Han Sen was incredibly happy at this news. They had run out of food a long time ago, and now they had the opportunity to restock.
Han Sen called for Qu Lanxi and Little Wind to accompany him and Chu Ming in the hunt of creatures. He wasn't going to waste a single second, as he wasn't sure when the shelter would move to the outskirts of the forest again.
They did not know which way they were going to go, but where they went seemed to be in absence of thorny brushes, and they espied a number of clearings in the distances ahead.
After killing a group of iron bugs, they stumbled across a hunting party of humans.
"Humans? There are humans!" Chu Ming looked excited when his eyes fell upon them.
Each of them were surprised, and it was a sight that warmed their hearts. It was usually a great joy to come across other humans, as the occasion was rare across the brutal expanse of the Third God's Sanctuary.
They had heard of a human royal shelter in the vicinity, and after walking an additional thirty miles, they came to a shelter which had many humans strolling in and out.
"Finally! I'm back to civilization." Chu Ming almost cried at the sight.
Han Sen and Qu Lanxi were glad to have found such a shelter, but weren't half as excited as Chu Ming.
After entering the shelter, they informed themselves of what manner of place it was. It was a relief to hear it was good for humans, despite the spirit shelters that weren't too far away. The people in this place were strong, and they could fight back and maintain their independence.
Whoever was capable of defending themselves were allowed to live there.
"We have found a place in which we can live and be free. We can have a good life, free from the fear we have had to constantly live through in recent times," Chu Ming said.
Han Sen said, "If you two like it, then stay. I'm going back, though."
"What? Why are you returning to that dump? You might die out there, all alone." Chu Ming looked at Han Sen with confusion.
"I prefer to remain in perpetual adventure." Han Sen couldn't explain how he felt well, but this was the closest and most concise way he could express himself.
There were a few other reasons of course; ones he did not wish to tell them. Han Sen needed that shelter to grow plants and enter the spirit base, something that was far more valuable to him than a safe place to lay his head.
In Thorn Forest, there weren't many primitive creatures to find, but he could easily encounter creatures of a higher level. The resources he could get there, with his moving shelter, was far more important.
And having a shelter that resided underground, free from any possible attack, was something incredibly rare and it was not something Han Sen was willing to give up.
"Can't we adventure from the safety of this place?" Chu Ming asked.
Han Sen wanted to explain further, but much of what anchored his desire to remain in the hidden shelter had to be kept a secret.
"Chu Ming, San Mu knows what he is doing. Don't try and change his mind. What matters is that we will still be friends forever, and distance won't lessen the bond we have established in our time together," Qu Lanxi graciously said, stopping Chu Ming's desire to plead that Han Sen remain with them.
Han Sen looked at Qu Lanxi and said, "You are right; we have survived much together. We've been through thick and thin, and straddled precarious lines through life and death situations. This is not something that can easily be forgotten."
Chu Ming could not understand why Han Sen wanted to go back, and after a few complaints, did not wish to strain their relationship or end their times together on an unhappy note. He stopped trying to change his mind.
When Han Sen and Qu Lanxi found some time to be alone, she said, "You are Ji Yanran's fiance, aren't you? Your name is Han Sen."
"You knew?" Han Sen had a wry smile.
Qu Lanxi smiled and told him, "There aren't many famous surpassers that go by the name of Han. I figured it had to be you, especially since you are fairly young. Besides, if you were going to select a fake name, San Mu was a bad choice."
Han Sen said, "I didn't mean to lie or hide; it wasn't done in spite. I have many enemies, and I didn't want to bring you any more trouble than I did, when we first met. When I got a firmer grasp on where we were, and was able to acknowledge that where I was, was free of other humans, I didn't mind changing my surname and confiding in you."
Qu Lanxi put her hand out in front of Han Sen and said, "When next we meet, I'll buy you a drink."
"I thought you don't drink." Han Sen said, shaking her hand.
"Meeting you again will be quite the occasion, I'm sure. And getting drunk on special occasions seems to be the tradition, haha." Qu Lanxi took a brief pause, and then continued by saying, "Don't die out there, Han Sen. I will hold on and anticipate the drink we will one day share."
"I'm almost thirsty already." Han Sen smiled.
Before leaving, Han Sen provided Chu Ming a tree crab, an iron bug beast soul and a copper fruit for a kickstart.
Han Sen did not give these to Qu Lanxi because he knew she would not accept them.
Han Sen felt remorseful, leaving the shelter without them.
He felt he was being cold, and he was more disappointed with himself for not being sad about leaving them, but by being excited for the adventures that were sure to come.
He killed a few iron bugs on his return, and by the time he arrived back at the underground shelter, the skies had been stolen by the night.
"Being lonely and being alone are two different things, but on this night... I feel the former." Han Sen, while he cooked, had summoned Meowth and Golden Growler to talk to.
Meowth and Golden Growler would occasionally reply, and it struck Han Sen how much more intelligent and human they were, following their consumption of the waterdrops.
"When there is no one around, it's quite boring. I think it's time I bring Zero here." Han Sen said out loud. It should have been a thought, but he was surprised to hear himself talk it out.
The reason why he hadn't brought Zero with him yet, was because of Chu Ming and Qu Lanxi's company. It would be suspicious to see him always be accompanied by a strange little girl.
Now that he was alone, he decided to bring her there. Still, he wasn't sure if he was able to simply teleport her there on a whim.
"Hm, I'll try it tomorrow." Han Sen looked at the watch and the photo it contained.
He asked his mother about it once, on his return to the Alliance, but she had told him she did not know who the man was. She didn't recognize him as someone who belonged to the Han family.
"Who is this man? And did he kill all these creatures? If he did, what connection does he have to our family?" Han Sen was starting to get a headache, thinking of this. Regardless, he really was starting to believe his father's death had not been an accident.