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13 Uncle Liu

 "Centipedes have a vicious nature. If you want to train them, you need to keep allowing them to hunt and kill prey. Also, you should feed it fresh meat for every meal to maintain its fierceness. Only then will it be able to unleash its full capabilities in battle." The security captain tried to jump off the branch he was standing on after saying this. But after looking at how high up the branch was, he ended up slowly climbing down with his four limbs instead.

All the pretense of him being cool suddenly vanished...

"You know how to train centipedes?" Gao Peng asked suspiciously. This security captain sporting a mutton chop beard did not look like an expert in training monsters.

"Hey, you brat, don't go around looking down on others. I trained this Devil Mantis of mine all on my own." The security captain stretched out his right hand. Out of nowhere, a Devil Mantis suddenly appeared on his left, half kneeling on the ground, its strong chest heaving up and down as it breathed in and out.

"But there are specializations in every kind of industry. I specialize in training mantises, but that does not mean I'm an expert in training centipedes. If you really want to train this centipede into a killing machine, you will need to find an expert in that field. All I can give you are some pointers and suggestions," said the security captain, pulling a long face.

"Mmm, thank you, sir," Gao Peng said while nodding with thanks.

"Sir, do you know of any centipede training experts within Chang'an City?" Gao Peng asked.

The security captain was stunned for a moment. It was the first time someone had actually called him 'sir.' This way of addressing him made him feel a little weird.

After a moment's silence, he said, "There are many famous powerhouses with centipede type Familiars in Chang'an City, but because their centipede Familiars were strong to begin with, only one of them is known for becoming that strong based on his training methods." The security captain gave an imposing look and said, "The head of the Five Poison Dojo, Cao Jinyan.

"But Cao Jinyan is a known loner; it's hard for most people to get close to him. Apparently, all of his family tragically died during the cataclysm. Since then, he's developed an irritable personality. It's a taboo to mention anything related to his family in front of him."

"Oh, then forget it. I should just train on my own first I guess." Gao Peng immediately lost interest. He was not used to trying to warm up to people who were cold. It would be like using his own warm cheeks to warm up someone's cold butt cheeks, and even risking having the other person fart in his face. Most importantly, he felt a little weird about all of this. This security captain was a bit too talkative.

A Familiar's battle experience can only be trained through actual battle, thought Gao Peng. He knew what he needed to do know. Furthermore, he had confidence in himself.

The security captain's mouth hung open. This... this was different from what was agreed upon! This wasn't how it was supposed to go in the script! Shouldn't the kid be asking him more to find about what Cao Jinyan likes!?

This security captain clearly had some intent behind his actions. After all, he was acting so proud and aloof before. Those who provide benefits for nothing are usually up to no good.

Gao Peng turned around and left without hesitation. He did not intend to get wrapped up in any kind of scheming or drama. He already had what it takes to become strong. All he needed was to stick to his plan step by step to get stronger.

....

The three day excursion quickly came to an end.

Although there were still some monsters out in the outskirts, they were all of low tiers, mainly common tier. With the addition of the almost omnipresent Devil Mantises secretly protecting the students, it would actually be strange if a student met with an accident.

These few days were for the students to actually come into contact with wild monsters in real life. These monsters were different from those raised in their homes. Those at home were largely gentle and rarely got angry whereas those in the wild were feral and hard to tame. Allowing the students to have real-life experiences with wild monsters would be greatly beneficial to both their future and current capabilities.

Sitting back on the bus, Da Zi quietly lay down by Gao Peng's feet as he watched the surroundings outside the window fade into a blur. Over the last few days, there was little visible change in Da Zi's outer appearance. But if one were to take a closer look, Da Zi's eyes definitely looked a lot fiercer than they had a few days before. Each individual limb shimmered with a cold light, and lingering around its fangs was an almost undetectable murderous glint.

Other than routinely training Da Zi's agility and explosive strength, for the past few days, Da Zi had also constantly battled the wild monsters in the jungle.

The most dangerous encounter they had was when Da Zi was struck by a Bullet Beetle and almost got its brains blown out. A centipede's head is its Achilles heel, and is the most fragile part of its body.

Da Zi's brain was covered by a thick and hard carapace, but under that was its fragile brain matter.

The wounds that it got almost cost Da Zi its life. In the end, it was the security captain's variant Devil Mantis Familiar that killed the Bullet Beetle in one hit, saving Da Zi's life.

Because of this, Gao Peng naturally owed the security captain one. But strangely enough, the security captain simply waved his hand and did not need any thanks from Gao Peng. He simply turned and left after glancing at Gao Peng with a complicated look in his eyes.

Gao Peng gently stroked Da Zi's skull. There was a patch there that was a different color from its surroundings. It was the lighter and paler color of a newly grown carapace. That was the area where the Bullet Beetle had pierced through.

It took a full day for a full recovery, and that alone shocked Gao Peng greatly. Such a fast recovery speed... this was indeed a monster. Before the cataclysm, such recovery speed was practically unimaginable.

The bus drove past the school and continued into the city area, finally allowing everyone to alight together there.

Murong Qiuye rubbed her eyes, opened up a black leather notebook and said, "After alighting, all of you are to go home immediately. No going to places like monster amusement parks, no exploring haunted houses, and definitely no visiting the Monster Battle Arena! In half an hour's time, I will be calling all of your parents. If I find that any of you have secretly went out to play instead of going home on time, you will be copying your textbook ten times."

"Okay... Understood," replied a bunch of adolescent boys and girls weakly.

After getting off the bus, Tan Qianjin made his way towards Gao Peng while beaming and patted him on the shoulder. "Wanna go take a look at the Monster Battle Arena together?"

"Nah, I should get back home on time," Gao Peng refused politely.

"But aren't your..." Tan Qianjin wanted to say something, but suddenly laughed awkwardly as he remembered, and apologized profusely.

"It's alright," said Gao Peng, shaking his head to show that he was okay. After three years, he was able to accept reality calmly. He was not a teenager bursting with self-esteem who would easily blow up with a single touch. He was not the kind who would hate the world and be jealous of others just because he lost his parents.

Instead, because he had personally experienced such pain, he was able to better treasure life.

"Ok." Tan Qianjin seemed to have some regrets and seemed to want to say something. But in front of him, Gao Peng had begun to turn and leave. Looking at Gao Peng's frail-looking back going further away from him, Tan Qianjin had no choice but to swallow back the words that he wanted to say.

Gao Peng gently pursed his lips and, leading Da Zi with him, slowly vanished into the crowd.

"Little Gao, you're back." Uncle Liu was having a leisurely stroll in the microdistrict's garden. He greeted Gao Peng as he walked by with Da Zi.

"Uncle Liu," said Gao Peng with a smile and a nod. Uncle Liu was his neighbor, who moved in two years ago. At that time, Gao Peng was experiencing the darkest and most painful period in his life. It was only because of Uncle Liu's guidance that Gao Peng managed to do away with the morbid mentality that he had initially.

He had heard that Uncle Liu's sons and daughters had all met with accidents after the cataclysm and died, leaving him all by himself. Hence, the old man and young man who underwent the same experience became fast friends despite the age gap. Many things that Gao Peng would not share with outsiders, he would share with Uncle Liu.

"Eh? This little centipede seems a lot more energetic since the last time I saw it a while back. Little Gao, have you taken it to see blood?" Uncle Liu asked in surprise.

"Yup, we just came back from the Mirror Lake in the outskirts. We were there for three days," said Gao Peng with a nod.

"Mm, not bad. Things like these centipedes aren't like cat and dog-type Familiars. It is in the nature of these Familiars to do battle to survive; so it has to see blood often." Uncle Liu paused for a moment, then continued, "Although this centipede is of a pretty good breed, it is still a normal grade monster, after all. One's first Familiar has to be chosen carefully. If you don't mind, I can give you two rather good little familiars to raise." Uncle Liu smiled as he finished.