Chapter 868: Dark Haunted Forest
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“Die?” Han Sen looked at the woman with shock.
“Follow me.” The woman gestured for Han Sen and Zero to accompany her, then she turned around and ventured deeper into the forest.
Han Sen and Zero looked at each other, then decided to go with her. They hadn’t been walking too long when they came to a clearing with a few tents and other living amenities. There were a few other people there too, sunbathing in the pleasant afternoon sunshine.
Han Sen and Zero’s arrival roused their attention. Those who were lying down stood up, and others came out from their tents.
There were a dozen humans there, and judging from their apparel and the state of their tents, they must have been there for quite some time.
“It is lucky I found you. If I hadn’t, you’d be dead right now, with no clue as to how your death had come about.” Back in the camp, the woman seemed to be a touch calmer. “This place is safe, so pitch a tent and rest a while.”
Han Sen looked at the woman and said, “Why? What’s going on?”
“You guys know this is the Dark Haunted Forest, don’t you?” she asked, with shock. The others in the camp eyed Han Sen and his fellows curiously.
Han Sen shook his head and said, “I have traveled a great distance. I didn’t suspect this forest to have any form of notoriety.”
“Oh, you poor and unfortunate people. Most people who wander into this forest at unawares can never find a way out.” The woman let out a lamenting sigh.
“Never find a way out?” Han Sen was shocked at hearing what the woman told him. He did not believe a forest could trap him and prevent his leaving.
If he could not walk out, he could at least fly. Regardless of how creepy this place was, it would be impossible for a forest to trap a creature with wings.
“You really have no idea what you’ve stumbled into, do you? You both look young, and for you both to enter this place and subject yourself to this fate is a crying shame, I tell you. A crying shame!” Another person in camp had become quite outspoken.
“Can someone cut the nonsense and tell it to me straight? What is going on here?” Han Sen passed out some alcohol and food to the people, retrieved from the satchels on Golden Growler.
When the people saw the alcohol and food, they looked shocked. They ran over to the items and devoured them as quickly as they could, as if they hadn’t eaten in a thousand years.
“Brother, do you have cigarettes?” a middle-aged man asked Han Sen.
“Yes, as a matter of fact. I do.” Han Sen pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and tossed them over to the middle-aged man, who looked to be in absolute shock.
“You should put these away and cherish them. You’re going to be here for a long time.” When the woman saw how generous Han Sen was being, she couldn’t help but present a wry smile.
Han Sen understood what she was implying, but he did not believe he’d be trapped in the forest as they had been. He smiled and asked for the people there to tell him all they could about the place.
The people there were harmless, and after receiving the goods from Han Sen, they passionately relayed as many of the tales and stories about the place as they could.
Like Han Sen, they had mistakenly ventured into the Dark Haunted Forest. They hadn’t come together, but one at a time. Whatever venture led them to the forest had been their last, and they had all been stuck there ever since.
The woman who invited them over, near the big tree, was the most recent addition to the growing community. Her name was Liu Fang, and she had gotten lost in the forest two years before Han Sen’s arrival.
Liu Fang was a botanist. Her job in the Alliance was associated with the forest, and she had a great interest in the Dark Haunted Trees that grew there.
She went there wanting to learn more about them, but walking a mere ten meters into the forest to collect a sample was enough to prevent her from leaving. She couldn’t escape and suddenly, the forest stretched out for miles around in every direction. After a while of traveling, she too stumbled across this camp.
The others had a similar fate befall them. Some entered by mistake, whereas others entered the forest in pursuit of adventure. Everyone who hadn’t somehow ended up dead, found themselves at this camp.
“What is so dangerous about this place? Those fireflies are harmless, aren’t they?” Han Sen felt compelled to ask.
Liu Fang, with another wry smile, responded, “The Dark Haunted Forest is not aggressive in itself. The real danger comes from the Dark Haunted Trees.”
“Are you saying those trees are a danger?” Han Sen eyed the trees that were all about, and didn’t notice anything particularly dangerous.
“We were wondering if the trees were creatures, and the bugs were merely an extension of their bodies.” Liu Fang paused after saying this, and then continued, “You probably haven’t noticed this yet, but if you stay near the trees for a while, you will age much faster. In three months, you can die from old age!”
“Really?” Han Sen frowned.
“You are lucky that Little Fang brought you here. If you walk within a kilometer of that big tree, you can die in less than three hours. It’s a crying shame!” the man called Wang Jiangang said.
“Thank you, if that’s the case.” Han Sen appreciated what she did for him. He might have been indestructible when going up against physical threats in the Second God’s Sanctuary now, but there was no guarantee of survival against such creepy works.
Had he not been informed of the danger, he would have continued to blindly walk into the tree’s entrapment.
“You are welcome.” Liu Fang, after another wry smile, continued her dialogue. “I came here with two friends. They stayed in proximity to the Dark Haunted Tree King for one hour, and after that, they looked to be about two hundred years old. Then, they died of old age. Just remember; do not get close to the Tree King—it’ll affect your body quite quickly.”
“If it is not necessary, do not even venture beyond the outskirts of this camp. It’ll be a crying shame, if you do. These ordinary trees can still affect you, it is just difficult for you to tell,” Wang Jiangang said.
“Can’t I just fly away?” Han Sen asked.
“You can’t. This forest is endless, and whether you try to escape by foot or by wings, you cannot leave. It’s a crying shame.” Wang Jiangang smiled wryly, and continued to say, “I came to this place with beast soul wings myself. If these wings could deliver me to safety, I wouldn’t still be here!”
Han Sen frowned and asked, “Have you tried cutting down the Dark Haunted Trees?”
Liu Fang answered, “You can’t do that, either. If you cut them, they release a gas of some sort. It makes you grow older even faster. The camp in this meadow is the only place that is free from those wretched trees. And what’s more, even if you do unearth the tree and destroy its roots, it’ll magically restore itself within a few days.”