Bai Yunfei had already forgotten about everything else but the Beast Taming Ring and the task in front of him. All he could do was concentrate on the late-stage class three snake to try and stop the ‘self-destruct’ order.
The little soulbeast was like a machine operating under a single command. But at the moment, it was operating under two completely different ones. The first was from the slave seal, telling it to have its soulgem explode. The second was from the Beast Taming Ring, telling it to stop the self-destruction process.
Under two conflicting orders like this, the snake’s soul was being torn apart due to its inability to follow either.
The chaotic energy in the room only grew larger from there on out. The snake’s soulforce had only been a late-stage class three, but the energy it was outputting now was at the level of an early-stage class four and close to being on par with a mid-stage class four.
With its current strength, unleashing this much energy would be reaching the limits of what it could handle. If it continued and reached an output corresponding to the strength of a mid-stage class four, then its body would ultimately explode and the snake would be killed.
“Just a little more, we’re nearly done!”
Bai Yunfei could feel the slave seal of the snake’s soulgem nearing the final part of its self-destruction process. Because of Xiao Qi’s assistance, the explosion of the soulgem had stopped for a moment. Right now, it was looking a little plump and was ‘shaking’ somewhat.
Finally, the slave seal turned into blue smoke that wafted upwards and out from the soulgem without a trace….
In that instant, Bai Yunfei heard a shattering sound somewhere in the mindspace.
Startled, Bai Yunfei first thought it was soulgem that had exploded. But when he looked, the soulgem was still there, albeit shaking somewhat as the soulgem tried to stabilize itself. With the help of Xiao Qi, the rampant energy was being quelled like water onto a fire to restore the calm.
Did it work?!
But what was with this unsettling feeling?
Bai Yunfei felt suspicious. Something was gnawing at his heart that unsettled him. Exhaling slowly, he wiped the sweat off his forehead to look at the snake.
The snake was back to its normally brown color, though its eyes were still unfocused…..like it hadn’t changed at all prior to this. If Bai Yunfei had to point his finger on it, he’d have to say that the snake was in an extremely weak state now that the slave seal was gone. This was further hinted at with how weakly the snake clung to his arm.
Impatient to satisfy this growing curiosity in him, Bai Yunfei probed the snake’s mindspace again with his soulsense.
Upon investigation, Bai Yunfei was pleased to find out that….the slave seal was gone!!
A pleased look of triumph etched itself on Bai Yunfei’s face at his achievement. But then when he looked a little deeper, the smirk was wiped from his face to be replaced with a look of shock.
All of the air deflated from Bai Yunfei as he stared at the snake on his palm in surprise and sorrow.
While the slave seal was gone and the snake was no longer a soulbeast puppet, something else had disappeared along with the slave seal.
That something else was….the soul!!
Though the soulgem was still inside the snake, there was no ‘soul’ in it!
The snake was without sentience and stood still like a statue. Soulforce was still inside the snake’s body, but it was like stagnant water.
The soul was clearly gone.
The strange thing was that its body was still ‘alive’ in a sense with its blood still flowing through it.
A live but soulless body. In other words, the snake was a vegetable. Or….perhaps it’d be better to say it was a ‘vegetable snake’.
But in every other sense but the truest, the snake was ‘dead’.
“Was this experiment….a failure?”
Bai Yunfei looked forlorned as he stared disappointedly at the snake.
Suddenly, the snake reared its head up to swivel its eyes at him and snake out its tongue.
Bai Yunfei’s heart filled with glee for a moment before he deflated again. “Xiao Qi, stop playing around.” He sighed.
Xiao Qi had been using the Beast Taming Ring to pretend the snake was alive and with a soul.
The snake shook its head and slithered down from Bai Yunfei’s arm to reach Xiao Qi’s side. “Yunfei,” Xiao Qi chirped, “don’t feel bad. The soul might be gone, but so is the slave seal at least. It’s not blown up either, so it’s not a complete failure.”
“Even if the soulgem didn’t explode, the soul’s gone. How can that be a success….” Bai Yunfei shook his head with a bitter smile. “But don’t worry, I won’t feel too beat up with just one failure. I didn’t expect to succeed the first time.”
Shaking the disappointment from his head, Bai Yunfei looked back to the snake on the ground. It was to his surprise that using the Beast Taming Ring was still effective on it.
Even without a soul, the soulbeast could still be controlled?
How strange. Soulforce still existed in the snake’s body even without a soul there to produce anymore.
Did that mean the snake right now was an empty shell filled with the soulforce of a late-stage class three soulbeast?
Thinking back to what he did to the snake, Bai Yunfei came to a conjecture of sorts. Though the slave seal was gone, the soulgem had been prevented from blowing up. But under the tremendous pressure, the soul within the soulgem was unable to handle it and perished.
“Was it because its soul was too weak? Or...was my soulforce not strong enough to protect it….?”
Bai Yunfei thought. He felt like he was back at square one with the fact that his strength wasn’t fully there yet. He could at the very least have Xiao Qi help him prevent the soulgem from blowing up though.
But if the slave seal of a late-stage class three soulbeast was this hard to unravel, what did that mean for stronger soulbeast puppets? That perfect success with the lightningfire wolf was surely a stroke of good fortune then.
After a lengthy period of silence, Bai Yunfei decided to take the Beast Taming Ring off the snake and back into his hand.
The moment the Beast Taming Ring was detached from the snake, it immediately went stiff like a statue.
As he was preparing to wrap up his experimentation and put away the small snake, a bubble of his soulsense wrapped around the snake for a moment before Bai Yunfei’s eyes lit up.
“Eh?? You can do that?!”