Two huge wild boars were resting by a heap of rocks. Suddenly, their bellies were sliced open and they died as a figure flashed by.
The female boar had a big belly and was obviously pregnant, but the figure still cruelly killed it.
"Who was that?"
Jiang Shaoliu stopped to watch the video again.
He had seen those wild boars before. He let them go out of mercy, even though he was hungry.
Most importantly, they had clearly never killed people, since there was no scent of human blood on them.
He never thought there were such cruel people.
It was indistinct, but he could see in the video that the figure's hair was red.
He knew of only one redhead who could run like that. It can only be the leader of the Yungang League - Chi Xiao.
"He's a bloodthirsty maniac with three silver life rings and it's said that he has killed over a thousand beasts." Jiang Shaoliu clenched his fists, "If he wants to challenge me, I accept!"
The military had got intel that Chi Xiao had taken his team to Sector 2 and the task force would almost certainly come upon them while retrieving the fruit.
"The Ice Lotus, Yin Manshu, Chi Xiao, Li Bailong from the Hongfa Group, and the Lion Warrior, Ling Yuetao, from the military." Jiang Shaoliu's eyes glittered with fighting spirit.
The top four masters of Yungang City would all come to Liang Duan Mountain.
The locals were excited and even opened started a poll on the city forum's to pick their favorites. There were so many rumors that the discussion covered almost 80% of the forum's front page.
The Lion Warrior won the most votes, being the favorite of almost half of the population.
"Sources confirm that the Lion Warrior has obtained four silver life rings. With the military's assistance, he will surely be the one who brings back the fruit."
"How did you get this information? Show me the evidence! The three top masters will cooperate and kill him, just wait and see."
"Who cares about the 'top four masters'? They're nothing at all. Why don't they get the damn rock down from the sky if they're so strong?"
Jiang Shaoliu read with amusement. "The fight hasn't even started and people are already at each other's throats."
Most of the hottest discussion threads were focused on the top four masters' strength.
Some people were comparing their signature moves while others were trying to calculate their exact speeds and striking power based on videos on the internet.
"Everyone's an 'expert' these days..." Jiang Shaoliu sighed.
Within hours the wisdom of the crowd succeeded in working out an analysis very similar to the intelligence report Jiang Shaoliu had been shown by the military. A user called ruthless_data had posted a detailed summary of each of the four great masters' abilities and characteristics.
"The top four masters gather at Liang Duan Mountain. Who'll emerge on top? See my analysis and predictions of the final result."
Jiang Shaoliu was tempted to click and perused the article with growing interest.
"Li Bailong from the Hongfa Group has three silver rings. This analysis is based on four known videos totaling about 7 minutes of footage. It seems his preferred weapon is a longsword, which we can call the White Dragon Sword since it's just like a dragon when he fights. We can assume that his breathing technique is a True Treasure. Li Yuetao is from the military and his codename is Lion Warrior…"
Jiang Shaoliu frowned. "What's a True Treasure martial art?"
The heavenly martial arts had been classified into magic weapon and true treasure categories, and the true treasure levels referred to silver life rings.
It was still unknown whether heavenly weapons had other functions besides bestowing the knowledge of a martial art upon the receiver, since they were still in the research stage.
So far, it had only been confirmed that these martial arts were effective in combat and the breathing techniques were the way for masters to condense life rings.
"If magic weapon-level breathing techniques can be used to condense bronze life rings and true treasure-level ones are used for silver life rings, then what level does my Great Sage's Formula belong to?" Jiang Shaoliu wondered.
The iron bar taught him the Great Sage's Formula and he could condense a gold life ring after practicing, so did that mean it was beyond the present understanding of heavenly martial arts?
What about the golden hoop? What level did it belong to?
"The iron bar and the golden hoop must be in a higher level than even the true treasure," Jiang Shaoliu smiled. "Besides, my breathing technique is quite different from the ones in magic weapon and true treasure levels."
It absorbed energy from heaven and earth and kept on giving nutrition to the body, making it stronger and stronger, much stronger than Gui Hu and Mr. Wolf, even though they were silvered.
It was a unique power from the ape ancestors. Jiang Shaoliu had already condensed his second life ring and could probably compare to the three-ringed four great masters. At least, he was confident he could take them."
His stomach growled again…
The true qi had been running inside his body for a whole day, and the impurities that existed in the blocked meridians were loosening. It seemed they were about to be flushed out any time now.
He knew better.
Those impurities were stubborn. They seemed loose but they couldn't be removed in such a short period. Besides, he didn't want them sticking onto his brand new outfit.
Jiang Shaoliu threw a few compressed biscuits into his mouth and continued on his way to Sector 2.
Three human figures were crossing the dense forest with amazing speed. The lower-level monsters escaped at the sight of them.
"Sir, what grievance do you have against Jiang Shaoliu that made you come out to kill him personally?" said one, a huge fat man with a round face and a belly like a barrel. "I've seen his photo; he doesn't look like much. So, who'll be the first to fight him? "
The leader was a hard-featured man, his left hand was missing but he was holding a red-tasselled alloy steel spear in his right hand. "I don't care, he will die when he sees me."
A wretched, thin man next to him nodded. "Maybe the boss will reward me with a Linghua fruit when I kill Jiang Shaoliu, so that our captain's left arm can grow back."
"It doesn't always work like that," the fat man replied in a low, deep voice. "You could grow wings or a tail or even other things when you eat a Linghua fruit."
The captain kicked him in the ass, "Damn the growing!"
The fat man rubbed his bronzed butt. "I'm serious! I've checked on the net and it says that it will depend on your character."
The captain kicked him again in anger: "Damn the checking!"
It was a powerful kick. The fat man lost his balance, blue air spraying wildly under his feet, and tumbled down a slope into a small stream.
When he stood up, red-faced and soaking wet, he roared, "You pighead! He just flatters you and you like him, but when I tell the truth you get pissed at me!"
"Bah!" the captain growled. "Damn the liking!"
"Hey, what was that?" the thin man's ears twitched and he glanced around.
Someone in the distance was holding the tail of a giant snake, slowly dragging a struggling twenty-meter python out of its burrow.
"Meh," the thin man sneered. "It's just an ordinary python without life rings, barely worth one point."
The captain glanced over and shook his head. "Leave it. Let's keep moving, our target is Jiang Shaoliu."
The fat man caught up to them and squinted at the man holding the snake's tail. "Hey, that guy looks familiar…"
Jiang Shaoliu was excited as he dragged the snake out of the ground.
With so many powerful masters in the area, almost all of the common monsters in Sector 2 had been scared away.
It had already been half an hour and over thirty kilometers since he entered the sector, but he still hadn't found any monsters on the ground.
He was down to his last few biscuits and was starving. He couldn't catch the giant birds, who quickly turned into a distant speck in the sky as soon as they caught sight of him, so he felt very lucky when he finally caught this unawares python.
The snake hissed.
It was struggling and rolling, trying to get back in its hole, crushing stones and flattening a large area around it.
Jiang Shaoliu didn't loosen his hand. He just stood there giggling, still as a mountain, and felt quite energized. His eyes lit up and his mouth watered.
The wind whistled as three human figures surrounded him from three directions.
"That's him!" the one-armed captain pointed his alloy spear forward, his body bronzed and his eyes vicious. "You've run out of luck, Jiang Shaoliu. Now you must die!"
With that, blue air sprayed violently under his legs and the red-tasselled spear barreled at Jiang Shaoliu's back.
Jiang Shaoliu dodged to the side, roaring loudly as he pulled up the entire mass of the python and lifted it up by the tip of its tail, using the giant snake like a whip to strike at the captain's feet with such force that it made his empty left sleeve flutter.
"Damn!" the thin man gasped, jumping out of the way of the flabbergasted snake's head. "How is he so strong?"
The fat man's skin bronzed immediately as he planted his feet with earth-shattering force into the ground, roaring and clenching his muscles to resist the hit.
The python's head smashed against the fat man, knocking it out.
Debris flew as the fat man flew a dozen meters away and in crashed into a tree with dull thud, only managing to stand back up after staggering and falling over a few times.
An invalid, a thin guy and a fat man.
"That was your first and final warning. Don't bother me again," Jiang Shaoliu shook his head at this ragtag team.
Then he turned to leave, dragging the giant snake after him.