While Meng Chao was thinking, the doorbell rang.
It was Madam Cao of the resident committee.
Behind her were three men with war goggles dressed in camouflage uniforms. They had buzzcuts and wore fierce expressions.
All four of them had red armbands wrapped on their upper arms with words JOINT DEFENSE.
« Oh, your whole family is here. Have you eaten? » Madam Cao looked into the house. « Tonight, we have a monster invasion. We’re here to check the weapons in each house. Oh! You’re drinking! »
« We didn’t drink much. We’re definitely not drunk. »
Meng Yishan found himself a little embarrassed. He offered the people in the camouflage uniforms cigarettes.
The leader shook his hand and refused the cigarette. He brought out a breath analyzer and asked Meng Yishan to blow into it.
When he saw that the alcohol content in Meng Yishan was indeed not high, he nodded, and his expression relaxed.
« This is Captain Li. He’s the newly appointed captain of the Joint War Defense Tactics Team in the region, » Madam Cao introduced him.
Meng Yishan quickly shook hands with him. « Hello, Captain Li! »
« Li Dayong. »
The captain of the joint defense team shook hands with Meng Yishan.
« I heard from Director Cao just now that you’re a veteran and was an ace sharpshooter when you were in the military. So, do you have enough ammunition for your weapons in your house? » he asked in a low voice.
« A good man does not talk about his past glories. It has been years since it happened. » Meng Yishan waved his hand. « A’chao, bring them out. »
« Okay, » Meng Chao answered and moved the couch away. He knelt down on one knee and lifted the floorboard.
From the secret compartment, he brought out a submachine gun, a semi-automatic rifle, a handgun, and two grenades.
Meng Yishan wanted to disassemble the weapons based on procedures, but when he took half a step toward him, Meng Chao’s hands turned into a gray blur.
Cracking sounds rose, and all anyone saw was a blur.
As if he was performing a magic trick, the guns in front of Meng Chao turned into the most basic compartments.
Meng Yishan was stunned.
Captain Li gasped in surprise.
Meng Chao remained calm. As if his fingers were living fairies, they moved about with great agility. In just a few seconds, he separated the compartments which had been placed together and formed three guns.
Basic Gun Technique felt pretty good, even if it was only at Normal Level.
He did not get up right away. He first placed the semi-automatic rifle on his shoulder, and in a familiar motion, he checked its optical sight.
The rifle looked as if it was an extension of his limb and gave off a faint murderous vibe.
Half a second later, Meng Chao nodded and tossed the semi-automatic rifle to Captain Li.
The leader grabbed it and positioned the rifle on his shoulder. With just one glance, he became visibly moved. « It’s a good rifle! It has been maintained well, and the alignment is done even better! You’ll hit whatever you aim! »
« That’s Meng Chao, a top student from Ninth High School. » Madam Cao smiled so brightly that her eyes became closed.
It was rare for a public renting housing area like theirs to produce a student in a key high school.
« I see, you’re a good lad. If you join the military, you’ll definitely become an ace sharpshooter! » Captain Li praised him. « So, do you have enough ammunition in the house? »
« We have three hundred normal bullets, but we only have two cartridges of armor-piercing shells left. Each has twenty bullets, » Meng Yishan said.
« Alright, since there are two gun experts in this house, you shouldn’t be low on bullets. I’ll give you twenty armor-piercing shells and one hundred normal bullets. If monsters do come, I hope that you’ll bring glory to the region! »
Captain Li waved his hand, and the other two people in camouflage uniforms calculated the bullets before asking Meng Yishan to sign. The trade was done quickly.
Meng Yishan took the cartridges with a grin and decided to ask for a mile when offered an inch. « Twenty armor-piercing shells is just too little, and we don’t have enough grenades as well. Can’t you give us a little more? »
Captain Li sighed. « I’m afraid not, Sir. Our region did not manage to hit the target for monster kills last year, and we didn’t become a five-star region. The higher-ups only give us this little ammunition. You can’t make something out of nothing, you know. »
« You can’t blame us for that. Blessed Heavenly Garden doesn’t have any cowards, but we’re an old region in an old part of the city. In the past, we killed a lot of monsters here, and now, they’re scared of us. They haven’t been coming to our region for a long time. Where are we supposed to find monsters to kill here? »
Captain Li smiled. « Isn’t that great? Do you want a monster horde to come here on a daily basis? Put up with it, Sir. As long as we can get ranked as a five-star region this year, the basic number of ammunition we can get next year will increase by twenty percent. We’d have ample ammunition then.
« By the way, if we do get monsters to kill later, don’t forget to gather the shells. We don’t have enough resources in Dragon City, and we need to reuse the bullets. »
« Got it. I’ve been fighting monsters for decades. I’d know this. »
Meng Yishan sent Madam Cao and Captain Li away. Then, they went to knock on No.706.
Madam Cao whispered to Meng Yishan, « Old Meng, No.706’s Granny Wang lost both her son and daughter-in-law. Her granddaughter is staying in school, and she’s the only one in the apartment. She’s stubborn, and she refuses to go to a sanctuary. If we do have monsters bothering us later, please pay some attention to her. »
« Alright, if anything happens, I’ll have the old lady come to my house, » Meng Yishan agreed.
« What are you grumbling about? Are you gossiping about an old lady behind her back? »
The door to No.706 opened, and a white-haired old lady with wrinkles all over her face and all her teeth fallen out swung her extra large shotgun.
After taking a lot of effort to trick Granny Wang into promising to come to their house later, Meng Yishan returned home to distribute ammunition.
« A’chao, I didn’t expect that the gun education in your high school would be so good. Okay, I’ll let you have some fun today. Use the Type 22 assault rifle. I’ll give you twenty armor-piercing shells. Remember this, when you use armor-piercing shells, you need to add strengthened components to the rifle.
« Suxin, hold the handgun. Your legs hurt, so don’t stand. I’ll modify your wheelchair to battle mode. »
Meng Yishan picked up his submachine gun and rubbed it in familiar motions. Then, he gasped in amazement.
He did not expect that Meng Chao would be able to assemble guns so well. He had actually given consideration to Meng Yishan’s shooting habits when he aligned the optical scope for the gun.
« Dad, what about me? » Bai Jiacao gazed expectantly at Meng Yishan. « Have Mom give me her handgun. We already learnt how to use guns in class. My scores at shooting with real bullets are ranked number one! »
« You’re still young, why would you play with a gun? I’ll give you this. » Meng Yishan brought out a kukri made of cold steel from behind his waist. It had the shape of a dog’s leg, and it shone with a cold glare. « This is good stuff. When I used it last time, I beheaded a Desert Wolf with a single swing! »
« You’ve told that story more than eight hundred times already, » Bai Jiacao grumbled.
Meng Yishan glared at her. « What did you say? »
Bai Jiacao hunched her shoulders and pursed her lips. « Dad, many of the families of my classmates are already letting them use guns. My deskmate Lili used a rocket launcher last time! »
Meng Yishan smiled coldly. « So, since Lili used a rocket launcher, you want to use one too? But last time, during the parent-teacher meeting, when the teacher said that Lili could maintain the standing stance for three hours straight, why couldn’t you? »
Bai Jiacao remained stubborn. « I-It’s not that I can’t maintain that stance for three hours. I just think that the stances in middle school are too simple and boring! »
Her parents did not believe her.
Meng Chao came over and said with a stern expression. « It’s true, but the requirements for stances in the national college examination are getting higher. Our teachers in high school have been emphasizing that we mustn’t be afraid of hardship and fatigue and we mustn’t find it troublesome. Stances, breathing techniques, and meditation techniques are to be combined together, and they are the basics of cultivation.
« Dad, Mom, I think my younger sister has been a little rash lately, so you need to educate her properly. When she comes home everyday in the future, why don’t you make her keep a stance for two hours? »
Bai Jiacao sucked in a sharp breath. She stared at Meng Chao in disbelief. « Y-You You’re so evil! »
Meng Yishan and Bai Suxin looked at each other, and they smiled kindly. « Young Cao, your brother is right, why don’t »
« Why don’t I use that kukri! Many of the peerless fighters in the world use sabers! »
Bai Jiacao hurriedly grabbed the kukri and brandished it a few times beautifully. She grabbed the sheath and tied it to her calf before she glared at Meng Chao discreetly and went off to wash the plates in anger.
At eight o’clock sharp, electricity and spirit energy supplies in the entire region were cut off.
All forms of energy were gathered together to provide for the searchlights, high voltage grid, and the automatic defense system.
An alloy armor that was more than twenty centimeters thick came down to cover all the windows. Only fist-sized embrasures and observation holes were left.
The automatic war fortresses rose from the ground beneath the market, mini-supermarket, field, and small schools.
A battered old style anti-monster self-propelled gun was driven out by the resident committee members. The Joint War Defense Tactics Team took out a rusty infantry fighting vehicle to form their mobile force.
Blessed Heavenly Garden was now completely fortified.
The apartment was dark. Everyone lay on the ground with closed eyes to gather strength so they could be ready to fight.
Only the crystal radio continued to announce the news from the frontlines intermittently.
« The first wave of monsters has appeared at the steel refining factory in the north of the city. It broke through the defense line at Five Blessings Street. The main fighting power of the monsters consists of Flaming Black Beetles. There are about one thousand of them. The army and superhumans have joined the battle.
« A small number of monsters has appeared in the Ninth Sand Region. The citizens are currently hunting them on the streets and within the districts. »
« Attention, please. The fog has descended. Spirit energy has been thrown into chaos, and it might interfere with human brainwaves. Many of the monsters are now able to launch mental attacks. To increase morale and ensure that all citizens have great mental health, we will now broadcast a classical military song from Earth. »
« …Onward! Our vigor and vitality cuts down the edges of weapons and intimidates fearsome beasts! »
As the fog became thicker, the wandering spirit energy in the air became even wilder, and the interference of radio waves became worse.
The enthusiastic military song gradually became blurry, and only static remained.
The citizens turned off their radios and listened to the cannons in the distance through the reinforced concrete and alloy armor.
The cannon fire allowed them to feel at ease. It was the roaring of humans.
Children slept sound in their parents’ arms as they listened to the rumbling cannon fire.
Meng Chao locked his room door from the inside.
There were only two rooms and one living room in the house. Originally, his parents slept in the master bedroom and Bai Jiacaso slept in the second room while he slept on the folding bed in the living room.
But during the second half of Meng Chao’s third year, Bai Jiacao switched rooms with him temporarily so he could prepare for exams at ease.
« Gulp. »
Meng Chao opened a high-grade nutritional fluid bottle and gulped down its contents.
The teachers in school said that high-grade nutritional fluid contained a lot of spirit energy, and their contents were one hundred times higher than those of a normal monster’s flesh. Every time anyone had a bottle, they were to be careful. The best way was to pour the contents into the bottle cap and use a small spoon to take it.
After drinking the contents, they were to immediately take a standing stance, charge, punch, and do high-intensity training to release the medicine’s power and nourish every cell in their bodies.
But Meng Chao drank it swiftly like cold Coke during the afternoon of a hot summer day.
As a wild wave of spirit energy surged into his veins, his body let out a series of thunderous sounds.
Something unexpected happened.
After living however he wanted for a year, his arms and legs had gradually shriveled, and even his chest had done the same, but now, all of them swelled up and filled up with muscle.
His hair and skin started to glow, and he could see wisps of heat spreading out of his pores to form the presence of a beast around him.
His gaze turned intense, and it was as sharp as an eagle’s.
Meng Chao enjoyed drinking the high-grade nutritional fluid, and he drank bottle after bottle. He finished all the nutritional fluid and medicine he had earned before he finally let out a loud burp. He was full, but he still craved for more.
‘Feels so good’
He felt like a tank filled with fuel and ammunition. He laughed and casually threw a punch. It broke through the air and let out hissing sounds that were identical to those of a snake.
Compared to Chu Feixiong’s heavy punches, the sounds Meng Chao created when he punched were sharper, as if all his power was gathered in one spot. In an actual fight, he would produce even more terrifying and destructive force.
‘My strength came back.’
Meng Chao clenched his fists tightly, and he felt as if he held a bar of burning hot steel in his palm.
Even though his healing had not reached seventy percent, he felt that he had already surpassed the peak of his strength when he was in his second year of high school.
‘This feeling of getting stronger nonstop and seizing fate’s throat feels so good.’
He delivered more than one thousand punches in one go, then spent three minutes doing intermittent high knee running in place. By then, he was drenched in sweat and had absorbed all the medicinal effects.
He was about to lay down with his semi-automatic rifle to rest when he heard a light crack on the other side of the wall.