Lieutenant Chen was bronzed, white steam spewing from his nostrils with every breath. He became increasingly strengthened in combination with his breathing technique and the incredible rhythm of his footsteps.
"Is that all Lieutenant Chen has got?" Jiang Shaoliu blinked in the distant forest.
Well, it wasn't too impressive.
Liu Guang's body seemed to be floating on a flow of green air as he rushed about in circles, his toes almost leaving the ground.
"That green air flow must be a characteristic of having three bronze life rings. Liu Guang is pretty strong, too," Jiang Shaoliu nodded thoughtfully.
Lieutenant Chen charged across the stone platform, his alloy knife spinning in his hand like a circular saw blade while the air around it rolled up in a sharp buzz.
The alloy soldier took out his war knife, which had broken through the sound barrier in an instant as a sudden explosion occurred, powerful but small sandstorms formed around the huge waves.
The pangolin screeched terribly.
Not far away, Liu Guang was a blur, green air blowing out behind him like rocket exhaust.
The rock beneath the pangolin's feet cracked as the giant beast reared up on its hind legs, ready to drop on Lieutenant Chen and crush him under its weight.
Then came the blood.
A green mass shot past the pangolin and Liu Guang ground to a halt on his knees in a cloud of dust, his sword dripping with blood.
Jiang Shaoliu looked on wide-eyed: "Wow, nice moves."
The pangolin fell to the ground with a huge crash, steam rising from the innumerable bleeding cuts and gashes on its soft underbelly.
Liu Guang got up, breathing heavily, and wiped the blood off his face while keeping a vigilant eye on the monster.
It wasn't so easy to kill a monster with three life rings.
Lieutenant Chen stopped and exhaled deeply, wiping the sweat off his brow. "That's it, right?"
Liu Guang shook his head and said in a low voice, "It may lash out again before it dies, we have to be careful."
Lieutenant Chen nodded and did some quick stretches for the shoulders and back.
The pangolin struggled to raise its head off the ground as blood trickled from its elongated mouth. It stood up again on four trembling legs, the bronze glow of its scales flickering weakly.
On the green plant above it, the flower bud had completely bloomed and a heavenly fruit similar to a longan appearing in the center. A pleasant smell that made one feel spiritual and clearheaded spread across the rocky shelf.
"Liu Guang," shouted Lieutenant Chen, "the fruit has ripened. It's show time!"
The pangolin turned around with difficulty and looked at the fruit.
Every movement caused a gush of blood to flow from its wounds, while the light in its eyes began to dim.
Without any hesitation, Liu Guang charged forward like a green lighting bolt.
The monster screamed and whipped its scaly tail around in great anger.
The pangolin had suffered great wounds from these two human masters in order to protect the fruit, but if it couldn't have it, it would destroy it.
A large chunk of the cliff-face was blasted to pieces, sending rubble flying in all directions.
A green figure flashed among the flying debris, and Liu Guang landed on the ground with the heavenly fruit in his hand.
He coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Liu Guang was hit by many crushed stones in order to protect the fruit. His internal organs were damaged, but he felt a little better after spitting out some blood.
The pangolin collapsed like a demolished building under a pile of rubble and a huge cloud of dust. It did not move again.
"Liu Guang, are you alright?" Lieutenant Chen rushed to support him. He took out a bottle of pills from his pocket. "Here, take this."
Liu Guang shook his head. "I'm fine, it's just a flesh wound."
With the battle over, the sniper climbed down from the trees and approached them.
There was a rustling in the bushes and three soldiers in camouflage uniforms appeared one after another.
"There's someone else!" Jiang Shaoliu quickly dove under a clump of ferns and hid.
There were others lying in ambush beside those soldiers, their breaths so shallow they were barely noticeable. They were very strong.
The five soldiers gathered on the flat stone platform alongside Liu Guang. Lieutenant Chen raised his hand and was about to order to retrieve the pangolin corpse…
Two gunshots rang out.
The sniper staggered. His rifle had snapped in half and a quickly growing red stain appeared on his uniform.
Lieutenant Chen was shot through the arm, blowing his smart watch away into oblivion.
"Hide!" Liu Guang bellowed and ran to hide behind the pangolin's hulking form.
Lieutenant Chen and the others soon joined him, fuming.
Who dared to attack the military?
"Liu Guang is so famous these days, isn't he?" laughed one of a group of dark-red human shadows in the thick forest, a white capital "G" embroidered on the backs of their trench coats.
They didn't have strong bodies, but there was an aura of infinite power about them. It seemed as if even the air around them fell at their feet.
"They are just…" Jiang Shaoliu focused on the Great Sage's Formula. The warm flow slowly circulated through his body to the pores of his skin, while his breath slowed to a near-halt.
The more powerful he was, the more perceptive he became. Jiang Shaoliu just wanted to make sure he remained hidden by combining the Great Sage's Formula and the bushes around him for cover.
The master in the red coat cracked his knuckles as he approached the pangolin's body. "Don't try to request support. My sniper's bullets will blow your smart watches apart before you can say a single word."
Then he grinned widely, as if he'd told a great joke: "Well, and your heads too, of course."
More warriors came out from amongst the trees, the bright "G" extremely conspicuous on their uniforms.
"How dare the Yungang League do this?" Jiang Shaoliu whispered to himself.
Each major faction in Yungang had their own mark, except the military which only had armbands. There was the "HF" for the Hongfa Group and an "X" composed of four triangles for the Gangxing group, whom he had already fought before. The capital "G" was for the Yungang League.
"Turn in the fruit and throw down your watches. Then get out of here, immediately!" shouted the master in the red coat as he spat on the ground. "You would have been mincemeat already if you weren't from the military. Take this opportunity while I'm still in a good mood and don't get on my bad side!"
Behind the pangolin, Liu Guang was running through his breathing technique and his internal injuries were slowly getting better.
Lieutenant Chen had bound up the wound on his arm and was huffing and puffing angrily.
"I know a lot of people from the Yungang League." Liu Guang appeared from behind the pangolin's body, his alloy long sword in hand. "You must be the one who calls himself Sha Xing, one of the higher-ups of the Yungang League. Am I right?"
Lieutenant Chen also walked out, blood soaking through the gauze pad on his arm. "How dare the Yungang League act this way? Are you declaring war on the military, Sha Xing?"
"Oh, I'm so scared of the big, strong military!" Sha Xing put his hands on his head with an exaggerated expression on his face. "I've half a mind to kill you just for saying that. Well, you know the old saying: dead men tell no tales!"
Then he grinned: "Hmm, it seems you are not going to turn in that fruit peacefully, are you, Liu Guang? You shall be the first bronze master with three life rings I kill!"
Liu Guang gazed at him grimly. He was not sure whether he could defeat Sha Xing or not.
Sha Xing was a famous warrior, a master with two silver rings, regarded as one of the top twenty martial masters in Yungang City.
Jiang Shaoliu watched carefully from the bushes.
How could Sha Xiang have two silver rings?
He thought that Bai Long probably had silver life rings, but this was really the first time he saw one in action.
"How can they be so strong?" he narrowed his eyes.
Sha Xing suddenly lashed out with a silver claw and Liu Guang retreated rapidly in a flurry of green.
The silver claws seemed to grow right out of his bones. Their sharp tips tore through the air less than an inch from Liu Guang's throat.
Liu Guang swung the sword and slashed across Sha Xing's arm, producing a shower of sparks.
Sha Xing stopped and curled his lip disdainfully.
Liu Guang was shocked.
"Try my leg whip!" Sha Xing moved in a flurry and threw himself into a horizontal position, supporting himself on the ground with one hand while whipping his legs around in a circle.
Jumping back quickly, Liu Guang covered himself with his sword. His hand was hurting like one of the carpal bones had cracked.
"So much for three rings!" Sha Xing sneered.
Lieutenant Chen flourished his alloy combat knife and was about to rush forward to help but was blocked by some masters from the Yungang League. He was trapped.
"Liu Guang!" shouted Lieutenant Chen in anger. He stuck out his knife and broke into a furious pirouette, whirling around like a woodchipper tornado to force back his opponents.
Seeing this, Sha Xing turned from Liu Guang and rushed at Lieutenant Chen.
Lieutenant Chen stumbled back with blood on his chest, his combat knife flying out of his grip and falling on the stones ten meters away with a metallic clatter.
In the bushes, Jiang Shaoliu tightly gripped a stone in his hand.