1

In the four days that Lin Mu and Little Shrubby had traveled, they had encountered several beasts on their way.

But much to their surprise, the beasts did not necessarily attack them. Even when they passed by their territories, the beasts would mostly warn them and would only attack if they came too close. Even if it was now evening, the beasts seemed to be wary.

This was partly due to Little Shrubby being there, as his presence acted as a deterrent to most of the weaker beasts. His bloodline suppression was working decently and even if it did not scare them right off, it did make them think twice before acting.

All this did confirm a few conjectures for Lin Mu though.

'It is certain that the beasts did not attack us simply because we were there in their territory… they were probably attracted by the Evergreen Pillar Bamboo Fruits.' Lin Mu thought to himself.

It was a common thing too as beasts in the wilderness relied on immortal fruits and herbs to further their cultivation base. After all, they didn't always have access to Alchemical pills like human cultivators, and as such these herbs and fruits acted like cultivation resources for them.

Lin Mu linked this immortal fruit seeking behavior of the beasts with the occurrence of the Natural Befuddling Array.

'Perhaps the Natural Befuddling array's appearance is linked with the time when the Evergreen Pillar Bamboo fruits are birthed on them too?' Lin Mu wondered.

It did make sense if the Natural Befuddling Array was a protective measure of the Evergreen Pillar Bamboos to prevent the beasts or other creatures from eating their fruits before they were fully ready.

Once they were ready, it was fine if the beasts ate them. As these very same beasts would then wander the forest and other areas, dispersing the seeds in their dung allowing the Evergreen Pillar Bamboos to spread even more.

Of course, Lin Mu didn't know if it was really effective or not now, as the Evergreen Pillars forest seemed to have reached a limit. Not to mention, most of the Evergreen Pillar Bamboos seemed to be linked to each other and had the same root system.

In a way, the entire forest was possibly born from a single individual, quite similar to the Snow Glass Pear trees where the source was none other than Elder Pear.

"These bamboos feel different." Little Shrubby spoke, having sensed them.

"Oh? How so?" Lin Mu asked.

"The flow of Wood Elemental Immortal Qi is stronger, and the quantity is also higher." Little Shrubby replied. "And I can also feel something else further in the depths of the forest." He added.

Lin Mu narrowed his eyes trying to see if he could feel something too.

'Perhaps Little Shrubby's Fume Wood Panther bloodline is allowing him to perceive it better than me.' Lin Mu thought to himself.

Regardless of that, Lin Mu knew the Evergreen Pillars forest was much bigger than what he had seen. The two thousand meter tall bamboos were merely the 'outer' edge of the forest.

The atmosphere in this part was also a bit more somber. Occasional sounds of the beasts could be heard, with some hunting and some being hunted.

~shua~

Lin Mu ignited a little flame, to see things better. It was evening, thus the colors all seemed a bit uneven.

"These Evergreen Pillar Bamboos are also darker…" Lin Mu touched them with his hand, finding their surface to be rougher than the others he had seen.

If the previous ones were lighter in color, they could be considered as young and these ones as being old.

The previous Evergreen Pillar Bamboo were of lighter green color, similar to normal bamboos, but these were darker with some even having deep brown streaks.

"Hmm… don't these ones have a different term for them?" Lin Mu recalled having read about it and took out the same book.

He flipped through the pages and soon found the entry.

"Here it is… When Evergreen Pillar Bamboos have over two thousand segments and gain a darker color with brown streaks, they are termed as Elder Evergreen Pillar Bamboos." Lin Mu read.

These are long lived with each of them having survived at least a hundred years or more. They were also tougher than the others, being wider and thicker.

~knock~knock~

Lin Mu tapped on the bamboo's surface and felt a deep sound from it showing just how thick it was.

~SHUA~

Lin Mu's immortal sense entered the Elder Evergreen Pillar Bamboo, discovering it to be about one meter thick while the middle two meters were hollow.

'These can pretty much be used as tunnels or large pipes directly.' Lin Mu thought to himself.

They seemed ideal for various kinds of construction, but he hadn't seen any of the people or settlements use them so far.

'Is it because it is too distant?' He wondered.

~ROAR~

And while Lin Mu was wondering about the mysteries of the Elder Evergreen Pillar Bamboo, Little Shrubby's roar was heard.

"What's happening?" Lin Mu immediately became alert as Little Shrubby's roar was not a normal one.

Little Shrubby's roar was that of a threat and danger, rather than just a warning.

Lin Mu's immortal sense immediately spread around, trying to see if there were any beasts nearby.

"There's some beast here." Little Shrubby warned through their link.

"Where is it?" Lin Mu asked, unable to sense it.

"I smelled it for a moment before it suddenly disappeared." Little Shrubby replied while bearing his fangs.

His body started to heat up and soon flames started to burn on them, illuminating the darkness of the forest.

~CLICK~CLICK~CLICK~

An unsettling clicking sound was heard echoing in the forest that made all the other beasts become silent.

"That does not seem good…" Lin Mu drew out Wonder Seeker and Afternoon Pine.

The sword floated next to him, while he drew the bow to its maximum limit. He had no idea what was here, but he would not be taking any chances and would deliver a fatal blow if need be.