When he saw the heavily injured spirit creature, Jiang Chen’s brow creased vaguely and he asked, “Where did you discover it?”
Xue Tong pointed ahead, “Not too far ahead. There was a trail of blood along the way. I wonder who was so perverse as to kill a spirit creature by slowly torturing it to death.”
Jiang Chen didn’t answer, but looked at the spirit creature again and again. “This wound was purposefully inflicted. It looks like this wasn’t done to kill it at all, but rather to torment it.”
“Yes, could it be that Ye Dai and them who did this?” Ye Rong frowned. “Ye Dai doesn’t seem like such a person to do this, it isn’t his style.”
“Let’s take a look ahead.” Jiang Chen didn’t know what to say either, and couldn’t offer any conclusions by just looking at this brutally injured spirit creature, which didn’t have an inch of unmarked skin left.
When they arrived at the location where Xue Tong had found the spirit creature, they saw traces of blood all along the way, extending all along the path. There was blood everywhere. It seemed that the spirit creature had bled an unknown amount of distance.
“Did this spirit creature die from blood loss??” Lin Qianli was shocked.
Jiang Chen touched the traces of blood on the ground. “The blood hasn’t dried yet, so it hasn’t been long. Based on the amount of time that’s elapsed, I would guess that Ye Dai and them didn’t do this. Besides, Ye Dai’s target is the fourth prince. They wouldn’t leave these bloody traces without rhyme or reason, and create unnecessary openings for enemies.”
“Could it be that someone else did this?”
“Meh. Who cares who did this? There are several thousand noble sons and disciples who participated in this Autumn Hunt. It’d be normal for a few twisted minds to crop up.”
Everyone’s goal was to hunt spirit creatures, the more the better. However, most wouldn’t use such maltreatment when hunting. This truly was a bit brutal and perverted.
Jiang Chen nodded and left the body on the ground. “No matter who it was that did it, they were quite lucky to meet one out by itself. They’d be in great trouble if they met a pack of these spirit creatures.”
Lin Qianli was quite curious, “What kind of spirit creature is this? Does Brother Jiang know of it?”
“This is a Goldbiter Rat, a branch of the ancient Goldbiter Kingrat bloodline. They may not be strong in ones and twos, but when these Goldbiter Rats mobilize, they number in the thousands and tens of thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands. This matter is quite strange, we should hurry and leave. If we’re so unlucky as to really stir up a Goldbiter Rat nest, we’ll be in a world of trouble.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t saying frightening things just to raise alarm. He’d heard some of the rumors of the Goldbiter Rats from ancient times. There were some ancient, great personages who’d adventured through all sorts of planes, and some had accidentally stirred up nests of the Goldbiter Rats, in turn causing incredible trouble in but an instant.
Ordinarily, in these kinds of circumstances, unless they had overwhelming divine arts, they’d basically be chased by the Goldbiter Rats to the despairing point of them finding no road to heaven, and no gate to hell.
In other words, it was a death sentence.
“Let’s go, let’s go.” Lin Qianli felt goosebumps rise on him as he listened.
“Go, avoid the blood traces.” Ye Rong gave the order.
They circled past the blood traces and walked roughly ten li, when the same strange thing happened again. There was another Goldbiter Rat corpse lying in the road, and its injuries were just as blood as before — too ghastly to look at.
Jiang Chen’s face changed drastically this time. “Fourth prince, it looks like we have trouble.”
“What do you mean?”
“Two Goldbiter Rats in a row definitely isn’t a coincidence. One pervert is possible, but two at the same time isn’t likely. And look, these Goldbiter Rats’ corpses have appeared on paths that we would’ve had to take. If we circle past this one, we’d have to go back to the other one. If we’d chosen another direction just now, there would definitely have been Goldbiter Rat corpses along our way.”
“Is the matter this odd?”
“We’ll know if this is the case if we go back and take another direction, no?” Lin Qianli strode out and walked in front.
With Jiang Chen’s judgment, everyone’s feelings became complicated.
They actually hadn’t made it far before they returned to the original intersection and walked off in another direction. Indeed, they hadn’t walked twenty li when they saw another body of a Goldbiter Rat. It was the same awful wounds and the same trail of blood.
Jiang Chen’s expression became graver and graver. It was apparent that he’d expected this corpse to appear.
“Jiang Chen, is something really afoot?”
Jiang Chen’s expression was grave, when his ears suddenly twitched, and his body suddenly hit the ground. He put his ear to the ground and listened carefully, his facial expression suddenly changing greatly.
His first feeling when he saw the first corpse was a very weird one. An uneasy hunch had kept making him feel quite uncomfortable.
At this moment, he could absolutely be certain that this had been man-made, and that it was a very cruel and thorough plot to end them all!
“I think we’ve been surrounded by a Goldbiter Rat tide!”
“What?” Everyone was greatly shocked. “Jiang Chen, are you joking?”
Lin Qianli also laid flush to the ground, but didn’t hear anything. “Jiang Chen, are you mistaken?”
JIang Chen didn’t say anything but called upon the Psychic’s Head divine art, sensing in all directions, a serious look on his face.
Dan Fei’s emotions also became heavy. She’d known Jiang Chen for a period of time, and had never seen him with such a solemn expression.
She’d never seen the attitude of being confronted by a formidable enemy in Jiang Chen. He hadn’t been this grave even when he’d confronted the giant ape.
“Jiang Chen, just what’ve you heard?” Ye Rong walked up to ask.
Dan Fei lightly admonished him, “Don’t disturb him.”
Dan Fei was well aware that Jiang Chen was weighing up countering strategies or analyzing the situation when he wasn’t speaking. To speak to him now would be disrupting his thoughts.
Ye Rong smiled and didn’t say anything more.
After a while, Jiang Chen said to Xue Tong, “Have a listen.”
Xue Tong nodded and crouched on the ground, like Jiang Chen he used the Ear of the Zephyr to listen. His expression also shifted drastically when he had a listen.
It was as if the land in all directions had been surrounded by this exact sound, and it extended to an unknown distance.
This sound was extremely sharp and ear-piercing. When all the sharp, ear-piercing sounds gathered together, it formed a storm that could swallow everything and was churning over the land!
This engulfing momentum was slowly tightening its radius and closing upon them, tighter and tighter.
“Young master, we’ve been caught like dumplings!” Xue Tong blurted out.
Being caught like dumplings meant that they’d been surrounded and had become the filling of dumplings.
Lin Qianli once again knelt on the ground and took a listen. He could make it out this time and his face changed drastically. Everyone else all knelt on the ground to listen as well.
This time, as long as one wasn’t deaf, everyone could hear the rolling tide of the rats as their great rat army advanced.
Although they couldn’t see them yet, this enormous momentum had so shocked some of those present so much that their faces were ashen, as if they were facing armageddon.
“Follow me.”Jiang Chen’s gaze went off in a certain direction.
Jiang Chen seemed to be a beacon of light at this time. Everyone quickly followed him and dashed, there was a large mountain in that direction. Plant growth wasn’t too thick on the mountain, and there was a large forest of boulders.
“Go to that patch of rocks. Pick the highest and biggest rocks and hide on it, the faster the better!” Jiang Chen directed as he took out all of the poison powder on his body and scattered layers upon layers of them around the rock forest. He circled left three times and then right three times.
Unfortunately, there was a very small amount of poison powder left at this moment. After scattering it three times in each direction, it was still far from the effect he had imagined.
Jiang Chen was resigned. He could only do so much now.
“It’s a pity that I couldn’t bring the Goldwing Swordbirds. Otherwise, with their speed in the air, we may have a chance.”
He could only say that there might be a chance because there were many forms of the Goldbiter Rats. Some of them had wings like bats.
Once the Goldbiter Rats grew wings, their agility would be incredibly frightening. Although their speed wasn’t particularly fast, they had strength in numbers. When the tide of rats surged up, covering the skies and the ground, even someone who possessed strength that was ten times, a hundred times greater than them, would fall easily.
It wasn’t that Jiang Chen didn’t want to flee, but that he’d already identified that there was no passage through the oncoming rat tide that covered a radius of more than ten li in this area in all directions. There wasn’t a gap at all. Even if a gap slightly formed, countless Goldbiter Rats would immediately fill it.
Standing on top of the giant rocks, everyone’s expression was extremely grave.
Despite the fact that they managed to flee to this high ground, no one dared to be optimistic. Although they didn’t know how powerful the Goldbiter Rats were, they’d at least heard of beast tides. Even the strongest amongst practitioners never makes it out after encountering a tide of beasts.
Since ancient times, practitioners that could get away after being surrounded by a tide of beasts were few and far between.
“They’re coming!” Jiang Chen’s God’s Eye was the first to discover the rat tide covering the skies and ground, rolling over everything in their wake.
As far as the eye could see, in all directions, a golden colored ocean was moving even faster than waves that moved across the ocean. The speed of their forward movement was truly like a surging tide.
There was no extraneous color as countless numbers of golden colored entities formed a golden colored ocean, densely concentrated and covering almost all the earth.
It didn’t whether it was large trees or shrubbery, wherever the tide passed, everything was drowned by the boundless horde of rats.
“This many?!” Lin Qianli also cried out in astonishment.
As the tide surged forward, everyone else saw it as well.
In the beginning, they’d been hoping that it would be just a small rat tide. But when it finally entered their vision, that was when they knew just how frightening and how awe inspiring the rat tide was.
Apart from the color gold meeting the eye, there was only golden color no matter where they cast their eyes. The entire vast plains had been completely covered by the golden colored rat tide. The unbounded golden ocean and the currents formed by the advance of the Goldbiter Rats gave off dazzling splendor beneath the sun’s rays, as eye-piercing as the ripples on the ocean.
Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak!
The rat tide emitted excited calls as it converged into a surging ocean.
Everyone could already feel a suffocating sense of oppression before the tide had even arrived in front of them.
Those ear-piercing cries gathered into creeks and rivers and continuously churned into their ears, churned into their brains, and churned into their souls.
The gathered flow of their ear-piercing cries had almost drowned them all before the rat tide had even advanced to those who were present.
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