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77 Small Creatures

    The hands that were prepared to unwrap stopped. She nodded, as though understanding the meaning behind it. The paper was placed into her bag and she walked out the door.

    There was no doubt that Xiao Ya had stolen this from a fruit vendor, then again, when had she, herself ever truly owned anything in her life before?

    Tangible objects were such a pain to carry around, and there was no need for them.

    Yet still, it was a gift of goodwill from someone who had nothing in the first place, this meant a lot to her.

    She looked outside, the sky was still bright, which indicated that it was early in the morning, though she was uncertain how long she had been out of it since there were still people in the marketplace, then not much time had passed.

    She opened up her umbrella and walked back onto the streets. No one ever knew where a road would lead, nor the consequences of traveling on a path out there, and there was always some element of surprise when going on a lengthy walk.

    She slowly made her way out the safe walls of the border town and stepped into the place that was called the wilderness. Though she was not the only one, there were also many people that passed and exited this seemingly easy to cross gate that seemingly went of for miles upon miles.

    Some she observed, were from nearby villages, some, the merchants from the north who were well versed in the weather who knew to wear clothes of fur to keep themselves warm. She then looked at her own pitiful attire made of plain cotton fabric.

    But, she didn't feel cold.

    That was precisely the problem.

    Soon, she deviated from the main road and made her way to the site where she had previously bleed out. This place seemed to be nonexistent, as the puddle that occupied that space had become as large as a lake, no one would ever believe that there had been a time when the ground had shown there.

    One could believe that as time passed, slowly there would be vegetation that would grow there, creating a new pond. The tree that she had leaned against had seemed to shrink in size, it had become dry and ashy, as though its existence would soon be erased from this world.

    There was a strange sound coming from her bag, that was when she realized that the little red worm still in there, and she had somewhat forgotten about its existence.

    Quickly, she opened her porcelain bottle and allowed it to come out. The small red droplet seemed to have gotten fatter, as it had to squeeze itself through the opening. Coming out, it spread its wings which were like small transparent leaves.

    [Wait, when did it grow wings?]

    Xue'er was left in a confused state as the little red worm, could it be considered a worm now, flew off to the small tree. The little thing burrowed itself deep into the bark, burrowing a tunnel to the center where it was hollow.

    She decided to let it do its thing, after all, there would be plenty of time to figure everything out later.

    Yet, there was something else, another sound that she heard. One not of the birds flying, the winds blowing in the rain, nor the wolves howling in the distance. But something entirely different, like a sound wavering between choking and purring.

    She walked towards the sound, and as it got louder and louder, that was when she parted the tall weeds that grew rambunctiously around the small stick like trees.

    Xue'er laid eyes on that thing which had inflicted the severe wound on her neck.

    It was in such a wretched state.

    The fur of its body nearly falling off, just barely hanging on, some having formed tangled clumps. Its skin had begun to crumble, with boils filling with pus. The original color of its fur could not be seen due to the mud that had mixed in on its body.

    The thing was about the size of a small kitten, with the ears of a rabbit, and the tail of a ferret. No one could be sure what kind of thing it was.

    As she came closer, and it seemed that it had not noticed her footsteps or the still atmosphere that seemed to encase the surroundings all of a sudden.

    As the atmosphere became denser and denser, the thing shriveled into a little ball and began to tremble. As though it had sensed the very presence of death near, and coming closer.

    Xue'er's lips twitched in response to the action she observed.

    [Where was your fear when you bit me?] She wondered, picking the thing up from the loose skin around its neck and gave a scoff.

    Her actions were similar to that of a hunter picking up its wounded prey. There was nowhere to escape.

    Xue'er felt the crumbling skin on the small animal's body. With its body deteriorating at such a rapid rate, she was certain it would meet with death soon.

    As for the cause of such a strange disease, it could be slowly observed.

    The poor thing did not know what was in store for it.

    Xue'er brought it to the nearest cave a few miles away, while she allowed the little red worm to burrow itself deep in the tree, she was certain it would find her when it was done.

    The cave was dark, with a lot of moisture, but it was far above the ground level, so the water had not yet been able to seep in yet. Xue'er placed the little thing in a pile of grass before she began to observe it carefully.

    Her hands carefully caressed the clumps of fur on its head, slowly making her way down its mouth, before forcefully opening its jaws to take a deeper look inside. There were rows of sharp canines, that still had the remnants of dark red blood inside, Xue'er's hands froze for a moment, as though she could tell perfectly well, that her blood was still inside this thing's mouth. Its throat was swollen and red, she nearly smiled when she saw how her blood had corroded this wicked animal's body.

    She then turned the animal over to look at its stomach, which was in no better condition with pieces of skin falling around. She leaned in her head to listen to the beating of its heart, which was beating weakly, just barely hanging on.

    Her gaze shifted to the contents of the stomach, to find it strangely filled with water, no different from a drowning person who had forcefully taken many gulps of water.

    An arc formed on her lips as she touched the little creature's head.

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    "Hmm... Should I save you or let you die?"

    The little animal as though understanding human speech curled up into a pathetic looking ball of fur on the grass.
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