“My teeth are going to break into pieces!” Lin Feiyan said unsatisfyingly while she bit the hardtack and chewed on it with her white teeth.
She has not had a good time since the Firearms Bureau began working with Luo Yuan. Most of her time was spent in the Reconstruction Area in search of survivors. Although she had a unique evolved ability which kept her warm, she still suffered from the bad food and accommodation.
That was not the worst part of it. If she could find even one survivor, at least her hard work would have paid off meaningfully. However, the entire Firearms Bureau had not found anything for months, not even a single corpse.
“Let me boil some water first.” Wu Qianru said. She was sitting next to her and tried to persuade her while she put down her backpack and unzipped it to take out the burner, a small portable pot, and a wooden water storage tank. She knew that the water inside the tank had been frozen even though she had not opened it.
“So troublesome! It’s easier to just eat it like this.” Lin Feiyan whispered as the sound of ice being crushed was coming out from her mouth. This would certainly have irritated the people that were listening to it. Furthermore, if she was not an evolved human, she might not have been able to chew through hardtack at all.
Wu Qianru had stopped persuading her. Unlike Lin Feiyan, she was afraid of the cold and even if she had good teeth, her stomach would not be able to withstand the coldness of the ice.
She took out a clean piece of cloth and a hammer from her backpack. She put the cotton cloth on the surface of the frozen ground and gently hit the edge of the tank. Soon enough, the ice came out off the tank and fell onto the cloth. She then used the cloth to wrap the ice before hitting it with her hammer.
A few minutes later, she opened the cloth and saw that the ice inside had broken into pieces. She picked out a few pieces, threw it into the pot and stored the rest back into the tank before she lit up the burner and began to heat up the ice.
The flame quietly licked the bottom of the pot and in a short amount of time, the water was boiling. She took out two cups but only poured the water into one of the cups and said, “Here you go!”
Lin Feiyan bluntly took the cup and finished it in one mouthful as though the cup of boiled water had actually been warm water. She released a sigh of relief and after a while, she asked Wu Qianru, “How far more to go?”
“About 10 kilometers.” Wu Qianru said casually while pouring herself a cup of hot water which she would then soak the hardtack in.
“We will return to rest for a while after searching the city in front of us!” Lin Feiyan sighed and said. This time, she had experienced a lot of challenges and had become more mature as compared to the past. She continued, “In fact, we have been out here for a week and our supplies are almost used up. It’s time to head back.”
“Oh great! We can finally rest for a couple of days.” Wu Qianru said happily.
She could not have imagined how it would have been like living in the wilderness if she had not personally experienced it herself. She trekked in the snow during the day and shivered inside her sleeping bag during the night. Besides that, there was no source of clean water and every time before sleeping, she needed to use the purifier she was carrying with her to filter the snow to meet the water demands for the next day. The worse thing was that the purified water would freeze quickly in the cold weather and every morning she needed to melt the ice before brushing her teeth. And, that was what happened on the days with good weather. Snowstorms were common and sometimes there would even be hailstorms.
It was during one midnight of last month while they were asleep when they experienced their first hailstorm. Plenty of football sized hail fell from the sky without any warning and hit their sleeping bags. Although they were evolved humans, they felt like a drowning mouse in that situation. Furthermore, they had been camping on a flat ice ground and there was not even a single hiding place for them. They could only use their hands to support the tent and endure the experience throughout the rest of the night.
They rested for half an hour during lunchtime before they departed for the city again. Soon, they had arrived at their destination.
“This is probably the compound of Endeavour City.” Lin Feiyan said after she took a glance at the latitude-longitude grid and observed the surrounding area.
There was no sign of any human activities. It was just snow falling down from the sky.
“There should be no one alive here!” Wu Qianru sighed and said. She did not hold any hope as the recent situation was worsening and now everything could only be left to God.
“Anyway, try checking the surroundings first,” Lin Feiyan replied.
The ground had been covered with thick snow and they were lacking in strength to conduct a meticulous search. Luo Yuan, a human nuclear weapon, could have easily broken through the frozen ground, but despite him being not around, there was still a way to do it.
The easiest way to determine whether there were any survivors was to look for any possible vents since the vents would not be sealed if there were still survivors alive in the city. It was impossible to survive for three months with sealed vents.
They took out the topographic device from their backpack and began to work. This device had a wide range of applications which was very important to civil engineering and many other fields. It was an indispensable instrument; hence, Hope City kept a few of it.
Time had passed and they could not find anything even until nightfall.
Lin Feiyan’s patience had run out and she was ready to inform Wu Qianru to end the mission. Suddenly, she heard Wu Qianru shout, “Captain, please come over here, there…there is a corpse.”
Lin Feiyan was startled as she heard that and quickly rushed over. The surface of the ice had thickened by tens of meters and gradually got thicker by one meter on average each day. The snow was not transparent as one-third of it was made up of dust which made it look dark and dirty. The naked eye would usually not have noticed that there was a corpse underneath.
Apparently, the person had died just a while ago… approximately somewhere between one to two days.
The corpse would have been buried deep underground if it had been there for a long time and the existence of this corpse showed that there might be a great possibility that there were other survivors nearby.
“Where?” asked Lin Feiyan as she quickly ran over there.
“Look! Over there!” said Wu Qianru. She looked tensed and pointed at the arm that was exposed on the surface of the snow about five or six meters away.
There was a small and naked body buried inside that protruded through the filthy snow.
Lin Feiyan looked along the direction with a slight change in expression. She could not blame Wu Qianru as the arm did look strange and odd and later discovered that the arm from the corpse did not show any signs that it was frozen. The skin looked rosy with a trace of pink and they could not have imagined that he or she had been buried inside the ice ground. There was even a high chance that he/she might still be alive.
Now, the temperature of the earth was close to -70 degrees Celsius, which was almost like the nightly temperature at the two poles. Without wearing any clothes, she could still absorb the elements to evolve, however, the remaining members of the Firearms Bureau might not have been able to survive under this terrible temperature.
The arm and the body size under the ice obviously looked like it belonged to a five or six-year-old kid.
“Captain, what should we do?” Wu Qianru asked.
It was so strange that even Wu Qianru who is a super evolved human was bewildered.
“Let’s check it out first, perhaps he/she is still alive!” Lin Feiyan also felt nervous but as a captain, she was calmer than Wu Qianru. Besides, it was a shameful act for a captain to retreat from a fight in front of their crew.
However, when she quietly took a deep breath and was ready to go over, she saw that the exposed arm from the icy ground was moving and the small hand gently grabbed some ice.
The scene had shocked her and before she was able to calm herself, she saw that the ice that buried the body suddenly splintered with a cracking sound. The kid sat up from the ice and revealed his/her bare back as countless pieces of ice came crashing down.
Looking at her flexible movements, the ice that had pressed on her did not seem to be as hard as steel but rather more like a layer of crisp skin. She showed her back to them and yawned as if she was still feeling sleepy. She sat there staring blankly and then stood up.
Lin Feiyan and Wu Qianru glanced at each other and felt nervous. They had never seen a child with special abilities and the gestures made by the child earlier had struck a deep fear within them. The hardness of the icy ground, which was below -70 degrees Celsius, was almost similar to that of steel and even the two of them could not have easily broken the ice like that child.
They silently retreated a few steps, however, the unknown child seemed to have heard their footsteps and suddenly turned around. She was a beautiful little girl who was naked. Upon closer observation, they noticed that the crushed ice on her body slowly melted.
She was surprised when she saw the both of them and said,
“Ah, I finally see humans!”
Lin Feiyan and Wu Qianru were glancing at each other and felt slightly relieved that at least she was someone that they could communicate with.
Wu Qianru asked cautiously, “Little…girl, why are you lying down here?”
“Hi, Aunty. I was sleeping!”
This little girl had clear enunciation when she spoke and was very polite. However, the answer that came from her mouth had shocked the both of them.
“Where did you come from?” Wu Qianru thought and asked. Perhaps they could find out if there were other survivors.
“New Capital City’s genetic laboratory. But, everyone there is gone. My sisters, brothers and also our aunts that took care of us are all gone. I was looking for them.” The little girl said with an innocent look.
They felt even more uncomfortable the more they listened to this girl. Not to mention that she came from the laboratory, or that her sisters and brothers had come from there too. New Capital City was the main area that had been attacked by the Glassians as one of the nuclear antimatter smart orbital ballistic missiles had been dropped directly on them which made the entire city a huge pit.