The mouth of the statue was very spacious. It functioned as a giant door, and in its throat was a set of stairs that descended into the dark depths of the statue.
That was where the Deep Sea Sorrow’s water came from.
Flowing from bottom to top.
As expected, there was more to the statue than met the eye.
Su Chen sent out the single Catastrophe Bug again, using it to blindly search for a path forward as he carefully followed it down.
Once he reached the bottom of the flight of stairs, he was greeted by a large tunnel that was lined with thorny brambles.
Su Chen quickly realized that these brambles were incredibly tough, as he had a hard time tearing them apart. Even his flames could not burn them away.
At that moment, an unidentified object shot out of the brambles, narrowly missing Su Chen’s face.
Su Chen tilted his head and nimbly dodged it, but the thing actually twisted around in midair and shot towards Su Chen yet again.
Su Chen jabbed out with his finger, and the air pressure coming off of his finger slammed into the item.
The object immediately burst open and fell from the air. A faint green liquid seeped out from it and onto the ground. Only then did Su Chen realize that the “object” was actually a large beetle.
And that the liquid seeping out of its corpse was extremely corrosive and poisonous.
Once that first beetle died, countless other beetles began to pour out from the brambles, flying in Su Chen’s direction.
“There’s quite a few of them.” Su Chen raised his arm and unleashed a palm strike.
Unexpectedly, those beetles actually shot back into the brambles when he unleashed his strike.
The palm strike descended, and the brambles bunched up, resisting Su Chen’s palm strike.
“Hm?” Su Chen murmured as he suddenly understood what he was looking at. “So this is the Deathly Still Brambles.”
Su Chen had finally realized what was going on.
These Deathly Still Brambles were extremely annoying to deal with, and they were exclusively produced by the Dark Astrals. Not only were they incredibly resilient, but they also possessed an innate resistance to Origin Energy.
Those beetles were Dark Beetles.
Dark Beetles existed in a symbiotic relationship with the Deathly Still Brambles. The brambles offered the beetles protection while the beetles’ dung served as the brambles’ fertilizer and provided them with much-needed nutrition. When the beetles flew around, they would also scatter the Deathly Still Bramble’s seeds, forming a region filled with the brambles while simultaneously expanding their habitat.
The two of them relied on each other quite heavily, resulting in a uniquely dependent relationship.
Su Chen knew what he was facing as soon as he saw those beetles.
The Deathly Still Brambles and Dark Beetle pairing was quite annoying to deal with, but if Su Chen wanted to progress, then he would need to pass through this obstacle, and he didn’t have too much time to waste.
The Dark Beetles dodged Su Chen’s attack by hiding in the brambles and promptly flew out yet again.
Su Chen immediately unleashed his Catastrophe Bugs.
Because he had used his Light Shaking Phantom technique to enter the statue, he didn’t have many Catastrophe Bugs with him. Even so, using them to deal with the situation was more than enough.
The Catastrophe Bug was king of insects for a reason. While the Dark Beetles needed to rely on the Deathly Still Brambles for protection, the Catastrophe Bugs were able to scorn the might of a Sovereign all on their own. As such, the instant they appeared, the powerful aura that the Catastrophe Bugs exuded completely suppressed the Darkness Beetles. Their low vitality made them instinctively submit to these kings.
Even so, the Catastrophe Bugs mercilessly pounced upon them, unleashing a slaughter.
The defenses of the Deathly Still Brambles were completely useless against the Catastrophe Bugs. They slipped into the openings of the brambles and continued their massacre, causing countless beetle corpses to fall out of the brambles and onto the ground. In the blink of an eye, the Catastrophe Bugs had completely annihilated the Dark Beetles, and even the Deathly Still Brambles had been completely consumed.
This seemingly headache-inducing obstacle had been completely nullified with a single move. Su Chen stepped over the beetle corpses on the ground, which crunched underfoot.
“Su Chen, are you alright?” Gu Qingluo’s voice suddenly spoke in his ear.
“I’m fine. I just ran into a small bump in the road, but it wasn’t a problem,” Su Chen explained as he continued to advance so that Gu Qingluo would feel more at ease.
“Deathly Still Brambles? Aren’t those things unique to the Dark Astrals? They usually only use those things to protect their tombs,” Gu Qingluo said.
“Yes. Now, it seems that this statue was not created by Corniga, but rather by some Dark Astral or even an Astral,” Su Chen said. “Corniga probably discovered this location and then reappropriated it for his own purposes.”
“That’s right. But if it’s the tomb of an Astral, then you need to be careful. Those guys sometimes seem like they’re undying. I wouldn’t be surprised if something randomly popped out of the ground and attacked you even if it had been buried millenia ago,” Gu Qingluo reminded worriedly.
“I know. But that’s assuming that Corniga didn’t already dig it out.”
Su Chen wasn’t the first person to show up on the scene. Corniga had arrived before him.
Any surprises up ahead had probably already been experienced by Corniga before.
As for the Deathly Still Brambles, their hardiness meant that they would grow back easily. It wasn’t strange that they would return in force, given that Corniga had been gone for so long.
And just as Su Chen had predicted, a number of other barriers and traps were still in his way, but they were dealt with quite easily.
The main mechanisms that had remained intact after Corniga’s foray were the white light that shot out of the statue’s eyes and the brambles. The brambles were always able to grow back, and the white light’s mechanism had been purposefully left whole by Corniga. As long as it wasn’t a defensive mechanism that absolutely had to be destroyed, Corniga had done his best to keep them intact, as they would serve as natural defenses for the Deep Sea Sorrow.
As Su Chen followed the flow of water to its source, the hallway eventually opened up into a wide space.
It seemed as if he had entered a miniature paradise.
This was because Su Chen could see the sky.
This place was surprisingly spacious. At the center of the space was a pool of water, out of which a gigantic tree was growing.
The water all flowed from the tree.
From its drooping branches and leaves.
When Su Chen saw this, he was amazed.
Even though he had wondered what the Deep Sea Sorrow actually was all this time, he had never expected it to actually be a tree.
Yes, this tree was the Deep Sea Sorrow.
Its roots were firmly embedded within the pond, which probably was connected to the outside world.
The roots of the tree drew water out of the pond while the branches released the water, which with now suffused with it the peculiar Origin Substance of the Abyss.
So this Origin Substance, which could accelerate a lifeform’s growth, actually came from this tree!
Suddenly, Su Chen understood.
Corniga wasn’t the one who had invented the Deep Sea Sorrow.
He had merely discovered it.
And after finding the tree, he had decided to use it for his own purposes.
Perhaps the intrinsic process involved in creating the process was incredibly complicated, but it manifested in this tree which was incredibly simple and uninteresting.
A tree that could supply this Origin Substance abundantly!
This tree had transformed this entire region and harmed the Oceanids for twenty thousand years.
“So that’s how it is.” Even Gu Qingluo was rendered speechless by Su Chen’s discovery.
After a moment’s thought, she asked, “So should we destroy this tree right here and now?”
“No,” Su Chen immediately replied as he shook his head. “This tree is simply too incredible. It can produce a constant supply of this unique Origin Substance. If I were to plant it on Ten Thousand Swords Mountain, what do you think would happen?”
Gu Qingluo immediately warned, “You’re not wrong, but don’t forget that Corniga has already altered this tree. Even though the tree is capable of accelerating an organism’s growth, its beneficiaries will also fall under its control, and they will be forced to defend it and attack the Oceanids.”
“So let’s get rid of the commands then,” Su Chen said straightforwardly. “If Corniga can infuse commands, then I can get rid of those commands.”
With the Origin Bone Scepter present, this was not an impossibility.
“So then how are you going to take it with you?”
“Why not ask the Origin Bone Scepter?” Su Chen decided to cheat yet again.
But right when he pulled out the Origin Bone Scepter, a cloud of smoke suddenly billowed out from the tree.
Then, it condensed into an illusory body right besides the tree.
That body was that of an old man’s, and as soon as he appeared, he cried out, “The Origin Bone Scepter! An extraordinary scepter! I can finally meet you face to face.”
Su Chen glanced at the spectral body. “Astral?”
The spectral body before him clearly belonged to an Astral, but there were also some clear differences. For one, its legs were directly protruding from the tree, as if he had sprouted from the tree itself.
“A human! The Origin Bone Scepter has fallen into the hands of a human? Have those barbaric Ravagers already been destroyed?” the Astral asked Su Chen in shock.
“They are still around, but this treasure doesn’t belong to them anymore. It seems like you know what it is?”
“How could I not? That is something that I have been pursuing all this time. The Origin Bone Scepter…… If I had succeeded in my mission and gotten my hands on the Origin Bone Scepter, then I, Diomedes, wouldn’t have fallen to such a state in the first place.”
The old Astral then sighed regretfully.
This name sounded somewhat familiar, but Su Chen couldn’t remember where he had heard of it before.
The old Astral asked Su Chen, “What year is it right now?”
“The 27th millenium of the New Star Era,” Su Chen replied.
“Twenty thousand years? So I’ve been asleep for twenty thousand years, huh?” the Old Astral mumbled calmly.
Su Chen’s clone outside said to Gu Qingluo, “Your words were true. A twenty thousand year old guy really did jump out of nowhere.”
The Su Chen inside seemed to think for a moment before his eyes lit up. “Diomedes? You said that your name was Diomedes? So your name has three characters, then? That must mean that you’re one of the Astrals’ elders.”
“That’s right, and one of the most high-ranking ones to boot,” Diomedes replied proudly.
The Astrals’ naming conventions were incredibly simple. Common Astrals only had a single character in their names, middle-class ones two, elders three, and the leader four.
Due to this naming convention, the history of the Astrals was quite easy to remember. There weren’t many of them to begin with, they lived forever, and their names were easy to remember. Over the past twenty thousand years of history, there had only ever been around a hundred famous individuals from the Astrals.
As a result, it was rare for a great individual to appear from the ranks of the Astrals.
Diomedes was a relatively famous individual in his own right.
As he had said, before he had mysteriously disappeared, he was indeed one of the highest-ranking elders — second only to the leader of the Astrals himself, in fact.
But the reason why his name had been passed on until this very day was because of the great impact that his disappearance had had on the Astrals.
It was his disappearance that had ultimately forced the Astrals to halt their plans to create the Spring of Immortality.
And because of his disappearance, the Reproductive Temple had eventually been destroyed.
Unfortunately, this great elder’s disappearance had only had negative effects for the Astrals.
Obviously, he had no idea of the calamities following his disappearance.
Suddenly, a lightbulb went off in Su Chen’s mind, and he realized a monumental secret.
He exclaimed, “So the Deep Sea Sorrow is actually the Spring of Immortality!”