Chapter 20: Shadow Flames
Where the light was, there would also be darkness.
There was no lack of criminal organizations within Clear River City.
The criminals here were mostly waterfront gangs. There were ten major gangs, including the Green Snake Organization; each one was allied with a Bloodline Nobility Clan, forming a complete network of mutual benefit.
Even though these criminal groups couldn’t be considered a true military force, one had to admit that they still carried a significant amount of heft.
When these criminal organizations gathered together, they were absolutely a force to be reckoned with.
When factoring in each major clan’s servants, bodyguards, guests, and soldiers, their influence was even more formidable.
An Siyuan wanted to break the stalemate between government and nobility, but he was worried that his luck would run out if he messed it up. As such, all he could do was endure the stalemate.
Until Su Chen appeared.
First, he had captured a guest from two Bloodline Nobility Clans and then their heirs immediately afterwards. His decisiveness caused An Siyuan’s eyes to light up.
He had called Su Chen over obviously not to complain and whine to him but to rope him in as a comrade-in-arms based on the grounds of there being a common enemy, as well as to show his support for Su Chen.
However, it seemed that this support was still quite shallow. He hadn’t provided any substantial help yet.
That was because he didn’t know Su Chen yet. He didn’t know what Su Chen was going to do with the two clans’ heirs.
Thus, he was going to wait and see first.
The purpose of this meeting was primarily to determine what Su Chen’s attitude was.
Naturally, there was a lot for him to be happy about.
But even so, An Siyuan didn’t divulge much.
That was because Su Chen needed to resist the attacks from the two great Bloodline Nobility Clans on his own and further prove himself.
Put plainly, he wanted to use Su Chen to pave the way for himself.
Thankfully, all Su Chen needed at the moment was An Siyuan’s outward support. With An Siyuan’s status on his side, Su Chen’s next steps would be a lot easier to carry out.
After a long conversation, Su Chen stood up and bid farewell.
Upon seeing Su Chen leave, An Siyuan squinted his eyes, restraining his straightforward aura a bit. “What an interesting kid. What do you think?”
A Confucian scholar behind him bowed respectfully and said, “He didn’t make any requests or demands of City Lord. If he’s not an obedient person, then he hides a lot of things in his heart and should have made preparations well in advance.”
“He obviously isn’t an obedient person.”
“Of course not,” the Confucian scholar replied.
“Then I’ll have to wait and see what he does next,” An Siyuan chuckled. “I hope that he can bring me a pleasant surprise.”
On his way back, Su Chen didn’t run into any pursuers from the Lian and Long Clans. He returned uneventfully to the Su Residence.
Even though he could already undergo negotiations with the Lian and Long Clans, Su Chen wasn’t in a hurry.
To him, the situation benefitted him more the longer he waited.
During the next period of time, Su Chen once again threw himself into his research.
After completing the Hemolytic Totem, Su Chen didn’t stop there; he continued to research a newer version.
Even though the old Hemolytic Totem was powerful, it had one major drawback – the inscriptions needed to cover the entire body, including the face. As such, his six Shadow Servants had to cover themselves completely in black and had no way of seeing other people. Because of this, Su Chen had no way of using it on himself…… and even if he could, he couldn’t, since he had no way of carving the inscriptions on himself.
As such, Su Chen began to brainstorm new ways to accomplish this.
He wanted to refine the Totemic Inscriptions so that he could inscribe them on a piece of hide like an Origin Energy Talisman. But while Origin Energy Talismans unleashed Origin Skills by expending the talisman themselves, he wanted to make something that he could stick onto his body that would expend his own Origin Energy instead.
Almost like an electric plug that a person could “plug” in and out of one’s body.
It would be just like how Origin Substances were like different plugs for the Hemolytic Totem.
This was the Hemolytic Totem 2.0 that Su Chen was planning to design.
But at the moment, he was still a long ways off from reaching that point.
He took the membrane that he had prepared earlier and placed it on his body. It slowly began to be absorbed into Su Chen’s body. He could feel energy beginning to well up inside his body.
“The Hemolytic Membrane was successfully absorbed and can unleash roughly three-tenths of its full power. It has a slightly poisonous side effect and can damage a person’s blood substance. I’ve confirmed that this path is viable, but it needs some further improvement……” Su Chen diligently recorded.
After finishing his experiment, Su Chen walked out of the research lab and went to an Origin Skill testing room off to the side.
Su Chen raised his left hand. A ball of flames appeared from it.
The flames began to change shape in Su Chen’s palm, gradually taking form. However, it didn’t form an Erupting Firebird or Firehawk; rather, it began to take on a faintly humanoid form.
This humanoid swayed constantly in Su Chen’s hand, but it never fully came together. Finally, it exploded with a “bang!”
“Another failure,” Su Chen muttered to himself. However, not a trace of disappointment could be seen on his face.
The process of creating something was bound to be fraught with failure. Su Chen was already quite used to it; this level of failure wasn’t something that would cause his expression to change.
He was figuring out a future direction for the Erupting set of techniques. Unlike before, where his main focus was to do as much damage as possible, Su Chen had new needs and requirements after reaching the Blood Boiling Realm.
One of his goals was to develop a technique with more sustainable damage.
Patelocke had told him that during the Arcana Kingdom, there was a fire-gathering technique that could gather all of the fire-type Origin Substance in the air together, finally becoming a massive man made of fire.
Gathering such a large quantity of fire-type Origin Substance was eventually known as Fire Element Summoning.
During that time, most people named their Origin Skills after the elements, so they usually incorporated words like “wind”, “wood”, “water”, “fire”, etc.
But after delving into the matter a bit more, Su Chen realized that this kind of division by elements was far too simple. The world of Origin Substances was extremely plentiful, and such a simple classification system was totally insufficient.
Regardless, the Fire Element Summoning technique gave Su Chen something to mull over.
Unfortunately, it was quite a high-tier and complex Ancient Arcana Technique. It took a long time to learn and unleash, so it wasn’t practical for battle.
Contemporary battles focused more and more on speed, relying on high-speed attacks to suffocate the opponent rather than long-range battles. This was because humans had more powerful bodies than the Arcana Race, and humans’ also had better close-quarters combat skills
A technique like Fire Element Summoning was out of fashion.
As such, Su Chen was borrowing Brooke’s Formula to constantly improve the Ancient Arcana Techniques that he wielded. That way, he could develop a set of techniques that belonged only to himself.
However, because the Erupting set of techniques and Fire Element Summoning were still quite different, his previous experiences weren’t of much use. Su Chen basically had to start from the beginning, so he hadn’t made much progress in the past year.
Upon seeing yet another failure, Su Chen didn’t pay it much attention. He continued to calculate new arrangements for the patterns, and flames constantly erupted from his palm and took shape in the air.
Suddenly, Su Chen felt a slight jolt of pain shoot through his hand.
Su Chen knew that this was the poison from the Hemolytic Totem experiment acting up. The poison wasn’t powerful and would disappear on its own.
Su Chen paid it no attention, but a light bulb suddenly lit up in his head. He had thought of something.
He concentrated his willpower in his arm.
A trace of medicinal power was still left there from the Hemolytic Totem, including the remnants of the Shadow Origin Substance.
Su Chen activated his microscopic eye, carefully sensing the changes in his body as he slowly forced out the Shadow Origin Substance within his body. As the Origin Substance left his body and came into contact with the flames in the air, Su Chen discovered that the flames calmed down significantly.
A shadowy, miniature humanoid figure made of fire appeared before him.