Chapter 294: Khul! You Son Of A B…
Sophie hesitantly lifted her right arm out of the water and waited for a few moments to see if the stinging sensation returned.
The minutes passed by uneventfully, so Sophie slowly swam towards the shore and lifted her body onto the riverbank.
There was an uncomfortable feeling of attraction coming from the cave.
It was as though the endless darkness was beckoning to Sophie.
The cold embrace of the shadows was an urge that she needed to fulfil. Sophie shook her head frantically to rid herself of these strange thoughts.
Instantly she gazed at the cave’s entrance with great caution in her eyes.
Someone or rather something lurking inside those shadowy depths was calling out to her.
Sophie’s first instincts were to immediately retreat from the cave’s surrounding area, but the problem was that her quest goal was located inside.
She would need to intentionally wander into that dangerous area and search for the hideous monster that Khul had mentioned.
Sophie’s eyebrows relaxed as an idea flashed across her mind. She could not believe that she had not thought of this sooner.
Who said that she would need to enter the cave to find the monster?
There was a simple solution staring her right in the face…
Smoke out the bastard.
A bloodthirsty grin flashed across Sophie’s face and for a brief moment her golden eye flashed a crimson red colour before returning to normal.
Now the first step in her plan required firewood.
She needed to look for old branches and sticks with low moisture content.
Clearly the wet trees moistened by the water mist coming from the waterfall would not be usable, so Sophie walked away.
The mysterious stings had not returned even as Sophie walked further and further away from the waterfall, but the hybrid girl remained vigilant.
She mentally kept track of the distance between herself and the lake in case another unexpected attack occurred.
Sophie travelled around three kilometers before encountering a patch of trees merrily bathing beneath the gentle rays of the warm sun hanging high above in the sky.
These trees much like the rest of the forest were completely identical from their size to their shapes.
Every branch, every leaf and every root were an exact copy.
The only difference was that unlike the vegetation by the waterfall, one could observe that certain branches in the middle section of the tree were slightly dry.
Still unlike normal dry leaves, there was no noticeable colour change to differentiate them from the healthy ones.
Sophie had to rely on her enhanced vision to spot a lack of water droplets on the leaves.
“Okay, now how exactly do I climb up there?” Sophie muttered to herself as she stared at the stump where her left arm used to be.
The healing process from her terrible injuries had been incredibly slow but at least now there were some fleshy growths protruding from her missing limbs.
Sophie ran her fingers against the truck of the nearest tree and felt its rough and uneven surface.
This trial may not be over yet, but Sophie was once again grateful for her alien heritage.
With great care, she pierced the tree with her upper right bladed appendage.
Then she made the same motion with her upper left bladed appendage before stabbing the bark with her lower appendages to stabilize her body.
Sophie slowly climbed up the tree using these familiar motions and made sure that each bladed appendage was securely inserted into the trunk before moving.
Along the way she used her right hand to snap off dry branches and twigs. For good measure she also plucked off some leaves and dropped them.
Typically, the average juvenile of her mother’s species would be able to climb up the tallest tree in this forest in under two minutes.
The bladed appendages of an Arachnais were incredibly flexible and allowed for a wide range of movement.
Sophie naturally took a bit longer as she was unfamiliar with the movements at first but gradually her natural instincts took over.
After she had collected enough material from the tree, Sophie climbed down and begun the process all over again.
In total she managed to get enough fire-starting material from only five trees.
Sophie placed the dry branches and leaves in her storage device and headed back towards the cave.
Even though she had stored clothes, weapons and food in her storage bag, Sophie did not have any fire-starting devices.
So… the only way to start this fire was the good old fashion way.
Sophie did not have any experience but luckily inside Sui Meng’s memories was a time where the ancient Earth girl had gone camping with her father.
The kind elderly father had explained to his daughter how to set up a campfire and made her do the steps under constant supervision.
Sophie planned on following this method to create her own fire to smoke out the creature inside the cave.
It did not take long to hear the familiar thunderous roar of the waterfall as the heavy water flow crashed against the rough and choppy surface of the lake.
Sophie cautiously walked towards the entrance of the cave and pulled the dry branches and twigs out of her storage bag.
The hungry darkness inside the cave began to whisper seductive pleads in Sophie’s ear but the hybrid girl bit her lip to deal with the temptation.
This sudden burst of pain was enough to keep her mind clear.
Now it was time to set up the fire.
Sophie first cleared out an area directly in front of the cave and removed any stones or pebbles.
Then she created a circular zone using large rocks that she had found nearby. Inside this circle, she first placed the bigger wooden pieces such as the branches as a base.
She then piled on the smaller twigs and filled the spaces between the branches with dry grass and leaves.
Sophie planned on using an ancient Earth technique known as the ‘fire plough’ method.
It involved rubbing one stick against another in a ploughing motion until the pieces of wood become hot enough to ignite the wood shavings that are produced.
The stick heats up due to the friction caused by the frantic rubbing.
In Sui Meng’s memories, Sophie recalled that the young teenage girl had taken fifteen minutes to start the blaze and her arms were in pain for the rest of the afternoon.
Sophie got two firm sticks and begun to mimic the motions she had seen in Sui Meng’s memories.
It was boring and tedious work, but Sophie maintained her enthusiasm despite not seeing any apparent results.
Two minutes passed….
Seven minutes passed….
Sophie’s rubbing motions became faster and faster but she had to take care not to break the sticks by using too much force.
Eventually some tiny sparks were produced that fell on the dry leaves. Sophie expected to rub a bit longer, but the leaves instantly caught on fire.
Sophie hurriedly moved back in shock as the material inside the stone circle ignited into a fearsome blaze that extended three feet upwards.
Okay… clearly there was something wrong with those branches….
This was a bit of an unexpected situation, but Sophie quickly calmed herself down and proceeded to the next stage of the plan.
She pulled a long piece of cloth from her storage bag and begun to flap it at the blaze to send the smoke inside the cave.
Fortunately, the wind also appeared to be on her side as a healthy breeze coming from the east helped push the smoke further inward.
Sophie wasn’t sure how deep the inside of the cave was but hopefully her plan to smoke out whatever was lurking in those depths would be successfully.
It did not take long for a furious roar to be heard coming from somewhere deep below the ground.
Sophie’s pointed ear flickered towards a certain direction, so she hurriedly dropped the cloth and ran behind a nearby grove of trees.
Now was the time for the ambush.
“Arghhhhh! Khul you son of a bitch!” a ferocious yell echoed through the forest.
The stone entrance to the cave shattered as an enormous hulking figure emerged from the shadows.
Sophie held her breath and remained silent as she carefully observed the hideous monster that she was supposed to defeat.
The creature that ran out from the cave was a muscular humanoid alien that stood at an impressive twenty feet in height.
His skin was a pitch-black colour but there were silver areas dotted in his flesh that resembled a beautiful starry night.
Eight ferocious heads were attached to a wide chest with each head being linked to the rest of the body via a long, slender, and almost snake-like neck.
Each head had one single eye in the center of its face and two mouths located to the left and right side of the creature’s jaw, respectively.
The monster saw the fire and ran over with each step causing the ground to shake slightly and Sophie to almost lose her balance.
It immediately jumped up and down on the blaze and its enormous body was enough to completely smother the fire.
The grove of trees Sophie was hiding in was directly behind the monster, so she was out of his field of vision.
Sophie pulled out a dagger and carefully dripped the contents of a vial on its edges. A deep purplish-red liquid coated the sides of her dagger.
She was prepared to strike.
Sophie bent her knees and prepared to leap forward when a terrible recollection flashed across her mind.
Wait… eight eyes?
Didn’t Khul say that it had ten?
Her danger sense immediately went haywire.
Sophie jumped away from her location just as two red laser beams sank into the ground where she had been crouching.
Sophie’s heart sank as she saw two floating eyeballs with fleshy wings attached to their sides observing her every move.
She could hear a low chuckling noise coming from the gigantic beast as he slowly turned his body around.