Ye Xiaoxiao asked: “What do you mean?”
Li Qiye slowly explained: “Strictly speaking, no one can create a race out of thin air. Not only is this something heaven-defying, the race will also suffer an ultimate suppression! However, things are different at the Divine Tree Ridge.”
“Why is that?”
“The withered might wish to start their own race, but they aren’t appearing out of thin air. They require the seeds to capture the dead and use them as the base. By taking root in these corpses, they begin to create a life that belongs to them alone. Thus, these seeds can only be considered a side branch in the strictest sense. Part of their origin is related to regular trees. Because of this, they’re not truly created from scratch.”
He paused for a bit: “However, this is related to an entirely new experiment for a new race. For example, while on the verge of death, if you separate your limbs and add them to a different body and these limbs start anew and reproduce, this body can be considered a new copy of you and might use you as a reference in the future.”
She wondered: “So in a sense, these withered are a type of puppets made from parts? One could still trace back and find their origin.”
Li Qiye shook his head: “Yes and no. Even though these seeds have an origin, it didn’t manipulate them. This was simply a test to see if they could live again and perhaps form a race and civilization. Their origin is only using them as a reference. As for how these withered got here in the first place, it’s still highly debatable.”
“Then will they become a race?” This was the question to ask.
A seed multiplying into a race was a wondrous matter. Will they be able to have their own home and civilization like the charming spirits, sea demons, and treants?
Li Qiye watched the withered walk around and slowly said: “It’s difficult to say. If they can become a race, then they must successfully pass down their offspring for three generations or else it can’t be considered a success. At least, in theory.”
“Three generations? What do you mean?” She didn’t understand.
He mused a bit before answering: “The first generation is the beginning, like these withered ahead. The seeds enter the body and turn them into the withered.”
She asked: “When about the second generation then?”
He slowly explained: “The second generation is the offspring of two first generation withered and requires a very long process. First, these withered must gestate life in their own bodies. Only then would they be able to have their own life and blood and pass them onto the next generation. However, it is extremely rare to find someone who has died and is willing to reignite their flame for a progeny.” His eyes turned profound at this point.
She asked: “They can still use a living person though, is it not possible to just take over someone alive?”
“It’s not the same.” Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “What you are talking about is a parasitic development, they won’t have their own bodies and bloodline. The seed in a living body would be resisted by the host. Even if a withered wants to reproduce, the host’s bloodline and instincts will easily kill them! Because of this, even when they drill into a living being, they must kill them first in order to transform.
“For example, if this kind of takeover was easy, countless Godkings and Immortal Emperors could live on. Each cultivator has a different true fate. Even if someone else replaces your true fate with theirs, your body would still resist them. A human has three souls and seven spirits by nature, such a thing can’t be taken over on a whim. Because of this, do you still think a seed can truly take over a body? They must kill the host. In plain words, they treat the corpse’s body as a fertilizer so that they can grow up. These are the fundamentals.”
“You still haven’t talked about the second generation.” Ye Xiaoxiao was still confused.
Li Qiye elaborated: “This is a type of existence that is virtually impossible to see. The first generation might be able to ignite their own life force, but in the end, they still can’t escape their shell that was initially a corpse. In a sense, they are still dead or someone on the verge of death. Such a status renders it nearly impossible to give birth to a new life. This probability is low enough to be ignored completely and, given the circumstances, the second generation won’t be an intelligent being. From then on, they will be called treecorpses, a different type of existence.”
“Treecorpse…” She repeated the name and took a deep breath.
Li Qiye nodded: “Yes, treecorpses are the failed offspring of the withered. However, they are very powerful. Meeting them will put you in great peril. Remember, they do not have intelligence and are just moving corpses.”
“So what if these treecorpses give birth?”
He solemnly said: “If the second generation can do so successfully, they will produce an existence with flesh. It means that they will have their own soul — this is the biggest difference between them and their parents! The second generation is probably the first form of a race. Of course, all of the prerequisites must be met.”
“Then is the third generation the successful final product?”
Li Qiye replied: “If a third generation can appear, then yes, they will be an entirely new race with their own unique characteristics. They will have escaped the constraints of the bloodline of the withered. Thus, they would be able to walk free and leave the Divine Tree Ridge.”
“You mean… the withered can only live at the ridge?” She realized something.
“That’s right, have you ever seen a withered anywhere else in the world? Of course not.” Li Qiye smilingly said: “Think about it, with just some seeds and corpses, how could they survive for thousands of years? They aren’t just parasites in host bodies. To a large extent, they still rely on their origin. If they leave this place, they wouldn’t be able to survive for long or pass down their offspring.”
He chuckled at this point and said: “In order to become a new bloodline, one must escape the restraints of the previous. If they can’t leave the ridge, they will never become a real race.”
She was slightly surprised and eventually asked: “Has any withered gotten out before?”
“It is still unheard of for now. In fact, for millions of years, very few second generation withered have shown up.” Li Qiye shook his head.
She said: “So they have no chance of being successful.”
“Not necessarily. They can be improved until it is just right. New withered are being improved every successive generation.” Li Qiye’s gaze turned profound.
At this time, the withered had reached the village below. Many villagers came out right away.
These villagers maintained the appearances of the hosts when they were still alive. The only aspect that was different were the parts that had turned into wood or the branches growing from their flesh.
Xiaoxiao wondered: “What are they doing?”
Li Qiye slowly replied: “Welcoming the new member who will be admitted into the family.”
The new withered was a little lost and overwhelmed. However, his instinct drove him towards the villagers. A tall and mighty old man with a perfect body outside of a woodified spot between the eyebrows came out. It was difficult to tell how he was different from another person in the other locations.
“That person must be from the Extreme Yang School, an elder level character.” Xiaoxiao took note of the uniform and waist ornaments.
It seemed to be the village head as it led the rest to welcome the new withered.
“Be careful, they have merit laws.” He smiled at her.
“They know how to cultivate?” This took her by surprise.
“They have digested the traces of the host and inherited a few things from them.” Li Qiye explained: “For example, the cultivation and memories of when they were still alive. Of course, not all of them can inherit these things, and even if they do, it would only be a fragment of the whole.”
The village head held the new withered’s hands with a happy smile. It was difficult to imagine that these withered used to be corpses. They didn’t look much different from the other races since they also had emotions. It was a bizarre and very frightening spectacle!