After Song Zining pointed them out, Qianye understood what was wrong. “Those stars haven’t recovered their star power!”
“Indeed. Some time has passed already, but there’s no change in them at all. If that’s the case, it seems they might not recover any time soon.”
There were tens of thousands of stars in the well, and most of them were small flickering stars, the easiest type to sense and absorb from. Each condensation process would only activate a small number of stars. Even Qianye’s attempt, during which he had drawn from a great number of them, was negligible compared to the whole. One would hardly notice this without careful observation.
The fact that the absorbed stars didn’t recover implied a lot of things. This was different from the Empire’s past understanding of the Constellation Well. The two factions reaching a temporary compromise was also based on the belief that the star power was boundless and that it would make no difference no matter who went in.
Just as Qianye was thinking hard, Song Zining thought of something. “It’s not a true starry sky at the bottom of the well!”
“Then what is it?”
Song Zining shook his head. “I don’t know, either.”
He gave it some thought before saying, “If that’s the case, we have to change our strategy a bit. The rest of us will go down for the condensation and you last, that way, your chances of sensing the bigger stars will increase.”
Qianye thought back to the process in detail and realized that it made sense. It was indeed quite difficult to find the special stars amidst the sea of smaller ones.
At this moment, Anwen and Eden were seated face to face, the former explaining to him about the latest extraction process he had thought of.
Eden waited until the explanation was done before asking, “Why did you help Edward and the others perfect their methods? Wouldn’t that increase the vampire race’s strength?”
Anwen smiled faintly. “It will, but ours will increase even more. The gap between our races will only grow bigger and bigger.”
Eden remained half-skeptical.
Anwen said with a smile, “Don’t think too much. You go down after Edward tomorrow, let me see if the new method is effective.”
The next day, the Evernight experts stood guard while Edward entered the Constellation Well. At the same time, they were also observing and learning the process. The Imperial crowd stood halfway up the mountain looking down at the well.
Edward was, after all, a Holy Son who had survived blood torture and possessed a wisp of a Great Monarch’s aura. His condensation process was extremely smooth, forming a marquis-level origin blood in a much shorter time compared to Basil.
This outcome stirred up the Evernight experts and filled Anwen with anticipation.
When it was the Empire’s turn, the one to appear was surprisingly not Li Kuanglan or Zhao Yuying, but Wei Potian instead.
The man’s characteristics were clear-he was outstanding in defense, but one grade inferior in other aspects, including cultivation talents. According to Anwen’s calculations, he would barely be able to form a crystal. Why would they let him take the field?
Once inside the well, projections of mountain ranges appeared around Wei Potian to resist the gravitational power. His defensive specialization lessened his burden here, and the drain on his origin power was no faster than Ji Tianqing.
No one knew whether it was sheer luck or a characteristic of the Thousand Mountains, but Wei Potian activated numerous stars in succession after entering the well. Although they were only minuscule stars, he managed to surprise everyone by drawing over a dozen of them.
In the end, he managed to gain victory in numbers and form an origin crystal. Although the quality was rather mediocre, it was still a profit nonetheless.
Anwen observed the process from afar, seemingly lost in thought. Eden had descended into the Constellation Well by this point, so Anwen pushed away all distractions and focused on Eden’s first try.
Before long, dozens of stars were activated and their energy entered the blood rod in front of Eden. There were a total of seven medium-sized stars among them, to which Anwen nodded approvingly. He observed and calculated carefully in hopes of perfecting the origin blood formation process.
One could see Eden fumbling about as the blood was almost formed. It was obvious that he was trying to sense some of the bigger stars, or even the dark star. However, he never succeeded up until his demonic energy was depleted, ultimately ending up with a count grade origin blood.
Before this, Edward had managed to establish communication with a big star related to the vampire race. That was why he had managed to form a marquis-grade origin blood. Although he had only reached the weakest big star and the time was quite limited, it granted the end-product a qualitative upgrade.
Eden wasn’t too far off. The drop of origin blood he had collected was far superior to ordinary count-grade ones. With some luck, it could increase a demonkin’s talent to the virtuous count rank.
After Eden exited the Constellation Well, Li Kuanglan entered the well from the Empire’s side. Her second performance was even more outstanding than Ji Tianqing’s. In the blink of an eye, she had activated dozens of small stars and the number was quickly increasing, eventually closing in on a hundred. Although she had only drawn upon two medium-sized stars, the number of smaller ones was much greater than Eden’s. It was truly difficult to say whose performance was better.
Soon, Li Kuanglan successfully condensed a medium-grade origin crystal filled with icy aura. The quality was much higher than her first one and just shy of entering the high-quality range.
The sky was almost dark at this point, and the gravitational power in the well had become chaotic. As such, the people from either side went back to rest and wait for the second day.
Anwen was silently calculating in his tent when he thought of something. He suddenly rushed to the side of the well and looked down, his expression gradually changing.
“What’s the matter?” The Demoness’ voice echoed in the air.
Anwen’s expression was unsightly. “I think we’ve been tricked,” he couldn’t help but sigh. The vampires and arachne had somehow managed to obtain the condensation method from the humans, but they never understood the secrets of the Constellation Well.
If he weren’t here, or in constant calculation to surpass the other two races in method, perhaps no one would’ve noticed this small discrepancy. Despite his meticulous calculations, he still didn’t know that this was the first time the well had displayed an unusual situation after being drained so quickly.
Next Chapter Anwen pointed at the starry sky below. “Look, it looks like there are countless stars in the well, but the number is actually finite. There are more stars that lean toward daybreak and less toward Evernight. That was not an issue before, but I just found out that these stars don’t recover. While condensing origin crystals, the humans activated a large number of smaller stars. I thought it was because they weren’t strong enough, but it seems they’re doing it deliberately.”
“You mean they’re trying to sweep through the small ones first, so that the others can sense the higher-ranked stars?”
Those descending into the well would have to deal with the constant gravitational power at the bottom of the chasm while trying to sense star power and draw upon them. Even people like Edward and Eden would find it quite taxing. The more smaller stars there were, the greater the interference, and the more difficult it would be to communicate with the larger ones.
Neither Basil nor Edward had cleared away the smaller stars on purpose. Eden also focused on sensing the bigger stars, and only accepted the smaller ones in passing. The smaller stars on the empire’s side had grown a fair bit thinner now that several experts had cleared them out.
“What do we do then?”
Anwen replied, “It’s nothing difficult. Anything humans can do, we can do as well. We’ll focus on clearing the smaller stars tomorrow, then you and I will take action. Our progress is but one day slower.”
Anwen said, “I’m looking forward to what kind of origin blood the dark star can condense.”
“The dark star, huh? I’ll sate your curiosity.”
Anwen smiled. The Demoness seemed extremely confident when she said those words.
Evernight’s candidate the next morning was rather surprising. It was actually Twilight.
Twilight was a leading character among the younger generation of the vampire race, but she was clearly inferior to Anwen and the others. It wasn’t even sure if she could condense origin blood in the well.
Comparatively, the three vampire marquises might be a better choice. Their talents might be inferior to Twilight, but they had cultivated long enough and possessed greater blood energy capacity.
But since Anwen had decided thus, no one found it appropriate to object. They only watched as Twilight descended into the well.
Twilight rushed out of the well in just half an hour because she could no longer hold out. Naturally, the condensation process was a failure.
Anwen’s expression was neutral. He simply brought the Evernight crowd back to camp without blaming Twilight.
This time, the Empire’s side dispatched Zhao Yuying. As Duke You’s direct descendant, the girl’s talent and cultivation weren’t bad at all. She also possessed ample combat experience and strong willpower. She started wiping out the smaller stars after entering the well, and although not in the hundreds like Li Kuanglan, she managed to take out several dozens and came back with an origin crystal.
Of course, absorbing the smaller stars meant that the crystal’s quality wasn’t too good, and it barely reached the medium-grade. Despite that, Zhao Yuying had accomplished her mission-nearly half of the smaller stars had been cleared away, and the difficulty in sensing the larger stars had decreased noticeably.
Seeing Zhao Yuying’s performance, Anwen contemplated for a moment before sending Basil in again. The arachne had actually gone in three times now. With a naturally voluminous origin power and strong body, he was no doubt the best candidate to sweep away the smaller stars.
Basil didn’t refuse, either. After all, an arachne origin blood would be produced every time he went down, which could only benefit him and his race.
After arriving at the bottom of the well, Basil spat out a large spider web that stuck to every part of the space therein. These webs acted as nodes and began activating the numerous stars nearby.
Basil quickly swept clean hundreds of smaller stars and at a rate that surprised even Anwen. The latter nodded in satisfaction, deciding that he would descend the well personally tomorrow and try to communicate with the bigger stars. As for the dark star, it wasn’t that he was lacking in ambition, but the timing and method for that was extremely important. He would need the support of meticulous calculation and greater demonic energy capacity.
The day’s competition ended there. It seemed like the humans had the advantage on the surface, but the Evernight side wasn’t too far behind because there were fewer stars of the darkness attribute.
Dawn arrived, and Song Zining took to the field from the Empire’s side. He waved his fan gently several times before folding and slapping his palm with it. Then, he leaped into the well.
He was surrounded by dancing leaves and beautiful scenery during his descent-truly elegant, carefree, and romantic.
Anwen watched Song Zining’s ostentatious display with cold eyes and was, for some reason, filled with a sense of uneasiness.
Song Zining soon came to a stop in the well. The increasing cloud of leaves expanded in all directions, almost as though they would cover the entire Constellation Well.
The Evernight experts sneered at the great fanfare. Song Zining had activated more than a hundred small stars in one go, and the number was rising fast. At this rate, it wouldn’t be a problem for him to draw upon three hundred smaller stars. The problem was that he would need one portion of origin power for every star he drew upon. Song Zining wouldn’t have that much origin power even if he were to become a divine champion.
This great momentum would result in a difficult ending that he wouldn’t be able to avoid even if he were to stop now.
As expected, Song Zining could no longer hold out after half an hour and had to fly out even sooner than Twilight. The condensation process was a failure. However, he had activated close to four hundred stars, leaving the bottom of the well full of flowing star power that had been wasted.
Next up was Anwen’s turn to descend the well. His expression changed completely once he was inside.
The star power Song Zining had left didn’t disappear and was still surging inside the well. The speed of their dissipation was slower than anticipated, and it seemed more than just a couple of hours was needed for the well to be clean again. Every stream of star power would produce interference, let alone hundreds of them-it was naturally quite distressing for the demonkin.
Most importantly, this star power wasn’t usable. Anwen couldn’t absorb them even if he could sense them because their energy leaned toward the daybreak side, and it would only bring the dark races harm. All that abundance was just an annoyance for him.
Countless complicated diagrams appeared around Anwen, encasing him entirely. The daybreak energy passing through them would gradually lose their power, while the darkness attribute star power remained unaffected.
Anwen sneered. Trying to disrupt him with this cheap trick was a gross underestimation of the demonkin young lord. Anwen wanted Song Zining to know that him giving up the chance to condense an origin crystal did nothing.
After filtering out the daybreak star power, Anwen’s mind became as calm as still water. His perception spread out in all directions in an attempt to communicate with the larger demonkin stars.
Anwen’s target was neither the smaller or medium-sized stars; even the larger ones couldn’t completely fulfill his expectations. However, he took the stable route by focusing on a couple of large stars first, thereby ensuring a reward before he attempted to assail the dark star. If possible, he also wanted to try sensing the seven most radiant stars in the Constellation Well.
Anwen was quite confident in his abilities. He might not be the most powerful in terms of combat strength, but he was definitely one of the most intelligent. After several days of observation, he had uncovered a small part of the profundities of the well.
A single scan connected him to dozens of medium-sized stars, but that wasn’t his aim. It was merely a stepping stone toward his goal. He began calculating the location and flow of a group of medium-sized stars. A faint smile soon appeared on his face as a wisp of demonic energy stretched toward a large star whose power was beneficial to the demonkin race.
Qianye and Song Zining were standing shoulder to shoulder halfway up the mountain, the former’s eyes flickering with a blue radiance. Anwen’s demonic energy couldn’t escape his True Sight despite the great distance. Qianye’s brows rose as he observed the circuitous route-it would seem he had thought of something but wasn’t too sure.
Song Zining was full of praise. “Outstanding as expected! Look at that demonic energy. He has already accounted for the surrounding star power and gravitational forces.”
Qianye observed carefully. “His demonic energy is clearly intermittent, but it gives off a homogenous feeling as well. Why is that?”
Song Zining replied, “The power of those large stars is so majestic that it warps the nearby space. We might be able to see them, but we’ll never get to them if we travel in a straight line. The arts from the Li and Ji families use our own origin power as the foundation to draw upon the power of the nearby stars. The problem is that they’re really quite passive, absorbing whatever is nearby. Whether or not one can draw upon a large star is really dependent on luck.”
He paused for a moment. “Of course, it’s not entirely just luck. The higher one’s origin power quality is, the greater the attractive force, and the easier it is to activate the larger stars. Anwen’s method, on the other hand, is an attempt to row upstream to the source. He’s actually trying to crack the spatial distortions and directly communicate with the large stars. How ambitious!”
Qianye looked serious as Anwen’s demonic energy approached one of the large stars. “It looks like he’ll succeed.”
Song Zining smiled mysteriously. “That’s not certain! This young master wasn’t idle while staying down in the well.”
Qianye shot him a glance, not knowing what to say. Song Zining was the one who had stayed the shortest inside the well.
Anwen’s demonic energy was gradually thinning out as it approached the star, growing weaker at every turn inside the space. Lasting up to this point was because of the high quality of his demonic energy, which was fairly close to pure darkness. More importantly, he had made meticulous calculations to minimize the weakening of demonic energy. Without this capability, he would never be able to reach any large star even if he had several times the energy capacity.
The demonic energy moved forward, successfully maneuvering two turns to arrive in front of the large star.
The smile on Anwen’s face became more obvious. Among the large stars beneficial to the demonkin race, this was one of the two easiest ones to communicate with. Success was currently in reach, and he still had demonic energy to spare. He might even be able to attempt a different large star after this. Origin blood condensed from the star power of two large stars would definitely reach the glorious marquis grade, and might contain a fairly good ability as well. This drop of origin blood would add a core fighting power to the demonkin race.
However, just as the demonic energy stretched out from a tricky bend, a mass of chaotic star power suddenly appeared from afar. It soon turned into a leaf, which flew in to intercept!
Next Chapter The flying leaf arrived at lightning speed and slashed the demonic energy into two!
The fore-part of the demonic energy kept moving forward, but it gradually lost momentum. It did touch the edges of the large star and cause a ripple, but that was the extent of it. As the demonic energy dispersed, the fluctuating star power also calmed down eventually.
Anwen gazed at everything in a daze, his face flushed red as he almost coughed up blood.
Only now did he realize that Song Zining wasn’t just fooling around in the well. He had actually laid down a sinister trap at the expense of failing his own condensation and focused on locking out the large stars Anwen might draw upon. In short, he gave up on an origin crystal in order to prevent Anwen from obtaining origin blood.
This kind of harmful method almost made Anwen cough up blood. Destruction was always easier than construction, and the same applied to laying down a trap versus communicating with the star. Even though Song Zining’s cultivation was far inferior compared to Anwen, it was more than enough to stir up trouble for the demonkin.
Having failed at the last checkpoint, Anwen glanced furiously at Song Zining and then looked back at that large star, his face full of reluctance. He then shot out another stream of demonic energy that snaked toward the second large star.
There was still some star power fluctuation around the previous large star, which proved that Song Zining had left more than just a single leaf there. Anwen wasn’t about to fall for the same trick twice.
Watching the demonic energy stretch forward, Anwen muttered in his mind, “You can’t seal off all the stars, can you?”
Song Zining naturally couldn’t seal off all the big stars, and Anwen also suspected as much. Had the seventh young noble gotten lucky with that first one or had he calculated which stars were beneficial for the demonkin?
Comparatively, Anwen would rather believe the former because calculating star power was an extremely complicated business. It was vastly different from ordinary divination, and someone as young as Song Zining probably never had time to study all of that.
But Anwen finally understood, when his demonic energy was cut off by another leaf, that he had encountered an extremely bad situation. Song Zining probably knew which stars were useful to the demonkin.
After Song Zining pointed them out, Qianye understood what was wrong. “Those stars haven’t recovered their star power!”