The Ultimate Evolution - Volume 6 - Chapter 21
Chapter 21: Secret pine forest
Translated by: Chua
Edited by: TN and Elkassar
Previously, when Saruman's doppelganger couldn't forcefully tunnel up the mountain, he ordered the orcs to gather snow from faraway;heating the snow into water, then hastily transporting the water before it had the chance of freezing. Using the water, they slowly condensed and sculptured its way up, to forge a path leading to the summit.
Although much effort was created, sacrificing countless frostbitten orcs;this form of paving a way to the snowy peak was undoubtedly more effective, and efficient than forcefully gnawing a pathway up.
However, cementing an artificial ice road up contained a massive underlying danger. It was clear that the artificial ice road was evidently weaker, completely incomparably to the ancient density of the primary ice layers of the snowy mountain.
Frequently, orcs would be sent out to clear away the accumulated snowflakes and ice fragments of broken glaciers on the road, preventing it from caving in under the immense weight. Yet now, a thousand tons worth of snow and ice loudly crashed down. Like a torrential waterfall, the immeasurable billions of snowflakes rained down in thunderous rumbles, over every inch of space beneath.
The spiralling mountain path could no longer tolerate such weight, its thick icy route exposed its cracked flaws;bit by bit, a numerous web like cracks appeared before it utterly shattered! Instigating an explosion of snow dust!
At a remote frosted valley, rivalling ice walls on both sides. Its reflective sleek surface, reflecting the glaring sun. Heaps of white snow piled up the valley. The lingering chain reactions of sporadic crumbling landslides rumbled occasionally.
Apart from that, a deathly stillness. Only the winds of winter swept through, striking terror with its ghastly, sorrowful humming.
Suddenly, a patch of snow tremored slightly, a frosted red hand drilled out. The hand scraped against the sides repeatedly, loosening the snow around. Anchoring firmly by grabbing a rock, the hand pulled its body out. Naturally, it was Sheyan who was buried by the avalanche.
His strength had been exhausted fully, a buzzing sound rang constantly in his ears. His vision blank, his body devoid of energy as he slumped onto the soft snowy surface;taking huge breaths.
Previously when the icy pathway collapsed, Sheyan likewise fell downwards. Fortunately, the massive protruding piece of ice edge above his head belonged to the primary body of the mountain, it was incomparably tough. Hence, it didn't crumble along with the avalanche, preserving Sheyan's pathetic, minute life.
The entire mess of snow and ice rolled down beneath the shattered mountain path, sinking deep towards the ground. During Sheyan's falling descent, countless fragments of ice struck against him;yet it only caused him several cut wounds, as he got buried underneath the snow.
Even though being buried underneath snow sounded disastrous, it was a different to being buried underground or water. Once underground or in water, one wouldn't be able to breathe and would suffocate within mere minutes.
However, snow was soft by nature, allowing minute air spaces through, allowing one to sustain some breath for a long period of time. As long as the situation calmed down, and one wasn't buried too deeply;chances of survival was still high.
Moreover, he fell pretty late and wasn't buried so deeply, after regaining consciousness, he carefully burrowed his way up, returning to the snowy surface. Sprawled over the snow, puffs of white fog breathed out of his mouth, a searing ache transmitting from his chest. The pain wasn't intense anymore, merely a numbing ache.
After resting awhile, Sheyan climbed back up, starting to dig frenziedly around the same area he burrowed out from. A brief moment later, Sheyan finally excavated the semi-conscious melody out of the snow. Concurrently, Reef also managed to burrow out, similarly slumping onto the ground as he fought for deep breaths.
After pondering, Sheyan initially wanted to try excavating that dwarf out. He still wanted to know what that Offspring of Thorondor was carrying. Instead, the panting Reef stopped him as he shook his head.
’’That guy is a lost cause. He had been frightened by the sight of the avalanche, and ran down aimlessly. I saw a glacier collapsing on top of him........’’
Sheyan sighed, suddenly straightening up as if realizing something.
’’Then did you see those uruk-hais?’’
Reef similarly turned alert and replied.
’’I followed those guys and hid against the ice walls......’’
A despairing look filled their eyes, both flickering with vigilance and uncertainty. If they had imitated the actions of those uruk-hais and survived, then certainly those uruk-hais would survive as well! Under such circumstances, they were both exhausted, cold and hungry;definitely unable to sustain an intense battle.
While they affirmed this realization, not too far away, the snowy surface started to shudder slightly;as though something was trying to dig out. Sheyan instantly hoisted up the elf maiden by her little ass, signalling to Reef as they turned to flee. Deep and shallow footprints followed the trail along the soft snow. Quickly, they abandoned this desolated ice valley.
In a short ten minutes later, the snow tremored violently followed by 3 uruk-hais emerging from it. Naturally, that sinister and mightier uruk-hai leader was part of them. Actually under the heavenly tribulation of a avalanche, luck played an important part. Although the uruk-hais correctly dealt with the matter, situated at a slightly disadvantaged lower position, a good portion of them met their fates under the earth-shattering weight of the snow.
Slung tightly around their bodies was a rugged animal hide bag;even amidst the avalanche, it didn't go missing. The bags were like a survival kit, obviously they were already well prepared for a long drawn out pursuit.
Looking at the fresh footprints ahead, a vile smile formed on the uruk-hai leader's face, before erupting in uncontained laughter. They were in no hurry to chase, shaking off the snow violently from their bodies. Their bodies returned to its reddened state. Releasing a murderous roar to the sky, it reverberated along the bitter walls of the mountain, fading after a long time.
Trudging over snow appeared poetically graceful in movies, yet it was no easy feat. Every step was burdened by sinking into the snow, utilizing immense strength to pull it out before repeating the same process. It expanded a load of energy.
Furthermore, the sheer quantity of snow covered the entire landscape of terrain. Dangerous unfathomable holes had been covered. If one wasn't careful, one step and he will disastrously land himself inside a deep hole.
As they advanced, the mountain valley turned narrower as the snow beneath their feet gradually turned sparse. Finally a greyish rocky surface was revealed, only scattered snowflakes littered over it. A gentle metallic shimmer coated the rocks, revealing its natural toughness. The winds were increasingly becoming fiercer, causing them to bend their backs in order to withstand the drag of the winds.
When they reached here, Sheyan and Reef's pace became noticeably faster. Although fatigue plagued them, they were aware of the trail of footsteps they had left behind. If those uruk-hai survived, it was an easy feat to locate them.
Hence, they pressed on while gritting their teeth. The two walls of the mountain valley gradually converged into a 2-3 shoulder length space. After the squeezed through a narrow mountain pass, a wide panorama greeted their view.
The mountain valley had metamorphosed like a drastic painting, into a vastly broad valley. Although the sides were still precipitous after precipice, an expansive vacant land filled the middle aisle. A tremendous patch of pine forest thrived in its midst, the roofs of the pine trees covered by pure snow, it was like a hearty christmas wonderland.
After the endlessness of striking white, greenery had finally emerged. Sheyan and Reef naturally released a soothing sigh. At least in this forest, their footsteps would be indistinct. Apart from that, because their interspatial regions were sealed, this area signified food, warmth, and a chance to shake off the pursuing hostiles.
After entering the forest, they carefully inspected the area, searching for dropped pine cones that could be used as food. In this bitterly harsh environment, the pine nuts were effective in curbing hunger, and providing great warmth to the body.
Half an hour later, they had already infiltrated 4 kilometres into the pine forest. They discovered loads of pine cones, yet not a single contained pine cuts. Strangely, the pinecones were all empty, devoid of any nuts within them.
Going deeper into the forest, their initial delight and excitement had vanished. In place, an indescribable furtive taste wrapped around their hearts.