This was what Ye Chong was most worried about. No matter how he looked at it, the environment was suitable. Ye Chong had even passed by and seen creatures such as the black-winged hornet not too long ago. Here, however, he could see no signs of other animals, not even some animal feces. This was odd.
It also made him more alert, and even increasingly wary.
"Careful, from the back!" Mu’s warning was always so timely.
Ye Chong leapt forward like an arrow released.
He could hear a series of blasts, followed by a few horrified screams. Qin Zuo and the rest could not move as fast as Ye Chong. They were all more relaxed and did not expect an attack, since the last time they were here, things were peaceful.
Ye Chong saw that there were no threatening plants ahead, so he continued running forward as he looked back to see what it was.
On the river, tens of pipes, thick as a thumb, broke the water’s surface. The pipes were directed towards them. Ye Chong was alarmed. What was that?
He swept a glance behind him. Qin Zuo and the rest were all on the ground, wailing. Many arrow-like things were stuck on their bodies, as thick as the pipes. The protective suits were useless against those weapons. The areas where the needles went in them were now bloody, and the five of them were obviously in pain.
Ye Chong was shocked. Anything that could penetrate these protective suits was no joke. What was that?
Suddenly, the river splashed into waves. Ye Chong watched an unfamiliar creature emerge from the waters.
The creature looked very odd. A flat disc supported the animal as it floated on the waters, and from the edges of the disc, numerous silver tentacles extended outwards. These tentacles were hollow, and looked like straws when they straightened. These were the pipes that Ye Chong saw earlier above the river surface. The disc itself was covered with thorns. From afar, it looked like a circular archery target completely covered with arrows. At the center of the disc was a thick, meaty cylinder that went upwards and ended in a black globular sac. On the sac, a pair of scarlet red eyes seemed to cry for blood, and they were looking straight at Ye Chong.
What was that? Ye Chong was baffled. He was sure that he had never seen anything like it. He took a quick glance at the five on the ground again. They did not look good. In truth, when encountering an unfamiliar animal like this, the best course of action would be to escape. Now, however, Ye Chong had to face it head on. If he did not rescue them, the chances of him finding the teardrop mineralite on this vast planet would be worse than him killing this creature.
Ye Chong deployed Guardian without a moment’s hesitation.
A few rays of light broke through the leaves and shone on Guardian, and the dazzling gold reminded one of the mythical warriors that once fought for the Gods. It was a pity that Ye Chong could not see it himself, but he probably would have complained that the gold was too eye-catching. Ye Chong was not adjusting himself. It had been awhile since he used Guardian for battle, and he needed time to get used to the black and white vision.
The sudden transformation in Ye Chong’s exterior apparently surprised the creature.
Suddenly, the globular sac expanded like an inflating balloon. At the same time, the disc expanded quickly as well, and those thorns mysteriously disappeared into the creature’s body. All the tentacles aimed at Ye Chong.
Swish swish swish!
The sound was most familiar to Ye Chong - it was the sound of objects travelling very fast through the air. His vision immediately filled up with dozens of white spots, and the information window at the side of his vision refreshed quickly, responding to the attack.
Ye Chong whipped out his dagger, fast as lightning. Ye Chong could do this inhumanly fast in person; with Guardian, his speed was beyond what the human eye could perceive.
Guardian did not retreat, but charged forward like a golden streak of lightning towards the creature. Z-steps, curved steps … Ye Chong used everything he had, treating the creature as a most formidable enemy.
As he avoided some of the needles, Ye Chong used his dagger to block the ones that he could not avoid. The flying needles were packed with power, and came at a very dangerous speed. Even with Guardian, Ye Chong dared not let down his guard.
That thing could attack continuously! Ye Chong focused hard in the fight.
The creature’s tentacles spit out the needles, again and again. The silver needles looked like waves of silver rays under the sunlight, flying towards Ye Chong.
Guardian was successfully approaching the creature. In his vision, Ye Chong could see Guardian beginning to analyze the creature. A fatal white line marked the spot between its eyes! Ye Chong understood that the white line indicated the weakest spot of the creature.
There was no time to think any further. Ye Chong focused on the white line.
Behind Ye Chong, the trees and the ground were full of silver needles, glimmering like exquisite artefacts under the sun. These needles were all aimed at Ye Chong, so the wounded five were not attacked instead.
The creature was finally out of needles! Ye Chong felt calm as usual. The white line between the creature’s scarlet red eyes was growing larger and larger in sight.
The creature was finally showing some fear in its eyes. It had always reigned supreme in this forest, and now it was facing something even stronger than itself.
Guardian’s Mach 10 sprint was unleashed in all its glory. When something came at you with the speed of Mach 10, the impact was devastating.
The creature thought to escape and quickly began to submerge. It believed that it would have the advantage underwater.
Before it could submerge its round disc beneath the waters, all of a sudden, it felt a chill between its eyes.
Ye Chong saw that it was trying to escape, and flung out his dagger in his right hand. The throw was flawless, both in accuracy and strength.
Ye Chong stopped by the riverside, watching the creature’s corpse floating on the water. He dragged the corpse to shore, and retrieved his dagger. Ye Chong withdrew Guardian and did not waste time studying the creature as he rushed back towards the rest of the team.
He quickly checked their injuries, and found them to be non-fatal. Meng Fei’er was the medic, and the one with the medical supplies. Ye Chong took the medical kit off her. Meng Fei’er had never experienced such terrible injuries in her life, and had already blacked out from the pain.
Ye Chong removed the needles from them all, and treated their wounds. Phal and Vicente were too old, and they too had fainted. Hen Ben and Qin Zuo were both athletic - while they were both pale, they remained conscious.
Their expressions betrayed shock and horror. The creature was the most fearsome they had ever seen. Its needles could go through the protective suits, which could withstand an attack from normal heat ray guns. That ugly creature was too horrifying! If not for the young man with them, they would probably have ended up as sustenance for the creature.
Qin Zuo’s fear, however, was not reserved only for the creature. To him, the creature was horrifying, but compared to this seemingly weak young man before him, it was only an annoyance.
That golden armor that suddenly appeared was mostly likely a miniature mech model. As a teacher of the Unity Academy, if he could even recognize that, he should probably shoot himself. Of course, that was his first impression upon seeing Guardian.
In the next moment, he almost overturned his previous thought. "Heavens! Was that really a miniature mech?" Qin Zuo was stupefied. He could barely register the pain from his wounds. "What speed! Definitely above Mach 7!" He thought to himself as he made a conservative estimation.
How could there be a miniature mech that could go up to Mach 7? The fact could turn his world upside down.
As he saw the way the miniature mech avoided all those needles, switching directions at will, Qin Zuo could feel his mind coming to a halt.
"Was that even human?"
Qin Zuo was speechless. He realized now that the young man before him had exceeded all the standards of a normal human being.
Switching directions so quickly would produce a burden so heavy on the human body that survival was almost impossible. Qin Zuo was certain of it, as he saw what had happened. Even for the legendary character, YC that rose to fame so quickly in the virtual world, this was an entirely different level. Long ago, he had once watched a recording of YC’s battle, making eight consecutive acute angle movements in three seconds. Before he met this young men before him, he had thought that that was the limit of the human body.
He never would have guessed that this young man was actually YC himself. To him, they were at two very different levels.
Ye Chong ignored the way Qin Zuo and Hen Ben were looking at him, as they thought he was a creature himself. He picked up a needle and inspected it closely. From its texture, it seemed to be a skeleton. That was Ye Chong’s conclusion, thanks to his rich knowledge in skeletons. The needle was light, but strong, with a very sharp tip. It was silver and about 15 centimeters long. The tail end was flattened for easy flight. This was a natural skeleton arrow. Ye Chong began to collect all the skeleton arrows on the ground.
Ye Chong bundled up the 200 odd skeleton arrows together with a strong vein, and kept it in his backpack. He walked back to the creature’s corpse and looked it over. It seemed that the creature had no more bones other than its skeleton arrows. It was no longer useful to Ye Chong.
Walking back to the rest of the team, Ye Chong found himself in a difficult situation. Of the five, three were unconscious, and the remaining two were heavily injured and could not walk. Without a guide, Ye Chong would never be able to find the teardrop mineralite.
Qin Zuo was sharp, and seemed to realize what Ye Chong was troubling about. He smiled wryly and said, "While I don’t know what you are looking for, you should know that the last time we were here, we basically just walked along the river and kept going. We didn’t go very far, at most five kilometers from where we are now. You can find the way yourself." Qin Zuo knew that, with the young man’s abilities and their current situation, the young man could finish them all off quickly and easily. There was no one to stop him.
Qin Zuo knew people. The stronger ones usually had a touch of arrogance in them, and would not easily accept favors from others. Hence, he offered it instead, hoping to at least get on the young man’s good side, and increase their chances of survival.
Qin Zuo’s cooperation obviously came as a surprise to Ye Chong. He looked at the five of them, and knew that they would be defenseless without him. As long as they stayed where they were, the risk was not too great. Considering the strength and aggressiveness of that creature, Ye Chong believed that there would be no other animals in the area. Mu’s scanning results confirmed Ye Chong’s suspicion.
Ye Chong nodded and said, "You all stay here. There are no wild animals around. I’ll be back."
With that, Ye Chong turned his back and began to run along the river. Without the rest of the team slowing him down, Ye Chong ran fast, like an energetic leopard running through the forest.
Along the way, Ye Chong did not encounter any other wild animals, but saw a few dangerous plants. It looked like the creature back there held great power in this area.
Five kilometers was a piece of cake for Ye Chong.
"Stop! Ye." Mu suddenly spoke up. Even with his calm composure, Ye Chong could not help but feel overjoyed. If Mu had asked him to stop for no apparent reason, he must have found something.
As expected, Mu said, "Ye, to the left."
Ye Chong followed Mu’s instructions as he moved. Foliage was thick here, and a big hindrance to Ye Chong. Seeing the numerous intertwining vines that stretched above him, Ye Chong gave up on the idea of flying.
Ye Chong deployed Guardian instead, thinking that no plant should be able to break through Guardian’s armor. WIth that, he advanced faster ahead. However, using an advanced mech like Guardian just to open a path was probably something only Ye Chong would do.
"Alright, it’s here." Despite Mu’s usual calmness, his voice betrayed a trace of nervousness. This made Ye Chong realize once again the importance of this teardrop mineralite.
There was a clearing. Strangely, no plants were growing within a 50-meter radius. This was a perfectly circular area of bare earth, and in the center of this clearing was a dark hole.
The perfectly circular clearing, with nothing growing in it amidst the dense forest, was eerie and unsettling.