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58 The thing with sharp teeth

    Deep down, they knew that they should never have followed that strange man into that place that was devoided of music and festivities.

    But that candied hawthorn was something that they so desire to have. It was as if there was a slight chance they would be given a small nibble of the sweets.

    The mist in the forest became denser as it time went on. All was quiet that one could hear the leaves rustling by the light breeze nearby. This place was as an eternal purgatory where souls lost in limbo would meander around, never finding their way and never reincarnating, slowly they would dissipate, and become nothing all together.

    It was a wonder why people dare not enter so deeply. It was said that untamed lands meant that lands were not sacred and it symbolized the roaming spirits and creatures that were free to wander around.

    This was why no one would think of setting up a new home in uncharted lands, and would never move far away from a place their ancestors have lived for generations.

    Far away, there were strange sounds of low growls and howling. It seemed that the forest itself was alive, and all the creatures living within them were just part of a self-sufficient system. Without the need of the outsiders who occasionally came in and out of the forest.

    Prowling about, were creatures that had the hunter's instinct. It could sense the breaths of creatures close to it. Right now, it sensed the presence of breath within its territory. Feeling violated at the intrusion, it made a dash for the intruder, its four paws scarcely touching the ground as it ran swiftly.

    Xue'er only felt a wind pass by before there was a terrible pain in her neck. Her eyes opened with shock. Those amber gray eyes resembled those of a beast, as she looks toward the place where the shadow of the creature that attacked her disappeared.

    She could scarcely make out the soft fuzzy outline of the creature, as it darted into the brush at lightning speeds.

    "Uh." Xue'er let out a groan, as she touched her hand to the place where she felt the pain. Looking at the hand, she saw her own blood, a thick, yet dark liquid that did not seem to be of a normal human being. Her blood had the consistency of porridge. Strangely, the blood was not warm at all.

    Xue'er could feel the place that the creature had sunk its teeth into. Normally speaking, that creature should have had her blood in its jaws as it tore into her neck.

    Yet, it scurried away so quickly after it made that bite.

    Xue'er knew that as of now, a major artery had been severed, and all the blood that her heart was pumping would not course through her body any longer, now, all that blood was gushing out like a beautiful crimson red river, onto the ground where it had been dyed red.

    Even her clothing should have been dyed red by now, yet this had been avoided due to the strange angle in which she was laying down, and allowing the blood to flow downwards and into a puddle.

    She could feel her head getting heavier and heavier, it seemed that her body wanted to fall into a deep sleep, never to wake up again. Yet she knew that with such a grave injury if she fell into a deep sleep, she may never wake up again.

    Her arms and legs were heavy. They felt no different from that of a corpse. It was nothing more than the feeling of dead weight at this point, she could not muster up the slightest sliver of strength from this body of hers', and her eyelids were closing. The seemingly promise of eternity seemed very enchanting towards her, and her muddled mind could not make a decision.

    Slowly, she drifted off...

    To a deep sleep.

    The blood from the wound flowing out at an alarming rate, seeping itself into the ground. Almost like a puddle of water that had been spilled, and was now making itself at home. The dried and dusty oil hurriedly soaked up all the liquid coming its way, so that nothing was left, save for the crimson color, that would easily fade with a couple of showers.

    Yet there was the girl laying there by herself, imbuing the earth with what was her blood. At the moment, it seemed that she had already taken in her last breath. Her features were calm, and her eyes closed. Her limbs were motionless, like that of a cold corpse. Her skin was pale as always and had a calmly touch to it, as though the thick fog would leave a few drops of dew upon her.

    ~

    Far away, Gan Tian Chi was on the outskirts of a small village that was about a week's worth of traveling from the border town. He had been wandering around for a while and was quite sure that the town would be on edge and alarm the authorities immediately if he continued to meander around.

    Perhaps they would see him as an enemy, considering how this place was so close to the northern Wei kingdom.

    Small villages like this were pretty tight-knit, and they knew all who lived in their communities, he was sure that it would be impossible to blend in unless he was one of them.

    While walking around the little village, his hand unconsciously reached up to his neck to touch something. It was not a movement that he had control over but after the touch, he suddenly felt his entire body go cold.
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