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Ultragene Warlord

Chapter 37: Deep Within the Cave
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Chapter 37: Deep Within the Cave

The blackwater sands formed the river bank for the largest river in the night forest, the blackwater river. Because all sorts of lifeforms gathered around the sands, it was an ideal hunting ground for many hunters of the Blacksteel settlement.

By the time Zhang Lie, still clad in black, arrived at the blackwater sands, it was already well past noon in the dimensional world. With Venombane in his hand, Zhang Lie activated its stealth ability and entered the sands.

There were no less than ten hunting teams in the vicinity, and the tang of blood could faintly be sensed in the air. In the distance, he could see a trail of bloodstains.

He retracted his genetic energy as he followed the trail to a large black cave in the distance. The cave opening was as tall as he was. The cave walls seemed to be particularly slick and shiny, and no plants grew in the area.

There were no hunters within a hundred meters of this cave, and only scant few tracks by the lifeforms in the vicinity.

Zhang Lie didn't dare to get too close to the cave, because it meant that he would have to fight against the dreadtoad in an environment that naturally concentrated its aural attack.

Its cries would be magnified in such an enclosed space, and even Zhang Lie, with nineteen superior gene fragments, would hardly be able to survive such an attack.

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However, the fact that he had nevertheless come to harvest some black coral meant that he had a way to lure these dreadtoads out. In fact, it was a simple method, a variant of which he had already demonstrated against the potbellied toads in the past.

He would have to change the bait, though. Because there were so many lifeforms in the region, it would be better for him to thin out their numbers first.

By the forest right outside the sands, Zhang Lie began roasting a flamewind pig over an open fire, the flesh visibly sizzling and crisping. The smell of roasting pig immediately attracted the lifeforms that had been skulking or hunting for food in the area.

Not only that, it even attracted two teams of hunters over. However, the sight that they saw immediately caused them to huddle together in the distance, not daring to show themselves.

With a pop and a bang, just as a large two-headed black snake was closing in on the pig, one of its heads was skewered by a shortsword, and the other exploded.

A hunter with translucent white armor was enacting a legendary hunt right before their eyes.

Whenever other lifeforms approached that fire, by the time they got within a hundred meters, that silver shadow would immediately appear by their side, then strike them a lethal blow.

Most of these lifeforms were mutated-grade, and some were even at the apex of mutated-grade: the goldensteel mantis, the white-tipped nightscorpion, and the three-eyed ghostwolf. Within just a few short minutes, there were already a dozen such carcasses by the fire.

No matter what lifeform he faced, that silver hunter seemed to be able to kill it in one blow.

He seemed to possess a soulshard of unusual stealth, and there was no premonition before his sudden appearance and subsequent dispatch of yet another lifeform. His strikes were rapid and unrelenting, and the violet shortsword in his hand seemed to penetrate everything it touched. Even mutated-grade lifeforms known for their tough exoskeleton were like papier mache against that blade.

The two hunting teams were stupefied by the slaughter ahead of them. Fang Yi and Sun Mengmeng could hardly have expected that a moment's hunger would allow them to witness such an expert at work. With this level of strength, he surely had to be in the top twenty hunters of the settlement!

If they could develop a good relationship with him, their entire hunting team's strength would surely double, at the very least...

Just then, the shrill cry of a dreadtoad rang out, breaking the two teams of hunters out of their reverie and causing them to retreat instantly.

A dreadtoad! This was a boss-level mob in the blackwater sands, a superior-grade lifeform which had once vanquished three teams of hunters just with one shrill cry. Could that mysterious hunter be here to kill a dreadtoad?

Surely not—superior-grade lifeforms were usually hunted with a team! At the very least, they hadn't ever seen a hunter kill a superior-grade lifeform alone in all their time in the dimensional world. Who on Earth was that hunter?!

In truth, they were all mistaken: just like them, Zhang Lie had retreated upon hearing the dreadtoad's cry. However, unlike them, after leaving its attack range, he rushed toward the dreadtoad's lair. Within moments, Zhang Lie entered that cave: the Blackwater Cave.

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It was exceedingly damp and dark, and if not for the fact that Zhang Lie had reached his mutated gene capacity, he would likely have trouble even seeing what lay in front of him.

Curiously, the cave was very clean. Except for a few small plants growing by its walls, there was nothing else around. Many of these plants were potent ingredients in their own right, but Zhang Lie only had time for the black coral.

The deeper in he went, the deeper the water became. Halfway into the cave, Zhang Lie found himself having to swim to go further. Luckily, Zhang Lie's framework was water-attuned, and he was able to morph into the form of a carp and swim through the water, moving even faster than he did while running.

In less than a minute, Zhang Lie was deep within the cave, where he saw branches of black coral underneath a gigantic oval rock. It was all black coral, the highest-quality black coral!

This was one of the main ingredients needed for Potion #2! Zhang Lie had expected that there would be black coral in the region, but not in such quality or quantity. After all, this wasn't the main region in which black coral could be found, and the reason Zhang Lie had come here was because it was the closest.

Despite seeing the high-quality black coral, Zhang Lie didn't try to harvest it immediately, because there was another dreadtoad on that oval rock.

Luckily, Zhang Lie noticed that this dreadtoad didn't have a set of protruding golden vocal pouches, which implied that this dreadtoad was female. This was why it hadn't been attracted by the scent of roasting pig.

Genetic lifeforms were, in some sense, mutated versions of regular animals that could be found on Earth. Several of their habits would be similar to those of terrestrial lifeforms, and such was the case for the dreadtoad in front of him.

In general, the male toad would forage for food, whereas the female toad would be responsible for reproduction. Most importantly, compared to a male toad, a female toad, which didn't have vocal pouches, was far less threatening to fight.

Only when Zhang Lie decided the risk was minimal did he carefully swim toward the bottom of the oval rock.