Chapter 33 - Insurmountable Gap
Lin Lu waited at the head of the evacuation file with angst, clenching her fists as she looked at the flashing lights in the sky. After the destruction of all heavy weaponry fifteen minutes ago, the president ordered a general retreat at Li Yiming’s urging.
“There’s nothing you can do anymore. Leave,” Li Yiming said bluntly.
To the surprise of the president, the spec ops division, comprised of vampiric super-soldiers, disobeyed the order. Most of them dove silently into the dark alleyways of the city, never to be seen again.
“They’re soldiers too…” The president looked at the city behind him and sighed.
Looking at her demoralized troops, Lin Lu hated herself for her inability to contribute to the battle that would decide the fate of all.
“What?” Lin Lu suddenly noticed a van driving in the opposite direction of the retreat line.
“Stop!” Lin Lu rushed to the middle of the road. Most of the people that returned were the ones who had forgotten something important. Lin Lu figured that if she was unable to contribute to the fight, then the least she could do was to ensure the smooth sailing of the evacuation.
To her surprise, the van showed no intention of stopping — it swerved left and right and honked as it attempted to skirt past Lin Lu. Lin Lu pulled out her gun and shot at the empty passenger seat, shattering the window and forcing the driver to an abrupt stop.
With a loud screeching of the tires, the vehicle finally came to a halt about two meters away from Lin Lu.
“Get off!” Lin Lu shouted
The driver jumped down with his hands in the air. It was a very short man with a rather dirty face.
“Chen Quan?” Lin Lu recognized the man.
“I need to go to the city. What I have in my car is of utmost importance.” Upon realizing that it was Lin Lu, Chen Quan turned around and walked toward his car.
“What do you have?” Lin Lu dashed forward and opened the door to the trunk.
“A rock?” Lin Lu was stunned by the object. She precisely remembered it to be the same rock that an officer under her command had been bribed to look for.
“I'm not sure what this thing is, but this might just be what Li Yiming needs,” Chen Quan explained.
Ever since he returned from Mount Mu, Chen Quan had focused on doing what he thought could be helpful to Li Yiming, understanding that his place was not on the battlefield. He had been making every effort to find the stone tablets, but got his hands on the rock instead. He recognized the object as he had seen it once before at the jadeware shop and the other time on one of the stone tablets.
“Let me drive.” Lin Lu hopped onto the car.
Lin Lu’s initiative was unexpected to Chen Quan, but he wasted no time getting into the back seat.
“Captain!” One of the soldiers under Lin Lu’s command called out.
“You! Replace me until I return. Carry out the plan!” Lin Lu yelled to a soldier nearby, fired several more bullets into the front panel to clear it out completely, and headed towards the city at full speed.
* * *
Back in Hangzhou, there was a brief pause in the vicious battle. Bai Ze was down on the ground, one wing clearly broken. Sai Gao had a gaping hole in his body through which blood was seeping out slowly, and Li Huaibei had just freed himself from a pile of rubble before removing his damaged coat, and brandishing his sword.
“Interesting…” Mr. Kong looked at his left shoulder, where his fur was slightly burnt.
Li Yiming suddenly reappeared right next to Liu Meng with a flash of purple light after being sent flying for more than a kilometer from a single kick.
“They all say that once you become a sage, you stand at the top of the world. Look at all of you, you surprise me, but it's far from enough if you want to win…” Mr. Kong stretched himself lazily and smirked.
Li Yiming did not find the strength to answer back. All of his friends had sustained grave injuries, and Liu Meng had only able to create a small crack in Mr. Kong’s armor.
“Go against the Heavens… Ahahaha, look at yourself!” Mr. Kong burst out laughing.
Li Huaibei looked around and saw the terror on the faces of the other guardians. They were all exhausted from combat, and they could not help but sense fear and despair that pierced deep within their soul whenever they laid their eyes on Mr. Kong.
“Look at you. Insignificant as insects, and yet you dare defy the will of the Heavens?”
“Weren't you the same before?” Bai Ze yelled angrily.
“Don't you dare talk about it!” Mr. Kong suddenly burst out in anger and leaped at Bai Ze.
Unable to run away, she leaped slightly to the side with her limp body while her allies tried to block the attack to the best of their abilities. Sai Gao rammed into Mr. Kong with his own body, while Li Yiming teleported himself in front of Bai Ze and raised his sword. Liu Meng’s fiery wings began flapping with dark fire, sending out numerous flaming birds toward Mr. Kong to delay his attack.
Mr. Kong appeared in front of Bai Ze almost in the blink of an eye. He smiled with contempt as he looked at Li Yiming’s sword, clasping the latter’s wrist with one hand and punching at his chest with the other.
Li Yiming’s sword was sent flying, and he too a split-second later. Mr. Kong grabbed Li Yiming’s weapon and glanced at his right hand, on which sparks of thunder was running.
“Using thunder as a defense, interesting idea, but useless.” Mr. Kong shook away the numbness in his hand and raised Li Yiming’s sword.
“Ah…” Mr. Kong said as he reminisced. However, the sword suddenly flew up on its own and delivered a vicious slash at Mr. Kong’s throat. Sai Gao arrived at the same time, ready to spit out a green orb at Mr. Kong before smashing him down with his claws.
“I’ll take you down first…” Mr. Kong reached out for Sai Gao’s mouth.
Sai Gao’s attack never left his mouth. As the orb blew up, blood seeped out from every part of his head. Mr. Kong pressed the attack and reached out for Sai Gaao’s throat, only to back away the next moment with a frown, kicking Sai Gao violently in the stomach in the process.
Fang Shui’er’s arrow barely missed Mr. Kong. The nine rays of iridescent light left behind a line of craters.
“Starfall arrows…” Mr. Kong looked at a skyscraper nearby and leaped toward Sai Gao once again.
This time, it was Liu Meng who intercepted Mr. Kong. However, he immediately turned into a shadow and the flaming birds passed right through him. He then accelerated and caught up to Sai Gao, grabbing him by the end of his tail.
Li Yiming teleported right below Mr. Kong and stabbed repeatedly at Mr. Kong, augmenting his attacks with lightning. Mr. Kong turned around and dodged every single stab, clenched his left fist, and aimed at Li Yiming’s heart.
Having no time to pull back his weapon, he decided to exchange blows. Upon impact, he was sent flying away once more, but not before managing to leave a mark on Mr. Kong’s chest plate.
“Trading blow for blow? Let’s see how much of it you can handle!” Mr. Kong was enjoying the thrill of combat. He began spinning furiously with Sai Gao and used his body like a whip to attack Liu Meng, who barely managed to dodge the attack. Increasing the speed of his rotation, Mr. Kong changed his target and hurled Sai Gao toward Li Huaibei like a brick.
Li Huaibei pulled back his sword in order to catch Sai Gao, but a shadow emerged next to the latter, staring right at Li Huaibei with bloodshot eyes.
The next instant, Li Huaibei crashed back into the ruins like a cannonball.
Mr. Kong reappeared next to Sai Gao the next moment, cutting down his giant body into two halves. An explosion of blood ensued.
Fang Shui’er’s next volley finally arrived, but it was already far too late — her arrows passed through a shadow Mr. Kong left behind.
Mr. Kong reappeared above the group. Li Yiming teleported back to the fight, only to realize that he did not make it in time. The other guardians stood and watched dumbly as Sai Gao’s split body fell down.
“Sai Gao…” Bai Ze’s eyes reddened.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
An interrupted barrage of fire was suddenly heard.
A barrier lit up in front of Mr. Kong, blocking off all of the bullets.
“We used to have a million beasts, led by seven sages… and yet…” Mr. Kong laughed.
“What do you have? Mutated insects, impure chimeras, led by a staff? Ahahaha! Let me show you what true power is.” Mr. Kong raised his right fist and slowly clenched it.
Another layer of clouds condensed in the sky, growing from nothing to covering it entirely within seconds. As the golden light showered Hangzhou once more, the sound of a drum beating was heard as columns after columns of soldiers in shining armor appeared.
“How will you handle a million soldiers sent from Heaven?” Mr. Kong smirked.
The sound of gunshots gradually ceased, as even the mutated soldiers stopped firing and stared at the sky dumbly — the insurmountable gap in strength rendered them panic-stricken.