"Do you have a cigarette?" Luo Yuan asked Commander Xia. Although he had quit smoking a long time ago and was no longer addicted to it, he felt an urge to smoke that particular moment.
Commander Xia was stunned for a moment. He hesitated a little, but in the end he took a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. The box was much shorter than the usual one and didn’t have any company logo on it.
Luo Yuan took a glance at it, and asked doubtfully, "Is this a special kind of cigarette?"
Commander Xia did not deny it, "You could say that. But it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s an internally supplied cigarette. It’s not sold to outsiders. It’s only for people who are under a lot of pressure or facing great danger. Do you want to try one?"
"It sounds so high class. I want to try one, too!" Fatty Xie said eagerly as he heard them.
Commander Xia threw one to him. Fatty Xie caught the cigarette and sniffed it. "It’s been so long since I last smoked. I’d almost forgotten what cigarettes smell like."
Luo Yuan took one too and looked at it curiously. The cigarette was somewhat shorter and thinner. He took out his lighter from the survival kit in his pocket, lit it up and sucked it deeply into his mouth. As his body constitution had been leveling up, his lungs had also become more sensitive. He coughed loudly during the first few drags, but got used to it after that.
He found that the cigarette tasted weird. The different flavor and the smoke in his stomach caused his emotions to run a little wild. He looked at Commander Xia and asked, “Is there something wrong with this cigarette?”
"This is not designed for normal people. An extra ingredient has been added to stimulate the mind and ignite excitement,” Xiao Fei explained. "In fact, you would not want to smoke it unless you’re under too much pressure."
"Is it a drug?" Wang Shishi asked curiously, her eyes blinking.
Fatty Xie looked surprised. He studied the half-smoked cigarette, not sure whether he should throw it away or keep it.
Commander Xia sighed. "You are not wrong, but you have nothing to worry about. It’s not addictive. After several formula improvements, there will not be any impact on one’s health either. It will just help soldiers overcome fear and pressure, as well as enhance combat effectiveness.”
“Actually, this kind of thing exists in all big countries under a different name. Some call it ‘courage injection’, others ‘life-saving pills’, ‘lucky medicine’ and so on. They are all the same, but people never admit it. For example, during the Gulf War before the end of the world, there was a large number of veterans suffering from depression, memory loss and distraction. Do you think it was all because they couldn’t get used to life post-war? It was because they had been injected with psycho-stimulant drugs.”
“That year, there were more than ten wars more brutal than World War II taking place in China. Countless soldiers were killed and countless cities were occupied. Countless civilians died tragically, and some soldiers even committed suicide or fled. Without this thing to support them, the situation might have been even worse.”
Xiao Fei had stopped smiling. "After all, soldiers are only human. We experience fear and all sorts of emotions like everyone else. There were quite a few times during nighttime patrols that I heard soldiers crying," he said with a heavy heart.
Luo Yuan remained silent. He didn’t stop smoking until he had finished the cigarette.
Suddenly, the injured giant beast stood up. When it saw the other beast lying on the ground, it roared sadly. It immediately turned and stared at Luo Yuan and the others angrily. It started moving its huge body, walking towards them.
"Oh, no. Commander Xia, it’s heading for us."
"Seems like we have beaten down its wife and now it wants revenge," said a soldier from Sichuan.
"How can you be so sure? I think the dead one is the husband." The soldiers seemed to be more relaxed because there was only one injured beast left.
"Stop talking nonsense. Be more serious! No. 1 Cannon, let’s give it one more shot. Be more accurate this time!" Commander Xia commanded loudly through the mic.
"Wait," Luo Yuan stopped him. "If we’re running out of bullets, we should save them for an emergency. I’ll take care of it.”
Everyone looked at him. Even Mu Wenwen, who had been keeping her head down, looked up.
Commander Xia hesitated. He looked at Xiao Fei, who nodded confidently, and then turned back to Luo Yuan and said with a serious expression, "Are you sure? This is not a joke."
Luo Yuan nodded and said, "It’ll just take two minutes."
"Well… If you manage to kill this giant beast…" Commander Xia said loudly. He seemed to want to promise him something, but he did not have anything to offer. Luo Yuan was not a soldier. He remained silent for a while before finally adding, "I’ll introduce my sister-in-law to you."
Wang Shishi snorted in discontent. She only looked happy again when Luo Yuan rejected the offer. All her respect and reverence had turned into love. "Brother Luo, can I go with you?" she asked sweetly.
"No, it’s just an injured beast. You stay here, and I’ll be right back," Luo Yuan answered with pride as he touched her head.
However, when he stared at the giant beast standing hundreds of meters away, his face instantly became serious. As he concentrated his Will, a halo flew before his eyes. He immersed his Will into his body, his heartbeat getting slower and slower.
The slower it got, the weaker he felt. After five seconds, his body was shocked, and he instantly felt the wonderful sensation of his body being integrated with the Earth. There was infinite power extending from his foot and spreading throughout every cell in his body. After his Strength had increased, his Earth Stomp had automatically leveled up from three to four points. Meanwhile, his Physique had also increased from one point to four. Once he entered the pulse of the Earth, his connection with the Earth became closer, helping him absorb more power.
The Earth was his back, the very source of his strength. When he switched to that mode, he had endless energy running through his body. He moved his foot and the rock under it exploded. In just a second, he flew out like a lightning. Everyone could feel the wind, but Luo Yuan was no longer to be seen.
Thanks to his superhuman Physique, he sprinted forward, the wind ahead of him hitting his clothes. Their additional ability to balance the airflow caused an air swirl to form behind him.
"Is he an evolved human?" Commander Xia asked in shock as he looked at the scene taking place before him.
"I heard that he is an Earth type evolved human,” Xiao Fei explained. He also seemed to be in shock. "But he is too fast. I don’t think even a level five evolved person could achieve that."
"Do you think he took the genius pill?" Xiao Fei muttered.
Fatty Xie looked serious as he stared at Luo Yuan. He knew perfectly well how strong Luo Yuan was. He would have no chance of fighting back if he got into a fight with him. He would just get killed. Wang Shishi was the only one who looked proud. She had lifted her chin slightly, as if she was the one being admired, but she was also concerned about Luo Yuan’s safety.
In just a few seconds, Luo Yuan had flown a few hundred meters away and stopped a few meters before the sea monster. The monster was more than ten meters tall and ten meters wide. Its huge body looked just like a small hill, giving off a sense of intimidation. Its size was ten times larger than the light green level giant he had faced before. He had never met such a giant beast on land.
However, although its giant size gave it limitless strength, it also made it even more sluggish. It might be very flexible in the water thanks to its huge flat feet, but when it came down to it, it was no better than a blue rank mutated beast. Luo Yuan felt a little relieved. He had thought that the monster was very strong, but in fact, once a sea monster moved to the shore, it was much easier to beat than he’d originally thought.
Of course, it was Luo Yuan who could beat it in all aspects. He basically had no shortage of abilities. He was fast to react, and he had the sharp weapons that could deal the most damage. The angry sea monster had barely noticed the small figure standing not far from it. In its blood-red eyes, Luo Yuan was just the strange creature who had shot its partner to death and injured it. It had completely lost its mind. All it wanted was to get revenge.
He wanted to kill the creature, and then swallow it into its very stomach. The monster struggled to move its huge body while it roared angrily.
When it got closer, Luo Yuan lifted his foot, the veins in his forehead popping out while the blood inside his body boiled. For a time, he felt as if he had lifted up the whole earth, until he used up all his strength and stepped down on the ground heavily.
Suddenly the ground shook. It looked just like boiling water. The sand and rocks seemed agitated, bouncing a few meters into the air before turning into powder and landing on the ground. Even big chunks of rocks and thick trees turned into fine pieces under his tremendous power. The giant sea monster was already very sluggish, but this sudden force made it lose its balance and fall heavily to the ground.
There was dust everywhere within a radius of five meters, and the monster could barely see anything. There was only a small black shadow running at lightning speed, the dust having no impact on it at all. When Luo Yuan got close enough to the sea monster, he jumped five meters into the air and landed on the beast’s shoulder lightly. The monster had a pungent smell to it, and its skin was very smooth and lubricated with mucus. It was very slippery, but Luo Yuan managed to stay still.
Once he landed, he took out his Zhanmadao. The sword shined under his fully concentrated Will. Just as he was about to stab it, the monster instinctively felt the danger and reacted. It shook its body, but it could not shake Luo Yuan off. He quickly balanced on it by adjusting his center of gravity to the monster’s movement. Before he could feel relief though, he saw a seven-meter wide flat foot coming towards him.
Before the foot could reach him, he felt a strong gust of wind. If he got hit by that giant foot, he certainly would not be having an open casket funeral.
"Damn it!" Luo Yuan cursed.
He instantly jumped off the monster’s shoulder and fled across its throat, his Zhanmadao in his hand. He aimed at its thick throat and stabbed it, using all his strength. He made a one-meter wide wound on it, cutting off the monster’s entire throat cartilage.
He fell to the ground and rolled for a while, escaping from the beast under the cover of the dust. When he was tens of meters away, the slow-moving sea monster finally roared. The sound was like air leaking out from a high-pressure pipe. Soon, the smell of blood spread out into the air.
Fear of death hit the sea beast, which began to get crazy. It looked like it wanted to find the little insect that had hurt it. Hundreds of tons of gravel splashed up by its flat feet. For a while, it was as if the sky was raining debris. Luo Yuan could not help but keep backing away. He watched from afar as slowly the movement of the sea beast got smaller and smaller. A few minutes later, he heard the sound of something heavy falling. The ground shook a little before it finally quieted down.