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Long Ai narrowed her eyes and focused her entire being on this calculation.

|She should finish absorbing in… a few hours.|

‘… That quick?’

Han De hadn’t asked, but it would be a lie if he wasn’t wondering about the timeframe. Suddenly being teleported back to the celestial ship was disorienting, to say the least.

|The moment you left, the flame gained consciousness and became an elemental.|

‘That’s…’

One of the effects of the Divine Phoenix bloodline came to Han De’s mind.


[Devourer of Flames]
[Can absorb elemental beings that cultivate Fire Qi.]


‘…That’s pretty convenient. Yes, let’s leave it at that.’

How much did Long Ai know? She even seems to be aware of the Divine Phoenix bloodline. Why else would she mention the consciousness of the flame? She would’ve just snuffed the intelligence out if it was dangerous to begin.

‘My default assumption should be that she knows about everything.’

Of course, that didn’t mean Han De would openly speak about dangerous subjects. Walls could have ears. Sometimes quite literally! If a rock could gain consciousness, so could a wall, or a decorative tile, or a small section of plaster. Anything could have ears! Anything!

|That ability of hers isn’t ordinary either. The newly born elemental won’t be able to run away from her perception.

In time, she will get used to perceiving reality.|

Han De assumed she was referring to the Breach skill. Long Ai’s hidden meaning was that the Breach skill didn’t have latent dangers by itself.

Tentacle-chan’s presence had an eerie effect on Ning Bi. Was it simply because she wasn’t used to that level of sensory input? Somehow Long Ai’s ‘silent argument’ made sense.

Han De nodded, then Long Ai changed the subject.

|Do you think Yao Qing isn’t ready?|

A seed from a previous cycle was already inside Han De’s storage ring. It was fair for Long Ai to assume that he was going to awaken Jin Shu’s bloodline. Was she thinking Yao Qing required some item from a previous cycle too?

Han De lightly shook his head.

“She doesn’t need an item.”

|En. Her path is certainly interesting.|

‘…So those clouds were from her Qi after all? I see. Makes sense.’

Han De didn’t notice that he had heard yet another silent argument, because he was too preoccupied.

How would Long Ai react if she knew he was going to increase Yao Qing’s talent?

‘Well, higher beings should be familiar with such things, right? That’s probably why Long Ai isn’t making a fuss about Ning Bi’s bloodline.’

Han De’s understanding of the higher beings was constantly evolving. By this time, he realized how seriously he was underestimating them. This potentially fatal mistake also made him realize the power discrepancy between the higher beings.

All the higher beings he saw on the Long family world were much ‘simpler’ than void grandpa and Cronenberg chef. Han De couldn’t explain why, he simply knew it. Even Long Ai’s current clone couldn’t hold a candle to tentacle-chan.

‘Which means, if those three were to be back, the Long family may not be able to offer adequate protection.

Well, I wasn’t going to put all my eggs into one basket anyway…’

Han De shook his head once more as if he were trying to shake off the dreadful thoughts.

|Those three won’t contact you until your body can withstand their presence.|

‘…’

Long Ai pondered for a second.

|Your body and soul will collapse in a few seconds if they were to find you right now. They wouldn’t dare take such a risk. Not even my teacher would, knowing that you are the 5th Long.|

Han De thought he heard it wrong.

“Teacher?”

Long Ai nodded with a mild smile.

|Your ‘Immortal Chef’ is my teacher.|

Then her expression became serious.

|Try to accommodate her as best as you can. She can be a little…|

‘…’

Long Ai didn’t look like she was going to finish her sentence.

‘A little what? A little what?!’

|Long Juan already found a suitable lower world for you. Long Xiu and Han Wei will stay here, so will your grandfather. They spent too much time in that world and sacrificed their cultivation.|

‘Wait, hold up.’

When did he agree to go to a lower world? Why would he give up the protection of frickin’ army of higher beings?!

Did he offend the Long family by refusing the engagement with Wen Jiayi? Did he miss something?

|The longer you stay close to a higher being, the faster your body will deteriorate. You already know this instinctively. Weren’t you concerned about your homeworld? Yet you didn’t even ask what happened, did you? Did your servant Sebastian succeed? Your lack of interest wasn’t by mistake.|

Han De’s mouth dropped. Long Ai was correct, he didn’t even think of asking what happened to Sebastian. That should’ve been a massive red flag. Why didn’t he notice it before?

|Sebastian succeeded and is waiting beyond the veil.|

<|The power you possess isn’t simple. The more you use it, the more attention you will attract.|>

‘F#$%...’

Was she aware of the System after all?

<|Even my main body may not be able to detect your… bloodline.|>

Han De couldn’t help but stare blankly at Long Ai and her smirk.

‘Either she is aware, or she is throwing a bait.’

|It may be inconvenient, but it is temporary. If you want to awaken your disciples’ bloodlines this is the time.|

Han De frowned. What did she mean by inconvenient? Why did she use voice transmission when talking about his bloodline/System?

“… How long do I have?”

|This isn’t a matter of running out of time. If need be, you can stay for a few decades, but that will cost some of your cultivation base. There’s no need for you to stagnate over a minor concern like this.|

Long Ai raised her hand to stop Han De’s speculative thoughts.

|A melon forced off its vine is not sweet. Constructing a new body and repairing your soul is simple, but these acts will incur future troubles. Without perspective, the consequences will stay beyond your comprehension.|

Long Ai gained a new understanding of her great-great-grandson through this conversation. It wasn’t just a bloodline, there was something else! Something that she felt she shouldn’t poke at. The moment she mentioned his bloodline, an intense fear nearly overcame her.

She had felt a similar but less intense sensation quite recently. When she left the Song realm and tried to peak at Long De’s location, a novel sense of fear had stopped her then.

Maybe… Long De was far more similar to herself than she imagined.

If that were the case, even if this incarnation died, it wouldn’t matter. Sooner or later, he would reappear once again. The complicated part was the ‘sooner or later’. A certain someone couldn’t wait for that long.

Long Ai chose not to mention, nor hint at this technicality. Long De didn’t seem to be aware, and his current temperament wouldn’t react positively to such thoughts.

Han De was oblivious to Long Ai’s intent. Currently, he was focused on managing his anxiety levels.

‘This is fine.’

Since the latest quest had a real chance of succeeding, he would rather focus on the reward.

*…thud…*

Just as he was thinking about her, Yao Qing appeared right in front of him, making Han De look at Long Ai by reflex. The latter only nodded and continued watching intently.

“Master. This disciple is ready.”

Unlike Han De, Yao Qing wasn’t surprised. Because she was expecting this moment ever since her master told them to stop cultivating. Later, Wen Jiayi’s words confirmed her suspicions. The time to awaken their bloodline was now. Considering the slightly concerned look of her master, Ning Bi was most likely awakening her bloodline right now.

Seeing everything proceed so smoothly was just as she had expected from her master!

<That day, I said you would need a very powerful tribulation lightning to awaken your bloodline…>

Why was her master using voice transmission? Any higher being could listen in without any effort, including the one that was present.

Though Yao Qing did know the name of Long Ai, she had never seen the legendary matriarch of the Long family in the flesh. Yao Qing didn’t think too hard about Long Ai either, because such thoughts could attract the attention of the higher being in question.

She deduced the tall and extremely beautiful woman that was currently observing her master, was from the upper echelons of the Long family. That was enough for the time being.

Perhaps her master was making a point by using voice transmission even now. One should be always careful, even if their efforts are futile?

<There are few things that could trigger a tribulation that could awaken your bloodline. The easiest one is to increase your innate potential.>

Yao Qing almost frowned. Increasing one’s innate potential? Wasn’t that one of the biggest taboos?

Long Ai herself, also nearly frowned.

Though admittedly there were many things that could anger that man, fiddling with innate potential, was quite high on the list. Especially in this universe, even the thought of it was nothing more than seeking death.

<Think of your potential as four distinct concepts. Will, Talent, Comprehension, and Luck. Increasing one of them will summon a tribulation, and allow you to awaken your bloodline.>

While sending a voice transmission, Han De was also checking her potential score.


[Name: Yao Qing]

[Potential Points (Total: 30)]
-------------------------------------------
[Will: 9]
[Talent: 7]
[Comprehension: 8]
[Luck: 6]


From his experience, sometimes the potential points could be misleading. Ning Bi’s Will score was at 7, but she was still susceptible to the same adolescent issues as anyone else. What was the difference between 7 and 8? Or between 8 and 9?

Han De was still lacking the crucial context between the scores, but he knew one thing. Higher was better.

If the increase of potential points was exponential, then turning a 9 into 10 was far more valuable than turning a 6 into 7.

Yao Qing could understand stealing luck and talent from the heavens, but stealing will and comprehension? Wasn’t that more dependent on the person?

However, since her master said so, it must be possible. Didn’t her master induce heaven-defying bloodline and heaven-defying body constitution, on not one but three disciples? The thoughts of primordial beings worked differently. The lack of reaction from the tall higher being also confirmed this.

Yao Qing thought back at her experiences in the previous timeline. Though her talent was good, there were many others that were better. Though her comprehension was great, there were still many others that far surpassed her. Even in the current timeline, Ning Bi and Jin Shu had left her in the dust.

As for Luck? While Yao Qing did have many fortuitous encounters, she also had her share of terrible ones. Luck was a fickle mistress that would periodically turn into a maniacal monster. Yao Qing had long given up on the thought of taming it.

The only thing that Yao Qing could rely on in the past, was her will. When Shen Xing stole her roots, it was through willpower that she survived. When the Moon Viper sect turned her into a cultivation vessel, she survived. When Xie Zhu cut off her limbs and left her in the Black Temple forest, she survived. When Wu Xiaosi betrayed her, when Cai Jie eroded her soul, when Mo Liling destroyed her meridians. It was through her perseverance that she survived.

And all those things happened before she even reached the Divinity Formation realm!

Yao Qing wasn’t at the beginning of her journey. This was simply another branching path. One that she would never give up on, one that she would see through to the end.

Though Long Ai was watching Long De, she couldn’t help but smile at Yao Qing. Right in front of her eyes, the fate of this disciple was changing. The currents surrounding her carried the faint echo of the heavenly punishment.

Yao Qing responded to her master with only one word.

<Will.>

Han De nodded as he smiled at Yao Qing. It was always convenient if he didn’t need to put in work to convince someone.

‘… Of course. She isn’t a regressor for nothing.’


[Profound Points: 500074 -> 499974 (-100)]


[Activating Bloodline Awakening Token on disciple Yao Qing]
[Bloodline: Indomitable Tyrant]
[Target Confirmed]

[Unsupervised Mode Activated]

[Calibrating...]
[...]
[Calibration Complete]

[Potential Point Upgrade Token detected]
[Calculating tribulation power]
[…]
[…]
[…]

[Compatibility Levels Met]

[Tribulation Level: Average]
[Secondary Tribulation Level: Powerful]
[Tertiary Tribulation Level: Very Powerful]

[Commencing Optimum Awakening State]


This time, Long Ai was able to take a good look! It was a shame her main body wasn’t here. This flimsy shell of a clone ended up being too simple! Still, the effort she spent wasn’t wasted!

First, this power came from Long De, but he wasn’t using it consciously.

Second, Yao Qing’s bloodline was modified at a fundamental level. At equivalent power level, not even Long Ai’s main body could match the precision and the speed of these modifications. She would have to use at least higher being level of power to achieve the same result.

Third, the breath of this power was somehow similar to the legacy of the Li family. And yet, Long Ai’s intuition was telling her that it was fundamentally different at the same time. One was an imitation of the other!


[Awakening State Enabled]
[Time Taken: 0.0000000002 seconds]


[Potential Point Upgrade Token Invoked]
[Target: Disciple Yao Qing]

[Select an Eligible Attribute:]

[Will: 9]
[Talent: 7]
[Comprehension: 8]
[Luck: 6]


‘Will.’


[Disciple is inside a primitive plane (Type B-09914)]
[Connection established]

[Calibrating...]
[Calibration Complete]

[Bloodline Awakening in Process]
[Minimum Required Tribulation Power: 70.000.60Fc]
[Privilege level met, priority override in progress]

[…]
[…]
[…]

[Override Successful]

[Warning: Lower Plane D8389…MYXI cannot withstand heavenly pressure higher than 00.001.00Fc]
[Warning: Lower Planes DAB2…729B, V997…GO0A, 9G77…ACEF, …, may collapse]

[Expand to view 74 affected Lower Planes…]

[Notes: Host is advised to use any additional Potential Point Upgrade Tokens in a higher plane (Type-VA and up) to prevent environmental damage.]

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