The table was empty without so much as a morsel of food. Anyone could feel the hostility within the gaze on Luo Yuan and friends, when they entered. Luo Yuan then had the realization that this would probably be a Hongmen banquet1.
“Have a seat, everyone. Dishes will be served soon. There are no outsiders here, Yali’s not here too. There’s something I’d like to clarify first or I’m afraid that this meal will be hard to swallow,” Zhu Hao said, with a lit cigarette. He did not have to disguise his dislike since Zhao Yali was not here.
“So troublesome… to even have a meal. What did you want to say?” Luo Yuan smirked as he moved towards the table. With a stretch of his hand, a hole was dug in the solid wood table as he slowly placed the wood pieces on the table.
The wordless deterrence achieved its effect, but Zhu Hao suddenly let out a loud laugh, “Gutsy. But you have to understand that this is my territory. I know you’re not weak either since you were able to make your way here and attend the banquet without fear… but just to remind you, I already have a few machine guns aiming towards this tent ever since you got in. If you dare try anything funny, I’m afraid you won’t be able to leave,” Zhu Hao said lightly as he stepped on the cigarette he puffed and lit another one with a slight shudder.
Everyone looked at Luo Yuan in panic, but was assured when his expression remained stoic.
Luo Yuan tapped the table lightly and said coldly after some time, “Tell me about it.”
“Alright,” Zhu Hao subconsciously let out a breath he did not know he was holding. He did not know why he would always felt a little out of breath whenever he faced Luo Yuan, as if he was facing a mutated beast instead of a human. He had been trying to dominate the situation since they entered, but it was obvious that he did not succeed.
“Let’s each mind our own business, I don’t want to complicate matters too. Zhao Yali is now my girlfriend, so please leave immediately after lunch. Ultimately, she’s only a beautiful woman. If you need, I can give you a few more who are prettier. But to this survivor’s camp, she’s akin to a protector god. So don’t you worry, I’ll take good care of her.”
Zhu Hao was undoubtedly a smart man, he knew when and what to give and take. He knew what he needed and worked to acquire it. Zhao Yali was not only a woman, but a force of deterrence to him.
Luo Yuan’s arrival had caused him a sense of crisis. Anyone who was not blind could see that Zhao Yali still had feelings for the man. If it were a normal woman, he could just send her as a sign of friendship, but it was different with Zhao Yali. Having her would mean having a fourth level beast.
This beast was too important to him and to this campsite. The most crucial reason this site could remain so safe was because of this beast’s existence. He had to keep it here regardless of circumstances; and to keep it here means keeping Zhao Yali here. He had especially crafted 2 solutions before this banquet – they could either do it the hard way or the easy way, but he must send him away as soon as possible.
Luo Yuan was irked. He was not someone who cannot be reasoned with, and Zhao Yali was already someone else’s girlfriend. By right, he should have given up, but for some reason, he was extremely unsettled, as though a a ball of fire burned silently in him.
He kept quiet for a while then said raising his head slowly, “And if I don’t agree?”
Surviving was already difficult with the unpredictable danger in the era of apocalypse when you could die anytime, so he saw no reason to live so cautiously.
Zhu Hao’s subordinates’ hands immediately went to their pistols, the air seemed frozen in place with the impending battle.
“This is not giving me face, she’s my woman now,” Zhu Hao sneered.
His words stung Luo Yuan deeply, his face darkening, as his eyes bored holes into Zhu Hao. A threatening aura exuded from him as the air became restless, even the wood pieces on the table seemed to begin floating.
The youth guarding by the entrance suddenly realized that the black machete beside him shook intensely, as if wanting to come out from its scabbard. He pressed on it with shock yet the blade did not stop quaking.
There was a pin-drop silence in the tent
Cold sweat trickled down the foreheads of Zhu Hao and his gang, their hands on the pistols stoned like statues. Instinct told them that chaos would entail with any rash action.
Zhu Hao finally knew why he was so breathless facing Luo Yuan. He was too powerful, so much so that with just his gaze, nobody dared to move. He could possibly kill everyone here in a flash too, if he wished to.
“Luo Yuan, enough,” Huang Jiahui suddenly voiced out, she did not look happy. Luo Yuan had crossed the line this time. She could close an eye when Luo Yuan killed people, but he should only kill those who deserved it, not simply murdering as he wished, especially not for someone else’s girlfriend.
The threatening aura slowly dissipated. Luo Yuan stood up solemnly after a while, “Let’s go.”
His voice was laced with endless exhaustion, everyone could feel his depressing mood.
Zhu Hao wanted to end things with some pleasantries, but realized that his words seemed to be stuck in his throat.
Just as Luo Yuan was ready to leave, a loud growl came from the camp, deafening everyone.
“It’s a giant dog,” one of Zhu Hao’s subordinates shouted.
Before the first growl ended, another growl came from a distance; with both beasts engaging in a competition.
Luo Yuan’s expression changed, he briskly walked out of the tent and had already picked up his machete before the youth guarding the entrance could react. Zhu Hao and gang followed him out after some hesitation.
The trees in front fell, as a huge beast revealed itself.
Everyone around fled screaming, knocking over some of the tents.
“Giant lizard’s here,” Wang Shishi said happily.
The lizard came following Luo Yuan’s scent since he did not return after so long.
Lao Huang guarded at the entrance of the campsite, its red fur blowing luxuriously with the wind, as a transparent layer of red flame hovered above its fur. It growled angrily at the lizard, but Zhao Yali was nowhere to be seen, possibly already in hiding.
Luo Yuan noticed the cannons set around nearby were already shifting their aims towards the lizard. He quickly grabbed Zhu Hao by his side and growled, “Order them to stop at once.”
Everything had happened too fast. Zhu Hao who was still confused finally understood now that these people too, had a fourth level beast. He nodded his head, afraid that Luo Yuan would kill him, and shouted loudly, “Everyone hold your horses, everyone stop!”
It was impossible for anyone to have heard his order in this nerve-wracking situation, so cannons fired almost immediately, but thankfully, none of the people operating them were professionals as the first round of fire missed.
Yet it still frightened the lizard, its scales spiking and movement picked up to speed towards Lao Huang.
Even Luo Yuan could not catch the lizard’s sudden movement.
Its 15-point Dexterity (Luo Yuan’s was 14 points) blurred its movement from everyone’s eyes. Within a blink, it had knocked into Lao Huang sending it flying. Lao Huang rolled with the momentum, with its high heat fur burning the mud.
Before it could stop rolling, the lizard charged again, its claws dug into Lao Huang’s body as it opened its mouth, aiming at the dog’s throat.
Although both beasts were dark blue level mutated beasts, the giant lizard was still much stronger than Lao Huang due to its AP. Both of them were on different levels – the lizard’s speed alone could only dominate Lao Huang.
“Everyone stop,” Luo Yuan roared breaking out in cold sweat.
Hearing his familiar voice, the giant lizard halted its movement in reflex. Its head cocked to one side as it looked around, claw still stepping on Lao Huang. Lao Huang was wailing, its body frozen in place.
Someone nearby prepared to fire the cannon again. With a brisk movement, Luo Yuan had already chopped the cannon about a dozen meters away into halves, frightening the person into a stun.
Zhu Hao noticed Luo Yuan’s incredible speed and quickly ordered everyone to stop.
Finally, everyone stopped in their tracks, but alas, the campsite was already a mess.
Lao Huang’s wails finally made Zhao Yali charge towards where they were from her tent.
“Make your beast let go of Lao Huang now, you bastard. You’re hurting it,” Zhao Yali grabbed Luo Yuan’s clothes, angrily shouting like she has gone mad.
Luo Yuan did not disclose any emotion and shouted, “Giant lizard, come back!”
The lizard loosened its grip and turned to come over, causing the ground to tremble with every step. Those standing near Luo Yuan scattered away once again.
Zhao Yali let go of Luo Yuan in an instance, and rushed over to Lao Huang.
Even though Lao Huang had already mutated, its canine personality remained. With a pitiful wail, it got up and hid behind Zhao Yali to lick its wounds.
The stark contrast of its size and action was hilarious but no one was able to laugh at the moment.
Huang Jiahui had been exceptionally calm. She realized that Zhu Hao who had gone to inform Zhao Yali of the situation was now blended into the crowd and was loudly instructing his subordinates.
She looked at the silent Luo Yuan and the puzzled crowd, and seemed to realize something and raised her pistol to aim it towards Zhu Hao who was further away.
1 A feast or meeting set up as a trap for the invited party.