Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Han Sen frowned. He had been stung by something. On his hand, there was a red dot that oozed a droplet of blood.
Han Sen scanned the wound and was relieved to learn he had not been poisoned or infected by the stinger, whatever it was.
Han Sen’s fitness was high, too, so the wound healed almost instantaneously. There was no lasting pain, either.
He pulled open his pocket to get a look at what was going on with the beetle, and determine why the docile creature had seemingly attacked him, all of a sudden.
The beetle had never been aggressive before, and it was the slowest little thing Han Sen had ever seen in his life. It was a genuine slowpoke.
As such, he was both surprised and concerned to realize he had been stung by it.
But now, with the pocket open, Han Sen was shocked after taking a lookthe beetle was gone!
Han Sen patted his body all over and spun around in search of it. No matter where he looked, he couldn’t find it. It really did seem as if it had vanished.
Unfortunately, now was not the time to go off hunting for his missing beetle. Everyone was currently lined up beside the roulette board, as General Reg explained the objectives of the operation in detail.
The roulette board was the entrance to the ruins, and each block was one point of entry that provided enough space for only one person. There was also a power check enabled, barring anyone who was too strong from entering.
The rules of entry were quite strict, as only one lifeforce could enter a square at a time. If you had even a renegade ant on you, it would be detected and you wouldn’t be allowed to enter.
Demigods were prohibited from entering, as they were too strong. Therefore, only surpassers of a certain tier and third rank shura met the correct requirements.
Strangely, four warning signs were active. They were next to the entry points, indicating they had previously been used. Each entry point could only be used once, and the way you went in was the only way you could come back.
The researchers who had come before them had tried to drill beneath the roulette to avoid this, but after reaching a depth of about ten thousand meters, they ran into a crystal wall that extended to the core of the planet. There was no end, and so they had to stop.
It was after reaching this wall that many curious events started to happen.
They had conducted four test expeditions of their own into that place, but few of the researchers ever returned. Not much had been explored, so there was little information they could provide, and it was mostly useless.
Han Sen and his team’s ultimate goal on the expedition, though, was to retrieve purple crystal cores.
Neither the Alliance nor the shura had explained to them what the purpose of these items was, but that did not matter. This was the task given, and it had to be done.
Furthermore, when they entered, they’d be going in without warframes or guns. If they brought such equipment in with them, they’d be attacked for certain.
Eight shura and eight humans now took their positions, one standing on each block. Support researchers pushed the button to begin the operation, and after a low hum, all sixteen of them suddenly disappeared from thin air. They were in.
Han Sen felt as if something was amiss. He was wary, and perplexed by the similarities between the symbols on the beetle and the ones outside the roulette. Still, he knew it best not to dwell on the matter. For now, the beetle was gone, so if it could have been a help, it was too late.
Han Sen blinked and took notice of his location inside the ruins. There were no buildings or structures around him. He was standing in a field, as if he was out in the countryside, except, strangely, the place had been ruined by some sort of catastrophe like an earthquake.
In the distance, Han Sen did make out the presence of buildings. But they were in a state of decay, with many having fallen. Furthermore, judging from their architecture, they had clearly not been built by the crystallizers.
When Han Sen turned to take a look in the other direction, his face completely dropped. He expected to see Ji Yanran, his people, and the shurabut they were all gone! Han Sen was all alone.
“Did they not make it through? We teleported inside together, though. Where are they? They should be here! Hmm, what is this? Items belonging to only a few of the researchers who were last inside?” Han Sen stood there for a while with an ill feeling in his stomach, acknowledging they hadn’t all teleported to the same location.
Han Sen looked around. The researchers had given him an idea of what to expect once inside, and some vague details for the environment he’d be in, but it was all bogus. Wherever he was now was not the location the surviving researchers had gone to. The landscape was entirely different from what had been described to him.
“What is going on?” Han Sen was primarily concerned about Ji Yanran, and he was deeply worried about her well-being; particularly so, if she was stranded somewhere else all alone.
Gritting his teeth, Han Sen took off flying into the sky. Before searching for the rest of his crew, he had to get a better grasp on the lay of the land around him.
With his Dongxuan Aura active, Han Sen looked all around. But try as he might, he could not espy the presence of a single lifeforce. There was only rubble and a land in disarray.
No matter where he flew, the landscape looked the same. There was nowhere unique, and no landmarks to keep track of where he was. The lands were all plain and in various states of ruin.
Han Sen frowned, not even sure which direction he should be going in.
As Han Sen wondered, he suddenly heard a strange noise sound from an old ruin nearby.
It was very weird, similar to the sound one would make when using fingers to break an egg.
Han Sen looked in the direction of the noise and saw some green water leaking from the ruin.
Looking closer, though, Han Sen noticed that it was not water. It was a stream of green beetles. There were countless numbers of them, all coming for Han Sen.
“What is this?” Han Sen watched them with interest. They were practically the same as his beetle, just smaller.
But there was another difference. They didn’t have any symbols on their backs.
In Han Sen’s daze of wonder, the beetles drew nearer and nearer. When they were right before him, they parted and went around Han Sen. Fortunately, he was not a target of any ire they might have possessed.
Han Sen was not sure what they were after, but the beetles continued to gather around him, forming a path that led to the old city ruins.
The unicorn beetles then assumed a posture to suggest they were kowtowing before him.