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HFA Chapter 56.2

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Chapter 56.2 – The Front Line

Half of the southern outpost of Fengyang City was blown up, and black smoke billowed up.

The army took the initiative to detonate explosives, and half of the outpost was blown to pieces by the snake tide.

The monsters temporarily retreated, the outpost was in a mess, and the air was pungent with the smell of gunpowder and the burnt smell of flesh. A new line of defense had been drawn up, and the soldiers examined the ruins to make sure there were no living creatures, and occasionally a shot rang out and the snake monster “hissed” in its death throes.

The ink-splashing clouds surged, and the young officer strode across the blood stains, his gray-blue eyes cold and hard. The adjutant followed closely, and the searchlight suddenly lit up, stretching their shadows and falling into the wasteland like a ghost.

The correspondent trotted over and saluted the officer: “General Lu, General Su is still waiting for your call back—”

“I know,” Lu Tinghan said.

He said he knew, but he didn’t leave immediately.

He stared at the wilderness for a long time, and then his eyes fell to the ruins of the outpost. The soldier contained a snake-shaped monster, put it into a transparent container, and brought it to Lu Tinghan.

The monster twisted its body made of rocks wildly, “hissed” and showed its venomous fangs.

Lu Tinghan lowered his eyes and looked at it.

The humidity in the wind was high, there was a faint stench and earthy smell, and the clouds were lowered a little bit. The wind direction changed, and the snake seemed to be inspired by something, shaking off a few broken rocks, and its pupils narrowed into vertical lines.

For ordinary people, these were seemingly meaningless changes, but for Lu Tinghan, these were interpretable signals and clear omens.

“…An hour later, two rounds of bombing will be carried out 50 kilometers east of the outpost,” Lu Tinghan said, “They are coming.”

The command center of the city was brightly lit, and after he gave the order, countless people became busy. The pilot picked up his helmet and hurried to the metallic aircraft.

Orders were then issued one after another. On the walls of the two cities, the guns slowly turned their angles and pointed in the southeast direction. The soldiers trotted to their new posts and stood with guns.

After the defense strategy was completely adjusted, Lu Tinghan contacted Su Enqi.

The holographic image flashed, and the gray-haired old man stood in front of him.

Su Enqi said: “General Lu, you shouldn’t stay on the front line.”

His tone actually had a bit of urgency.

“The behavior of the ‘Rock Snake’ is changeable. If I don’t stay on the front line, I can’t analyze and predict their behavior in time,” Lu Tinghan said, “Underground infected creatures are difficult to deal with, and we can’t relax. It’s worth the risk.”

Su Enqi frowned: “We can’t risk losing you. This time, the situation is very unusual. General Lu, I repeat, you shouldn’t stay on the front line.”

“Is there anywhere else to go back to?” Lu Tinghan asked him rhetorically, “Most weapons cannot strike the ‘Rock Snake’. It can quickly break through the city’s defense line. The southeast city of Fengyang has been destroyed, and the only way to survive is to intercept them outside the city. Right now, I am the one who knows them best in the world, I can assert that if I go back to the city, within three days, Fengyang will definitely fall. Without Fengyang’s energy support, the main city will fall in just a matter of days. General Su, I never have any place to go back to.”

Su Enqi frowned, the corners of his mouth sank, and a stiff arc stretched out.

He said slowly: “I still think you have to think about it again.”

Lu Tinghan looked at him and suddenly said, “You have guided me for many years and said many good words that I have benefited a lot so far. But what I remember most is what you said when I lost my first battle in the simulation training.”

Su Enqi raised his eyebrows.

Lu Tinghan said, “You said, I was defeated because my heart was soft. I refused to let that team die. I always wanted perfection and to save everyone. I have remembered this to this day.”

Su Enqi had long since forgotten this incident.

Referring to the past, he could not help but slow down his tone: “You are different. Your presence is irreplaceable to the Alliance, and the risks and benefits should be carefully weighed.” His eyes flickered and he whispered, “I haven’t told you, Jiang Huazhi—Jiang Huazhi—”

Lu Tinghan didn’t expect that he mentioned Jiang Huazhi at this time.

He listened in silence.

Su Enqi’s voice was low and hoarse: “Jiang Ruo, Jiang Huazhi’s father, is my old comrade-in-arms. In year 181, we were stationed at the outpost of the main city and encountered a wave of infection from Abyss No.5. I lost consciousness during the battle, and it was Jiang Ruo who carried me out, dragging me with one of his legs that had been blown off.”

He went on to say, “I looked after Jiang Huazhi after Jiang Ruo’s death and treated him as if he were my own. He and Su Liang are my children, my few relatives.”

“Five years ago, Jiang Huazhi, who hadn’t contacted me for a long time, suddenly told me that he had caused trouble and killed someone. Su Enqi closed his eyes, “I just learned that he was smuggling military supplies and murdered a supply officer.”

Lu Tinghan said, “Relying on your relationship, Jiang Huazhi should not be short of money.”

“As long as he asks for it, what can’t I give him?” Su Enqi said, “But some people are born evil. For Jiang Huazhi, only breaking the law and stepping on the rules is interesting, and he enjoys it.”

He sighed lightly: “After listening to his story, I wanted to take him to court. But I always saw Jiang Ruo’s shadow on him, even when I opened and closed my eyes. As long as he is there, Jiang Ruo seems to be alive.”

“So you covered him up,” Lu Ting said indifferently, “After so many years, you still want to cover him up.”

Su Enqi didn’t answer directly, and said: “He is in your hands now, and he will get the trial he deserves.” He smiled wryly, “It will be the death penalty.”

“Yes, blood pays for blood.” Lu Tinghan’s expression remained motionless. “But I don’t understand. This has nothing to do with the situation. Why are you bringing this up now? My decision will not change, and there will be no exceptions. At times like this, we should put all our energy on decision-making, and I believe you understand this.”

“How could it be irrelevant? I am not begging.”Su Enqi looked at him and said, “…I have lost him, and I don’t want to lose you too.”

Lu Tinghan: “……”

At this moment, no words could hardly describe his look.

Su Enqi looked at him silently like this, with gray hair and a slightly hunched figure.

After a long time, Lu Tinghan said slowly: “I will stay on the front line. This is not simulation training, we have no chance to start over.”

He paused again: “People cannot come back from the dead. Everyone is an independent individual. Looking at a child and only thinking of his father is perhaps disrespectful to both sides.”

“…” Su Enqi nodded, “I see, you should be more careful. You don’t have to worry about the main city, I’m still not old. As long as Fengyang is still there, the main city can hold on.”

He took a step back as if to stop communicating, and then suddenly said, “You still have a little lover at home, right? Remember to talk to your family and explain, in case something really… happened. It will be too late by then.”

Lu Tinghan lowered his eyes.

He said, “No. I am never good at saying goodbye.”

*

Shi Yuan stayed at home for half a month, feeding his wretched fish and big white bird every day.

The wretched fish went back to the rockery to hide after eating the feed, and the white bird stopped cursing. Wilting, they also felt that danger was approaching.

There were bombings and earth tremors every day, and in the last few times, the snakes were almost at the foot of the city wall. Everyone had trouble sleeping and eating, and Shi Yuan also had trouble sleeping and eating – although their reasons were completely different.

The anxious ‘wife’ looking for his ‘husband’ began to violate the law and discipline.

This manifested itself by avoiding the patrols and walking around the neighborhood every morning.

While walking, he was discovered by Aunt Shen who was ventilating on the balcony.

Aunt Shen didn’t report him to the patrol team but invited him to her home to knit a sweater together.

She taught very well, Shi Yuan learned very poorly, and his daily masterpiece was a piece of rags.

“It’s okay,” Aunt Shen always comforted him, “Just work hard.”

Shi Yuan was absent-minded, always thinking about Lu Tinghan. For some reason, a huge uneasiness was slowly rising.

Aunt Shen looked at his expression: “Shi Yuan, do you have a family member on the battlefield?”

“Yeah,” Shi Yuan replied.

Aunt Shen looked at him with compassion: “Don’t worry, they can all come back safely. Our place is different from Gleaning City, it’s on high ground.”

Shi Yuan knitted sweaters for three more days.

On the fourth day, he sat on the balcony with Aunt Shen and suddenly said, “I have to go, I’m going to find him.”

“Ah, where are you going?” Aunt Shen just got up to get water. “Are you going home? Wait for a glass of water before leaving!”

When she came back with two glasses of water, the balcony was empty, and the half-knitted wool and sweater needles were placed on the chair.

“Hey—this kid is really, how can he run so fast?” Aunt Shen muttered, “He’s really impatient.”

She took the water cup and sweater back and locked the doors and windows.

In the far distance, the fog filled the far side of the outpost, in which there was a black shadow lying across the ground.

“…I seem to see a mountain,” the observer murmured, “In the mist.”

The next second, the mountain trembled.

It opened its slit-shaped vertical pupils and hissed out its tongue.

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