Chapter 10: Cosmic Palm
That night, Lu Yin sent Xu San away and headed to the tree outside his tent, looking up at the stars glittering in the clear skies above. He had been trying the Cosmic Art for the past few days, but it wasn’t easy to imitate the orbits of the heavens. He had been clueless all this while, but having seen the aftermath of Zhou Shan’s battle, he stared at the night sky with renewed inspiration. The background noise slowly disappeared as time passed, and the other stars started disappearing as well, leaving only the glow of the moon. This glow illuminated the night sky and himself, quickly becoming the only thing he could see.
He raised his hand subconsciously, forming ripples in the air. Energy started pouring into his body as a lone celestial body shone within his palm. The moon was circling his hand, giving him the power of the Cosmic Palm.
Lu Yin’s body shook and he looked at the star on his palm in awe. He could feel terrifying strength within; although he had nothing to compare to directly, he felt like this was a move that would surprise even Zhou Shan. Waving it away, he felt the energy surging into his body that he’d absorbed from the world around him. This energy wasn’t limited by energy crystals, and could be absorbed anytime, anywhere. From the information he had on Vesta, his absorption rate was even double of that youth. Such was the power of the Cosmic Art.
As Lu Yin waved the star away from his palm, Zhou Shan opened his eyes from within his own residence. He had felt a faint hint of terror for a moment, but it went away quickly. “Was it a hallucination? The battle today was too exhausting.”
The next day, Lu Yin received a notification that the Executioner had personally assigned him to the northern frontlines. This was the battlefield that was trying to connect Nanjing to the capital, a dream Zhou Shan had entertained for a long time. He wanted his territory to connect to the capital and then the other six Sages, allowing them to reclaim all of China together. It was a good idea, but unfortunately extremely difficult. Even the smallest push required months, and they hadn’t even been able to complete a tenth of the journey before the aliens’ arrival had broken communication lines.
The frontlines were the most important thing to Zhou Shan, something he had always focused on. The very fact that half of his fourteen captains were pressing forward here showed his determination to reach the capital. Alongside 10,000 soldiers, the three captains heading forward were Lu Yin, Kang Dafeng, and Luo Yi. Luo Yi was the beautiful captain Lu Yin had seen beside Feng Hong multiple times; she had always been curious about him.
“Supporting the frontlines? We’re just repairing roads,” Luo Yi started grumbling barely a day into their journey, albeit justifiably given that the troops had been moving the entire time. Groups of soldiers were always pausing to repair vehicles and flatten the roads, slowing their progress significantly.
Sitting in an armored vehicle of his own, Lu Yin rested his eyes, only looking up at the sky from time to time. He was wondering whether he could imitate the movements of the glaring sun; once he succeeded, his absorption rate would double. He already felt close to becoming a Sentinel, but it wasn’t easy to imitate the movements of the sun. ‘Maybe start from the Earth?’ he wondered. It wasn’t a must to look at the skies; he could find videos of the galaxy from peaceful times and begin there. He had to consider all the various momentums in the universe to imitate the heavens; it was a near-impossible task, but he would keep trying.
They soon crossed a city that was still lit aflame, the roaming zombies occasionally attacking the soldiers who blasted them with their guns.
“Don’t be wasteful, we have a limited amount of ammo,” Kang Dafeng scolded the soldiers, dropping the frequency of the shootings.
Within Lu Yin’s armored vehicle, Xu San laughed, “Ballistics become more useless as time passes from the Apocalypse. If we don’t use our weapons now, then when should we? Our guns will be nothing more than scrap metal after a while.”
Looking out the window, Lu Yin frowned at the sight of more zombies gathering, “Tell everyone to speed up. We shouldn’t waste our time being surrounded by the zombies in the city.”
“Yes, Boss,” Xu San answered and left the armored vehicle, after which the army quickly sped up. As the captain who’d defeated Zhao Yu, Lu Yin now had one of the highest positions amongst the captains and neither Kang Dafeng nor Luo Yi dared to disagree with him.
Along the way, Lu Yin acquired a newfound admiration for Zhao Yu. Not everyone had the courage to travel across the zombie and mutant-infested countryside alone.
The troops soon came to a stop at a broken road, forced to repair it if they wanted to move forward. Lu Yin closed his eyes and started twirling his finger in the air, imitating the movement of the stars, but he heard Kang Dafeng shouting outside as he started killing zombies. Opening an eye for a glance, he returned to his task.
“He truly is a captain, even the zombies are afraid of him,” Xu San commented from the side.
However, Lu Yin was not impressed, “Ask him to come back and continue the journey. There are too many zombies to kill around here.”
Xu San nodded and was about to leave the vehicle, but he soon turned back, “Boss, Kang Dafeng followed the zombies into that abandoned building.”
Lu Yin finally lifted his head and looked over, heading out of the vehicle a while later with a solemn expression.
“What’s wrong, Boss?” Xu San asked.
Lu Yin narrowed his eyes, “There’s no sound.”
“Huh, you’re right. They should be fighting in the building.”
“Brother Lu, where’s Kang Dafeng?” Luo Yi came over and asked.
“Stay here, I’ll go and take a look,” Lu Yin answered, pulling out his metal rod and walking towards the building. Vesta’s dagger was still in Nanjing, where he presumed it would be for a long time. He had also declined the sword Zhou Shan had offered him, so he was continuing to use his metal rod for now.
Surrounded in flames, the abandoned building looked creepy even in the day. Lu Yin walked in slowly and examined the place, but despite finding Kang Dafeng’s knife very quickly, he couldn’t find the man himself. He walked further in and took out Vesta’s watch from his cosmic ring, checking for signs of combat level around. There was soon an arrow pointing right behind him, with the number 900 written underneath.
Lu Yin immediately slanted his body, dodging a white thread that broke into the closest wall. He looked over and saw an enormous mutant spider with six terrifying red eyes, a piece of bloodstained cloth at the corner of its mouth. He sighed in response; he was too late. Kang Dafeng had been eaten. At combat level 900, this mutant spider was equivalent to someone at the peak of the Realm of Earth. As someone who had only recently gotten to this realm, Kang Dafeng simply wasn’t its match.
Lu Yin gripped his metal rod tightly and rushed out, sweeping it in the spider’s direction. The beast lifted its legs up to try and avoid his attack, but his body suddenly flickered and appeared right behind it. The rod smashed down and broke its body in half, throwing an undigested Kang Dafeng out of its abdomen. Disgusted by the scene, he frowned and left quickly. Returning to the troops, he had Xu San announce that no one was to leave on their own. Anyone who disobeyed would be exiled.
“Kang Dafeng, is he dead?” Luo Yi asked in shock.
“You can go take a look in the building, his body wasn’t digested yet,” Lu Yin replied.
Luo Yi’s face paled. A captain had died just like that, without a single sound? If not for Lu Yin, Kang Dafeng would have been digested by the spider. This was the cruelty of the Apocalypse; even the powerful couldn’t protect themselves. Xu San turned pale as well, immediately boarding the armored vehicle and deciding that he would never leave Lu Yin’s side. Luo Yi soon did the same.
Lu Yin was speechless at this fear, “It’ll be fine if you don’t leave the troops.”
Luo Yi rolled her eyes at him, “That’s easy to say. Who knows what other mutant creatures there are, it’s safer staying with you.”
Without a retort, he decided to just ignore her and ordered the troops to continue moving forward.
“Boss, should we report to Nanjing? The death of a captain isn’t a trivial matter,” Xu San asked.
“There’s no rush. We’ll decide once we reach the frontlines. Well, if we reach the frontlines.”
These words left Xu San even paler. Even as Luo Yi subconsciously edged closer to Lu Yin, he started consoling himself, “No, we should be able to reach the frontlines safely. We will.”
Lu Yin looked out of the window, the troops were moving ahead slowly.
“But thinking about it, Kang Dafeng was really so unlucky. He might have lived if he didn’t chase the zombies to that building,” Xu San mumbled to himself. He felt safer when he was talking.
These words made Lu Yin’s head shoot up, “What did you say?”
Xu San went stiff and answered, “I said Kang Dafeng was really so unlucky. He might have lived if he didn’t chase the zombies to that building.”