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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 99

    Bi Fang sounded quite surprised upon receiving the call: "Deliver it to Mister Shuo Zong's place? Isn't he the one who hates these calamity beasts the most? Why is he suddenly interested in Fei Yi? What does he want it for?"

    Xia Shouren replied, "...To eat."

    Bi Fang responded with confusion, "Huh?"

    Bi Fang was utterly perplexed.

    During this time, Unity Righteous had already searched up information about Fei Yi. Staring at the legendary introduction on his phone, he was left speechless: "W-wait a minute, does this thing actually exist? No, wait, can it really be eaten?"

    Shuo Zong glanced at Wei Xi, whose eyes had lit up upon hearing that it could be consumed, and answered calmly, "What can't be eaten? You think Fei Yi is something special? It's just a foolish creature formed from the chaos and impurities of the world. It lacks intelligence and only knows how to do evil. If it couldn't be eaten, how do you think you managed to find any information about it?"

    Xia Shouren: "..."

    Indeed, that made a lot of sense.

    Back in the era of the Primordial Chaos, when the world was filled with abundant spiritual energy, creatures like Fei Yi were commonplace. As they lacked intelligence and possessed average strength, they instinctively did evil deeds, placing them at the bottom of the food chain in ancient times. Not only would benevolent creatures like them, who upheld the righteous path of the universe, take action to eliminate them, but even ordinary humans would organize forces to fight against and slay them for the sake of good weather and harvests.

    Moreover, humans didn't just kill them; throughout their long history, they had even compiled a book that vividly described the tastes of these creatures. In this regard, though weak, humans truly deserved the title of favorites of Heaven's way.

    Xia Shouren still remembered the chill running down his spine when he first flipped through "The Classic of Mountains and Seas." Thankfully, his own entry didn't include any descriptions of his taste.

    Despite this, it had left a deep psychological shadow on him. At the sight of Unity Justice wanting to share an excerpt about Fei Yi, he quickly dodged, saying, "I'm not reading it, I'm not reading it."

    Shuo Zong ignored his reluctance and, after finishing their work, casually selected a car key from a drawer. "Let's go."

    Wei Xi didn't budge. "Where to?"

    Shuo Zong met his gaze and replied matter-of-factly, "My place."

    Wei Xi was taken aback; he had been planning to return to the sect earlier.

    But Shuo Zong wasn't in a rush, his tone unhurried. "Bi Fang should have prepared Fei Yi already."

    Wei Xi: "…"

    Shuo Zong: "Are you coming or not?"

    Wei Xi followed without hesitation: "Let's go."

    ******

    Shuo Zong had achieved his goal, but he didn't feel any joy. As he drove, he couldn't help stealing glances at Wei Xi, who was preoccupied with thoughts of food. It was surprising how easily he could be duped...

    But Bi Fang, who had also gotten into the car, was somewhat agitated: "Am I also going to Mr. Shuo Zong's place? I've heard so much about him, but I've never paid a visit before."

    Sacred beasts, especially those from ancient times, were fiercely territorial. Even Xia Shouren, known for his amiable personality, had an office and residence that outsiders could not enter without permission. Shuo Zong, with his cold demeanor, was even more strict. He never allowed the company driver to take him home.

    Xia Shouren curled his lip: "This miser is so protective of his treasures, always worried someone might covet them. I haven't been there many times either, let alone you."

    Upon hearing this, Bi Fang felt even more honored.

    He was, after all, a mighty divine bird, a figure of great repute in the era of chaos. He shouldn't be so conscious of social hierarchy, but Shuo Zong was someone both humans and non-humans in the company feared.

    Humans were afraid of their boss, which was understandable, but the sacred beasts had more complex reasons. Besides ordinary sacred beasts like himself, there were also those as renowned as Shuo Zong from ancient times, such as Mr. Xia Shouren sitting beside him.

    Unfortunately, life was unpredictable. After the collapse of the Heavenly Dao, the spiritual energy in the world diminished, causing the cultivation world, which relied on it, to crumble overnight. This upheaval led to a sudden collapse of faith in human society, bringing about immense change.

    The majority of ancient divine beasts once disdainfully avoided the mortal world. Even when they had to interact with humans, it was mostly with cultivators. As a result, they lost their followers almost overnight and suffered significant damage to their vitality.

    But that was still better than the fate of those younger generations who had openly flourished in the secular world. For instance, the four renowned divine beasts who gained fame through their group debut in the mortal realm, with believers spanning across all five continents and four seas. With such a vast number of followers, disaster was inevitable. The Heavenly Dao struck them relentlessly, regardless of life or death. Especially the once-arrogant dragon clan, not a single one survived the barrage of lightning bolts. The Heavenly Dao was ruthless, sparing not even the eggs that were incubating.

    Oddly enough, it was said that Mr. Shuo Zong was on the brink of death after enduring his own lightning tribulation.

    At that time, his injuries seemed disproportionate to those of other renowned divine beasts who had also undergone similar tribulations, leading Bi Fang to suspect for a long while that there might have been some exaggeration in Mr. Shuo Zong's legendary reputation from ancient times.

    However, somehow, this gentleman disappeared for a period and then returned with unstoppable momentum, reappearing before everyone's eyes. He gathered all the surviving divine beasts that had been hiding after the disaster and led them in a grand march into the mortal world.

    It was only then that Bi Fang realized the true strength of this individual. To this day, he has become one of the most iconic symbols of wealth in the mortal realm, with countless believers—a feat that no other divine beast in the company could match.

    Divine beings were like that. Seemingly high above the world, overlooking humanity, yet every bit of their power originated from the "faith" bestowed by the mortals. The more believers they had, the stronger they became. This "faith" was not limited to the burning incense within temples and Taoist shrines.

    Tattoos, jewelry, comics, literature, statues, even the simplest trinket—any form of devotion, be it sincere or playful, the act of "believing" was the purest offering of faith.

    Thinking about this, Bi Fang couldn't help but sigh. Compared to Mr. Shuo Zong, his own following was not merely scarce; it was meager.

    Most people nowadays wouldn't even know who Bi Fang was. It was all thanks to Mr. Shuo Zong's investment in a massive multiplayer online game a few years back that featured the top-performing divine beasts as SSR cards, which significantly increased their faith. The second generation of the game was about to be released, and for this reason, no divine beast in the company dared to go against the boss. Each one of them worked tirelessly to become an SSR. Bi Fang himself had settled into the operations department of that online game, and if daily revenue dropped even slightly, he would storm into a meeting to find the cause, so anxious that he almost burst into flames several times.

    As a result, the game department of the company now regarded him as a fearsome monster. The head of the operations department would tremble at the sight of him.

    But these mortals didn't understand. In the era of reform and opening up, in the 21st century, with the core socialist values in place, it was tough for ancient divine beasts to gain believers. Unlike Mr. Shuo Zong, who could be remembered by many middle-aged bosses while sipping tea, they all relied on the traffic from the game to survive.

    Bi Fang, realizing his special treatment, grew more curious and cautiously asked the indignant Xia Shouren, "So, Mr. Xia, why did Mr. Shuo Zong ask me here today?"

    Did this mean a promotion?

    Xia Shouren thought the bird was daydreaming again and mercilessly shattered his hopes with a cold laugh. "Aren't you in control of fire? What else could you do but burn Fei Yi? Who here looks like they can cook?"

    Bi Fang: "???"

    He, a prestigious divine bird who once accompanied Emperor Huang in ancient times and now managed the company's online game department, tasked with saving the world, was being asked to leave his work and burn a Fei Yi?

    In front, Shuo Zong skillfully steered the car into a hidden garage entrance, his tone calm. "The preparation for 'Primordial War God' II is almost complete. This time, we'll add five new SSR cards for players to pursue as the highest level main quest."

    Bi Fang: "..."

    Bi Fang: "Should it be braised or stewed? This Fei Yi is quite large; how about we season part of it with salt and pepper?"

    Xia Shouren: "..."

    After a moment of silence, Xia Shouren finally accepted reality and abandoned his thoughts on the peculiarities of eating a Fei Yi. "Maybe I should lend a hand too."

    Tuan Jieyi: "???? What are Master and the others talking about????"

    Wasn't 'Venerated War God of Primordial Chaos' that game that made him lose his romantic connection? Was there a second installment coming out?

    ******

    However, this question soon left his mind.

    Tuan Jieyi: "..."

    Standing dumbfounded at the elevator exit, Tuan Jieyi hesitated for a long time before he couldn't resist voicing his doubt. "...Mr. Shuo Zong, I know you're a national heartthrob, incredibly wealthy, but isn't it a bit excessive to have a home like this?"

    Looking around, it hardly seemed like a place for living. It was more like a museum than a residence inside the elevator.

    The room was filled with countless shelves, one row after another, arranged as tightly as in a library. The only difference was that these shelves didn't hold books. Porcelain, antiques, bronzes, various decorative objects, and jade ornaments—countless time-worn treasures that even the uninitiated could tell were invaluable—were piled high as if they were worthless.

    Tuan Jieyi was stunned, and Bi Fang stood there with his mouth agape. Xia Shouren, as their guide and not as taciturn as Shuo Zong, shook his head at their reactions. "Now you understand why he's so stingy about letting people in, right?"

    Tuan Jieyi nodded vigorously. What if someone snatched away one or two of these items?

    In a daze, Tuan Jieyi asked, "But... do you really need to keep all these things at home? Can't you store them in a bank?"

    Xia Shouren clicked his tongue. "Can he trust a bank? Clearly, you don't know him well enough."

    Bi Fang wondered, "Are... are all these things genuine?"

    Xia Shouren replied, "What do you think?"

    Tuan Jieyi, not being an expert, began exploring out of sheer curiosity. He dared not gaze too long at the dazzling treasures but pointed at an unassuming bronze tripod in front. "This... this bronze tripod, what is it?"

    Xia Shouren said, "Have you heard of the Sword of Goujian? This artifact was excavated from the same tomb as that sword."

    Tuan Jieyi blurted out, "Holy sh*t."

    He hurriedly moved away, fearing he might touch this invaluable item, only to spot another shelf displaying a dusty white jade. Not only was the jade dirty, it seemed to have a broken corner, making it stand out starkly among its transparent companions that resembled emeralds: "What's this thing?"

    Xia Shouren replied, "You don't know about the Heshi Bi? "

    Tuan Jieyi exclaimed, "…Damn."

    Tuan Jieyi's legs began to tremble, wishing he could shrink his large frame into a tiny quail. How immoral could this be? Such treasures were casually placed on shelves? If he accidentally broke one, he'd probably lose his life as compensation!

    As a auspicious beast, Bi Fang didn't pay attention to mundane objects, but being naturally attracted to spiritual energy, he immediately noticed something seemingly imbued with it on another shelf: "This… Could this possibly be…"

    Beside him, Xia Shouren nodded solemnly, "The purple-gold treasure chain from the Yellow Emperor's crown."

    The Yellow Emperor had long fallen, and there were no known remnants left behind. Bi Fang found it hard to believe: "This… How is this possible? These items were already rare treasures before the collapse of Heavenly Dao, and in modern times… How did Mr. Shuo Zong gather them all here?"

    When Heavenly Dao shattered, everyone's immortal abodes suffered severe damage. The barriers separating mortals from sacred mountains and rivers were breached, and most of their treasured possessions vanished into nothingness. Each family managed to salvage only a small fraction. Bi Fang was one of the more unfortunate ones, struggling with poverty since then until the opening up period. Now, with a stable job, he merely lived off his fixed salary, hesitating even when buying luxury goods in the mortal world. How could he have witnessed such a scene?

    Upon hearing this, Xia Shouren, who had remained composed despite visiting several times, finally lost his composure. A hint of sorrow appeared in his eyes: "What do you think! This purple-gold chain was originally meant for my wedding! The Heshi Bi was initially in my possession too!"

    This old bastard, how could he have managed to gather all these through means!

    Bi Fang stood there in a daze, inadvertently drawn towards the chain. Little did he know, Shuo Zong, who was in the middle of changing his shoes, immediately shot him a cold glance.

    Bi Fang's body froze as he asked nervously, "What does this mean?"

    Xia Shouren responded, "Can't you read it?"

    Bi Fang: "Am I not allowed to touch it?"

    Xia Shouren: "Of course not. Don't you have any idea who he is?"

    Bi Fang: "…You're right."

    Xia Shouren: "Forget about you. The last time I took one of his paintings out, he almost killed me."

    Bi Fang: "Ah? That strict? Didn't you say you were Mr. Shuo Zong's best buddy?"

    Xia Shouren: "What are you implying?"

    Bi Fang: "Nothing."

    Xia Shouren: "Don't be so narrow-minded. Our friendship is as clear as day and witnessed by heaven and earth. Have you heard of the saying 'even the closest of brothers settle their accounts openly'? When it comes to money, he's colder than ice to his own kin. I don't need to explain that, do I? Not even Hongjun Patriarch could change his mind in such matters. One wonders why he hoards so many treasures."

    As they spoke, someone approached from the side, heading straight for the purple-golden necklace.

    Wei Xi inquired, "What's this?"

    Shuo Zong casually tossed his coat onto a clothes rack. His tone was unperturbed. "Do you like it?"

    Wei Xi scrunched his eyebrows and sniffed around the pendant. "It has spiritual energy."

    Shuo Zong approached with his slippers dragging, reaching out with his long arms to pluck the necklace from the shelf. He held it in his palm, examining it closely. "Do you want it?"

    Wei Xi: "You're giving it to me?"

    Shuo Zong met his gaze, then chuckled softly after a moment. He casually tossed the necklace over Wei Xi's head, dismissing it as insignificant. "It's not like it's some rare treasure."

    Bi Fang: "..."

    Xia Shouren: "..."

    Bi Fang hesitated for a moment. "Old Xia, you...?"

    Xia Shouren replied, "Can you please be quiet?"

    Pausing, Bi Fang awkwardly closed his mouth. He watched Wei Xi leave with Shuo Zong, his hand still touching the pendant. Scanning his surroundings, he noticed a frame of scrolls in a corner and curiously reached out for them.

    Shuo Zong, who had led Wei Xi away, seemed to have eyes on the back of his head as he slowly turned around.

    His left eye seemed to say, "If you dare to move," while his right eye conveyed, "you're dead."

    Bi Fang: "...."

    Xia Shouren: "...."

    Xia Shouren: "Bi Fang, you...?"

    Bi Fang: "Why hurt each other?"

    Xia Shouren: "...."

    Bi Fang retracted his arm. "… Let's cook the Fei Yi."

    Xia Shouren replied, "Sure."

    *****

    As a fire beast, Bi Fang's control over flames was exceptional. The Fei Yi he had picked, despite its unappealing appearance and ill luck, had tender and succulent meat that rivaled high-quality wagyu beef. It even carried an aroma that ordinary animals lacked.

    The braised half of the Fei Yi's flesh was tender and melting, with a lustrous color. A gentle bite would release the juicy fibers eagerly melting on the tongue, while the bone parts were filled with gelatin, more delectable than dragon horns.

    The salt and pepper half had been pre-fried, resulting in a slightly golden, crispy outer layer resembling snake skin. The meat inside remained soft and plump. With each bite, the spiciness from the salt and pepper mixed with the crisp exterior and tender interior, providing a luxurious and satisfying experience.

    Wei Xi, who usually ate raw or roughly prepared food, had never tasted such a delicacy since descending from the mountain. Even with his nonchalant attitude toward food, his eyes couldn't help but show a hint of astonishment.

    Tuan Jieyi, on the other hand, ate thoughtfully. "Master, why does this taste strangely familiar? It's like I've had it before."

    Before Wei Xi could respond, Xia Shouren, sitting beside him, was taken aback. He scanned Tuan Jieyi attentively. "You've eaten Fei Yi before?"

    And cooked in such a refined manner too. Could he be another divine beast? Or a fallen celestial being? It didn't seem plausible at all.

    Xia Shouren was born with the knowledge of heaven and earth, and he had mingled in the divine realm during the primordial era; which constellations or divine beasts were there that he didn't know? He couldn't recall ever seeing Unity Righteousness's face.

    Unity Righteousness was also confused: "Huh?"

    He had never seen a Fei Yi before, and it was so ugly that it had startled him just now.

    Xia Shouren had never taken him seriously before, but under suspicion, his attitude became more cautious: "I wouldn't have thought you had such a background and status."

    Unity Righteousness: "Of course."

    Xia Shouren froze upon hearing this. Could it be that he had misjudged the man, and that there was more to him than met the eye?

    Unity Righteousness chuckled right after: "Isn't that obvious? Back when I was in Fengyang, I begged for food quickly and efficiently, and I could dodge city management officials like no one else. The beggar disciples from neighboring villages all addressed me as Brother Tuan!"

    Xia Shouren: "…"

    Xia Shouren wiped his face. He was wrong, truly wrong. How could anyone who associated with Wei Xi be normal? He had actually taken the man's tall tales seriously. No matter how down on their luck constellations or divine beasts were, they wouldn't resort to begging.

    As a divine beast himself, Bi Fang was unfamiliar with the hardships of ordinary people, but Unity Righteousness's boasts piqued his curiosity: "You look dignified, with focused eyes. You don't seem like someone who would beg for a living."

    United Righteousness reminisced about the past with remarkable ease, "What can I do? No father, no mother, no education, raised by an old beggar. What else could I have become but a beggar? But I was lucky enough to be brought to the capital by my master. Now, as a general manager, I've truly brought honor to my ancestors."

    Wei Xi affectionately patted his eldest disciple's head and added a piece of Fei Yi meat to his plate, then two more for himself.

    The once-empty bowl was almost full with food he had piled up. He ate slowly this way, a stark contrast to his usual ravenous appetite that Shuo Zong had witnessed before. Glancing at United Righteousness, he noticed the trembling piece of Fei Yi meat in his bowl and couldn't help frowning. "What are you doing? Don't you like it?"

    As Wei Xi continued filling his own bowl, he replied earnestly, "This is delicious. I want to take some back for my second disciple to taste."

    Shuo Zong was momentarily stunned.

    Halfway through his meal, Xia Shouren suddenly prodded Bi Fang in disbelief, "Look! Why is he suddenly glowing?!"

    With his mouth full of food, Bi Fang immediately looked in the direction Xia Shouren pointed. Before he could make out what was happening, Shuo Zong abruptly stood up in front of them and calmly said, "Stop eating."

    Xia Shouren: "?"

    Bi Fang: "?"

    What's going on? We've been working hard all afternoon!

    But Shuo Zong clearly had no intention of considering their feelings. He promptly fetched two large takeout boxes and handed them to Wei Xi, gesturing for him to pack up the remaining Fei Yi meat.

    Xia Shouren stared at him with his chopsticks in hand, "…Are you even human?"

    Bi Fang nibbled on the end of his empty chopstick, "I wasn't to begin with."

    Xia Shouren: "…"

    Shuo Zong brushed aside their attempts at protest and turned to look at the table. Recalling Wei Xi's expression when he first tasted the Fei Yi, his gaze darkened slightly.

    It seemed that Wei Xi had truly never tasted anything good before.

    Suddenly, Bi Fang heard his deep voice, "Bi Fang, did Qing Niu bring back a clutch of Fei Yis this time?"

    Bi Fang smacked his lips, "Yeah, there were quite a few. Two males, two females. I brought along the biggest male. Why do you ask?"

    He looked up at the boss, seeing that the boss seemed to be lost in thought.

    Bi Fang: "?"

    Hearing the question, "Is the minus eighteenth floor still empty?", Bi Fang responded, "Huh?"

    Xia Shouren, noticing his friend's expression, suddenly had a bad premonition. "...It's empty. What's the matter?"

    A voice that left no room for argument echoed,

    "It's such a waste. We might as well use it for breeding."

    Xia Shouren rolled his eyes dramatically. "What do you want to breed? Fat Wrecks? Come on, buddy, snap out of it."

    Bi Fang agreed, "I also think it's not quite appropriate..."

    Shuo Zong, with his hands in his pockets, leaned against the wall, watching them indifferently. "The SSR card for 'Primordial War God II' has to be finalized by the end of next month at the latest."

    Xia Shouren pulled out his phone and opened Taobao. "Let me see... How much is 'Postpartum Care for Sows' per copy?"

    Bi Fang interjected, "Fat Wrecks thrive in drought and high temperatures. Mr. Shuo Zong, I believe assigning me to this project would be very suitable."

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