Luo Yuan did not need to turn around to know what had happened. He had heard Huang Jiahui’s warning.
Flexing his arms, he tossed Zhou Yicheng towards the giant lizard, the man landing accurately near the creature after crossing 7 – 8 meters of distance in the air.
“Pull him up and clean away the water weeds,” Luo Yuan spoke calmly as if the mutated fish coming for him was a piece of meat waiting to be devoured.
His words calmed Huang Jiahui and everyone else, who were watching.
The current became violent, causing Luo Yuan to sway. His senses told him that there was a seven to eight meter long fish coming at him like a speeding train, splitting the water in the river.
Had they been on land, the creature could have easily been killed with a slash of his blade.
There was not much he could do in the water, though. He was anxious to be facing such a creature, but he knew his anxiety would only burden himself and everyone else.
The mutated fish was swift. It was coming at Luo Yuan with its mouth wide open, its sharp teeth within a breath’s distance from him.
Luo Yuan finally made his move.
He trod through the water rapidly, a current forming underneath his legs by his speed. It suddenly felt as if he was stepping on solid ground.
With his arms also moving in strokes, he leaped out of the water unexpectedly, jumping more than three meters into the air.
Once he was out of the water, there was no more resistance. He felt free as a bird.
Meanwhile, the fish chased him, watching its food escape into the air.
It almost made Luo Yuan chuckle.
It wanted to die.
Luo Yuan was more reserved in the water because it made him a lot weaker. Killing the fish might result in an injury, but they were mid-air now, so he was no longer the prey.
The fish was too slow in Luo Yuan’s eyes.
His body hovered mid-air, the Zhanmadao in his right hand slashing through the fish’s mouth and splitting its jaws into two.
This was not the end, though.
Luo Yuan’s arms moved briskly, intense black rays striking like lightning as pieces of the fish dropped into the water like dumplings, painting a large area of the river red.
Grey clouds gathered around as rain started to pour.
Luo Yuan had hovered rather long mid-air, borrowing force from his blade’s high-frequency movement. He only fell when the fish had been diced, and even then, his descent was slow; somewhat similar to a feather landing on the ground.
He suddenly thought of something.
He had always held onto the principle of wishes coming true, slowing himself down by sheer Will when he jumped off somewhere high. He believed that he could fly freely once his Will got strong enough.
It sounded similar to telekinesis, except telekinesis felt more like another limb on one’s body after evolving; a limb different from other organs or parts of the body. It could manipulate weapons and generate energy from nothing. It could even support the body in flight when it got powerful enough, but there was also the problem of distance – telekinesis’ effective distance, to be precise.
Just like an arm supporting the body, it could not exceed the arm’s reach, allowing only low-height flight.
Will was different. It was a matter of the heart. What the heart wanted, it could get. As long as one had Will that was sufficiently powerful, one could fly as high or as far as they wished.
Of course, Luo Yuan’s Will was not powerful enough yet to fulfill his dream of flying. It could only allow him to reduce his weight and land effortlessly.
He could not fly yet, but could he run on water?
Water had a certain buoyancy and tension of its own. If one could stay afloat by treading through, then with sufficient speed and strength, running on water might also be possible. Besides, judging by his earlier leap, water and land would probably feel the same for him with 14-points in Dexterity.
He had yet to try it out because the water had been too dangerous. Now that he thought of it though, he felt rather eager to do it.
As he concentrated his Will, the faintest glow started radiating from his body. His foot went into the water, a splash exploding on the surface as his body bounced a meter high.
“Too much power,” he thought.
He went softer on the second step.
Too light. He nearly sunk.
After several shaky steps in his initial attempts and several adjustments, he managed to walk on water, as if strolling around in a park. He was so fast; he left ripples behind him.
The scene defied logic.
His people were used to him always performing some miracle and were less shocked by it, but this was the soldiers’ first time. They were so shaken; they could not help but fear Luo Yuan a little more.
The fish’s carcass and the rich scent of its blood had attracted other creatures that lived in the water.
They went in one after the other, losing all rationality and ending up biting each other.
Waves tore through the river, the already murky waters turning muddy.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, Luo Yuan ordered the lizard to move quickly.
Perhaps the bigger beasts had scared the mutated fish away, because no other fish came near them, not even at the deepest part of the river, where the water came up to Luo Yuan’s stomach. They all reached the other side safely.
When they got back on the highway, everyone sighed in relief.
Their situation was still bad. Four of the soldiers had died, and Zhou Yicheng was unconscious.
“How is he?” Luo Yuan asked, looking at the man.
The soldiers had taken care of him.
The water weeds had been cleared away, and his clothes had been taken off to cover him from the rain. However, his eyes were shut tight, and he was breathing shallowly. Luo Yuan saw tiny red dots on his exposed skin, a reddish-yellow pus flowing out as a soldier kept wiping it away. His eyes were rimmed red.
The soldier’s mouth moved with a sigh, but he kept quiet.
“Not very good. The water weeds had some soft thorns, and they were already attached to him when he was found,” Cao Ling answered.
The water weeds had long been thrown away by the group, so Luo Yuan could not determine what they were, but it was possible that the carnivorous weeds could inject venom that might affect one’s digestive or nervous system.
The pus looked somewhat similar to dissolved traces of fat and protein. The man would not have been able to survive the night if he had not been treated in time.
Luo Yuan sighed. “We’ll rest here tonight and leave tomorrow.”
The giant lizard stopped in front of an outpost.
It was evident that survivors had stayed there before as there were garbage and traces of ashes everywhere. The most obvious sign were the clear footprints covered in thick dust. It would seem that the last survivors there had left a long time ago.
Huo Dong and Lin Xiaoji began wiping out the mutated beasts still inside with their knives.
They could already handle regular beasts on their own, without Luo Yuan’s help.
Huo Dong pulled the decayed cotton sheets up, a dozen of bugs the size of a fist running helter-skelter. Pieces of cloth had blocked all possible exits, so they had nowhere to go. Huo Dong stepped on them and walked to the bed frame. “At least it’s not wet.”
He chopped the steel bars around the bed and took out the wooden board.
This would be their firewood for cooking dinner.
Lin Xiaoji beside him was doing the same thing when he asked hesitantly, “I’ve heard that we might be sent to the reconstruction area in the Northwest when we arrive at the secret military base. What’s your plan?”
“Plan?” the question caught Huo Dong off guard, his actions slowing down. Realizing that he had never thought about it, he said, “Me? I’ll just see how it goes, I guess. You’re evolved, though. The government will surely recruit you. You’ll be much better off than most of us.”
He was rather envious, but he knew it was all based on luck.
“The government hires evolved people for dangerous jobs anyway. What’s the difference compared to now?” Lin Xiaoji sighed. “I want to find a job and live like an average person. Don’t tell anyone that I’m evolved. I’ll tell them when it’s the right time.”
“Do you think Boss Luo’s powers will cause a buzz when we get there?” Huo Dong asked, a thought blossoming in his mind.
“I think it’s unlikely. China is a big country with many people. He’d just be another evolved person there. Look at Wang Shishi. She’s not that far from Luo Yuan, maybe even a bit better than him. Too bad my ability is crap,” Lin Xiaoji complained as he touched the wooden board.
“It’s a good thing your ability is weak. Otherwise, you’d be flying already.” Huo Dong thought silently.