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Gongjia Ren’s eye twitched in the face of the monster much taller than himself, a chill rushing down his spine.
A vast crater had formed where the sand had been blasted away, flying sand blurring his vision and falling like a storm. This thing had appeared too quickly and he had no time to hide, neither did he dare move now. All he wished was that this giant beetle would pay attention to the sand lizards. Once it looks away, he will immediately bury himself and play dead!
Although he knew playing dead would be useless, he had no choice because he was too exhausted to run. The sand lizard was blasted away the first second it met the beetle and the five others were running like they had seen their natural predator. These few humans would never stand a chance.
The rest initially thought the five sand lizards were scared away by Gongjia Heng’s intimidating roar; they would’ve never expected another worse threat to pop out like this. Their expressions faltered, restricting their breaths in case the beetle turned its attention on them. Not daring to rub their eyes, they tried hard to blink sand out of their eyes, minds racing to think of their next move as they observed the beetle.
There were five sand lizards just now, so about one person to each lizard but that still wasn’t enough because the sand lizards would go after the rest after defeating the person it fought. With the beetle here, while it looked impressive, there were six of them. Did they stand a chance? Did they have the strength to run?
Everyone looked around. They understood what each other meant.
When the beetle ran after one of the sand lizards, they collapsed and wriggled under the sand, burying themselves.
This idea was only useful against some desert beasts. While they did not know if it would work here, they could not do anything else. If it wasn’t, then they accepted their fate to die here today.
Consecutive booms sounded like wooden logs striking the ground, an oppressive aura radiating across space. They took every breath carefully.
After a whoosh, a boom sounded across the ground, sand flying and falling like rain. They did not dare look, they could only judge based on the sounds.
The beetle was hunting the lizards and there had been four booms, each at a different location. Did that mean four of the lizards had been killed?
More sand fell on them from the impact, putting more weight on their chests and making breathing difficult.
The ground was still vibrating but the impacts were farther away, though not far enough for them to be safe. Sand grains scratched their throats with every breath while their backs cooked in the burning sand but they could only suffer in silence.
They counted the strikes, hoping the beetle would leave until they realised the commotion was now approaching themselves!
Their hearts rose to their throats once again.
Especially Gongjia Ren, who could feel the sounds nearing him. There were two sources, the one in front must be the lizard while the one behind must be the beetle.
Why is it heading this way now?!
Gongjia Ren cursed silently at the lizard but it never changed directions.
Another blast of sand came, along with a strong gust of wind and a desert beast’s roar. Gongjia Ren could not avoid the pelting of sand, feeling as if someone had punched him in the back. With a groan, he felt himself thrown in the air and then landing, though the thud was covered by the sounds of the beetle hunting the lizard. No one knew what happened to Gongjia Ren.
He felt his stomach twist, the bit of lizard blood and flesh threatened to resurface. His body felt worse, even standing up felt difficult now. He wanted to quickly dig himself deeper but every movement was difficult for his arms felt too heavy and his joints creaked.
Amidst his blurry vision, he saw a blue silhouette and two giant sickle-like mandibles piercing through a sand lizard, the sound of a blade cutting through tough scales and flesh clear as ever.
The flying sand ceased and their surroundings returned to silence. The air seemed to freeze.
Quiet scuttling from the beetle walking across the sand.
Crisis still not averted, the people remained invisible.
Gongjia Ren was in a dilemma. He saw the beetle approaching, a sand lizard impaled in one of its front limbs.
Was this how he was going to die?
Gongjia Ren’s consciousness started to fade but he was calm. Probably because he knew he would never be able to escape, he had given up. He awaited death calmly, thought about many things, then closed his eyes.
The rest of the people listened. After some odd unidentifiable sounds, everything fell quiet again. They finally lifted their heads and shook off the sand.
“It’s finally gone!”
“I almost suffocated!”
“It burns! I’m starving!”
“All here? All alive?”
“Ren! Where are you?”
They yelled and yelled, then panicked and ran to where Gongjia Ren used to be. They dug and dug but all they found was his roughly made hammer. He was nowhere to be found.
Not just Gongjia Ren. Even the five sand lizards had disappeared, leaving behind bloodstains and scales.
“Did the giant beetle take the lizards and Ren away?!”