As Liyu Zhen was slaying star beetles, he would occasionally hear the roaring of the deified star beetle.
“Not bad. He has been holding on for this long, but why hasn’t he tried to escape the star tree?” Liyu Zhen murmured casually to himself. He glanced in Han Sen’s direction but didn’t go towards him.
The deified star beetle was pursuing Han Sen because Liyu Zhen had enhanced the presence of death around him. Liyu Zhen had killed many star beetles himself, though. The deified star beetle could smell that, too.
Luckily, Liyu Zhen was far away, and he was using a secret skill to suppress the stench of death around him. If he was any closer, there was a chance that the deified star beetle would sense the presence of its fellows’ deaths on him, and go after him instead.
So, Liyu Zhen stayed away from Han Sen’s part of the tree. He didn’t know that his plan to keep Han Sen from killing star beetles actually wasn’t working very well.
Han Sen kept evading the deified star beetle’s attacks, and all the while, he continued to kill the King class star beetles. He was taking them down faster than Liyu Zhen.
The old man underneath the boughs of the tree stared upwards in astonishment. The deified star beetle had been chasing Han Sen for an obscene amount of time, attacking continuously. But even so, not a single speck of damage had been brought to the tree.
Clearly, it was because Han Sen was kiting the creature quite carefully. Otherwise, any of the deified star beetle’s attacks could have hit the star tree and damaged it.
“That is very unique,” the old man complimented Han Sen even more.
Although Liyu Zhen was very good, compared to Han Sen, the elder thought he was a bit rough around the edges. It wasn’t that Han Sen was stronger, but there was a finesse to his performance that put him far above his opponent.
Han Sen might not have outclassed Liyu Zhen much in terms of power, but the way Han Sen dealt with this problem was outstanding. Liyu Zhen, under the same circumstances, wasn’t performing nearly as well.
“Exquisite, can I borrow your silkworm?” The allotted day had almost passed when the old man asked Exquisite a serious question.
“What do you mean, uncle?” Exquisite had an inkling of what the elder meant, but the possibility didn’t seem realistic.
“I would like him to spend a year guarding the star tree for me. If I’m not back in a year, you two can take ownership of the tree for me until I return,” the old man said with gravity.
Exquisite stared at him. She couldn’t believe the old man had come to this decision. Allowing a silkworm to guard a star tree, or even get half-ownership of it, was something that had never before happened among the Very High.
“Uncle, are you sure you want him to take care of the star tree?” Exquisite couldn’t believe her ears, and so she had to double-check.
“Yes, I have thought about it a lot. He really is the best choice for this. Are you willing to let him stay here for a year?” the old man answered with certainty.
“If you really have made this decision, then I would like that,” Exquisite stuttered, unsure what to make of this strange turn of events.
Han Sen was a silkworm. She should be helping him collect resources, but now Han Sen had been given authority over the star tree, and if the elder didn’t come back in a year, Han Sen and Exquisite would be allowed to take control of the star tree completely; half and half. For Exquisite, the star tree represented incredible wealth.
Outer Sky was rich in resources, but it was a very dangerous place. With the rules of the Very High, after she got a silkworm, she had to gather resources on her own. Collecting resources would be very difficult for her.
The star tree was different, though. All you had to do was pick the fruit. The xenogeneics inside weren’t as dangerous as the deified xenogeneics to be found out in the wilds, either.
The time limit approached. Due to Han Sen’s teleportation distance being too short, he was unable to go straight back to the base of the tree. So, he left the tree an hour early to reach the old man on time.
The deified star beetle stopped chasing Han Sen after he left. It didn’t want to leave the star tree.
Liyu Zhen didn’t hear the deified star beetle anymore, so he knew Han Sen had finally left.
“What was the point in holding on until now? He let himself get chased around by a deified xenogeneic for most of the day. There’s no way he actually finished the elder’s test,” Liyu Zhen said as he continued killing star beetles. After an hour, when the time was up, he teleported back to the old man.
Because Han Sen was flying back, he reached the elder at the same time as Liyu Zhen.
“Uncle, I killed 2416 King class star beetles. Did I pass the test?” Liyu Zhen bowed before the old man.
The old man nodded and said, “Little Crook taught his student well, it would seem. Although you haven’t practiced the Very High Sense, your power is no worse than those that do.”
Liyu Zhen was exuberant after hearing this. Being complimented by an elder like that was something to be very happy about, especially for Liyu Zhen.
Plus, the elder sounded very satisfied with his particular performance. Liyu Zhen was certain now that he would be taking over the star tree’s guardianship.
“I knew this was supposed to happen. I really was always the best choice. Otherwise, my teacher wouldn’t have recommended that I come here and show you what I’ve got,” Liyu Zhen said with a wide, grossly self-satisfied smile.
The old man paused, and then he said, “But… I have already found someone to take care of the star tree. Please convey my thanks to Little Crook for his assistance.”
Liyu Zhen had been feeling super cocky moments ago, but upon hearing this, he thought something was wrong with his ears. He must have misheard the old man.
“Uncle, you said you have already found someone to take care of the star tree?” Liyu Zhen hesitated to ask this, but he still did. He knew it was bad form to question an elder, but Liyu Zhen was at a complete loss. If the elder had already selected someone, why would he bother going through the song and dance of this test? It seemed pointless, in retrospect.
The old man nodded. In his old, rough voice, he said, “Indeed. I have found someone who is more suitable to take care of the star tree. I apologize for inconveniencing you, but you may feel free to take ten star fruits with you on the way out. That will be my apology to you, as an elder, for making you come here for nothing.”
“You brought me here for nothing?” Liyu Zhen didn’t know how to react. What did this have to do with the person he selected?
The old man then pointed at the returning Han Sen and said, “I have decided that he will be the one who is in charge of the star tree.”
“What… him…?” Liyu Zhen looked at Han Sen with a gaze of utter disbelief. After everything that had transpired, he couldn’t believe that Han Sen was the one being chosen. The elder had selected a silkworm to be the star tree’s caretaker.
Han Sen was just as shocked when he heard the old man say this. He hadn’t expected to be the one taking care of the star tree, either. This had nothing to do with him, and he had only gone there for the star fruit.
“Elder, did you just make this decision?” Liyu Zhen had been trying to keep a lid on his simmering anger, but he couldn’t douse the flames of rage in his heart. So, he had to ask. He didn’t understand what part of him was inferior to Han Sen. The elder had chosen a mere silkworm over him to take care of the star tree. And on top of that, Han Sen hadn’t even finished the task that the elder had given him.
Liyu Zhen thought Han Sen hadn’t slain 1000 King class star beetles. There was no way he had finished the mission.