Chapter 17 – Flesh Eater and Stranglethorn
Editing creds: Rend_Forge
The forest became quiet as spirit beasts hid away in their nests to take shelter from the rain. The three travelers continued on their search as they could not find a good target to take down.
Although Qu Chu had neither a cloak nor an umbrella, his clothes were not at all soaked by the rain. Droplets rolled down the surface and gave off an otherworldly sight of a man that seemed to be cloaked in rain droplets. With this observation, Lin Mu Yu seemingly had a better understanding of a Saint realm expert’s powers and was quite amazed at the sight. Conversely, Qu Chu only turned to the amazed youngster and laughed, “Any person who achieves the Heaven realm can convert energy into Force. Force is an even stronger power, so using force to guard the body can easily shield one from the elements.”
Looking like he barely understood what was said, Lin Mu Yu nodded his head. At the same time, Tang Xiao Xi lifted up the hood of her cloak and asked with the beautiful face that appeared below, “Old Qu, what kind of beast spirit do you think will help the growth of my Firefox the most?”
Qu Chu knowledgeably responded, “Firefox is of the fire element. thus absorbing a fire beast spirit is naturally the best option. The only problem with that plan is that the current weather is too wet and humid, causing those fire beast spirits to all hide in their dry nests. We will probably never be able to find one even if we wanted to. In addition, Princess Xi is about to approach Earth realm, so a spirit of at least 2000 years of age will be needed. That will be even more difficult to find. Interestingly enough, Lin Mu Yu should have more luck finding a beast spirit for his green gourd.”
“Is that because the green gourd is a plant type spirit, and a rainy day is the best opportunity for plant growth?”
Qu Chu looked at the dense forest ahead and continued, “Get ready to dismount and continue on foot. Let’s enter deeper into the forest and see if we can find a plant type spirit beast or two.”
The three neatly dismounted and walked into the dense forest with their horses. At this time, the rain seemingly became heavier as the forest became filled with the sound of droplets splashing onto leaves. Lin Mu Yu frowned as he looked down at his soaked clothing. He did not have Qu Chu’s level of power nor did he have Tang Xiao Xi’s waterproof cloak, so it was getting a little difficult for him to retain any semblance of dryness.
Qu Chu suddenly reached out to stop the two youngsters and pointed to the dark-colored plant ahead, “We need to go around that area, that is a Flesh Eater currently feeding on a corpse.”
“Flesh Eater?” Lin Mu Yu asked, “What is that?”
Tang Xiao Xi stuck out her tongue and explained, “Mu Mu, a Flesh Eater is a plant type spirit beast. Well, technically it is a wild beast already as it only eats rotten corpses. Although its attack strength isn’t very high, it has a strong poison, so we should avoid it to be safe. Old Qu, how old is this Flesh Eater?”
Qu Chu noted, “There is a total of 7 black circles on its hood, so it should be a 70-year-old Flesh Eater. Let’s move on, a spirit of this level is not worth our time.”
Lin Mu Yu steadily looked over the creature. Is this millstone-sized plant really capable of eating meat?”
At the next second, as if able to sense the gaze of an observer, the Flesh Eater slowly lifted its disc-shaped head. Underneath, a horrifying and disgusting sight came into view. On its “face” were multitudes of spikes covered in layers of sticky mucus. There was a mouth below the face, which was chewing on the corpse of a young boar. Instantly, a rotten smell rushed forth into the travelers’ noses.
“Agh, disgusting…” Tang Xiao Xi pinched her nose and quickly led her horse around the creature.
Qu Chu commanded, “Kid, stop looking. Let’s go!”
Lin Mu Yu hurriedly followed but another thought lingered in his mind. Seven Star Forest is definitely not a place for picnics, especially with monsters like the Flesh Eater. The mushroom-shaped creature was something he had never seen before. Looks like not everything in this world is completely the same as that of the game world.
After a while, the three were unable to find a passable road, and had to hack their way past the dense wildlife. Lin Mu Yu took out the sword on his back and walked in front of Tang Xiao Xi to cut apart the thorns in their way. As they continued, they were suddenly faced with several vines that had rooted itself into the ground. The jade green vines were surprisingly tough seeing as not even a steel sword could hack them apart. Lin Mu Yu couldn’t help but utter, “What kind of vines are these? Why are they so tough?”
Qu Chu took a glance and alarmingly commanded, “Stop. Don’t try to cut them, or else you’ll die!”
“Huh?” Lin Mu Yu quickly stopped his hands.
Qu Chu looked around with excitement in his eyes and smiled, “Looks like we’ve encountered the troublesome Stranglethorn of legends. Hehe, looks like our luck isn’t half bad!”
“Stranglethorn?” Tang Xiao Xi smiled brightly as a hint of excitement appeared on her face, “I’ve read about this kind of spirit in the Hundred Beast Codex, but I’ve never seen one in real life. Where is it?”
“Princess Xi, you have to be careful. This Stranglethorn has, at the very least, the power of a 500-year-old spirit!”
“Ah?” Tang Xiao Xi asked in surprise, “Then it should be pretty strong right?”
Qu Chu pointed to the front and said, “Kid, your spirit beast has appeared. Do you see that patch of grass with the bright red crown? That is the head of the Stranglethorn. Go and kill this spirit beast, but remember to be careful of its vines. If you get caught by them, then not even a god can save you. Remember, I won’t help you, so if you can’t kill this vine demon then you’ll just become its next meal. This demon eats vegetation, but also eats human!”
Qu Chu spoke in matter-of-fact manner which suggested that he will not allow Lin Mu Yu to question his stance.
Lin Mu Yu naturally understood the danger of the command and took a deep breath. However, instead of rashly going on the offense, he carefully applied paralysis poison onto the arrows in his quiver and drank a bottle of stoneskin potion. If his defensive power is enough, he shouldn’t be killed too easily.
Tang Xiao Xi stood nearby and summoned her martial spirit. As if preparing to face a great enemy, the Firefox appeared on her shoulder, looking like it was ready to pounce at any second. She chuckled and whispered, “Mu Mu you have to be careful in combat, okay? But don’t worry, if you really can’t beat this Stranglethorn, I’ll secretly help you even if Old Qu won’t.”
Lin Mu Yu smiled in gratitude, “Thank you, Princess Xi.”
Following that, he stepped forward while drawing his bow. Naturally, because the Stranglethorn is a plant type spirit, it was dormant when the arrow stabbed into its head. A splash of green juices squirted out of the puncture, but it was definitely not lethal. No plant would die from a single arrow.
Slithering sounds came from the surrounding ground as tendrils of green vines bursted out. Whipping up soil and leaves into the air, the vines from the surrounding area gathered into one spot as the head suddenly rose up. Instantly, the gigantic body of the Stranglethorn lifted itself off the ground and stood at the surprising height of 3 meters! Hundreds of vines squirmed around as if they were snakes as one suddenly shot out at Lin Mu Yu. This 500-year-old spirit beast’s first attack was already bursting with killing intent!
The green vine grazed past at lightning speed, as if intent on piercing Lin Mu Yu’s chest. This looked like the Stranglethorn’s practiced skill. One could not imagine how many martial art practitioners had died to this single attack.
But Lin Mu Yu was not like the others, he had been watching closely as the plant launched the attack. With a slide of his feet, Lin Mu Yu was able to dodge out of the way as if he was an illusory image. Even Qu Chu surprised , “What a beautiful execution!”
That was Starfall Steps’ Butterfly Step. Starfall Steps was split into three types of foot techniques: Butterfly Step, Stellar Step, and Flash Step. Butterfly Step was a must-have skill for combat as it was a skill that focused on moving the user in a curved line to allow evades and parries. Meanwhile, Stellar Step was focused on greatly increasing the user’s movement speed. Flash Step was an even more profound skill based around creating an instantaneous movement similar to a magician’s blink. It can instantly increase the user’s movement speed to the extremes but as a cost, lasts only a short amount of time.
After Butterfly-Stepping out of the attack, Lin Mu Yu pulled out his steel sword and swung it at the vine demon before him.
The sword was still unable to cut it down, but green juices were already spilling fiercely out of the plant.
“So tough…” Lin Mu Yu muttered in awe.
Qu Chu observed from far away and sonorously advised, “Kid, learn to use the power of your martial spirit. Your Green Gourd should be able to supply a decent source of energy, so channel it’s spirit power into your arms and sword. If you can do that, you should naturally be able to cut apart the vines of this mere 500-years-old spirit beast!”
“Sshh Sshhh Sshhh…”
However, Lin Mu Yu’s situation was not hopeful. The Stranglethorn had already sent out a dozen of green vines to attack and constrict his movement. If not for Starfall Steps’ excellence, perhaps he would have already been a corpse under the vines.
As Lin Mu Yu simultaneously dodged the vines’ attacks and channeled his internal energy, the Green Gourd awakened and its verdant color steadily appeared on Lin Mu Yu’s arms and subsequently into his weapon. With a single dive, he swung the spirit-infused sword down on the vines. A single tearing sound was heard as one of the Stranglethorn’s tendrils was slashed apart and bright green liquid splattered everywhere.
“Beautiful!” Tang Xiao Xi cheered happily.
But at the same time, Lin Mu Yu felt an impact on his back as another tendril had lashed him on the back. He frantically bent his back, only to be struck in the chest instead. He rolled out across the floor as a burning hot pain scarred his back. Fresh blood was seeping out of his thin shirt as he was quite visibly wounded by the double attack.
Tang Xiao Xi yelled in surprise and quickly summoned her Firefox. The light of its flames danced wildly as the spirit growled in anticipation. She was going to join in the fight!
Qu Chu reacted quickly and shouted, “Princess Xi, don’t! He will have to break through this obstacle by himself, otherwise he will never be able to improve his own abilities or know his own limits. If you really care about him, then you will have to trust him!”
“But…” Tang Xiao Xi debated for a moment but did not continue. She could only keep watching as the Stranglethorn hunt down Lin Mu Yu.
Using Starfall Steps’ Steller Step to run, Lin Mu Yu did not forget to turn around once in a while to shoot back with his bow. Channeling the martial spirit’s power into his arms, Lin Mu Yu was able to pierce the plant demon’s wooden body with his arrows. However, none of them seemed to be lethal damage.
“Shha Shha Shha…”
Suddenly the surrounding ground shook as the topsoil was whipped up by thousands of tendrils. Lin Mu Yu ended up caught right in the middle of the Stranglethorn’s trap!
“Idiot Mu Mu!”
Tang Xiao Xi looked with anxiety at the faraway Lin Mu Yu.
Conversely, Qu Chu had closed his eye to sense Lin Mu Yu’s energy fluctuations. Corners of his mouth lifted into a smile as he declared, “Don’t worry, Princess Xi. This kid’s life is tough as nails. He won’t die this easily.”
As expected, with a single roar, a steel sword pierced out of the vine cocoon and sliced several tendrils in half. Walking out of the cocoon, Lin Mu Yu was an embarrassing sight, but at least he wasn’t killed inside the cocoon.
Qu Chu loudly shouted, “A Stranglethorn’s weakness is its head. If you can cut off its head, you’ll be able to kill it!”
Stupid old man, why didn’t he say it earlier!
While enduring the excruciating pain from all over his body, Lin Mu Yu leapt up using Starfall Step and jumped onto the plant demon’s tendril arms. Skipping atop the tough vines, he dashed forth with a speed that could rival lightning.
Qu Chu couldn’t help but wonder: This kid is surely a strange one. Where did he get that kind of speed? Normally, a martial artist of his level of ability wouldn’t be able to reach that kind of speed even with a tier one Haste potion!