Chapter 629: Trapped Between the Bones
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Han Sen and Queen continued on their current trajectory, silently praying the raven wouldn't show up.
But when they reached the garden of bones, they noticed the donkey's reluctance to approach.
That pleased them both, because they knew ordinary creatures weren't willing to go within a kilometer radius of the bones. It seemed that the radius was merely reduced for super creatures, and they would instead not dare to go within ten meters of the bones.
Han Sen and Queen jumped between the skeleton's ribs as the donkey remained outside, neighing in anger and turmoil. It seemed to be afraid of something.
Han Sen breathed a long sigh of relief and rested up against a bone. He looked towards the nervous donkey, which wasn't daring to draw nearer, and said, "I wonder what creature these bones belong to? It must have been a majestic thing, to make super creatures fear its remains."
"Well, we can't stay here for long. After a brief rest, we must move on quickly." Queen sat down to rest with her eyes closed.
Han Sen nodded. He knew they could only rest for a short while, despite the fact that their gene locks had been on for too long, sapping their bodies of energy. Had he not thought of coming here, though, they may not have had the chance to rest at all.
They weren't sure whether or not the raven was planning to make an appearance. With its murderous intent, they knew for sure they'd be trapped between the bones for a long time if it did.
But it wasn't long before they heard the sound of rapid footsteps. A flicker of shadows appeared, revealing the approach of Chen Ran and his people.
When they saw Han Sen and Queen, they were a bit shocked. The red-cloud donkey was frustrated after losing its target, but seeing Chen Ran and his people arrive, quickly looked delighted.
Fortunately, they were all able to evade the manic mule and reach the ribcage.
The faces of Han Sen and Queen dropped when they noticed the raven was still pursuing Chen Ran, who had now just led it near. It landed on a withered tree nearby and watched them coldly.
"If I'd known you'd be showing up, I would have kept running." Han Sen's heart sank into depression once again. He didn't expect to see Chen Ran and his people ever again, imagining they would have been killed by the raven long before they reached the garden of bones.
Chen Ran and his people weren't looking well, but at least they had not sustained any injuries. Only five people remained, but it was better than what Queen and Han Sen had been projecting.
If they had been able to make it here under the ravenous pursuit of the raven, something was not right. Something must have happened.
"Old Chen, I am surprised. How did you get here?" Han Sen looked at Chen Ran and asked.
"It is difficult for me to explain," Chen Ran sighed, dismissing an explanation.
Han Sen knew it would be useless to ask again, if Chen Ran wasn't willing to tell him what had happened. He looked outside the ribcage and saw the donkey wandering around in circles, letting out the occasional neigh.
The raven made no sound. It remained perched on the tree it had landed on, and simply continued to watch.
"It is fortunate they won't attack us in here. But I don't see them letting us go anytime soon. I could imagine them waiting us out, watching as we starve to death or die of dehydration. Do you have any ideas, old man?" Han Sen asked.
"There are two most wretched creatures out there. What do you think I can do? Let us remain here for some time, so we may see what becomes of them. For all we know, they'll become bored and eventually decide to move on," Chen Ran said.
Han Sen did not ask anymore, so he returned to Queen's side, where she continued to rest with her eyes closed.
Activating her gene lock for such an extended period of time was almost too much for Queen. She was not like Han Sen, who possessed Heresy Mantra and Jade-Sun Force, and so her stamina and durability were not as great. It was fortunate she did not collapse during their escape.
The group of seven were now stuck between the bones. They waited an entire day and night, and still their wardens remained. The mule hovered about aimlessly while the raven sat on the tree in silence, watching them. Their faces looked incredibly glum.
Han Sen did not know what to do. They knew whoever exited the shelter of the bones first would be killed by the combined force of two super creatures. There was no way around that.
Leaning against the bones, Han Sen suddenly felt a pulsing sensation come from his chest pocket once more. He had almost forgotten about the gourd's existence, due to the situation they had found themselves in.
When he took it out from his pocket, the beating stopped. As Han Sen fingered it and examined it, nothing out of the ordinary happened.
"What a strange gourd." Han Sen didn't return it to his chest pocket just yet, and so he continued to hold it. If anything happened this time, he'd be ready to inspect it.
The red-cloud donkey and raven were incredibly patient, refusing to abandon the prey they had chased here. A few more days pa.s.sed and dehydration began to kick in. No one had any water left, and they couldn't leave the safety of the bones. If this continued, more people were going to die.
"Brother Han, it looks to me as if they're not leaving. We have to do something – soon." Chen Ran walked towards Han Sen, lowering his voice to talk with Han Sen.
"If you have an idea, then I'm all ears." Han Sen knew it was only a matter of time before Chen Ran would come talk to him again.
"We are famous evolvers. It'd be quite the gaff if we were discovered to have died of thirst here, trapped between these bones."
After that, Chen Ran continued to say, "But these bones are scattered across many kilometers. If we split into two teams and run both ways, we may have a chance. What do you think?"
"I suppose we could do that, but what will the teams be?" Han Sen thought what Chen Ran was saying made sense.
The donkey was nearer the tail of the guardian hound. People who ran that way would be at a big disadvantage. There was every possibility that both super creatures would attack that place, too.
"This is my plan; and I won't needlessly put any of you at risk. I want you all to run out the front while I take the back." Chen Ran sighed. He then said, "But I will do this under one condition."
"Please tell me." Han Sen was surprised Chen Ran was planning to do something so selfless.
"Xu Dongjin and the others are my brothers; I am hoping you will take them with you. I am the strongest here, and I am willing to exit via the tailbone and provide you all with the time you need to flee this wretched place," Chen Ran said.
"Old Chen..." Xu Dongjin and the others were touched, trying to bring words to their mouths.
"There is no need for you to say anything. I have made my decision. You have followed me for a long time, and there is little more I can teach you. There is little more I can do for you – except this. Besides, I'm a small target. Perhaps by the time the day is through, I'll be the one owing you," Chen Ran smiled.
Chen Ran insisted. Xu Dongjin and the rest of the followers then went with Han Sen and Queen to the skull, while Chen Ran went alone to the tailbone.
They both set a timer, and when the time came, both teams would run.