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HC Volume 1: Chapter 16

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Volume 1: Chapter 16 – The Deadly Praying Mantis

The elite spider wasn’t a weak monster, but it had unexpectedly been cut cleanly in half. It was collapsed in the middle of the underbrush, yet there seemed to be no signs of a struggle.

Zhang Mu whispered, “Be careful, we have to get out of here.”

When their group of five had met the elite spider earlier, it had been angry. The elite spider had carried Liu Yao off less than five minutes ago, which meant that it had recently died . So whatever killed the spider probably hadn’t gone very far.

Their surroundings were covered with thick, overgrown grass that was as tall as an average person. No one knew what was hidden inside the tall grass. A burst of wind blew from the south, blowing shrubs and weeds away. The only sounds to be heard were the rustling of leaves and the gurgling of water. The group of six realized that it was quiet, too quiet.

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You could hear the howling of the wind and the rustling of the leaves.

You could even hear the sound of birds singing.

For some unexplainable reason, Zhang Mu raised his head and his gaze fell onto a tree nearby. What he saw made his heart suddenly constrict. There was a huge monster on top of the tall tree. Its green body was camouflaged among the trees. It was about one and a half meters wide and more than four meters long. It had a triangular shaped head, and big, shiny compound eyes. On its head were  long, slender antennae, and it had huge forelimbs with sickle shaped blades as shins… This was a praying mantis!

【Deadly Praying Mantis】(Silver Elite) , Level 6,600 health points, 400 mana,

Attributes: ??, Skills: ??,Descrption:A Praying Mantis that brings death along its wake!
Were it not for the fact that this 4-meters long Praying Mantis was right there in front of their eyes, nobody would have ever believed that it could  grow to such a size!

Such a formidable insect… It was even bigger than a buffalo!

The Deadly Praying Mantis had six spindly legs and two sickle-like forelimbs. Between its forelimbs was  a dark object – the Elite Spider’s head. Slowly, it began eating the Elite Spider, bit by bit, and before long, the entire head was almost gone. A viscous , bloody liquid dripped from the claws that clutched the head. As it savoured the taste of the Elite Spider, the Deadly Praying Mantis was simultaneously staring coldly at the other six humans beneath it.

Even though the Deadly Praying Mantis was only level 6, it was a Silver Elite monster and thus, its the combat ability had far surpassed that of a level 7 Bronze Elite Deinonychus.

The Deadly Praying Mantis was too strong. The worst part was that it was a speed type monster. With the current equipment and abilities of Zhang Mu, he had no chance of handling it. However, precisely because of the fact that the Deadly Praying Mantis was already fond of its current meal, so it was not interested in the few humans beneath it. So long that they did not agitate the Praying Mantis, it should not assault them. With an unanimous understanding among  Zhang Mu and his party, they began creeping backwards in retreat.

“What’s wrong guys?!” Qin Min could not see it, and thus, she was not aware of the danger. But at the same time, because she was feeling that the atmosphere was weird, she decided to just ask out loud.

The Deadly Praying Mantis was alarmed by that. Right at that moment, it lifted its head and turned towards the group of humans with its black beady eyes, looking at them with murderous intent.

“This is bad! Quick! Run!” Zhang Mu exclaimed.

Suddenly, the Deadly Praying Mantis opened its wings, and like a green shadow, began rushing towards Zhang Mu’s party.

Without hesitating, Zhang Mu dropped down onto the ground. He could feel the fierce winds roaring by his head, cutting off a cluster of his hair.

The Praying Mantis’ green sickle forearms slashed out at Sun Bing. Fortunately, he reacted in time, raising up his shield to defend himself from the slash. ‘BOOM!’ The force behind the slash hurled Sun Bing a few meters away, causing him to hit a nearby tree and making his shield ricochet a dozen metres away. On the shield was a very deep mark left behind by the slash.

Sun Bing groaned out in pain as he held onto his bloodied right arm. Due to his poor physical condition, the blunt force trauma have him an arm fracture. But it was fortunate that Sun Bing was the one attacked by the Praying Mantis. Indubitably, if it was someone else who got slashed by the Mantis, the only outcome anyone could fathom was death.

Fatty was taken aback by what he saw. He slowly retreated backwards, hoping that there wouldn’t  be a need for him to confront the Praying Mantis.

Chen Ling was so frightened by the scene that she hid herself within the nearby bush .

The Deadly Praying Mantis turned towards Leng Yun and Qin Min – Leng Yun because she tried to protect Qin Min and as a result, could not retreat fast enough.

At that moment, when Zhang Mu stood up, he saw the Deadly Praying Mantis had raised up one of its sickle-like forearms. He rushed with great haste towards the Mantis and at the same time, exclaimed, “Be careful! The Mantis is going to use its skill! Dodge!”

But it was too late.

The Deadly Praying Mantis slashed out an air blade that could not be seen with naked eyes. Almost everything in front of it was cut in half. Leng Yun and Qin Min were hit by the air blade, causing their blood to burst out, before falling down onto the ground.

“Damn it!”

Zhang Mu shouted, before throwing his strength into using the Dinichthys’ Sword to slash  the back of the Praying Mantis. The attack and speed of the Deadly Praying Mantis was frightening to a certain extent. However, compared to its defense, then it sufficed to say, its defense could only be considered as average. He was only about to inflict 31 points of damage. He pierced towards the abdomen of the Mantis with the dagger in his other hand simultaneously. Due to the fact that Zhang Mu used his <Assassination> skill, the speed he displayed was so fast that the Mantis could not evade in time. Thus, wounding it.

With a piercing scream, the Deadly Praying Mantis was immediately angered. In a flash, it came towards Zhang Mu. Zhang Mu retreated half a step, just barely dodging the sickle-like forearms. But the sharp winds inflicted 17 points of damage! It was fortunate that he was wearing armour. Being a level 5 ranger, Zhang Mu only had a total of 60 health points. Coupled with his equipment, his total health was able to reach 75 health points. With the small amount of damage from the sharp winds of the Mantis’ slash, he was already inflicted with 17 points of damage. Such fierce attack power was quite extraordinary.

Zhang Mu stooped over to avoid the incoming sickle of the Mantis. Utilising that decisive moment, he rushed forward, slashing the Dinichthys’ Sword right at the Praying Mantis, causing a deep wound to be inflicted. Without a pause, the dagger on his left hand went forward to stab at the Mantis but his combo was broken. With a sickle sweep from the Mantis, Zhang Mu’s dagger went flying away. He was hurt. Due to the impact, his left hand was almost totally fractured…

From afar, there appeared a crystallization sound. An ice arrow came flying forward, striking the back of the Mantis and inflicted 45 damage points!

Looking at the arrow that flew over, Zhang Mu felt a little reprieved. Leng Yun did not die!

The Praying Mantis was inflicted with the cold damage, causing its movement to slow down tremendously. Furiously, it turned towards Leng Yun’s direction. Leng Yun had a pale expression. The Fish Bone Staff in her hands was smeared with blood. She was obviously injured, yet that did not diminish her fury towards the Praying Mantis… Qin Min though did not stand up.

Fatty became enraged witnessing that scene. He bellowed, “This fatty will fight with you to the death!”

When the Deadly Praying Mantis was about to fly off, Fatty used his <Brutal Charge>, charging towards the Mantis and causing it to go on a daze. With the axe on his hand, he hacked off one of the Mantis’ legs. This caused the Mantis to come out of its stupor, and with a shrill, it raised its sickle-like forearms and prepared to cut Fatty into two.

Sun Bing picked up his shield and cast the skill <Taunt>. “Look over here you stupid insect!”

The Mantis turned and slashed out an air blade towards Sun Bing. Even though Sun Bing was prepared for the attack, he could still not block the tremendous impact from the Mantis. Inevitably, he flew off from the force created, crashing against the ground with a body coated in blood. Fatty was prepared to charge out a second time, yet with a strike from the Mantis, Fatty flew away screaming.

The Deadly Praying Mantis had 70% of its health left. When it was about to rush towards Sun Bing, Zhang Mu picked up his dagger, and with a roar, attracted the Mantis’ attention. WIth a rush, he went in between Sun Bing and the Mantis, facing it determinedly.

“Zhiii — !”

As they confronted each other, the tall Mantis stared down at Zhang Mu. With both of its sickle-like forearms raised up, it slashed right towards him. If the two slashes hit, there is no doubt Zhang Mu would be left in three pieces.

Zhang Mu stood his ground without moving. Right at the moment when the Mantis was about to slash out, he used <God’s Blessing>, creating a period of invulnerability. Thus when the slash hit, he was not hurt at all. Instead, Zhang Mu used that opportunity to bash against the Mantis, staggering it. Without hesitation, Zhang Mu jumped with all his strength and performed a dual-wielded backhanded slash aimed at the weakness of the Mantis: the eyes.

Regardless of what creature it was, their eyes were always the most vulnerable point.

Two swords, one long and one short were stabbed in the Mantis’ eyes. This time, Zhang Mu inflicted a huge damage, dropping the previously 70% health down to 30%. With a scream, the mantis retreated and began slashing frantically. Without its sight, it could not see where Zhang Mu was.

This was an opportunity for Zhang Mu. He took both of his swords (One sword, one dagger), flanked the Mantis whilst dodging the slashes, and hacked away.

“Hiss–!!”

The Deadly Praying Mantis was blinded, yet it could determine the relative position of where Zhang Mu was. Instantly it slashed out its sickle-like forearms towards Zhang Mu. In response, Zhang Mu drew his two-wielded sword in front of him to block that attack, retreating about six or seven steps backwards before he regained stability.

Right at this juncture, with a body bathed in blood, Fatty came charging over with a warcry, “Kill!” With the axe, he hacked downwards at the joint between the Mantis’ head and its body. This joint was one of the smallest part of the Mantis, and the most  fragile, his attack resulted in a huge wound, leaving it with only 15% health left.

Leng Yun cast an arrow of ice and inflicted 43 damage points!

The Deadly Praying Mantis only had 8% health left.

Zhang Mu and Fatty joined forces, throwing out a flurry of attacks at the Mantis. ‘Bam!’ The Deadly Praying Mantis fell over onto the ground, dead.

As it died three items appeared – a skill book, an emerald sword, and an emerald ring, along with dozens of gold pieces.

Zhang Mu, Leng Yun, Sun Bing and Fatty shared the experiences equally, filling up to 18% of their current bar.

“How is Qin Min?”

Zhang Mu did not even take a single glance at the items on the floor, before rushing over to check on the situation with Qin Min.

Qin Min was in a pool of blood. Her abdomen was cut in half, with her viscera hanging out. There were several intestines and organs that were too hacked apart. Yet, she had not given her last breath. Her mouth was wide open and her pupils were enlarged.

Leng Yun screamed in anguish, “Didn’t we just kill the monster recently?! Why… Why did she not level up?!”

Qin Min’s health points had hit zero. Even though her body did not die, according to the system, she was dead.

Zhang Mu looked at Leng Yun, before shaking his head.

Leng Yun’s eyes turned moist. She gingerly placed Qin Min over her arms, shaking her.

“Little Min, don’t be afraid. We are all here…”

Qin Min’s lip was trembling. “Leng Yun sister… I… I am feeling really, really cold…”

Leng Yun could no longer control her sorrow. Tears began dripping down her face. Fatty and Sun Bing were supporting each other as they walked over. Looking at Qin Min’s condition, they were stupefied.

Zhang Mu stooped over towards Leng Yun and Qin Min. “I am sorry.”

“No… Captain Mu Tou …” Qin Min weakly said. A trail of blood spilled out from the sides of her mouth. “You are… You are a great person! You… are very strong… I believe… You will become… a great leader… I really wish… wish I could go with you. To see the world… But regretfully…”

Qin Min continued,” Leng Yun sister… don’t be sad. I was afraid… afraid of dying… Yet now, … not any more. It was because … I could make friends with all of you. I… I am satisfied. Captain Mu Tou… You guys must live on!”

She did not have much time left.

“Alright. Don’t talk anymore.” Zhang Mu grabbed hold of the ice-cold hands of Qin Min, using the most gentle voice possible to ask her,” Do you have any unfulfilled wishes?”

“Wishes? Well… If it is possible… I hope Captain Mu Tou could protect my sister… my father.. and my mother if you… see them.” Qin Min sobbed out. “I really wish I could see them once more… Really really wish I could…”

Slowly, her voice became softer and softer, and before long, it disappeared.

“Alright. Don’t worry, Qin Min. We will fulfil your wish.” Zhang Mu covered her eyes.

Leng Yun was tightly hugging Qin Min’s body. Such a strong woman, yet she was weeping. Sun Bing’s eyes were both red from sadness. After so many days of battle together, she was definitely one of their comrades. Even the playful and big-sized Fatty could not hold his tears any longer.

“Damn this! That damnable insect!”

Fatty cursed out without regards to his injuries. He went forward to the Mantis’ body, hacking and slashing indignantly until it became pieces.

Zhang Mu was quiet. He was not a cold and emotionless person. He was already accustomed to the death of his comrades.. He quietly gazed over Leng Yun, Fatty and Sun Bing.

This was not a fairy tale.

The death of comrades was something that was unavoidable.

This was the first time seeing death for the three of them. It was better that they experienced it sooner rather than later.

Such a cruel world… Yet it was this harshness that allowed man to metamorphosize. It was this viciousness that allowed man to grow up. It was this brutality that allowed man to become stronger.


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