Chapter 623: White Bones and Withered Rattan
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
A few hundred-meter long bones lay strewn across the mountainside, and much of the area was wreathed with vines. Strangely, they were all shrivelled and withered, and many had knitted their way across the bones that were scattered about.
Han Sen curiously observed the bones. They had a diffuse, ancient aura of power, one that was dormant, as if it were slumbering. This power seemed to ward away creatures from coming anywhere near them, too.
It was not normal for mere bones to be so oppressive. It made Han Sen question whether they were the bones of a long-dead super creature.
"I wonder if I can cook some soup with the bones? Perhaps I can nab a few super geno points by doing that." Han Sen wondered. But after looking at those sinister bones again, he gave up the idea.
Still, he walked nearer them to get a better view.
Chen Ran saw them both examine the skeletal remains of the Guardian Hound with great interest. He did not say anything but approached them by the bones.
Han Sen inspected them and found that they looked like grey pillars of stone. Some were the size of a barrel, whereas others were as big as a house.
The remains were mostly complete, and it looked as if the ancient creature had just died quietly on the mountainside.
Chen Ran called a man named Xu Dongjin to come forward. He summoned a beast soul sword and struck the bone with it. A great sound rang out across the valleys and mountains of the region, but upon inspecting the bone that was. .h.i.t, there was not a single mark on it.
"These bones are incredibly hard. Even with a sacred-blood weapon, they cannot be damaged." Xu Dongjin sheathed his sword as he explained their strength.
This was almost confirmation for Han Sen that these were indeed the remains of a super creature. If they weren't, Xu Dongjin's mighty strike was sure to leave a hefty cut.
But it was a puzzling conundrum; why would a super creature simply die here without a struggle, with its bones cast across the mountainside?
Chen Ran's people discussed various topics with Queen while Han Sen walked along the spine of the creature on their ascent. The further he walked, the more vines seemed to strangle the bones. It made Han Sen wonder how long it took for the creature to decay, and for the vines to tangle and course their way up and down what remained.
When he reached the skull of the creature, it seemed to resemble the skull of a dog. The teeth were terrifying, and picturing how they might have one day gnashed at helpless victims made a chill run down his spine.
Han Sen sighed in his heart, saying to himself, "It is a shame only the bones remain. Heaven knows how long these bones have been lying here. They are useless now."
When he prepared to leave the bones, he caught sight of a nut hanging from the vines that smothered the skull. It looked dried up, yellowish like the vines it clung to.
Han Sen went to take a closer look. It was in fact a gourd. It was small, too, and could easily be picked up in one hand. It seemed to have sprouted as the vines themselves withered.
Ordinary people did not care much for plants or botany, but it was a subject of great interest to Han Sen. With so many vines blanketing the skull, he wondered if that sole gourd was special in some way.
Han Sen put his hands around the gourd and tried to pry it from the vines. Despite exerting all his strength, he was unable to remove it. With great surprise, he had to ask aloud, "Why is this gourd so stubborn?"
"Give it up, friend. Try as you might, that thing won't ever come off. That dead gourd is as tough as the bones it is attached to. Even if you use a weapon, it'll be to no avail. You aren't the first to inquire about that little thing. Many people have come to try their luck and remove it, and many more with fire. Nothing ever seemed to work." Xu Dongjin chuckled as he walked.
Hearing him say this, Han Sen only become more inquisitive. He summoned his mascot sword and said, "If it is indeed as you say, I cannot help but try it out for myself."
Han Sen slashed the gourd with all his might. It felt like he was striking rubber, and with nary a budge, his sword smacked it like a stone and bounced off.
"What did I say, eh?" Xu Dongjin resumed his laughter.
"You are right. That thing is tough!" Han Sen's curiosity only increased, thinking the gourd had to be something quite special.
For a gourd vine to be that strong was abnormal. By no right should it have been that difficult to remove. Han Sen put away his sword and grabbed the gourd with his hands while he secretly activated his gene lock. Just as he prepared to pull with all his strength, the gourd fell off into his hands. This was quite the shock for him.
Xu Dongjin was even more surprised. He couldn't not believe the gourd was now in Han Sen's hand, and all he could ask was, "How did you do that?"
For countless years, the vines had wreathed those bones. Countless people had come and gone, each trying their luck at removing the gourd, all with no success.
But now, Han Sen had just come along and removed it with a casual pull. This bewildered Xu Dongjin.
"I have no idea what I did. I only gave it a little pull and poof! It fell off." Han Sen was almost disappointed to have removed the gourd with such little effort.
Xu Dongjin watched Han Sen pull the gourd off the vine with little to no strength and the surprise he felt was immeasurable. So immeasurable, it bore repeating.
"What has transpired here?" Chen Ran brought Queen and the remainder of the followers over to see what the commotion was about.
"Our new friend, Brother Han, pulled the gourd off the vine with his hand." Xu Dongjin simply recounted the story to Chen Ran.
Chen Ran and the rest of the people weren't sure what to think, but they didn't dwell on the issue. They still believed it to be an ordinary gourd and nothing more.
"Brother Han, you look to me like a man of good fortune. Heaven knows how many years this gourd has clung to the withered vines that birthed it, despite the insistence of its removal by others. Now, with you coming along, it seems to have accepted you as its bearer," Chen Ran said with a smile. He continued, "Would you allow me to take a look at the thing in its entirety?"
"Of course." Without hesitation, Han Sen pa.s.sed the gourd to Chen Ran.
Chen Ran inspected it for a good while but could not see anything out of the ordinary. He then gave it to Xu Dongjin to look at, who came to the same conclusion. Xu Dongjin then pa.s.sed it back to Han Sen.
"If this was meant to be, Han Sen should hold onto it. Perhaps it is a treasure of some kind, one whose true value is unknown to us," Xu Dongjin said.
"It is only a dead gourd, Xu Dongjin. It's not some treasure. Trophy or souvenir? Sure. Treasure? I would be hard pressed to believe so." Han Sen then placed the gourd in his chest pocket.
Everyone resumed their trek to the top of the mountain. With Chen Ran's guidance, they managed to avoid many dangerous areas that were p.r.o.ne to the visits of fierce monsters. Because of this, their progress was good and hindrances were practically non-existent.
As he walked, Han Sen began to feel as if something was wrong, however. The gourd against his chest began to beat, as if it possessed a heart.
Han Sen was shocked. He secretly fingered the gourd, trying to get a better feel of what was in there.
A faint pulsing sensation came from the gourd, as if it really did possess a heartbeat. But because it was so weak, Han Sen wouldn't have been able to tell it had one without his seventh sense.
Han Sen was so disturbed by the minor revelation that he almost wished to throw the gourd away. Ever since he saw the lotus bear eighteen blood crystal wasps, he had grown a slight fear of meddling with curious plants.