Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Long Teng didn’t understand the pilot’s amazement at all, and gave him a big smile. “We’re from Star City.”
Bai Jiao laughed lightly as the pilot rolled his eyes with a ‘you’re kidding me’ look on his face. Xie Sen ignored them as he summoned the watermelon vine, let it tie him up and slowly moved towards the door. Although protected by the watermelon vine, he still couldn’t help but be nervous.
For the first time, he thought he might be afraid of heights.
Long Teng reached out, and grabbed his arm. “Don’t be afraid. We’ll be down in a minute.”
Xie Sen smiled at him, took a deep breath, backed up and poked his body out first. Then he stepped on the traction ladder with his feet, slowly moved his hands to the sides of the ladder, made sure he stood firm and said to Long Teng, “It’s okay.”
Long Teng let go. Xie Sen looked down at the ladder, and slowly moved down. The traction ladder swayed because of his movement, and he couldn’t help but shiver. He looked down, then hurriedly averted his eyes.
It was horrible!
It was too torturous to go on so slowly! He instructed in his mind, “Carry me and move slowly down the ladder next to me.”
The watermelon vine pulled him a step away from the ladder. He felt the tug, and let go. His hands and feet left the ladder almost simultaneously, and he was lifted by the vines as he floated there.
In accordance with his instructions, the watermelon vine slowly moved him down next to the ladder. He kept a close eye on the traction ladder in front of him, so in case there was an accident, he would be able to quickly grab the traction ladder.
After he got used to the speed, he made the watermelon vine speed up again and soon landed on the ground. He had only just landed when Maine grabbed him from behind. He held Maine’s hand as his breathing eased. Being lifted by the vines was really uncomfortable.
He was fine doing it that way. He had gone down at a speed less than free fall, like a person who was hanging from a tree and being slowly lowered down.
Before, Maine was instantly pulled down by the vine, so the vine’s pull was definitely more uncomfortable.
He gave Maine a worried look, let the watermelon vine unwind from him and reached for Maine’s top zipper. “Did you just get hurt? Let me see.”
Maine grabbed his wrist. “I’m fine. Let them down first.”
Xie Sen looked at him, and ordered the watermelon vine to bind Bai Jiao.
The next moment, his communicator rang. Bai Jiao said, “I want to go down the same way as you. Climbing down is too exhausting, and the situation in the forest is still uncertain. Let’s save our strength first.”
Xie Sen thought it made sense and agreed, then reminded him, “Okay, I’ll slowly adjust the speed later, but let me know if you’re uncomfortable.”
Bai Jiao kept in touch during the landing, Xie Sen commanded the vines to change speed, and Bai Jiao landed smoothly on the ground.
Long Teng came down with the vines as usual. He kept asking for more speed along the way. Xie Sen simply let him free fall to prevent strain, and only when he was about to land did he let the vines lift him to slow him down.
When Long Teng landed, he jumped in front of Xie Sen with an excited face. “That was fun!”
Xie Sen asked, “Any strangulation?” He still couldn’t help but look at Maine with concern. “Especially you. You were going too fast.”
Maine shook his head. “I’m fine.”
Bai Jiao and Long Teng also said they were fine.
Maine turned on his bracelet, and pointed to the map. “This is the highest terrain in the vicinity.
There’s only a weak signal, so the rest of the area is likely to have no signal at all.”
He paid the pilot the final amount, and marked the location. He looked at his teammates with a serious face. “Let’s go together. We mustn’t get separated.”
Xie Sen nodded seriously.
Maine asked Xie Sen, “Which way?”
Xie Sen called out to Adam, who sensed around for a moment and said excitedly, “It’s not far from here. In the northeast.”
Xie Sen said, “Northeast.”
Maine pulled up the map and scratched along the northeast side of the map, as he studied the cliffs to the northeast. “Could it be under the cliffs?”
Adam said in Xie Sen’s mind, “Within ten kilometers.”
Xie Sen relayed his words, and Maine pondered for a moment. “Let’s see if we can get down the cliff.”
The group walked to the cliff. It was a nearly vertical slope with many raised rocks on the surface that made it completely impossible to go down. Across from the cliff was the other half of the mountain. It was as if a complete mountain had suddenly split down the middle, and formed a canyon in the middle. The white fog that was floating above the canyon also made it impossible to see the situation below. All that could be heard were the chilling calls of birds, and the ferocious roar of wild animals.
Bai Jiao said, “There seems to be a fight down there.”
Maine nodded and looked around. “It’s so quiet up here. We haven’t encountered any large beasts except the black bird since we landed.”
“They must all be down there!” Long Teng said excitedly.
Xie Sen couldn’t help but worry. “The beasts have their own territories. It’s not normal for them to gather together.”
Maine said, “Maybe it has something to do with the mutation.” He opened his bracelet. “The map from the probes shows that the terrain is gradually lowering on both our east and west sides. Let’s go east first, and then go north along the lower terrain.”
Maine determined the route, and led the way forward. Xie Sen and Bai Jiao were in the middle and Long Teng in the back.
Before long, Bai Jiao suddenly exclaimed, “Wait a minute!”
He ran to the right side of the woods, squatted down, took out a shovel from his backpack and dug out a plant. He held it with glowing eyes as he walked back to where they were.
Long Teng curiously poked his head closer. “What is this? Is it food?”
Xie Sen looked at the globular red fruit on the plant, and hesitantly said, “Is this… pseudoginseng?”
Bai Jiao looked at him in surprise. “I’ve seen the drawing of pseudoginseng in ancient medicinal herbals, but how do you know that?”
Xie Sen laughed, “I don’t remember where I saw it, I just thought it looked familiar. I probably saw it accidentally while I was reading a textbook!”
Bai Jiao remembered he was a plant student and realized, “That’s right.” He carefully put the pseudoginseng into his backpack. “That’s great. I hope we can come across other herbs.”
Bai Jiao collected several more herbs, all with red flowers or fruits.
Xie Sen suddenly thought of Adam’s words. The red energy corresponded to red plants, so did these herbs and the red energy have a relationship?
After having walked easily for more than an hour, Long Teng couldn’t help it and said, “I thought it was dangerous. How come we can’t see anything but little bugs?”
When he finished speaking, Maine abruptly stopped. He opened the audio and video data returned from the probe, and turned the sound to the maximum. The sound of heavy footsteps came from far and near. Even just by listening, you could almost feel how the ground trembled from the movement. A huge figure flashed on the screen, then the footsteps faded away.
Maine said, “It’s a giant tiger beast.”
Long Teng’s eyes shone. “There really is a senior contract beast. I wonder if there is a flying dragon beast!”
Bai Jiao wrinkled his eyebrows. “There’s no other movement. It’s not hunting or avoiding danger, and its speed is very wrong.”
Xie Sen stared at the screen. “It’s running towards the canyon. There might be something there.”
Maine nodded. “Let’s keep going.”
The four of them walked along the edge of the bluff for another hour or so, and still hadn’t reached the lowest point. However, the terrain was much lower, and the sounds of the beasts were becoming clearer. They stopped, and prepared for lunch.
Long Teng ran to the edge of the cliff to look down, and soon exclaimed, “I see a big bird!”
The next moment, a large dark gray bird flew up from below. It screamed and attacked Long Teng, who quickly jumped two steps to the side to avoid it. The bird went past him and flew straight towards Xie Sen, who was still clearing the lunch area because of inertia.
Maine’s eyes were cold, as he picked up a wooden stick and slammed the bird down.
Xie Sen was startled, and looked at it warily.
Long Teng ran to their side, and pointed at the bird. “It started it!”
Bai Jiao frowned. “This kind of bird doesn’t usually attack humans of its own accord, and its eyes are the wrong color. They should be light gray under normal circumstances.”
Xie Sen stared at the bird’s eyes. “Now the gray is tinged with red.”
As he spoke, the bird suddenly swooped down toward Maine and Long Teng.
The two quickly took out their weapons from their backpacks, then struck at the same time as it approached, and attacked at the wings and neck respectively. The blades cut through the air with a silvery white light, and brought out red blood.
“Jie!!!” The big bird screamed in pain, flapped its wings violently and forced the two back. It took the opportunity to rise into mid-air, circled a few times in the sky and flew away reluctantly.
Long Teng pointed to the sky, and ran after it, “Don’t run if you dare come!”
Xie Sen gave him a funny look, and took out the watermelon. “Come and eat the watermelon.”
It took too long to grill meat, so it was good to eat watermelon to pad one’s stomach and quench one’s thirst.
Long Teng stopped in his tracks, then ran like the wind to Xie Sen. His eyes glowed as he looked at the watermelon. “Is the flesh of the melon better than the rind?”
“Of course.” Xie Sen said.
Long Teng swallowed. “I can’t imagine.” He picked up the round watermelon, and opened his mouth to bite into it.
Maine grabbed him by the back of the collar, and said coldly, “Put it down.”
Xie Sen hurriedly retrieved the watermelon, took out the fruit knife he had prepared, then divided the watermelon into four portions, one for each person. “This is all there is. After eating this, there’s no more.”
Maine let go of Long Teng, who hastily picked up his share, and smelled it with a beaming face. “It smells so good!”
He took a bite. His eyes widened and glowed brightly. He didn’t say anything, just continued to eat in big mouthfuls. His cheeks puffed out, which matched his baby face, like a little squirrel.
Bai Jiao ate the watermelon much faster than usual, after he first said, “It’s delicious.”
Xie Sen looked at the two 1 energy prompts, and the corners of his mouth curled up. It seemed the watermelon was really welcome!
Maine sat down next to Xie Sen, quickly finished the watermelon, and said to Xie Sen, “You sleep against me. I’ll wake you when the meat is done.”
Xie Sen didn’t pretend. Maine knew that if he didn’t rest well, he would cause more trouble, so he simply leaned against Maine’s back.
Long Teng finished his watermelon, and with bright eyes, was ready to talk to Xie Sen, but he was met by Maine’s warning look. He looked at Xie Sen who had his eyes closed, then covered his mouth and blinked.
Maine saw that he knew what he meant, and averted his eyes.
Half an hour later, Maine woke Xie Sen up. The group finished the barbecue, and prepared to continue the journey.
Maine squatted down in front of Xie Sen. “You can sleep for another half hour. After that, I don’t know when you can rest.”
Xie Sen hesitated, but took him by the neck, climbed on his back and let him carry him, as he whispered, “Thank you. If something happens, remember to wake me.”
His breath hit the side of Maine’s neck. Maine’s body stiffened for a moment, but soon he recovered naturally. “Okay.”
Long Teng couldn’t help but ask, “Is Sen not feeling well?”
Maine said, “He needs to rest a lot.”
Long Teng understood, and raised a bright smile that showed his bright white teeth. “If you’re tired, I can also carry him. I’m not tired!”
Maine said flatly, “No.”
It wasn’t until an hour later that Maine woke Xie Sen up. Xie Sen got off him, and looked around. The terrain he was currently on was low. “Are we there yet?”
Maine’s face was grave as he opened the information that the probe had sent back a while ago.
Xie Sen looked over, only to see the screen was full of all kinds of flying beasts. They fought in a ball, while on the ground lay the bodies of countless beasts. The ground was almost covered with blood. He was stunned. He stared at the screen for half a second before he realized it didn’t appear to be a melee, and tapped on the screen. “Why does it feel like some are stopping others from going in?”
The beasts were split into two factions, one was trying to advance, one was stopping them from advancing.
Bai Jiao said, “I think so too.”
Maine pointed to the area on the screen where the beasts were fighting. “This is the entrance to the canyon. If we go in, we have to go through there.”
Xie Sen’s scalp tingled. “It’s too dangerous.”
Even Long Teng, who was always excited to hear about a fight, couldn’t help but say, “We’ll definitely be eaten by them!”
Bai Jiao analyzed, “The distance is too far for a sympathetic reaction, so we can’t be sure if they are all contract beasts. However there are a few I can be sure of, and they are all above B level. The giant tiger beast we saw before is also present. They are preventing another group of beasts from entering.”
Maine wondered, “Contract beasts and normal beasts have always gotten along. Why would they fight?”
Bai Jiao shook his head, also with a puzzled look.
Long Teng rubbed the back of his head. “Is there some treasure inside, and they are afraid of being robbed?”