“Beware… for in the central region of the forest, lies numerous fierce creatures belonging to the later stages of the Core Formation Realm… not even bengong can take them on…”
Since she heard those words, An Fei had never expected her first encounter with such a creature to be a plant wielding hundreds if not thousands of thorny vines.
The sea of misfortune amongst thorns parted way to reveal a gaping maw that leered at her pale countenance, resembling that of a benign uncle with a malicious glare.
Oh, what misery!
An Fei howled in her heart as her body agilely evaded the agitated of thorns and vines desperately seeking the spillage of her warm blood.
The twin butterfly swords served as the indomitable vanguard that scythed through its enemies, the <Steps of Underlying Shadows> keeping her comfortable and unscathed.
The vines failed to lash at their target, and the thorns were unable to rake across the tantalizing and aromatic flesh that appeared as smooth as the highest quality of silk.
The young girl was as though a ball of dust – impossible to penetrate, impossible to injure, and impossible to destroy.
Vines struck her body from all directions, only for their impacts to be converted into mere external force that was bent around to retaliate with increased vigor and lethality.
With each swing of the short swords, a dense cluster of green strands thicker than her arm decorated the ground of the forest.
The roar of the handle-less sword dominated the surroundings with its call for blood.
However, the silent howl of the oddity that was the Core Formation creature before the young girl dwarfed all others, drowning the immediate vicinity with a sea of blood that chilled even the bravest of hearts.
An Fei… was unscathed by the physical assaults of the vine-wielding plant creature, but was immensely pressured by its naturally exuding aura.
As she continued to evade the incoming vines and thorns with her unconscious movements aided by the <Steps of Underlying Shadows>, the young girl found it increasingly difficult to breathe, her vision threatening to darken by the moment.
It was as though a heavy stone had pressed down on her heart, threatening to grind it to shreds or smother it into an indescribable paste.
Each movement, though her agility and speed remained consistently smooth, was as though thorns had pierced into her feet, all the way until it pressed against the base of her marrow.
Pain that surged through her limbs as though a powerful, paralyzing electric shock, but An Fei was certain that the gruesome entity before her was suffering an even more miserable fate.
The handle-less sword had reacted as though it was capable of sensing its owner’s distress and pain.
The inscriptions spanning its length increased in their brilliance, the sheer radiance alone shredding the protruding vines into infinitesimal fragments, whilst the blade devastated its surroundings with an insatiable, incensed frenzy.
A narrow vine swept past An Fei’s head, the aftermath of the blow causing a few strands of her hair to billow about.
Guided by the force imposed by the vine that sped past her head, the young girl whirled in a counterclockwise, half moon sweep, her body tilted forward to unbalance her center of gravity towards the ground as she pivoted on her right foot.
The dual butterfly swords sang their lament of death as they scythed forward, the diagonal arc rendering nearby vines into dust, and thorns into peeled zests.
Fragments of green and grey flew past her head as she continued to be buffeted around without resistance.
An Fei soon realized that her movements caused her to approach the main body of the creature, for the large viscous blotch of mottled color increased in size in accordance to her movements.
The closer the distance, the greater the suppression imposed on her body.
The physique of a mid-staged Foundation Establishment cultivator, coupled with the natural suppression of the world and the vine-wielding plant’s aura, caused An Fei to nearly retch, her blood circulation threatening to reverse in fear.
The young girl could only continue to sweep around the undergrowth of the forest, allowing the nature of the battlefield to propel her around as it wished.
She couldn’t suffer external harm, nor could the suppression inflict true injuries onto her body. However, An Fei was not spared from the unfortunate fate of suffering from a myriad of uncomfortable sensations, forcing her to desire to vomit.
Submerged into a hellish experience with a blistering sensation tingling at her skin in all areas to an instantaneous chill that raced through her inner organs… suffering from constant vibrations that reverberated within her bones to an ear-piercing screech that threatened to drill into her mind…
The young girl had enough, her consciousness brimming with aggravated fury and indignant wrath.
Carefully hidden from An Fei’s observable gaze, the twin butterfly swords suddenly burst in flames, their plain utilitarian blades displaying an unusual inscription on their surfaces.
The swords plunged into the sea of writhing vines, reducing their opposition into fine granules of spirited dust.
The scarlet flames sustained over the surface of the blades charred any dust that dared to approach the young girl as she dove into the heart of the sea.
The instant she had come into a distance of five meters from the main body of the plant wielding the thorny vines, both An Fei and the grotesque creature came to a halt. At that instant, the young girl truly desired to complete the urge to vomit.
The first clear sight of the creature left An Fei hanging for breath, her mind reeling from the blow.
A large bulbous orb that was many times larger than her own body, the scarlet tissue at the foremost dripping with an eerie mucous that released a highly discomfiting and incapacitating odor.
A base of green leaves swathed the orb at the bottom, with an immeasurable number of roots digging deep into the ground.
With such a presence as this… An Fei was completely unsure of how it had approached her unnoticed. Nor did she wish to vocalize her discontent to the raven perched upon the tree in relative… safety…
…for the nauseating smell was a little too much for her delicate self to bear…
The bulbous orb suddenly split from the top as it extended into four equally divided sections as though a lotus leaf, revealing a bed of sharp teeth that glared at the stars.
At the same time, the aura exuding from its body increased by several folds, nearly compressing the young girl before it into the ground.
An Fei clutched her stomach with both hands, the nauseating sensation piercing her liver far too much to bear.
The cool sensation of the twin butterfly swords barely restrained the edge of the dizziness and blurred consciousness, but did nothing to abate the hellish ringing sensation that plagued her ears.
“…Kill…” the young girl growled with clenched teeth towards the handle-less sword submerged in the sea of writing vines.
“This… damned… thing… kill it!”
The scarlet inscriptions on the steel sword pulsed in response to the young girl’s agonized cry, surging forth through the dense sea of vines to reach An Fei’s position.
As it soared towards the grotesque creature with the horrifying bulbous head, the blade seemed to have gained an increased sense of wariness as its movements suddenly halted, before diving towards the side.
The young girl soon received her answer regarding the perplexing actions of the usually stalwart and aggressive sword without a handle.
A dense green light surged from the tip of the exposed bulbous head, emerging from a depths hidden from An Fei’s eyes.
Before the young girl’s stiffened response, the green light darted towards the position where the handle-less sword once stood, barely grazing the exposed tang of the steel blade.
An instant later, a butterfly sword was forcibly sheathed as a pale and delicate hand soared towards her bosom, a ragged pant escaping her throat.
The young girl clutched at her heart as the sword and creature continued to contest their might directly before her.
The attacks of the bulbous plant possessed a certain attribute related to disintegration or corrosion; with each impact onto the steel sword, An Fei could spot a dark sear on the stainless steel surface.
No longer than a tenth of a second later, the burned portion of the blade regenerated as though it had never existed, but the young girl felt the drain on her restricted reserves of spiritual essence.
The steel blade constituted of the white lotus petal didn’t consume spiritual essence to maintain its projection… only to replenish itself when damaged?
An Fei dry heaved as the foul stench of the disgusting mucous dripped onto the soft earth close to her feet, attempting to back away.
With one hand warding off the now wary sea of vines and the other clenching her heart as tendrils of numbness throbbed with each successful strike against the steel blade, the young girl desperately attempted to return to a safer haven.
A place that was better than this miserable warzone… why was this forest so curs-
A steel sword missing its handle plunged deeply into a mass of fibrous tissue, severing the persistent threat that clung to its meagre strip of vitality. The writhing vines flashed their final breaths of dissent to the young girl, the thorns decorating their surface stained red with their own spilled vitality.