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“Luckily, I was able to retrieve the sword.” Night Wind stepped in front of Miss Mirror and bowed. He placed the sword down in front of her. The Duke was gone, so it seemed that Night Wind had gotten rid of the man.
“The sword was broken?” Miss Mirror asked, looking directly at Night Wind. She didn’t stoop to touch the sword.
It seemed like a pointless question to ask, but there was a deeper meaning to her inquiry.
Night Wind knew what she was asking. He immediately answered, “When I pulled it out, it was broken already. And I couldn’t find any pieces of the blade in the surrounding area, either. I tested what’s left of the blade, and while I don’t know what level it is, it could cut through the rubble like butter.”
Han Sen understood. Night Wind had answered three of Miss Mirror’s questions. He wasn’t the one to break the sword, and the sword hadn’t broken recently. Furthermore, the sword power was still inside it.
“Let’s see if we can use it to widen the hole in the tree,” Miss Mirror instructed Night Wind, still not touching the sword herself.
Han Sen knew why Miss Mirror didn’t want to accept the sword; she still didn’t know if Night Wind was going to betray her. If he really held traitorous intentions, he would reveal his true self and strike Miss Mirror down as soon as she took the sword.
Miss Mirror didn’t want to go against Night Wind just yet, so she didn’t want to touch the sword. First, she wanted to see if Night Wind could cut the tree open.
If he was unable to widen the hole, then the requiem egg tree would remain beyond their reach. In that case, they would no longer have any reason to distrust each other, and they’d continue cooperating in order to remove their red-eye affliction.
Night Wind was the strongest one there, so they would need his help.
“Let me see what I can do to free the egg,” Night Wind said, and then he approached the opening in the requiem tree. He lifted the sword and slashed toward the hole.
The dark color of the blade spread, and Night Wind’s dark substance chain struck the tree hole. The darkness broke and spilled everywhere.
But when the blade of the broken sword slammed into the hole, it bit into the trunk of the tree, splitting the wood in a narrow gash.
“It works!” Night Wind exulted. He pulled the broken sword free and then continued to strike the tree hole. Wood chips flew everywhere, and the fist-sized hole got bigger and bigger.
Han Sen and Miss Mirror simply stood beneath the tree, watching. While the broken sword was capable of cutting the tree, the wood of the tree itself was still incredibly hard. Night Wind was making progress, but only a few centimeters were achieved with each strike.
After slashing at the tree for half an hour, the hole had been expanded to the size of a frying pan’s lid. The requiem tree egg still wasn’t visible through the hole, of course.
“We’re almost there. Try to pull the egg out so that we can confirm that it’s genuine,” Miss Mirror said from down below.
Night Wind slung the broken sword across his back. He put his hand inside and felt around until he got a firm grip on the egg. Then he pulled the egg out as far as it would go. Only the tip was showing, though, as the hole was too small to pull the egg out completely.
From the part of it that was showing, the requiem tree egg appeared to be transparent. It looked like amber, in that it was tinged with a bit of gold. It looked pretty. It gave off a fragrance that awakened Han Sen’s senses, like his body was being rinsed clean by some holy liquid.
“It is a requiem tree egg!” Night Wind said with a grin.
Miss Mirror looked awed. Han Sen had never seen a requiem tree egg before, so he didn’t know what it was supposed to look like, but that gold crystal was obviously some good stuff.
Once they had confirmed the nature of the orb inside the tree, Night Wind let the egg fall back into the hole and went back to hacking at the tree trunk using the broken sword. Wood chips and shavings flew everywhere as the hole grew steadily larger.
Han Sen and Miss Mirror looked at each other. They could see the greediness and awareness in each other’s eyes.
Such a giant requiem tree egg was the rarest of treasures. They all wanted it for themselves, but Night Wind was too powerful. And Han Sen and Miss Mirror couldn’t predict if Night Wind would betray them.
In addition to being deified, he was now wielding that deadly broken sword. If he did decide to turn on them, Han Sen and Miss Mirror would be in a lot of danger.
After another hour of hacking away at the tree, the tree hole was an entire meter wide. It seemed as if they’d be able to pull the tree egg out now.
Night Wind swung the broken sword across his back. He leaned into the greatly expanded hole, using his hands to try to pull the egg out into the open.
Night Wind applied steady pressure, and the egg began to slide steadily, if slowly, out of the hole. The giant requiem tree egg was gold like amber, and the small section that had been revealed so far looked like the narrow end of a chicken’s egg.
All three of them froze as they stared not at the egg itself, but at what lay beneath the egg’s transparent exterior.
Within that small end of the gold egg, they could see a head. It looked like the head of someone who was either a human or one of the Extreme King.
The head appeared to belong to an eighteen-year-old girl. Her eyes were closed peacefully, and her hair appeared to be gold, but they couldn’t tell if that was just the tint of the tree egg or her natural color.
Her eyelashes were long. In that serene pose, she looked like Sleeping Beauty from the fairytale.
“Why does the requiem tree egg have a creature inside it?” Night Wind asked, looking at the tree egg with confusion.
Miss Mirror looked at the tree egg, shook her head, and said, “I don’t know. I’ve never heard of such a giant requiem tree egg. And I’ve never heard of there being life inside one of them.”
“Is the requiem tree a xenogeneic? Can the requiem tree breed and produce life?” Han Sen asked uncertainly.
“Maybe she accidentally entered the tree hole and died, and then her body was covered by resin. Maybe that is how she ended up like this,” Night Wind mumbled thoughtfully to himself.
Han Sen’s eyes suddenly hardened. He gritted his teeth and said, “Now we have one more person!”
When Night Wind and Miss Mirror heard him, their brows furrowed. The prediction of the six pictures revealed four faceless men. They thought that they had changed things by getting rid of the Duke. When their numbers were reduced to three, they thought they had trumped the prophecy.
But now the tree egg had a human-like creature inside, and that brought their numbers back up to four.
The three of them looked at each other nervously. Night Wind gnashed his teeth. He wanted to push the tree egg back into the hole.
But the tree egg suddenly shone with a golden light, and a wave of power tossed Night Wind away from the egg and the girl it contained. The egg shot out of the hole like a bullet, then fell to the ground where it rolled for a bit.
Now that they could see the tree egg’s full appearance, it was just as Miss Mirror had predicted. Two meters tall and one meter wide. It was like a giant amber egg.
A naked, fifteen-year-old girl lay inside that tree egg. Beneath the blonde hair that spread across her shoulders, they could see a tattoo covering her whole back.
“A Nine-Life Cat!” Han Sen thought the instant he saw the tattoo. His nostrils flared, and he barely kept himself from shouting the words.
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