Noah flew through the sky, followed closely by his companions and sword. His hair didn't flutter in the wind like it used to but remained quite still as if it was some kind of heavy mane.
His focus was on the cracked and shattered ground under him, even if he had to use part of his attention controlling the "Breath" that was allowing him to fly.
Using the "Breath" in the environment felt different. He was moving something that didn't belong to him through his will. The sensation resembled that felt when he controlled magical beasts, but it came from something more profound than the pure fear of a more potent being.
As for the environment under him, it was nothing like the island that they had just left. There were dark craters everywhere, with spa.r.s.e burning trees appearing now and then.
It was evident that the Tribulation had hit harder on the landma.s.s, and it didn't seem to have minded the casualties when it tried to wipe out any being carrying the compound.
The continent appeared completely deserted even if only a few months had pa.s.sed since the group saw it filled with magical beasts.
That scene confirmed that the Tribulation had targeted even the creatures carrying the compound, but Noah was still unclear about the actual effect that it had on them. After all, they were already magical beasts.
The answer to his doubts though came rather quickly, after only a few weeks flying straight toward the volcano.
The absence of magical beasts on their path and their lack of need to explore the continent further allowed the group to cross many regions quickly. That brought the group deeper into the mainland, where they met the first trace of life since the beginning of their return.
A pack of spider-like creatures appeared in their view. A wounded rank 5 Hairy Spider stood in front of a series of rank 3 and 4 specimens and waved its front legs as if it was trying to explain something.
It was needless to say that such a scene was unusual even when it came to creatures that had given birth to a Bloodline Inheritance. The leader of the pack was performing gestures that weren't battle-related. It was trying to communicate through something more intricate than its cries.
Noah didn't even wait for his companions to notice the unusual scene. He dived directly in the middle of the pack and fixed his reptilian eyes on the five meters tall leader.
To his surprise, the spider didn't immediately attack. Instead, it screeched a series of confused orders to its underlings, and Noah understood that it was telling them to stay still.
The rank 5 spider was in the lower tier other than injured. Noah's oppressing presence was enough to make it tremble in fear. However, Noah noticed that its eight eyes hid traces of intelligence as they stared at him.
There was an innocent curiosity in the creature's gaze, something that Noah had never seen in a magical beast when it didn't concern a meal at least.
The weaker specimens in its pack seemed to have similar intelligent gazes. They trembled in fear as they studied the human figure that had suddenly landed among them.
'I have to admit that the snake was a genius.' Noah thought as he realized that those creatures had developed a perfect mental sphere.
His consciousness enveloped the various beings around him, and he inspected the mental waves that they innately radiated. He sensed simple thoughts as if they were children that had suddenly woken up inside powerful spider bodies.
The instincts that had ruled their lives felt somewhat obsolete now that they could formulate complex ideas, and everything about them appeared new.
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However, even their newfound intelligence couldn't take over their instincts completely. Their aggression was something rooted deeply into their beings, and the snake's action of chaining itself was a clear example of that.
The rank 5 spider sent all its legs toward Noah, but cracking sounds echoed on the scene when they met Noah's fist. Even after awakening its intelligence, a rank 5 creature in the lower tier couldn't hope to match the prowess of a hybrid in the middle tier.
Noah tore the spider apart limb by limb and studied his body in the process. There weren't substantial differences in terms of physical strength, but his movements seemed smoother and fiercer.
The spider inevitably died as Noah kept on creating cracks in its st.u.r.dy exoskeleton, and he tore open its head after its last cry.
'As expected,' Noah thought when he saw that he didn't find any trace of a Bloodline Inheritance.
The mental sphere was ethereal in its structure, and the absence of a dark-red crystal confirmed that the compound made the infected beasts develop a sea of consciousness.
Noah then inspected the corpse and cracked open its lower body. A s.h.i.+ning organ full of primary energy appeared in his view, and he felt slightly surprised by its perfect state.
The organ was a fake dantian, but it was remarkably similar to a real dantian in power.
Noah stored the corpse and repeated the same inspection for the weaker specimens, without minding the few unharmed spiders that had already escaped far in the distance. Each one of them didn't have a Bloodline Inheritance and featured a fully-formed fake dantians in their lower bodies.
June and Faith waited for him to complete his a.n.a.lysis. After all, Noah was their greatest hope in reaching the volcano alive, and he needed that to understand what they were going to face once they reached the human domain.
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