When Kali notified Shan Ming that the child had not returned, it was almost dark. He had to catch his flight after dinner, and there wasn’t much time left.
Shan Ming wondered where Shen Changze could have gone. It was only a five or six kilometer journey, and he wasn’t a playful child. Since the training on this side was also almost finished, he asked the sergeants of the guard to lead the team back to the base, while he himself took the mountain road that the child must have taken, intending to go and find him.
After walking for a while, Shan Ming heard a few faint screams. The screams were very quiet and weak, and seemed to have come from a very faraway place. Most people would have doubted whether they had heard it correctly in this dim forest, but Shan Ming never doubted his senses. He knew that something was definitely happening up ahead.
Shan Ming threw his noisy mountain motorbike to the side and pulled out his gun as he walked. He didn’t carry any heavy weapons with him, just a Browning pistol and a military knife that he always carried with him. However, since they were close to the base, he wasn’t too worried about encountering any danger.
The sun was about to set, and the forest was getting darker and darker. Shan Ming followed the sound, but the sound soon disappeared. Without any guidance from the sound, it was easy to get lost just relying on memory. Shan Ming could only walk in the direction he remembered and constantly observe whether there were any traces left by the surrounding plants and trees.
Although the sound disappeared, Shan Ming soon discovered something else that could guide him.
In the dark woods ahead, something was emitting a faint golden light. There were definitely people in that direction. Perhaps it was the light of a flashlight. Although Shan Ming knew that Hawk and Goryuu were nearby looking for traces of Jim, they would never make any light under any circumstances. If they were that foolish, they would have been dead long ago. Therefore, the other party was most likely the enemy, and he needed to be even more careful.
As he got closer, the golden light became even more apparent. Shan Ming didn’t know how to describe this light exactly. It wasn’t very bright and had a slightly soft, faint golden color, but the glowing aura around it was very large. The strangest thing was that, this light wasn’t like other lighting equipment. Lighting equipment was always the brightest in the center, with the light spreading outwards in all directions, getting dimmer the further away it got from the center. Although this light didn’t completely defy the laws of physics, it’s just that the “center” of the light source was too large, and the glowing aura of the light radiating out from it was relatively small. If you had to describe it, this light was like a mango with an especially large core.
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In the end, for the sake of the remaining few likes, his foster father Lin Qiang, the leader of the Peregrine Falcons at that time, held onto explosives and jumped onto the monster’s body, perishing together with that monster.
That incident left an indelible shadow on the remaining survivors of the Peregrine Falcons, especially Shan Ming, who watched his foster father, a strong and brave mercenary, turn into pieces of flesh in an instant.
Since then, the Peregrine Falcons never set foot in China again. Shan Ming never imagined that he would encounter the same monster again, right at the doorstep of their mercenary base.
Shan Ming tried to overcome his fear of the monster and fired three shots in rapid succession, aiming at its chest with every shot. The monster was pushed back a few steps by the shots, but then charged towards him again.
As the monster approached him, Shan Ming saw the face of the small creature. It was the one whom he had taken in and lived with for three years, sleeping in the same bed every night. One who helped him with daily chores like squeezing toothpaste in the morning and bringing water for him to wash his feet at night. It was his adopted son – Shen Changze,
That delicate and young face was now covered in monstrous, scaly armor, and his eyes were bloodshot red.
Shan Ming felt like his head had been struck hard, and suddenly, his world was filled with the sound of alarm bells ringing loudly. He finally understood! He finally understood why Tang Ting had been so desperate to get his hands on this child!
Shan Ming was drenched in a cold sweat and didn’t know how to describe his current emotions. The monster that he had been deeply afraid of for seven years was actually kept by him like a pet on his own bed!
Shen Changze moved lightning-fast, he leaped forward and bit Shan Ming’s arm that was holding the knife and blocking the neck, while his sharp claws aimed straight for Shan Ming’s head.
That speed shouldn’t belong to an eight-year-old child, or rather a human being even!
Shan Ming forcefully tilted his neck backward, using his height advantage to avoid the fate of being pierced through the brain by the sharp claws. He endured the pain and, as soon as Shen Changze loosened the bite on his arm, Shan Ming switched his knife to the other hand and fiercely stabbed at Shen Changze’s eyes. However, he hesitated when swinging the blade, despite those bloodshot eyes and crazed expression, the face he saw was indeed familiar and tender-looking, it was indeed Shen Changze.
In that moment of hesitation, Shen Changze had already knocked away Shan Ming’s knife and his sharp claws were reaching for his head.
Shan Ming flexed the muscles in his right arm and violently shook it, trying to shake off Shen Changze’s bite. If it were human teeth, this action would have knocked out a mouthful of teeth, but in front of this monster, it only caused his sharp fangs to sink even deeper.
Shan Ming summoned all his strength and kicked Shen Changze’s shinbone. Even though his entire body was armored with scales, the shinbone was still the thinnest spot covered only by a layer of fat, he believed it had to hurt!
Sure enough, the kick had an effect. Despite the child’s strength and speed that surpassed that of an ordinary person, his fighting skills were far inferior to Shan Ming’s. The kick on his shinbone immediately made him stop and jump back.
Shan Ming then realized that the monster’s right arm had been dislocated and was hanging limply by his side. Without delay, Shan Ming rolled over on the ground, picked up his military knife, and fiercely attacked the right side.
Shen Changze realized his intentions and opened his mouth, revealing sharp teeth, and roared fiercely, as if he was ready to bite Shan Ming to death if he dare come forward.
Shan Ming kicked away the sharp claws coming towards him and used his hip bone to hit Shen Changze’s chest, and then fiercely struck his head with the handle of the knife.
This blow should have cracked his skull open, Shan Ming was betting on the fact that this thing didn’t have scales on its head. However, the child just took a few steps back, shook its head, and then became even more angry and fierce as it pounced forward.
Shan Ming could only use his military knife to block the attack, but to his surprise, Shen Changze bit the knife with his mouth and his sharp claws instantly caught Shan Ming’s neck like lightning.
Shan Ming’s face immediately turned red from being choked, and the hand that was about to send him to the afterlife came from an eight-year-old child, yet couldn’t break free from the grip!
He regretted his moment of hesitation. If he had struck with that knife earlier, he wouldn’t have ended up in this situation. He didn’t believe that this creature’s eyes were also bulletproof.
But… he had raised this thing for three years. If he killed it with one strike, isn’t he losing out too much?
Fuck, he’s really damn unlucky!
He opened his mouth and shouted with all his strength, “Shen Changze!”
To his surprise, the grip around his neck loosened for a moment.
Seeing a chance, Shan Ming continued to shout at the top of his lungs, “Shen Changze! Shen Changze!”
In Shen Changze’s blood-red eyes, a glimmer of clarity finally emerged. As his consciousness slowly returned, the first thing he saw was Shan Ming’s purple face.
He exclaimed in confusion, “Dad?” Then, everything went black and he passed out.
The two fell to the ground at the same time. The little monster, who was as fierce as a wild beast just now, closed his eyes and fainted on him. Shan Ming gasped for breaths as he looked at the starry sky for a long time, unable to recover his senses.
He slowly sat up and watched as the faint golden scales on the child’s body became darker and darker, and the strange features on his body gradually disappeared. The invulnerable scales turned into tender skin, and the innocent and defenseless face of the person in his arms made Shan Ming unable to connect it with the monster that had almost killed him just now. He really doubted if he was dreaming.
He rubbed the child’s shoulder and sure enough, the arm had been dislocated. He felt for the joint and with a click, he relocated the child’s arm. The child let out a low cry and shuddered, but remained unawakened.
Shan Ming got up from the ground and searched through the grass. The first thing he saw was Goryuu on the ground. He crouched down and touched him, but his body was already cold. Not far from Goryuu was the body of Jim with a large hole torn in his chest. His organs had burst out of his body and spilled all over the ground.
The base in the distance was brightly lit. Someone must have heard the gunshots earlier and was coming to investigate.
Shan Ming searched Jim’s body and found a silenced rifle. He fired a few more shots into Jim’s body and used his military knife to make a few cuts to create the impression that the wounds were caused by both the knife and the bullets.
The situation was urgent, and it didn’t look very convincing. At least, it definitely wouldn’t fool Pelle’s eyes. He could only hope that Pelle, who had always disliked Jim, wouldn’t want his corpse.
After finishing his work, the people from the base also arrived, and Jobb lead the way. Even Kali, who said he was going out on a mission, came along to see what was going on.
As soon as they saw the scene, they basically understood what had happened.
Upon seeing Shen Changze lying in the grass covered in blood, Kali asked, “Is the child okay?”
“He’s fine, just passed out from the fright,” replied Shan Ming, looking at Shen Changze with a gloomy expression, feeling a mix of complex emotions.