability I have, I will not be able to meet those deadlines.”
Eternal Night responded, “I understand this principle. Given how important this matter is, being in too much of a hurry will only ruin things. I am more than willing to give you more time, but you must also give me a good reason to believe you. On what grounds would you have me trust that you are genuinely interested in helping me obtain these two treasures and are not just making things up? Just because of Zhu Xianyao? That is not enough of a guarantee!”
It was truly not enough.
In theory, there was a simple way for Su Chen to resolve the issue with Zhu Xianyao — he could just delay the mission indefinitely. As long as he didn’t openly resist the Harpies or give up on the mission, Zhu Xianyao would remain alive. She would basically be stuck in Gu Qingluo’s situation, constantly confined to Harpy territory, but also assured to not die. Su Chen might even be allowed to visit her from time to time.
And once Zhu Xianyao died of old age, the situation would be easily resolved.
This was the best way for Su Chen to counter Eternal Night’s third request for him.
As such, Eternal Night could afford to wait, but he also couldn’t afford to wait forever.
He needed Su Chen to somehow demonstrate his sincerity.
Su Chen replied, “That’s easy. If I succeed, then you must give me the blueprints for Sark’s Nucleus.”
When Eternal Night heard this, his heart involuntarily skipped a beat.
The Harpies did in fact have blueprints for building Sark’s Nuclei; however, it was simply too hard to construct one, and the necessary ingredients were impossibly rare and hard to come by. Even if the Harpies had the blueprints, they couldn’t even dream of fully replicating one. They could only make a miniature version. At this point, the various Floating Points were almost all being powered in part by these miniature Sark’s Nuclei.
“You want the blueprints for Sark’s Nuclei? Are you planning on building another Sky City?”
Su Chen shook his head. “How can I do what the Harpies aren’t able to? But even if I can’t recreate Sky City, I can at least build a Floating Point. I can help the Harpies regain Sky City’s ability to move, but I will also give the human race unlimited potential. This is a win-win situation, and should serve as proof of my sincerity.”
Eternal Night considered Su Chen’s words for a moment. “We Harpies would ultimately lose out on such a deal. The humans’ strength will greatly increase if I accept.”
“It’s just untapped potential anyways, which will take time to fully turn into strength. And this is the only way that you can guarantee my sincerity. Otherwise, on what basis would we be working together?” Su Chen countered. “The blueprints for Sark’s Nuclei have been in the hands of your nobles for tens of thousands of years with no discernible effect. The same will probably be true for us humans.”
“It’s hard to say with them in your hands,” Eternal Night shot back with a rejoinder of his own. In terms of political scheming, Eternal Night was not inferior to Su Chen in the slightest. In fact, he was probably slightly superior.
But in terms of research capacity, he was far behind Su Chen.
“I’m only really proficient in lifeforce alteration. Studying mechanical puppets is not really a main focus of my research,” Su Chen replied.
In his heart, however, he secretly added, But it is a research interest of the human race as a whole.
Just because the Harpies weren’t able to replicate the majesty of Sky City didn’t mean that the humans couldn’t.
In terms of creativity, humans would always be superior to Harpies!