Twirling a rubik absentmindedly with one hand while clicking his way with a mouse with the other over Kemsah finalized paperwork, Arash suddenly felt a twang in his heart. The rubik fell down on the floor with a loud clanking sound, startling everyone outside the room. All the engineers, coordinators and drafters looked up spontaneously towards Arash's room and returned to their own work a few seconds later with a smile. Some even shook their heads while giggling quietly. Arash blushed a little and gave all of them an apologetic smile.
Currently, he had taken over Mr. Rama's small office. Although it looked like there was a segregation between himself and the rest, there really wasn't. It was just a squared-off section at the end of a large hall-like room made from textured gray plywood with 90 % glass pane and a standard-sized door which was ajar 90% of the time. Arash wasn't even sure what was the use for it. To him, it was basically redundant. In his opinion, the room should be converted into a resting room for the team rather than putting him in this corner, wasting space. He heard that, in some international companies, the employees were given a high degree of freedom to complete their work. There was even some 'nap room' to give employees the recharge they needed before resuming their work. His old cube, which was a few steps away from the room was left empty without a replacement.
A ping resounded from an internal chat system on the main PC in front of him.
Razali (GfE System Engineer): Everything okay, Boss?
Arash (GfE Dept Manager): Fine and dandy. I thought I got a heart attack just now. Stop calling me Boss lah, brohhh. I'm gonna skin you later during the meeting.
Razali (GfE System Engineer): Aiyaa, I'm so scaredddd.. You better get a full body check-up asap. Anyway, if you dare do that to your best bro here, this bro is not gonna help you buy lunch later in the future humph
Arash (GfE Dept Manager): Ewahhh, insubordinationnnn
Razali (GfE System Engineer): Okeh BOSS, busy here (evil face) (funny face) (waving hand)
Arash (GfE Dept Manager): (Angry face) (funny face) (waving hand)
Arash bent down and fetched the rubik under the table. He truly felt something jolted in his heart just now. He massaged his chest with his left hand with worry. If it was not an imminent heart attack, was this a sixth sense telling him that his beloved wife was in trouble?
As usual, his adventurous wife went MIA again after the short message. It was already the fourth day. She said it'll take at most three days. Arash felt so helpless answering his mother-in-law incessant questions on her beloved daughter's inability to chat with her.
Arash sighed and return to his own work.
He needed to cultivate more trust in his wife's abilities to handle various situations. After all, he already started believing that his wife had been cultivating some sort of obscure cultivation technique thanks to the presence of Tok Silihan, his new idol.
At the time Arash felt the jolt in his heart, Hana had just successfully established her second soul-link, which was with Ara. At the moment, the jovial aunty was listening to Chomper's report through her connection with Shiro. Ara had left the underground air pocket eagerly as per Hana's previous orders, her intentions, unknown.
"..the rest of the low-tiered servants had been relocated to another chamber near to the Young Miss quarters. All of them have been accounted for."
"Good, good. Excellent job, Chomper." Hana breathed out in relief. She was worried that the cuties would be hurt when she was in closed-door cultivation with Ara and Shiro.
"There was nothing to worry about, Mistress. The Grand Elder had given his words. What he says, goes. in the clan, especially when the Lord wasn't around. The Lord always entered seclusion for years at a time. That is one of the reasons why he is ahead in strength when comparing the two." Chomper whispered faintly while looking left and right. His actions were akin to spreading internal gossip to outsiders, thus revealing the flaw of the clan's management. However, the Mistress was the Young Miss' Master, hence, she wasn't a total stranger.
Listening to Chomper's remarks, Hana had a crestfallen look. She just met the gigantic tilapia a few weeks ago. Did it mean that she will never meet him again in a few years' time? She sighed helplessly and started massaging her temples with one hand while using the other to support her chin, deep in thoughts.
"Shall the meeting commenced?" Chomper asked politely. He could feel that the elders had become very restless these few days. It has been delayed enough.
"Yes. Please invite the Grand Elder to come over in one hour. I need to clean up a little." Hana touched the brown sweater she was wearing and gave it a sniff before gagging.
Chomper blinked his eyes a few times and suppressed the sudden bubbling laughter threatening to spill. He nodded and retreated at the same time haphazardly. Finally, he could bring the news that the other party was very eager to hear.
"Grand Elder! How's everything? Truly sorry for the delay." Sitting in a cross-legged position in front of the 'table', Hana started engaging in small talks with the elder in front of her, while Shiro, who was sitting beside her, translated her words immediately.
A gentle smile was plastered upon her poker face, as if nothing ever happened. However, her whole body had a faint stinky bloody smell mixed with herbs, while her hair was plastered to her forehead, messy and dripping wet. Only her face and her hands were somewhat clean. Just now, the aunty had tried to dip herself inside the spring, but ultimately couldn't due to her existing fear of deep waters. She had never entered water higher than her chest. Just thinking about the bottomless underground spring gave a shiver over her. As usual, she froze like a frightened rabbit. At the moment, she looked like a drenched chicken under the rain.
Although she knew she could breathe underwater now, the underwater spring was so deep over here, she couldn't even feel anything without being totally immersed within. It triggered a terrible panic attack, which in turn, automatically disconnected her from her link with Ara due to loss of concentration. Essentially, the aunty nearly drowned just now while she was haphazardly washing herself to be more presentable. Shiro had to rescue her while Chomper who had just returned from informing the Grand Elder, resuscitated her clumsily. It was rather embarrassing.
Looking at the shrewd landbeast lord's disheveled condition, Grand Elder Watershade cleared his throat and looked the other away, pretending not to see anything.
"Good, good. We are truly sorry for not being able to supply a proper cultivation chamber for your use since it was very deep underground." Grand Elder Watershade spoke apologetically.
"No matter, no matter. Next time, I'd be glad to visit the cultivation chambers mentioned." Hana laughed jovially as she flapped her hands in embarrassment. As usual, she did spontaneous things almost all the time, and this occasion was one of it. Who knew what the outcome would've been?
"Let's start our discussion, Grand Elder. I've come up with a great plan for the benefit of us both." Hana grinned lightly, trying her best to show her sincerity.
"Ah... Alright. Let's hear it out." Looking at that devilish smile, the Grand Elder immediately put his guards up. He had to chin up and stop himself from being influenced by the Mistress, losing out in the deal.
"Truthfully, we have many challenges ahead, that is, in terms of raw material procurement. The selected ingredients needed to reach at least a certain level of spirituality. As you know, spirit herbs won't fall from the sky. They needed to be sourced from the land."
"True. Even deep within this underwater world, spirit herbs were very rare. Usually, all herbs with potency will always have a guardian beside it, just waiting for the day the owner could harvest it." The Grand Elder nodded his head.
"Is this about spiritual herbs procurement? We do have some water-based spiritual herbs in our safekeeping. However, if it's about herbs from land, I'm afraid we couldn't help much, since we don't go on land too frequent. However, you can select any of the spiritual herbs available when you needed to prepare the advancement concoction." Grand Elder Watershade felt slightly uneasy. They haven't been collecting spirit herbs actively since they already have a Spirit Crystal Lode. Will it affect their cooperation deal?
"You got me wrong, Grand Elder! It is not so! We're currently tackling the issue from a different angle. I have been discussing with my team here and we have come up with a great plan!"
"If we can't source it somewhere else, why don't we plant it ourselves?" Hana laughed heartily. The more she talked about it, the idea became more convincing.
Grand Elder Watershade paused for a moment and gave a slight nod with a hint of skepticism. "Could the Mistress elaborate on how to proceed with this plan?"
"To plant spirit trees, one must have a land with a spirit vein within. After that, we just need good-selected seeds and of course, time." Hana explained confidently with shining eyes. "Of course, you would be thinking, are we here to exploit your Spirit Crystal Lode. The answer is no; we have our own method to create an artificial spirit-imbued land for cultivating spirit herbs. Seeds and growth of trees will be taken care of from our side too. This is an advent to a future where spiritual-agriculture thrived! There was no need to fight for spirit herbs anymore!"
Grand Elder Watershade was so shocked; his whiskers bristled non-stop. He had an unbelievable look attached to his face. Even Hana noticed his sesame-shaped eyes turned round and larger by fifty percent. His mouth made a wide O shape, and if a chicken walked in, it would've thought that it was a sacred cave.
After the Grand Elder could finally calm his heart, he asked earnestly, "So, what do you need?"