774 A Stone Table
In the quiet skies, the black stone tablet was so colossal to the point that it far exceeded the size of anything Lin Huang had ever seen. It was floating in the air, exuding an ancient aura. Apparently, it had existed even longer than the dimension itself.
Sensing the aura coming from the stone tablet, Lin Huang was reminded of the many memories that he had left behind. These were the memories from Earth before he started traveling. It was like a playback of a video in which he could recall each and every detail clearly. Even some of the once-blur memories were now like videos that had been recorded in high definition.
He heard the creaking of the wooden door in his old house clearly when it was pushed open gently. The thread that was even thinner than a strand of hair could clearly be seen on his mother's black turtleneck sweater. Also, he could count precisely how many ants had escaped the ant nest in which he had poured water into when he was young and mischievous. Even though he could not remember anything when he was a swaddled babe, he could now remember everything clearly.
"What's the stone tablet for? Its aura alone can affect my memory."
As the stone tablet came nearer to him, Lin Huang then saw that the surface of the stone tablet had been struck by meteorites countless times. The great pits created by the meteorites scattered around three-quarters of its surface. In addition to that, there were apparent cracks that had begun to spread around the pits. Some of the cracks were rather significant and apparent. Lin Huang looked into these cracks and discovered that they were endless abysses.
It seemed like the entire stone tablet was severely damaged. Based on the number of pits and the depth of the cracks, it was not easy to keep it whole without collapsing.
"I don't think that the crashing of the meteorites causes them. Since all the god's items have instincts, it would've activated its defense shield when it encounters a meteor crash. It wouldn't leave any traces on the stone tablet. In addition to the power of the god's item, only a certain amount of damage can be caused to the stone tablet when its defense shield is completely activated. Causing such damage to the stone tablet is impossible. It's most likely man-made creatures (including humans and monsters) who are capable of damaging a god's item to this extent. Moreover, only True Gods or those who are stronger must've managed to do so.
"Perhaps it's not an ordinary god's item. Despite having encountered damages to this extent, its power is still capable of covering the entire island that's more than a million square meters, and it's still casting curses."
The more he analyzed it, the more he felt that the god's item was out of the ordinary.
Seeing the stone tablet advancing in his direction, he felt insecure.
"I hope it's not coming after me!"
As that thought arose in Lin Huang's mind, he immediately retreated, attempting to flee from the stone tablet. Soon, he realized that the stone tablet had changed its path and it was still following him.
"It's really coming after me!"
Lin Huang's face became grave, and he changed his flying direction again. He turned around and again, he saw that the stone tablet had changed its direction as well, chasing after him. He made several attempts to alter his direction and each time, the stone tablet followed. It was still heading for him, and to his horror, it was getting closer to him.
Despite having activated his double acceleration and flying at his maximum speed, he did not manage to distance himself from the stone tablet.
"I can't escape!" Lin Huang then resigned to his fate as he knew that his efforts would be in vain even if he continued to escape. He decided not to run away.
He crushed the Transformation Card, and his combat strength immediately leveled up from gold flame-level to immortal-level rank-4. He even had three spare Provisional Combat Strength Upgrade Cards in his left sleeve. He then grabbed the Air Slicer with his right hand.
He was floating in mid-air, facing the stone tablet head-on. He had a cold expression on his face as he braced himself to fight.
The giant black stone tablet moved forward, and soon, it approached Lin Huang.
Seeing that there were just merely hundreds of meters remaining, Lin Huang gathered the power of his sword skills, getting reading to attack.
All of a sudden, the stone tablet suddenly stopped moving and lingered in front of Lin Huang who was about 100 meters away.
Just as Lin Huang realized that something was amiss, a loud thud resembling the rumbling of thunder boomed.
"Human, there's something special about your soul."
Lin Huang froze, sizing up his surroundings with his Telekinesis. However, he found nothing.
He quickly regained his senses, fixing his gaze on the huge stone tablet. He then retreated hundreds of meters away, putting his guard up and staring in the direction where the stone tablet was with trepidation.
There was nothing there, and obviously, the voice was coming from the stone tablet.
"Don't panic. I have no bad intentions towards humans." The voice was heard again.
"Are you the stone tablet itself? Or is there a hidden creature in the stone tablet?" Lin Huang asked. "Since you have no bad intentions, why don't you reveal your true body and talk to me face-to-face?"
Lin Huang had seen many of the talking monsters after traveling to this world. However, apart from his Goldfinger Xiao Hei, he had never seen any other items that could talk.
That was why when he heard its voice for the first time, he did not think that it was the stone tablet that had spoken. Still, when he could not find anything, he could then tell that the voice was coming from the stone tablet. However, he could not confirm whether if it was the stone tablet or the creature inside the stone tablet that had spoken.
Lin Huang did not get an answer from it. After a moment of silence, he suddenly realized that the size of the stone tablet was decreasing drastically.
In less than ten seconds, the huge stone tablet that used to be larger than the stars had shrunk to a height of only three meters. At almost the same time, the same voice was heard again.
"Now, do you know who I am?"
The answer was clear. Lin Huang was startled as he stared at the stone tablet close to him. He could not imagine that the colossal item could have possibly reduced its size to this extent.
After a couple of moments, Lin Huang then recovered from his thoughts, but he was still alert. "You just said that you have no bad intentions towards humans. Why did you bring me here then?"
"Your soul releases an aura that strikes me as familiar." The stone tablet paused for a moment. "If I'm not mistaken, you're a traveler, aren't you?"
His heart plummeted when he heard this. For the first time, somebody managed to figure out his identity. Still, he maintained a neutral expression and did not answer its question.
"I'm sorry if I sounded rude. I haven't been talking to humans for a long time. My conversation skills have gotten rusty." The stone tablet then changed the topic. "Before asking you something personal, let me tell you about myself.
"My previous master is actually just like you. He's also a traveler. That's why the aura the both of you exude is somewhat similar. Also, I can clearly sense the Goldfinger's aura in your body because I used to be a Goldfinger too."
"You're also a Goldfinger?" Lin Huang was nervous. He could clearly remember what Xiao Hei had told him before about Goldfingers being able to subdue one another. He could also sense that the moment when he entered the dimension, Xiao Hei became quiet. When he used the Transformation Card, he did not receive any notification as well. Due to his anxiety, he neglected this earlier. As he recalled what had just happened, he believed that Xiao Hei might have sensed its existence and was forced to go into hiding.
Because it was severely damaged, if it managed to overthrow Xiao Hei, part of its casualties could be recovered. As the thought crossed his mind, Xiao Hei's face turned ghastly.
Noticing the changes in Lin Huang's facial expression, the stone tablet seemed to know what he was thinking.
"Don't worry. I'm not going to do anything to you and your Goldfinger. Taking over a 2-Star Authority Goldfinger isn't going to have any significant effect on my recovery. Moreover, it's in its complete form. If I were to engulf it, I might be putting myself at risk as it might devour me."
"A 2-Star Authority Goldfinger?" Lin Huang mumbled. He was doubtful as he remembered that Xiao Hei had actually leveled up several times.
"You know nothing about its authority?" The stone tablet questioned. "It seems like your Goldfinger has a bad attitude."
"Hmm, it's still acceptable." Lin Huang immediately recalled back then when he just obtained Xiao Hei, the remarks he had received for his Exclusive Card had been awful for a long period of time. "Could you tell me more about that?"
"It's pretty simple. It's related to the host's life level. An ordinary person would normally have a 1-Star Authority Goldfinger whereas a transcendent's Goldfinger would be upgraded to 2-Star Authority. After becoming a God, one's Goldfinger would be upgraded to 3-Star Authority, and so on."
"So, do you mean that the notification we received from the system regarding the upgrade in authority isn't exactly an upgrade in the Goldfinger's Star Authority?" Lin Huang immediately asked.
"What you mean should be the upgrade in its functionality which includes functions unlocking and upgrading. It's the upgrade it obtains when it meets a certain requirement. It has nothing to do with the host's life level. The authority it has over the functionality and its Star Authority are two different things. However, each time the Star Authority levels up, some of the functions will be unlocked as well."
Lin Huang was suddenly enlightened after listening to the stone tablet's explanation.
"Can I ask you some other questions?" The stone tablet's explanation had given Lin Huang the courage to ask further.
"Shoot away. I'll try my best to answer."
"What's your Star Authority?" Lin Huang tried his luck.
"4-Star." The stone tablet did not try to hide anything from him.
"4-Star?! Does it mean that your previous master is even stronger than a God?" Lin Huang was shocked.
"Yes, indeed. His ability ranks above of many powerful men."
"Is he dead?" Under normal circumstances, Goldfingers would never leave their masters. Since the stone tablet was here and was severely damaged, Lin Huang assumed something must have happened.
After a moment of silence, the stone tablet answered solemnly, "Yes."
"With his abilities and your help, how could he have died?" Lin Huang could not imagine how the stone tablet's master died.
"He offended a mighty enemy." The stone tablet was trying to avoid the question. Obviously, it was a topic that it did not want to talk about.
As Lin Huang realized this, he did not ask any further. He remained silent for a couple of moments, and soon, he changed the topic.
"Why do you want to bring me here? I don't think it's simply because the aura which my soul releases is similar to that of your master's."
Again, the stone tablet kept quiet. After several moments, it said, "Let me tell you the truth. The reason why I'm bringing you here is that I wish that you can become my host."
"Wait. You know that I can only have a contract with one Goldfinger, don't you?" Lin Huang frowned. Under normal circumstances, he would, of course, not mind having another Goldfinger. However, he could remember that the contract with the Goldfinger was unique and it would be impossible for him to sign another contract.
"That's simple. You just need to terminate the contract with your current Goldfinger."