Garen suddenly frowned and raised his right arm. With the speed of a snap, he pinched a jade colored string.
It came from the woods on their left, shooting at the neck of the woman in white.
The string struggled in Garen’s hand, hissing like a snake does.
It was only then the other people noticed the furtive creature.
It looked just like a green wire without a head or a tail, squirming in Garen’s hand. No one can be sure from where they produced the sound.
If it hadn’t moved, no one would probably guessed it was a living thing.
"Viridian Nematode!" The leading man in white’s face changed, "Karen, did you bring anything made of iron in here!" He shot an accusing look at the woman.
"I… I brought a blue iron ring… It’s my birthday present from my son." Karen stuttered.
"Blue iron ring? Did you want to die?" The leader of the people in white yelled in exasperation, "Throw it away now! If it weren’t for Mr. Garen, you’re already dead! Viridian Nematodes love iron products, wearing it without the power to repel it, I’d have thought you have a death wish!"
"I’m sorry…" Karen fumbled to take it off, and threw it far into the bushes.
In an instant, a horde of green strings lynched at the ring, rolling it into a ball as big as a fist, and at the same time writhing around it.
Everyone felt goosebumps crawling underneath their skins seeing that.
Garen gave the one on his finger a dirty look, it’s like a wir
e, but much stronger.
His other hand reached up to pull it apart lightly. It’s unexpectedly unyielding.
Both sides of the worm kept trying to break his skin, as if they are attracted to the bloodstream. It kept drilling into the skin near his veins.
The sound of microscopic needles hitting the surface of a metal kept ringing, spooking everyone around.
Especially the people in white, they weren’t looking at the Viridian Nematode, but Garen.
They are very clear about how deadly those worms can be with its durable body and powerful piercing abilities, they can even punch a hole in a steel board as think as a nail.
However, when dealing with Garen’s skin, it only managed to produce sounds like this.
Seeing how the worm just continued attacking Garen’s skin, but never succeeding, the people in white felt weak in their teeth.
"This thing…" Garen frowned, "Leo, Cynthia, Jack. Be mindful of their attacks. Have you cleared out your iron products?"
"None on me."
Leo nodded as well.
"I will destroy them when they strike." He wore a thick black leather gloves with a matte finish.
"Just be careful. It’s a little tricky." His frown became more intense.
He pinched both ends of the Viridian Nematode and pulled.
The Viridian Nematode were spliced into two.
The weird thing is, even though it’s in two pieces, it still wiggled about as if it didn’t matter. As two individuals, they attacked both of Garen’s arms respectively.
"These are really tenacious." Garen clapped his hands together and started grinding. Within seconds, the Viridian Nematose was ground into green powder, and sprinkled from Garen’s palms.
"Mr. Garen, there were some other troubles in front, please be careful." The leading man in white reminded them.
The woman in white, Karen, was ordered to return.
The rest continued their hike.
Soon, the group met some other rather bothersome creatures.
Black spiders as big as a washbasin. White carps with sharp teeth hanging about at the edge of the lake. Giant black ants the size of a chicken egg.
All sorts of horrific animals and bugs appeared in their path.
Cynthia and Jack were already stiff with anxiety, having their guards up constantly.
Even the King of Fist Leo had his scalp tingling and unleashed some Bravery to surround him, in attempt to turn some creatures away. If those things came near him, even if he’s a Grandmaster of Combat, he would probably have problems fighting them.
Garen was amazed, but he didn’t show it on his face, following the men in white closely.
The uniforms the men in white received was specially made and can prevent most of the deadly attacks from the creatures, but Garen didn’t cover up fully, so there’s still some bugs attacking him.
Without exceptions, the bugs would touch his skin and immediately be paralyzed and bounced away. By the time they hit the ground, they are already dead.
At Garen’s level, the Counter Shockwave* as a result of the Body Hardening Technique can directly kill the bugs.
To him, as long as nothing broke his defense, nothing can threaten him.
Currently, his Spirit is always nurturing his body, even his weakest, the visceral organs, are strengthening by the minute.
The group had some jerky-filled breads for lunch, and continued hiking until late afternoon. A crescendo of the sound of flowing water came from the front.
With every step, the sound grew stronger and clearer.
After a few turns, the group finally arrived at the breakage of the lake.
The lake water flowed toward the cliff on their right, tempestuously free-falling for thirty-odd meters before crashing into the pool below, forming a huge white waterfall.
The group walked through the path on the left of the waterfall, arriving at an enormous white boulder.
The waterfall is like a white cloth tens of meters in length, hanging on a black cliff. In front of the oval greenish pool, a petite old man in white robes was fishing on the rock with a fishing pole.
The old man sat there, unmoving. Only the fishing pole swayed occasionally with the rapid water.
Garen followed the men in white behind the old man, and stood. With his eyesight, he could see there were worms so green they might as well be black swimming in the pool.
These worms are like enlarged loquat worms*. They have eight short legs and hard shells, as well as round bodies as large as a washbasin.
The old man heard the approaching guests and gently set down the fishing pole. He fixed the pole under a large rock before turning around.
"It’s been a long time since you visited, little Bondi. You’re such a big man now." The old man turned toward the leading man in white.
"It’s all thanks to grandpa." He bowed and answered.
"You brought outsiders here?" The old man suddenly turned to Garen and his team before focusing on Garen and Leo. "Are they from our sect?"
Garen frowned slightly. The old man may have been living in seclusion for a while, he didn’t care and didn’t know anything from the outside world. He didn’t even know what they are here for.
"White Bird Holy Fist Sir Palosa?" He asked. "My name is Garen."
The old man took a double take. "It’s been so long before anyone called me by my title," He smiled, "Is there anything I can help you with? Looking at your age and your Bravery, you must have some kind of a story."
"I’m here to seek consultation about Martial Arts." Garen took a step forward in front of everybody.
The man in white retreated while giving signals to others to follow suit, giving the two space.
Garen placed his hands behind him.
"I have fought Duskdune Shura twice. He had nothing but good things to say about you, sir. He reckoned you were the strongest fighter of the contemporary, the peak of Martial Arts! As the strongest in my generation, I wish to seek advice from you."
"Duskdune Shura?" Palosa’s wrinkly face was covered with nostalgia for a second. "He’s a genius, even when I was younger. Our relationship was never good, I didn’t think he would give me such a high praise."
He woke from his nostalgia, and his gaze fell upon Garen’s hands, shaking his head.
"Too bad I already sealed my fist* a year ago. Please leave, I will not have this fight with you."