Chapter 26: Melder

Lu Yin grabbed Jeraldine and started his journey the same night. Taking a short rest about 100 kilometers north of Nanjing, they continued heading north until they reached Shandong.

“Hey, the northeast has turned blue,” Jeraldine said with surprise along the way.

Bai Xue was defeated? Lu Yin was curious about this, but before he could think further the duo came across a giant tree that was blocking their path. It resembled a willow that was more than a kilometer tall, countless branches covering a portion of Shandong’s sky. Both of them immediately halted and checked its combat level.

““4290,”” the two exclaimed in unison. The tree was a Melder!

“Let’s go around it,” Lu Yin promptly decided to avoid it, but a few vines stretched out from a river and whipped towards them. He pushed Jeraldine away before dodging the attack himself, a loud snap resounding through the air as the vines went taut. Jeraldine gasped with relief; she wouldn’t have managed to escape the attack if not for the push.

“Go around and try to avoid it,” he shouted even as countless vines whipped toward them from all directions. The tree could somehow attack them from quite the distance, and it soon became apparent that it would be too difficult to go around. They would spend at least ten seconds in its attack radius, and while he could manage that, Jeraldine could not. Noticing her defense faltering, he used a Spacerender Palm to deflect the branches and rushed towards her, lifting her up and rushing directly towards the tree.

“WHAT? YOU’RE CRAZY!” she screamed as they approached, eyes glued to its python-like vines and the piles of bone on the ground. It was a terrifying scene.

“Look behind you,” Lu Yin said calmly.

Jeraldine turned back and her face paled; the road behind them had been sealed off! An endless wall of branches had left them with no way to retreat. She groaned, “This is a Melder, we’re doomed!”

Lu Yin looked through his surroundings with an icy gaze, dodging the endless vines that shot towards them. He was now less than three kilometers away, and the closer he got, the more he realized that he’d underestimated its horrifying size. Its energy alone was distorting the space around, rendering the place devoid of sunlight. Thankfully, the creature seemed quite unintelligent, attacking purely based on instinct. Were it to have any skill at battle, the two of them certainly wouldn’t be able to persist.

Jeraldine took out more than ten fire crystals from her cosmic ring and smashed them, sending a wave of flames towards the ground.

“Uhh… are you trying to burn it?” Lu Yin asked.

She grimaced, “It might be scared of fire.”

She wasn’t wrong, technically. It was normal for plant-based creatures to be afraid of fire, but a tree as big as this one would need a volcanic eruption before it went up in flames. Even the full stash of fire crystals outside Nanjing would be insufficient. However, Lu Yin’s eyes suddenly narrowed and he ignored her; was that another person? He saw a tiny spot darting left and right under the tree, slowly growing larger and larger until it revealed itself to be another human. This person was even closer than them.

“He’s so strong!” Jeraldine exclaimed. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to bear the tree’s attacks if not for Lu Yin, while this other person was obviously quite relaxed.

Lu Yin’s gaze turned cold as they approached closer, recognizing the head of silver hair. This was the same youth whose butterfly sword had beaten his Cosmic Palm under the moonlight, something that he would never forget. 

“We meet again, friend,” the silver-haired youth greeted cordially.

Jeraldine was bewildered; how did they know each other?

“What a coincidence,” Lu Yin said as he side-stepped another whip.

“It’s not a coincidence, I’ve been trapped here for quite some time. There’s a high chance that you would bump into me if you’re heading north, it’s fate.”

“How do you know that we’re heading north?” Lu Yin asked.

“Of course you’d be heading north. Isn’t your destination the capital?”

Lu Yin’s eyes narrowed and he tried to guess who this guy was. Was this one of the school leaders Jaeger was talking about?

“CAREFUL!” Jeraldine yelled suddenly as she saw dozens of branches shooting towards the youth. He just flashed a friendly smile as a beautiful butterfly sword appeared in his hands, facing the attack head-on. A loud explosion rang out as the branches were cut down, the youth himself emerging unscathed. He smiled at her once more before flashing a provocative grin in Lu Yin’s direction.

For his part, Lu Yin still held the frightened girl in one hand as the moon started flitting around the other, meeting the attack with the Cosmic Palm. The branches were blown away as he, too, emerged unscathed. He yawned, “I didn’t sleep well last night, so I only used 30% of my power.”

The silver-haired youth’s face twitched, “I only used 20%.”

“Oh sorry, did I say 30? I meant 10.”

“Hmph. I meant 5.”

Jeraldine was speechless at this exchange. They were competing? Now?

Lu Yin didn’t know why he felt an intense threat from the silver-haired youth. It was as though that butterfly sword was hovering right above his head at all times, ready to drop down at any second. That was why he always strutted about; it was an act to make sure he wouldn’t be the victim of a sudden attack. As countless branches appeared from all directions and sealed off the space that they were in, he finally turned serious, “Let’s aim for the main body, or there’ll be no end to this.”

The silver-haired youth nodded, “I spent too much energy playing in the last few days, or I could’ve just settled this alone.”

“If I weren’t trying to get somewhere soon, I’d use this thing for training.”

The youth smiled and stepped on one of the branches, rushing towards the main body of the tree. Lu Yin tossed Jeraldine to the ground, warning her to take care of herself as he followed. Both of them quickly approached the trunk.

Becoming a Melder was an important step in one’s training. That realm was the peak of the human body, where many cultivators would be stuck for the rest of their lives. It was only when they exceeded their own limits that they could advance and become Explorers. Most elite students were Sentinels, but there were still more Melders at that age than Sentinels who could face Melder-level beings. Although the tree wasn’t exactly intelligent, it was huge and seemed to have infinite energy reserves. In some ways, it was far more difficult to defeat it than a normal Melder.

The silver-haired guy’s butterfly sword turned into a white comet that shot towards the tree, while the vague image of a second star appeared in Lu Yin’s Cosmic Palm. Both attacks landed at almost the exact same moment and struck the same spot, cracking the tough surface of the tree in an instant. The two of them pierced right through the tree and flew a hundred meters away as a loud explosion rang out behind them, the enormous creature collapsing to the ground as its vines covered the river.

The two looked at each other after that combined strike; they now had a better understanding of the other’s strength. The same thought flashed across both their minds; this person had grown more powerful.

On the other side of the tree, Jeraldine was the most stunned of them all. A mutant plant was easy to dodge, but it was difficult to pierce their bark. Although she had never sparred with Veron, she was sure that even he didn’t have the ability to wound this tree. Were these two even stronger than the top student of her school?

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA