The Ultimate Evolution - Volume 6 - Chapter 22
Chapter 22: Hunted
Translated by: Chua
Edited by: Tn and Elkassar
It was too peaceful, just like a graveyard. A deathly ambience governed this area. No birdsongs, no insects, no wild beasts, not a single trace of movement. The rustling sounds of trampling footsteps were awfully distinct!
A thousand pine trees arrayed in snow laid ahead, stretching out forever. Under this nervous atmosphere, their energies sapped away by twofold. It was as though an invisible force was pressuring their chest. Unable to bear this, the two sat down to rest.
Reef leaned against a pine tree as he breathed deeply.
’’Heavens, what kind of desolate place is this! A forest without a wildlife. Just look at these empty pine cones! But what about the birds, or squirrels that are supposed to have eaten the pine nuts? Where are they?’’
Sheyan placed Melody down, as he sat silently. Popping a clump of snow into his mouth, he gazed at the apex of the tree.
’’Most likely not a single wild animal, no birds, no squirrels.’’
Reef stretched his body, asking curiously.
’’How is this possible, then who could've eaten up these pinecones?’’
Sheyan's eyes revealed a thoughtful expression, he wasn't in a rush to answer Reef. Picking up a twig, he started to scribble onto the ground. Reef closed in to look. Sheyan was outlining their entire journey route here, Reef then chipped in to help.
Reef was older than Sheyan, with many plentiful experiences out in the wild. Very swiftly, they affirmed their current position, realizing that they weren't exactly considered too far away from the orc encampment. If they drew a straight line, it was only roughly 20 kilometre away.
The two glanced at each other, smiling bitterly as they shook their heads. Sheyan's eyes swiftly transformed resolute, a familiar passion to Reef. Every time Sheyan was faced with a major crisis, he would leak out that wild savageness of a beast.
’’Let's go.’’ Sheyan stood up, clutching his chest as he coughed twice. The wound dealt by the ocean-freak had already healed up, but its debuff curse was still like a parasite, its malicious venom lingered on. It was already nearly 2 hours since then, but it carried no hint of receding.
Suddenly, Melody who was leaning against his shoulder forced open her eyes. Her face pale as she placed her hand on his chest, a soft green light emitted. Threads of black fumes gradually spilled out, forming into a deadly shape of a poisonous insect, before utterly dissipating.
Sheyan could feel a wave of freshness permeating through his body, like his organs being cleansed by spring water. His spirits refreshed, a fuzzy green glow sipping out of his surface.
The nightmare imprint transmitted:
’’You received a twilight elf's blessing. All your abnormal status have been vanquished, your resistance increase by 15%, 5% buff to every probability attribute (Includes accuracy, explosive strike rate, concoction rate etc)’’
After casting her blessing, Melody instantly returned to unconsciousness. But it seemed like she was in a good condition. Her body fragrance refreshing, even her hair and skin carried a shining lustre. An intense exuberance sensation emitted out, like a fresh shoot during spring season.’’
No doubt, her current state could only be explained by this - her body required rest for her assimilation into an advanced state. Once she was completely revitalised, then she could be hailed as a true elf of the twilight. One that could lead the elves of Middle-earth back to their sacred land!
Approximately half an hour later, 3 uruk-hais walked over from the distance. Their leader's nose twitched uncontrollable, staring at a pine tree before voicing out coldly.
’’They've stopped here recently.’’
The nearby uruk-hai had an ugly expression, his voice croaky as he replied.
’’It's already past noon. If we continue to pursue them forward, even if we promptly turn back, we probably wouldn't be able to avoid that......thing!’’
The leader looked back with his scarlet eyes, filled with vicious intent. One could clearly see a cyan wart growing at its throat, veins grew over the wart densely, throbbing obnoxiously. It felt like a beating heart.
That wart was a new development by Saruman, it was still in its experimental phase, only for certain powerful worthy uruk-hai. It was called a Neogenesis blackbody. The process of developing it was vastly wicked, discovered when Saruman was researching the ocean-freak.
Because an ocean-freak's mouth wasn't developed, and couldn't engage in elementary chewing on foods. After swallowing, the food wouldn't digest properly, hence a symbiosis worm grew in their belly. This worm secreted powerful digestive fluids, effectively breaking down foods. Without this symbiosis worm, the ocean-freak would die of indigestion.
As the saying goes, too much is as bad as not enough. Once an ocean-freak enjoyed an abundance in food, the worm similarly thrived in this flourishing environment;moreover, it didn't understand the importance of family planning and would propagate rapidly. Its eventual outcome would be to provide so much fluids that the stomach of the ocean-freak would rupture and disintegrate. Once an ocean-freak understood this mechanic, dieting and occasionally expelling worms became a part of its life.
Saruman then acquired these dead expelled worms, using them to research and created a bizarre parasite. If a worthy uruk-hai appeared, the ocean-freak would slit a small hole at its throat;then imbued the parasite under its skin. After a period of time, it would metamorphose into that neogenesis blackbody.
Having that Neogenesis blackbody was equivalent to having another heart. Both its strength and survivability had been greatly boosted. Yet because the parasite essentially came from the body of the ocean-freak, it carried the will of the ocean-freak. Once traitorous behavior was detected, Saruman's doppelganger could easily detonate it through the ocean-freak from far.
Staring into the threatening glare of the uruk-hai leader, the other questioning uruk-hai staggered backward, not daring to make a sound. It was like Saruman's doppelganger having sovereignty over the uruk-hai leader, the uruk-hai leader was able to release a domineering pressure over ordinary uruk-hais!
’’Chase, and we may not die. Don't chase, we die!’’
The uruk-hai had clearly analyzed their current situation. If they recaptured the prisoners and brought them back, they still had a hope of survival. If they didn't, whatever happens here was as clear as flames to the ocean-freak. Even if they successfully retreated, their fate would've been sealed!
The 3 uruk-hais kept quiet in fear, tailing Sheyan's traces as they pursued on. Their figures gradually vanished into the pine forest. This region of deathly remoteness once again returned to its deathly stillness;as though everything here had been swallowed and smoothened out.
It was currently around 3 in the afternoon, after being filtered by the snowy winds and mist, the dismal sunlight reluctantly bared down onto the ground. Slowly, the thick fog lingering in the area dispersed.
Under the illumination of the sunlight, a fairly insipid gloomy fog hung in the air above the pine forest. From a far distance, barely discernible distortions could be seen in one's line of sight, like beneath the fog was a stove.
If this was a natural phenomenon, it would imply a precious occurrence beneath, most likely like a jadeite mine.
There is a chinese proverb - A precious pearl emits life. It means a top quality jewel will naturally emit its own splendor, a treasure is capable of releasing its own aura. But looking at the peculiar enshrouding fog above the forest, an unfathomable unauspicious omen brewed.
Sheyan and Reef continued forward silently, trying their utmost to conserve every ounce of energy. As they pressed on, the trees turned sparser. The bark of these pines were increasingly dried and split, even the pine needles looked withered.
Sheyan's face turned uglier with this development, he couldn't contain the urge to look back. A tiny urge piercing his mind to turn around and return, probably due to his perceptive sensing. But this urge was quenched by his reasoning and logic.
Raising his head to look at the vast sky, he merely caught sight of the tragically pale suns rays;completely unaware of the faint fog lingering above the forest. Within their minds, as long as the sunlight was present, it meant safety.
’’Hu.....’’ Reef released a long exhalation. ’’Let's take a rest. This damned rule, why did that have to limit our interspatial region? Not a single drop of water to quench my thirst. I reckon if we continue proceeding like this, our life force would gradually wear out.’’