At 6.30 a.m., the vehicles started to move slowly.
There were a few hundreds of armored vehicles in front, followed by the troop-carrying vehicles. There were also about a hundred buses and about ten military helicopters circling around at low altitude. Luo Yuan and everybody else who owned a private car were the last in line, trailing behind them all.
Luo Yuan got behind the steering wheel before they departed again, pushing Wang Shishi back into Huang Jiahui’s lap.
The body of the little girl had just started to develop, yet she was not innocent by any means. It was embarrassing for her to sit on his lap when some unwanted incident might occur at any moment. When he thought about their previous embarrassing moment, his head started to ache. He did not know what the little girl had thought.
The traffic was so long that it extended for a few kilometers, like a long worm crawling slowly on the road.
As they entered the highway, their speed gradually increased.
After about thirty minutes of driving, they had finally driven out of Donghu City and their surroundings gradually became more rural.
They did not know when it had started, but the whole highway seemed to have been reconstructed, and an approximately 50m wide concrete isolation belt had been built. The other side of the isolation belt looked like a separate world, one covered by greenery.
Luo Yuan looked at both sides while he drove, his heart filling with fear. Those plants were no longer mere weeds like they used to be in the old days. They had formed a whole jungle. While they drove through it, people felt like they were driving into a deep dark forest.
If Luo Yuan had not seen for himself, he would have thought that he was dreaming.
These plants seemed to have grown too fast.
It all seemed very dangerous as the isolation belt looked rough and dried blood stains could be seen everywhere. Luo Yuan even saw an animal corpse, which looked like a thin sheet of paper after being crushed repeatedly by the cars on the highway.
All that aside though, one could still sense the hidden danger by the steel concrete defenses and the rapid firing guns and heavy machine guns perched on top of them every kilometer.
Huang Jiahui looked at both sides and said worriedly, “What were those top rank officials thinking? Why are they letting the forest grow instead of burning it? Those green beetles might have come from this area!”
Luo Yuan smiled bitterly. “If they could, they would have already burned it. I think that they are no longer able to!”
“Why? Didn’t they burn it a few times over last time?” Huang Jiahui asked doubtfully.
“Yeah, but that was last time, when the situation was still under control. Large amounts of oil were being imported from the biggest producers in the world. But now international trading has stopped, and relying on only the few oil fields left in our country has already proved insufficient. What else they could use to burn these plants when they grow so fast?”
Huang Jiahui could not accept the truth. “Then we can no longer do anything to these plants?” she said absently.
“If we don’t have oil, we can use gas to burn them!” Wang Shishi could not help but interrupt.
This lame joke was so good that it had both Luo Yuan and Huang Jiahui laughing. That dissipated their depression for a while.
Wang Shishi was confused. When Huang Jiahui explained, she blushed.
“Of course there are some other methods, too. We could use alcohol if we don’t have oil. The best raw material for producing alcohol is these plants, which are now in abundance. If we produce a large enough amount of alcohol, we could replace oil by the end of the day. But it all depends on what the government is planning on doing.”
The cars in front suddenly stopped.
Luo Yuan used the emergency brake. At first, he had thought nothing of it. Accidents were common when it came to such big groups of cars. He thought that they would soon be moving again, but then he noticed a commotion up front, followed by the familiar sound of leather being torn off.
He twisted his body out of the car and saw a military helicopter rolling sideways and dropping from the sky. A few seconds later, it slumped down on the isolation belt and exploded, producing a strong flame.
More than ten rapid firing guns were firing all at once, forming a long red-colored line. Their target was hundreds of mutated big black birds which had appeared in the sky. Some of them were shot down. Black feathers fell from the sky like rain, one of them landing on their car.
Luo Yuan was speechless for a while before he finally grabbed his Zhanmadao and got out of the car. As he did, he yelled, “Everybody get out of the car now!”
It was not safe to hide inside a car. It limited one’s movement and when danger finally came, they were not able to do anything to avoid it.
Luo Yuan picked up the feather. It was about a meter in length, its surface was smooth and soft, and it was so light that he felt like he wasn’t holding anything in his hand.
“Black owl tail feather”
“Evaluation: This is the feather of a black owl. It’s tough and light, and has some weak
As Luo Yuan looked at the feather, he became even more stressed.
He had been staying in the city, so he did not know how much the organisms outside it had evolved. He’d thought that blue level organisms would be very rare, but he had not expected to come across so many of them in only a few days.
It made total sense, though. After all, the city was human territory and mutated animals would be killed on sight. That’s why it was rare to come across a light blue level organism, let alone a blue level one. The probability was even lower than winning the lottery.
That’s when he noticed the part about the wind properties.
If he remembered correctly, it was his second time seeing a description like that. The first one had been that old yellow dog at Zhao Yali’s house, which had seemed to have fire properties. This time it was wind properties.
He raised his eyebrows slightly. Mutated animals with elemental properties were very rare. He had only come across two of them. Other organisms, such as the guard rank green beetle or the king ratsnake, which had made an unforgettable impression on him, had had no elemental properties whatsoever.
Could it be that these were the two types of mutated organisms?
Huang Jiahui got out of the car. She took a look at the sky and asked in alarm, “Will we be alright? Shall I take out the rifle?”
After some thought, Luo Yuan said, “No, it’s alright. The rifle will not be effective on this type of animal. Besides, the army is up front. If they knew that we have rifle, who knows what would happen.”
“How do you know it won’t be effective?”
Huang Jiahui was looking at him doubtfully, so he passed her the feather before he went on, “This is the feather of a mutated bird. It has strong flexibility, so if lots of them are stacked together, bullets will not penetrate them no matter how close the distance. You will only piss the bird off.”
People had started to open their car doors and look at the sky nervously. They were scared that the birds would attack them.
But they needn’t have worried. The black owls were distracted by the rapid firing guns and the military helicopters. They couldn’t care less about the crowd watching from the ground.
One by one, the owls were being shot down. After a few minutes, the remaining owls finally started to get scared. They gave a few shrill screams, fluttered their wings and flew away quickly from the area.
Luo Yuan had managed to collect five feathers before he got back into the driver’s seat.
“Why are you collecting the feathers?” Huang Jiahui asked.
“Who knows, maybe I can get some money for them,” he said with a vague smile. Actually he was thinking of using them to perform the fusion technique. Though he had not thought what he would fuse yet, a feather with wind properties had to be a rare material. It would be a waste if he hadn’t collected some.
“This can can get you money?” Huang Jiahui said in disbelief.
“Who knows? Didn’t you see others collecting them too? Besides, if you sew them together, you can make a bullet-proof vest. Soon enough, lots of people will want to buy one.”
Immediately Huang Jiahui felt regretful. There had been lots of feathers falling at the time, so if she had wanted to, she would have definitely picked up a few. She did not think that they were worth any money, but she wanted to make a bullet-proof vest like the one Luo Yuan had mentioned. She had wanted one ever since she had found out that Luo Yuan was wearing that green bullet-proof vest he treasured so much. However, it was too late for her to collect any as most had already been collected by others.
The cars started to move again after a minute.
They were attacked a few more times along the way. It was not from the air though, and some of the attacks were averted easily before they could even reach the isolation belt. The few animals that managed to make their way to the highway were all killed by the army.
Looking at those suicide attacks, Luo Yuan didn’t think these animals were controlled by a powerful superior organism.
After about four and a half hours, they finally arrived at Hedong City.
The city, which used to be a leisure destination during its heyday, was now being heavily-guarded. Starting from the highway, the defense construction covered the whole of Hedong City, plus the rural villages nearby. Many vehicles were bustling and hustling at the construction site.
When the cars reached the Hedong City highway entrance, they were stopped. The army was allowed to continue, but the rest of the vehicles were blocked by armed policemen standing by the roadside.
“Welcome to Hedong City. I am Fangxiao, the Central Team Captain of the West District of the Hedong City Police Force. Now, everyone please get out of your cars to go through the necessary registration process and security check!” a policeman was shouting through a loudspeaker.
Luo Yuan’s face darkened as he and Huang Jiahui looked at each other. They had a rifle in their car and if the police checked, they would be caught red-handed.
But apparently, they were not the only ones in possession of contraband. In fact, there were plenty of other people, and soon enough some of them rushed forward.
“Who are you to have us register and go through a security check?” a car owner yelled angrily as he got out of his car.
“That’s right! If we lost something, where would we look for it?” another car owner shouted.
“All the officials are corrupted! The world had gone to sh*t!”
As many people had been doing the same illegal thing, it would not do any good to punish them all, despite the fact that this was the law. Besides, this group of people was not made up of regular citizens, but rich people who all had friends in the high ranks. As a result, they were much bolder.
“My dear brothers and sisters, please don’t misunderstand us. We will just carry out the standard x-ray security check to prevent the entrance of any contraband that may affect the stability of Hedong City. Weapons such as guns, bows and crossbows must be handed in!” Fangxiao said loudly. He was sweating all over his face. If anything went wrong, he was sure to lose his job.
As soon as he finished speaking, everyone started shouting in outrage. After experiencing the collapse of society and getting attacked by a large group of insects, they had completely lost all faith in the government. Therefore, weapons were the only thing they could rely on to protect themselves.
Several people lost their self-control and went so far as to take out their guns. It looked like the situation was about to get out of control.