Volume 1: Chapter 13 – Underwater Treasure Chest
Temperatures would range drastically in the jungle. When the sun was just starting to set, temperatures had already started to drop.
The so-called endless rain was unexpected as it poured down from the sky, striking tree leaves on its way down. The wetness combined with the freezing cold was unbearable. With the barbaric forest filled with fierce monsters, people in these desperate circumstances were on the verge of mental collapse. This was only the first day in the bloody jungle, and yet, the dangers they had encountered so far had vastly exceeded their limits.
As the surroundings grew increasingly darker, Leng Yun felt cold, hungry, and afraid. From the moment she was born till now, she had never felt so helpless before.
“The rain will disperse our scent, making it difficult for the monsters to find us, so the rain’s good.” Zhang Mu wiped the rain from his face before taking out a few pieces of chocolate and a box of biscuits from his backpack. He handed them to Leng Yun and said, “Eat it”.
Leng Yun’s spirit rose thanks to the mysterious and powerful man at her side. “Thank you for saving me”.
Zhang Mu smiled. “We are comrades after all.”
Leng Yun, who was slightly touched, nodded her head.
Without realising it, her cheeks suddenly started to blush a little.
“What?” Zhang Mu asked in bewilderment.
Leng Yun, lowered her head and said, “I … I need to pee”.
“That … you will need to deal with it on the tree.” Zhang Mu turned and said, “Hurry up, I sent Qin Min to deliver food to the rest.”
Leng Yun, who felt a little embarrassed, whispered a quiet, “Thank you.”
Not far away, Fatty and Sun Bing were sitting in a tree. Fatty and Sun Bing opened their backpacks for water and food. Each had just enough for another meal. Qin Min was stuck with the two strangers. Because they had lost their backpacks in the forest, they were left without a morsel to eat. Fortunately, the trees weren’t far away from each other, so Zhang Mu put his backpack on a vine and swung it to the other tree to send them some food.
As Zhang Mu came back, Leng Yun had just returned. Her face was a bright shade of pink. Zhang Mu did not feel any awkwardness in this at all, as he was too tired and hungry from a day’s worth of travelling. He took out some ham and chocolate from his backpack to eat.
Leng Yun frowned at the little amount of food in the backpack, “We don’t have much food, it’ll only last two or three days.”
“Yes, food will be an issue.” Zhang Mu ate a few pieces of chocolate, staring at the ripples in the water, “Fatty’s bag is at the bottom of the river, but it has a lot of supplies in it. I will go and retrieve it.”
Leng Yun exclaimed in shock and protest, “But the water is full of monsters!”
To this, Zhang Mu confidently replied, “Don’t worry, the rain has muddied up the water so the Dinichthys won’t be able to find me easily in the rain.”
No one was eager to enter the water, yet Zhang Mu wanted to dive into the water. Was this courage, or madness?
Leng Yun deeply stared at Zhang Mu. Her entire body miserably drenched. Hidden within her ordinarily delicate expression was a pair of deep dark eyes filled with an aura of wisdom and calm like a bottomless lake that one could lose oneself in. Leng Yun felt like her heart about about to skip a beat. She was unable to carry on speaking.
“You stay in the the trees”, Zhang Mu said, catching a hold of a couple of vines. After testing them for a couple of times, he found the strongest one. The vine was approximately two fingers thick, its surface was extremely rough, making it extremely difficult for one to lose one’s grip.
Leng Yun simply said, “Be careful!”
Zhang Mu took a deep breath before leaping from the tree branch in a delicate arc, plunging hands first into the depths of the water.
The underwater was extremely silent, giving the perception of having one’s senses cut off. The water was cold and cloudy, making it extremely difficult to see through. The bottom of the river was covered in broken branches and countless water plants. Zhang Mu had managed to land very accurately into the water, and he found the backpack in a short amount of time. He swam to the bottom, picking it up and turning to leave.
At this moment, something in the water caught his attention.
Within the depths of the murky water, there was a Black Iron treasure chest. Its size was larger than the chest from the day before, and it was covered in patterns that were also more delicate.
Zhang Mu intrinsically understood, that the prior chest had only been a [Common Grade Black Iron Treasure Chest]. Although they were both Black Iron Treasure Chests, the latter was much larger, and therefore, it had a higher probability of producing a skill book or rare materials.
“To find a treasure chest underwater, I have to admit, is really a stroke of good luck!”
Zhang Mu scanned the surroundings, finding no sign of danger. He quickly swam towards the treasure chest, ten meters, five meters, three meters… Just as he was about to reach out to the chest, he suddenly felt a shift in the water currents, and a huge dark shadow lunged towards him.
The damned Dinichthys had come again!
Zhang Mu instinctively knew that danger was close. However, instead of flinching and shrinking back, he slowly made his way over to the side of the treasure chest, carefully prying open the chest. Within the chest, there were several red coloured health potions and gold coins… additionally, there were also two other items that caused Zhang Mu to be momentarily stunned. There was a red bead the size of a thumb, as well as a skill book!
Yet another skill book!
However, at this moment, Zhang Mu did not have the time to celebrate. The Dinichthys violently twisted its body and set off ferocious currents in the water when it aggressively charged over.
Trouble had arrived! The Dinichthys had discovered his presence!
The water was about six meters deep, making it highly unlikely that he could escape by outswimming it. Zhang Mu grabbed ahold of the backpack and swam backwards, narrowly making it to the shelter of a large underwater root before the Dinichthys’ giant maw slammed into the root. Its roar echoed out from the depths of its skull as it struggled to snap the roots.
Zhang Mu had hidden behind a cluster of thick roots the size of a man’s thigh. These roots had intertwined with each other and would be unusually strong. As the Dinichthys’ maw slammed into the roots, it snapped off a sizeable chunk of the roots, leaving debris strewn everywhere as it removed one third of Zhang Mu’s temporary shelter.
The Dinichthys’ maw actually encompassed the entire root and trapped Zhang Mu inside. He could see the approaching barbed teeth, and once the monster managed to shut its mouth, he would definitely be shredded to death.
The Dinichthys bit down continuously three times, but it was unable to snap the roots.
However, this did not alleviate Zhang Mu’s situation, since he was beginning to suffer from severe hypoxia. His lungs felt like they were ripping apart. He could not wait here any longer, otherwise he would suffocate to death.
He steeled his nerves, and burst forth from the other side, swimming towards the surface of the water. When the Dinichthys saw this, it immediately released the mass of roots and lunged towards Zhang Mu, its gaping maw full of sharp teeth about to tear Zhang Mu to shreds. At that moment, Zhang Mu was engulfed in 7 coloured rays of light, causing the 10 meter long Dinichthys to be bounced back.
A ranked skill, God’s Blessing!
Zhang Mu utilised this short moment of invincibility to fend off the monster, and then aided by the attribute bonus of the skill, he temporarily boosted his speed. This allowed him to burst through the surface of the water and climb to the top of a tall tree in the time required to take several breaths.
From behind came the surge of water as the Dinichthys lunged forth from the water. Zhang Mu quickly leapt to the back of the tree, leaving the Dinichthys to brutally smash its forehead against the tree. This caused the large tree to shake as the Dinichythys’ razor sharp teeth embedded into the tree’s bark, tearing off a chunk as it finally fell back into the water.
Zhang Mu immediately climbed up the tree after narrowly dodging the attack.
“Ssssiiii – Hou!”
Having failed to catch its prey, the Dinichthys unwillingly wandered around under the surface of the water.
Zhang Mu grabbed onto a vine, swinging over to the tree that Leng Yun was on. Leng Yun reached out her hand, and pulled Zhang Mu up.
Leng Yun anxiously asked, “Are you alright?”
Zhang Mu gasped as he swallowed a large mouthful of air, “I’m okay. I barely dodged that!”
The surrounding people were wide-eyed, shocked by Zhang Mu’s extraordinary courage.
Was he even a human?
Fatty shouted over from a tree not too far away, “Fuck, Boss you’re too much! You even dare to provoke that damned bastard.”
Zhang Mu had already recovered his breath, and when he heard Fatty’s cankerous jibes, he immediately scolded him, “How are you not embarrassed? Wasn’t it you, this stupid pig, that dropped the backpack into the water, forcing me to go retriever it?”
This Fatty was truly thick skinned. Instead of minding Zhang Mu’s words, his eyes lit up in response. “My bag?! Hey Boss, let me just tell you that those sausages are mine, so please don’t eat them.”
This rascal really was a unique character. Even at this moment he was still concerned about his sausages.
Knowing that he had escaped eminent danger, the first thing Zhang Mu did was inspect the skill book and the red coloured bead.
[Exploding Bead], FF grade, special item, costs 10 mana to activate, creates an explosion with a radius of 1 meter, dealing a minimum of 30 damage, and grants a 50% chance to stunning for two seconds.
This is a one-off consumable combat item.
[Ice Arrow Level 1], F+ ranked skill, maximum level 3, range of 50 meters, deals 10 damage + 100% spell damage, with a 50% chance for bonus spirit damage. Reduces victim’s movement speed by a certain proportion, and costs 5 mana points with 30 seconds cooldown.
This skill book was for Elemental Mages.
“Damn, this skill book isn’t for me!”. Zhang Mu’s eyes fell on the Dinichthys that was looming in the water, suddenly nodding as he spoke, “Perhaps we can kill this guy!”
Upon hearing this, Leng Yun was extremely shocked. “That monster is a level nine bronze ranked boss, he is way stronger than the Deinonychus. Will we really be able to kill this guy with our current strength?”
The Dinichthys was an extremely terrifying Elite boss, except that after the brief moment of invulnerability, Zhang Mu had realized several of its weaknesses. Even though it had a huge body, it was inflexible in its methods and extremely aggressive, and it only knew how to charge blindly. This Dinichthys was mostly likely the Dunkleosteus fishes from the prehistoric era which eventually went extinct, allowing the smaller, weaker sharks to become the overlords of the seas. There was definitely a reason behind this. As Darwin had mentioned in the past, “The beast that is able to survive through the ages, isn’t the strongest, nor is it the most intelligent. Rather, it is able to survive based on its ability to adapt.” The Dunkleosteus fishes being driven to extinction was most likely a result of their inability to adapt.
“Of course I have an idea.” Zhang Mu passed the skill book over to Leng Yun. “I found a treasure chest at the bottom of the river, and I managed to get an Elemental Mage still book. You might as well go learn it.”
Leng Yun obviously understood the value of the skill book. From the moment she was born she did not like to owe anything to other people. However, from the way things were looking, she was owing Zhang Mu more and more.
Zhang Mu spoke, “ The Dinichthys is a level 9 bronze ranked elite. If we can kill him, the experience gained would be phenomenal. However, let us think of an idea for us to do it together.”
These trees had grown to be very big, with many in close proximity to others, allowing them to get to each other by swinging on the vines. Fatty, Sun Bing, Qin Ming and the others expended a decent amount of effort to swing over with the vines, finally gathering together on one tree. Apart from the five people from Zhang Mu’s party, there was also a couple.
The male was a high school boy of a tall stature, about half a head shorter than Zhang Mu, built extremely skinny with a pair of eyes surrounded by dark eyes bags. his appearance was slightly dull, giving off the air of an extremely ordinary person. The standard image of an otaku. The female was a 30 year old woman, with an oval face, slim build, fair complexion, and she could be said to have good looks and temperament.
At the moment, the two of them were suffering from shock, continuously trembling from shock.
“This is our leader, Zhang Mu.” Qin Ming said as she introduced the two. She pointed at the two of them, “His name is Liu Yao, and this older sister is called Chen Ling.”
Zhang Mu did not care, as he was only interested in their skills and levels.
The two people were only level 3. Although It wasn’t high, they would still make do.
Liu Yao was a thief and had acquired the initial skill [Charge]. This was originally a swordsman’s F ranked skill, somewhat similar to Zhang Mu’s quick step. it allowed one to move quickly in a linear direction; with quick cooldown, it was useful for attacking and escaping.
Chen Ling was a swordsman and had acquired the initial skill [Rush]. This was the F ranked skill for Rangers, Rogues, Assassins, which provided a dramatic boost of movement speed temporarily when turned on.
As such, it was no surprise that the two had managed to run so quickly, as they had the help of movement skills.