Every 500 meters or so, from the foothills to the very peaks, were circular rocky platforms hugging the circumference of the mountain like a kind of terrace.
Yin Manshu was the first explorer to discover the mountain and she named it Liang Duan Mountain when she saw the view from the top.
Yin Manshu's internet fans added the name San Dao to the tall cliffs on either side of Valentine Valley.
The Valentine Valley, Liang Duan Mountain and San Dao cliffs.
The eastern summit of Liang Duan Mountain reached high up to the sky, covered by luminous phenomena that made it glow colorfully. As the thick fog dissipated, a rainbow appears between the twin peaks of the mountain.
On the western end of the rainbow, at the top of a seven-hundred-meter-high cliff, a swarm of bronze three-ringed monsters crowded together.
Vicious birds of prey were circling the mountain and swooping down to attack anything that moved, and even Lin Yuetao didn't dare to rush upwards too hastily, taking over ten minutes to fight his way up to the first platform.
The second person to reach the platform was not far behind him.
It was the gray-haired Bai Long, his snow-white combat suit still soaking wet from the rain and steaming from the heat of his raging qi which turned his skin ruddy.
The air seemed to freeze as the two masters sized each other up. The nearby monsters sensed their mighty auras and kept their distance.
Two more people arrived simultaneously. Chi Xiao in his streaming red cape, and Yin Manshu in her pristine black combat suit.
There was visible frost on the ground as the four faced off.
The multitude of monsters growled and retreated slowly.
Yin Manshu's curled eyelashes became covered with frost as she wound a glittering thread around her fingers. "Lion Warrior," she smiled coldly, "I've answered your call, but your friend didn't seem very friendly."
As she spoke, she slowly moved closer to Chi Xiao.
"So, you issued the first bounty?" Lin Yuetao laughed. "Yin Manshu, Chi Xiao, I've heard about your misunderstanding with Jiang Shaoliu, but I want you to know that I will spare no effort to protect him."
Bai Long interjected in a low voice, "Jiang Shaoliu is a friend of the Hongfa Group, so please recall the bounty for my sake, okay?"
"For your sake?" Chi Xiao licked his lips with a cruel smile. "How can you even ask me that after he's murdered fifty six of my best people, including my closest lieutenants?"
Yin Manshu wasn't smiling anymore. The air around was amazingly cold. Let alone killing dozens of my best men, he called and challenged me over the phone! That is unacceptable!"
Everyone in Yungang knew that anyone who crossed Yin Manshu was as good as dead. Friends, subordinates, enemies… none survived for long.
It was quite impossible to cancel the bounty.
"So, are we going to fight now or wait till we get to the top?" Bai Long cracked his knuckles. "There's only one rare fruit; we'll have to fight over it anyway."
Chi Xiao rubbed his nose, eyes glittering with bloodlust: "There's a huge, nasty monster up top. Do you think you'll be able to get through to the fruit if we fight now?"
Looking up, Bai Long found that the shining phenomena that illuminated everything for almost ten miles around seemed to dim and begin to fade.
"I've noticed." Lin Yuetao nodded. "Let's climb up there first. I will lead the way."
Without any hesitation, they charged up the steep cliffs, heads held high.
The surrounding monsters felt the danger and escaped in all directions like a receding tide.
Chi Xiao and Yin Manshu shared a meaningful glance and began to fight together.
Yin Manshu somersaulted through the air, letting a lasso of crystal thread fly toward the nearest monster, tugging it back sharply as it closed around the beast's neck.
The giant beast went stiff as the special thread sliced through its thick hide like a hot knife through butter, losing its head in short order.
Chi Xiao's claws were but a blur as he rolled and pirouetted through the throngs of panicked beasts, surrounded by howls and fountains of blood.
Bai Long's gleaming blade cleaved through beast after beast like the fire of Heaven, every swing accompanied by a pained shriek and a sizzling sound.
Giant beasts dropped in droves, but even more were clambering over the dead.
Lin Yuetao clenched his fist, causing a sudden explosion in the air.
The others retreated immediately and stood behind him.
He was roaring, the roar of the lion.
The earth-shaking sound wave plowed up and down the mountainside like a bulldozer, blasting debris every which way and sending dozens of monsters tumbling down the cliffs.
For a moment, every living thing on Liang Duan Mountain stopped what they were doing and looked up in awe.
"Wow, is that the legendary lion's roar? Even its echo makes me feel faint," said a master from Bear Group.
Someone else nearby cried, "Forget about that! Look over there, it's Jiang Shaoliu!"
The savage Tai looked around sharply.
Jiang Shaoliu was sprinting up the mountain, his body leaning so far forward it looked like he was going to fall on his face any second.
He was still chewing on associated rare fruit as his legs beat the ground in a blur of motion.
The bounty hunters could do nothing to stop him, the members of the four major factions couldn't block him, and even the elite silver-ringed masters could not stand in his way.
Ruo Feng was jumping from one jutting rocky outcrop to another, his smart watch pointed squarely at Jaing Shaoliu.
He was streaming the footage live.
At least 30% of the internet users in Yungang were watching, and this number was increasing exponentially.
"It's the twenty ninth fruit in a row he's eating!" Ruo Feng commentated to his viewers, hardly believing his eyes. "How can he stomach it all? Even the smallest medicinal rare fruit can store as many calories as an entire bronze life-ringed monster!"
Jiang Shaoliu spotted a dark purple rare fruit a few hundred meters up ahead.
"Look, it's the Gangxing Group! They are going to fight…" Ruo Feng stopped in his tracks, barely daring to blink for fear of missing something important.
A hundred Gangxing Group masters stood like a wall in front of Jiang Shaoliu, armed with submachine guns, sniper rifles, and at least two dozen rocket launchers.
"Rockets!" Jiang Shaoliu gasped and narrowed his eyes.
The lady in purple stood firm at the front of the formation with three squad leaders.
"Ma'am, we have him in our sights. Shall we open fire?" one of them asked eagerly, swinging his crackling electric baton from side to side.
"I've watched the videos, you'll never hit him from this distance," the purple-clad lady said in a low voice. "Let him come within five hundred meters and then give him overwhelming fire!"
The three squad leaders looked at each other and silvered up.
Jiang Shaoliu flew like the wind, getting closer and closer.
"Tai, Bai Long told us to protect Jiang Shaoliu, but should we really go up against the Gangxing Group in this situation?"
The speaker was codenamed Tiger, the wide-shouldered, thick-waisted and strong-legged leader of Tiger Group. The faces of snarling tigers were printed on his gloves.
The other master standing beside him looked the same. They were twins, but his gloves had leopards on them.
They could see the purple rare fruit growing on a tall plant, waving in the wind.
"Let's grab the fruit while they're all distracted!"
He stormed off immediately, not waiting for anyone to argue.
The unit of over a hundred military masters were running up the mountainside.
Suddenly, Liu Guang's eyes lit up and he pointed toward a distant figure: "Look, Lieutenant Chen, it's Mr. Jiang!"
Chen Anguo stopped in his tracks and followed his outstretched arm.
An indistinct human figure was rushing towards a mass of Gangxing Group men. It had to be Jiang Shaoliu - they got him that combat suit themselves.
Chen Anguo immediately sped up, blue air spraying from under his feet. "Sir, I've spotted Jiang Shaoliu, he's in danger!" he shouted into his smart watch.
The unit commander looked up and recognized him instantly. "Everyone, stand ready!" he barked. "Sniper team, prepare to engage!"
Five snipers threw themselves to the ground and took up firing positions.
The burly soldier pointed at the Gangxing Group unit and cried, "Prioritize the rocket launchers!"