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71 Down This Bowl of Soup

 At the front lines north of Chang'an City, the number of Dead Leaf Locusts had visibly gone down compared to a few days ago. But their sheer numbers were still terrifying, and the sandstorm was still howling furiously.

Sand still filled the sky, coming down on them like torrential rain.

A large locust, easily ten times larger than those around it, came rushing out of the swarm. It transformed into a gray blur and surged towards the formation of tanks.

"Intercept it!" ordered one of the commanders.

One of these giant locusts had flown out at them before. It had broken into their formation and caused quite a few casualties.

But little did they know that this was just the first of many. Giant locusts kept flying out of the swarm, numbering in the thousands, forming an imposing presence.

Behind these giant locusts were the smaller, normal locusts. They followed closely behind in a dense formation.

Each of these giant locusts was at the height of the elite tier. Unless hit directly by artillery rounds, they plowed their way ahead, ignoring the gunfire that rained on them.

At this moment, the military was in a dilemma. They were currently firing artillery rounds and missiles at the locusts. If they were to send in the military Familiars, they would run the risk of friendly fire. If they did not send in the Familiars, there would be even greater trouble when these giant locusts broke through their formation.

But by stopping the artillery fire to send in the Familiars, the smaller locusts would be allowed to fly towards them. These smaller locusts that came in frightening amounts were actually the most dangerous enemies.

All of a sudden, the military commanders in charge of the front lines were faced with a Catch-22 situation.

"White phosphorous bombs! Use the white phosphorous incendiary bombs!" one veteran general decisively gave the order. "As we use the bombs, tanks and missile vehicles retreat! Pull back the front lines! I don't believe this will last forever. There has to be an end to these d*mned locusts!"

This general was one with great prestige within the Chang'an military. He had even participated in the wars that founded the country. In terms of commanding ability and charisma, he was on a different level from those that spent most of their careers during times of piece. The orders he gave were swiftly carried out.

Numerous white phosphorous incendiary bombs were launched into the sky. Upon reaching their target, they exploded with a flash of light, and rained down from the sky as flames.

The flashes of light were blinding and the sky became covered in flames. The Dead Leaf Locusts burst into flames with the slightest contact with the fire raining from the sky. In mere moments, they sky became more like a sea of red-hot fire.

The small swarms of Dead Leaf Locusts flying in the air became red clouds as the flames lighted them up. Half of the sky was lit up with these red clouds.

White phosphorous incendiary bombs had a low ignition point, capable of spontaneous ignition at only 40˚C. When ignited, the temperatures could go up to over 1,000 degrees, and was way beyond what any of these Dead Leaf Locusts could withstand. Because of the flames, the dense swarms of locusts got dispersed as each individual locust began flying around madly from the pain, spreading the fire even further.

A deep, angry bellow came from the depths of the locust swarm. Following that, the locusts that were on fire separated from the swarm on their own.

"Eh? Why are these little pests not using that sandstorm thing?" a soldier wondered, wide-eyed. Previously, when they had used the incendiary bombs, the locust swarm had blown back the incendiary bombs using the sandstorm. It almost managed to blow back the bomb attachments all the way back to the human side. That was why they had stopped using the white phosphorous incendiary bombs.

The giant locusts were extremely fast. Many of them managed to dodge the artillery fire and were pressing closer and closer to the soldiers. They could even see the sharp hooks at the ends of their limbs.

Just as they were about to get close enough to attack, loud frog croaks rang across the battlefield.

A red afterimage flew past. From the back of the formation, numerous giant red toads hopped forward

Guuu!

Over a hundred Magma Fire Toads landed in front of them and stood, firmly rooted to the ground. Their bodies were red from top to bottom, and there were translucent warts the size of fists all over their backs.

They opened their mouths wide and red balls of flame seemed to gather deep within their throats. Then, with a gurgle -

Pui! Pui! Pui!

They spat fiery-red liquid from their mouths. The strong muscles around their mouths allowed them to easily spit distances over dozens of meters.

The viscous red liquid that landed on the giant locusts had the same effect as the white phosphorous incendiary bombs. They stuck onto the bodies of the locusts and burned at high temperatures.

Bright flares were spewed across the battlefield. The giant locusts shook and wailed as they tumbled to the ground.

With only a few rounds of fire, at least over 100 giant locusts were taken down.

The Magma Fire Toads shot out their long tongues, wrapped up the giant locusts into their mouths, and began to chew and swallow them into their bellies.

They had also inherited their appetites from the Voracious Golden Toads. They frantically devoured and swallowed their prey without tiring at all.

Most of the military personnel were shocked by this scene. Where did these giant red toads come from? They did not remember having these Familiars in their units!

...

The following day, the commander tier electric-type monster core crystal was delivered to Gao Peng's door by a soldier in army uniform. After handing the large red brocade box to Gao Peng, the soldier straightened his back, snapped his legs together, and gave Gao Peng a salute.

After saluting, the soldier promptly turned and headed back downstairs. There was a military jeep parked below the building.

The neighbors were all watching this military jeep with curious looks in their eyes.

"Who are the people from this jeep looking for?"

"It seems like they went to look for Gao Peng from the sixth floor."

Usually, the aunties and uncles in the building would simply spend their time in the yard, chatting or sharing gossip.

"There was this one time, I remember it was during the night, when I was walking my dog in the neighborhood. I saw that kid from the Gao family bring a ghost back home," said one of the aunties in an exaggerated manner.

"There's no such thing as ghosts in this world, you must have seen wrong," said an old uncle, waving his hand.

"Why won't you all believe me! My eyes were definitely not mistaken!" The aunty who spoke first got agitated after being doubted by the rest. She exclaimed, "It was a large skeleton! Its head was even burning with a blue flame!"

"Gao Peng stays just right above me. I've watched him grow up and he has always been an honest boy. So what if he has a ghost? The world has already become like this; so what if ghosts exist now?" said Granny Chen, who lived right below Gao Peng. She adjusted her spectacles, and wet the thread that she was holding in her fingers and tried to thread a needle with her shaking hands. She tried many times, but she still did not manage to succeed. Both her hands were shaking too much, and she could not match the thread to the eye of the needle.

She shook her head then gently patted the head of her Striped Gray Plate Spider. The spider scuttled to its feet. Using the hook end of its rear limb, it hooked the thread, and in just one attempt put it through the eye of the needle.

"Today's sun is just right," said Granny Chen as she leaned back on her rocking chair, leisurely enjoying the gentle sunlight. The rays of light shining on her body felt warm and relaxing.

"Sigh, forget it, forget it. Let's just enjoy the sun." With that, the bunch of old people ceased their interest in gossiping.

Upstairs, after closing the door, Gao Peng went to the fridge and took out the other ingredients needed to go with the monster core crystal.

The commander tier electric-type monster core crystal was naturally not meant to be swallowed just like that. The other accompanying ingredients were long prepared by Gao Peng and placed in the bottom compartment of the fridge.

He followed the steps and added the ingredients one by one. He almost failed a few times but luckily for him, he had managed to accumulate quite a bit of experience by now. Finally, he managed to successfully complete the procedure.

Wearing rubber insulated gloves, Gao Peng beamed as he carried the bowl of soup out of the kitchen.

"Da Zi, come here and down this bowl of soup."

Sparks were flying within the soup and electricity could be seen coursing through it. The whole concoction was glowing with a blue light.