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HC Volume 1: Chapter 15

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Volume 1: Chapter 15 – The Spider Monster

The rain completely stopped once night descended upon the forest canopy.

Under the cover of darkness, the heart of the  forest awoke from its slumber. Every nook and cranny was filled with the noise of chirping crickets, and of course, the roars of monsters, which lingered in their ears. The noises were erratic, with some sounding far off, while others sounded much closer. Even though they were among tree branches, fifteen feet above ground, straight below them was the water’s surface. Although they didn’t need to be wary of monster attacks, it still made them feel uneasy.

Zhang Mu used logs to construct a simple scaffolding across the gaps between the tree branches. After that, they only had to throw some leaves over it in order to make a bed, then use some pinewood to make a fire pit and start a bonfire. The flame’s warmth throbbed, bringing about a small, bright light in the midst of the cold, pitch black night.

Several slices of Dinichthys meat were roasting on the fire. A few people’s stomachs rumbled with hunger as they began to enjoy their dinner. The Dinichthys was a monster that instilled fear into people’s hearts, but its meat was of excellent quality. The meat on its belly was especially tender. Although the forest provided some food at this time of the year, they mostly ate chocolate and candy. Even though they were high in calories, there was nothing else they could do in order to fill their stomachs.

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The group of seven huddled around the bonfire, fighting for every ounce of heat and energy. Qin Min and Leng Yun were off to the side speaking to one another. They had known each other before the catastrophe.

Fatty held a slightly scorched piece of baked Dinichthys meat. Eating a huge mouthful and laughing he said, “Haha! This stupid fish wanted to eat us, but it ended up getting eaten by us instead!”

Sun Bing smiled good-naturedly and laughed saying, “Really now, I can’t believe that we fought and won against that huge monster.”

Fatty took off his drenched jacket and let it dry by the fire. His shining, white belly piled up like a mountain. Most women subconsciously stayed far away from him, but Fatty didn’t care. His stomach was like a bottomless pit, and in less than ten minutes, he ate several large pieces of meat.

“I’m stuffed!” Fatty contently rubbed his stomach and said, “This meat tastes pretty good! Too bad it wasn’t seasoned. Hey boss, why don’t you cut off a little bit more? We can take it with us to eat on the road.”

Zhang Mu fiddled with his sword by the fire and casually said, “Do you have any common sense? Wouldn’t the raw meat rot? Not only are there a countless number of creatures with keen senses of smell inside the forest – not to mention all the mosquitos – but the daytime heat would also cause it to rot in about two days.”

Fatty thought about it for a moment, then he agreed with Zhang Mu.

Qin Min took a piece of meat from the fire and passed it over to Liu Yao and Chen Ling, “If you two don’t eat then Big Fatty will certainly eat it all.”

Chen Ling was thankful and said, “Thank you.”

Qin Min smiled and said, “You’re welcome. We’re partners from here on out.”

Chen Ling nodded. Captain Zhang Mu and their deadly battle against the Dinichthys had deeply shocked her. If she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes, she wouldn’t have believed that such an attractive young man was the same fearless and crazy warrior!

The two men were the new recruits to their small team. Liu Yao was a standard nerd. He was mostly silent and spoke very little as he was bad at communicating. Chen Ling was a white collar businessman. In comparison, he was very smooth and sly, and therefore was relatively better. The two had men experienced a lot of dangerous situations, and even though they had escaped alive, they still hadn’t recovered.

Zhang Mu spoke, “Eat and drink your fill then get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, we will proceed forward.”

Everyone finished their dinner and went to lie down on their makeshift wooden beds to get some rest. A few moments later, Fatty’s snores thundered, and Zhang Mu also entered a light sleep. Besides those two men, everyone else found it hard to fall asleep. It was too dark, damp, and their wooden beds felt extremely uncomfortable. It was actually extremely difficult for them to adapt to such conditions.

The next morning.

Excluding Zhang Mu and Fatty, everyone’s appearances seemed somewhat thin and haggard. They hadn’t been able to sleep the entire night. After carefully boarding the riverbank, everyone continued to press on northward.

After the rain had passed, the weather became especially sunny and cloudless. Lush foliage blocked the sunlight, but the intense sunlight had been shining on the forest for a long time, causing the forest itself to be like a steamer. They barely walked a few steps before their bodies became drenched in sweat, looking  as if they had been drenched in water. Trekking through the jungle was hard work because the lush thicket blocked one’s line of sight, making it hard to see the road ahead. In the event that one lacked experience and a cool-headed mind, it was easy for an individual to walk around in circles. One could walk only a mile a day and still get completely lost inside the jungle.

There were many poisonous vipers and even some poisonous plants in the middle of the jungle. Even the slightest mistake would cost them their lives. There were traces of monster activity scattered around the depths  of the jungle. There were things like feces, scratch marks, carcass remains, large dead snakeskins, dinosaur footprints, etc.

Most of the marks were still fresh, so this wasn’t the time, nor hour, to make themselves noticeable. Danger was nearby. In fact, it had never been too far away. Their small team, however, had pretty good luck. After walking for about two hours, excluding a few random monsters, they hadn’t come across any real threats.

“Wait a minute.” Zhang Mu lifted his right hand, causing the others to stop nervously.

Fatty tightened his grip on his axe, “Bo…boss? What happened?”

Zhang Mu sniffed and frowned, “Something’s wrong in the grove, it’s too quiet! It also reeks a little of blood! Qin Min, investigate the surroundings.”

Fatty inhaled deeply through his nose and said, “The smell of blood? I can’t smell it?”

Zhang Mu had experienced countless blood baptisms, and therefore, he was especially sensitive to the smell of blood.

Qin Min didn’t dare to be careless, and immediately called for a small bird to investigate the vicinity. The small bird flew over the front grove before stopping abruptly as a white projectile flew up from within and struck the bird down. The bird whined as it was hit, and dropped dead to the ground.

Qin Min cried out in fear, “The monster was hiding in the underbrush!”

Susu!

They all heard bursts of small sounds coming from the underbrush. They didn’t have time to react before a white projectile shot out from the inside. The white projectile landed on Qin Min’s body, causing her to let out a mournful shriek as she fell onto the ground. It was a white cobweb net with a reddish tint to it, an evident indication that it was poisonous.

Qin Min was struck in the face, and her smooth skin began to fester and grow blisters.

“Little Min!” Leng Yun and Qin Min were very close, so Leng Yun rushed to her side to support her, “Are you okay?!”

Zhang Mu hurriedly pulled his sword out, holding it in front of him, and loudly shouted, “Sun Bing, defend us!”

Sun Bing raised his shield and stood in front of Qin Min and Leng Yun. The rustling coming from the thicket became louder, and many huge, sinister spiders came out from inside. They all looked like huge, dark-grey wheels, and their eight legs resembled  razor-sharp knife blades. The strands of hair on their legs were like sharp, steel needles. Their black, gem-like eyes radiated an ice-cold light. Their mouths were covered in remnants of blood, and it seemed as if they were constantly chewing on something. It truly made one’s blood run cold.

【Large Jungle Spider】(Common) , Level 5, 55 health points, 35 mana.

The spiders unceasingly came out from a nearby bush, and in a blink of an eye, several people were surrounded by them. There were about twenty or thirty of them. Their skill was to shoot cobwebs, but the cobweb itself couldn’t damage anyone. However, since it was toxic and clung to the target, it made it impossible for the target to move.

Zhang Mu took his sword out, holding it  with both hands, and warned, “Be careful of the web attacks!”

They didn’t have time to react.

“Ah!”

A blood-curdling scream echoed from behind the team. The scream came from the new recruit, Liu Yao. He was low leveled and had little experience, and so, he was still unable to equip a skill. Therefore, he and Chen Ling were arranged in the back of the small team. Everyone turned their heads back to look, and what they saw made them jump in fright.

Hanging silently from a thick silk thread, a huge red spider grabbed Liu Yao from behind . It held him down with the barbs growing on his legs, a pair of ivory teeth already penetrating the soft skin on his neck, thus making it impossible for him to escape.

Chen Ling screamed and rushed to retreat.

“Damn it!” Fatty angrily stepped forward in order to drive his axe towards the spider, “Do me a favor and die!”

The red spider was obviously an elite monster, as its reaction time was extremely quick, and the axe was unable to damage it. Whoosh! The large spider withdrew its silk thread and immediately climbed ten meters back up onto the branches. Liu Yao’s body trailed behind it, weakened, without the strength to resist it. The spider began rapidly moving its eight legs in order to produce a large amount of thin, sticky thread in order to wrap Liu Yao up. After a few mere seconds, the spider had already finished binding Liu Yao and had turned him into an uncanny silk figurine.

Leng Yun summoned an Ice Arrow and shot it towards the spider, hitting the ring-like pattern on its stomach just in the nick of time. It let out a loud scream, and jumped away while holding Liu Yao’s silk figurine.

Fatty angrily stamped his foot.

Suddenly, the group of spiders and the large spider started aggressively attacking. As long as someone was within range, they would immediately start spraying poisonous silk threads. Zhang Mu attracted the majority of their firing, and thus had to avoid the paths of the silk threads quite a few times. He used his left hand to throw his dagger, which pierced through a spider’s head, and then used Quick Step in order to rush over and stab through the spider’s head again, using his Dinichthys’ sword.

Squeak, squeak!” The spider let out a strange screech, and a sticky, smelly black substance bubbled up from its wound. It struggled a few times before it became completely motionless.

Zhang Mu brandished his sword towards another spider, and immediately split it in two. The spiders had extremely weak defense, so it required only one or two of his hits to kill them. Their appearances may be able to frighten people, but their attack power was extremely weak. If they didn’t have their annoying silk thread ability, then killing them wouldn’t have been hard at all.

Fatty and Sun Bing each stood at opposite sides in order to stop the group of spiders from attacking. Leng Yun’s Ice Arrows were capable of quickly killing off the spiders, but the cool down time was too long, so they couldn’t be used too often. After several spiders from the group had died, they stopped attacking and turned around to hide inside the forest.

Zhang Mu ran back and asked, “Are you guys all right?”

Sun Bing’s shield was covered in sticky silk threads, and once his petrified status was lifted he said, “I’m okay, but what about the younger brother who was captured by the spider? What do we do?”

Zhang Mu shook his head and said nothing.

Liu Yao was doomed.

Leng Yun shouted out worriedly, “Ah, everyone come quickly! Little Min’s condition is really bad!”

Zhang Mu wasn’t concerned about Liu Yao’s fate. However, Qin Min’s ability to investigate was important, thus making her a crucial part to the team, especially since they were now in the very complex and dangerous central jungle realm. They immediately ran over to Qin Min. Qin Min’s face was hit by the silk threads, causing it to swell up and fester. Leng Yun basically cured the injury, but Qin Min’s eye was poisoned. She had already lost some of her sight, and was now almost blind.

Qin Min shut both of her eyes tightly, and while crying in alarm she shouted, “What do we do? My eyes, my eyes! I can’t see!”

Leng Yun used Healing Hand in order to restore some of her health points, but it was useless in trying to cure a disability. At the very least, a C leveled skill or higher was needed in order cure this kind of poison. In this region, being blind would inevitably lead to one’s death.

“Don’t be afraid.” Zhang Mu bent down and inspected her as he comfortingly said, “It’s going to be okay. Your injury isn’t very serious. Once you level up, your sight will be restored.”

Leng Yun’s voice relaxed, and she firmly held onto Qin Min’s hand as she said, “It’ll be okay, we’ll help you level up.”

Qin Min also felt a little bit relieved since her experience points had reached 99%. They only had to kill a few more common monsters before she could level up to level 5.

Zhang Mu looked around and said, “It’s too dangerous here, we have to leave!”

The group of spiders could return at any time, so Leng Yun healed Sun Bing’s and Fatty’s injuries. As they made their way down the grove’s single pathway, they made sure to steer clear from any spider’s touch. After walking for a few hundred meters, they spotted a silk figurine of a person lying on a patch of grass ahead of them.

Fatty spoke in fear, “That… That isn’t  youngster Liu Yao, is it? How did it get here?”

Sun Bing suddenly started to speak in a low voice, somewhat stuttering as he said, “Cap…Captain, take a look at this…”

Zhang Mu went over to take a look at the area he was referring to, and saw an elite scarlet spider collapsed within a bush not too far away. The spider was cut in half and its purple-red blood sprinkled over the underbrush.

Its head was missing!

Fatty was taken aback, “Damn it! How did this spider die here? Who killed it!”

Zhang Mu suddenly felt his hair stand up on end, and an extremely ominous feeling began to shroud his mind.


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