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HC Volume 1: Chapter 17

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Volume 1: Chapter 17: Jungle Wetlands

The bloody battle came at a great cost. Scout Qin Min had died. Several of the key players within the party were injured.

Sun Bing had several fractures and internal injuries. Even now, he was still puking blood.

Fatty’s abdomen had a deep laceration. Even though it was not fatal, his leather armour was damaged, showing the thick fat underneath. He was trying his best to stop the blood from flowing out of the laceration. However, it just kept on pouring out, causing his entire body to be stained red with blood. If an ordinary person were to see him as he is now, they would think that Fatty was an extremely fierce individual.

It was fortunate that Leng Yun managed to survive against the Mantis’ air blade. Even though she was struck by it, most of the damage had been inflicted onto Qin Min instead. Thus, her overall injury was relatively light compared to the everyone else.

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As for Zhang Mu, he had the lightest injury within the party. The Black Leather Armor he was wearing was damaged. There was a 0.3-meter long cut with blood dripping out from it. He had also sprained his wrists from the battle before.

Leng Yun started healing everyone using the health potions they had while Zhang Mu also brought out the health potions that were found in the treasure chest underwater. It was only after exhausting their supply of potions that the condition of the party stabilised.

Zhang Mu checked the items the Mantis dropped.

【FF rank Skill Book, Summon Deadly Praying Mantis】, Requirements: Spirit 30, Class restriction: Summoner.

【Blade of the Jungle】(Superior Black Iron) , Level 5 two-handed weapon , Attack + 24, Sharpness + 5, Attack Speed + 5% , Durability: 20/20.

【Piercing Wind Iron Ring】(Superior Black Iron), Level 5 Magic Ring, Attack distance + 0.5 metres, Attack Speed + 5%, Wind elemental damage + 8, Durability: 20/20.

A Summoner’s skill book!

An extremely precious and rare Summoner’s skill book!

Everyone was feeling bitter after seeing what the item was.

Such a pity!

If only Qin Min was still alive, this skill book would definitely be hers. Everyone could see that if the Deadly Praying Mantis was summoned, it could be a huge help with its destructive attacking potential.

It was really such a pity…!

Leng Yun took out a blood-stained card. “This was what I found from her stash of precious items. I think it is Qin Min’s sister.”

Zhang Mu wiped away the blood on the surface of the card and discovered it was a photograph of Qin Min and a girl. The girl looked unique – delicate and beautiful. “En. If I were to ever see her, I would definitely commit myself to such a beauty!”

Suddenly a person came out from a nearby shrub. It was Chen Ling. As she took in the sight of the bloodied and bruised, she felt remorseful at Qin Min’s death.“I’m really sorry… I… I was so afraid, that’s why…”

Chen Ling was only level 4. All she had in her arsenal was the escape skill 【Rush Level 1】. Coupled with no equipment, no skills, and a meek character unlike that of Leng Yun’s strong character, nor that of Fatty’s daredevil’s fierceness. When met with such a dangerous and powerful monster – the Deadly Praying Mantis, her first reaction was to run.

When everyone was putting their lives at risk for survival, Chen Ling had actually hidden herself. Even though she was not to be blamed everyone still felt a little resentment towards her.

Zhang Mu shook his head. “Nevermind. Let this battle serve as  experience. After all, we are all part of a team. I hope that this will not happen again.”

Chen Ling hurriedly answered, “Yes… I promise that it will never happen again. Sorry.”

Zhang Mu requested Fatty to pass to her the two-handed axe. Chen Ling’s class was a Swordsman after all. The Swordsman class is very versatile, just like the Ranger class. Both classes could equip a huge range of weapons. Though the two-handed axe was a type of equipment that a Ranger could not use, it was something  a Swordsman could.

Of course, Fatty had a new weapon – 【Blade of the Jungle】. Thus he was willing to pass the two-handed axe to Chen Ling. This two-handed Great Sword had the length of four feet, three fingers wide and was emerald-green throughout. It was extremely sharp, with an attack power of 24. This allowed Fatty’s attacking power to raise an entire level.

The Deadly Praying Mantis’ dropped items included an accessory – 【Piercing Wind Iron Ring】. It was actually a Magic Ring with a value that was worth much higher than the 【Blade of the Jungle】. The reason behind its worth was not because of the strong attacking power boost, but it was due to its special effects and properties.

With the 【Piercing Wind Iron Ring】 equipped, Zhang Mu could feel the special imbuement of the properties provided. Swinging his sword lightly, there was an almost imperceptible pale-green glow following in its trail. Even when the sword did not touch the wild grass in front of him, a small patch of grass was cut. This was the Wind Elemental effect brought by the ring, which allowed the power of any weapon to increase by a few grades.

With the rarity of a Summoner’s skill book, its value would definitely be a few times higher than the skill book of any other classes. Although it was a pity that Qin Min died prematurely, once they reach camp, this skill book could still be sold for quite a great deal of gold.

Zhang Mu put the skill book into his bag.

Everyone in the party wanted to bury Qin Min’s body as a form of respect. However, they did not have any equipment for that purpose. Furthermore, the significance of such a burial would not be huge for Qin Min. After all, within this jungle, there were certainly creatures with a superior sense of smell and could easily discover Qin Min’s corpse within moments. Thus, listening to Zhang Mu’s advice, they placed a few layers of soil onto Qin Min, covered her with several leaves before ending the ‘burial’.

Pointing to the few human-shaped figurines, Fatty asked, “What should we do with these?”

When Liu Yao was captured by the spiders, he was poisoned by their venom and wrapped into a cocoon. The chances of him being alive after such a long period of time is zilch. For the sake of confirmation, Fatty used his sword to cut open the web. Yet what they saw shocked their hearts as it brought forth a wave of disgust, inducing in them the urge to puke.

There were blisters all over Liu Yao’s body. A huge part of it was already rotten away. Pus was coming out from some of the blisters, causing his body to look like some puffed up monster. His organs and bones were already decomposed entirely.

He could be akin to that of a rotten creature.

That stench coming from his corpse, was one of a kind. In the next second, Fatty fainted.

The party of five threw the corpse into the shrub and went off on their journey towards the Dawn Camp.

……

Without Qin Min, they had no one scouting for them any longer. As a result, the five of them could only dash forward blindly, hoping that they would not get into serious danger.

Zhang Mu was leading the group with the responsibility to ensure the group’s safety.

Chen Ling was behind him. She was only a level 4 Swordsman. Now that she had a weapon, her attacking power was much stronger than before. Following her was Leng Yun with her staff. As an Elemental Mage, she was the weakest in terms of defence. But if we were to talk about her attacking power? With just the Ice-arrow spell, no ordinary monsters could be a threat to her at all. Finally, Fatty was in the back.

They had not walked for a long distance, before a whiff of stench came in their direction. Frowning, Zhang Mu alerted the rest. “Something smells fishy. Please be careful.”

After crossing over the large jungle, the group now thought that they would be safer. After all, facing the Mantis, what would be worse? Yet what they saw was even more shocking. In front of them, was yet another wide piece of jungle, with a catch – it was decorated with webs all around. Their road ahead was blocked by webs, with a huge amount of spider eggs within.

The five of them went through piles and piles of webs, before reaching a depressed area. Within it, there were hundreds of cocoons hanging down from the branches of trees. They were web-bounded organisms with at least a dozen of them being humans. Right at the bottom of the web-wound cocoons were holes, showing that a large creature had actually bitten through them. Viscous red liquids  dripped right into the depression below. It was an amalgamation of flesh and blood.

Three red-spiders and seven or eight black-spiders were busily consuming the flesh of their preys.

This was actually the origin of the Jungle spider, the spider’s’ nest.

Zhang Mu frowned. “These spiders are not that threatening to us. However, it is extremely troublesome to deal with them. Let’s skirt around the whole area, and avoid provoking them.”

Unfortunately, the spiders saw them. ‘Ge ge ge’ Countless small white spiders came crawling out of the gap in between the webs. They were just like the tide of waves, coming unto the group constantly. They were about the size of a human’s head, being [Level 2, Ordinary] monsters. Although their individual worth was not that great, their vast numbers covered up that weakness. It was a spectacular sight, watching this horde of spiders rushing towards them.

“Escape!”

Yet before they could even escape from the area, spiders came dropping down from the trees above. Some of these spiders had actually dropped onto the group of five. Leng Yun and Chen Ling were women, and thus, they clearly had some terror towards the spiders. By the time the spiders reached them, they had lost all composure, hurriedly swiped the spiders away from them.

Sun Bing activated his skill [Hardened Skin]. “You guys run first! I’ll delay the spiders!”

He single-handedly attracted a large amount of spiders. Due to the weak attacking power of the small white spiders, they were unable to penetrate the great defense of a Knight. So long as Sun Bing protected his eyes and nose well, there would be no threat to his life at all.

Nobody in the right mind would want to battle these small and disgusting white creatures. Under the cover of Sun Bing, the group escaped from the vicinity rapidly. If it was just the small spiders assaulting them, it did not matter that much. However, what if the group of assaulting spiders were instead comprised of ones bigger than the Elite Spiders they faced earlier on? That would be a situation nobody in the group wanted to face.

This escape of theirs took over two hours of non-stop running. The further they ran, the thicker the forest became. The surroundings were filled with thick roots of  tall, colossal trees. Vines and thorns were rampant within the jungle. This reduced their speed and sapped their energy away. Even an extraordinary physical martial artist would become fatigued after crossing through such an environment.

“This young master hates spiders to the core!” Fatty was entirely out of breath from running. He took up a bottle in his hand, and poured it over his mouth, yet not even a single drop of water could be seen. Grimacing, he said, “Boss! Is there a water source in the vicinity? I’m going to die from thirst.”

“We have to reach a safe point away from the spiders first. There’s no choice but to endure a little longer. Once we escape from the forest and into the jungle, it will be quite easy to find sources of water.” Zhang Mu said, while he stopped to catch his breath. He looked at the surroundings, before determining the next direction they would be heading towards. “Let’s follow the lower path.”

A few hours of trekking in the forest caused their water source to deplete entirely. Due to the humidity and heat, the group of five were so thirsty that they felt like dying – Zhang Mu included.

After another half an hour of trekking, they finally found a large area of wetlands. There was an abundance of reeds all around, with large pieces of land submerged by swamps.

There were practically no trees covering their sight up ahead towards the sky. Feeling a breeze, the group felt some sort of tranquility with nature.

Several big birds were seen overhead, flying towards the wetlands, before emerging with fishes within their beaks.

Fatty saw his life-saviour. “Water…! There’s water!”

“Wait!” Zhang Mu held onto the reckless Fatty. “Don’t rush. Let’s observe the situation first.”

As the group came closer to the water, they instantly saw a few 3-4 metres long crocodile. They were just [Level 5, Ordinary] creatures. With the prowess of the group, they easily killed the crocodiles, before treating these creatures as their lunch.

“This water is not drinkable.” Zhang Mu observed the water, and saw the countless particles suspended within. There was red-toxic algae growing within the water, and large numbers of insects visible to the naked eyes. “Follow me.”

Placing the crocodile on his shoulder, Fatty followed Zhang Mu upstream. There were huge areas of swampland ahead. Choosing a single location carefully, Zhang Mu then dug out a hole. Before long, water began seeping into it. Even though the water was dirty, all the toxic particulates were already filtered through by the soil. Only with this kind of water source could allow anyone to drink peacefully.

In a moment, the group of thirsty humans did not care much about how dirty the water was. They knelt to the ground, consuming the water filled with mud and refilled their bottles to the brim. Only then did they sit down onto the shore of the wetlands, started a fire, before enjoying their lunch for the day.


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