59 Chance Encounter
The early morning on the crater floor was a sight to behold. The fresh air brought by the previous night's storm seemed to revitalize the atmosphere and life seemed to course through the plants, trees, and animals around Zoey and Viridi. Both of them were in awe of the sheer size and spectacle of everything they saw as they traveled through the area. The normal creatures that one would find outside the crater were several times larger than they should have been, as if they were all affected by some magical growth effect.
Most of the animals they saw avoided them though, at least until they traveled deeper into the crater's interior. In here the trees were even bigger and thicker, and most of the wild life were feral beasts that would attack on sight. Zoey had not realized this until they were attacked by a two legged bird-like creature covered in scales. It was a big creature that leapt through the forest with powerful leaps, and it also had a vicious beak that looked like a meat hook. It had attacked when they inadvertently passed through its territory and surprisingly, the creature easily shrugged off the shots from Zoey's 9mm Custom.
Even after she boosted her handgun with the Mk1 Prototype Armament applied, she was still barely able to penetrate the scales of the bird-like creature. After she thoroughly pissed it off by shooting it a bunch with little effect, Viridi was able to blind it with a well-placed shot of Ice Venom and Zoey finished it off with a quick strike from her Crystal Claw. Only after Zoey collected the essence stone from the carcass and inspected it did she realize that she had killed a Rank 4 creature known as the Ripper Beak.
She had yet to encounter a Rank 3 creature and she had managed to kill a Rank 4? Zoey was surprised, no doubt, but she had also began to realize that there were different stages within each rank. On top of that, depending on the Heritage that one possessed, competing in strength with other tiers was completely possible. She was slowly becoming aware that her own strength transcended her rank by a significant margin. She wondered what rank the man in black leather had been and what Nito would say if he knew she had killed a Rank 4 while she was only Rank 3.
She hoped that Nito was ok. She had likely pulled most of the attention when they split up, so he should have been able to escape without any trouble. WIth good luck, Zoey would be able to see him soon.
Read The Original Here: https://www.webnovel.com/book/12925715505004905/Dark-Star-Survivor
As they traveled deeper into the crater's interior, Zoey and Viridi came across more and more high level creatures. Judging from their strength, none of them were below Rank 4. Zoey was unable to even harm some of them and was forced to escape from them because of that. The Ripper Beak had been on the low end of Rank 4 and Zoey was able to take it down thanks to that, but the other beasts that she ran into after that were no pushovers. She would have to think about upgrading her firepower after she got to safety.
She attempted to use her interface to search Sethrii's database on what creatures she was encountering and how to tell what rank they were. It was not readily apparent on most creatures like it was on the Ice Venom Sky Snake and the Armafrost. But the database did not have the info she needed. It had the info about the creatures she had encountered and gotten essence stones from, but nothing else. Sethrii had tons of info on magic, how it operated, rules of the universe and other phenomenon she had found interesting, but cataloging creatures was not something she was interested in unless it was related to some other magic or tech she was researching. So Zoey was on her own when it came to judging the capabilities and strength of the creatures she ran into.
As Zoey and Viridi carefully made their was through the deeper terrain closer to the center of the crater, they suddenly entered an area that had no creatures in it at all. It was conspicuous how empty the area was, and it was not long after they got their answer on why this was. Before long, Zoey entered a huge clearing that seemed to be the very center of the crater. As Viridi landed on her shoulder, Zoey was slightly stunned by the scene before her.
In the center of the clearing was the clearly dead body of a massive bear-like creature. Zoey judged if it stood to its full height it would have reached four or five meters tall! Its massive, tree-like arms and legs had large bone spikes growing from it and the head that was almost larger than Zoey was tall, had three horns growing from it. Two of the horns grew from the left and right side of the head and along the beast's lower jaw, almost like mandibles. The third horn sprouted from the center of the forehead and was obviously used as a weapon.
However, the creature had clearly taken a beating before it had died. Its thick, brown fur was punctuated by deep cuts and stab wounds, some of which were still leaking blood. The horn on the forehead had been split vertically in half along with the creature's head, and this had clearly been the death blow for it. Even dead, the body was over two meters tall just lying on the ground, and the person that had most likely killed it was sitting on top of it.
Zoey was alarmed that she had not immediately noticed the person's presence, and neither had Viridi. This person was clearly a force to be reckoned with if the dead beast was anything to judge by, and Zoey was worried about running into someone that strong while her Harmonic Heritage was still unconcealed. She would have to be extremely careful in dealing with them, especially if they could remain unnoticed like that by just sitting still. Who was this person?
Zoey and Viridi tensed up as the figure atop the carcass moved, standing up and dropping to the ground on the near side to face them, giving them the first good look at who it was...