Chapter 867: Strange Fruit Forest
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The group walked for a few more days in the sanctuary, leaving behind the lands frequently visited by humans. Before long, Han Sen and Zero found themselves standing at the eaves of a fruity forest. The trees there were about thirty to forty meters high, and their trunks were massive. Dotted among the branches of the trees were black fruits, each the size of a fist. Han Sen retrieved one and cut it open. It was fairly tough to cut through, and when the fruit opened up, it let out a stinky, nauseating smell.
After traveling another few hundred miles, they were confused to find themselves still inside the forest they thought they could soon pass through. Their minds struggled to comprehend how large and sprawling that forest must have been.
With the silver fox there, no creature disturbed or pestered their travel. But soon, Han Sen noticed that Zero was beginning to look tired. In response, he decided it was time for a rest and established a camp.
Han Sen and Zero barbecued on the open fire, just outside their pitched tents. After the moon rose, they noticed something strange occurring. The black fruit they had seen in the daytime were shining pink now. They also opened up by themselves, becoming luminous, pink-petaled flowers of some sort.
What’s more, the stinky juice and smelly stench was gone. In fact, they gave off a pleasant fragrance that brought one’s mind joy.
“Wow, they’re so beautiful.” Zero looked very surprised as she looked around the endless sea of pink flowers above.
“It is pretty.” Han Sen was fairly surprised, as well. He never expected that the black fruit were hiding such lovely flowers inside.
Moment Queen, at the time, was tasked with massaging Han Sen’s shoulders from behind. She frowned, and while looking at the flowers, seemed to be lost in thought over something.
A while later, fireflies appeared. They weren’t the average sort, as they went around the flowers collecting nectar like bees.
What was most strange was their lack of fear towards the silver fox. Han Sen found it comforting to see how docile and unthreatening they were, however. All they did was collect what they could from the flowers, coming and going as they pleased.
Zero put out her hands and a firefly landed on it. The firefly skittered around on her skin for a bit and then took off again.
Han Sen used his dongxuan aura to get a closer look at the little critters and noticed they were just ordinary fireflies. Their shape was a little different, however, sharing something in common with a ladybug. Their whole bodies glowed, too, unlike actual fireflies.
They had lifeforces, suggesting they were real creatures and not some summoning of a hungry, demonic creature residing below ground.
Their lifeforces weren’t strong, though. They were mostly ordinary, and there were only a few anomalies amongst them. A few mutants here and there were the only differences Han Sen could tell.
They did not seem aggressive, either. Even if they brushed by Han Sen’s body, not one thought of attacking.
When the fireflies appeared to have collected their fill of nectar, they took off into the night sky. There were so many of them, the skies were afire like the northern lights.
The glowing flowers were beautiful, yes, but they soon got bored of the spectacle. When they were done ooing and aahing, Han Sen led Zero back to camp so they could rest. When they woke up the next morning, all the fireflies were gone and the flowers were black little cannonballs once more.
“I wonder what those plants were. They were rather strange, weren’t they?” Han Sen randomly said aloud, while leading Zero back on to the road they were to traverse.
The forest was very big, and after another day of walking, they still weren’t through it. When night fell, the fruit became flowers again. The fireflies returned to collect nectar just as they had the night before.
“Strange. Where do these fireflies come from? There are so many of them, there has to be nest around here somewhere. We must have walked a thousand miles, though. We’ve walked all this time and seen neither hide nor hair of a possible nest, so where are they during the daytime?” Han Sen thought out loud.
“Maybe they reside within the flowers themselves?” Zero suggested.
“How would that be possible?” Han Sen shook his head, dismissing her idea. He believed her mind to be too imaginative, for how could fireflies hide themselves in flowers? To confirm, he cut open another fruit, releasing another ooze of that stinky liquid he had first smelled upon arriving in the forest.
“We should continue walking on this night. If we walk until dawn, perhaps we can see where these fireflies go to rest,” Han Sen said.
Zero seemed to be quite interested in this idea, and she nodded confidently.
They both kept on walking, observing the luminous flowers and busy fireflies that were all around them in every direction. Before long, they had seen so much of them, the spectacle had lost its lustre and it bored them.
When it was dawn, though, Han Sen and Zero made sure to watch the fireflies intently, and see where they’d go off to.
Surprisingly, when the sun rose, the fireflies flew into the flowers.
The flowers curled up their petals and returned to their shape as a fist-sized fruit, with fireflies in the center.
“They really are hidden in there; just as I thought,” Han Sen said, doing his best to smother his surprise.
Han Sen cut a few of the fruit open and smelled that wretched liquid. Despite a thorough dissection of the vile fruit, he was unable to locate the firefly within.
It was weird, for with his own two eyes, Han Sen had just watched one go inside.
“Strange. Could that smelly liquid be the firefly itself? If it is, then they grow inside the flowers. But what do they do with the nectar they collect then?” Han Sen wondered, in confusion.
Of course, it did not concern him too much. He continued his travel alongside Zero after the revelations, none the worse.
In the middle of that afternoon, he saw a particularly large fruit tree standing before them. It was like a hill. The black fruit grew on the tree like they did with the others, but the fruits on this tree were far bigger. They were each about one meter in width.
“Oh, this isn’t some strange fruit gala again is it? How can I keep encountering these special fruit competitions time and time again?” Han Sen thought to himself, as he approached the tree.
“Stop!” When Han Sen neared the tree, a voice called out for him to cease his approach.
Han Sen turned around and and found a human woman not far away from the tree, waving towards them.
Han Sen was surprised, not expecting to see any other humans in this region. He commanded Golden Growler to run towards the woman.
“My friend, what seems to be the problem?” Han Sen said, as he started walking towards the woman. She appeared to be a typical elegant lady, in her forties at the most. Of course, considering the lifespan of humans in this age, that was young. Physically, she looked no older than twenty.
“Do not go over there. If you do, you’ll die!” The woman looked to be in distress, horrified.