Chapter 419 Spider Forest
The forest around Plaguewood appeared to be unnaturally quiet under the faint light of the stars.
There were no signs of large carnivores. Even the chirping of birds and the calls of cicadas had vanished. The entire Black Forest was like a graveyard, so deathly silent it was eerie.
The hill upon which Plaguewood stood had disappeared. The large crater from the collapsed ground had swallowed the hundreds of tons of dirt and trees. This place was no more than a messy pile of rocks now.
A strange scratching sound was coming out from a corner of this pile of rubble. The noise was as soft as a mole digging through the ground at first. However, it gradually became louder and louder.
There was a massive explosion as a strange magical creature with a short neck and tail emerged from underground. It was a peculiar beast that looked like both a dragon and a griffin. It had a muscular body, immense strength, and sharp teeth and claws. However, despite its apparent power, it had some horrifying wounds on its tough gray hide.
It shook off the dirt on its body when it emerged from the hole it had dug. It then raised its neck and screeched. Its massive hind legs kicked against the ground and it took to the skies.
The Wyvern King let out a sorrowful cry as it circled above the pile of rocks. It then turned and flew east towards the cliff it lived on.
Not long after it disappeared, a black silhouette appeared beside the hole.
The Dark Tentacular's soft and flexible body couldn't easily be seen under the curtain of night. One could barely make out a mass of black shadow.
The Dark Tentacular hesitated for a moment before taking advantage of the cover of night and escaping into the distance.
It had been a solitary being from the very start. The death and extermination of the horde had little to no impact on it. However, considering the potential revenge by the human adepts, the Dark Tentacular knew that this place was no longer safe.
It was time to consider moving!
The Dark Tentacular wove through the vast darkness as it contemplated its options. Its outline quickly shrunk as it went further and further.
Soon after the two magical creature leaders had left, a blast tore through another spot of the pile of rocks. Demon-Hunting Spider Tula climbed out from beneath with a massive cocoon on his back. He vanished into the forest without looking back.
Nothing happened until a whole hour later.
Rumbling sounded out from below and a layer of dirt suddenly collapsed to reveal a winding tunnel. Several figures walked out from within and lined up at the entrance of the cave like they were waiting for an important individual.
The last to emerge was naturally Greem.
Greem was exhausted from the bloody battle earlier, but the desire for even more spoils fueled his body and provided him with the will to continue fighting.
Greem's two-meters of height might not have been the tallest in the group, but everyone bowed to him in respect the moment he appeared.
Greem's eyes slowly swept across this group of individuals. There were no more than twenty of them: a party that included his disciples, his subordinates, and his slaves.
"Meryl, you bring Kodar, the bird demon, the manticore leader, and two manticores to the Giant Berserk Gelada's den in the Twin Tower Mountain. If things go well, you can go pay a visit to the bird demon's home along the way back."
"Understood! Leave it to me, teacher!"
"Gargamel, you bring Sabrina and the snake fiend, as well as three manticores to the Medusa's den at Crimson Rock. Remember to bring back as much as you can from the snake fiend's den on the way back."
"Leave it to me, master!" Gargamel once again uttered his signature sinister laugh.
"Very well. The rest of you follow me to Tula's spider cave. I want to see if that fellow has returned to his old den!"
"Understood!" The Three-Headed Demon Hound replied without much enthusiasm.
It had just been enslaved, and its wounds hadn't completely healed. Yet they already had to go on a march to Magical Creature Lord Tula's den. Of course, he wasn't happy. Still, he had no choice; his very life was in the hands of that human adept!
It was a simple organization of manpower. The three human adepts were each accompanied by three pseudo-adepts, a magical creature, and a couple of manticores. In doing so, they would at least be able to hold their own if they ran into the escapees. It wouldn't be easy to beat any one of the adepts. After all, those magical creature leaders knew each other very well. They probably had a much better idea of what their companions had left behind in their death. It wasn't unlikely for them to go searching around in the dens left behind.
Thus, after considering the risks and benefits, Greem decisively split up the members of the tower to maximize their efficiency at scouring for useful resources.
Of course, the tower itself could not be left unguarded. That was why Greem had left Eva the Forest Spirit behind. When aided by Am and the other apprentice adepts, they could defend the tower against any survivors as long as they stayed inside.
After saying his farewells, Greem hopped onto an adolescent manticore and brought Unguja along as they hurried towards Tula's spider den.
Tula's spider den was a massive cave.
It was located in a valley a hundred kilometers to the north of Plaguewood.
Greem sat on the manticore's back and looked down at the forest along the way. The number of life signatures within the radius of his spiritual senses had drastically decreased.
The battle of Plaguewood had killed hundreds of thousands of woodland creatures. It would bring about a massive and unprecedented impact to this stretch of the Black Forest. Even though the movement of population in the Black Forest was extraordinarily high, and this vacuum of life would quickly be filled in by creatures from nearby areas, the number and quality of the animals were going to be inferior.
The density of the woodland creatures also determined the number of magical creatures that this land could sustain.
While the adept's tower would be much more secure if there were less magical creatures, there would also be fewer resources harvested from them.
Unguja, who had been running on the ground, finally stopped in front of a cave while Greem was thinking about various issues.
The manticore circled in the sky once, then blew up a gale as it dove down and landed beside Unguja.
Greem leaped off the manticore and took a good look at this menacing forest before him.
Compared to the Black Forest, this place should have been called the 'White Forest.'
Towering, ancient trees filled this mountain valley that Tula had picked for his home. However, one couldn't see the green canopy, the undergrowth, or the vines and bushes. All of these had been replaced with one thing- haunting white webs.
They covered the canopy, were between the branches, between the trees…
White and sticky webs were everywhere. There were small white cocoons littered here and there as well.
These cocoons hung between the branches. Some hid in the hollows of trees, and others hung on either side of the path. They swayed in midair as the night breeze blew past.
Greem could sense weak life auras from within some of the white cocoons. Most others already had all the liquid extracted from their bodies. Only mummies remained in those cocoons.
Strangely enough, Greem and Unguja didn't find any spiders, even after walking for several hundred of meters!
Did they all die in the sea of lava?
Greem immediately dismissed the idea the moment it crossed his mind.
Tula was a sly magical creature lord. There was no way he would ever commit to such a resolute act of war. There had to be enough spider subordinates to defend his home hidden in this den. Tula had most likely run back home to treat his wound right after he escaped.
If Greem wasn't mistaken, abducting the medusa was probably part of Tula's plan to hasten his recovery. The only thing Greem wasn't sure about was how Tula was going to consume the medusa. Would he eat her alive? Steam her, or even fry her?
Greem couldn't help but feel a sense of pity when he thought of the medusa's pretty face and slender body. Eating a 'beauty' like that was such a waste!
Blue light flashed in Greem's eyes as he slowly scanned the spider forest before him. A solemn expression quickly overtook his face.
His elementium sight was picking up slight flows of energy in the webs every time he scanned them. Warnings continually popped up in his mind.
"Warning. Warning. Detecting unknown defensive forcefield. Said forcefield can absorb Spirit and obscure spiritual senses."
Hmm? A spiderweb that could obstruct spiritual senses?
Greem promptly walked towards a tall tree. He extended a hand and grabbed the thick cobwebs that enveloped and covered the branches. He pulled and tore at the webs.
It was sticky, tough, and had a trace of numbness to it. A numbness that could paralyze a person's spirit.
If Greem were an ordinary animal, all his spirit would have been quickly drained away from him when he bumped into a web like this. He would then find himself in one of the many cocoons.
Greem used all his strength, yet even his three points of Strength couldn't rip this ordinary-looking web. It was important to note how much three points was. A grown black bear in the Black Forest had no more than three points of Strength. Three points of Strength would allow Greem to become a human monster in these woods. He wouldn't need to use any magic. His bare hands would let him defeat most carnivores.
Of course, that was not taking into consideration magical beasts like Earth Maulers and Iron Rhinoceroses!
Greem snapped his finger, and his right hand that gripped the web quickly burned with fire. The elastic webbing immediately sizzled and vanished under the application of magic.
It seemed fire was the weakness of these webs!
Greem put his blazing palms forward, and the layers of webs on the tree melted like snow splashed with boiling water.
Soon, the black and wrinkled bark of the tree was revealed.
Greem punched ahead without any hesitation. His flaming iron fists instantly smashed the bark and went right into the tree.
The tree was hollow!
When Greem pulled out his fist from the tree, purple and black blood oozed out from within the hole. Countless spiderites surged outwards. Greem could see the pile of bones and fur left in the hollow of the tree.
His discovery seemed to have triggered the entire spider forest. Those mummies that were hanging in between the branches suddenly started moving strangely. They started tearing away the webs on their bodies with dull and stiff motions.
Yet the moment they broke free of their constraints, they were able to leap along the tall trees with the agility of leopards. They howled as they lunged at Greem and the three-headed demon hound.
The entire spider forest erupted into a riot!