The one-armed captain flourished his alloy spear and shouted, "Do you think you can take all three of us just because you've killed a python? Ha!"
Jian Shaoliu stopped and turned around. "Are you sure you want to fight me?"
The thin man took out a dagger and spun it twice in his hand. "Do you know who our captain is? That's Xiu Luo you're looking at! He has killed ten three-ringed monsters by himself. You'll never beat him!"
The big fat man finally returned to his comrades' side and remarked to the thin man, "Actually, it was only nine."
The captain stared at the fat man in disbelief. "Are you stupid? This isn't the time to point that out!"
The fat man looked at Jiang Shaoliu and then at the captain. "Fine," he finally nodded, "I'll talk about it later, but I clearly remember it was exactly nine."
"Goddamn idiot," the thin man rolled his eyes.
Jiang Shaoliu sighed.
They were just funny fellows. He thought he might as well just let them go.
"Leave. I don't want to kill you." He turned his back to them and continued dragging the snake away.
He was too hungry to bother with them.
"Hey, you bastard, where are you going? Stay where you are!" Luo Xiu shot forward like a bullet, leaving a trail of blue air behind him.
The thin man zoomed like lighting toward Jiang Shaoliu, his sharp dagger slicing through the air.
The big fat man clenched fists as big as sandbags and barreled forward like a human wrecking ball.
"What a pain in the ass..." sighed Jiang Shaoliu and threw the python's body aside before turning around to charge them.
Xiu Luo narrowed his eyes. Jiang Shaoliu's face was getting larger and larger. "That's impossible! How can he be so fast?"
He pointed the spear at Jiang Shaoliu's throat.
"Too slow!" Jiang Shaoliu flew past the spear tip and grabbed Xiu Luo by the arms, flinging him away with a twist of his torso.
Xiu Luo was catapulted high into the air, dropping his spear in the process.
Luckily, the thin man managed to change direction in time and rushed after him to catch him.
The fat man roared loudly and stretched his arms out like two bronze battering rams aimed at Jiang Shaoliu's chest.
"Why are you so stubborn?" Jiang Shaoliu crouched and twisted his arms as if he were doing Tai Chi, another form from the Demon Fist.
The fat man staggered and tried to skirt around him, but Jiang Shaoliu kicked him again and sent this bronze human wrecking ball rolling off into the undergrowth.
"What a bunch of losers," Jiang Shaoliu shook his head, grabbed the python's tail, and left without looking back.
Xiu Luo fell from a dozen meters high but was caught by the thin man, whose spine was almost crushed.
Seeing that Jiang Shaoliu had left, he snapped: "Boss, we'll find another opportunity to kill him. You can still take revenge on him ten years from now."
Luo Xiu slowly stood up, his arms shaking. Five purple-blue fingerprints remained in the flesh of each arm. "How is he so strong? How is this possible?"
The fat man returned with a black and blue face. "We have severely underestimated him," he huffed. "We would all be dead if he didn't show us mercy."
Xiu Luo gave him a swift kick in the ass. "Damn it, let's get out of here."
The python was almost ready on the barbecue. Jiang Shaoliu slowly turned the skewered snake meat to keep it cooking evenly. Oil drops occasionally fell into the flames with a delicious sizzle.
"It smells so sweet..." His mouth was watering and his stomach was growling impatiently.
A rustling in the forest disturbed him.
"Again?" Jiang Shaoliu turned around, quite annoyed.
Four masters walked out of the forest. One of them was carrying a big knife, two were holding swords and the other had a sniper rifle slung over his shoulder, an old-fashioned one which looked second-hand.
"We don't mean any harm, brother," the middle-aged, powerfully-built man with the big knife pointed at the python barbeque and chuckled: "We've just come to see what was smelling so good."
Jiang Shaoliu sized them up with his eyes and nodded.
Their mediocre equipment indicated they were not members of any of the major factions, and they seemed polite and well-intentioned.
"You can smell it, but you can't have any. It's not even enough for me."
The four men looked at each other.
"My brother, even twenty people wouldn't be able to eat all this in one sitting." The master with the sniper rifle sat on a reasonably flat rock and began cleaning his gun with a piece of cloth. "We have enough field rations and we're not starving, but can you at least let us taste it?"
Jiang Shaoliu glanced at him. "Fine. You can have one piece."
"Awesome!" the sniper smiled and beckoned his fellows, "He's a generous guy. Let's take a short break here."
The flames began to die down. Jiang Shaoliu prodded and tasted the meat, smiling, "It's ready now."
Everyone stood up with excitement.
"I've told you, only one piece." Jiang Shaoliu took a modest piece of snake meat and threw it to the sniper: "Share it amongst yourselves."
The one with the big knife laughed and cut the piece of meat into four equal parts before distributing them to his comrades.
They hungrily gobbled them up. "Wow, it's delicious!"
Jiang Shaoliu smiled and began guzzling down his dinner. The charred meat began to disappear rapidly.
"Wow." The sniper finished his piece and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. "My brother, why do you eat so much?"
Jiang Shaoliu kept chewing without looking up, then he grunted, "I'm hungry."
It was worth coming here if he could make friends with such interesting young masters in this dangerous area.
"What name do you go by, brother?" the one with the big knife picked up a twig and started picking his teeth. "My name is Han Hu. The one with the gun is Eagle Eye, and the other two are my cousins, Sword Three and Sword Four."
Jiang Shaoliu blinked at him. "What about Sword One and Sword Two?"
The big man threw the twig away and muttered, "They died in Sector 3."
Jiang Shaoliu remained silent.
Even great masters from the major factions weren't safe in the danger zones, and things were even tougher for the small hunting parties that didn't join any faction.
"Things are looking up for us now, though," the strong man smiled and pointed at the sniper, "We've had no one else die since Eagle Eye joined us. He keeps us covered with his rifle."
Jiang Shaoliu nodded and patted his belly happily as he swallowed the last piece of meat. "I'm The Vet. I hope we can meet again in the future."
Then he waved to them and ran off.
Bang bang bang bang!
Shots rang out behind him.
Jiang Shaoliu turned around instantly and his eyes became red.
The strong master with the big knife was still holding his hand up as if to wave goodbye. A dark red stain grew rapidly over his heart.
There was a surprised look on his face as he fell down and died.
The sniper was lying on the ground with his rifle in one hand the piece of cloth in the other, a big hole in his back. He struggled for a few moments longer and then didn't move any more.
Sword Three's head had been blown away and the headless body was sprawled on the ground. Sword Four was holding his neck and convulsing, blood running through his fingers.
"I got you!" Jiang Shaoliu shouted and rushed to him. He covered the wound with one hand and reached into one of his pockets for a blood-clotting capsule he got from the military, which could stop the bleeding.
Sword Four coughed up a spray of blood. He looked up at him and smiled, but only blood came out when he open his mouth to say something. He trembled violently one more time, and then froze.
Jiang Shaoliu was stunned. He stood up slowly and looked around the deep, dense forest, gnashing his teeth.
A volley of dozens of bullets struck him. Some were crumpled up against his skin and fell to the ground, others bounced off his combat suit with a small shower of sparks.
Several Gangxing Group snipers were advancing towards him, firing on the move. They were well-trained, popping in and out of cover and never missing a single shot.
"The Gangxing Group…"
Jiang Shaoliu clenched his fists until his knuckles were white, flames of wrath in his eyes.
He had been pleasantly chatting with them just minutes ago, but now the four guys were all dead.
They Yin Manshu's men.
"I will take revenge for this." Jiang Shaoliu looked at the four bodies on the ground with blood-red eyes and promised: "You will see."
He rushed out, covering a dozen meters with each step. Stones shattered under his feet as his hair fluttered in the wind.
"Shoot him in the eyes!" A master holding two short axes gave chase. "Cover me, I've got him!"
Submachine guns spewed bullets like a hailstorm.
Two more bronzed masters came up after the axe-wielder, one holding a halberd and the other a hammer.
Jiang Shaoliu closed the eyes, feeling the hot true qi violently running through the minor meridians under his skin. His face and muscles tightened as he stormed through the hail of bullets.
Ping… ping… ping…
Bullets struck him one after another but dropped to the forest floor without causing any damage.
One bullet hit his eyelid but bounced back, only managing to take out several eyelashes.
"Die!" The master with the two axes caught up to him and jumped like a fierce monster, his two alloy war axes chopping through the air.
Jiang Shaoliu's eyes flashed brightly as he turned around and jumped, punching forward and roaring: "You too!"