With the thousand year sandworm monster core driving it, Baltic took steady steps, pulling the giant war chariot stably down the slope. When Nicole, Xiang Yun, and Roger saw how life-like Baltic was, they couldn’t believe it was just a machine.
They couldn’t really be blamed. If Baltic’s shape was humanoid, everyone would definitely tell that its movements were stiff and unnatural. But the issue was, Baltic’s lower body was shaped like a spider, so even if its actions weren’t natural, one couldn’t tell.
Moreover, Baltic’s entire body was covered by the thick sandworm skin. The yellow leather looked like a human’s skin一this layer of leather was what gave others the feeling of Baltic being alive.
Finally, Baltic pulled the war chariot in front of the swarm of Thorn Mice. Faced against such a large fellow, the Thorn Mice began to wildly shoot out their poisonous needles in an attempt to destroy it.
Inside the carriage, Nicole suddenly perked her ears and asked in confusion, “What’s going on? Is it raining outside?”
Suo Jia was stunned by Nicole’s words at first, but he then broke out into laughter. He shifted his body slightly to reveal the sole window as he pointed outside, “See for yourself whether it’s raining or not.”
Nicole looked around his body and outside the window. All she saw was the dense swarm of Thorn Mice, each one wildly shooting its needles at Baltic and the war chariot. The sound of rain was actually the result of the needles striking the leather of the war chariot.
Although the Thorn Mice’s needles were sharp, the sandworm leather was just too tough. Even if the needles were ten times sharper than they were now, it would be no use. Putting aside the war chariot itself, even Baltic was fine as it continued to advance while pulling the war chariot, seemingly not feeling anything. The needles all rebounded off the resilient and flexible sandworm leather, not a single one managing to pierce through.
Nicole suddenly realized that many Thorn Mice were currently jumping onto the shaft with their sharp mouths open, beginning to gnaw at the chariot. This sight caused Nicole to cry out in shock.
Suo Jia’s heart couldn’t help but skip a beat when he heard Nicole’s shout, and he hurriedly pulled her to the side to look. The entire chariot was now crawling with Thorn Mice…those fellows all had their jaws open, chewing at the leather on the chariot with their sharp teeth.
Suo Jia watched anxiously. He knew that if the creatures managed to chew through the leather, he’d have to immediately turn back. Otherwise, the chariot would soon be gnawed down until nothing of it remained.
But fortunately, the sandworm leather didn’t disappoint Suo Jia. It was as tenacious as rubber; although the mice’s jaws would bite it, the leather would immediately return to its original shape as soon as they slackened their jaws. There weren’t even any traces of teeth marks left behind.
Suo Jia let out a breath of relief and passed the responsibility of driving to Nicole. He then turned around to walk to a nearby couch and took out the magic automaton creation book to read.
At the moment, Baltic’s movements were being controlled by six rods. Moving forwards, backwards, left, right, jumping, and ducking were done by the six rods extended throughout the inside of the carriage. As long as one sat in the pilot’s seat, they would be able to control the movements through the chariot door.
Of course, a true magic automaton didn’t require these kinds of controls. Unfortunately, this didn’t qualify yet; it was just a machine. Moreover, it was the most basic, crudest type of magic machine; if one didn’t control it, it wouldn’t be able to move at all.
Along this trip, the amount of Thorn Mice surrounding them increased more, before decreasing in numbers again. They advanced for an entire day, covering hundreds of kilometers before finally breaking out of Thorn Mice Plains and reaching a riverside.
Suo Jia looked around and saw that while the number of Thorn Mice had drastically decreased, that was only a relative comparison. If they got off now, they’d definitely die.
Suo Jia looked out the window at the surface of the river. Soon…he found a broken bridge not too far away. Although it was broken, Suo Jia manipulated the war chariot so that it headed towards the bridge.
Although the bridge wasn’t intact, Suo Jia knew that without it, they’d definitely be unable to pass through. The murky water of the river made it impossible for one to determine its depth. However, it was for certain that it wouldn’t have any issue submerging their war chariot.
Suo Jia quickly drove the war chariot to the large stone bridge. When he saw how imposingly vast it was, Suo Jia very much wanted to alight the chariot to inspect it. But the reality of the situation was that if he dared to get off the chariot, he’d immediately be shot into a porcupine by the thorns. Without any other choice, he could only steer the war chariot onto the bridge.
Suo Jia piloted the chariot onto the stone bridge, only stopping once he’d reached the crumbled part of it. He then looked across at the other side. The entire stone bridge was probably hundreds of meters long, but 20 or so meters of the middle part had been snapped off. Unless their war chariot could fly, there was no way they’d be able to cross.
Suo Jia knew that this part of the bridge had definitely been broken by humans as a result of the mouse plague. If the bridge hadn’t been destroyed, the Thorn Mice would’ve crossed over ages ago.
While Suo Jia was thinking this, a blurry hint of a black figure could be seen swaying on the opposite side. When Suo Jia’s group looked closer, an old person’s figure slowly appeared on the end of the bridge.
Suo Jia pulled down the chariot window, prepared to shout. But just then, the elder shouted out first, “Oi! The warrior on the other side, block up the Thorn Mice on the bridge behind you. I’ll go send people to connect the path and let you guys over!”
Suo Jia was overjoyed at the elder’s words. He pulled out the little pet from his interspatial ring and tossed it outside onto the bridge as he said, “Go, herd those mice off the stone bridge. Once we cross, you can fly over!”
The little creature tilted its head and licked its tongue, stubbornly refusing to go. Seeing this, Suo Jia couldn’t help but bitterly smile as he pulled out a bunch of refined potions and threw them at the little pet.
It swallowed the refined potions in a single gulp, and closed its eyes in content. After happily nodding at Suo Jia, it ran off towards the back side of the chariot. As it bounded over, layers of Glacial Armor appeared over its body one after another. In an instant, the gigantic Diamond Dragon appeared once more!
Soon, the Diamond Dragon’s destruction caused the Thorn Mice to miserably run off the stone bridge. At the same time, a dozen youths appeared on the opposite side, pushing two meter long wooden boards to stretch across the gap.
Although the stone bridge was broken, the bridge pier was still there. The 20 meter distance had a total of four bridge piers. Once the strong layers of wooden boards were laid out, the youths waved at Suo Jia from the opposite side, gesturing at him to cross.
Although he was concerned about whether or not these wooden boards would be able to hold up under the war chariot’s weight, Suo Jia no longer had any other options. He clenched his teeth and drove the chariot forwards, directly steering it onto the wooden boards that had been hastily laid out.
Luckily, everything went smoothly. The chariot successfully drove over to the opposite side. The dozen youths then retracted the boards, and after the last one had been pulled away, Suo Jia commanded the Diamond Dragon to return.
The elder and his companions led Suo Jia’s group towards a village on this side of the stone bridge. Along the way, Suo Jia learned from the elder that this village was a relay station responsible for handling adventurer matters on the Greater Trade Routes, a place specifically responsible for receiving adventurers from various countries.
From the elder’s words, Suo Jia was able to confirm Nicole’s guess; the opposite side of the river had indeed suffered from a mouse plague. Moreover, it had already been over half a year since it had happened. During this period of time, Suo Jia’s group was the only adventurer group that had managed to successfully pass through Thorn Mice Plains and reach this relay station!