Lu Zhiyu walked through Sylve, admiring the beautiful city. There were finely made statues everywhere on the street, and even the pavement had beautiful carvings on it. Every wooden building seemed to blend perfectly into nature. It was a city of forest and flowers.
The most impressive thing was the enormous tree that stood in the middle of the city. Its height had doubled since Lu Zhiyu had last seen it. The tree was like a pillar that held up the sky. The area around the Tree of Life and the lake was sectioned off. An altar was placed there, and it was considered a holy place by the elves.
Beside the lake, Lu Zhiyu stood under the Tree of Life and placed a hand on the tree trunk. Indeed, he could feel the tree starting to age slowly. What was surprising was that he could actually sense waves of consciousness in the tree, and moreover, it had a very powerful consciousness. This tree, a creature bearing both animal and plant genes, was sentient, though it had not yet gained sapience.
"Why can it develop consciousness without a brain? Maybe it was because of the elves' prayers, or perhaps its size had allowed it to become the entire forest's hive mind?"
Lu Zhiyu was sure that if he did not seal the path to the zero-dimensional space and forbid the creatures in Maria's World from extracting Source Form, the Tree of Life would have connected with the zero-dimensional space using its powerful consciousness. It would have evolved, just like the queen insects.
Unfortunately, the tree's consciousness was locked inside itself and it could not develop any mind power. Once the tree reached its maximum lifespan that Lu Zhiyu had set when he had created it, its consciousness would die with the tree.
Lu Zhiyu felt tempted. The tree had a powerful consciousness, but no mind power or intelligence. It could be a very good specimen available. After Lu Zhiyu had deified all of his brain cells, he had been wanting to create other deified creatures. This was one of the reasons he came back to Maria's World. Before he proceeded to do so, he wanted to check the changes in Maria's World first.
However, he also knew that it would be hard for ordinary creatures in Maria's World at the moment to achieve what he had achieved. Without a sufficiently powerful consciousness, one would not be able to extract and absorb the Source Form, so one's mind power would not be strong enough to allow a change in its quality. In that case, the creature could not leave any imprints in its cells. In addition, according to the sub-brain's calculations, unexpected outcomes may occur if Lu Zhiyu tried to forcefully deify any cells. Deification was not something that an ordinary person could experience!
"Sub-brain, record the tree's life template and all of its waves of consciousness," Lu Zhiyu ordered. "Develop the process of creating a deified life, and calculate its success rate!"
"It will take up half of the operational capacity of the brain, and will take three days, five hours and forty three minutes to complete!"
Lu Zhiyu had only wanted to inspect the changes in the world, and the tree was an unexpected discovery. He withdrew the hand he had placed on the Tree of Life. Then, he was just about to leave, when he suddenly felt someone approaching from behind.
"Who are you?"
Lu Zhiyu turned around and saw a middle-aged elf whose face had already begun to show signs of oldness. Because he had started aging, he must be one of the first generation of elves to be born. Lu Zhiyu realized that the elf was wearing a robe of the Council of Elders and wore a badge with three leaves on his chest.
"It's you!" Lu Zhiyu immediately recognized the old elf as the first elf born from the tree, the child he carried down all those years ago. In the blink of an eye, so much time had passed and the child was already old and dying. It was like Ahenaten all over again!
"Who are you?" the Elf President Mehare asked, staring at Lu Zhiyu in confusion. "No one can approach the tree without permission. Do you not know? Who are you..."
The elf suddenly paused and glanced at Lu Zhiyu's ears. "You're not an elf? Who are you? What's your race?"
The elves had always thought they were the only intelligent creatures in the world, and this was the first time an elf came in contact with a species other than themselves. Mehare seemed to be both excited and alarmed.
Lu Zhiyu looked at Mehare. "What's your name?" he asked in the elf language.
Mehare found this man very familiar. "Mehare," he said. "I'm the president of the Council of Elders."
Lu Zhiyu nodded, after which he glanced at roots of the tree. He sensed with his mind power that the ant-people he had left behind were buried under the altar after they had died.
"Don't go near it!"
Lu Zhiyu walked towards the altar. He turned his head and looked at Mehare. "You buried them here?"
Mehare looked at him, astonished. "How did you know?" he asked. "Impossible! Other than the oldest elders in the council, no one knows where those messengers of the God were buried, not even the early elves!"
Mehare asked in excitement, "Who exactly are you?"
"You're the first elf on this land, the first life born from the Tree of Life," Lu Zhiyu said with a light chuckle but did not explain. "You also have the closest connection to this tree. You can even sense its consciousness and presence, but it also tied you to this place!"
Lu Zhiyu continued, "The world is so vast. Why don't you go out and explore it?"
Mehare's eyes widened, recalling the man from his distant memories. "It's you!" he exclaimed. "You're actually here again, the all-powerful Lord of Natural Order! Did you come because you heard our prayers?"
Mehare's face was wet with tears. He lied down on his belly, kneeling in front of the Tree of Life and before Lu Zhiyu. "God, please, the Tree of Life is dying. You have to save the tree. We cannot lose it!"
"Why?" Lu Zhiyu asked, curious. "You do not need it. The tree's purpose was to create the elves, and it has fulfilled that purpose. Your kind is growing rapidly and is strong enough to sustain itself. The tree is no longer necessary. In fact, it has become a prison that keeps you here!"
Mehare straightened his body, but he was still kneeling on the ground. Looking at Lu Zhiyu, he said, "No, it is everything for us, and also our spiritual pillar. If we lose the tree, the kingdom of elves will be gone and we'll lose everything!"
"An end is just another beginning," Lu Zhiyu said, shaking his head. "It should not be the reason for you to keep yourselves hidden away. The tree's purpose is done. It can no longer give birth to any elves."
"Please…" Before Mehare could say anything else, Lu Zhiyu interrupted him.
"Saving the tree is only your own wish. You cannot represent all the elves," he asked. "There are many who want to explore the world out there. Can't you feel that?"
Lu Zhiyu held out his hand. At once, the consciousness of the Tree of Life was pulled out by his mighty mind power. It gushed towards Lu Zhiyu's hand continuously, eventually forming a figure made from light. Just like what he had guessed, the soul of the Tree of Life was naturally formed. On the spiritual level, it was a being very much like Lu Zhiyu. However, it did not have a brain or other organs that would allow it to think and have emotions. The soul was born from the Tree of Life, but the two were not closely connected.
Nevertheless, the soul did not have any intelligence or mind power, but rather only faint instincts and consciousness. It was indeed an interesting natural soul. Lu Zhiyu approached Mehare and handed him three emerald-green seeds. "These are seeds of the Tree of Life," he told the elf. "Whenever the elves are in danger, or you face an unsavable situation, you can plant a seed. A new Tree of Life will grow there and give your kind new life."
Mehare was so excited that he could hardly keep his body straight. He accepted the seeds gingerly, as if he was holding the most precious treasures in the world. "Thank you for your gift, Lord of Natural Order!"
When he raised his head, however, Lu Zhiyu was nowhere to be found. On the other hand, leaves began raining down around him. He looked up into the sky and realized that the enormous Tree of Life was aging suddenly, as if all of its life had been drained in an instant. All its leaves turned yellow and poured down onto the ground!
The leaves danced through the air, producing a spectacular, dream-like sight, and at the same time also lamenting the misery of death. All the elves sensed the change and looked at the dying tree!