Chapter 35: The Silver Spider Overlord
Wu Yun was still holding his breath. His strength was far inferior to Zhou Yu’s.
He had to deal with the silver spider that controlled Zhou Yu first. Wu Yun skillfully sidestepped behind Zhou Yu and slashed down hard to tear open his camouflage suit from the back. The silver spider flashed by as it scuttled away to hide somewhere else on Zhou Yu.
What the heck? Was he, Wu Yun, supposed to cut away all of Zhou Yu’s clothes?
Zhou Yu’s attacks became even more aggressive. His blade slashed across Wu Yun’s shoulder and sliced the skin on Wu Yun’s cheek.
If this was during usual times, then Wu Yun would have started swearing out loud a long time ago. How was he supposed to go home and see his daughter when his face had been cut?
Zhou Yu suddenly tripped Wu Yun and wrapped one hand around his neck. He swung the Swiss army knife in his other hand and was about to stab it into Wu Yun’s chest.
As his life was hanging by a thread, Wu Yun suddenly kneed Zhou Yu in the stomach. After kicking him away, he turned over and sat on top of Zhou Yu’s body. He pressed the wrist of the hand Zhou Yu was using to hold the knife into the ground and used both hands to twist away the blade.
Zhou Yu also gathered his strength and tried to throw off Wu Yun.
Wu Yun struck Zhou Yu’s chest with his elbow.
Probably because the silver spider hiding on Zhou Yu had almost been squashed, it quickly climbed out and crawled along Zhou Yu’s shoulder to his back. Wu Yun knew that the spider wanted to repeat the same trick as last time and give strength to Zhou Yu’s hand. Suddenly, Wu Yun released his hand and Zhou Yu’s dagger was thrust into Wu Yun’s shoulder. The second Wu Yun fell to the side, he pulled out the gun at his waist and resolutely pulled the trigger. The bullet hit the silver spider right on, and with a “bang—” it narrowly missed Zhou Yu on the back of his hand.
The silver spider dropped down, its limbs twitching. All of its silk threads were pulled out from Zhou Yu’s body.
Zhou Yu suddenly opened his eyes and started panting heavily. His vision gradually returned until he could see again.
Wu Yun was laid out on the ground beside him. He looked at Zhou Yu with a bitter smile.
“Shit, you almost killed me…”
Wu Yun couldn’t hold his breath any longer. Once he breathed in, even a small amount of the sedative gas would cause his mind to slacken.
He tried to stay awake, but his eyelids grew too heavy.
“Wu Yun! Wu Yun, stay awake! “
Zhou Yu was about to take off his oxygen mask and give it to Wu Yun, but Wu Yun patted him on the back of his hand and said, “Hey! Bro, I can’t anymore. It’s all up to you now. Let me sleep for a bit!”
Zhou Yu gritted his teeth. He was grateful to Wu Yun from the bottom of his heart. He knew that Wu Yun had a strong sense of loyalty and that although his words always sounded unreliable, on that day he gave up on making the most rational choice to save Zhou Yu at the risk of his life.
Wu Yun closed his eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
Zhou Yuyi hauled Wu Yun up over his shoulder.
The voice resounded in his mind again.
“I said I wouldn’t let you go.”
Zhou Yu smiled coldly: “Yes, you won’t let me go. But at the same time, you can’t leave this place either, can you?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It’s very simple: you controlled all of these insects, including the windtalkers, crystal silkworms, silver butterflies, vines, and marionettes to lure us closer, capture us, control us, and bring us here as your food. But now that your goal has been achieved and we’re out of ammunition, you still haven’t shown yourself. I’m curious how you’re going to swallow us up. Are we supposed to take the initiative to come to you? Because you can’t move, you live in this castle for certain reasons, and you will only manipulate lower-level creatures to feed you. Your sole advantage is that you are higher up on the food chain in Nibelungen.”
“Well said, it’s true that I can’t move. And yes, I am waiting for you to come to me. You should know well that unless I die, I won’t let you out of here. So, come pay me a visit!”
Zhou Yu looked down at Wu Yun: “I don’t know if I’m making the right choice. You saved my life yet I may have to drag you back into a land of death. The only thing I can do if I live is to have you live as well. If I die, then apologizes, but I can’t save you either.”
Saying that, Zhou Yu equipped all the remaining weapons on him, reloaded his ammunition clip, and also carried Toby’s remaining ammunition supply. He confirmed that his gun was loaded, then carried Wu Yun with him deeper into the tree-castle.
He held the torch in his other hand, its light gradually growing weaker. He was surrounded in the passages interwoven by snake-like vines, which seemed to have been fixed in place by some ancient curse. Although the A rank organism that was hiding in the castle could summon and control the vines, they still had to maintain the shape of the castle.
As he walked, Zhou Yu noticed withered flowers growing between the vines.
He could imagine that when the flowers had been in full bloom, the passage must have been filled with a sweet fragrance and splendid colors, like something out of a fairy tale. Zhou Yu immediately thought of the portrait of the woman carved into the ancient tree. This place seemed like a loving castle created by a nobleman to please his sweetheart.
When Zhou Yu reached the end of the passage, he stood inside the hollow center of the ancient tree.
The flame in his hand had completely burned out, but without its light, it was brighter than Zhou Yu had expected.
In the center, Zhou Yu saw a large cocoon wrapped in silk that was emitting a faint fluorescent glow.
Listening carefully, Zhou Yu seemed to be able to hear the beating sound of a pulse.
Visually, the cocoon was at least four times the size of a fully grown two-headed wolf spider!
Zhou Yu slowly put down Wu Yun and raised his gun.
“You know very well that your bullets can’t penetrate through the cocoon.”
Zhou Yu frowned and thought to himself: What on earth is that thing?
“You’re the silver spider overlord! Your kind forms large cocoons before you reach adulthood, and by the time you break out from the cocoon, your strength will have multiplied, making it possible for you to effortlessly pull out the roots of a thousand-year-old ancient tree with the simple wave of one of your legs!”
“It looks like you properly received all the knowledge Elpis passed on to you. If I ate you, would I also obtain the secrets that Elpis has told you?”
“Your cocoon state lasts for nearly 1000 years, but you’re hunting human prey in order to get the nutrition you need to emerge from your cocoon earlier.”
As he spoke, Zhou Yu took out a grenade from his waist.
Then, an ethereal serenade sounded by his ear. It stirred up his emotions and inhibited his mental acuity while blunting his reaction speed.
Zhou Yu remembered that the silver spider overlord had a very special ability: by rattling their rear section, they could produce a sound wave that would cause hallucinations in others and reduce their willpower.
Zhou Yu clutched the grenade in his hand and with great willpower, he tried to throw off the effects of illusion.
But everything around him changed. The darkness receded, and the light around him grew brighter. The clacking sound of a keyboard came from nearby.
Someone was patting him on the shoulder: “You can even sleep so well sprawled over a table! Wake up, it’s Zhao Cheng’s birthday tonight. We’re going to celebrate it with him!”
Zhou Yi looked up and found that it was none other than his vice-captain, Chen Chong. Looking around, he found that he was in his office. Everyone in his team was still there, they were chatting and joking around with each other. Meixi put down the document in her hand and reached up in a stretch. “Phew, there’s a big dinner planned for tonight! My weight-loss diet is doomed!”
“A-All of you are still…”
This was a hallucination. They were all hallucinations!
The last image of Chen Chong being killed by the Peryton was seared into his mind like a cattle brand. He would never forget that feeling of pain gushing forth from the depths of his heart!
He remembered that he was still in the center of the tree-castle, confronting the spider overlord. Why did he suddenly return to his office? How could all of his dead teammates still be alive?
He yanked out the gun around his waist and pointed it at the others.
“Boss! What are you doing? What’s wrong with you?” Chen Chong reached out both hands.
“Boss! Are you having a nightmare? Or did you wake up still muddleheaded?” Zhao Cheng also looked frightened.
Zhou Yu narrowed his eyes while looking at the gun in his hands and suddenly realized that something… wasn’t right. If there was no ongoing mission, then why would he be carrying a gun? It should have been returned to the warehouse!
All of this was fake, like a beautiful dream that soothed the heart. The spider overlord was using it to confuse him!
Zhou Yu closed his eyes and settled his mind, discarding all distractions from it and telling himself: I want to return to reality.
He pushed the faint melody of the nocturne out of his mind, and when he opened his eyes again, all the lights were now far away. Only the giant cocoon of the spider overlord was before him.
“Die!” Zhou Yu hurled the grenade at the cocoon.
The blast engulfed the place in flame. The whole tree-castle rumbled as if it was going to collapse. A large hole blew out the side of the cocoon, faintly revealing the silver spider overlord that was struggling inside. Its regeneration rate was astounding. When there was only one small hole left, Zhou Yu whipped out his gun and pressed it through the hole before pulling the trigger.
A hissing sound came from inside the cocoon and silk strands shot out in all directions. Zhou Yu ran to cover Wu Yun with his body.
He felt a blast of wind from displaced air rush over his back and his head. The silver spider overlord unfurled its legs as it stood up, as chilling as a demon climbing out of the depths of hell.
It wobbled. Although it had been poisoned by the neurotoxin, it wouldn’t die so quickly.
Its eyes were a shocking blood-red. Zhou Yu pushed Wu Yun away just as the spider overlord leaped up. The tremors it caused almost threw Zhou Yu into the air.
Its front legs were glinting with a cold light as they came down from above. Zhou Yu dodged to the side with alarm as the leg stabbing downwards embedded itself about a foot underground. He would have been a goner if he took that blow!
The colossal beast swayed a while before finally standing firm. Zhou Yu pulled out his gun and was about to invite it to eat his bullets again, but it started swinging its legs around. In order to avoid them, Zhou Yu dropped his gun as he was knocked flying.
It kept pursuing Zhou Yu. Although the inside of the ancient tree was spacious, Zhou Yu still had to find a way to draw it away from Wu Yun.
Zhou Yu ran hard. As its claws flashed by him, Zhou Yu borrowed support from the wall of vines to leap over them. He retrieved his gun when he landed.
It attacked again. Zhou Yu abruptly spun around and vaulted himself up. He took advantage of the momentum to grab onto one of its front claws as it was coming for him. He was bodily dragged away by it, his back almost breaking. The spider overlord punched its front claw into the inner wall of the ancient tree. At the last second, Zhou Yu used both feet to boost himself away from the wall, and with his arms open, he leaped forward and clung onto the upper end of its leg.
The spider overlord shook itself in a desperate attempt to free its front leg from Zhou Yu. It raised up another leg to stab him in the back. Zhou Yu jumped again, this time onto its other leg. He quickly climbed up the claw and came to land on top of its head.
There was one more bullet left in his gun. He aimed it into a crack on the spider overlord’s shell and pulled the trigger.
A loud whine rang throughout the tree-castle. Zhou Yu fell off the spider and used his hands to cover his ears tightly.
After about a dozen seconds, the noise stopped.
Zhou Yu slowly rolled over and saw that through the haze, the silver spider overlord was lying limp on the ground, appearing motionless.
Zhou Yu stared at it coldly, watching it take its last breath.
His heart was still beating wildly. Was it dead? Was it completely dead?
The faint glimmer of light from the spider overlord gradually faded, and everything fell into a dead silence. Zhou Yu heaved a sigh of relief.
“All right! If you still won’t die after taking two bullets, then I’d wonder if you really were an organism. “
Zhou Yu got up and went to Wu Yun’s side to hoist him up. He tried to look around, but could only continue walking forwards in the darkness to find a way out of the tree-castle.
All of a sudden, something impaled Zhou Yu through his chest. His eyes widened in shock and he felt a sharp stab of pain in his heart. He could no longer support Wu Yun and let him slip off his shoulder.
He turned his head back with difficulty and saw silk threads that came from the mouth of the silver spider overlord. The spider silk was condensed into strands, and with steel-like toughness, it pierced through the vine walls.
Zhou Yu opened his mouth, but he couldn’t say a single word from the immense pain.
This time, the spider overlord truly passed away with its mouth still open. Blood flowed down along the strands of silk, drop by drop.
Cold sweat trickled down Zhou Yu’s temples and his body faintly trembled. He raised his hand to hold onto strands. He felt around his waist, but then remembered that his Swiss Army knife had been destroyed by Wu Yun.
“Wu Yun… Wu Yun… Wake up… “
Zhou Yu’s lips had turned white and his body was growing cold.
This time, the god of death was finally going to pay him a visit.
He had used up all his luck.
He knew that even if the base sent helicopters and rescue teams, it might not be enough to save his life.
His only hope now was that Wu Yun would be able to safely return to the base after waking up. He knew that Wu Yun would protect Zhou Qing in his place.
The pain was gradually paralyzing his nerves and his eyelids felt heavier and heavier. He couldn’t keep up a clear train of thought and his body started to sway. Just as he was about to sink into formless chaos, a familiar voice sounded in his mind.
“Don’t sleep, Zhou Yu! Whatever you do, don’t sleep! Stay with me! Don’t give up! “
The authoritative voice seemed to cross through the boundary of death and pull him back from the edge of the abyss.
“Who are you…?”
Zhou Yu thought to himself: am I hallucinating again?
“Don’t be afraid, I won’t let you disappear! As long as you can keep holding on, you must hold on! “
In his confusion, Zhou Yu seemed to detect something rapidly approaching him. From thousands of miles away, speeding against time, they left a trail of dust in their wake, carrying with them the momentum to overcome anything in their path.
He heard the rustling of the vines. A window seemed to open up above him and allow the starlight to shine inside.
A young man’s figure leaped in through the gap and dropped down before him.
All the light seemed to be drawn to him. His hair fluttered up in the air as his agile body landed in front of Zhou Yu, brightening up his dimming vision again.
He had a fair, white face that Zhou Yu was familiar with. His eyes were as deep as a black-glazed sea, as if it could swallow up Zhou Yu’s senses entirely.
“It’s you… How could it be you…? “
It was the boy who had saved him at Angel’s Horns.
He felt like he was dreaming. Was this one last, beautiful dream before death? As if an envoy of God was performing his duty to take him to another world.
“Don’t be afraid. In life and death, I will be with you.”
He reached out his hand and stroked Zhou Yu’s cheek. The temperature of his palm made Zhou Yu feel safe. The warmth felt like it was protecting Zhou Yu.
His other hand grasped the silk strands that were pierced through Zhou Yu’s heart.
“Don’t be afraid… It will hurt a little… “
He turned to face Zhou Yu. When he leaned his cheek against Zhou Yu, the warmth instantly revitalized Zhou Yu’s dying cells.
“Stay here… With me… “
His voice seemed to drag Zhou Yu’s soul back from Hell, and his hug crushed Zhou Yu. Being in a weakened state, Zhou Yu could not bear this kind of strength. The moment he fell backward, the young man reached out his other hand to hold and support Zhou Yu’s back.
His collapsed world was restored.
Finally, he felt the strands being pulled out of his body by the youth.
His heart also felt like it was being yanked out of the chest.
Zhou Yu started trembling, but the young man held him tightly.
He had a familiar scent, but Zhou Yu could not recall whose it was.
The young man slowly laid down Zhou Yu in his embrace.
Blood flowed out underneath Zhou Yu like a crimson lake.
Zhou Yu knew that he would undoubtedly die at the rate he was losing blood. He merely looked up at the young man with wide eyes. He tried to see his features clearly, as if he wanted to take this last memory with him onto the next world. If he were to die, then he wanted to remember good things.
The young man smiled placidly at Zhou Yu.
He brushed away the hair on Zhou Yu’s face with his finger and lowered his forehead to place it against Zhou Yu’s in an almost devout manner.
“Trust me. It’s not over yet.”
Zhou Yu was reluctant for the young man’s fingers to leave him, but the youth raised his hand to pick up a pebble from the ground. He cut open his palm and let the blood drip down right over Zhou Yu’s chest.
Zhou Yu’s body tensed up, his spine arching back. He felt a surge of vitality enter his heart via his wound and quickly close up his injuries. It flowed between his cells and eliminated all of his pain.
Compared with his heart being punctured, this force went on a rampage in his blood vessels, causing him a great amount of pain that spread all over his body. His bones cracked as if they were being broken and reassembled.
His body was drenched in cold sweat.
The young man’s used a hand to cover his forehead and his eyes still wide with shock. He leaned down by Zhou Yu’s ear and said, “Don’t be afraid, endure it… Everything will get better and I will always be by your side.”
His voice was very light, but it contained a kind of power that compelled Zhou Yu to trust him completely.
Gradually, the tumultuous energy dissipated as if it had wholly integrated with his body.
His cold body slowly started warming up, and to his surprise, the young man remained sitting beside him.
“Am I still alive, or am I dead?” asked Zhou Yu, lying there. At that moment, he didn’t want to keep alert, to use any strength, or to even think. He looked at those eyes like obsidian and let himself fall into them.
The young man smiled and used his fingers to lightly touch upon Zhou Yu’s lips.
“You were chosen by me, how could you die so easily?”
All of a sudden, the words that Elpis had once said flooded into Zhou Yu’s mind: You were chosen by him.
This unnerved Zhou Yu. He reached out for his gun and aimed it at the young man.
“You’re an S rank organism. What is your purpose in getting close to me?”
The young man approached Zhou Yu without any trace of fear. With one hand supporting Zhou Yu’s body, he pressed his face close to Zhou Yu. The muzzle of the gun was against his chest.
His expression was slightly provocative. It aroused something in Zhou Yu, but it was not at all vulgar.
“Have you forgotten? Your gun is empty.” The young man’s lips did not open or close, but his voice sounded in Zhou Yu’s mind.
Zhou Yu still remembered the young man’s embrace. There was a hint of possessiveness as he had pushed onwards without hesitation.