Book 3 Chapter 4.2

Book 3 Chapter 4.2 - Swamp

Su carefully ascended a small peak. After carefully observing his surroundings, he then gave a signal to the people behind him. Nine soldiers climbed up one after another and set up a simple camp to get some food and rest. Several minutes later, Li Gaolei who was holding up the rear walked up the hill as well and sat down by Su’s side. 

Li Gaolei lit a cigarette. Even though it was still daytime, he still carefully blocked the light from the end of the cigarette. During this continuous week of fighting, he hadn’t slept for more than ten hours, which covered Li Gaolei’s face with signs of fatigue. They had already swapped out their soldiers, but it was clear that their stamina was nearly exhausted as well. After wolfing down the military nutrient-filled food, they immediately fell onto the ground and knocked out. 

Su was the only one that quietly sat there, silently drinking, eating, and continuously watching the surrounding region for movement, not showing the slightest sign of fatigue. Li Gaolei looked at Su like he was examining a monster, truly not understanding how this individual with a delicate porcelain like appearance could have such strange and abnormal levels of stamina. During these seven days, Su would go out ahead of them to scout, carry out sudden and violent assaults, and protect the rear. The tasks he shouldered were at least several times that of the others. 

Due to Su’s valiant performance, after undergoing a complete exchange of members, there was only one dead and one injured. Their losses were far less than that of other dragonriders. 

In front of the hill laid wide and spacious terrain with ruins of varying sizes scattered about. Most of the ruins were surrounded by mist, making it hard to see them too clearly. There was a chance of Scorpions of Disaster soldiers or war machinery being hidden within every single one of those ruin sites. They were all in small units, seemingly unable to take a single blow. However, if one looked at it from an overall perspective, these little units of Scorpions of Disaster might not pose any threat right now, but once they started moving and continuously exchanged attacks, it would be a completely different matter. Su who was always at the very forefront of the battlefield understood this type of pressure the best. Attacks came wave after wave, giving him almost no time to catch his breath. The Scorpions of Disaster were like olden era army ants that never stopped attacking. No matter how large their prey was, they still couldn’t escape their jaws. 

If Su already felt like this, Li Gaolei naturally felt an even greater pressure. After each battle, Li Gaolei would often find the sweat and blood all over his body mix together and completely soak through his combat suit. Long-range heavy firepower, especially heavy artillery of varying caliber and range were the Scorpions of Disaster’s unique characteristic. There was no rhythm to the artillery bombardment, but they were extremely deadly. Up to five rounds of artillery shells would often descend together, and even with Li Gaolei or Su’s abilities, they still had to do everything they could to intercept the heavy artillery. Those ordinary soldiers instead didn’t give off too much pressure. 

“Leader, don’t you feel like we’ve gone a bit deep? What do you think?” Li Gaolei spoke while carefully burying his cigarette into the ground. 

Su narrowed his eyes. He gazed into the rugged and uneven land beneath him where ruins were scattered throughout before slowly saying, “I want to return to the base too, but from the battles that happened these past few days, I can feel that the Scorpions of Disaster are currently gathering military strength towards their base. If we want to return, we would have to either continuously fight them head on a few more times, or we need to take a detour. It seems like both paths are blocked.”

The soldiers’ stamina were already reaching their limit, and most of their ammunition had been exhausted as well. This troop, including Li Gaolei, needed rest and reorganization urgently. It was hard to say how many more fights they would last through. Only Su seemed to never tire. However, his scattered light blonde hair would occasionally be contaminated by smoke and earth, and only through careful cleaning would those traces be erased. 

In nearly any environment, Su would always remain clean. This was a riddle that didn’t have any explanation. Dust and filth didn’t stick to Su’s skin at all. After the few times they made contact, Li Gaolei found that Su’s skin was even more fine, soft, and flexible than that of any of the women he had touched before. However, this skin that looked like blood would be drawn from the slightest touch possessed a completely unmatching sturdiness. After seeing Su’s performance on the battlefield, Li Gaolei began to develop suspicions that if an ordinary soldier tried to cut Su’s body, even if Su didn’t do anything to resist, he might not necessarily be able to cut through.

On the battlefield, when Su’s body started to be contaminated with dust, that also meant that his stamina was starting to reach its limit. This wasn’t a true verdict, but rather an intuition Li Gaolei felt. 

Li Gaolei narrowed his eyes and gazed towards Pendulum City, but he didn’t sense a thing. There was over 100 kilometers from this place to Pendulum City, with countless abandoned homes, factories, bridges, and hills in between. The vast and complex terrain could easily hide numerous soldiers. The number of soldiers from both the Black Dragonriders and Scorpions of Disaster here numbered over a thousand. They were like fish inside of a large lake; once they went back down, there would no longer be any signs of them. 

Li Gaolei knew that Su could definitely see much further than he could. Su’s registered level of ability was already Perception Domain’s seventh level. Even though he didn’t know exactly what it was, even if a Perception Domain ability user didn’t put a single point into sight strengthening, they would still be able to see much further and hear much clearer than an ordinary person. Rumors have it that a Perception Domain ability user’s world was much richer than that of an ordinary person’s. Li Gaolei himself wished to have Perception Domain abilities himself, but he chose the more practical Mental Domain weapon proficiency. In reality, in the age of turmoil, ability users that focused on Perception Domain were mostly specialists from organizations who were used as scouting forces. If one didn’t rely on the power of an organization, Perception Domain ability users’ lower combat abilities would make their status much lower than that of Combat or Magic Domain ability users. Due to its convenience and stability, inside the various companies within the wilderness, the number of weapon proficiency ability users was far greater than any other type of ability user. 

That was why Li Gaolei didn’t understand why Su, who originally roamed through the wilderness alone would choose to develop Perception Domain abilities, and raise it to such a high level. After all, Su seemed to have the potential for growth in both the Combat and Magic domain. 

After experiencing a serious of desperate battles, as well as the matter with Sally, the distance between Li Gaolei and Su seemed to have decreased by quite a bit. That was why the seemingly relaxed, but actually extremely carefuly Li Gaolei could now ask Su about this question. 

“Perception Domain?” Su laughed, his train of thought returning to his life back in the wilderness before saying, “Perhaps you can say that it was due to fear! That was why I did everything I could to strengthen abilities of the Perception Domain. That way, I could immediately escape before danger arrived.”

Towards Su’s explanation, Li Gaolei who was similarly born in the wilderness approved of it greatly. From the moment one developed their own consciousness, those living in the wilderness would do everything in their power just to live another day. However, if one were purely speaking based on outwards appearances, Su looked more like a pure-blooded human than most of the people inside Dragon City, even to the extent of matching the standard of those ancient nobility. However, this sentence was a model reply of those from the wilderness, completely separating him apart from those pure-blooded humans that grew up in the vicinity of Dragon City since childhood. 

“You think these scorpions would purposely separate us from the base?” Li Gaolei suddenly asked. 

Su’s expression suddenly became grave, but he immediately recovered his composure before saying, “There are many targets in the base that are more valuable than ourselves. There is no reason for them to focus on us. If their target really is us, then in front of us shouldn’t be just these various soldiers and ordinary war machines. I believe they definitely have weapons with much greater power that they haven’t used yet, just like general headquarters who haven’t sent out generals yet.”

Su’s words didn’t seem to make Li Gaolei feel any more at ease. Li Gaolei lit another cigarette, and only after taking a deep hit did he say, “Then could it be that the scorpions’ purpose is for… training troops?”

“Perhaps. I’ve always felt like they were testing us and searching for something. Maybe a type of technology, or possibly tactics, but I’m not sure. You know that I know practically nothing about things like military affairs or science and technology,” said Su. He wasn’t shocked at all towards how sharp Li Gaolei was. This thirty or so year old man possessed a rather unique set of wisdom. 

However, Su didn’t speak about the matter regarding Pandora. That little girl who was wonderful, but also beautiful, naive, cruel, ice-cold, and mysterious all at the same time weaved both extreme danger and desire together, carving all of that into every cell of Su’s body. Su didn’t refuse this desire, but desire definitely wasn’t his everything. In Su’s list of priority, desire would always occupy the lowest position. Even if it was Persephone, Su could respect her wishes and not forcibly seek out her body. 

However, for some reason, he didn’t want to let Pandora go. That was an all around possession originating from the mind, body, all the way to the soul, as if… it was a merging of two cells!

Su could vaguely sense the Scorpions of Disasters’ overall arrangement. It was like an enormous net, one that had already been opened to its limit and was now slowly starting to close in. The one the net was targeting was Su. Because of this net’s existence, Su had no choice but to continuously head west or northwest. He was almost certain that what awaited in that direction was the little girl, as well as the terrifying giant Martham she brought along.

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