A silver shape brushed past them like a cannonball, bringing a roaring blast of wind with it.
The shape fell to the ground hard. Liu Guang and Lieutenant Chen stopped and turned back in amazement.
It was Sha Xing; he had been punched away by Jiang Shaoliu.
Sha Xing struggled to stand up from the ground, his right arm limp and bent in a strange way. His shoulders were both gruesomely dislocated and half of his chest was covered in blood.
"Oh, that hurts…" Sha Xing grit his teeth and slowly took out a bottle of pills from his pocket - the newest analeptic on the market. He was going to try his best, even at the cost of his life.
Jiang Shaoliu slowly walked out from the thick forest with a blank expression. Sunlight shone on his body like a halo of golden light.
Sha Xing wheezed roughly, white steam with faint hints of blood in it spewing from his mouth and nose. He was seriously injured and all five viscera and six organs were damaged. The last trick he had was to use the analeptic to stimulate his unresponsive limbs.
Jiang Shaoliu stopped some distance away.
Sha Xing appeared covered with shifting layers of glowing mercury. His left claw burned with silver light like a raging supernova.
Lieutenant Chen and Liu Guang, having almost reached Jiang Shaoliu, began to quickly retreat. Jiang Shaoliu and Sha Xing were so strong that just the shockwave of their collision could kill them both.
Jiang Shaoliu breathed evenly, letting the warm flow inside circulate in his muscles. He squatted down with both fists raised, his flexed biceps like hills of steel.
Sha Xing broke into a mad sprint, the rocky ground exploding violently under his feet with deafening shockwaves.
The analeptic he'd taken was extremely effective and Sha Xing would be jacked up to the limits of his physical abilities for a short while, posing a great danger to Jiang Shaoliu.
Jiang Shaoliu punched.
He seemed to move in slow motion in comparison to Sha Xing, but his fist moved with the power of ten thousand jin, barreling towards his enemy like the whole bulk of Mount Tai.
The Ape Fist.
The two collided like wayward planets, the shockwave of the explosion ripping apart everything in its path. 100-meter-tall trees turned to splinters as the very ground was uprooted and obliterated around them.
The scrambling Liu Guang and Lieutenant Chen were blown several meters away, a hail of wood splinters cutting into their skins.
Jiang Shaoliu remained standing like a pillar in the center of the turbulence, his fist driven through Sha Xing's chest.
Sha Xing had lost his left arm and was bleeding profusely from his torn-up shoulder. His chest was sunken in and his cloak tattered and bloodstained.
There was a huge gaping hole through his back, but he still didn't die, struggling and spitting out blood.
Jiang Shaoliu wrapped his fingers around Sha Xing's neck, then bent forward and squeezed suddenly.
His pupils began to dilate as the silver glow faded.
Jiang Shaoliu held him up and punched Sha Xing in the face, spraying brain matter over the shattered rocks. Now, it was over.
He straightened and turned toward Liu Guang and Lieutenant Chen with a devilish grin that sent a chill up their spines.
It was so cruel and terrible, they had never seen something like it before.
The black iron bar trembled inside Jiang Shaoliu's soul, while Sha Xing's body began glowing faintly.
"Is it going to turn into a heavenly tool?" Jiang Shaoliu felt a little nervous. "They shouldn't see this."
He quickly stepped away from the body, and the iron bar inside his soul became calm again.
"You just…" Staring at Jiang Shaoliu in the distance, Liu Guang wanted to speak but his shaking voice got stuck in his throat.
Jiang Shaoliu was walking towards him.
Was he going to kill the witnesses?
Liu Guang couldn't bear to think about it. He subconsciously began slowly stepping backwards.
"Hey, guys," Jiang Shaoliu smiled in shyly, squeezing his stomach, "do you have something to eat? I'm starving!"
How could he want to eat with someone's brains smeared all over his arms?
Just the thought of it made Liu Guang want to vomit.
Lieutenant Chen was a soldier with a strong will. He bore with it and took out a snack bar from one of the pouches of his tactical vest: "This is a compressed energy bar. Don't eat too much, it's got more calories in it than you want to know."
Jiang Shaoliu tore off the wrapper and shoved the entire thing down his throat. Then he scratched his hair: "Do you have any more? That's not enough."
Lieutenant Chen stared at Jiang Shaoliu's stomach like it was a volcano about to blow, shaking his head in disbelief: "No way. That was five days' rations you just swallowed."
"Well it's not cutting it." Jiang Shaoliu shook his head and turned to the gagging, sickly-green Liu Guang. "Hey, try to hold it down, will you? Do you have any more of those energy bars?"
Liu Guang didn't look up. He quickly pulled out a bar and handed it to him before bending down even further to retch.
"What's wrong with you? It's just an energy bar." After eating the bar, Jiang Shaoliu grabbed Liu Guang's hand and pinched a point on the wrist. "This is the Neiguan acupoint; it should calm down your stomach. Feeling better?"
Lieutenant Chen looked mildly surprised. "You know about acupoints? Are you a doctor?"
"Yes." Jiang Shaoliu nodded and smiled shyly, "I'm a veterinarian."
Lieutenant Chen's facial muscles twitched. He struggled to hold back a laugh.
The other three masters from the military and the sniper joined them, averting their eyes in disgust at the sight of Sha Xing's mangled corpse.
It looked so miserable anyone in their right mind couldn't stand to look at it.
Looking at them, Jiang Shaoliu didn't know what to say.
"Well, are you still hungry?" said Lieutenant Chen.
"Yes," Jiang Shaoliu said weakly. His stomach growled angrily in support.
"Is your stomach made of metal?" Lieutenant Chen shook his head and gave Jiang Shaoliu four more compressed energy bars. "I will really admire you if you finish them all."
After finishing the biscuits and flushing them down with some water, Jiang Shaoliu rubbed his tummy and said: "Well, almost full."
Lieutenant Chen and his comrades looked at each other helplessly. They didn't know what to say.
What was the Guinness record for most calories eaten in one meal? 1/10 of what Jiang Shaoliu just chowed down?
Liu Guang felt much better after being pinched on the Neiguan acupoint. He straightened up and wiped the corners of his mouth. "You are one tough bastard, Jiang Shaoliu. I envy you that much."
"You guys go ahead and treat your wounds. I need to go hunt something before I get hungry again."
Lieutenant Chen was beyond words.
Liu Guang was speechless.
Twenty armed masters from the Gangxing Group marched through the forest, leaving a trail of mangled beasts carcasses in their wake. They had already killed at least a dozen life-ringed monsters and even a few with two bronze life rings.
"Sir, the one who killed Wang Wenlong and his team may have entered the core area. There are many monsters with three life rings there; are we going to continue?" said a big man carrying a rocket launcher. There was a large scar on his arm.
The men needed a rest from the dangerous forest, having been continuously on high alert for two days.
"Let's go," said the leader coldly. He was carrying a long alloy bayonet dipped in poison, with three green-glowing blood grooves.
The one carrying the rocket launcher nodded and didn't speak again.
"Mr. Liu has sent a message. There's a military vehicle in the core area, and it's possible that they will pick that guy up. We have to move now." After a short breather, the commander looked at his smart watch and said coldly: "Kill him at all costs!"
"Yes, sir!" the grim-faced squad replied in unison.
The one who killed Wang Wenlong and his team had to die.
"So, where's that dire wolf, Liu Guang? Why don't you bring it with you?" Jiang Shaoliu was rushing like a hurricane through the trees, rattling branches and bending vines.
Liu Guang and Lieutenant Chen had bandaged their wounds and were following closely with the other military masters.
"Xiao Hui is not powerful enough to go further than the single-life ring monsters' territory. I left him in the city." Liu Guang shook his head: "Besides, he's just a big grey wolf, not a dire wolf."
"My tiger's name is Xiao Bai; you wolf is Xiao Hui. What a coincidence!" Jiang Shaoliu laughed.
Liu Guang didn't respond.
Lieutenant Chen's full name was Chen Anguo. Jiang Shaoliu had learned it when he helped him bandage himself up. He smiled and said: "Liu Guang and Xiao Hui are so close he implanted a special chip in him that connects to his smart watch so he can check up on him."
"A chip?" Jiang Shaoliu said curiously, "Is it any good?"
Chen Anguo nodded, "The chip emits various signals so the handler can keep tabs on the animal's vitals and location. It's cutting-edge tech and was developed for military attack dogs, but it costs a lot of contribution points."
"Sounds useful," Jiang Shaoliu nodded pleasantly. "I will get one for Xiao Bai when I'm back so it's easier to find him when we separate."
The military masters following behind them smiled. They knew something about Jiang Shaoliu: he was a cruel killer in battle but a kind-hearted man in life and easy to get along with.
"The chip costs a fortune in points," Liu Guang shook his head. "You'll be out here for months if you just plan to hunt monsters."
In a flash of inspiration, Jiang Shaoliu said, "Good point. Say, Liu Guang, can you lend me the points, since you have already bought your villa? I will pay you back when I'm rich."
Chen Anguo chuckled, "contribution points cannot be transferred. Well…"
Before he finished, there was a sudden flash in Jiang Shaoliu's eyes and he abruptly stopped in his tracks.
A gunshot rang out.
A high-velocity alloy bullet shot past and blew out a small hole in the ground in front of him, following by at least three others from various angles.
Jiang Shaoliu broke into a sprint, murder in his eyes.
There were at least four snipers and they were very far. Jiang Shaoliu was ready to move.
"Duck!" Chen Anguo roared, and the rest of the team dove for cover behind nearby rocks and trees.
It was clear that the target was Jiang Shaoliu.
The master with the rocket launcher calmly kept his sights on Jiang Shaoliu.
When he pulled the trigger, he would die.