Chapter 23.1: Dark Box

Howard lost, convincingly.

He has never seen anyone who can use the leaves found everywhere as a weapon.
Using the soft serrated teeth of the leaves to hurt people, at least his current self can’t do it.

The white-robed man was strong.

Howard picked up the blood-stained leaf on the ground.
The other party’s crimson pattern across his forehead that was faintly shown came to mind, and his expression became more and more serious.

“Let’s go.”

Howard said this to Ilir and turned away without looking back.
There were some things he needed to tell His Majesty as soon as possible.

Ilir saw the urgency on his brother’s face.
Although he did not know what the other side was anxious about, he did not ask more questions and followed him closely.

Soon, the two reached the emperor’s room.
Ilir guarded the door, and Howard walked in alone to report what had just happened to the emperor.

“You were defeated?”

Asrit leaned against his chair, his tone was soft, and his green eyes fell on Howard’s body.
The golden python wrapped around his arm, hissing out its tongue, and its eyes were as cold as its master’s.

Originally, he just wanted to test the people around Qiao but did not expect Howard to actually lose.

Half kneeling on the ground, Howard lowered his head in shame.

There were only two of them and a snake in the room.
There was no sound except the snake hissing, and the atmosphere was a little stifling.

Suddenly, the person above chuckled, and his long fingers fell on the snake’s head, the golden scales set off his hand as white as jade.

“What about the pattern on the other’s forehead?”

Howard paused, and with Asrit’s permission, he stood at the table and used a pen to draw the pattern on the other man’s forehead based on his slight impression.

The pattern spread from the end of the eyes, converging on the forehead.
It was complex and magnificent.
Howard had some trouble remembering the exact pattern and just drew the general outline.

“This subordinate feels that this pattern is very familiar.”

Asrit’s eyes were thoughtful.
He picked up the pattern that Howard had drawn, and after a glance, he knew the answer: “Wood race.”

Howard paused.
Wood race?

Foreign races have unruly personalities.
Within the entire continent, only Arilance has two affiliated foreign races, and both are mild-mannered branches of the Wood race.

The two Wood clan chiefs attend to the emperor’s side every once in a while.
Howard has also seen them, so he knows that the Wood race has a flower pattern on their foreheads.

However, the pattern on the head of the Wood race in Arilance was silvery-white, and only the center of the forehead would have it.
The outline and color of the pattern on the forehead of the white-robed man were different from theirs.

However, as though he was already sure that the other party was a member of the Wood race, Asrit casually picked up a bead from the table.

Howard knew this bead.
It was the ten-thousand-year-old lotus heart given to their Majesty by the Lotus Clan, which could directly contact the leaders of the Lotus Clan.

The palm-sized bead emitted a faint green fluorescence.
After a few seconds, the light around the bead gradually became brighter, and the light gathered and condensed into a picture in the air.

“Little master.”

A soft female voice sounded, followed by two women appearing in the picture.
They had a mysterious silver-white flower pattern in the center of their foreheads.
Their long black hair was waist-length, and they were graceful as they stood together like a lotus flower, each with their own beauty.

There was no smile on Asrit’s face, but his attitude toward the two was natural.
He gestured for the two to look at the drawing in his hand and told them of Howard’s description, asking, “Which branch of the Wood race does this pattern belong to?”

Hearing Asrit’s question, the eyes of the two leaders of the Lotus clan fell on the pattern.

“This pattern is quite complicated, and it is a rare crimson color.” The woman’s voice was tinged with doubt, “The current Wood race is almost devoid of this type of pattern.”

“There is a vague impression, but just as my elder sister said, this kind of crimson pattern mostly appeared only in the Ancient Wood race.”

Asrit’s hand soothed the bored Mo Jin as he asked, “Ancient Wood race?”

Only those who have survived for tens of thousands of years are qualified to be called the Ancient Wood race.

“The Ancient Wood race was very small in number and mostly avoided the world.
They are rarely seen in foreign territories.
We need to check if there are other branches within the Wood race now that have such crimson patterns.”

Asrit raised his eyes: “Hmm, when you find out what branch the other side is, tell me if they’ve surrendered to an empire.”

The two leaders of the Lotus clan smiled in response, and then they softly advised, “Don’t let yourself be wronged outside, and if you are bullied, don’t hold back.
Even if we are soft, the Lotus clan will never let it go!”

Wronged? Who?

Whenever Howard listened to the two leaders of the Lotus clan talking to Asrit, he would always wonder if they both had some kind of brain problem.

For some reason, in the eyes of the two of them, the emperor was a poor little man who would not retaliate for being wronged.

Asrit’s green eyes flashed a smile, then he raised the head of the snake on his arm and let the two look at it.

“His Highness Jin’s scales are much prettier.”

Asrit hummed, “It’s just the skin that looks good.”

“But it still needs some nutrition, seeing as how His Highness has not grown up until now.”


Howard pretended to be a wooden man on the sidelines and did not think anything deeply.

It was not until the emperor ended the conversation with the other side that his green eyes looked coldly at Howard.

“Go tell Qiao I’m going to the dark forest tomorrow and ask him if he wants to come along.”

“As ordered.”

Howard bowed towards Asrit and left.

Asrit leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes lightly, the golden python wrapped itself around his arm, trying to get him to play with himself, but its head was pressed down perfunctorily.

The white-robed man beside Qiao was of foreign race.

But among the empires on this continent, only Arilance had foreign races submit to them.

It would be fine if Qiao was, as he said, the emperor of another continent, but if not, then which empire had the guts to secretly take in foreign races?

The more Asrit thought about it, the more obvious the smile at the corners of his mouth became.
He looked forward to Qiao agreeing to go to the dark forest with him.
That should be interesting.

On the other hand, Qiao Xingnan did not know that the tyrant still wanted to ask himself out to play.
He looked at Zero, who had just returned from a victory and felt more than a little bit better.

When Zero left, he deliberately used the wind blowing over to let him “unintentionally” reveal the forehead pattern.
Qiao Xingnan was sure that Howard must have seen Zero’s pattern.

What the pattern represents, Qiao Xingnan was not clear.

He only needs to know that for a mysterious and powerful existence, whenever there is a mark on the body that is different from ordinary people, regardless of whether there is a story, outsiders will subconsciously give meaning to it.

Of course, it doesn’t matter if Howard didn’t check.
Now that Zero won the match with Howard, the strong man persona can be said to be established very firmly.

It’s not a loss anyhow.

“Zero, come and sit down.”

Qiao Xingnan waved his hand with a smile.
When Zero sat down, the corners of his mouth rose, and his expression was sincere, praising Zero’s swift speed, heroic posture, and precise control one by one during the battle.

It was as if these operations were done by Zero himself and not by him controlling Zero from behind the scenes.

Zero’s wooden face softened, and his dark, heavy eyes could be vaguely seen with a leap of joy amidst his shyness.

Since Zero upgraded, the expression on his face seems to have become more vivid, although it was not very obvious.

Qiao Xingnan didn’t notice Zero’s expression, and he had a smile in his voice: “Even Uncle Ster was just complimenting Zero’s great performance!”

Of course, Ster’s original words were, ‘Congratulations Master, twenty thousand gold coins did not all go down the drain’, and such words need not be said.

Although Zero prefers to have his master compliment himself, Ster is, after all, a colleague, and getting affirmation from the other side makes Zero’s eyes shine.

“Where is Uncle Ster?”

Zero has also recently taken to following his master’s lead and calling the other party Uncle Ster.

“He’s gone to work.” Qiao Xingnan explained.

Ster went to the other room where they put the magical beasts.
After all, he was the one who “had to make the magic scrolls”, and he could not be idle now.

The two knights who were watching them were still standing outside.
Qiao Xingnan knew that the tyrant must have noticed that the boxes of intermediate and high-level magical beasts were empty, but he was not worried that he would fall over.

After all, when they took away the 18 boxes of magical beasts, they were extremely cautious and would not let them see that something was wrong.

The tyrant will only wonder where those intermediate and high-level magical beasts have gone and why they are left with low-level magical beasts, and will not even think that they have taken the magical beasts for gold coins.

Now, regardless of whether the tyrant side was speculating that Ster had storage tools put them away or that Ster had started refining magic scrolls, it didn’t matter much to their side.
Every speculation was to give them a brush of mystery so that the tyrant would be more cautious towards them.

Thinking of this, Qiao Xingnan felt that he could finally take a little break.

After crossing over, he lived a frightening life every day, afraid that his head would not be on his neck when he woke up.
Now, it looks like the situation is much better.
He only needs to keep the current situation.
It is enough to maintain his forced character and keep his little life for the time being.

However, he also cannot completely relax.
The tyrant has not yet completely believed that he is an emperor, but only because of what happened before is he somewhat wary of him.
Once the tyrant loses patience, his own head will be moved.

Qiao Xingnan’s finger lightly tapped on the table, and his breathing also lightened a bit.

He must raise the tyrant’s goodwill towards himself while maintaining his emperor persona intact.

According to psychology, when a person has an extremely favorable impression of another person, vigilance will be significantly reduced.
The tyrant will be less likely to discover any problems with him.

In other words, Qiao Xingnan’s next plan is to brush up on the tyrant’s goodwill.
The higher, the better.

Qiao Xingnan still has some experience in brushing up goodwill.
After all, he was used to fighting for a living in his last life, and he knows how to do it without thinking about it.

A few hours ago, he took advantage of when Luna came over to deliver breakfast to inquire about the tyrant subtly, and the other side also unconsciously revealed some things.

For example, the emperor will come here every year to escape the summer heat.
In fact, the temperature in the main city of Arilance was just a little higher than here, but the emperor couldn’t stand it.
The emperor loathes the heat.

Another example was His Highness Jin, that the emperor keeps around.
That is, the little snake has been the same length for two or three years without a little change.
It seems that it can’t grow, but the emperor favors it very much.

There are also insignificant things like usually loving to eat meat and not vegetables, lighting up the lights when sleeping at night, etc.

Qiao Xingnan’s expression is calm under Luna’s gaze, but in fact, he has long been thinking about how to use these things to build a good relationship with the other party.

By now, there is a rough idea.

Having the same preferences is a shortcut to getting closer to someone quickly, even if it’s a tyrant.

Fear of heat, this setting can be tried.

Qiao Xingnan took out the notebook from the system space and used a pen to tick on it.
The other party likes to keep snakes…he has never kept one.

As a screenwriter who runs with the group all day long, he has never kept a pet.
Now that he is an “emperor”, what can he keep to have a good relationship with the emperor who keeps snakes?

Qiao Xingnan decided to put it aside and consider other things, such as he also likes to eat meat and…

Before he finished thinking, there was a knock on the door from outside.

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