"In the future?" Han Sen was surprised, and it seemed as if Bao'er wanted that vine even more than he had thought.
Considering her words, he decided against finishing off the fish king. Killing super creatures was no longer a monumental task for Han Sen, so it was worth putting this one aside if it meant keeping Bao'er happy.
Han Sen was interested in the monster with the vines, though. If the fish king could help with this situation, then it would be worth keeping.
Han Sen simulated the silver fox's lightning and tried to heal the fish king.
But the Dongxuan Sutra did not have a sufficient number of gene locks open, rendering the healing Han Sen could impart almost completely useless. The lightning didn't work very well on a creature as strong as that.
After half a day of healing, Han Sen was knackered. And despite his efforts, the fish had only healed a tiny amount.
"This must be a berserk super creature." Up close and personal with the fish, Han Sen could now get a real feel for how powerful the fish king was. It being a berserk variant was likely.
The fish king was looking better, though. It was now able to move. It turned to look at the mountain, and it seemed as if it wished to return. But it couldn't, and it looked regretful for knowing that, too. It turned away from Han Sen and Bao'er and swam away downstream.
Bao'er looked disappointed. Han Sen was standing on top of the fish king, holding Bao'er in his hands. As they were carried along, Han Sen remained deep in thought over the connection that may have existed between Bao'er and the vine.
The fish king swam for another half day, and eventually, they encountered Queen. Queen was taken aback when she saw the fish, which had none of its scales left.
Han Sen put away Golden Growler and invited her to come sit on the fish alongside him. He told her about what had transpired in the time he had been away, but made no mention of the possible connection to Bao'er.
"So much of what happened is mysterious and inexplicable. If the fish king was willing to die for it, it can only mean the vine is extremely valuable," Queen said.
Han Sen nodded. He really wanted to find out more, but he acknowledged he was too weak to find out in his current state. He hoped he could somehow get the fish king to return, fight, and beat the vine.
After traveling for a while longer, the fish king met up with its legion of lanternfish. When it reached them, they swarmed around to kiss its wounds.
With each kiss from a lanternfish, a mote of light would depart their lips and soak into the fish king's body. Miraculously, the fish king's lifeforce immediately began to replenish.
More and more lanternfish offered their motes to the fish king, and as this continued to occur, the scales began to sprout back and armor-up the fish king once again.
After seeing this, Han Sen was ready to hit the road and return to the mountain. But Bao'er stopped him and said, "Daddy, it will take us."
"Take us? Take us where?" Han Sen asked.
"It saw someone who looked like us," Bao'er said.
Han Sen looked at Queen. If the fish had seen other humans, it meant they could be taken to a human shelter. If that was true, that would be great news.
The fish recovered and swam quickly downstream.
After just under a day of travel, the fish king stopped and skirted a bank of the river.
When Han Sen looked at where they had come to, he was shocked. There were thorny vines wreathed around the ordinary forest flora. Wherever they were, they couldn't be too far from Thorn Forest.
They disembarked the fish king and looked back at it. It shook its tail as if to wave goodbye, and then took off swimming.
"Bao'er, how do we find the fish again?" Han Sen looked at the river. It was a large river, but not in the grander scheme of the land. Finding where they had come from would be difficult.
"It will go there," Bao'er said, as she looked off in the direction of the mountain.
For now, there was nothing Han Sen could do. Even with his super king spirit mode, he could not do battle with the vine beast and expect victory.
Fortunately, the vine beast did seem to have one limitation: it never seemed to leave the lofty peak it resided upon. If it truly was afraid to come down, that was good for them. Han Sen shuddered to think of what might have happened if it had followed them down.
"When I get stronger, I'll go back for that vine," Han Sen thought to himself as he walked towards the forest.
Eventually, they came across human footprints. That told Han Sen humans had to be around, someplace. After ten miles of walking, the trio stumbled across a castle, nestled between the trees. There, he could see humans fighting creatures.
"Friends, where have you come from?" someone asked Han Sen and Queen.
"Our shelter is someplace nearby, but we are lost," Han Sen answered dubiously, wanting to test their intent.
"You are lucky, then. Venturing through this treacherous forest alone is no small feat; you are fortunate to be breathing!" the man exclaimed, with genuine surprise.
Han Sen was delighted to hear his words, as it meant Thorn Forest must have been around.
The forest they were currently in, as Han Sen later learned, was called The Forest of a Thousand Insects. It was a forest that neighbored Thorn Forest. The wide rivers bordered one length of this forest, which was nice, but what was even better was that there was only one royal shelter in the vicinity. The humans lived inside it, but Han Sen could not guess why it had been empty when they found it.
Thorn Forest and the rivers were said to be dangerous, but The Forest of a Thousand Insects wasn't. It was primarily populated by ordinary, primitive, and mutant creatures. The humans were fortunate to live there.
After the trio entered the shelter, they were warmly welcomed. There was much joy to see, and the humans all seemed to live in harmony with each other. Everyone aided everyone else, and there seemed to be no conflict, competition, or strife.
Han Sen and Queen decided to remain there for a short while, and in the meantime, Han Sen returned to the Alliance and pinpointed exactly where he was. Perhaps it would be possible for him to move the underground shelter.
Since that location was not too far from the river, and the river led to the vine beast, Han Sen planned to remain in that forest for quite some time.