When Su Chen reappeared above the palace many years later, he was no longer considered an enemy, but an important guest.
Three hundred Harpy females dressed in gaudy robes flew towards him, bearing fresh flowers in their hands and forming a bridge of flowers leading him to the palace.
A profound, ethereal song floated through the air in Su Chen’s direction. This song was used by the Harpies to greet important visitors, and the Harpy females around him began to dance in time with the music.
The Harpies were incredibly talented musicians, but humans rarely had the privilege of listening for themselves. Su Chen had only heard it once despite the fact that he had been in Sky Country for so long.
Amidst this joyful, celebratory music, Su Chen entered the Perpetual Daylight Palace and greeted Eternal Night.
Some years had passed since they had last met. Eternal Night was still a skinny old man, but now his eyes were filled with hope towards the future.
When Eternal Night saw Su Chen, a rare smile appeared on his face. “Sect Master Su has finally arrived. I have been waiting for some time for this day.”
“I apologize for being late, Your Majesty. Please forgive me,” Su Chen said.
“It’s alright,” Eternal Night said as he waved his hand generously.
The time limit was imposed to make sure that Su Chen wouldn’t delay, and Su Chen had indeed stuck to the plan as best as he could. The final delay had been out of his control - the Harpies knew this, as they had been closely observing what happened in the Abyss this entire time.
Su Chen hadn’t slacked off in the slightest in his handling of this matter, and the many years of silence had all been in preparation for that sudden show of strength. There was no fault that Eternal Night could find, so he didn’t blame Su Chen in the slightest. Actually, Eternal Night almost tried to save Su Chen out of impulse when Su Chen disappeared. However, with the Sovereign in the way, there was nothing he could have done anyways.
After some casual conversation, Su Chen pulled out an item. “At least the expedition was a success. I have Neptune’s Eye with me, and I have come to fulfill one part of our agreement.”
The item Su Chen had taken out was naturally Neptune’s Eye.
Neptune’s Eye was actually a deep blue crystal ball. Its outer appearance seemed somewhat similar to that of an eye, and it possessed the innate ability to control the sea - hence the name.
This item was crafted out of Deep Sea Agate.
In the depths of the ocean lived a unique kind of fish with an innate control of water. They were known colloquially as Sons of the Deep, and only one of them ever existed at one time.. This fish had a long lifespan, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands of years. They only had a single central bone in their body, and within the marrow of the bone flowed a crystalline liquid. That simultaneously rock-like and liquid-like substance was the Deep Sea Agate.
Because of how long a Son of the Deep lived and the fact that there were only one of them at any given time, there had been no more than a hundred Sons of the Deep across the Primordial Continent’s hundred thousand years of history. As such, the amount of Deep Sea Agate that could be collected was extremely limited.
This Deep Sea Agate ball was so large that it basically had to be a composite of almost all the Deep Sea Agate that had ever been harvested. Then, countless individuals had worked on refining it. As such, Neptune’s Eye was a one-of-a-kind item. It would take another hundred thousand years to find another one.
As Su Chen held Neptune’s Eye, a thin film of water seemed to form around him.
His proficiency lay in wind, fire, and thunder techniques, but with the Neptune’s Eye in his hand, Su Chen’s water Arcana Techniques had grown much more powerful as well, to the point that they were no weaker than the other three kinds.
Of course, he did not attack. Instead, he smiled at Eternal Night with a slight smile.
When Eternal Night saw Neptune’s Eye, he said with excitement, “That’s it!”
He reached out.
In that moment, his hand actually trembled slightly.
The shame that the Harpies had suffered for tens of thousands of years would finally be wiped away by his hands.
Su Chen, however, retracted his hand, stowing the Neptune’s Eye once again.
Eternal Night’s gaze constricted slightly. “Sect Master Su, what is the meaning of this?”
Su Chen smiled slightly. “I’ve brought Neptune’s Eye with me here. Shouldn’t I be allowed to go and see Xianyao?”
Su Chen and Eternal Night’s agreement had only stipulated that Eternal Night would release Zhu Xianyao once Su Chen delivered the Neptune’s Eye and the Immortal’s Soul. The exact details had not been settled.
For instance, Su Chen could wait to deal with the Astrals first before giving Eternal Night the Neptune’s Eye.
However, Su Chen had not done so. In fact, he had voluntarily offered the Neptune’s Eye, even surprising Eternal Night.
Once Su Chen had made his request, however, Eternal Night realized what was happening.
He squinted his eyes. “You want to meet with Zhu Xianyao?”
Su Chen replied, “It’s been six years. I at least need to see how she is doing, don’t I?”
Eternal Night frowned.
Strictly speaking, Su Chen’s request was not excessive. He hadn’t seen his second wife for six years, and it was only natural that he would hand over one of the required items for a chance to meet with his wife.
However, Eternal Night couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.
Perhaps because Neptune’s Eye was simply too rare.
This treasure was impossible to put a price on. Any person who obtained it would do anything to use it for a while longer, especially if no explicit conditions had been stipulated on its use. If Eternal Night was in Su Chen’s position, he would definitely try and delay giving it over until he had obtained the Immortal Soul as well.
At the very least, he would be able to use the Neptune’s Eye for himself for this period of time.
However, Su Chen had chosen not to do so. Instead, he had volunteered to hand over Neptune’s Eye, giving Eternal Night a sense of unease.
This kind of feeling was entirely instinctual and had been honed by ruling a country for many years. It was a natural suspicion of anything that didn’t take a natural course.
But suspicion couldn’t solve every problem.
Because suspicions about Su Chen also applied to him as well - who knew if Su Chen would be able to obtain the Immortal’s Soul. Taking the Neptune’s Eye now was a good decision regardless.
In that sense, Eternal Night’s need for the Neptune’s Eye was greater than his need for Su Chen.
As such, he could not refuse Su Chen’s request even if he felt like something was up.
They were in the Perpetual Daylight Palace, after all.
Su Chen was completely within his rights to ask to see Zhu Xianyao.
He couldn’t afford to be so stingy that he refused to agree to even this request.
After a moment’s thought, Eternal Night nodded. “Fine.”
At the same time that he led Su Chen there, Eternal Night also issued a silent command to have Kelesda go on standby - just in case.
Actually, Eternal Night should have asked for Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s support first. The Mother Goddess Sect was more powerful and were all united, unlike the imperial officials, who, while strong, all had their own situations to take care of and were hard to gather.
However, Eternal Night’s agreement with Su Chen had actually offended the Mother Goddess Sect. In order to entice Su Chen into working for him, as well as weaken the Mother Goddess Sect, Eternal Night had purposefully allowed Su Chen to take the Mother Goddess Sect’s treasures with him.
He had been able to hide it for some time, but not forever.
After Serene Dream Lotus Crown had found out about this, her temper had flared, and their relationship had grown strained.
As such, very few strategic decisions could be made without any compromise. Despite the fact that everything had gone according to plan for Eternal Night, he had paid quite a tremendous price. It was a stretch to say that he was responsible for the rift between the political and religious branches of power, but he certainly did their relationship no favors.
This was why Eternal Night hadn’t notified Serene Dream Lotus Crown after thinking about it for some time.
In his view, two legendary Arcana Masters was more than enough to handle the situation.
Not long afterwards, Zhu Xianyao arrived.
Like a burst of flames, she rushed into Su Chen’s arms and said, in a daze, “You’ve finally returned!”
Su Chen tightly embraced her, sensing her burning passion, and said gently, “I’m afraid that things have been difficult for you these past few years.”
Zhu Xianyao shook her head cutely. “Difficult isn’t quite the word I’d use. These people have treated me very well, and none of them dared to make me unhappy. I just couldn’t help but think of you.”
“Oh? None of them dared to make you unhappy?”
“Mhm!” Zhu Xianyao nodded her head. “I told them that if anyone makes me unhappy or wrongs me, my husband will not be happy when he finds out. And if that happens, he might lose focus, and if he loses focus, he might not be able to do as good of a job, and the Harpies’ ten thousand year dream might not come to fruition.”
“...... Well said.” That was all Su Chen could say.
Zhu Xianyao’s logic was something, but no matter how strong it was or otherwise, it was very effective.
The Harpies’ goal lay in Sky City. With such a strategic goal before them, any other price was small in comparison. They would never dare to pick on Zhu Xianyao, so they did their best to satisfy her demands and ensure that she was happy.
For this reason, Zhu Xianyao was practically treated like a princess here, and she was never wronged.
“No wonder. I thought you got a little fatter,” Su Chen said as he pinched Zhu Xianyao’s cheeks.
“Have I? No way, I have been watching what I eat very closely!” Zhu Xianyao replied in shock as she began to examine herself closely.
Indeed, all women were the same when it came to appearances.
An instant later, Zhu Xianyao turned around and called out, “Hey, you guys, no wonder you have been feeding me so much. Are you trying to harm me? From tomorrow onwards, you are not allowed to feed me any other supplementary foods, and I will primarily eat Moon Frost Flowers.”
Moon Frost Flowers were a unique kind of food belonging to the Harpies, made from the stamens of flowers that grew in the northern regions of Harpy territory. They could increase a person’s ability to absorb Origin Energy. Harvesting hundreds of these flowers would only produce enough to fill a small plate, so they were incredibly precious and were typically considered desserts. Only nobles would be allowed to eat such fare. Zhu Xianyao, however, had requested that these flowers become her main source of nutrition. The extravagance was truly something.
“No wonder your strength has increased so much in the past few years. You’ve already reached the Spirit Burning Realm,” Su Chen muttered to himself.
With the entire Harpy race supporting her, Zhu Xianyao’s cultivation had advanced much more rapidly than it would have if she was still back with the Zhu Clan.
“Of course. They are taking very good care of me here,” Zhu Xianyao said happily.
“If that’s the case, do you even still want to leave?” Su Chen asked.
When Zhu Xianyao heard this, her expression sank.
She hugged Su Chen tighter. “No matter how good it is, I will never be happy as long as you aren’t by my side.”
Su Chen nodded. “Now that I’ve heard you say that, I can rest assured in taking you with me.”
What was that supposed to mean?
Eternal Night groaned in his heart.
Su Chen said, “Eternal Night, many thanks for your care for my wife these past few years. She has been quite comfortable here. But I think that I would like to relieve Your Majesty of this burden. I will take my wife with me and take care of her myself.”