Why aren’t there any mattresses in these tents? Then again, the weather has been quite hot recently – some nights the temperature can get to as high as twenty degrees. We probably would not feel cold without blankets anyway. Hmm and the flooring of the tent…it’s spongy…and it feels quite soft! How lucky.
“Hey, they’re both the same. Which tent would you prefer?” he turned and asked Wang Shishi.
“Umm…I’m scared to sleep alone tonight…Do you mind if I slept in the same tent together with the two of you?” Wang Shishi was still traumatized from what had happened recently.
Luo Yuan and Huang Jiahui looked at each other and came to an agreement. “Sure.”
It was a night filled with too much gore for a young lady that even Huang Jiahui would have had nightmares. What more could they expect from an inexperienced girl like Wang Shishi? If they left her to sleep alone, the accumulated stress would most likely have broken her.
The trio walked together into the tent and Luo Yuan zipped the entrance closed.
Huang Jiahui made sure to check that her pistol was close to her before she lied down to sleep. She assumed that Wang Shishi would be sleeping next to her and decided to leave some space but she was wrong – Wang Shishi was in fact sleeping on the other side, cuddling very closely to Luo Yuan. She felt a little frustrated but decided to let it go as she could see Wang Shishi was trembling helplessly. As long as we’re all safe and alive, she thought.
“Brother Luo, would those baddies attempt to kill us in our sleep?” Wang Shishi whispered into Luo Yuan’s ear as she was struggling to fall asleep.
“Well, if they had any common sense, they would certainly avoid coming to us. Besides, they also need to sleep. You can sleep safe and sound tonight.” He replied.
“You…deliberately killed that man, didn’t you?” Huang Jiahui questioned Luo Yuan hesitantly. Wang Shishi’s eyes began to widen after hearing that question.
He kept silent for a moment before replying, “When you were a cop, were you ever afraid when confronting a criminal?”
“Of course not!” Huang Jiahui replied instantly.
“The reason was because you always had a gun with you; it helps amplify your courage and strength which indirectly makes you feel more authoritative and overpowering.
Those men had more than one gun and from the looks of it none of them were good men. Even if I didn’t want to, I had to kill that man as a warning just in case any of them dared to challenge us.”
“That’s a person’s life! You should have just punished him instead of kill him.”
“Did you even think about what would have happened, if they deemed us weaker than them?”
“Well…perhaps you could have just cut off one of his limbs instead…” she abruptly stopped mid-sentence, surprised by what she had just said.
“Haha! That would have been worse than death. In our current situation, it would have been better if he died than lived and endure being tortured.” He replied.
Wang Shishi could not stand it any longer, “Sister Huang, please STOP going against Brother Luo! He was just trying to keep us safe! If it weren’t for him, we would both be DEAD by now!”
Huang Jiahui was taken aback by the accusation, “Oh? Why don’t you help our dear Brother Luo then? Weren’t you upset with him just now, and said you hated him?”
“Well…I WAS angry and depressed when I said that! But I am well aware that he means well.”
“Oh, stop being such a kiss – ass!”
“I’M NOT KISSING HIS ASS. I know that Brother Luo IS a nice person okay!”
Luo Yuan felt elated listening to the two ladies bickering away, even though he was really tired and could feel his eyelids gradually grow heavier. He had gone out the whole day without getting any rest; he wasn’t only physically tired but mentally exhausted as well. As he began to relax, the exhaustion through his body erupted like a volcano.
He began to snore and slowly their voices became softer and softer.
“Brother Luo, have you fallen asleep already?”
“He must have been completely worn out. He was out the whole day, although we have no idea what he was doing… it must have been taxing. We should let him rest.” Huang Jiahui whispered quietly. She felt much safer seeing that even in his sleep, he held on to the hilt of his sabre tightly.
She may have sounded harsh earlier but she knew deep inside that Wang Shishi was right- without him, they wouldn’t have made it this far.
Inside the other path which was down through the tunnel is the living quarters of Su Jianhao. The location was roughly separated by loose planks – there you could find a couch, coffee table and ten men huddling around the quarters. It was filled with can drinks, chips, alcohol, and cigarette butts all over the floor. The air was densely polluted with smoke, which made it difficult to even open one’s eyes.
Su Jianhao was sitting on the couch; he felt gloomy and couldn’t bring himself to stop smoking. He had been subconsciously reaching for his throat several times, unable to forget the blade that had sent chills down his spine.
“Brother Hao… Please! Let me send a few men to get rid of those arrogant bastards.” One of his curly-haired adolescent men stood up and spoke in outrage.
“Don’t be reckless, Xiao Hu. Sit down and just do as Brother Hao says.” A brutal- looking middle-aged man replied, he then turns to Su Jianhao, “Brother Hao. We can’t just sit here and do nothing! PLEASE SAY SOMETHING!”
Su Jianhao took a deep huff of the cigarette and threw the butt to the ground as he raised his head. Only ten minutes of work had passed but he looked as if he hadn’t been sleeping for nights. He finally spoke, “Y’all been following me for almost seven to eight years now… even the shortest would be about four to five. Y’all should know well what kind of man I am. I am as angered by Guo Zi’s death as much as the rest of you and maybe even more outraged than you can imagine. He had died…because of me. I want to slice that bastard into pieces but anger won’t solve the problem. He outwits every single one of us. We can’t take the risk, at least not yet. That prick is an evolved man. He has accelerated speed and I’m afraid our guns will do us no good against him. Don’t forget that he has become aware of us now.”
“Evolved man?!” his men gasped.
Most of the men who are evolved are part of the military program, but there are a few that roam among the commoners. They keep a low-profile due to various circumstances. Should any of you pass by an evolved man, you would not be aware of their presence. That is why the evolved men are seen as an urban legend in the eyes of the commoners – it is more likely to hear about them than to ever get the chance to encounter any of them.
“That little prick is a ruthless man – he won’t hesitate to take a life or two. Y’all best not do anything stupid to provoke him, y’all got to be smart. BE NICE, treat him like royalty, give him anything he wants, and send him a few of our best women. We need to gain a bit of his trust before we plan to ambush him. HUANG! You’re a detailed man. We’ll leave the ass-kissery to you.
“Roger that, Brother Hao. I know exactly what to do.” The middle-aged man replied.
His men all sighed in relief after having heard what their leader had in mind. Luo Yuan has left a deep wound in their impressions – cold, cruel and unmerciful. They felt safer not having to go against the “devil”… at least not yet.
Suddenly, the door broke open. The men were all taken aback; some of them quickly armed themselves with their weapons. It was the wife of their boss, so they calmed down.
“WHY ARE YOU GENTLEMEN STILL AWAKE?! It’s almost two in the morning! SU JIANHAO! Our child is sick with high fever and you’re not doing anything about it! AND STOP SMOKING THAT PIECE OF SHIT, YOU’RE BOUND TO GET LUNG CANCER. DISMISS YOUR BLOODY ASSEMBLY NOW!”
“Yes, ma’am!” all the men obeyed.
Su Jianhao stood up and waved his right hand, “You heard the lady, go and get some sleep! Huang, I trust you know what to do tomorrow.”
The middle-aged man nodded in response as the men quickly scattered back to their own quarters.