In the forest, Li Lai blessed himself with the Light Body technique and quickly moved back and forth between the trees, looking for traces of the fifth squad.
Finally, he stopped somewhere in the forest.
This place had the most traces.
Last night, the fifth squad had apparently rested here. This place had rocks on three sides and spare trees in front of it. It was a good place to rest.
In addition to the footprints on the ground, there were some food scraps. It could be seen that the fifth squad stayed here for a long time.
But… why was everyone gone?
Li Lai floated in the air and once again used the communicator to contact the leader of the fifth squad. The message was sent but it was like a stone sinking into the sea.
He didn’t give up and continued to contact the others.
He was the leader so he had everyone’s communication number.
However, no one responded to him.
He tried using the voice or video functions but there was just a prompt that the other party wasn’t in the service area.
His heart was shrouded in a haze.
In particular, his mood was solemn when he found the bullet marks of laser guns left on the trunks of surrounding trees.
The fifth squad had obviously suffered a crisis and it was unknown where they had gone. Their life or death was uncertain.
Li Lai gritted his teeth and followed the bullet marks. He was just about to plunge into the mountain forest and go deeper when his figure paused.
The very subtle sound was almost inaudible to ordinary people, but Li Lai always mobilized the wind element to observe various movements and he was aware of it.
He froze in place. Through the wind element, he heard more subtle noises—
It was accompanied by a strange sound and the sound made by scales scraping across trees. It was very light and small but it made Li Lai feel creepy.
He forced himself to calm down.
In the wilderness, only a cool head would allow him to survive various crises. Once he fell into a panic, he wasn’t far from death.
Finally, Li Lai discovered the source of the sound.
On the large tree in front of him, there was a giant snake. It was all yellow-brown and almost integrated with its surroundings. It hung coiled around the trunk.
It waited there in his path.
The head was hidden among the dense foliage, the slender tongue stuck out softly and the huge eyes stared at him coldly.
If he had just flown past, it would’ve pounced on him and swallowed him in one bite.
Li Lai had no doubts about this.
Based on the size of the giant snake’s mouth, it was possible to swallow an adult man in one bite.
His heart was beating like a drum but he didn’t choose to turn around and run away.
This might provoke the snake or even attract its attention.
He faced it and retreated very slowly. His spirit was highly tense and the wind elements surrounded him, ready to form a wind shield to protect him.
Fortunately, the giant snake didn’t attack him.
It hissed and stared in his direction without blinking, but it didn’t chase after him.
Li Lai didn’t know how he escaped safely. It wasn’t until he finally hid in a stone gap that he gulped and took big breaths.
No one wasn’t afraid of death.
Of course, except for those braves with sick minds.
Li Lai thought about the group of braves who were always smiling and never serious and strangely relaxed. His mind resumed thinking.
He recalled the encounter just now and could clearly feel that the giant snake was a three star beast.
Now a new three star beast had appeared in the Asmo Mountains!
This discovery shook his heart.
Previously, there was only one three star rock beast in the Asmo Mountains and it was the target of his vigilance. They were lucky and didn’t encounter this rock beast at all as they crossed the mountain.
Now an even more powerful one had emerged.
The moment that Li Lai found a sound place, he immediately sent the information back to headquarters at the border of Imperial City and reported the disappearance of the fifth squad.
After sending the image of the giant snake back to headquarters, he observed it carefully and found that the belly of the giant snake didn’t bulge.
Based on the characteristics of a snack, its stomach could never be so flat if it had swallowed all of the fifth squad.
Even if they did encounter the giant snake, the fifth squad had wind elementalists. The giant snake had strong explosive power but it shouldn’t be as good as the warriors in terms of flexibility and speed.
Therefore, it should be impossible for all of the warriors to be eaten by the giant snake. There would always be some who escaped, but…
Why couldn’t their communicators be contacted?
A reply soon arrived from headquarters.
Admiral Joyce asked him to return to Orchid Moon City immediately. The marshal would soon arrive with the elementalist engineering team and production team. They had already applied to the marshal for him to return to Imperial City with the marshal when the time came.
As for the fifth squad… not a single word was mentioned.
Li Lai understood what Admiral Joyce meant: give up on the fifth squad and return as soon as possible.
His eyes almost split open.
The fifth squad had 32 people. How could he just give up on them?
His hands trembled as he sent a communication request to Admiral Joyce, who answered.
Li Lai had just spoken when Admiral Joyce’s voice was heard.
“Li Lai, you have done a good job in this mission,” he stated in a low voice. “A total of 192 people not only escorted all the targets to Orchid Moon City but 128 people survived.”
“This is already a very remarkable survival rate. I have seen your performance along the way. Once you come back, I will personally award you with honors.”
In previous escort missions, the death rate was definitely more than half. Li Lai’s degree of completion this time could be called superior.
However, Li Lai wasn’t happy.
He knew it wasn’t because of how good he was. It was all due to the sacrifice of the braves.
“Admiral Joyce, those 23 warriors and 9 braves… can’t they be saved?”
Li Lai lowered his voice. He suddenly thought of something and hurriedly asked, “I left the flight monitor with them. Admiral Joyce, what happened? Why are they missing?”
Admiral Joyce paused before replying in a low voice, “They were attacked by interstellar beasts in the middle of the night and fled all the way into the forest. At some point, the flight monitor lost contact.”
“There is no light at night and the images from the camera couldn’t tell where they went missing or died.”
“However, I didn’t find any bodies here,” Li Lai said eagerly.
“Even if there are no bodies, how likely do you think they are to survive in the Asmo Mountains?”
Admiral Joyce’s voice was calm to the point of near indifference.
Li Lai couldn’t help being stunned.
He raised his eyes and looked at the large forest in the distance through the cracks in the stone.
It wasn’t without possibilities but…
It was very small and tiny.
“So, go back to Orchid Moon City.”
Admiral Joyce told him, “Sacrifice is inevitable. The empire still needs you. You are about to advance to two stars and you are a very good elementalist. There are many people waiting to be rescued by you in the future.”
Li Lai hung up the call in a daze.
He sat still in the gap in the stone, liquid slipping from the corner of his eyes. He raised his hand to cover his eyes.
He hadn’t left them on the other side yesterday, if he had insisted on letting them cross the river, would the outcome have been different?
The communicator vibrated. Someone was calling him.
Li Lai quickly wiped his eyes and looked at the caller ID on the communicator. Then he chose to answer.
“Xiao Cheng,” he lowered his voice, hiding the strangeness in it.
“Brother, I heard Wen Jishan say that you have arrived in Orchid Moon City. Is everything going well?” Li Zhecheng’s voice was heard on the other end.
Li Lai sighed, which was a response.
“Lord Marshal went to Orchid Moon City. You come back with him. Us brothers haven’t seen each other for a long time. We will go to dinner and drink milk tea.”
“You have been in the army so you probably haven’t drunk milk tea. It was researched by His Majesty and several stores have opened in Imperial City.”
Li Lai listened to his hearty words and smiled. “Okay, but I might have something on my side. I will go back after a while.”
He tried to hide it but there was still some choking in his voice. He didn’t know if the other person heard it.
“What is it?”
“A military secret.”
On the opposite side, Li Zhecheng was silent for a moment before asking, “Did His Majesty ask you to catch the traitors?”
Li Lai was shocked. Traitors?
He had some doubts in his heart but he could only follow his brother’s words. “You guessed it yourself.”
“Oh, okay.” Li Zhecheng told him, “Then you should be careful and pay attention to safety. You are my only big brother so don’t die.”
“I know. Keep His Majesty safe and don’t make any mistakes.”
Li Zhecheng nodded.
“Yes. Then I’m hanging up first. I’m busy.”
Li Lai watched the communicator return to the original screen and sniffed. Then his expression became firm.
‘Xiao Cheng, sorry.’
He emerged from the gap in the stone and continued to look for clues.
If he left them in the wilderness and went back like this, he would probably have a restless conscience for the rest of his life.
The players were unaware of the trouble Lieutenant Colonel Li Lai was in and drove the floating car, avoiding all types of wild monsters before coming to a low-lying place.
This time, they were going out to hunt monsters and they also broadcasted it live.
Someone in the forum had written down the route and turned it into a guide. This would be valuable information for the players of the second closed beta.
As well-known figures in the gaming circle, the professional players didn’t mind publicizing their guides. Some who were particularly active would end up correcting some wrong things.
The car stopped and the players used branches and leaves to cover it. The car wasn’t theirs and couldn’t be put in their backpack.
The system had distributed a vehicle package and there were places where vehicles could be stored, but it was only in a bound state. This floating car was lent to them by the army and had to be returned later.
In addition, the car was tattered and they looked down on it.
They covered up the car and moved carefully in the forest.
They could finally hunt!
Players were very excited. It was more exciting to fight in the game.
The players from Imperial City had experience following the escort team and also instigated the NPCs to help them kill monsters. Therefore, Xu Yuheng handed over the command to Qing Yan when going into the wilderness.
Not all Imperial City players had come out today. There were basically only professional players in the team and the number was 40.
Many of the ordinary players were offline. It was estimated that they hadn’t been offline for too long, were caught by life issues or simply didn’t want to play the game for a while.
The professional players were different. It was their job and they had to do it even if they didn’t want to.
More than a hundred people were divided into 10 teams by Qing Yan.
The game had done a good job with the voice system. The team could be divided into squads and even temporarily block the sound of the team channel. This way, they wouldn’t interfere with each other but could still be maintained as a whole.
After dispersing, the players plunged as if disappearing with no hope of returning. They looked inconspicuous in the vast wilderness.
Soon, a small squad was eyeing a one star beast.
10 people were enough to kill a one star beast. The problem that needed to be solved was how to not attract a large group of monsters in the process.
The 10 players watched carefully and discussed it in the team channel. They didn’t know that above their heads, someone else was watching them.
Far away in the dark room of the palace in Imperial City, Xu Sili controlled the flight monitor and observed the players through the screen.
He attached great importance to the players killing monsters in the wild for the first time.
It could be guessed that in the future, this field would belong to the players. The interstellar beasts were also the players’ experience points and materials.
Xu Sili had nothing to do so he used the ‘live broadcast’ to watch this group of people who could be called the ‘fourth natural disaster.’
Outside the protective barrier, interstellar beasts moved together in groups of two or three. They weren’t far from each other so the players had to find a way to lure the interstellar beasts one by one to kill them.
The first squad started to move.
100 meters away from them was a group of interstellar beasts that looked like rhinos.
According to the information previously obtained from Li Lai, this was a one star beast called the rhinoceros beast. It was a herbivore and its movements were relatively slow, but its collision ability was excellent.
The huge horns on their heads were enough to knock down a century old tree. In any case, the players would die just from a slight touch from one based on their amount of health.
In between the low bushes, a rhino beast wandered leisurely, tearing blades of grass from the ground.
Its eyes were red. It might be a herbivore but this didn’t mean it had a good temper.
Just then, a small stone flew from the bushes not far away and hit it straight on the head.
For the rough-skinned rhinoceros, this one-shot attack didn’t do much damage but it was enough to anger it.
It lowered its head and a white, cloudy breath erupted from its nostrils. Then it roared angrily and charged at the striped beast not far from the rhinoceros herd.
This unexpected attack directly knocked the striped beast flying.
In the grass in the opposite direction, the player responsible for attracting the monsters saw this and couldn’t help many question marks popping up above his head.
Was this rhinoceros blind?
It was obviously a stone thrown from the front. Why run to attack the zebra beast behind it?
It also wasn’t over yet.
The striped beast didn’t die after being knocked into the air. It struggled on the ground before shaking its head and standing up.
Its eyes were also red as it looked at the rhinoceros beast.
It raised its head and howled, calling for its friends. Then a large group of striped beasts gathered and rushed toward the rhinoceros beast, with a stance like they were going to tear the rhinoceros beast to pieces.
The grumpy rhinoceros beast wasn’t stupid when it saw this scene. It turned around and ran with roaring footsteps. Then there was another burst of footsteps right after.
The other rhinoceros beasts saw someone bullying their own and organized to participate in the battle.
The fierce interstellar beasts collided with each other, smashing into the sky and causing blood to fly.