Epoch of Twilight – Chapter 54

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“What’s this?” Luo Yuan had found a half-buried scale beside the plastic bag. One that did not look like it belonged to the lizard.

He pulled the scale out and saw that it was the size of a ping pong ball, smooth and shiny, with a blue sheen. It looked like an unpolluted spring amidst an old forest. It remained untainted despite the fact that it had been half-buried in sand.

What was even more amazing, was that Luo Yuan could feel a refreshing coolness radiating from it as he held it in his hand. Looking at the familiar scale, he suddenly thought, “It couldn’t be a dragon snake scale, could it?”

The more he looked at it, the more familiar it felt, so he decided to use Identification:

“Dragon Snake Scale”
“Usage: Material”
“Rarity: Blue”
“Weight: 10.3g”
“Comments: This is a scale shed by a molting dragon snake. It possesses mild Cold Energy properties.”

Luo Yuan’s heart thumped, his previous worries vanishing in an instant. That scale alone was worth just as much, if not more, than a whole Rampage Lizard.

This meant that his machete could level up again. To a warrior like him, a sharp weapon was of utmost importance. From a certain point of view, having a good weapon would increase a person’s combat skills in several aspects.

Even though he had reached Level 12 and had added 2 points to all his attributes, he could only run when faced with a dragon snake. He would probably never be able to break its defense in a battle.

Furthermore, this scale was all the more valuable because it held attribute abilities. He would not swap it for ten Rampage Lizards.

Luo Yuan felt shaken. Afraid that he might have been mistaken, he tried using Identification once more, looking at it in detail this time. He realized that it had a different description for the dragon snake’s Cold Energy attribute compared to the black owl’s attribute.

One was “mild” while the other was “weak”. Those few letters made a world of difference. The energy this scale contained was obviously much higher than the black owl’s.

“If I found one, then it must have shed more,” Luo Yuan thought, his eyes glinting as he began searching for more scales nearby.

Indeed, in a few minutes he had found a second one under a fallen tree.

The next few hours, Luo Yuan searched the whole area, finding a lot of loot. He had discovered a total of 16 scales and an organ the size of a pineapple lying by the dragon snake.

He turned the organ over and sideways, yet he could not determine which part of the animal’s innards it used to be prior to the explosion. He had to use Identification to determine that it was part of the dragon snake’s liver.

The effect was still the same as that of blue and light blue rank flesh. It only slightly increased his body’s attributes. It would seem that blue rank creature flesh would all have the same insignificant effect on increasing human physical potential.

Maybe it was because the system had categorized all levels of blue creatures as blue rank. While the levels differed, the quality remained the same. Even if the quantity consumed was increased, the effect on the human body would still be limited. Consuming even more of it after reaching the limit would at most improve the body’s potential by a little.

Luo Yuan did not synthesize. Instead, he collected his things, intending to leave the place right away.

The dragon snake had left its scent there earlier and no other mutated beasts dared approach. However, the scent would not have lasted long anyway. In addition to the smell of the blood, the sense of intimidation would also weaken over time.

Ruffling sounds could be heard around the forest. The threatening aura that had been surrounding the area was wearing off. Considering his weak Physique, even if the animals that approached were light blue or white rank, how many could he really kill?

Besides, it was not Luo Yuan’s style to engage in battles without benefits.

He left the area speedily, returning once again to the small path he had used when he had first entered the forest.

Luo Yuan stopped by a shaded, well-concealed spot to synthesize the materials at hand.

He wasn’t impatient. He was just worried that the base would confiscate the materials. His worry was not unfounded either. He had heard several times now that the military was collecting raw materials from living creatures. The middle-aged man who had sold him the black owl’s feathers the previous day had also mentioned a bio-bulletproof vest. This only proved the military’s emphasis on bio-materials.

Furthermore, blue rank creatures were not average creatures. It would not be farfetched to say that the military would very rarely get to meet one, and they would never pass up a material left behind by such a creature.

To avoid any crazy assumptions and unwanted branching plots, it would be safer to just synthesize everything now.

In order to prevent an accident, Luo Yuan took out of his pocket a HEAT warhead he had prepared for the experiment and synthesized it with a black owl’s feather. Then he synthesized the finished product once more using two scales, confirming that such a synthesis was possible.

Luo Yuan put the synthesized warhead aside and began to synthesize his machete. A thought suddenly came to him, and he picked up the warhead again. He was actually rather disappointed in the Type 88 rifle. The warhead had been clamped down by the lizard’s muscle after going through its scales. It had not even inflicted a serious injury.

It was fine to shoot a person with, but had proved useless against a mutated beast, especially one that was blue rank or higher. This was not just due to its narrow muzzle and insufficient velocity. The malleability of the bullet’s alloy steel was also to blame.

When he had found the bullet, it had already been squashed into a round disk. If he were able to use it again after leveling up to blue rank, the effect would probably be vastly different.

Only experimenting would tell though.

Luo Yuan shoved the bullet into his pocket and began synthesizing the machete.

Through the use of several scales, the machete transformed again. The earlier synthesized green beetle material was slowly chased away, jade green powder gradually seeping out and slipping down, following the machete’s smooth handle.

When the thirteenth scale had turned into a hole-filled residue, the machete finally evolved to blue rank. Looking at the last remaining scale, Luo Yuan hesitated before using it to synthesize the machete too.

“Chilling Machete”
“Material: Alloy, Dragon Snake Scales”
“Rarity: Blue”
“Weight: 4.3kg”
“Attack: 25 – 29”
“Additional Effect:  Attack Speed +1
“Additional Effect 2: Freezing, reduces temperature to -30°C immediately, Cooldown Time: 24 hours;
Trigger Condition: Specialist Knife Skill;
Current State: Activated”
“Equipment Requirements: Strength 11 Points”
“Comments: This is a machete that will chill any enemy!”

“Sharp Machete” had become “Chilling Machete” while its attack power had increased by 5 points and an additional effect had appeared – freezing, a powerful and special ability.

Looking at the effect trigger condition, he had a bad premonition. Holding onto the cool machete handle, he sliced off a thick branch like it was tofu, slashing at it in concentration.

He leaned forward to touch the cut.

Indeed, other than a mild coolness, it did not feel frozen at all. It seemed that he would need to increase his Willpower and fully master the Specialist Knife Skill before he could trigger the Freezing effect.

It would not be long now. He had already faintly felt the sense of focusing his mind onto a single goal when he had killed the Rampage Lizard earlier. When the blade had slashed through its throat, it had felt like there was no obstacle. The slice had been smooth and precise.

Luo Yuan went on to synthesize both his boots and jacket to blue rank until they could not be synthesized any more. They were all Speed +3 equipment now.

Then he found the car left behind by the five men from Hedong City and drove it back to the base.

After a meticulous check by two patrolling guards, he was let inside.

The sun was setting now, so the base looked far merrier compared to its deserted state in the morning, when most of the hunters had returned from the forest.

Under the supervision of a soldier, Luo Yuan moved both the lizard’s hind legs to one of the warehouses. Very quickly, someone came by and sliced a piece of meat off to check it.

“That’s it?” The soldier locked his expressionless gaze on him and warned him, “You don’t look familiar, this must be your first time. You’d be punished severely if we found out that you kept something for private use. You could even be confined for a few days depending on the seriousness of your offense!”

“It’s all here!” Luo Yuan replied emotionlessly.

“It’s third level meat!” the soldier who was checking the flesh said, lifting his head. His breathing seemed to have quickened.

It was not every day that one came across third level meat, even someone in his line of work. This level of creature had already evolved to a certain level of intelligence. After that time when the base had just been built and some third level creatures had come wandering to their deaths, they had rarely been seen anymore.

“You killed this?” A hint of surprise and suspicion flashed across the soldier’s otherwise expressionless face. “What weapon did you use? I remember your pass, you did not rent any weapons!”

“I think I have the right to refuse to answer that question, don’t I?” Luo Yuan replied, sounding a little upset.

The soldier’s face soured immediately. Hunters were always sucking up to him and bribing him in hopes that he would be lenient in his check. That had been the norm. Who knew he would meet such a reckless neophyte that day.

He got closer to Luo Yuan and sneered, “Indeed, you have the right not to answer, but for the sake of this base and its safety, I’ll search your car later. I suspect that you’re in private possession of ammunition!”

Luo Yuan was stunned. He looked at him and smiled before replying in the same low voice, “I think you’ve forgotten something. You and I both know that I don’t have any firearms in my possession, so how do you think I hunted this third level beast?”

Something seemed to be dawning on the soldier as his face paled.

Luo Yuan went on, “I heard that the military’s recruiting evolved humans and the pay’s not that bad. You’re accusing me of private possession of ammunition and breaking the base’s rules, but what do you think would happen if you reported this? Let’s take a guess! Private possession of firearms! Very well! It’s not too big nor too small an offense, but I’d still be arrested and have to state my identity. I’d be recruited into the military without a second thought. And then maybe, you’d suddenly find me in a position higher than yours. By then, some of the superiors might find themselves wanting to please us evolved civilians and chase away some black sheep. What do you think of that?”

The soldier’s face went from pale as a sheet to flushed red. He did not utter a single word for a long time.

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