The Alchemy Furnace was about the diameter of a washbasin and forty centimeters deep. Far too large to be carried in Cheng Yang’s rucksack.
Thinking that Cheng Yang might be troubled, Zhao Chuan ran over to Cheng Yang. Seeing the Alchemy Furnace, he couldn’t help but ask: “My Lord, what is that? It kind of looks like an ancient furnace?”
“You’re right. It is one.” Cheng Yang replied.
“Aren’t potions the only thing sold in the Alchemy Tower? Why would you need a furnace?” Zhao Chuan asked in confusion.
“You don’t need to use a furnace to brew potions, but you can use one. Besides, potions are just lower end alchemical products. Soon I’ll be able to refine pills which are far better than potions, so having a furnace is necessary.” Cheng Yang paused for a moment, “Anyways. This thing is too big for me to carry, so get some people to take turns carrying it. It’s nice, so make sure not to break it.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Zhao Chuan said, flashing a bitter smile at Cheng Yang.
Zhao Chaun quickly picked three soldiers from his battalion that would carry Cheng Yang’s new furnace. Although the item was bulky, it wasn’t that heavy for superhumans like them, so it was an easy task.
Then, the group left the city using the bridge and found themselves on an old-world road. However, this road got worse and worse as they delved deeper into the forest.
According to their memories, this road out of town wasn’t a big one, but it was well paved. Now, however, it was hard to find a narrow path through the trees, much less a smooth surface. The only thing left was a crushed mixture of gravel and asphalt poking out from between massive trees.
A weird idea suddenly emerged from the depths of Zhao Chuan’s mind. “My Lord, if these trees continue to grow at the pace they have been, won’t they all fuse together into a single block of wood? A single massive tree would cover the entire planet.”
“Thankfully, that won’t happen.” Cheng Yang replied, “After they reach a certain size, the trees will stop growing. Well, there might be a few exceptions, but I’m not sure.”
Zhao Chuan sighed in relief. If that scenario really happened, then they’d have to change the planet’s name from “dirt” to “wood.”
Although they were tall, the trees surrounding the group grew sparsely. The real problem was the dense, thorny brambles that grew in between the trees. They weren’t able to deal damage, but they still hurt and were tough to move through.
The group would have the Warriors stand at the front and slash at the bushes. With every swing of their swords, leaves would fly, and a small opening would be created.
This forest was filled with more than plants, though. It had been almost two weeks since the apocalypse started, and not a single person had set foot in this forest since then. Thus, the monster hordes here had grown tremendously.
Of course, Cheng Yang already knew that so the group was moving cautiously.
After moving through the forest for a while, they suddenly heard the loud, rasping croak of a frog. It made the group feel like they were in the country.
“Are there still frogs left in this world, my Lord? What do they eat? Are there even normal bugs left?” Liu Hau asked, his voice brimming with disgust.
Cheng Yang shook his head. “Remember this, ordinary animals no longer exist in this world. They either became Ascendants or monsters killed them. The powerful monsters were moved into the deep wilderness while the weaker ones were sent to assault us here in the cities. That croak you just heard was made by a monster.”
Liu Hau used to be a lore fanatic before the apocalypse, so when he heard Cheng Yang’s explanation, he excitedly asked: “Yoko, what’s an Ascendant.”
“You can think of them as incomplete monsters that aren’t subjected to the god’s rules born from an old-world animal. We could meet an Ascendant more than a half dozen levels above me, and it wouldn’t be considered strange. In general, though, don’t appear near the cities, so we don’t have to worry about them. However, they’re more common in areas far from human habitation.”
“Damn, are there really that many?” Liu Hau’s face suddenly lit up. “Doesn’t that mean there are thousands in the bottom of the ocean?”
“This…” Cheng Yang’s calm demeanor disappeared. His friend had said the exact same thing in his past life. He also turned out to be right. Approaching the shore was considered suicidal, and even lakes would give most people nightmares since they were serene yet filled to the brim with dangerous enemies. There was nothing humanity feared more during the apocalypse than a large body of water.
Once he gathered his composure, Cheng Yang said: “We don’t need to worry about that right now since we’re so far inland. We just need to focus on getting stronger, then, even if you’re right, we’ll be able to survive. The gods gave us this chance even though they could kill us instantly, so we need to grasp the opportunity.”
When he said this, Cheng Yang exposed his deepest fears to his best friend.
Naturally, Liu Hau noticed his friend’s concern and gave him a comforting pat on the back. He also decided not to share such a scary thought with the other soldiers so their mood wouldn’t be affected.
While they were chatting, something leaped out of the undergrowth towards the Warriors at the front. It was like a bolt of lightning, shooting forwards with speed no less than that of a High-Grade monster.
“Watch out!” Cheng Yang shouted as he started to cast Icicle Blast.
When Cheng Yang shouted, everyone sprang into action. Just barely reacting in time, the Warriors at the front created a unified shield wall.
As fast as Cheng Yang was, he still needed to cast. Luckily, the Warriors were able to block the speeding object.
Right after that, Cheng Yang’s icicle pinned a blue, yellow, and red spotted object to the ground. It was a frog. One that was about a foot long and brightly colored.
When Cheng Yang first heard the croak, he wasn’t entirely sure what species of monster it was since there were over a dozen different frog-like monsters. Now, however, he knew, and it was terrible news.
Suddenly, another monster shot of out the grass towards the group, only to meet a similar fate to the first one.
“Guard every side! We absolutely can’t let any of these through!” Cheng Yang shouted, a red cloud of blood bursting out of his body.
Then, Cheng Yang used Petal Blizzard right in front of the group. Within the few moments the skill was active, five more frogs tried to jump towards the group but died in the icy terrain.
“These monsters are known as Raykac.” Cheng Yang shouted in between attacks. “Health and Damage are low, but they have a particular skill that allows them to inflict a Poisoned status when they land an attack. Once they do, that person will rapidly lose HealthHealth for the next ten seconds. Also, this effect can stack if you’re hit by multiple Raykac! So, watch out!”
Cheng Yang’s words caused everyone’s vigilance to be raised to the max. Especially the Warriors at the front who gripped their shields with a desperate fervor.
Even so, the Raykac’s Leap skill was far too powerful for everyone to resist. Dozens of them shot forwards all at once, relying on their mass to push the Warriors off-balance. This first attack of theirs was comparable to that of a High-Grade monster in terms of impact. So it made sense that during that first wave, most of the soldiers failed to black every attack. Some even got hit several times.
For the hapless soldiers that were poisoned, their HealthHealth steadily declined. Even though it was just a point and a half per second, the psychological pressure was enormous.
Thankfully, the Raykac were glass cannons. Without the momentum from their Leap skill, they were far less threatening. Their only remaining attack was a slow bite while they waddled on the ground, leaving them as easy targets.
Cheng Yang’s group killed around ten every second since the Raykac only had ten Health. This was something they were able to achieve even without Cheng Yang using Petal Blizzard.
Aside from that one powerful charge, the Raykac weren’t able to do anything during this battle, allowing the soldiers to prevail.
After the two dozen or so Raykac were dead, Liu Hau wiped the sweat off his forehead. “Whew, that was pretty nerve-wracking. Fortunately their not very strong except for that poison ability. Otherwise, we probably would have lost someone.”
Liu Hau was right. After all, getting hit three times was enough to kill any person in their group other than Cheng Yang. To survive, you’d have to quickly drink a Health Recovery potion and sit out the rest of the fight. Since they only had thirty people, once a few of them stepped aside to heal, they would reveal a significant gap in their formation. The ensuing battle would be anything but easy.
“I’m thankful the horde we ran into was a small one.” Cheng Yang said, “If there were a couple hundred even I could have died.”
After taking some time to rest and Meditate, the group continued moving. Throughout the next kilometer and a half, they ran into five more hordes, the largest of which had one thousand monsters. They also didn’t meet with a difficult to fight monster like the Raykac again, which made Cheng Yang happy. Thanks to his Sacrificial Blood Cloud skill, every other horde became easy pickings.
Although their battles were fierce, every soldier benefited greatly. Especially those that Cheng Yang used Sacrificial Blood Cloud on. As long as Cheng Yang chose them, they’d easily gain a hundred Experience Fragments in a single battle.
This meant that the three generals in the group had earned nearly the same amount as Cheng Yang since he always used one of the slots from Sacrificial Blood Cloud on them. As for the other two slots, Cheng Yang let the remaining soldiers rotate in.