"It's artificial rain. Quite an investment from the military."
Lips tightened with determination, he went deep into the valley.
"It's just a coincidence that we chose the same route, Jiang Shaoliu. We do not share the same goal."
Jiang Shaoliu beat the monsters all the way, some of them died, got dizzy and fell down, that could be seen everywhere.
"You must have your own guiding principle to decide who will live or die." Ruo Feng raised his arm and posted some more photos on the forum.
No one doubted the authenticity of these images.
"Jiang Shaoliu is out of his mind. Why is he going to Valentine Valley instead of escaping to the city? Is he going to Liang Duan Mountain to get that rare fruit?"
"Look at those masters, they are all from the Gangxing Group and the Yungang League. I hope we can get some footage of his dramatic demise when he fights Chi Xiao and Yin Manshu."
"Well, don't you think Jiang Shaoliu could win? Personally, I think he might be the fifth strongest master in Yungang City, maybe even as strong as Lion Warrior."
"Hmm, let's wait and see…"
Ruo Feng chuckled to himself as he read the comments.
"The fifth strongest master? Well, I doubt you'd say that if you'd seen him in person!"
The rain petered out as the mist gradually dissipated and the water trickled down the steep cliffs, forming puddles on the floor of the valley.
"I smell something…"
Jiang Shaoliu stopped and looked around.
A red fruit growing on a broad-leafed plant was wobbling in the wind on top of a huge bluff, its roots gripped tightly inside a cobweb-shaped crack in the rock, as if it was squeezed out from the belly of the earth.
With wild roars, a dozen monsters rushed out in the violent howling wind.
"Single bronze rings? Ha!"
One by one, Jiang Shaoliu threw them down the cliffs, their panicked howls cut short by a sudden splat or splash as they fell into the Valentine Valley.
"There are so many of them, but I have no time to barbecue…"
Scaling higher up the cliffs with a series of leaps, he landed in front of the red fruit.
"So, is this an associated rare fruit?" he plucked it and inspected it carefully.
According to the information on the net, whenever extremely high-grade rare fruits ripened in the past, other fruits would grow in their vicinity, termed associated rare fruit.
This red was like a big strawberry in his hand, covered in tiny water beads that made it seem almost translucent.
It was all red, inside and out, and there were numerous white dots on its surface, glittering like tiny glowworms.
"Hmm, looks pretty common. Healing properties, I'd say"
His stomach felt like it was burning from the inside. He felt incredibly thirsty, but it was useless to drink; he had to eat something!
"Looks juicy. I suppose it'll quench my thirst a little bit, at least." Jiang Shaoliu straightened up and took a bite.
The rare fruit melted in his mouth as he chewed. It was magnificently sweet.
The life ring around his stomach began spinning slowly, and absorbed almost all of its heat.
"Huh?" Jiang Shaoliu rubbed his belly with surprise. "Is this rare fruit an alternative to monster meat?"
It was a subtle difference, but he definitely felt less hungry.
"So…" he looked up at the looming Liang Duan Mountain.
The glowing phenomenon on the peak of the mountain was still lighting up the sky for miles around and showing no sign of fading any time soon.
"According to the records, the rare fruit will ripen completely when that glow disappears, and will be most potent then." Jiang Shaoliu clenched his fists with determination: "I need to get that fruit into my stomach."
He looked around.
The walls of the jagged and lofty cliffs glittered brightly. In the air, on the ground, or inside the crevices, a beautiful array of colorful lights covered the mountain.
High up on the cliffs there were fewer and fewer light spots, almost none at all above an elevation of about five hundred meters.
"The best-grade rare fruit must be at the very top…" Jiang Shaoliu squinted. "Well, I better not be making this climb for nothing. I have to get there first!"
Lin Yuetao, Bai Long and Chi Xiao's smart watches rang simultaneously.
They all received the same message:
'Jiang Shaoliu is in Valentine Valley.'
Lin Yuetao hit a button on his watch and roared, "I command all military personnel to collect the rare fruits, but don't forget to protect Jiang Shaoliu!"
"Teams Tiger, Bear and Leopard, let's go and get that fruit!" Bai Long paused and continued, "Take this chance to assist Jiang Shaoliu in any way you can and make sure to tell him you are from the Hongfa Group."
"So, he came to me…" Chi Xiao licked his lips hungrily. "Gui Gui, Meng Po and Tie Ying, go with the blood killers. I want him dead!"
Slowly scanning the terrain with a pair of binoculars, Yin Manshu suddenly froze.
A human figure appeared amid the swarm of monsters, running wildly regardless of how many of them chased him.
His movements were neat and calculated, and he lost no momentum, no matter how he dodged or struck.
"Hello, Jiang Shaoliu. Fancy meeting you here…" Yin Manshu handed the binoculars off to someone else and barked, "Zi Yi, send teams Two and Three. Just kill him."
The purple-uniformed lady nodded. "As you say. But be careful, Miss. Yi."
"Awesome, amazing!" High up on a cliff, Ruo Feng leaned back against a rock and turned on his smart watch's camera, his heart pounding with excitment.
Jiang Shaoliu had just eaten a rare fruit in the valley, and he was now going to kill.
A blood killer was hit on the chest, the silver color immediately vanishing from him as he flew back and smashed through a rock, being buried under a pile of rubble.
"He didn't even touch the corner of Jiang Shaoliu's shirt!" Ruo Feng exclaimed.
Three blood killers rushed out one by one, the first one getting so close that a gust of wind blew back Jiang Shaoliu's hair.
He didn't dodge nor block. A fist shot out, breaking through the back of the attacker's ribcage.
"Aha ha…" the blood killer cackled with bloody eyes. His both hands turned bronze as he grabbed Jiang Shaoliu by the neck, screaming, "Kill him!!"
Jiang Shaoliu jerked back his hand and the killer's body split in half, collapsing in a heap of blood and gore at his feet.
Jiang Shaoliu leaped wildly, punching with both hands.
The two other killers had no time to dodge.
They were both hit in the guts and crumpled up on the ground like boiled shrimp.
"His speed…" Ruo Feng shook his head.
The twenty-something remaining blood killers were so stunned they forgot to attack.
The fight had lasted barely over a second.
Those two three-ringed bronze masters were running at their top speeds. How could Jiang Shaoliu get the drop on them without even being metalized?
They had no answer to this. Jiang Shaoliu turned around and headed toward the associated rare fruit some distance away.
The blood killers didn't follow him.
Two tall masters and one short man appeared in front of him, gleaming with silver light.
"Those are…" Ruo Feng's eyes light up. "The upper leadership of the Yungang League - Gui Gui, Meng Po and Tie Ying!"
The rare fruit was behind them.
Gui Gui was the shortest but shone the most brightly, like a bright star.
Meng Po pursed her lips at Jiang Shaoliu and sent him an enchanting look.
Tie Ying's sleeves were rolled up, a set of sharp, three-pronged alloy claws on his knuckles, which he scraped against each other menacingly.
"Three masters with two silver life rings…" Jiang Shaoliu burst forward, running faster and faster until his form blurred and the wind whistled in his wake.
100 meters, 80 meters, 50 meters…
As the distance between them became shorter, Tie Ying stepped forward, biceps bulging, and roared in anger, "I'm here to take revenge for my brother, Sha Xing!"
Then he jumped into the air and spread his arms like a fierce bird of prey, the tips of his sharp metal claws audibly slicing the air.
Jiang Shaoliu remained focused, steadily increasing his speed. Whenever he crossed a puddle, the water exploded away from him in tall waves, briefly giving him the appearance of having a pair of watery wings.
A famous master with two silver life rings and one of the leaders of the Yungang League, versus one who had only recently entered the public eye, having slaughtered droves of two of the major factions' men
Who would be the last one standing?
Ruo Feng trembled with anxiety, making the footage he was recording a little a shaky.
The air was electric as the two met in the middle.
With clenched fists, Jiang Shaoliu violently shot upwards at the descending Tie Ying with hard-set eyes.
Tie Ying glowed with silver, his alloy claws sharply whistling downwards.
In an instant, they were an arm's length apart, Jiang Shaoliu shouting loudly and Tie Ying roaring at the top of his lungs, but skimming right over him.
Jiang Shaoliu landed but didn't reduce his speed. With sharp eyes, he continued powerfully towards the fruit as the ground cracked beneath his footfalls.
Tie Ying dropped to the ground and rolled with his momentum to regain his footing. The silver slowly faded as he saw Jiang Shaoliu rapidly receding from him. "You damn…"
Before he could finish, his knees suddenly buckled beneath him and he powerlessly flopped to the ground.
Only then did he notice that his lower body had been crushed in half-dozen different places.
Dragging himself by his arms, eyes bulging, he screamed, "Jiang… Shaoliu!!!!"
High on the cliff, Ruo Feng's eyes had turned completely silver, his pupils clear as water. "He's so fast! I can only see anything clearly when every drop of my true qi is concentrated on my eyes!"
Jiang Shaoliu was still heading for the fruit, with bright eyes and no shortage of fighting spirit.
Meng Po screeched and waved her arms wildly, throwing out a barrage of short spikes, their tips were so sharp they twinkled in cold, blue light as they pierced the air and toward Jiang Shaoliu.
At the same time, she became silvered all over and rushed out right after the spikes, her long, colorful, sharp nails turning blue like butterflies from hell.
"Those spikes were judge pens, coated with the lethal Grandma Meng's Soup," Ruo Feng gritted his teeth anxiously.
Jiang Shaoliu reached into his pocket and grabbed the snail shell fragments.
He closed his eyes and the wind rushing past his ears disappeared gradually as the world became still.
It was as if he was standing in the center of the world, in infinite darkness, and a cloud of silver light spread towards him, following the glittering group of humans that were closing in from his front at high speed.
Jiang Shaoliu bellowed and swung his arm, letting the snail shell fly out like a Frisbee, spinning wildly.
Less than a second later, Jiang Shaoliu shot past Meng Po, a rush of wind throwing up her hair.
Meng Po kept going for a few more steps before coming to a halt. She was about to chase after him, but then frowned and looked down, her eyes slowly widening.
A thin red line appeared across the width of her belly. Dark red blood began trickling out, following by intestines.
The silver glow disappeared immediately as she screamed in a panic and desperately tried to stuff her guts back inside. She slowly bent over and staggered to her knees before freezing.
Jiang Shaoliu kept moving forward with a dozen spikes stuck in his combat suit.
Only Gui Gui stood between him and the fruit.
Gui Gui stood as if rooted to the spot.
Jiang Shaoliu passed him, plucked the rare fruit and swallowed it, then left.
Behind him, Gui Gui was still quivering as his silver light gradually faded.
After ten seconds, Jiang Shaoliu was gone.
With trembling hands, Gui Gui raised his smart watch and called Chi Xiao, but said nothing.
"Gui Gui?" came Chi Xiao's quizzical voice after a few seconds of silence.
Gui Gui almost burst into tears:
"He was so scary when he looked at me just now!"