Chapter 20: “Racing”
Translator: virtual group Editor: virtual group
In the black SUV’s front seat, the young man in an old cotton coat turned his head and anxiously asked, “Boss, should we rush over now?”
The muscular man with a ferocious aura and an old scar at the corner of his right eye smiled and shook his head. “There’s no rush. With their firepower and the experience they show, they should be able to last a little longer. Besides, with the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s size, its linear speed is definitely not comparable to a jeep.
“If we arrive too early, we might end up getting attacked by both parties. That would be too dangerous. Besides, we still have to take this opportunity to make some preparations. Ji Shun, stop the car!”
“Yes, Boss.” The driver was the older man donning animal hide.
The black SUV then stopped.
The muscular man with the Storm submachine gun pushed open the door and got out of the car before walking to the trunk. He then took off his wrinkled black coat and handed it, along with his weapon, to his companion on the heavy motorcycle to the left.
After doing this, the muscular man lifted the trunk’s cover, bent down, and stretched out his hands to grab something. His face flushed red, and the veins on his forehead popped. His knees bent even more, a testament to the strength he was using.
He retreated step by step and pulled out a derelict wooden box that was large enough to fit a person.
With a heavy thud, the wooden box was placed on the ground.
As it was opened, the contents were revealed.
Inside was an iron-black item that appeared to be armor with a metallic skeletal structure.
“Ah Yu, Ji Shun, help me.” The man turned his head and spoke to the young man in the old cotton-padded jacket and the middle-aged man, who was in charge of driving.
Ah Yu and Ji Shun came over, each taking a side. They lifted the object in the wooden box without much effort.
With the effects of gravity, this item quickly unfolded, revealing its complete form. It looked very humanoid. It had a metal helmet with crystal goggles. Under the helmet were several pieces of armor that were connected together, protecting important pipes and wires.
Under this portion of armor was a large, iron-black pack that was abnormally strong. Surrounding this powerpack were all kinds of metal bones that resembled cervical spines, thoracic spines, radius bones, humerus, ulna, scaphoid bones, femurs, patella bones, tibia, and fibula bones. They also had joints with metal buckles and dense arrays of sensors.
Among these bones, thick armor was attached to the thoracic spine. A grenade launcher and an electromagnetic weapon were also embedded in each of the arms.
This was a military exoskeleton device. Its production capacity had always been lacking. Even among large factions, only the best of the best could be equipped with the device. It was a true killing machine.
It could silkily execute a human’s actions through a complicated and sophisticated sensor system, allowing the wearer to exceed a human’s strength, speed, and balance limits. Not only that, but it was also equipped with a hot-weapon system, a precision aiming system, auxiliary combat system, a comprehensive warning system, an anti-poisoning filter system, and bulletproof armor in key areas.
In addition, just as the invention of firearms reduced humans’ physical requirements for combat, exoskeleton equipment greatly reduced the user’s energy depletion, allowing them to engage in prolonged fights.
As long as one wore such equipment, it was definitely not a dream for one person to fight a team equipped with only light weapons.
With inhuman speed and comprehensive warning systems, it was not easy to hit the wearer’s body parts that were not protected by bulletproof armor.
The man—who was in his prime—walked over and put on the military exoskeleton with Ah Yu’s and Ji Shun’s help. One by one, metal clasps were latched on. Finally, he adjusted the crystal goggles on his metal helmet and booted up the equipment.
After the integration system’s self-checks passed, the man laughed. “There’s only 30% battery left. It can still be used for two hours… That’s enough.”
As he spoke, his hands—which were covered in iron-black auxiliary bones—easily took back his Storm submachine gun as if it were only a toy without any weight.
“W-what should we do?” Long Yuehong almost suffocated when he heard the term ‘Blackmarsh Iron Snake.’ In such a situation, he—who was inexperienced in such situations—could only seek answers from Jiang Baimian and Bai Chen.
He had clearly seen that Shang Jianyao’s assault rifle’s long burst had failed to cause any damage to the python. All it did was cause some damage to its outer scales.
Coupled with the knowledge he had previously learned, he suspected that a large caliber pistol like the United 202 and Bai Chen’s Orange rifle—which could be used as a sniper rifle—were similarly unable to penetrate the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s thick scales unless the bullets could hit unprotected vital spots.
As for whether the grenade launcher was effective, Long Yuehong couldn’t be sure. However, he felt that it wasn’t going to be useful. After all, the grenade’s main source of damage was the explosion and the scattering shrapnel. It wasn’t armor-piercing.
Jiang Baimian glanced at it through the rearview mirror. “Let’s have a race first. This fellow isn’t good at such things. Besides, it will tire. The jeep won’t. As long as the high-performance batteries, engine, and tires can hold on, it won’t be a problem for us to race it until tomorrow morning.”
As Jiang Baimian spoke, Bai Chen did not slow down the car too much. She only stopped putting it in overdrive to prevent any of the jeep’s parts from malfunctioning. She clearly agreed with the option of ‘racing’ the Blackmarsh Iron Snake. She did not want to fight it head-on.
The jeep sped along at high speed. From time to time, it would bump into rocks or tree stumps. Just a bump would give people the feeling that they were about to lift off.
If not for Bai Chen’s relatively good driving skills and a certain level of racing experience in the wilderness, allowing her to react in time and respond correctly, the jeep might have already flipped over and rolled several times before becoming totaled.
The enormous Blackmarsh Iron Snake seemed to have been angered. It used the sparse trees and overgrown weeds to occasionally chase after Shang Jianyao and the others from the sky or the ground, unwilling to give up.
The python was definitely not as fast as the jeep at full speed. However, due to the terrain, Bai Chen could not keep the jeep moving at maximum speed. She had to reduce the vehicle’s speed from time to time to avoid obstacles or swampy areas. Therefore, although the gap between the two parties grew larger and larger, the Blackmarsh Iron Snake was not shaken off.
During this process, the Blackmarsh Iron Snake opened its mouth twice, spewing out venom and toxic gas. However, it failed to affect the grayish-green jeep due to the distance between them.
After two attempts, the gigantic python seemed to have learned its lesson. It stopped attempting long-range attacks and desperately chased after the jeep instead.
Bai Chen suddenly stepped on the brakes a few minutes later and jerked the steering wheel.
With a creak, the gray-green jeep came to a stop, overturned on its side.
Long Yuehong and Shang Jianyao had consciously buckled their seatbelts while driving at high speed, so they weren’t thrown out. However, they were pulled back by the strong inertia.
Before they could return to their senses, Bai Chen said in a deep voice, “The terrain ahead has changed!”
Jiang Baimian also realized this problem.
In front of them was a swath of darkness with no end in sight. The deformed trees grew sparsely, and there was no path for vehicles to pass through at all. It was like a large swamp had expanded at some point in time, swallowing up the original route.
Whether they looked left or right, they couldn’t find the boundary. They didn’t know how long it would take to circle around it, nor did they know if the large swamp had surrounded the area. They could only escape by retracing their original route.
Just as Bai Chen wondered if she should suggest continuing the ‘race’ and add ‘loops’ to the extravaganza, Jiang Baimian shouted, “Shang Jianyao, get me a metal rod from the trunk. Bai Chen, use the jeep’s hood as a support point. Be prepared to snipe the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s eye.”
No one questioned her. In this split second, everyone chose to trust their team leader and listen to her orders.
Shang Jianyao immediately unbuckled his seatbelt, leaned back, grabbed a metal pole, and handed it to Jiang Baimian, who had already alighted from the jeep.
They had seen this ‘weapon’ before and had always been a little confused. Why did their team leader not bring a tent but something so strange?
Bai Chen carried the Orange rifle to the hood of the overturned jeep. She mounted the weapon and brought her eye to the scope.
Jiang Baimian gripped the metal rod with her left hand and began stretching her body.
The python that was covered in layers of black scales rapidly slithered forward, getting closer and closer.
The surrounding winds seemed to be tainted with a putrid smell.
Upon seeing that the terrifying Blackmarsh Iron Snake was about to enter the poisonous gas-spewing range, Jiang Baimian held the metal rod in her left hand and suddenly ran two steps forward.
Her body suddenly froze as she used the momentum to throw the metal pole at the Blackmarsh Iron Snake.
At the same time, a bright, dazzling, and thick electric arc appeared between her left palm and the metal rod! The electric arc lengthened and wrapped around the metal pole, producing sizzling sounds.
In an instant, the metal rod turned into a thick, silvery-white bolt of lightning. It tore through the sky and landed on the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s body as if it was a punishment from the heavens.
The Blackmarsh Iron Snake sensed danger, but such an attack was not fatal. Therefore, it only bent its body and avoided having its head struck.
The metal rod with countless silver-white electric arcs lingering around it struck the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s long and thick torso.
Without a doubt, with Jiang Baimian’s strength, it was impossible for the metal rod to pierce through the target’s thick layer of scales. However, it came with a terrifying electric arc!
With a sizzling sound, the silver-white light illuminated the grayish-black soil around them. Countless electric currents instantly spread to every corner of the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s body at a speed that could not be stopped.
The gigantic and strange python suddenly froze, paralyzed on the spot.
Although the prepared Bai Chen didn’t anticipate this, she didn’t hesitate. After adjusting the muzzle’s direction slightly, she firmly pulled the Orange rifle’s trigger.
A glistening yellow bullet shot out, heading straight for the Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s cold, dark-yellow left eye.
The Blackmarsh Iron Snake sensed fatal danger approaching it in advance, but it could only watch helplessly in its paralyzed, electrified state. It failed to make any attempt at dodging.
With a dull sound, the bullet sank into its cold, vertical pupil. It drilled into its brain and began spinning wantonly.
The electric bolts quickly subsided. The Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s gaping maw let out an indescribable, snake-like cry. Its body suddenly collapsed as it tumbled around crazily, crashing into and felling several trees.
Before long, the gigantic python stopped moving.
Jiang Baimian turned her head to look at the confused Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong. She smiled and rubbed her left arm with her right hand. “Electric eel-like biomechanical limb because you’re worth it.”
Not far away from Shang Jianyao and the others, the man in the military exoskeleton suit and his companions heard gunshots and cries. They sensed the slight quakes in the ground and heard the sound of trees collapsing.
The man’s expression lit up. “They’ve reached the most intense and tragic stage. Now is the time. Charge!”