The First Order - Chapter 76 - Chains
Chapter 76: Chains
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
They had all been relieved when they found a cave to settle in for the night. However, no one thought something unexpected would soon happen.
“Should we hide elsewhere?” Someone whispered, “What if something dashes out of the forest?”
“There’s no need to go elsewhere.” Ren Xiaosu shook his head. “The animals obviously wanted to hide in here but we already occupied the spot. Just this point alone proves that the cave we’re in should be safe enough.”
“Just what could they be avoiding?” Liu Bu wondered.
Xu Xianchu looked at the forest outside the cave. “They might be trying to avoid the forest. Or more specifically, the forest at night.”
Ren Xiaosu nodded. “I think so too. Animals are far more alert to danger than humans because of their instincts. Do y’all remember? When we passed through the canyon, we saw some human skeletons lying there. But since we entered the forest, we did not see any skeletons of animals. That’s unusual.”
“As long as it’s a living creature, it will live and die. How is it possible that we didn’t even see the skeletal remains of an animal?” Ren Xiaosu continued, “I had dumped some fish scraps and bones in the forest south of the canyon. But when I went to check on it the next morning, I found that they’d already disappeared. There were no traces of it being moved away in the surrounding area. It just disappeared in the same way as Xu Xia’s corpse had. There’s one thing in common about these missing skeletal remains and the corpse, which is that they were in the forest at the time.”
“Yes.” Xu Xianchu nodded. “Besides, these creatures show that they’re really afraid of the forest, so it’s clear that it’s fishy.”
A forest that eats living creatures…
The others gazed into the forest and started wondering if the botanical life had also started evolving after the animals had evolved.
Xu Xianchu comforted, “But actually, this is a good thing. Now that we’ve identified a pattern, we can take precautions.”
When an unknown fear becomes known, and when you can even understand the logic behind it, that fearful feeling will lessen.
That’s right, as long as no one entered the forest at night, everything should be fine.
Thinking of this, their fear from earlier dispersed a little. Wang Lei smiled and said, “Then we must find a place far away from the forest to set up camp before nightfall.”
Ren Xiaosu shook his head. “We need to be careful not only at night but also during the day. We don’t know whether these animals and plants have evolved to the stage where they might even eat people during the day.”
“Then we’ll just walk along the sparser areas of the mountain ridges!” Xu Xianchu made the final decision.
Everyone went back to chewing on the pine roots before someone asked, “Ren Xiaosu, how did you discover that pine roots are edible?”
“I didn’t discover it myself. Someone in town mentioned it before,” Ren Xiaosu said as he calmly added more firewood to the campfire.
Liu Bu was looking to ease his relationship with Ren Xiaosu, so he quickly praised, “You townspeople know so much about the wilderness. This is truly humanity’s wisdom!”
Liu Bu did not know how he should praise him, so he came up with something random for the sake of praise.
However, Ren Xiaosu did not quite agree with his statement. He looked at him and said, “That’s not wisdom. Who would be willing to eat pine roots if they had proper food to eat? The townspeople have long said pine roots are edible. When I first heard it, I imagined just how many people died of hunger in the past.”
In an era where refugees might not even be able to survive until the next day, everything they did would be related to their survival.
Liu Bu had only wanted to pepper him with some good words, but he ended up falling into an even more embarrassing situation.
Luo Xinyu eased the tension. “Why are the wild animals getting larger in size but not humans? Instead, we’re evolving into supernatural beings like Xu Xianchu.”
“Maybe it’s because humans evolve in a different way.” Xu Xianchu said, “From the ancient times to the present day, humans have always been evolving their brainpower.”
Ren Xiaosu said, “I’ve heard another explanation. Last year, I had some doubts after I escaped from the wolves, so I asked Mr. Zhang from the school about it. He said to me, ‘Some living creatures in nature can develop strong muscles without the need for much exercise. There used to be a species of animal called the chimpanzee that was caged by humans in the past. Even if they just ate and slept every day, they would still develop greater muscle mass than humans. But if humans only ate and slept every day, their muscles would end up shrinking.’”
Yang Xiaojin spoke, “That Mr. Zhang from your school is no normal person.”
Ren Xiaosu did not know how Yang Xiaojin passed that judgment. He did not know if Zhang Jinglin was a normal person, but he knew he was a good person.
He continued, “Mr. Zhang mentioned that there’s a gene in the human body that restricts muscle development, and that gene has been evolving as humans get smarter and smarter. He said that it’s the price to pay for wisdom.”
Everyone got lost in thought as though that were really the case. People among them from the upper class liked exercising to lose weight, and it even became a trend among them. This activity was especially popular two years ago.
Even Liu Bu participated in such activities by joining the trend to fit in with the upper class, but he later realized how difficult it was to gain any muscles through exercising.
But suddenly, Yang Xiaojin poured cold water on Ren Xiaosu. “I’ve seen a supernatural being with an evolved build before, so how do you explain that?”
Ren Xiaosu was taken aback. He pondered it before saying, “Could his ancestors have had an illicit relationship with a wild animal?”
Yang Xiaojin was speechless. Xu Xianchu was speechless. Liu Bu was speechless.
Everyone was speechless as they looked at Ren Xiaosu. This turned into a fucking insult!
Luo Xinyu suddenly became interested in this topic. “That Mr. Zhang from your school seems outstanding. He must be very knowledgeable, right?”
Ren Xiaosu thought for a while and answered, “He’s quite knowledgeable, but when he encounters a subject he doesn’t understand during class, he just bluffs his way through.”
“Does he usually read books to brush up on his knowledge when he has free time? There are also such people in the stronghold.” Luo Xinyu said, “Those people are all very smart.”
“Nope.” Ren Xiaosu shook his head. “He just plants vegetables in the school yard when he has free time.”
Luo Xinyu was speechless for a while. Why were the majority of things in town so different from what she expected?
However, Ren Xiaosu felt that Zhang Jinglin was quite good in this way. He studied hard but not overzealously. Even though he was very knowledgeable, he would still do manual labor like hoeing.
All of sudden, everyone heard the rattling of chains being dragged on the ground coming from the forest.
When the chains collided with the ground, a sharp rattle could be heard. The creator of the sound seemed to be crawling the forest grounds and patrolling its territory.
Ren Xiaosu and the others felt chills running up their spines. How could there still be a living creature walking through the forest at this time of night? Could their previous assessment of the situation be wrong?
Were those animals not trying to avoid the forest?!