Original and most up to date translations are posted at volaretranslations.
Chapter 94: One Thing After Another
That thing’s appearance was very strange. It’s head was way too small compared to its body, and a thick layer of hardened stratum corneum* covered its head almost entirely. The stratum corneum and lamella** behind its head stretched all the way down to its back, covering one third of its body and was spread out in a certain angle that fully protected it from frontal attacks. The areas that were not covered in hardened stratum corneum had thick fur instead, and although the remaining two thirds of its body were not covered in thick horny armor, there were many thorns jutting out of its body, giving it an increasingly sinister-looking appearance the more they looked.
*the horny outer layer of the skin
**a thin layer, membrane, scale, or platelike tissue or part, especially in bone tissue
They had short and thick leg. The sole of their feet were shaped like hoofs, and on the whole the creatures looked very bulky. But who would’ve thought that such bulky-looking fellows could run so quickly?
The thing’s body was very well protected. Someone once said that an animal with a small head and poor IQ would evolve its body into a strictly defensive form, compensating for the flaws of its intelligence with heavy defenses on its body instead.
Cillin didn’t know how smart these things are, but even if they didn’t have great intellect they were definitely not stupid either. When they attacked, they would aim their heads at their enemies and attack in a straight line. Moreover, they would do their best not to expose the part of their bodies which weren’t covered in hardened stratum corneum.
It was just a momentary glance, but everyone already had an idea what they should do next. They were veterans after all. Without a word, they corrected their shots and this time, primarily aimed at the things’ bodies. This way, if a shot was accurate then a single bullet would be enough to incapacitate them. In fact, hitting their limbs wasn’t a bad idea either, but unfortunately the thickets and lush bushes in the jungle covered their short and thick limbs a little too well. Even with thermal sensors, they might not be able to hit them precisely.
They were lucky that the things numbered only about thirty or so. If the enemy group was any bigger, then they would have to fight them in close range. When the last of these fellows was taken care of the group finally let out a temporary sigh of relief. However, they didn’t dare to grow grow too lax either. Temporary silence did not equate temporary safety.
A few people went over to kill the remaining things that weren’t dead yet. Dias also approached one that was the closest to them. Since it was the one that came the closest to their group, it was also the one that was the most devastated by gunfire.
After taking a good look, Dias fired a shot at the thick stratum corneum covering its head. The effects of the shot was shocking. The gun Dias wielded was powerful enough to blow a huge hole in a alien polar bear’s chest, but on this thing it was only enough to peel off a fragment of its skin. If the second shot was fired at the same spot as the first, then the shot could penetrate its skin and enter into the body, but exactly how deep the shot would go, and how much damage it would cause was unknown. After all, the muscular tension of a dead body and a living body that was poised to attack were different, not to mention that they might have some life saving technique that they could implement in the face of danger.
“If these things come at us again with a bigger group, then we may have to use armor piercing bullets.” someone sighed.
Armor piercing bullets were specially made to be used against armored life forms, not armored tanks or armed aircrafts. Their targets included both humans and a specific range of life forms. Unfortunately, the amount of armor piercing bullets they carried was limited, which was why they chose not to use them earlier.
“Who would’ve thought that there are life forms on this planet this well protected? That hardened stratum corneum and lamella are just too strong. If these thing came at us in swarms like rats then…” Cary did not finish his sentence, but everyone felt a shiver down their spine. What a terrifying image.
While speaking, their sensors let out yet another warning, and this time it was a lot more rapid. The type of warning was the same as before, meaning that there were alien lifeforms closing in on their direction. However, not even the previous warning had been this urgent-sounding!
“What’s going on?!” someone asked.
Everyone fell into high alert.
Before long, many fist-sized black insects began appearing from the ground. They were crawling out of the ground those killed things were lying on. The black worms bored their way through the horny skinned creatures’ wounds, and it didn’t take long long the huge amount of black insects began devouring the creatures from the inside, deflating their bodies at a visible rate. When the insects finished consuming and bored back into the ground, all that was left was layer of horny skins and piles of bones.
These insects were the street cleaners of the jungle. The moment any animals died, they would crawl out of the ground and consume their bodies. Then they would go back underground and hibernate once more, awaiting their next big meal.
Cary let out a long sigh of relief, “That got me good.”
The warning sounded again just as he finished his sentence. This time it wasn’t rapid, but that didn’t mean that things would be easy on them.
“God dammit! They just don’t stop coming!” Cary said angrily.
Cillin frowned. He heard a bird cry just now, and although its voice was soft – probably because it was rather far away from their location – and brief, he was sure that it was the same kind of bird that they’d seen earlier.
“It’s snakes! Holy fuck, these snakes could actually change colors!” The scanners of their masks revealed the newcomers’ true identities. It would’ve been very difficult to identify the snake accurately if they relied on naked eye alone.
Snakes were cold blooded animals. Their heat signatures were different from the one discharged by the horny skinned creatures, but their sensors were still able to perfectly identify and display the creatures on their masks, informing group about the snakes’ position.
“Dammit, why are there so many snakes? We didn’t run into any snake earlier, so why are there suddenly so many?” Yeah, why is this happening? Everyone had their own doubts, but they still needed to come up with a response to the situation.
Since it was just snakes, then there would be no need for them to retreat.
“Don’t use a flamethrower. Freeze them with ultra-low temperature.” Dias said.
Everyone in the group took out a cylindrical object, and when the snakes closed in about fifty meters away, they pressed the button on the cylinder and pointed the device at the snakes. A white fog gushed out, and every snake that came into contact with the white fog instantly hardened and became frozen. The snakes at the back could only approach them by circling around the frozen snakes, because even the unharmed snakes found the ultra-low temperature unbearable. It was just too cold.
With the ultra-low temperature condensers, it did not take much effort for the group to freeze the snakes and shatter them all with expandable batons.
Watching the floor of shattered white objects, Dias waved his hands and continued forwards.
But he didn’t manage a few steps before the warning fucking sounded yet again.
This was truly starting to feel like being under siege.
It was the same horny skinned creatures from before, but this time there were at least a hundred of them!
Cary looked at the submachine gun he brought with him and sighed. SMG’s bullets were seriously ineffective against these fellows. They wouldn’t compare even to armor piercing bullets.
“Retreat!” Dias ordered immediately. The current environment was just too disadvantageous to them. At the same time, Dias sent out a request for help and manpower support. He also uploaded out some data on these horny skinned creatures to the ship.
Outside the planet, Shawton was observing the six teams situation on the starship. Three out of six of the teams had sent out requests for help, and Shawton reckoned that the other three teams weren’t having a good time either. It was only a matter of time before their requests for help came.
“Second group, standby!”
After leaving a few instructions to the people beside him, Shawton grabbed his equipment and joined the second group of men personally to provide backup.