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Chapter 714: Human-head Tree

 Chapter 714: Human-head Tree

Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios

Ai Hui plopped down on the ground, the monster's corpse lying motionlessly by his legs. Exhaustion washed over him, and his eyelids grew heavy. This was the first time since entering this world that he felt tired.

He glanced at the wisps of smoke that were emanating from the monster's legs and was oddly reminded of freshly served pork trotters.

A strong feeling of hunger overwhelmed him as he swallowed his saliva. It was only now that he realized just how long it had been since his last meal. Regaining his senses, Ai Hui reminded himself that there was no need to eat in this mental world.

He felt as though he was losing control over his thoughts.

Ai Hui confirmed that it was not an illusion when he noticed that his body had become slightly translucent. The previous battle appeared to have caused considerable damage to himself, so much so that even his spirit swords had lost their sheen.

He was afraid of falling asleep, lest he remained that way forever.

A single spirit sword flew before him with a single mental command. Its gleaming blade acted as a mirror, allowing Ai Hui to look at his current form. His entire body was translucent, rather like a jellyfish. A small black dot could be seen deep within his forehead.

Ai Hui was shocked.

Upon closer inspection, he saw that it was actually a pitch-black drop of blood.

More horrifying were the strands of black mist that reached out from the droplet like tentacles, corroding all within their thankfully limited reach.

Death Seeds of Demonic Consciousness!

Ai Hui's eyes grew wide as his mind buzzed intensely with activity.

He tried a variety of methods, but the droplet of blood refused to even budge. Focusing his consciousness on one of the wisps was like staring into the abyss-all Ai Hui could sense was an aura of death and despair.

Ai Hui's heart sank.

In addition to tampering with his body, Chi Tong had tampered with his consciousness as well. A demonic god from an ancient time was truly a force to be reckoned with. Ai Hui felt that he was still far away from Chi Tong's level.

Then again, there was nothing embarrassing about losing to an ancient demonic god was there?

Ai Hui could only try to console himself.

The monster's corpse had begun to melt away. Like an ice sculpture exposed to direct sunlight, it was disintegrating into a puddle of multi-colored fluid.

The fluid was quickly absorbed into the ground, completely vanishing before Ai Hui could figure out what was happening.

A smudge of green appeared on the ground, and a small sprout grew out of it at an unbelievable rate.

This...

The sprout released a faint rainbow mist that made Ai Hui feel extremely at ease. The feeling of his soul dissipating had lessened significantly.

This!

Ai Hui knew then that he had lucked out. His spirit swords flew in a circle around the sprout, absorbing the rainbow mist that it created.

Ai Hui's spirit swords quickly regained their luster and energy.

Acknowledging its beneficial properties, Ai Hui sat down beside the sapling.

The sprout was still growing at an alarming rate and it was not long before it grew into a sapling. The rainbow mist that it was periodically releasing from its leaves had become much denser.

After absorbing a large amount of the rainbow mist, Ai Hui's form became more opaque. Ai Hui confirmed that the rainbow mist was highly beneficial to souls and seemed to be able to strengthen them.

The sapling had grown into a lofty tree of more than sixty meters in a matter of hours. The tree's majestic crown was like a mountain suspended in midair. Its densely packed leaves and branches seemed to pulse with life as it continued to release its beautiful rainbow-colored mist.

Ai Hui thought that the tree looked pretty familiar.

Where have I... seen this tree before?

He could not help but furrow his brows. The tree felt even more familiar each time he looked at it.

Wait a minute!

Isn't this... Isn't this my message tree?

Ai Hui stared widely at the tree that towered before him. Unable to believe his own eyes, Ai Hui walked a few laps around it before he came to the conclusion that it was indeed the message tree.

This lofty tree was a scaled-up, exact copy of his message tree.

First generation message tree...

Ai Hui was still bewildered after recovering from his initial shock. He dived deep into his rapidly firing thoughts.

He had initially discovered the first generation message tree during his time in Central Pine City. He had apparently been working and staying at a place that once accomodated someone named He Bingfeng. It was also there that Ai Hui met Lou Lan.

Ai Hui's expression softened as he wondered how Lou Lan was doing.

Ai Hui had initially thought that it was an ordinary message tree, but later found out that it was a first generation message tree.

Even more interesting was its ability to receive messages from someone who called himself the Old Prisoner. Ai Hui recalled that he might not have been able to escape the Blood Calamity if not for the Old Prisoner's warnings.

The Old Prisoner was a mysterious figure. Even up until now, Ai Hui had no idea what his name was or where he was locked up. His communications with the Old Prisoner were intermittent, but Ai Hui had specially made arrangements to bring the first generation message tree with him when he left Central Pine City.

Ai Hui rarely contacted the Old Prisoner after the disruption of the five elemental energy cycle following the fall of Fire Prairie and Yellow Sand Corner.

By that point, Ai Hui had also sensed that the Old Prisoner's thoughts were becoming muddled. The messages he had received reflected the Old Prisoner's increasingly confused state of mind. Ai Hui guessed that the Old Prisoner was soon approaching the end of his life.

Ai Hui had once sent a message trying to find out where exactly the Old Prisoner was trapped.

There had been no reply to his message, however, and Ai Hui's communications with the Old Prisoner had stopped from then on.

Seeing this gigantic "message tree" made Ai Hui think back about the mysterious Old Prisoner, reminisce about his time back in Central Pine City, and miss his Master and Mistress. Ai Hui slowly became lost in nostalgia.

A sudden rustling sound roused him from his thoughts.

Something was approaching.

This incorporeal soul form had more acute senses than his corporeal form. Ai Hui could detect a hostile presence even in the absence of sight and sound.

He stood up, and the spirit swords returned to their positions around him. Ai Hui was ready to fight.

Ai Hui took a deep breath when he saw his enemy.

Numerous strange creatures were approaching his position from all directions.

A gigantic forest green python with three horns was slithering toward him. Its body was several times thicker than a tree trunk, and it destroyed any obstacle that stood in its way. A human head was present where Ai Hui had expected to see a snake's head. Its eyes alone were much larger than Ai Hui's full body. The creature smiled widely at Ai Hui, its teeth glinting with menace.

A group of glowing jellyfish hung in the air like blue light bulbs. Their bramble-like tentacles moved lightly in the air, shrouded by a blue glow that seemed to resemble lightning. A childlike whimpering could be heard coming from these jellyfish.

A single deer was prancing about, its hooves making light clip-clop noises with each move. Instead of antlers, the deer had live tree branches on its head. Tender green leaves that were filled with life clung onto these branches, surrounding an alluring cluster of flowers. Beneath the branches lay two vacant eyes. Not a single ounce of flesh hung from the skeletal structure that made up the deer's body.

Ai Hui braced himself for battle.

He could sense these creatures' insatiable hunger for the lofty tree beside him.

The lofty tree's rainbow mist was truly extraordinary. Ai Hui's soul had fully reconstituted and was now even stronger than before. His spirit swords had also strengthened greatly.

This gave him some confidence in taking on the fast approaching creatures.

Despite being surrounded, Ai Hui had no intention of surrendering. Besides the danger of giving these creatures access to the tree, he wanted to find out the connection between this tree and the first generation message tree as well.

Besides, running away was useless in this strange world.

All of a sudden, the creatures all stopped dead in their tracks.

Ai Hui was taken aback. He could sense the creatures' fear and apprehension. His mind stirred. Were they afraid of him? Or... were they afraid of the tree?

Ai Hui raised his guard. Was there more to this tree than meets the eye?

He tried stepping away from the tree, but the creatures did not budge. Ai Hui understood that it was the tree they feared!

There must be danger!

These creatures were natives of this world and most certainly knew it better.

There was a small explosion behind Ai Hui. His body stiffened, and when he turned around, he noticed that the tree was bearing fruit.

Ai Hui clenched his teeth.

The "fruits" hanging from the tree's branches were actually human heads. The sight of it all made even the battle-hardened Ai Hui's scalp tingle.

Each of the heads had different features. Some had pale white hair while others had a head full of shiny black hair. The one commonality that they all possessed, however, was a lack of facial features. Despite that, Ai Hui could somehow manage to distinguish them and could even tell if they were male or female.

A shiver ran down his spine as an unexpected fear creeped up within him.

At the same time, he saw the creatures unanimously take several steps back in fear.

Ai Hui moved away from the tree without hesitation.

Whoosh.

The human heads turned toward him.

Their smooth, featureless fronts made it look as if the heads' faces had been sliced cleanly off. A breeze blew through the tree's crown and sent hairs of different colors flying in the wind.

The heads shuddered.

Ai Hui had a sense that the heads were either laughing uncontrollably or experiencing an unbearable pain. Ripples appeared on the featureless faces.

Ai Hui felt his body turn rigid. A powerful force hit him from all sides, confining him in place. Countless voices screamed, wailed, and laughed into his ears. He felt as though someone was swinging a hammer at his brain.

Ai Hui wrapped his hands over his head and screamed.

The heads that hung freely from the lofty tree exploded simultaneously.