Shao Xuan and Tuo stared with their full attention at the riverbank.
Compared to Shao Xuan, Tuo stayed a little farther away from the riverbank. He knew his safety limits. If he got any closer than that, he wouldn’t be able to hide when the “thing” appeared, so he didn’t want to take any risks. After so many years of hunting, he already knew his safety limits when faced with a fierce beast of a certain level, and he didn’t want to risk his life.
A sound came from the Gu tribe’s location again. Perhaps the patrolling soldiers of the Gu tribe came across another beast, but Shao Xuan paid no attention to the noise. He concentrated entirely on the movements in the riverbank.
After about another hour, insects that had started chirping quieted down once again.
Shao Xuan and Tuo tensed up in the trees where they hid. They forced all of their pores shut and did not reveal a trace of their aura and breath. In case when the wind blew, their scents wouldn’t be detected. They knew the level of the beast they were facing, so they stayed vigilant.
When ripples formed in the water, it seemed like something was moving towards the riverbank from inside the river. Water trickled down the figure that rose from underwater, and moonlight reflected off its wet figure.
Under the moonlight, a strange creature came out from the river. Shao Xuan couldn’t tell what it was for a while. He only knew that this was a giant beast because the trickle paths on the creature’s back was unusually long. Perhaps the water was flowing down from the creature’s back and spine. The part of the creature above water was around ten metres tall, but Shao Xuan still couldn’t tell how tall or wide the creature was underwater. He didn’t dare to keep looking in the beast’s direction because intelligent beasts were usually sensitive to being watched.
Shao Xuan relaxed and looked over with a different vision. Now, Shao Xuan was really shocked.
The river, leaves, and trees all disappeared. Only the rocks and branches appeared as different shades of grey. It was as if the world’s skin had been stripped off, and only light outlines and structures were left. There, a massive beast skeleton was approaching them.
How big was it?
Shao Xuan couldn’t be sure, but judging by its skeletal structure, it was about twenty metres long if it crawled on the ground.
The skeleton of the creature looked like a long lizard, but its neck was a lot longer than a lizard’s. Long enough so only its head protruded from the river, and its body remained underwater. Its thick hind limbs were close to each other and it looked like an alligator waddling in the water. Its front limbs were thinner and would paddle once or twice as it swam forward. As for the head...
Shao Xuan looked closer. In his special vision, he could see there was not only a giant beast’s head, but also another skeleton of a smaller beast. The beast was biting on a smaller beast in its mouth.
When the giant beast almost reached the shore, Shao Xuan looked away and no longer stared in its direction.
Suddenly, it was as if a sharp vision beam scanned across the region. Even though the vision was formless, Shao Xuan felt as if an invisible cold blade scraped across his body.
That was the beast scanning the area before it approached the shore. Shao Xuan looked away because he didn’t want to come into eye contact with the giant beast. If their eyes met, no matter how hard Shao Xuan tried to hide, he wouldn’t be able to escape the beast’s eyes. This was his speculation. He was sure that beast had this ability.
After so many years of hunting, Shao Xuan rarely felt this way. It was a fearsome beast. There was no doubt about it. It came from the forest on the other side of the river, but compared to the beasts that the Flaming Horn hunting team usually hunted, Shao Xuan felt that this beast would be trickier to tackle.
It wasn’t because they’ve never hunted any beasts that were larger than this one. The one that they used as a skeleton and the one they used to decorate the beast fang gate during the Flaming River Grand Feast were all giant beasts, but Shao Xuan felt that this one was going to be more troublesome. If they were not careful, they might even lose their lives.
The two of them hid in the trees and held their breaths. It was like they became two solid rocks.
The beast scanned the area and didn’t notice any strange movements, so it came onto the shore.
Shao Xuan looked over. The giant beast was still in the water, but it set down the remains of the smaller beast that it held in its mouth on the bank.
Shao Xuan did not need to use his special vision at all to see the beast in its entirety because there was no way it could hide its giant body in the shallow waters near the riverbanks.
Stripes coated his entire body and resembled the marine plants in the river. The colour of its back and front differed, and even though its torso was not completely revealed, Shao Xuan could tell make out patterns on its neck.
Its dark coloured back with subtle stripes contrasted with its paler ventral side and created a camouflage effect. This allowed the beast to swim in the river without being easily noticed.
Its skin wasn’t smooth, and the bulges in its body were still dripping wet, reflecting the silver light of the moon. They carried the deathly-cold energy of metallic weapons. Its head was not significant compared to its body and looked like a slanted shield. On its head was a segment of long bonelike structures that looked like horns but not as clearly differentiated as horns.
Even though Shao Xuan couldn’t see the entire beast clearly, judging by the part he could see and its entire skeletal structure, it was a powerful pursue-and-attack type of beast!
What was such a powerful fierce beast creeping here near the shore? What was it worried about? Did it have other intentions?
Even though it had a mouth full of sharp blade-like teeth, it didn’t use any force when it was biting the smaller beast. Shao Xuan could tell that it was trying to avoid hurting the smaller beast.
If it were this simple, most people would’ve guessed that it was a mother beast carrying its cub. But this was not the truth.
Shao Xuan did not know whether the giant beast was male or female, but he was sure that the smaller beast was a different species. That beast was not a cub. It was just a smaller beast, and it was already at a mature age. Shao Xuan had come across beasts like these before. Their bodies were over three metres long, and they were violent carnivores. They were not at all placid creatures. These beasts were brutal and bloodthirsty!
The smaller beast did not move at all after it was set down. Its limbs were frozen as if it were already dead.
After the giant beast set the smaller beast on the shore, it looked in a direction on land.
Shao Xuan’s eyelids twitched. That was where the Gu tribe was located!
Did it hold a grudge against the Gu tribe?
It had not even been a year since the great river disappeared. How did the Gu tribe provoke such a fierce beast?
The giant beast stared at the direction for a long time, and then its eyes swept and scanned in all directions. Its murderous energy was a few times more violent than the vision scan from before! Even the night wind was disrupted, blowing up more leaves in the forest.
It was a subtle sound, but it stood out in the dead silence. People with sharp ears could hear it right away.
The giant beast withdrew his gaze and turned his head to look at the smaller beast, who was shaking its leg. The rustling, frictional sound was made by this beast when it shook its leg and rubbed against the grass.
Without another look at the shore, the giant beast dived into the water again and left. The splash wasn’t loud. It wasn’t as loud as the sound of the windswept waves hitting on the shore.
As it left, because the beast no longer chewed on anything, its entire body went underwater, and the long ripple patterns grew faint and disappeared.
The oppressive tension was gone. Amidst the grass, the insects began to chirp again, except this time, they did so discontinuously, testing to see if it was safe to do so. The riverbanks returned to its original peace. The smaller beast that the larger beast was chewing on got up on its feet and ran like the wind into the forest. It was afraid that it might have to die if it was too slow.