“93 Jiangbei Road, my old company was near there!” The woman continued.
“I think it is there too. It used to be open for quite a while last time, I recall visiting it once,” A man spoke.
“It’s not far from here. Walk along the front road towards the east until you reach the northern intersection, that’s where Jiangbei Road is. It’s only a few kilometers away, let’s leave now!” A plump man said with conviction.
Yet no one bothered, everyone was looking at Luo Yuan. The man notably felt awkward from being ignored.
Perhaps that man may have been a manager or a boss before but during times like this, nobody cared how rich and influential he used to be.
While Luo Yuan had not shown any extraordinary powers along the way, he had been exceptionally calm throughout the half an hour run, pulling the two girls along with him without showing any panic even when the mutated beasts lurked nearby.
He could feel everyone staring at him. Luo Yuan, after keeping silent for some time, spoke. “Since the dugout is nearby, we should go there. We should leave after a ten minute break!”
Everyone sat down quietly. The plump man who had spoken out earlier sat down next to Wang Shishi, with a happy smile, “I’m Huo Dong, how do I address you, brother?”
Wang Shishi moved herself closer to Luo Yuan with despise towards that man.
Luo Yuan tapped her hand lightly, turned to him and said. “Call me Luo Yuan!”
Huo Dong then continued, “What a fine young man you are, Brother Luo! If it were the ancient times you would have definitely been a valiant warrior. You will definitely become someone great some day!” He then looked at Wang Shishi and praised, “Even your younger sister is such a beauty, and her future husband would be a lucky man!”
Wang Shishi’s face flushed, stealing a peek at Luo Yuan as she responded with a smile, “I’m not his younger sister.”
It would be an endless conversation once you reply to these kinds of people; words of flattery and sweet-talk were second nature to them. Huo Dong indeed continued with his conversation, “Excuse my poor eyesight. Then you must be his missus. Only Brother Luo could match such a missus’ beauty. This beauty must also be your missus too. Brother Luo, you are so lucky!”
Luo Yuan looked at him with a smile until the man was left laughing.
“Sigh, I can’t be as calm and collected as you Brother Luo. Laugh at me all you want but I’ll tremble uncontrollably if I don’t divert my attention by talking.” Huo Dong lifted his head and sniffled before saying hopelessly, “I’m afraid that I won’t live to see the sun tomorrow, even if I were to survive tonight. I might die in the next second. Even if we managed to reach the dugout, it’s not going to be safe for long now that the military is gone and Hedong City is infested with mutated beasts. Besides having no food, we might not even find clean water. We will only end up starving to death if we can’t find weapons to kill the mutated beasts.”
His raspy voice echoed in the basement parking, oppressing the atmosphere as some people began to sob quietly.
“The military was retreating in a hurry, there must be some weapons left behind in the battlefield!” Someone suggested.
“Sure, there might be plenty of weapons there but who would dare to go near such a dangerous place? Even if we did manage to get our hands on them, how many people would we have sacrificed?” Huo Dong retorted.
“Why ignore what is nearby? The military factory is in the industrial area. There should be loads of firearms and even cannons there. The People’s Armed Forces are also located nearby. It’s full of outdated weapons which were not up to military standard. There must be tons of those left there now.”
The team departed that night.
The street was now empty, it’s surface stained with blood. A slender leg probably from a young woman could be seen lying on the road, twitching from time to time though its owner was nowhere to be found.
The pungent copper stench of blood in the air irritated everyone’s nose; some of them had to stop to vomit.
Luo Yuan face had turned slightly pale; he was feeling nauseous despite being used to scenes like this.
A few minutes later, Luo Yuan halted. Something large was lying by the roadside several hundred meters in front of him. From its figure, it was a centipede of about 5 – 6 meters long with a yellowish gold crust. Its legs were glittering under the moonlight, lining on the sides of its body. It rested quietly with a bulging stomach; something seemed to still be squirming underneath it.
This was a bloated mutated beast. Other than the humans that it could find in the city, there was nothing else it could feast on.
Thinking of what could have been inside that bloated body; Luo Yuan held a tight grip on his machete and increased his speed.
“Be careful! There is a beast in front of us, run!” Luo Yuan could see much better than normal people. Plus, it was night time, so the group could only see the large creature resting ahead after moving another 40 – 50 meters forward.
All hell broke loose as everyone began to scramble for their lives. Death awaited those who would end up face to face with a mutated beast without any weapons. Only Luo Yuan and a few others stayed put.
Luo Yuan was not surprised. Other than depending on his luck and ability to run faster than everyone else, normal people had nothing they could use to face the beasts.
The centipede raised its snake like head as it sensed movements nearby. Colorful spots marked its red head as they sparkled in the dark. The shimmery colors had only meant that this creature was incredibly venomous.
It glanced around, ready to act, but continued to lie down again when it could not sense any danger. It did not even catch a glimpse of Luo Yuan who was nearby.
Luo Yuan, who had intended to kill it while it was bloated, hesitantly paused.
It would be dangerous and stupid to determine a mutated beast’s strength by its level. This beast that was exuding a light blue level aura but clearly could not fit into the usual description of a light blue level beast!
“Bro…Brother Luo, should we find another way around?” Wang Shishi stuttered as she took in the sight of such a large beast.
Luo Yuan’s eyes shined as he heard Wang Shishi’s voice. Venom was a threat to him but not to Wang Shishi who could multitask and had telekinesis. This beast was a great fit to train her. He thought about it and told Wang Shishi, “This beast is yours.”
Wang Shishi’s eyes widened as she pointed to herself, “Me?”
“This is only a second level mutated beast. You are evolved and even have telekinesis. Don’t tell me you can’t even handle this?” Luo Yuan tried to provoke her.
“B…But, I…” Wang Shishi was flattered by the compliment but was still discouraged by the sheer size of the beast in front of them.
“No buts… this is actually much simpler than you think. You only need to shoot the shuttle into its head and twirl it around inside. I’ll be on the lookout from the side. I won’t let you be harmed.” Luo Yuan cut in coldly as he saw that Wang Shishi was still uncertain.
“I’m scared, I can’t do this, I…I’ll be eaten.” She replied.
“Luo Yuan, don’t force her. Shishi is still young.” Huang Jiahui said, as she felt pity towards the terrified Wang Shishi.
“Shut up! The beast won’t decide not to eat her just because she is still young. I don’t plan to take care of a burden. If you can’t even do this, don’t follow me anymore,” Luo Yuan said coldly. This is a cruel world lurking with danger. Any strong powers would be useless with a weak mind; survival would be impossible in such a hellish world where danger lurked. He could only force change unto Wang Shishi since she had refused to change!
Wang Shishi shuddered, her heart felt as if it was broken into pieces. She looked at Luo Yuan in disbelief, unable to accept the fact that he had just said such words.
Huang Jiahui looked at Luo Yuan anxiously but he kept a straight face without even looking back at her. After being together for so long, she knew how he was, usually gentle and friendly but he would never budge after he had made his decision.
Since Huang Jiahui could not persuade Luo Yuan, she could only help comfort Wang Shishi, “Shishi, don’t be afraid. Your Brother Luo only wants to build up your courage, he won’t harm you.”
Wang Shishi lowered her head in dismay, thinking about how she had tried to be brave and shielded a person from poisonous mist just yesterday… yet now was treated this way. The more she thought about it, the more wronged she felt, tears then followed and poured heavily out of her eyes.
She lifted her head and said in tears, “Fine, I’ll go. Nobody cares if I die anyway. I’ll just go and get myself killed.”
She said defiantly while biting her lips as she moved forward step by step. Her eyes kept stealing glances at Luo Yuan.
She was utterly disappointed to see Luo Yuan unmoved, tears were still rolling down her cheeks. After a while, she wiped them away and took a white-jade colored two-ended shuttle out of her pocket.
Luo Yuan’s gaze followed her closely, wanting to call her back several times now but he held it in. This was a necessary first step for her survival in this wretched world. Maybe he could still protect her now but not forever.
Because even he himself felt bleak thinking about the future, like a small boat flowing along the currents of the ocean, always worrying if it would capsize from a sudden wave. The helplessness was always with him; struggle was adamant if one wanted to survive.
“If you can’t even protect yourself, who else would protect you? Shishi, you must always depend on yourself instead of someone else!” he said.