Ya Yu raised his front paws and stomped the ground violently. A halo of pale, yellow light was created at the point of impact. The imposing shockwave produced by the man wielding axes, to the horror of the guardians, was easily bounced off upon contact. The giant ice python, who was about to swallow him whole, had its head ripped apart by the latter’s tiger claws with another odd-sounding roar. Ya Yu was already on its way towards the man wielding axes with a powerful push form his hind legs before the shards of ice even touched the ground.
“Careful!” The man who held the katana screamed in terror. The man with the axes threw his weapons in Ya Yu’s direction to try to slow him down, only to realize that a smaller yellow halo around his legs held him to where he stood.
“NOO—!” The ice manipulating guardian, who was still on top of the lake, yelled out in agony at being forced to witness the demise of his friend. Ya Yu, with a gentle tap of his claws, easily repelled the flying axes and appeared right in front of his target. The next second, he pierced through the guardian’s chest with both of his claws.
“Mooh—!” Another strange growl from Ya Yu. Ya Yu moved his claw outward and tore through the guardian’s torso, creating a small firework of blood. Ya Yu snatched a piece of intestine with his bloody claws and slowly chewed it while staring at his next target, the man with the katana, with bloodthirsty eyes.
They were nothing more than a feast for Ya Yu.
“Yiming!” The bloodbath after a mere instant of facing Ya Yu caught Qing Linglong off guard. Although it was not the first time she encountered the monster, the emotional shock from this scene of excessive violence, compounded by unpleasant memories of what happened last time she fought Ya Yu, froze her with fear for a second.
“Let’s go look for Liu Meng!” Li Yiming looked coldly at Ya Yu, whose entire body was painted red, and bolted toward the forest at the outer edge of the park with Qing Linglong following him closely.
At the same moment, the man with the shoulder cannon, who stood far away from the scene of terror, had finished charging his attack. A beam of light traveled silently toward Ya Yu from the back. The latter, instead of dodging the attack, crouched down and put his right arm in front of his face.
The beam of light hit Ya Yu right on and sent him flying off backward. However, before the man with the cannon could celebrate his victory, he realized that Ya Yu had been targeting his friend, the ice-manipulator, who stood behind him, and used the speed from his attack to close the distance quickly.
The ice manipulating guardian reacted quickly and jumped upwards, but Ya Yu managed to snatch his ankle mid-flight. Both of them fell into the lake, locked in their struggle. It was not long before they disappeared beneath the surface. The leader of the group, once again, wanted to yell out, but he knew that it was to no avail, and the cry of pain stayed stuck in his throat. He turned his head toward his friend with the cannon and found his staring at the distance blankly while a half-human half-snake figure appeared in front of him.
“Fusion…” The leader of the group knew that the half-man, half-beast creature was no longer Bai Xi. Its tail was no longer silver, but gold, and although the human top-half still had a unique charm to it, Bai Xi’s face had been replaced by that of the camouflager.
‘He’s gone.’ The thought barely occurred to the leader when the camouflager extended his right hand and slowly caressed his friend’s neck. The next moment, blood poured out like a fountain as a human head fell to the ground at the same time as the cannon.
The ice on the surface of the lake was broken again. Ya Yu emerged alone, holding a human leg with his paw. Its mouth continued to chew as he showed a thirst for the next target to come.
‘There’s no way I can run now.’ The leader of the group knew that he would not be able to escape. Everything had happened so quickly, despite his intentions to retreat from the moment he saw Ya Yu. His friends had all died, and it already was too late for him to run for his life.
“I didn’t want to destroy this beautiful city, but you’re leaving me no choice. Enjoy your own demise.” The camouflager turned his head to look at where Li Yiming left to, and slowly slithered toward the last target. The light that shone in his eyes made them seem more charming than ever, but this time they also concealed an intent to kill.
“From the moment I walked down from the Stage of Ascension, I knew that this day would inevitably come. I guess I should consider myself honored to have a camouflager and Ya Yu be the ones to finish the deed. And my buddy was complaining a while ago that he hadn’t seen a camouflager after all these years, I guess his wish was heard.” The leader of the guardians knew that there was no chance to survive, and giving up on life actually made him feel more placid than ever. He walked slowly toward Ya Yu while a small tornado that gradually increased in size slowly formed around him as he stepped forward: this was the embodiment of everything he had learned as a guardian, the will of his blade.
“Level five? Let’s see how long you can last against Ya Yu.” The rising aura surrounding the man with the katana surprised the camouflager, but concern soon turned into a scornful smile. ‘Level five? That’s nothing for Ya Yu.’
Ya Yu bit off a chunk from the leg he held and threw the rest into the lake. He had realized that the man standing in front of him was probably going to be more tasteful than what he had at hand. His saliva, blood and the fragments of flesh had formed a thick, viscous substance around the corner of his lips, making him seem like an infernal monster straight out of hell.
Ya Yu bent down and suddenly launched himself toward his last prey. The man continued his slow walk while the small tornado gradually compacted around his body. Thirty meters, ten meters, five meters… The man waited until Ya Yu was right in front of him before striking. It was a simple slash, nothing out of the ordinary, seemingly similar to a little kid swinging a wooden stick, but it came crashing down on Ya Yu at an incredible speed.
Ya Yu crossed his front paws and met the strike head-on.
A metallic noise resonated throughout the entire park. The leader had sunken a foot into the earth, but his strike was enough to stop Ya Yu in its course. The shockwave from the hit sent small debris and rock shrapnels flying around.
“Release!” The man suddenly said with a resolute voice. His body fragmented and broke into shards like a mirror being hit with a rock, and all the fragments melted into his blade. The luminescence which clung onto his weapon, repressed for so long, finally burst out in a bright explosion. The sudden outburst was enough to stun Ya Yu, who stood still in confusion.
“Dodge!” The camouflager shouted in surprise, but it was too late. The flash of light had already vanished. The single strike that carried the boundless anger and blood of the guardian had already carried away one of Ya Yu’s paws with it. Ya Yu sank to the ground with painful moans and held his wound with his other paw.
“Weapon fusion… Did he learn that before dying? A suicidal attack for the sake of living. IS that what it means to be guardian?” The camouflager looked at the disintegrating katana that fell to the ground and sighed.
Li Yiming ran between the tree, his worry growing as time went by. He could hear that the fighting behind him had slowly died down, and he knew that once the camouflager took care of the other guardians, which should not take very long based on the brief encounter he had witnessed, it would become considerably more difficult for him to search for Liu Meng.
“Li Yiming!” A calm and cold voice called him. Fang Shui’er jumped down from a tree wearing her full armor. She stood quietly, right beside Li Yiming. Liu Meng was resting on her shoulders.
“Liu Meng!” Li Yiming leaped in Fang Shui’er’s direction when he saw Liu Meng. He picked her up and asked in a worried voice. “Is she alright?” He asked as he checked her over.
“It’s just as you’ve said. Bi Fang lost his ability to fight after one strike, since he was probably very injured himself. I knocked her unconscious with one strike,” Fang Shui’er explained calmly, but she seemed cold and lacked the trustful attitude she had a while earlier.
Li Yiming did not notice Fang Shui’er’s oddity at all. He checked every inch of Liu Meng’s body carefully. Qing Linglong frowned slightly and threw an inconspicuous glance at Fang Shui’er. Although the latter’s armor hid her face completely, Qing Linglong, who was by nature prudent, noticed that something was off. She slowly moved to a position between Fang Shui’er and Li Yiming, and lowered her daggers; this was her usual position before delivering a strike.
“They’re all dead. Five lives for one of Ya Yu’s paw. What about you? What will you trade your lives for?” A calm, feminine voice was heard, followed by the sound of scales sliding against the ground. A robust but alluring figure appeared in the distance.
“You’re fast.” Li Yiming picked Liu Meng up from the ground and stared coldly at the camouflager.
“Careful, it’s been quiet over there for a while. Ya Yu’s probably hiding somewhere nearby.” Qing Linglong whispered to Li Yiming. She no longer had the attention to spare for Fang Shui’er, and instead, placed herself in front of Li Yiming.
“You ruined my Bai Xi, and now you want to take my Bi Fang away? I spared your lives last time, don’t you know to make good use of my pity?” The camouflager leaned lazily against a tree and swaying his tail left and right.
“Keep an eye on Liu Meng. I’ll handle both of them.” Li Yiming transferred Liu Meng into Qing Linglong’s hand. He pulled out a sword from his storage space. Since the reinforcements had not arrived yet, he would need to fight alone. He had already talked with Bai Ze about how to handle this fight. Bai Ze and he would try to eliminate Ya Yu as quickly as possible. He did not know much about the camouflager, so even a surprise attack might not work against him. However, Bai Ze already knew everything about Ya Yu, so she would know precisely where to strike
“Hmm?” The camouflager frowned. He looked past Li Yiming, at the horizon. In the distance, a small tornado of insects was forming. However, the camouflager was not looking at that strange apparition. Rather, he was looking at the sky above the tornado, which did not seem abnormal in any way.
“A mech? I hope you won’t die right away. Take good care of my Bi Fang.” The camouflager’s figure vanished slowly after leaving a menace behind.
Fang Shui’er raised her bow to shoot, but Li Yiming stopped her. “We’ve already gotten what we wanted. There’s no point in chasing him.” Li Yiming knew from seeing the cloud of insects that the rest of his teammates had arrived. Although he was fairly confident that he would be able to defeat the camouflager with the help of Big Beard and Bai Ze, he did not want to take the risk of sustaining any casualties, especially with Liu Meng’s being present.
Fang Shui’er lowered her bow after a long stare at Li Yiming from beneath her mask. She retreated quietly to the side and looked at the cloud of insects that was coming closer and closer. Qing Linglong carefully put Liu Meng on the ground and looked around alarmingly, just in case the camouflager would come back sneakily. The cloud of insects split up as it approached, forming a belt that surrounded the group. Zeng Qian walked out from behind the black curtain, emotionless as always.
“He’s gone.” Zeng Qian said after closing her eyes for a moment.
A giant mech slowly appeared above Li Yiming. It was Big Beard, who had deactivated the camouflage function on his mech. After Big Beard walked out of his mech, the robot gradually shrank into a prism which was about two meters tall. Big Beard put it away into his storage item.
“They went that way. Are we going after them? I think Ya Yu is injured.” Big Beard asked after a glance at Liu Meng. He came here to help, so he would obey Li Yiming’s order.
“No need for that. We’ve already achieved what we wanted. We should go back and focus on helping her wake up.” Li Yiming was relieved by the camouflager being intimidated to leave, and especially happy when Bai Ze told me that she could easily make Liu Meng wake up from her slumber.
“Is she okay?” Qing Qiaoqiao, who had been hiding until now, since combat was not her aptitude, finally showed up and scuttled toward the group.
“She’s fine. She’s unconscious, that’s all. We should go back to our hiding spot. This place will be swarming with people soon.” Li Yiming picked up Liu Meng and led the retreat toward the outer part of the park. Everyone else followed, except for Fang Shui’er.
“Fang Shui’er?” Qing Linglong asked. Fang Shui’er had saved her life, but the way she was acting was a valid reason for staying on her guards.
Li Yiming turned his head back to look at Fang Shui’er, a little confused by her unresponsiveness. Suddenly, his heart skipped a beat; after what happened at Eden, he was too familiar with this sensation of someone wanting to take his life. He jumped back, looking at where the danger came from. He was surprised when he saw Zeng Qian.
“You… you killed Xiao Hei?” Zeng Qian asked with a trembling voice. The rage and fury that shone in her eyes gave a clue about the tempest of emotion that raged beneath her mask. Her eyes remained fixated on the trendy-looking ring on Liu Meng’s finger.
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