Han Sen and Qu Lanxi spared no time in running to Qing Ming Shelter. There, they saw Chu Ming hanging from above the gate. His body was caked in dried blood, and other wounds oozed without healing. He looked to be dying.
Han Sen was quickly brought to anger. Humans were treated as little more than free-range slaves in the Third God's Shelter, and any little mistake was met with wicked, brutal punishments.
If Han Sen had not have revived the tree in the first place, though, Chu Ming would not have suffered this treatment. Chu Ming didn't deserve any of this.
Qu Lanxi was not calm by any means, either. In great anger, she tried to take Chu Ming down from where he hung.
Han Sen, not blinded by the need to save Chu Ming at an ill cost to themselves, quickly stopped Qu Lanxi. He brought her to a place where they would not be immediately spotted.
"Don't be reckless! You can't save Chu Ming if it means getting yourself in trouble," Han Sen told Qu Lanxi, as he held her in his arms.
"I can't watch him slowly succumb to death; not while I can still do something!" Qu Lanxi pleaded, her voice pained.
"I know. I do not plan on letting him die, either." Han Sen paused briefly and then said, "It's just that now is not the time. You both signed a contract, didn't you? Even if you save him now, you are still property of Qing Ming. Your lives are forfeit to him, and it is by his whim you can both be killed. Do not incite his wrath any more than it already has been."
"Then what do we do?" Qu Lanxi asked.
"We slip into the spirit hall and take the spirit stone. It is the only way you can be free from Qing Ming Knight." Han Sen's eyes gleamed with a murder as he spoke.
"Are you saying we claim the spirit shelter? Is that something we can do? Is such a thing possible?" Qu Lanxi looked at Han Sen with hopeful eyes, but still doubted the possibility of what he had claimed.
Qing Ming Knight was an elite spirit that had unlocked four of his gene locks. He had many fellow spirits and creatures in his employ, so breaking into the spirit hall would be no small feat.
"Yes, it is. It's only a knight shelter," Han Sen said sternly. He continued to speak coldly by saying, "If Thorn Shelter was not nearby, I could take this place down no sweat."
"I will do as you command. Whatever you desire of me, I will do it." Qu Lanxi looked at Han Sen. Whatever he was going to suggest would by no means be easy, but she was willing to try no matter what he told her.
"Chu Ming is still alive, so there is no immediate cause for worry. We should go back and prepare for our next move. When we kill Qing Ming Knight and take the spirit stone, we will have to escape to Thorn Forest," Han Sen said, turning to look at Chu Ming.
While they spoke, a spirit wielding a whip appeared. He walked in front of Chu Ming and struck his naked, battered body.
Chu Ming's skin was dealt another lash, forming another lesion across his bloody body. Although he was on the precipice of death, Chu Ming was still able to scream loudly.
The spirit did not speak, and he continued to callously whip his suffering servant. With each frightening whip, the screams of agony from Chu Ming became quieter and quieter.
Qu Lanxi gnawed at her lips nervously, almost to the point of bleeding. As for Han Sen, he had come to a point of realization; he acknowledged just how difficult living in the Third God's Shelter could be for humans.
The spirit was not willing to let Chu Ming die just yet, however. Although he struck hard, he was not attacking anywhere critical.
"Let's go," Han Sen said, as he pulled on Qu Lanxi to depart the shelter.
Back in the cabin, Han Sen looked at the dying Dragon-Blood Tree. With his analysis, he was able to determine that it was indeed alive, but only faintly.
He pulled out his blood-colored dagger and tried to unearth the roots. He wanted to see if he could move it, for he did not want to leave it where it was.
It would still require a dozen years to grow, so it would require about twelve more waterdrops. But Han Sen did not have any time right now, so all he could hope to do was move it someplace else.
After digging up the tree, he had to remove many of its roots. Unfortunately, this only led to the tree becoming even weaker.
Using a cloth, Han Sen wrapped up the tree roots and gave them a waterdrop. Then, he placed the entire tree on the back of Golden Growler.
As for the Blood-Pine Tree that Han Sen had planted near the river, he dug that up, too. He wondered if he would still be able to grow it someplace else.
He was not afraid of Qing Ming Knight, and it would not be difficult for Han Sen to take down Qing Ming Shelter; but Han Sen could not deal with the royal class Thorn Shelter. As such, he could only hope to hide deep within the tangled boughs of Thorn Forest once his planned deed was done.
After seeing how powerful the female spirit was, he knew he could only fight royal spirits with super king spirit mode active.
But its duration was far too short. If Thorn Shelter loosed many creatures to hunt them down, even if Han Sen could escape, Qu Lanxi would undoubtedly be killed.
That was why he couldn't claim Qing Ming Shelter once Qing Ming Knight had been vanquished. He couldn't make his presence known, and as soon as the spirit that presided over the shelter was killed, he'd have to dart off and vacate the area as soon as he possibly could.
Han Sen and Qu Lanxi prepared for their grueling task ahead, and he told her, "You wait near the gate. When I draw the spirits and creatures deeper into the shelter, that will give you the time you need to free Chu Ming and bring him to Thorn Forest."
"Just one thing; can we really do this? Do we have what it takes?" Qu Lanxi looked worried. She was very nervous, but Han Sen couldn't blame her. After all, they were on the precipice of taking down a spirit shelter. Even though Han Sen was stronger than normal surpassers, he was alone. A part of her believed his flight to the shelter's spirit hall would not be as simple as he was making it out to be.
"Yes, we do. Believe in me." Han Sen saw how nervous she was getting, and so he told her this with a voice of assurance.
Qu Lanxi was a mature woman, and she was the sort who would only panic when something extremely serious or grave was upon her. She didn't scare easy.
Han Sen patted her head like he would a child, which made her blush. Then, Qu Lanxi said, "We will wait for you in the forest."
"I won't be too far behind; I'll get this done quick," Han Sen said, with confidence.
They trekked back near Qing Ming Shelter, and Han Sen gestured for her to stay back a little.
"You have to come back alive," Qu Lanxi pleaded, as she nibbled her lips.
"I will." Han Sen smiled and entered the shelter.
With Han Sen's power, even without his super king spirit mode, he'd be just as strong as Qing Ming Knight. The only problem would be that Han Sen only had one gene lock open.
And with so many creatures and other spirits around, Han Sen knew he could not claim the shelter in his current state. But fortune had smiled on him, and he had a couple of things in his possession to help even the odds. He had the iron bug beast soul and the red dagger.