780 Secret Fores
The 55th checkpoint on the Stairway Tree was not only a human gathering point. It was also a lush forest.
Perhaps people would see moss and fungus growing on a regular tree, but that was not what one could see growing on the trees at checkpoint 55.
Standing on the base of the branches of the Stairway Tree at checkpoint 55, Lin Huang lifted his head, gazing at the trunk on top of him. The large tree trunk was now entirely covered by the ancient forest. The roots of the big tree penetrated deep into the bark of the Stairway Tree.
There were also various types of wildflowers that grew from the bark. Lin Huang was surprised by what he just saw.
After climbing more than 50 checkpoints on the Stairway Tree, Lin Huang knew how hard the bark of the Stairway Tree was. He was unable to damage the bark despite attacking it with all he had. He even doubted if the Stairway Tree itself was something that could be destroyed in the virtual world.
Naturally, he was surprised when he saw the grass that grew from the bark of the Stairway Tree.
"I guess this is the Secret Forest…" Lin Huang studied the forest curiously. He had briefly browsed through the information provided by Feng Yi and knew that the 55th checkpoint on the Stairway Tree would not be as simple as he thought.
The unique thing about the Secret Forest on the 55th checkpoint was not the flowers on the tree branches. What drew the people's attention were the special rules imposed on this level.
All the creatures that entered the Secret Forest, be it humans like Lin Huang or monsters that were used to staying on the Stairway Tree, experienced shrinking. Their body sizes would be reduced to a thousandth of their original size. That being said, if a person as tall as two meters entered the forest, that person's height would instantly be reduced to two millimeters. The decrease in size would happen to all relics and equipment that one had, including one's clothing, shoes, Emperor's Heart Ring and more; there were no exceptions.
The shrinking effect caused the climbing route that was initially 10,000 meters long to shorten to 1,000 meters.
One was unable to fly on the Stairway Tree, and teleportation was prohibited from being activated. They could only climb with their hands and feet, and the terrifying gravitational force completely restricted their traveling speed. Even people like Chan Dao, who was capable of killing an imperial-level, had his traveling speed completely suppressed to the point that he was now slower than a transcendent. His traveling speed would no faster than an ordinary cultivator with a golden Life Wheel, let alone Lin Huang's.
With his body that had been reduced to a size that was 1,000 times smaller, Lin Huang knew that it would take him at least three days to complete the climb that was 10,000 meters long without any rest and without encountering any obstacles.
"It will take me at least three days to complete the climb with this reduced body size. However, the auction would have started three days later." Lin Huang grinned. "Luckily, I have my own transportation. Thanks to the Mighty Ape's size, despite being reduced 1,000 times smaller, it can complete the climb in less than a day if it doesn't face any obstacles. Let's get to the 56th checkpoint today. I need to meet Yi Zheng tomorrow morning, then I can start collecting points tomorrow night."
Lin Huang crushed the card in his hand and the Mighty Ape was summoned, accompanied by a low growl.
The Mighty Ape, which was now an immortal-level rank-4, was more than 400 meters tall, resembling a small mountain.
Lin Huang leaped on the Mighty Ape's shoulder in a flash, pointing towards the leafy forest. "Go through the forest as fast as you can!"
The Mighty Ape bounded and entered the Secret Forest.
At almost the same time as it entered the forest, Lin Huang and its body shrunk to 1/1000 of their original size.
Lin Huang felt nothing strange during the entire process. The only thing he felt was that everything in front of him became much larger all of a sudden.
The Mighty Ape was slightly startled. It had no idea what was happening.
Sensing that the Mighty Ape was stunned, Lin Huang patted its neck reassuringly. "Don't worry. It's the rule of this region to make us 1,000 times smaller. We'll be able to return to our original size after getting out of this forest."
The Mighty Ape nodded its head as it heard what Lin Huang said. It regained its initial excitement from when it had been summoned and quickly scaled upwards.
The 400-meter tall Mighty Ape shrank to only 40 centimeters following the rules of the forest, turning from King Kong into a humble monkey.
However, the changes did not have a significant effect on the Mighty Ape's movement. Its diminished body size enabled it to be more agile when passing through the tree branches.
It loped through the trees at a breakneck speed. Sometimes, it held onto the tree branches to swing from branch to branch and leaped from tree to tree. As it familiarized itself with the forest, its movement became smoother, and its speed got faster and faster.
Lin Huang felt that the decision to summon the Mighty Ape was absolutely spot-on. However, he was still very alert towards his surroundings. His territorial and telekinetic powers covered a four-kilometers radius around him. The sword that he was holding in his right hand never left him.
Apart from the remaining monsters in the Secret Forest that could be dangerous, there were some perilous plants as well. Some of their skills were rather destructive, and they could kill an immortal-level rank-9 in an instant.
"Herculean King, stop!" Lin Huang suddenly yelled.
The Mighty Ape immediately stopped moving forward, grasping onto a tree branch with one of its arms. It then turned its head back, staring at Lin Huang doubtfully.
"There are Witch Petals in front of us. The region that it covers isn't that big. Let's cross that area from the right." Lin Huang's facial expression was stern as he looked towards the front.
He had sensed the existence of the Witch Petals with his telekinetic power. It was a type of demonic plant with enchantment power, and it was talented at casting enchantments on creatures that approached it, causing the creatures to commit suicide. Subsequently, the corpses would be used as its nutrients.
The combat level of the Witch Petals was not high and basically ranged from immortal-levels rank-1 to rank-3. The enchantment effect of a single plant could only deceive those who were on immortal-levels rank-4 to rank-6.
However, the enchantment effect of the plant could be multiplied. The effect might not be strong when it came to one or two plants, but it could be a huge nightmare when there were thousands of Witch Petals. They were capable of getting an imperial-level into that terrifying state of dreamland.
There were more than 8,000 Witch Petals in front of them.
Fortunately, Lin Huang realized that in time. He could not tell if he could get out of the dreamland if the Herculean King brought him there.
Despite the Mighty Ape not having any idea what the Witch Petal was, it would definitely obey Lin Huang's instructions.
After turning right and moving a certain distance away from the Witch Petals, Lin Huang then allowed the Mighty Ape to turn back as soon as he could confirm that they had left the region covered by the Witch Petals. They then headed towards the Secret Forest.
Thanks to Lin Huang's telekinesis, the human and the monster managed to avoid the perils around them several times.
After spending the entire afternoon, the Mighty Ape had completed half the journey with Lin Huang on its back.
"At this speed, we'll be able to pass through the Secret Forest before 4 p.m., and we'll soon arrive at the 56th checkpoint."