After spending a long time trying to get mentally prepared and an even longer time hesitating, they eventually ate.
Their suffering was indescribable. Luo Yuan was able to hold the food down, but both Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi ate, vomited and then resumed eating again until they all they were able to vomit anymore was gastric acid. They seemed to be in great pain, and tears rolled uncontrollably down their faces.
Unfortunately, though it was not clear whether it was because of their bodies qualities or because the probability to evolve from this blue color level organism was too low, none of them had evolved by the end of the day. Luo Yuan felt better. He had already failed once, so he was just slightly disappointed. However, it was a big blow to both Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi.
They had suffered so much and had seen no results whatsoever. Both Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi felt secretly angry at him.
They said didn’t say a word to him the whole night.
At midnight, Luo Yuan was awakened by the sudden vibration of a text message.
He took out his phone, and turned the screen slightly brighter. In order to save battery, Luo Yuan’s phone was constantly kept in dark screen. Nonetheless, his phone had still only one last bar of battery left. The rest of the battery had already been used up.
Luo Yuan was surprised. The message was from his ex-colleague, Wang Xiaguang. Ever since he had resigned from the company, they had barely contacted each other, and lately they had no longer been keeping in touch. He could not believe that he had received a message from her.
“Luo Yuan, we are going to leave with the fifth division soon. I just got the news that we will depart from the East Highway at 6.30 a.m. If you want to leave, please come over as soon as possible. Reply as soon as you receive my text!”
Luo Yuan stared at the screen for quite a while.
Then he quickly turned over, stood up and put on his clothes.
It was already 5.30 a.m. and the departure was scheduled at 6.30 a.m., so he had only one hour left to get ready. He needed to rush.
He had also planned on leaving Donghu City that day, but considering the current situation, nobody knew what would happen to them on the road. At least if they were escorted by the army, their safety would be guaranteed.
He walked out of the room and knocked loudly on the door of Huang Jiahui’s bedroom.
“Fast! Wake up! The army is leaving Donghu City at 6.30 a.m. It’d be better if we went with them. We’re running out of time, please hurry!”
The sound of something falling on the floor came from the inside of the bedroom.
“Okay, okay, coming!” Were it not for the fear that Huang Jiahui had to deal with every day, which had made her more sensitive and alert, she would have taken more time to get out of bed. Now though, she had jumped up instantly when she’d heard something.
Wang Shishi had already started putting on her clothes in a hurry as well.
When the two of them came out, Luo Yuan had already finished washing his face and rinsing his mouth.
“Luckily we already moved all the supplies back into the car yesterday evening, or we’d be too late,” Luo Yuan said gladly.
“How did you know that the army is leaving?” Huang Jiahui asked doubtfully. She had taken a bottle of mineral water from the living room and she looked like she was about to brush her teeth.
“Don’t brush your teeth now, do it on the road. It’s 5.40 a.m. and we have 50 minutes left only. I got the news from my ex-colleague, so it’s from a reliable source. Doesn’t your husband work in some kind of government department? How come he didn’t tell you?”
“Don’t mention him again. We’ve already been separated for a long time. Besides, my phone is dead. Even he wanted to contact me, he wouldn’t be able to reach me,” Huang Jiahui said, clearly annoyed. Then she turned towards the bathroom and packed her personal belongings inside a plastic bag.
When they had finished packing, they walked down the staircase in a hurry and jumped into the Santana 2000, whose passenger door had been broken.
It was already January and it was considered winter season. Although the temperature was abnormal, the winter’s short day and long night remained the same. It was about 6 a.m. and the sky was still dark.
Luo Yuan wanted to switch on the front lights, but he discovered that the lights of the old car had already been broken.
“F*ck! Stupid f*cking car!”
“We’re lucky that we even have a car!” Huang Jiahui said unhappily as she was the one who had picked up the car.
Wisely, Luo Yuan did not pick a fight with her. He started the car in the dark, stepped on the accelerator and drove towards the highway trying to see under the dim light of the wee hours.
After two days of bombing, the road surface was full of stones and pebbles of various sizes; it had even cracked open in places. When they had passed by yesterday on their way there, he had driven rather slowly so they hadn’t noticed a thing. However, when he accelerated now, the whole car started to bump along the road.
Huang Jiahui’s face had turned pale. She looked as scared as she would be riding a roller coaster. Plus, she was sitting on the passenger seat, and the door had been chopped off on that side while she was stealing the car. She did not know whether she had chopped it down to save them the trouble or just to vent her anger. She also had to take care of Wang Shishi, so she almost got thrown out when the car started bumping vigorously.
After a while, she could no longer bear it and shouted, “Wait! I can’t stand it anymore. Let me drive!”
“Can you see the road clearly?” Luo Yuan asked as he stepped on the brakes. His eyesight was quite good and had gotten even better after his body’s inner qualities had been upgraded. He did not possess the night vision ability yet, but it was already early in the morning and the sun had started to rise, so he could roughly make out the road. If he didn’t, the ride would have been even bumpier.
Huang Jiahui rubbed her aching butt while she limped over to the driver’s seat, glowering. “If I didn’t have good eyesight, would I have been able to place third in a shooting competition? Open the door and I’ll let you enjoy the ride too!”
Luo Yuan felt reluctant as he had not driven much after getting his driver’s license. He looked at Wang Shishi and said, “Where shall Wang Shishi sit? She’s a little girl and she can’t just sit on my lap, can she?”
She was speechless for a moment. She had not thought of this. She looked at the slight shyness on Wang Shishi’s face and thought of the handprint left on her chest yesterday. “Oh, now you act like a gentleman! Don’t you think I don’t know what happened! Get out of the car!”
Luo Yuan had no choice but to obey.
They changed seats, and Wang Shishi blushed as she sat down on Luo Yuan’s lap.
Huang Jiahui restarted the engine. She drove like she wanted to vent her anger. She drove more crazily than Luo Yuan had, like she was driving a cross country vehicle instead of a Santana 2000.
Huang Jiahui peeped at Luo Yuan blissfully, but she was disappointed to see him sitting still. In fact, he was sitting so still that he looked like his body had been glued to the seat. As the car continued bumping, she was amazed and disappointed at the same time. She did not notice Wang Shishi’s face blushing a deep red color.
The number of cars was increasing, and many were driving towards the same direction as them. As they got nearer to the highway entrance, there were even more cars. They had to stop for a few minutes after a short while of driving.
Soon, the old car finally stopped for good at a location about 1 km away from the highway entrance.
There were countless cars there, blocking all six lanes. They were mostly luxurious cars that made the old Santana 2000 stand out even more among them.
The Mercedes-Benz 600 next to them lowered its window and a fat guy put his head out. “Hey bro, your car is such an antique!”
Luo Yuan laughed, “As long as it still runs. Anyway, who gave you the notice?”
“The municipal office. They didn’t tell you?” the fat guy asked in surprise.
“If my friend hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t be here!”
That was to be expected. Luo Yuan was not angry or disappointed. He had long gotten used to mankind’s pyramid system.
“You’re lucky then. I heard that those people from the municipal office are leaving too. Donghu City will be completely abandoned. The country cannot afford to rebuild it, so they can only move us to other places. Our group has it quite good, we’re protected by army troops. The rest will be evacuated in groups too, but they won’t receive much protection from the army.”
Huang Jiahui was not happy with what she was hearing. “Rich men always have it good. We’re only now sharing some of their advantages.”
The fat guy did not seem to mind what she had said, but his smile became slightly bitter. “I’m so poor, all I’ve got left is money. I no longer have my company, my house, my wife or my kids. All I have is a bankbook with money that’s been devalued more than ten times. If my mindset was not good, I would have already committed suicide.”
It was not easy for anyone to survive during such a hard period. Luo Yuan sighed and switched the topic, “I see that there are many luxurious buses up front. Who are they transferring?”
The fat guy pursed his lips and teased, “University professors, professional technicians, researchers in the research institutes, and of course some civil servants. Their lives are more valuable than ours, and thus they are top priority. Donghu City has more light and service industry than heavy industry. Maybe you aren’t aware of it, but the provinces with heavy industry have already started to work on the war economy. The life of a professional technician is more important than the lives of a thousand university students.”
Apparently the fat guy was well-informed. Just as Luo Yuan was about to inquire for more information, he felt his phone vibrate. He took it out and saw that it was Wang Xiaguang.
He picked it up.
“Luo Yuan, are you here?” Wang Xiaguang asked, sounding worried.
“Yes, I’m in the back!”
“Then please come faster, we are leaving soon.”
Luo Yuan hesitated for a while before he answered, “I don’t think I will. I’m here with my friends and we’re driving.”
After a while, Luo Yuan thought he heard Wang Xiaguang take a deep breath. “Well, then… good luck. I’ll see you there. I have to go now!”
Before Luo Yuan was able to say anything, Wang Xiaguang had already hung up the phone.
Luo Yuan stared at it and saw that he had a few unread messages and two missed calls. He opened all the messages.
“Have you departed?”
“If you haven’t already, you will not make it. Where are you? I’ll get my dad to come pick you up!”
He had just remembered that he had not replied to her message earlier, neither had he felt the vibration of his phone when she had called him.
He wanted to explain but after a long hesitation, he decided to explain it all later when they met again face-to-face.