The massive plant lashed out at me again and I returned the favour. The vines squirmed every which way but somehow managed to slip out of the range of my shot. Then I got a liberal spray of Estella’s weedkiller. As did the plant thing.
A bunch of sizzling noises and the thing starte scrambling away. I sent some parting gifts after it, which took off a couple tentacles. That gave it the impetus to quicken its pace. It got to a certain point, suddenly reeled back and dived underneath the Xing.
“You okay Sam?” Estella walked up and asked me with my concern.
I looked down at myself- there were a few welts on my arms. “Nothing serious.”
“It fled under the ship so..” Estella grinned, holding out the weedkiller spray. “Keep it under there, I’m going to head to the bridge, retract the landing gear and crush it.”
“I guess I will just stand here and look intimidating, that should keep it cowed enough under there.”
“We can go under and try to dig it out if you want?” Estella asked me.
“Nah, too much work, and I’ve had enough crawling to last me a while.”
“I hear that.” She nodded, passing me the sprayer and running to the bridge.
It was about five minutes. A little green goo was leaking out from under the ship. Not long after, Estella came up besides me.
“Guacamole?” she gestured to the goo with a wink.
“No thanks.” I made a ‘throwing up’ expression.
“We’ve got the plants at bay for now, so what’s next?”
“I think the priority is to forage for fuels and other stuff.”
“Agreed, though we need a way to keep the plants from eating us while we do so, they’re proving unexpectedly resilient. Maybe we could have Aurora and Hue rig up some jumpsuits with sponges on the forearms, shins and chest areas and soak those in weedkiller?” Estella suggested, “Then the plants won’t see us as tasty options.”
I thought about it. “Sounds like a plan.”
“I can put something together for us.” Aurora had come out. “Though harnesses with sponges on them and strap on arm and shin guards would be far easier than making jumpsuits, faster too.”
“Yeah that’ll work, I’ll get the weedkiller prepared. Sam, would you be willing to climb on top of the ship and look around for any signs of other crashed vessels or points of interest? Wandering the jungle at random doesn’t sound promising.” Estella assigned me a task.
I assented and started climbing up to the top of Chen Xing from where I stood. Mostly what I saw was the jungle but in the far distance the wall of the crater stood out tall, grey and rocky with no visible plant life on it. It looked like a good high vantage point so I climbed down and headed into the jungle. I could see plant monsters at the edge of my vision but as far as I could tell none of them noticed me.
The way through the jungle was slow going. I had to push my way through heaps of dense foliage. Thick but thankfully unmoving vines and roots ran amok on the ground.. A scuffling noise and a sense of things moving in the trees surrounded me. And was something following me? I told myself it was just nerves. Still, I kept alert, in case I got jumped from behind. Who knew what viny things are truly vines and what are those creatures masked?
Just then I felt a pull around my ankles. I yanked my feet away in the other direction. When I looked down, it was some vines, thin, greenish-purple and covered with thorns. Speak of the devil.
It was getting dark and I hurried on. Luckily, no more plant encounters before I reached the edge of the crater wall. I looked up towards the rock face. Some plants were growing out of it but based on the previous encounters, I tried to avoid them and used rocks as hand and foot holds instead.
I made it up easily enough even though it took a while. It was almost night but with my magical ability which I dubbed as Eagle Eyes, I could see clear enough. It was a little chilly though. My head cleared the edge and I was about to pull myself over when all of a sudden, there was no more air. I almost lost my grip on the rock and barely caught myself in time.
Did I see floating lights over the lip of the crater wall just now or was it dizziness? After catching my wind, I finally stood up and surveyed the view below.