The soldiers were amazed as they watched Luo Yuan jump down from such an incredible height. They even witnessed him landing on a slab of cement and walking away without a limp or scratch.
The creatures in the surrounding area were affected by the sheer force of the Zhanmadao and fled the area. Those that were too slow froze and dropped to the ground. Without even trying, Luo Yuan had successfully scared away most of the low-level beasts in the vicinity.
The bushes around the area were quite short since they had emerged from the ground that was previously covered in cement. However, they all looked healthy and strong as if they had been growing for years.
There was only one type of rattan, and it was rare to find. The plant was fine like chopsticks and had scale-like patterns growing on it. It was incredibly tough and did not break even when Luo Yuan pulled on it with great force. It could surely withstand the full weight of a human body.
Luo Yuan gathered some of the rattan and chopped them using his Zhanmadao before tying them together to form a rope about 10 meters long. Luo Yuan checked the rope and decided to make another knot on the weakest link before pulling on it again to check for safety. He then tied one end to a rock and threw the other end towards the highway.
“Climb down the rope and be careful.” Luo Yuan said.
The children went down first. They were tied to the rope and were lowered slowly towards Luo Yuan. Then, Huang Jiahui and the other women went down. They were followed by Huo Dong and the rest. The last to come down were the soldiers.
Luo Yuan secretly counted the time taken to complete the whole process. He started counting from the moment Huang Jiahui grabbed onto the rope to the second Chen Xianfeng landed. They took a good half an hour to complete the descent. However, the soldiers had more people. Most of them were already weak, and some of them were still injured, yet they were faster in their descent; taking less than three minutes. This emphasized the difference between the highly disciplined soldiers and Luo Yuan’s group of amateurs.
Regardless of their abilities, they were unrivaled in both discipline and obedience. As the physique of these soldiers improves, their attack power which came from their training would increase several folds. However, Luo Yuan was only an ordinary citizen before the apocalypse. Forming a group was never his intention. He only wanted to save as many lives as he could. It was more practical for him to level up his abilities than to hope for the group to increase their attacking powers from being disciplined. If the next place they went to were better, perhaps they would not need to suffer like this anymore.
Luo Yuan noticed the lizard pop its head to look down. He quickly urged everyone to move away seeing that it was going to jump. Space was created in an instant as everyone quickly scrambled away. The group observed in fear as the lizard landed onto the ground with a loud thump. Its gigantic size cracked the cement and caused a minor tremor.
“Brother Luo, how did you manage to get your hands on this pet? I might want to own one too in the future.” Zhou Yicheng asked in astonishment. If the military could have an army of war beasts, it would no doubt be of great help in their current situation.
“Challenge it and win!” Luo Yuan turned towards him and said. He then continued, “Clever beasts fear death. However, you could also cultivate it from young. The best would be mutated beasts that evolved from dogs as they are intelligent and loyal. I assume the military already have trained canines. Experience in this matter could be very useful if they evolve.”
Luo Yuan already knew what Zhou Yicheng was thinking; he did not plan to keep it a secret as there was no such need. If he could notice, the country would have been able to notice it too. Besides, it was evident as Zhou Yicheng laughed to cover-up feelings exposed by Luo Yuan’s gaze. He said, “Military canines would be hopeless for me. If I see a dog, I would feel like eating it, and the dogs would want to bite me whenever they see me.”
“It’s better not to talk about this again.” Luo Yuan suddenly uttered.
“Why?” Zhou Yicheng asked.
“We have a dog here.” Luo Yuan replied.
Just as he finished, Lao Huang jumped down! It unintentionally glanced at Zhou Yicheng and growled fiercely.
“You consider this a dog?” Zhou Yicheng stuttered, his ears were numb from the loud growl.
The pressure that came from such a beast was intense. In reality, Lao Huang was already far from being a dog after the mutation. In comparison to dogs, its mouth and nose were much wider. Even the proportion of its facial features was adjusted; its limbs were sturdier and stronger, and its muscular and thick body looked nothing like a canine’s. If it still had its fiery fur, Lao Huang would look more like a lion than a canine. A super lion, in fact!
“Battalion Commander, there is something up there,” a soldier seemed to have discovered something. Zhou Yicheng quickly ran over, and Luo Yuan followed.
It was half of a bridge pier, lying in the bushes. Ordinary people would probably not pay much attention to it, but various clues could be seen in the eyes of a professional. The soldier quickly said after noticing everyone had gathered, “I suspect…I suspect that a mutated beast did this. Its body should be long, like a snake.”
Luo Yuan carefully observed and touched the surface. His expression changed, and he became serious. The force necessary to break a 2-meter-diameter pier would have to come from an extraordinary beast. Even the giant lizard might have to run into the pier a few times to break it, and that was already assuming it could break the bridge pier in the first place.
He immediately spoke, “Find out if the other piers have been damaged similarly.”
The soldiers looked at Zhou Yicheng and did not move. They did not want to upset their leader even though Luo Yuan was very intimidating. Zhou Yiching urged them, “Brother Luo’s order is my order, go now!”
Luo Yuan waved his hands as if he was not bothered by such petty things like this. Soon, new piers were found. There were 6 of them in the area. Excluding two that were broken from the pressure, the rest all had similar patterns on them.
Luo Yuan hesitated for a minute but decided to continue moving forward. The second collapsed bridge pier was only a few hundred meters away; the party would arrive within minutes. Their hearts sank when they noticed the same pattern that they previously found on the piers.
He did not bother to check anymore as he was getting familiar with what had happened. He was almost sure that they were all destroyed by the same beast. They were fortunate not to have met any danger along the way- not even a light blue or blue level beasts appeared. It seems that all the mutated beasts in the region had long fled.
This only made Luo Yuan more cautious; his heart was pounding faster as they got nearer to the last chasm. Right at this moment, the giant lizard shook its head in anxiety, and its steps became hesitant; Lao Huang even took a few steps back, making threatening howls.
Luo Yuan immediately had the lizard lay low and had everyone calm down.
The impending danger had everyone high on alert. Huo Dong and the others were no longer the rookies they had been. They prepared themselves for battle with weapons in their hands despite the fear in their hearts. Even Zhao Yali was holding her pistol
After a long wait, nothing seemed to happen.
“Brother Luo, why has it not appeared yet?” Wang Shishi could not help but ask in a soft voice after waiting for over 10 minutes.
“Don’t divert your attention.” Luo Yuan glared at her and spoke, “Stay here and keep your eyes peeled. I will go over and check.”
He sprinted and disappeared before Huang Jiahui could stop him.
Within a few minutes, he returned with something that looked like an unusually long mutated beast in his hands. It was about a meter wide while its length could not be estimated since they could not see it clearly with the bushes blocking their view. Everyone was shocked by what they saw. The kids became paralyzed with fear, but when they observed carefully, it was only skin.
Luo Yuan tossed the skin onto the ground – it was extremely light. The lizard stepped back at first but went nearer to sniff it; its front claw came forward to stomp on it. Luo Yuan quickly chased it away after he noticed how it was spoiling the skin.
“Brother Luo, could those marks be due to the creature that left this skin behind? Cao Lin dared not go near it. Even if it was just skin, it exuded an aura that caused fear and frenzy in her heart.
“It must be. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have broken so many piers. This beast was probably a snake; it would have been a jiao in ancient times.” Huo Dong was rattled too, coming forward for a closer look but quickly taking steps back when he thought the snakeskin came alive. He said, “Oh it’s spooky, looks exactly like a living thing.”
Huo Dong was right; this was a Flood Dragon. Flood Dragons were creatures that came from myths; the Chinese related it to a dragon whenever it was mentioned. The word appeared in ancient times but it was a dragon-snake hybrid; a snake nonetheless.
This time, it was a Flood Dragon. The name was, ‘Tiger-Headed Flood Dragon.’
“Skin of the Tiger-Headed Flood Dragon”
“Rarity: Light Green”
“Weight: 30 kg”
“Additional Abilities: Weak Dragon Aura, Force Offset”
“Remarks: The Tiger-Headed Flood Dragon is a natural overlord on land at the top of the food chain. Even its molted skin emits a weak dragon aura to proclaim its power. Any attacks landing it will be weakened three-fold due to the skin’s Force Offset ability.”