The pioneer of this new path had gotten the help of the bookstore owner. And it eventually culminated in the triumph of the moment.
The entire old hideout was covered with a thick layer of minced flesh. The concentrated smell of blood seemed all too real and the faint reddish mist decreased visibility.
Ji Zhixiu's eyes narrowed and she took a deep breath.
The formless 'Steel Resolve' like an invisible floating octopus writhed behind her back, stretching its tentacles and collecting souls of the dead.
Although these souls had been damaged because of the Seed of Desire, they still made excellent 'offerings' as they belonged to transcendent beings.
She planned to sacrifice these souls to the stone gargoyle in the bookstore.
Since Ji Zhixiu didn't have anything to repay the bookstore owner for helping her so much, then she could only feed the gargoyle in secret.
Mr. Lin's treatment of these 'pets' was harsh and he treated them entirely as ornaments.
This wasn't a conjecture that Ji Zhixiu came up with. Instead, this was what Little Flower—the name she had given the Seed of Desire—had told her as it was processing the devoured desires.
Now, the Seed of Desire's voraciousness was partially from its intrinsic nature, and partly due to having been starved.
Ji Zhixiu would often wonder whether this was one of the bookstore owner's ways of domestication. Letting these monsters starve for extended periods so that they would be especially ferocious when the time came for them to attack.
Ackerman stood beside her, similarly watching the whole hideout churning. Shrugging, he mused, "Looks like you don't need my help."
Ackerman now viewed Ji Zhixiu in a different light. Before, while the common connection between them was the bookstore, he still viewed Ji Zhixiu as a junior because of his strength and experience.
But now, Ji Zhixiu had completely put the invaders in their place, without any aid from Ackerman. This sort of competent leadership ability must have been greatly valued by the bookstore owner.
In his heart, Ackerman already considered Ji Zhixiu a peer.
Ji Zhixiu shook her head and said, "The episode here has ended, but there's an even more important matter that will require your help."
"Go ahead, Leader." Ackerman, changed his way of address and bowed. "I will oblige, for it is the way of the bookstore."
Ji Zhixiu smiled but didn't say anything, merely gesturing to Ackerman to follow her. She led him towards the hideout's large hall.
Hunters of Spider were sorting out the spoils of war and dealing with captives. Clearing up the battlefield was naturally left to the Seed of Desire.
This round of attacks consisted of elites of the other two hunter organizations. From the moment their forces were wiped out, the tables were turned.
Upon seeing Ji Zhixiu arrive, Marcus and Kaiyi immediately greeted her.
They had been close confidants to Ji Zhixiu for many years and she now made them deputy leaders.
Naturally, their eyes were drawn to Ackerman as he entered. They could sense the faint suppressiveness from this senior and were acquainted after Ji Zhixiu's short introduction.
Marcus and Kaiyi exchanged glances of delight. They never expected such strong support.
Although their lady had that strange Seed of Desire, no sane person would hate having a Destructive-rank fighter on their side.
Kaiyi came over and said softly, "Miss, Sir Haywood has arrived and is looking for you."
"I see." Ji Zhixiu patted Kaiyin on her shoulder and smiled. "I was about to seek him out too. Where is he? Lead me to him."
'Steel Resolve' had sensed Haywood's arrival sometime ago.
Kaiyi nodded and led the way.
Ji Zhixiu beckoned to Ackerman. "Please come along. Mr. Haywood is a powerful white magician and also a special guest of my father's. He is no stranger."
Ackerman noticed that there was an underlying meaning from Ji Zhixiu's expression and understood that his help was required. Thus, he nodded. "As you wish, Leader."
Haywood had been temporarily allocated an empty room. As a white magician employed by Rolle Resource Development, he didn't lack money and had a special status. Currently, the humble reception disgusted him.
However, he still put on a bright smile when he saw Ji Zhixiu's arrival. "Young Miss, I heard that you want me for a new 'Loyalty' brand..."
Ji Zhixiu's cane rotated abruptly and the blade sprang out. With narrowed eyes and a chilling smile, she said, "Yes, I want you to mark yourself with a 'Loyalty' brand."
Haywood stiffened up. "W-What do you mean by that?"
His expression quickly darkened. "This is an insult and provocation to a white magician. Even your father wouldn't dare treat a reputable white magician this way!"
Haywood was livid. But before he could continue with his tirade, Ackerman had appeared behind him without making a sound, pressing the sharp tip of a dagger against his neck.
This cut off his rant, and with a trembling voice, Haywood muttered, "Please stop!"
"Do you value your reputation, or your life?" asked Ji Zhixiu.
Haywood swallowed. "My... My life..." He was now fully aware that his business in selling the method to crack the 'Loyalty' brand had been exposed.
"So, I would like to ask how your 'Loyalty' brand loses its effectiveness for no reason?"
"I...I..." Haywood raised his hands and exclaimed, "It's all the Ash Chamber of Commerce's fault! They said to provide me an absolutely confidential environment for transactions and with safe parties to deal with. That enticed me!"
At the same time, far away from the night of carnage, nothing affected the tranquility of the bookstore.
By lamp light, Lin Jie flipped through his register to check for Wilde's address and contact information.