Chapter 02: If You Encounter One for the Third Time
“It’s not like it’ll be any use to them, so it’s gotta be ours. Why ask anyway?” came a female voice from behind, to which the crowd turned towards. They didn’t know when she had gotten there, but she had long hair and was frowning at the unknown boy.
Seeing those two people, gave everyone a shock. Both of them were high school students, third years. The boy Lai Yixin, and although he had an athletic build, his round cheeks had a childish tint. He was said to be easygoing and cheerful. He was nice to everyone and was active in sports at school. He participated in every sport the school was involved in., but he seemed to have no wish to fully involve himself in any sport.
The girl was Ye Weishan and she was pretty. She had never been second in her studies at school so no one knew why she had chosen such a rubbish high school, and that remained a mystery to the students.
One handsome guy, the other a pretty girl, put them at the centre of attention. As they were often together, rumours claim that they were dating, but the two never confirmed it. It wouldn’t have been so unusual to see them together usually, but in such a dangerous setting, it was.
Chen Luonian slowly got up from the wall, his eyes drifting towards the silver spear in Lai Yixin’s hand, then to the slender body of Ye Weishan. He sighed in admiration, as it was the first time he’d ever been so close to this senior. The exact proportions of her body couldn’t be seen as she was wearing a uniform, but it did nothing to hide her long, thin legs. No wonder why she was so popular…if she wasn’t always frowning, pouting.
Ye Weishan noticed the severely injured Chen Luonian was studying her legs; she frowned slightly and warned him with a glare. Chen Luonian didn’t care though; his gaze just flickered away from her.
“You…hey…” Zhu Guoyong had wanted to ask, but he stopped midway through his sentence. The huge python that had grown from a small worm-like thing was back to its original appearance.
Lai Yixin lifted his spear, and was about to hold the thing when Ye Weishan hurriedly yelled, “Don’t pick it up with your bare hands!”
“Eh?” Lai Yixin stopped, looking back at her stupefied.
Ye Weishan walked closer, took out a handkerchief from her pocket and walked towards the yellow worm-thing with her hand covered by the handkerchief. She gingerly covered the worm and wrapped the strange thing inside.
While Ye Weishan was wrapping it up, Lai Yixin somehow shook his spear, and the pointy bit retracted back in to its rod. Then, the whole spear folded into three neat parts, a white-silver rod with three parts. He put it in his bag.
Once the handkerchief had been bound tightly, Ye Weishan seemed to think the worm was gross, so she said, “You take it.”
“Fine,” Lai Yixin laughed, grabbed the handkerchief and chucked it in his bag.
“Lai Yixin, Ye Weishan.” Zhu Guoyong took two steps forward, dazedly asking, “What…what’s going on?”
“Teacher,” Ye Weishan’s eyes swept over the crowd, “this is a weird type of snake and we’ll take it to an appropriate place to get rid of it. Don’t worry, nothing’s wrong. If you have other questions, you could always ask the principal, who we’ve gotten permission from.”
“Uwah!” Zhang Zhiwen came back to his senses, and couldn’t help but ask, “Lai Yixin, you bring a weapon to school? And the principal approves of that?”
“Ahh…” Lai Yixin hurriedly forced a smile, not knowing how to answer.
“Don’t bother with them.” Ye Weishan turned towards Lai Yixin, “Let’s go?”
“Wait.” Lai Yixin suddenly turned back towards Chen Luonian and the group, “Weishan, didn’t you say last time that we should get more members?”
Ye Weishan stopped in her tracks and stared at the group. Lowering her voice, somewhat surprised, she asked, “These guys?”
“They weren’t scared and they dared to fight too.” Lai Yixin was a little over-enthusiastic, “I think it’s a great idea!”
“Well…” Ye Weishan looked taken aback and she studied the three third years, but never at Chen Luonian. She frowned slightly before asking, “These guys…do you know them? How are they suitable?”
“Yeah I know them all right, Zhang Zhiwen and Hou Tianliang right? I once played basketball with them. They work great as a pair, as for him…” Lai Yixin crouched down and helped Huang Zongru who was still lying on the floor. He smiled while saying, “You okay? What’s your name?”
“Thank….thank you.” Huang Zongru stuttered out, “I…I’m…Huang…Huang…”
“He’s Huang Zongru.” Ye Weishan frowned again, “He’s too shy so he won’t be of any use, right?”
“It’s destiny he’s here with us, it won’t hurt asking him with the others,” Lai Yixin laughed.
It seemed that Ye Weishan couldn’t do much about Lai Yixin, so she simply glared at him and said, “Whatever, they probably won’t believe us anyway.”
The corner of Lai Yixin’s mouth twitched into a smile and turned back towards the group, “You will believe me, right?”
How were they supposed to answer that? Everyone opened their mouth to say something, yet nothing came out.
“I have something important to tell you guys.” Lai Yixin didn’t bother waiting for a reply, before declaring, “This world is in danger!”
Of course no one knew how to reply to that and the five were silent for a moment. Hou Tianliang frowned, and whispered quietly into Zhang Zhiwen’s ear, “Tch! Is he joking? Is it impolite to not laugh?”
“How am I supposed to know?” Zhang Zhiwen whispered back, “Why don’t you laugh to show you’re listening?”
Although Hou Tianliang was often more honest than Zhang Zhiwen, he wasn’t stupid either. He didn’t laugh, but instead, pushed Zhang Zhiwen playfully.
Lai Yixin couldn’t guess why the two people were whispering but as no one had interrupted him, he continued. “The thing you just saw is really a monster. There’ll be more in the future and people are needed to capture them and you guys don’t seem to be scared of it, so, would you help us capture these monsters?”
All was silent when Lai Yixin finished his declaration. After sometime, Zhu Guoyong finally opened his mouth and said, “Lai Yixin, are you kidding?”
“Of course not,” replied Lai Yixin earnestly.
“Never mind about them,” Ye Weishan tugged at Lai Yixin. “They don’t believe us. Let’s go.”
“Wait a sec, Weishan.” Lai Yixin stood firmly on the ground, “Let me try one more time.”
“I…I believe you.” Huang Zongru ran forward a couple of steps, “Could I join?”
“Do you dare fight monsters?” Ye Weishan glared disapprovingly at him.
“Hey…I…” Huang Zongru couldn’t continue after being glared at so fiercely.
“Weishan— ” Lai Yixin laughed awkwardly.
Ye Weishan could tell that Lai Yixin wasn’t planning to go, so she sighed. “Fine, let me have a go this time.”
“That’s good.” Lai Yixin grinned, took two steps back.
Ye Weishan sighed again, and her eyes flicked towards the group of five, before slowly saying, “The thing that just attacked you, whether it was a monster or not isn’t important, but it’s still different from ordinary organisms you see every day. Earth has always had such things, but it’s just rarely seen by others.
“They’ve always been here?” Zhu Guoyong looked a bit surprised, “Then why has no one ever discovered them?”
“Because there aren’t many and they rarely come out, because they almost immediately get killed by humans.” Ye Weishan added, “Recently however, there’s been a huge increase in them. From a reliable source, we know that the world is changing, there will be many more of these strange species and they’ll increase in size too. That’s why every member in the Zong Sect has received orders to recruit more members…in order to cope with this crisis.”
“So it was a monster!” Hou Tianliang exclaimed while rubbing his bruises, “How could humans win against monsters? Did you pour some holy water on that spear, or maybe a spell?”
“No, not really.” Lai Yixin laughed. “You’ll know when you join and of course you’ll learn how to fight monsters yourself.”
“Learn to control monsters?” Zhang Zhiwen seemed to be interested now as he excitedly asked, “Any conditions to join?”
“Don’t think it’s that easy to get in,” Ye Weishan frowned. “This was just a small monster and if you ever meet a huge one, your life may be at stake. And if you’re any good, you’ll have a load of responsibility and be commanded by the Zong Sect. You won’t be able to do what you want to do.”
“What’s this ‘Zong Sect’?” Zhu Guoyong was a teacher after all and he was an older man. “Is it some sort of religious group?” He was suspicious.
Ye Weishan said, “It’s not like that…”
“In a way it is,” interrupted Lai Yixin.
“Don’t interrupt.” Ye Weishan lightly kicked him, trying to get him to shut up.
But Zhu Guoyong was even more suspicious now, and seemed to be testing him, “Then you…do you need to pay money to join?”
“Mr Zhu, we’re no scam organisation!” Ye Weishan frowned while speaking.
Zhu Guoyong still didn’t really believe them. He frowned too, not sure whether to continue or not.
“So, any interested? Teacher, you’re welcome to join too.” Lai Yixin smiled.
Hou Tianliang and Zhang Zhiwen exchanged looks and discussed for a moment. It was Hou Tianliang who spoke first, “Okay! We’ll give it a try.”
“Me too.” Zhang Zhiwen grimaced at Huang Zongru, then laughed, “Say, you should give up? You’ll only cry when you see monsters.”
Huang Zongru blushed, he probably wanted to go, but didn’t have the guts to say so.
“Hey, what about you? What’s your name?” Lai Yixin flickered towards Chen Luonian.
“Chen Luonian.” Chen Luonian thought for a while, “You people are basically looking for people that will fight against monsters right?”
“Yeah, yeah!” Lai Yixin nodded his head happily.
“No thanks…I hate pain and I hate fighting.” Chen Luonian shook his head, “Thanks for saving me by the way, I’d better get going.” Chen Luonian turned and started walking away.
“Wait, junior!” The tanned guy, Hou Tianliang grabbed Chen Luonian saying, “You’re scared of pain? You’re damn strong and if it hadn’t been you attacking that weird thing first, I would have never had the courage to do so either. You just don’t get it. So! Let’s go and check it out, ok?”
“Yeah, if you and the teacher hadn’t gotten into that mess, Hou Tianliang would never have had the courage to help, right?” Zhang Zhiwen interrupted.
Hou Tianliang couldn’t help but add, “Oi, ya were the last to get there.”
“Whatever, at least I helped in the end,” Zhang Zhiwen retorted back, smugly.
“Just then was…” Chen Luonian gently took Hou Tianliang’s hand away. “I really have no interest, I’m sorry.”
Hou Tianliang seemed a bit disappointed, but he didn’t force his opinions against Chen Luonian. He gave up.
“Chen Luonian.” Ye Weishan didn’t have a very good impression of Chen Luonian so she looked pretty keen to let him go. She tutted, “This situation shouldn’t be announced to others yet, so please don’t tell anyone else about it.”
“Got it,” Chen Luonian waved at the crowd and spun around to leave. He couldn’t care less about who joined or not.
Walking out of the school grounds, Chen Luonian studied his surroundings. It was all familiar, the road, the shops and that strange occurrence felt more like a dream.
Like usual, he turned at a small alleyway, to a self-serving cafeteria. He selected a few dishes and ate quietly in the corner, thinking of what had happened.
Whether that was a monster or something arguably similar, perhaps it was really just an undiscovered species that could grow big and small. It was in pain when he had hit it, and it could be killed. If it was a monster, it was quite a shameful one. As for Lai Yixin and Ye Weishan and their Zong Sect, maybe they would be much different to what they appeared to be…
But he had been really surprised to see Lai Yixin appear back then. If it hadn’t been for those two, perhaps he would have died back there…why did he rush up to it anyway? Although you could say that if he hadn’t done so, that chubby guy might have died, but exchanging places to die wasn’t a good idea either. If something like that happens in the future, he decided that he’d better think for a few more seconds before taking action.
Despite his reasoning, whenever something similar had happened, he had been like this…Chen Luonian sighed and shook his head, not wanting to answer the bothersome questions that had troubled him for a long time.
When he was full, Chen Luonian was about to walk outside holding his disposable dishes when suddenly, the lights overhead started flashing. All of the people in the room stopped what they were doing and looked at the lights. Just then, from the kitchen, not far from where Chen Luonian was standing, a series of loud screams was heard. Three of the chefs that had been working in the kitchen ran out while screaming, scaring Chen Luonian for a moment.
That was when the wooden kitchen walls collapsed was a giant, grey-black hairy thing and it was on top of a woman who had been eating there with her child.
The woman wasn’t able to scream before that unknown thing opened its mouth and chomped down. In a blink of the eye, the woman’s body was torn into two and something red and white squirted out and blood dripped from the thing’s mouth. The child, who had been flung onto the ground aside, got up and started crying.
Oh my god, it killed someone! Chen Luonian was less than two strides away from where that mother had been. There was no time to consider his options, he screamed in an awkwardly funny way and hit the strange thing on the head with a stool clutched in his right hand. His left hand started to drag the child away from the thing.
However, the monster seemed reluctant to let go of its potential prey. Despite being thumped on the head, it only squeaked once, before its giant meaty tail swept Chen Luonian and the child away and they landed about two, no three metres away from it. Chen Luonian was no longer holding onto the stool, but fortunately it was in the child’s hands.
Chen Luonian couldn’t care less about the crying kid; he simply tossed the child somewhere behind him and grabbed a chair to help himself get up, only to see the woman’s head was completely gone and her once-quivering body no longer shook. Although her blood continued to fly out, she was thoroughly dead.
Could she not be saved? Chen Luonian seemed to be hyper alert by now and he didn’t recklessly continue rushing forwards. Having a closer look, he realised that the monster was really a rat, more than a metre tall, and that it was glaring fiercely at him.
This was a monster right? With the constantly flashing lights, the room felt sinister. Chen Luonian took two steps back and scanned the room – except for that super noisy brat, where are the other people? Eh! Damn, the rat’s looking this way! Could my head be the next one to go?
Chen Luonian eyed the child and whispered hurriedly, “Hurry up and get out!”
The child seemed to be a bit braver than Huang Zongru despite the runny snot and tears all over his face. He only hesitated for a few seconds after Chen Luonian’s advice, before half-stumbling, half-crawling towards the door. Chen Luonian waved his chair in the air to keep the giant rat’s attention on himself, while slowly backing towards the door.
But he’d only taken a few steps back when the giant rat lunged.
People have different reactions to critical moments like this. Some feel their body going weak and just freeze up, while some people’s bodies would secrete abnormal amounts of adrenaline, causing them to do things they wouldn’t usually do. Chen Luonian belonged to the latter group and the disadvantage of being in this group, was that at such moments, they were only keen on solving the problem. He had once again, forgotten that it wasn’t compulsory to fight back and this was the real reason why he’d fought the giant python, around ten minutes ago.
This time he was in danger though and Chen Luonian rapidly concluded that there was no way he could keep up with the rat’s lightning-like speed. If he turned on his back towards the rat and ran for the door, it was likely that he’d immediately be immediately bitten by the rat. He studied the rat as best as he could and waited for the best opportunity to attack.
Because of Chen Luonian’s adrenaline levels, he could experience some unusual things. From that moment, he had a strange sort of feeling, like a switch had been turned on. For some unknown reason, the rat was pouncing at him at a much slower speed and of course, his speed had much decreased too.
Both sides were slower now, although it wasn’t a big advantage, at least he could now vary the strength and position of his attacks. It was more likely for him to be more accurate and, as expected in this mode, the stool slammed into the giant rat’s head square-on. There was a loud thud and the rat tumbled away.
Perhaps the giant python was easier to defeat? Chen Luonian took a deep breath, aiming his attention at the giant rat once again. It looked crumpled in pain, but then it flipped over and got up, its eyes briefly sweeping over its shiny segmented tail and then eying Chen Luonian warily. It didn’t seem so keen on attacking anymore.
During this gruelling process, it felt like time was going at a much slower pace. Chen Luonian, however, had no time to think. He too, eyed the rat warily as he slowly backed towards the door again. Everything else comes later, he thought.
Chen Luonian seemed to wonder whether he should check behind for a split second and the rat happened to notice his hesitation. It chose that moment to attack again. This time, its mouth was wide open, its claws, one at the front and the other slightly back. It had jumped high to attack from the air.
Chen Luonian realised the rat’s intention the moment it jumped but he only had a stool to counterattack and the rat was planning to squash him with its body. He decided to try and dodge, while using the stool to protect himself, which managed to whack away the rat’s left paw.
While the two were engaged in such battle, something flashed in the corner of Chen Luonian’s eyes. He realised that the rat’s tail was high in the air and was about to aim for his own neck. Chen Luonian didn’t have a spare hand to protect himself – he could only twist downwards with all his strength. As for whether he could dodge it, he had no idea.
Soon, the rat tail came and its left paw lifted. Chen Luonian felt his body fly to the right, but at least his crouched position kept him relatively uninjured. He had avoided the worst scenario with the rat tail, but he still had no control over his body, as he was still thrown to the right.
Geez, this sort of dangerous action was way too weird, like, flying in the air in slow motion?
Chen Luonian threw away the stool while in the air and he used a table close by to flip himself over and he only needed to take one step back after landing, to stand securely.
By then, the giant rat had already turned towards him and was preparing to pounce again. Chen Luonian scrambled up to look for a suitable weapon, but there wasn’t even half a chair nearby. He was in trouble, but then he suddenly saw several black lines. The rat that had been staring at him turned to look at the right side of the room.
What was that? Chen Luonian was about to look when he heard weird, loud, cackling sounds. He looked all around him and several moments later he realised that there were two policemen standing at the door. Their faces were full of fear as they pointed their guns at the rat.
Why were the police here already? Having said that, there was a police station not far from here…but were guns effective on monsters? Shouldn’t silver bullets be better? Chen Luonian kept on thinking, while backing towards the door again. He wanted to get as far as possible away from the rat, so he wouldn’t be too injured. He also pondered for the briefest moment, were those weird sounds from firing bullets? Could those black lines have been the paths of those bullets? If he could see the movement of bullets, perhaps his slow speed mode wasn’t imagination, but a real ability…
If there were monsters in this world, perhaps people having super powers wasn’t too far from reality? But he’d been ordinary till now, so how could he have gotten this strange power?
Chen Luonian thought to himself, while watching the rat’s skin burst open into wounds, one-by-one. The two policemen seemed to be in a state of shock, as they just blindly continued to shoot the giant rat.
Although the rat had been forced back by the impact of the bullets, none of its wounds seemed to be life-threatening. There were many wounds on it, but not a single drop of blood.
Then, either the policemen ran out of bullets or just gave up, they just completely froze, as if they couldn’t believe their eyes. The large rat bellowed loudly the pounced towards the door.
Shit, the policemen are domed. Chen Luonian noted with shock and rushed ahead. Time was slow for him again, but this didn’t mean he was any faster as the rat had always been faster than him. It was already at the door.
That was when the rat froze in midair and a beam of silver light pierced through its head. Chen Luonian was surprised, only to see Lai Yixin appear in the doorway, holding his shiny silver spear, which had pierced through the rat.
Geez, the monster catchers were here too? Though it did seem like it was safe now…Chen Luonian sighed in relief and he slid down the wall until he was sitting down.
Time was back to its original speed by then and the noises from his surroundings rushed into his ear. There were the sounds of policemen beckoning him to come over, the surprised squeals of passerbys, the high pitched shrieks of women and of course, the wails of young children. There were calls of people calling this or that friend to see something cool too…although they had been there since Chen Luonian was still in his slow-mode, he was unfamiliar with that mode, so he had dismissed those distorted voices.
Like the giant python, the giant rat shrank too, while trying to squirm away from the spear. Not long later, it had shrunk to the size of a mouse, about the size of a fist. The flashing light no longer flashed.
“Eh, it’s you?” Chen Luonian looked up and saw Lai Yixin walking towards him with his spear in hand, and was smiling in pleasant surprise. At the door, Chen Luonian’s pretty senior, Ye Weishan, was talking to the policemen about something he couldn’t hear. The policemen looked torn between understanding and being openly suspicious. They clutched onto the document Ye Weishan had given to them and pestered her with questions.
If even the police let them in, they must have told the truth – that monsters really did exist in this world and they were really people who specialised in killing them. Even policemen knew about their existence.
“Are you injured?” Lai Yixin noticed that Chen Luonian hadn’t answered his previous question, so he asked another.
“No…” Chen Luonian shook his head and studied the rat, while saying, “How did your spear kill this strange thing? Bullets couldn’t kill it.”
“You just have to attack where the monster’s life force is concentrated at and then it’ll be an easy kill.” Lai Yixin grinned again, “Bullets can hurt the monster, but killing it like that will waste a lot of time and effort.”
Ye Weishan, who had just approached the, seemed to have finished dealing with the police. Her face was also a mixture of surprise and disbelief. She stared at Chen Luonian saying, “According to the police, you tried to take on the monster yourself, huh? And apparently you managed to earn enough time for them to get here…what kind of martial arts do you learn?”
“How was that a real fight…” Chen Luonian hoisted himself up tiredly. Rubbing his eyes while shaking his head, he said, “I just tried to run for my life and I was lucky enough not to get caught. Thank god the police came here fast enough.” Strange, why did he suddenly want to sleep so much? It felt like he had read the textbooks he detested, continuously for ten hours without rest.
“Having two monsters appear in one day is rather unlikely and you happened to be there both times.” Lai Yixin patted Chen Luonian on the shoulder, “You’re pretty unlucky man.”
“Could it be that the ‘Daoxi’ has suddenly increased?” Ye Weishan whispered.
What was she saying? Chen Luonian was confused but someone at the door interrupted his thoughts by yelling, “We’re with those two! Hey Lai Yixin! Ye Weishan! Eh? Isn’t he that junior?” The three of them turned to the owner of the voice, only to see Hou Tianliang and Zhang Zhiwen beside the policemen, looking more cheerful than ever.
“Don’t let them come in, they’ll ruin everything.” Ye Weishan turned away, “Yixin, you deal with the monster body, I’ll deal with the police…and don’t touch it with your bare hands!”
“Got it.” Lai Yixin grinned.
“I should get going too,” yawned Chen Luonian. He knew that just sleeping there was impossible and he was fighting off his weariness as well as he could when he added, “the police won’t stop me right?”
“I’ll accompany you home.” Ye Weishan squinted at him for a second before saying, “If you happen to meet a third monster, I’d better drag you home and investigate you.”
Was his senior joking or not? Chen Luonian studied her face and retorted, “You’d better not jinx, senior.”
She hid a smile when she heard this.
She was actually pretty cute when she smiled huh? Chen Luonian started to analyse her again but when Ye Weishan noticed, her smile quickly faded and was soon back to a frown.
As expected, Ye Weishan was spectacular in her own way because Chen Luonian was allowed to leave after a few quick words with the police. By now, Chen Luonian was too tired to walk properly and it took a while for him to get to the Tucheng Station. He got on the train heading for Banqiao.
Although it was way past the busiest times, perhaps it was because there were too many people around or just he was too tired to look properly for a seat, Chen Luonian ended up holding to a rail. He swayed as he stood and was almost asleep by the time he got to Banqiao. He got off the train but after climbing the stairs, he became depressed at the thought of walking another ten minutes to get home. He couldn’t help find a nearby bench at the train station. Thinking that he’d only rest for a few seconds, he lay down but almost immediately, he dozed off into the world of dreams.
“Oi, oi! Why don’t you go home and sleep?”
Chen Luonian had been drooling while he dreamed was jolted awake by someone. His heavy eyelids slowly opened and saw a policeman in front of him, frowning.
Had he fallen asleep at the train station? Chen Luonian was shocked and he hurriedly looked at his watch. It was already eleven. He was only half-awake though and he was still drooling as he got up. “I…I slept overtime.”
“Why are your clothes so dirty?” The policeman peered down at Chen Luonian, asking, “Where’s your house? Your student id?”
He had fought two monsters today, so it wasn’t unusual that his clothes were so dirty. Chen Luonian frowned, “My clothes got dirty at school. I live nearby.”
“Proof,” the policeman’s face was expressionless as he held out his hand to Chen Luonian, “or you’re coming with me to the station.”
Going to the station meant trouble and maybe they’d only let him go when his uncle came. The problem though, was that he had no idea where his uncle was…Chen Luonian wasn’t happy as he took out his student id. “I just overslept that’s all.”
The policeman took it over and inspected it, “And where do you live?”
Chen Luonian sighed inwardly as he recited his address. The policeman was much less suspicious when he realised that he really did live nearby. For the police, one less thing to worry about was much better than one more. If Chen Luonian’s uniform didn’t look so muddy and have a slightly funny smell to it, the policeman wouldn’t have bothered to ask so many questions.
The policeman was just about to warn Chen Luonian and let him go when the building lights started to flash. A bizarre noise suddenly came from the alleyway, not far from the two.
The monster that had previously appeared was a giant rat and the light had been flashing too…Chen Luonian’s frightened senses immediately became a lot sharper, only to see a drain cover burst open with a boom and a translucent blue-white jelly-like thing emerge. It quivered on the ground.
A monster! Why was it here? Has someone cursed me or something? Shit, could this be…history replayed?
He wasn’t going to rush up to it this time – Chen Luonian had learnt his lesson by now. He scrambled away from the main building before looking back.
Everyone close by had become a screaming mess. Banqiao was a big station where three main lines met, so even late at night, many people roamed around. Not many people, though, had escaped immediately like Chen Luonian. There were way more people screaming while taking as many pictures as they possibly could with their cell-phones while there were even more people inching closer, wanting to get a better view of the strange thing.
The policeman was in a state of shock too and he couldn’t worry about the escaped Chen Luonian as he backed away. He pulled the slide of the pistol from his waist and prepared himself to shoot at any time.
Dear policeman, don’t shoot even if you get bitten! Chen Luonian pleaded in his thoughts three times and checked that he was mentally prepared for what he was about to see. He stared directly at the quivering jelly-like thing that was still getting bigger. He saw that the thing looked a bit like a bread bun too – it was about two metres tall, five metres wide when it finally stopped growing. It continued to shake though.
It seemed that this thing doesn’t bite? Chen Luonian was a bit relieved but realised in dismay that more and more people were gathering beside it. They were taking photos, discussing about various things and even a few people gingerly poked it once or twice. As for the policeman, he was trying to shoo away the onlookers while yelling something unintelligible into his handheld transceiver.
That was when the huge bun-shaped jelly-like thing changed shape and the monster’s translucent flesh stretched into a hollow circle, trapping seven, no eight people, including the policeman.
Chen Luonian stopped dead in his tracks the moment he saw this happen. The other people who had been nearby due to curiosity were now emitting high pitched screams as they scrambled to get away from it.
Because the monster was translucent, it was still possible to make out the figures of those it had trapped. He could see them waving their hands, but he couldn’t tell whether they were struggling or not.
Although he had no idea what organism this monster was based on, he was pretty sure its prisoners had no oxygen. If the matter wasn’t solved fast, the people inside would all die. Chen Luonian watched those people struggle for a little longer, before leaping up and sprinting towards the fire emergency kit. He took out a big axe and rushed towards the monster.
Down came the axe and fortunately the jelly monster’s skin wasn’t too thick. With the axe in hand, he cut open the monster as if it were real jelly, but two halves immediately merged back together until there was no trace of a cut. Chen Luonian was so surprised that he slammed the axe down two more times, all without result.
Because of Chen Luonian’s heroic attempt, a young man picked up a rubbish bin that just happened to be conveniently nearby while a few others grabbed a shop stand and started to whack the monster. Although the monster could be easily cut, it was difficult to mash. The monster simply changed shape according to the whacks of the young men, but it didn’t seem affected whatsoever.
Those who had rushed over to help, had all just seen how to monster swallowed people, so none of them were truly brave enough to go any closer. Perhaps the monster was full or something else; it made no attempt to attack the people again.
A few moments later, the eight prisoners started to flail around a lot less energetically than before and Chen Luonian realised that this meant bad news. He lifted his axe higher but it felt heavier than before. He was still getting more and more puzzled over what to do when he heard a voice yelling somewhere from behind. “What are you idiots doing? Get outta the way!”
Chen Luonian and the young men moved away obediently, but that was only because their attacks had had no effect on the jelly monster. They were pretty upset already and the newcomer’s stingy words were pretty hurtful. They backed away and studied the newcomers.
Only two girls were standing near the main building and both of them seemed only a bit older than Chen Luonian. One of the girls had her lips parted as she yelled, “move, move—” She was smirking in an unladylike fashion.
She wore a large short-sleeved t-shirt, knee high tight-fitting pants, with high cut sneakers. Clutched in her right hand, was a beautifully carved, blue-green blade. She didn’t care whether the people actually moved out of the way or not; she just charged towards the jelly monster. She flashed past Chen Luonian, her dyed sandy brown hair, cropped close to her ear, almost standing on an end.
She pierced her weapon into the jelly thing. Chen Luonian and the other young men couldn’t help take a step backwards. The jelly monster’s skin was sliced open, but as with the axe, the strange thing simply trembled, before reconnecting.
“Eh?” Now the girl was surprised. Clearing her throat, she raised the axe much high than necessary and attempted again with all her strength.
This time, the outcome was much different. A loud shattering sound was heard and a burst of light was made from the impact. The two metre tall jelly monster had been sliced into two neat halves.
What kind of magic was this? Chen Luonian was stupefied. The blade was obviously only a metre long, so how could it slice through the entire monster?
“Haha! See that? It’s dead, right?” The girl was rather smug and was laughing while she spoke.
“Not dead,” whispered the black haired girl behind the first. Her gelled-back hair was even shorter. She was wearing an oversized sports jacket, tight-fitting back jeans and boots. Although her clothes were more suitable for middle aged women, she was still very feminine due to her small face, long eyelashes, graceful features and delicate skin.
“Eh?” The brown haired girl was flabbergasted. Looking again, she realised that the two quivering halves of the monster were inching towards each other. Not long later, the two halves had merged together and it was back to how it was originally.
“Save the people first,” commanded the black haired girl.
“Ok.” The brown haired girl’s action suddenly sped up. She swung wildly, fling bits of jelly-like flesh outwards. When she saw the figure of the policeman, she stuck her hand in and tugged him out, before heaving him away.
The policeman hadn’t fainted yet; when he got out, he lay on the ground, taking huge breaths of air. The brown haired girl’s actions sped up again and before long, she had rescued the other seven people, who had been tossed aside, in a pile.
There were quite a few onlookers in the first place, but now, there were even more. They couldn’t hold back their cheers and applause now.
The brown haired girl seemed a bit too smug. Her face was delighted as she waved to the crowd, “thank you, thank you.”
“Quit messing around.” The black girl rummaged in her pocket and found a thin silver dagger. Coming closer, she observed, “This monster’s life force is scattered.”
“Yeah, I couldn’t find the right place to attack.” The brown haired girl glanced around and saw the several dozen scraps of monster stealthily approaching each other, ready to reconnect again.
“Uwah, what should we do now?” the brown haired girl jabbed her blade into the ground and frowned at it.
“I’ll try again when it reconnects.” The black haired girl waited for several minutes until the monster had returned to its original shape. She breezily lifted up her dagger, concentrated hard and sighed to calm herself down. In a soft voice, she muttered “fall!” Her rod went down and there was a loud thud. The jelly monster looked like it was in pain, like it was being pressed down.
By then, probably because of the pressure caused by the dagger, a liquid kept flowing out of its skin. A lot came out and trickled towards a nearby drain.
“Scatter!” The black haired girl lifted her dagger and the monster recoiled. Because the jelly-like monster had lost a lot of water, it had become less than a metre long and was like a very peculiar ball full of wrinkles.
“The monster’s life force is together!” The brown haired girl’s eyes danced as she cheered “Let me cut it!”
“Sure.” The black haired girl put away her dagger.
There was not even a moment of hesitation as the brown haired lifted her blade and cut the monster in half.
The “Zong” in Zong Sect is the first character in “religious” [Zong-Jiao], so it’s not unusual that he’s suspicious…