Book 7, Chapter 19: Cat and Mouse

The single droplet of blood naturally dripped off of the Origin Stone and onto the ground.

But then, the droplet spread into an unnaturally thin film, from which two eyes gradually began to appear. The sight was incredibly strange.

The pair of eyes glanced around, surveying its surroundings before inching towards a slightly more secluded corner. Then, it began to transform.

The blood expanded in size before turning into the shape of a small standing figure. After only a few moments, it was apparent that this figure was in Su Chen’s shape.

Blood Clone!

Compared to before, however, Su Chen’s Blood Clone had improved yet again. It could now be activated by a subordinate, and it could also change its appearance.

This miniature Su Chen clone was not to be underestimated.

Since this clone was smaller, it was also better able to conceal itself, and the energy it took to maintain this clone was also less. This allowed Su Chen to focus almost all of his focus on combat. This newly spawned clone, however, didn’t have much combat ability — instead, it prioritized survivability and stealth.

Unfortunately, as soon as the clone opened its eyes, it saw a giant foot descending down upon it.

All Su Chen’s clone could do was cry out before being trampled underfoot.

“What was that noise?” One of the nearby Craftsmen glanced around but didn’t see anything worth noting, so he left.

After the Craftsman left, his foot revealed a two-dimensional imprint on the ground. It was colored red and vaguely shaped like a human.

A few seconds later, an arm extended out of this flat imprint, reached around, grabbed its own head, and peeled itself off of the ground like a piece of paper.

The clone then reinflated itself by sucking in a deep breath of air.

“How unlucky,” the clone muttered to itself as it scratched its head.

Now that Su Chen’s clone had a chance to survey its surroundings in peace, it quickly located the central area of the formation.

It had barely taken a few steps, however, when it suddenly heard a clattering sound above his head.

The Harpies were dumping more Origin Stones into the formation from above.

Unfortunately for the clone, it was right underneath the downpour.

“Dammit!”

That was all Su Chen’s clone could squeeze out before the deluge of Origin Stones overwhelmed it.

Thankfully, there was enough space in between the cracks of the Origin Stones for it to avoid being crushed.

An instant later, a thin blood-colored strand twisted and writhed its way out of the pile of Origin Stones.

This time, the clone had morphed itself into a long strap of sorts.

After extricating itself from the pile of Origin Stones, the clone continued to advance through the formation, tiptoeing towards his destination. He looked just like a tiny mouse skulking about.

Eventually, however, he met his match.

A tiger-like creature emerged in front of him, staring intently at him with its green eyes as if it were eyeing a new toy.

A cat!

Why was there a cat here of all places? Even mosquitoes would find it difficult to get into this place.

Su Chen’s clone felt its scalp tingle in fear.

The cat leisurely swiped at Su Chen with its claw.

The clone made an exaggerated face as it stuck its tongue out.

Unfortunately, the clone wasn’t able to scare the cat away. After all, the cat was technically a demonic one, which meant that it possessed its own degree of strength.

Su Chen’s clone was badly startled. It split itself into three sections —a head, torso, and legs, and then sent each of them scrambling off in a different direction.

When the cat saw this, it chose to chase after the portion that had the head.

Two legs sprouted out from the upper third of the clone’s body in a bizarre fashion before carrying it along as the demonic cat chased closely after it. But then, the running head on legs flickered before suddenly disappearing.

It had chosen to conceal itself.

Unfortunately, this consumed a great deal of Origin Energy, and Su Chen’s clone had even split itself into three portions. As such, its duration had decreased even further.

The demonic cat didn’t leave even though it’s “toy” had disappeared. Instead, it calmly continued to survey its surroundings.

Su Chen’s clone’s upper third carefully hid in a random corner. Suddenly, the demonic cat’s nose twitched once before it leapt straight at the head, opening its mouth to swallow the head whole.

Dammit! Of course blood would have a distinctive scent that this cat would never miss! Su Chen’s clone cursed to itself.

The upper-third of Su Chen’s body was consumed just like that.

One-third of his clone was now permanently gone.

After the demonic cat ate a third of Su Chen’s blood clone, it trembled noticeably as its gaze suddenly sharpened. After all, Su Chen’s blood was extremely nourishing for that cat.

What a wonderful sensation!

The other two-thirds joined back together after traversing more than half the room. A new head grew out from the combined body, but it’s overall size was much smaller than before.

“Damn, how unlucky,” Su Chen’s clone muttered to itself. The cat had already circled around and was charging towards him yet again.

Su Chen’s clone was badly startled and immediately started running away.

Perhaps the cat had memorized the blood clone’s scent after eating its head, as it chased after the clone relentlessly.

Now that it had gotten a taste, there was no way it would ever let the Blood Clone go.

This game of cat and mouse continued all the way until they both reached the core of the formation.

When Su Chen’s clone saw the giant humming machine, it instantly became excited. “Sark’s Nucleus! I finally get to see you with my own eyes!”

The complete Sark’s Nucleus was far more complicated than the one drawn out in the blueprints that Su Chen had stolen.

It was so complicated that there were a total of 1,346 miniature Origin Formations in it alone.

Sark’s Nucleus could be thought of as a cauldron supplying Sky City with all of its energy. On one side of this cauldron, there was an opening where a constant stream of Origin Stones poured into it. Inside it, the Origin Stones were being converted into pure energy. Additionally, there was a giant chain that connected the center of this cauldron to the Origin Energy Sea.

“So that’s what’s happening.” Su Chen’s clone immediately understood the situation when it saw this scene.

Sark’s Nucleus was indeed drawing energy from the Origin Energy Sea, but its connection was much more tenuous than the Harpies let on. In reality, most of its energy was being supplied by the Origin Stones, with another significant portion being provided by the Deep Sea Anchor.

In any case, truly retethering Sky City to the Origin Energy Sea would take much longer than it seemed. Before the Deep Sea Anchor reached the depths of the Origin Energy Sea, Sky City would need to rely on Origin Stones to fuel their Origin Energy consumption.

Simply put, they were just trying to scare them!

But scare who?

The observers, of course.

The Harpies had done their best to shroud Sky City in mystery.

Unfortunately for them, Su Chen had still......

Before Su Chen could finish his thought, however, he realized that the demonic cat was bearing down on his clone again.

Dammit!

Su Chen cursed in his heart as the clone hurriedly leapt into motion while also concealing itself at the same time.

The core was primarily manned by technical operators, not fighters. Additionally, the ambient energy was in constant turmoil due to Sark’s Nucleus’ operation, which meant that anti-concealment formations wouldn’t work in this area. As such, no one was able to expose the presence of Su Chen’s clone.

In other words, the cat was the only creature that could sense the movements of Su Chen’s clone.

Su Chen’s clone sprinted madly across the floor as the demonic cat followed closely in hot pursuit.

The Craftsmen weren’t too surprised when they saw the cat bounding across the floor, probably because they were used to it.

The demonic cat’s speed only grew with each passing second, and the distance between them was quickly closing, but not a single Craftsman made an attempt to stop the cat. Su Chen’s clone gritted its teeth, and then decisively changed directions, heading straight for Sark’s Nucleus.

The cat immediately followed.

Only now was the hornet’s nest shaken.

Su Chen’s clone nimbly slid past a lever. The cat attempted it to follow but couldn’t fit through, so it slammed into the lever instead.

This collision knocked the lever into a higher gear.

Sark’s Nucleus immediately began to creak and groan.

“What’s going on? Who opened the gas valve!?” cried out one of the Craftsmen in alarm. This accident had completely wasted the most recent batch of Origin Stones.

More importantly, a temporary interruption in the supply of Origin Energy would directly affect the battle going on outside.

On the battlefield, Sky City’s defensive barrier suddenly disappeared for a brief moment.

Even though it was only a brief moment, tens of thousands of Beasts took advantage of it to charge into Sky City, directly engaging the Harpy soldiers inside.

“What’s going on?” all of the Harpies began to yell at the same time.

One of the Craftsmen hurriedly replied as he fixed the gas valve, “It’s that damned cat!”

“Catch it!”

Two Craftsmen charged forwards.

However, the demonic cat was still chasing after Su Chen’s clone.

Su Chen’s clone leapt past the cauldron and landed near another set of controls.

He didn’t know what these controls would do, but since he didn’t know, it was worth a try.

The demonic cat naturally pounced towards the controls as well.

The Craftsmen cried out in despair when they saw the cat descending upon the control panel.

Bang!

The demonic cat’s body landed squarely on three switches.

The anchor immediately groaned to a halt before beginning to retract.

At the same time, huge clouds of white steam began to billow from Sark’s Nucleus. It seemed as if it was about to grind to a halt.

“No, Little Qing! Look what you’ve done!” one of the Harpy commanders, who had rushed over upon hearing the commotion, cried out in despair when he saw the cat’s actions.

He was the one who had brought the cat here in the first place.

Pets weren’t allowed to enter the core of the city, but as the chief overseer of the core, it was only natural that he had some special privileges.

Little Qing the cat was normally very well-behaved and never ran around amuck like this.

Today, however, the cat had gone crazy for seemingly no reason.

After getting a taste for Su Chen’s blood, the demonic cat had lost all rationality. The only thing it could think about anymore was how it would devour Su Chen’s clone, to the point where it had completely forgotten about the rules that it had to follow. It continued to chase madly after Su Chen’s clone no matter how desperately his owner called out for him.

The cat scrambled across all kinds of switches and levers, causing quite the commotion before it finally closed the distance between it and Su Chen’s clone.

Su Chen discovered to his disappointment that his clone was actually incapable of escaping from the demonic cat’s paw.

Bang!

The demonic cat pounced one last time, pressing Su Chen’s clone beneath its paw.

But just as it was about to devour Su Chen’s clone —

Bang!

The cat’s body burst into flames.

“Meow!” That was the only sound the cat had time to utter before it was sent flying. It had been killed on the spot.

The Harpy overseer walked over, picked up the demonic cat’s corpse by the scruff of its neck, and rebuked it as he wailed, “Look at what you’ve done! You really made a huge mess this time!”

His sorrow caused him to overlook the fact that the dead cat’s paw, which had been tightly curled up, suddenly relaxed.

Su Chen’s clone had managed to free itself from the demonic cat’s lifeless paw.

He could sense that the clone had already expended most of its energy, and that its concealment technique was also starting to unravel.

Thankfully, there was a dead cat next to it.

The clone walked over to the cat’s open wound, where it reverted to its original form of a droplet of blood.

Fresh blood mixed with fresh blood.

No one would be able to tell the difference.

Unexpectedly, however, the Harpy overseer picked up the cat. “It’s time to go.”

He tossed the corpse into Sark’s Nucleus’s, where it directly landed on the fiercely burning fire.

Holy crap!

Su Chen cursed yet again.

He had barely escaped from the clutches of the demonic cat, but now his clone was going to die inside of this cauldron?

Su Chen’s clone attempted to separate itself from the demonic cat’s body with all its might.

Bang!

The cat’s corpse was tossed into the cauldron.

No one noticed that, at that exact moment, a droplet of blood fell from the cat’s body and landed on the edge of the cauldron. Perhaps even if anyone did see it, they wouldn’t have paid it any mind.

The blood quietly waited on top of Sark’s Nucleus like a small cinnabar dot, flickering faintly by the light of the cauldron’s fire.

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