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Reborn as a Demonic Tree – Chapter 66: Mycelium Network Bahasa Indonesia

As Ashlock watched Diana rip apart a cultivator a few stages higher than her, he understood why the demonic cultivators were treated as dangerous savages.

Just hours ago, Diana had been her usual self—a bit cold and serious but still a rational-thinking individual. But now, as she tore out the women’s thorax and began to eat it… he struggled to see her as the same person.

Stella stood off to the side of the fight, trying to find a safe way to step in without getting her own arm torn off. It was clear to anyone watching that Diana’s strength was far from ordinary. “Is she consuming her life force for a temporary powerup?” The signs pointed to no… but how else could this sudden increase in power be explained?

After a while, Diana lay on top of the woman’s breathless corpse and seemed to have passed out again—Stella used this opportunity to acquire the spatial rings from the bodies that had been pushed through the portals.

As Stella got to work breaking the seals on the rings to search them for beast cores, black vines snuck through the cracks in the stone courtyard and devoured the unattended corpses.

While waiting for them to be devoured, Ashlock focused on the Star Core sealed ring. Unlike Stella, who had spent only moments breaking each ring seal, he had been at his for a while now—he could tell he was close. A barrier seemed to surround the ring, and as he poured more spatial Qi into the barrier, it began to crack.

Then it shattered, and he found himself inside the ring. Inside were a few beast cores, Evergreen family robes, some Qi-infused chains, and various other items. Unfortunately, none of the things seemed very useful to a tree, so he let the ring clatter to the ground, drawing Stella’s attention.

Stella rushed over, “Ash, you broke the seal?” She picked the ring up, and her eyes went wide, “Thank you!”

Without another word, she ran back to Diana while clearly searching through the ring for useful things.

Minutes went by, and notifications began to flood Ashlock’s tired mind.

[+21 SC]

[+53 SC]

[+47 SC]

“Such low points.” Ashlock muttered within his mind, “I need to start hunting higher realm cultivators and beasts if I want to continue this growth rate.”

Ashlock watched Stella drag the unconscious and barely alive Diana off to the side and tie up her limbs with the chain letting off a hint of Qi. She then began to feed her some beast cores she found and other pills.

He paid them no mind. Rather his attention was focused on the ravaged corpse of the peak-stage Soul Fire cultivator. It was an objectively gruesome sight, but Ashlock felt nothing except a cold lack of empathy.

“Have I become a psychopath? What’s wrong with me?” Ashlock looked the body up and down but still felt nothing—except maybe a little hungry.

The human part of his mind was revolted, disgusted, and at a loss for words. He had seen many deaths in this world, but this one felt different. Was it the fact that just a single stage separated them, and she had died such gruesome death right before him?

“She died because she was weak and inferior,” Ashlock said without thought but paused. “What the hell?” When had this change in mindset come about? Had he always completely disregarded all human life except those close to him?

He hadn’t thought about it much, just went with the flow. Killed those that were a threat and devoured those killed by others. “Now that I think about it, I have been turning a blind eye to the fact Larry has been bringing me fresh corpses.”

Ashlock looked down at the half-dead spider. The poor guy seemed to have calmed down from his earlier berserk state and had nearly finished cocooning himself. “Rest well, buddy. You earned it.”

Looking back at the corpse lying on the stone, Ashlock couldn’t hold back his hunger and felt no reason to, so he cast {Devour}.

A while later, the vines retreated into the ground, and he had absorbed the cultivation accumulated by the person over their life. Ashlock didn’t know the woman’s name, nor did he care. To him, all these humans were just food except for those few he cared about.

[+101 SC]

“Tsk, you spent your whole life cultivating, only to be eaten by a tree and provide a measly hundred points.” He was angry. What if this person had been Stella? Or even Diana? Would the person who slaughtered them, ripped out their throat, and tore off their limbs even give their cold corpse a second thought?

It was sad, really. It wasn’t just him that put such little importance on the life of others. Everyone else in this crazy dark world saw each other as an obstacle in their path to immortality.

Ashlock wondered what it would be like back on Earth if people could spend money for immortality. Would this same cutthroat culture be born where people would rather fight and kill for the most minor grievances just for a few extra bucks so they could extend their life?

“They say the one thing you can never buy is time, but that is the reality here—not only do they need to cultivate to extend their lifespan, but they also cultivate to stop their life being abruptly ended through their own strength.”

Ashlock looked at the cold stone where the corpse had been. Only some tattered blood-stained cloth remained to remind him of his meal. She might have had connections, allies, and a powerful family and even terrorized and exploited the mortals for her ascension. But none of that mattered when she faced a foe only a little stronger. Her life was extinguished in the most brutal way possible within minutes.

An important lesson. Ashlock had felt for a brief moment what losing Stella was like. The pain, sorrow, and rage. He needed to devise a way to protect, shelter, and nurture her, so nothing could kill her.

Not even the heavens.

To hell with his Qi reserves. After using his {Eye of the Tree God} skill to confirm the cultivators were still not attacking even after his guerilla warfare with portals, Ashlock opened his mushroom production menu and got to work.

He selected not only a few more truffles with various effects such as Dao comprehension through hallucinations, one that helped consume heart demons, and another that… improved skin quality.

“I bet that one will be popular.” Ashlock chuckled as he switched off the truffles. They took the longest to grow and had the most impactful effects, but he could grow faster, smaller, and still interesting ones, such as the glowing mushrooms he had decorated the central courtyard with.

“Time to actually use some of this space.” Ashlock’s spiritual sight now covered the entire pavilion as his canopy shrouded the mountain peak. “Training courtyard is fine how it is, although that wall really needs to be fixed. The fish pond is… well, they are dead.”

It was unsurprising but still sad. Either the fish had starved to death, or a bird had eaten them while he had been asleep. Overall that courtyard would have a better use later, so he had the garden or the runic formation left to use.

The garden was an absolute mess. With the reduction of sunlight due to his canopy and the absence of gardeners for years, it had overgrown into a nightmare of weeds straight out of an apocalypse movie. Unfortunately, few precious spiritual herbs had survived the years of neglect.

“The soil seems perfect, and the environment was already organized and set up to house plants.” Ashlock thought of asking Stella, as this was technically her home, but she seemed busy for now, and he was the patriarch of the sect.

Ashlock chuckled, “I think it’s safe to say I own this mountain and pavilion now. And maybe even this entire area once I spread out my roots some more.”

Creating a load of random mushrooms that granted random small boosts to cultivation and selecting the garden as the location to grow them, Ashlock felt his Star Core happily provide the required Qi. In real time, he watched the courtyard of weeds evolve into a mushroom paradise.

“Now, to check on my disciples.” Ashlock switched his view to the central courtyard.

Diana looked better. Which wasn’t saying much considering the state she was in before.

Her skin was still covered in black veins, and her eyes were dyed black, but she seemed saner and wasn’t trying to bite Stella’s face off.

However, even Ashlock, with his limited knowledge of this world, could tell feeding her beast cores was a temporary solution to a bigger problem.

Diana had gone cold turkey and managed for a while, but after being pushed too far in the recent battle, it seems she succumbed to her heart demons, which seemed like a fancy way of saying she relapsed as a drug addict.

Maybe the truffles he was growing could help, but they still needed a week to grow, so for now, Diana would need to either recover on her own or remain chained up until the truffles were fully matured.

A while passed, and Diana seemed to have passed out again—Stella was keeping tabs on her, so Ashlock felt now was a good time for an experiment he had been waiting for.

When he upgraded his {Qi Fruit Production} to [B] grade a while ago for 900 credits, the only significant change had been the ability to put a {Demonic Tree Seed} in his fruit.

Why had it cost so much for such a seemingly minor feature? That question had plagued his mind ever since. So he spread his seeds far and wide, using birds in hopes of discovering the answer. But his babies had been so far out of reach, growing up in the forest surrounding the mountain. So he had no opportunity to meet them and see if they had any particular connection.

But that had changed.

Using {Eye of the Tree God}, Ashlock soared past the groups of restless cultivators from the Winterwrath and Evergreen families that were busy shouting at each other and focused on the nearest baby demonic tree.

Although calling it a baby was hard, considering it towered at over twenty meters. It had been one of the first he had planted and had already grown so strong.

His root slowly approached underground, not out of choice—since the root was so far from his Star Core, the growth began to slow down. That’s something Ashlock had also taken note of.

His power was concentrated around and within his trunk rather than throughout his entire body, such as his roots and branches, which functioned more as an extension of himself.

After what felt like ages, his root broke through the last bit of rock and hit the soil for the first time. It felt warm and damp, like a nice blanket, rather than cold and coarse like the mountain’s stone.

Why had he awoken thousands of meters in the sky on a mountain peak? Why couldn’t he have been born among his fellow trees in this lovely, warm soil?

The more he relished in the warmth of the soil, the more slothful he felt. “No wonder trees sleep a lot. I would have never bothered to wake up to even sign in if I had been born here…. maybe being born on a desolate mountain peak was a blessing in disguise then.”

[WARNING: Mycelium Network Invasion]

“Mycelium network? Like fungus?” Ashlock switched his view from his god eye and looked through the root burrowing through the soil. Of course, shifting perspective like this would make any normal human immediately vomit on the spot, but as a magical tree, swapping his point of view from being high in the sky to below the earth instantly wasn’t an issue.

As the system message had suggested, mycelium was wrapping around his root and trying to penetrate his root’s cell wall, but to little effect.

Naturally, his root that could penetrate mountain rock wouldn’t lose to some fungi. However, Ashlock decided to allow the invasion, as he knew trees weren’t as solitary as everyone believed.

They actually communicated and shared resources, not through their roots, but via mycelium.

The system deemed it an invasion, but Ashlock saw it as an integration into the forest network. A way to connect with his fellow trees and maybe even his children.

Lowering his defenses and deliberately opening his roots up like one would open their pores, he allowed the mycelium in.

A wave of fear assaulted him. Although not in the emotional sense, he was still rational. But his entire body seized up as if he were about to die. The equivalent of tree adrenaline flooded his system, and he suddenly felt fully awake, as if it was midday rather than midnight. It was time to fight.

His body had gone into a weird state as if there was an impending doom—which there kind of was with the cultivators still at the mountain’s base.

The forest was terrified, which in turn, made him too. Without thinking, he took control of the situation and flooded the mycelium network with his overwhelming presence.

The fear subsided, and his body managed to calm down.

His root continued delving deeper into the forest, under the clueless noses of the cultivators loitering about overhead.

As more mycelium was welcomed into his roots, Ashlock noticed something. The more Qi he injected into the network to calm the poor trees, the more sugars, proteins, and water he received.

He had been using Qi to replace these necessary things a tree needed to grow throughout his life, as there was none in the mountain rock. With this abundance of new resources, his root began to speed up its growth rate as these useful substances were injected.

“For some reason, I feel like a real tree now.” Ashlock laughed as he tunneled further. He passed the roots of some normal green-leaved trees. He didn’t feel anything special from them or much Qi. A few seemed in the low stages of the Qi realm and clearly hadn’t developed a conscious.

So what was flooding the mycelium network with fear? Was it these trees doing it naturally, or was it something else?

And then Ashlock’s root passed the roots of his child, the very first demonic tree he had planted—relief mixed with a hint of curiosity washed through the mycelium and into his root.

Ashlock could tell instantly that the baby demonic tree had cultivated far enough to have developed consciousness, and it seemed to recognize him as its Father.


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