Chapter 100: Courage

Huo Dong’s head was wrapped in a white towel and his neck was covered with a sleeve, like an Arab. He used his slightly shivering hands to tighten his pant legs with rope, jumped up and down, and then checked again.

He had never been this prudent in his life.

He touched his shirt and pants and when he felt the toughness and coarseness under his hands, he felt slightly calmer. These clothes had been strengthened by the superpower of boss Luo Yuan and had become invincible. They couldn’t be destroyed even if they were bitten by a first level mutated beast non-stop for half an hour.

He had not tested them yet though, and he wished that he would never get a chance to.

He took out the last pack of Yellow Crane Tower 19161. He wanted to ease his stress by smoking, but he realized that there were only five cigarettes left. He had given a few to Luo Yuan, but he had never given any to anyone else because he thought that no one else would be able to help him. In fact, he despised them all.

Before the apocalypse, he used to be the boss of an agency. Though he could not be compared to a millionaire, he still ranked higher than white collar employees.

He hesitated, but in the end he gave everyone one generously. After all, this was not the time to be stingy. The operation would be very dangerous. If anything were to happen to him, he might get help if he had a good relationship with everyone.

Dumbly, Cheng Xianfeng accepted the cigarette and smelled it greedily. He touched his pocket and slowly took out a lighter, lighting up the cigarette and sucking a mouthful of smoke. After a while, he blew the smoke out. He was intoxicated.

Huo Dong glimpsed at Chen Xianfeng, smiling awkwardly as he said, “We’re all facing the same danger now, so let’s help each other out.”

Sun Xiaowu said casually, “Of course! If anyone is in danger, we have to help them. If anyone dares run away, I won’t be forgiving them.”

“I agree. Even if we don’t mind, I don’t think our boss will let that pass,” Zhao Gang said at once.

As Huo Dong thought of Luo Yuan’s cold attitude that night, he shivered in fear and quickly dropped his selfish plan.

Cheng Xianfeng, on the other hand, was squatting on the ground, smoking quietly.

When they were done smoking, they took a spear made from a triangle-shaped iron they’d found on the shelfs and a gasoline sprinkling can, and walked out of the villa in silent agreement.

The grass did not just obstruct the view, but also nourished mutated beasts, which made it very dangerous for the people staying nearby. Luo Yuan and the others wanted to stay there, so they had to take care of this issue first. However, the park area in the district was too large and they could not clean it all, even if they used all the gasoline they had. Plus, if they did not clean and maintain the area on a daily basis, the grass would grow back quickly and cover everything.

Besides, as they did not have enough gasoline or human resources, Luo Yuan decided to clear just the grass surrounding the villa. Instead of doing it himself, he decided to let the newcomers do it.

They would not grow up if they didn’t experience any danger. Plus, he did not want to feed them for doing nothing. If they could not even face such a small danger, he would be thoroughly disappointed. Fortunately, they still had some courage left, or at least they were wise enough to agree without hesitation.

Luo Yuan wanted to let the women join the mission too, but he was stopped by Huang Jiahui, so he let them off.

Women were weak in nature. Some did not even dare kill a chicken. If he let them join, they would not be going to have an adventure, but to commit suicide. He didn’t have a choice but to give up his original plan.

On the second floor of the old villa, Luo Yuan was watching the group of them through the broken window.

The four of them appeared to be absurdly prudent. Each time the wind blew, they got frightened and their faces turned pale as a sheet. It was interesting to watch them at first, but soon Luo Yuan got bored.

“Soon we’ll be out of water,” Huang Jiahui, who was standing nearby, said abruptly.

“Why is it gone so fast?” Luo Yuan responded with surprise.

“Other than face washing, teeth brushing and food washing, for which we use the water left over from the water heater, we use mineral water for all the cooking. Plus, each of us consumes one bottle of mineral water a day. No matter how much we save, we still need about half a box of mineral water. We can only survive like this for a few days,” Huang Jiahui said worriedly.

“How many are there left?”

“About half is left in the box,” Huang Jiahui replied.

Looking outside, Luo Yuan said,“I’ll figure it out. I’ll go out later in the evening. Maybe I can get some mineral water from the deserted houses.”

Huang Jiahui hesitated for a while before she said, “What I wanted to say is, why we don’t leave here? After all, the water in the area has been polluted. Even if we can find some mineral water, we will finish it all soon enough. Plus, Hedong City has been abandoned completely. We will not get any support anymore. With so few inhabitants, the whole city will soon become a jungle. Are we going to spend our whole lives here?”

Luo Yuan was silent for some time. “Where do you think it’s safe for us to go then?”

“The Capital City!” Huang Jiahui spitted out the three words.

“That’s about 1,000 kilometers away from here!” Luo Yuan maintained his calm as he added, “We don’t know what dangers we might face along the way. Besides, do you think we can still use the highway? It will take us a few days to walk there, and we can’t be certain that we will be safe throughout the way!”

“But we won’t be safe for long here either!”

“At least we’re safe for now.” Luo Yuan suddenly paused. His argument was sound, but it did not conceal his weakness. He felt like those people who chose to stay in the bomb shelter and ignore the danger in Hedong City in favor of a temporary peace.

The sound of Wang Shishi shouting interrupted their argument.

“It’s burning! And there’re lots of mutated beasts! How many mutated beasts are actually hiding in the grassland?” Wang Shishi kept shouting, not noticing the pale faces of the other women.

Jing Meili was clenching both her hands tightly until her knuckles had turned white. As she saw numerous mutated beasts run in all directions, some of them rushing towards Zhao Gang, she trembled with fear. She closed her eyes and murmured to herself.

Luo Yuan had sharp senses, so he could hear her praying to Buddha.

“Sun Xiaowu has been bitten!” Ning Xiaran shouted, her eyes filled with fear.

Luo Yuan looked out the window and saw Sun Xiaowu lying on the ground while an insect the size of a dog bit his pant leg. Sun Xiaowu looked anxious. He was stabbing around madly with his spear, but he missed every time. His pants became wet as he peed himself.

The others hesitated for a while before they rushed to help him with their spears.

They were stabbing blindly, none of them managing to aim right. After all, they had never practiced how to use a spear before. They were also afraid of being stabbed by others, and so they dared not use much force while stabbing. As a result, after quite a long time, they still had not managed to kill the mutated insect. It was Cheng Xianfeng who used the spear like a stick to smash the insect and finally managed to save Sun Xiaowu.

Before they could feel relieved though, a burned mutated rat rushed towards them, jumping high and aiming with his teeth towards Zhao Gang’s throat.

Zhao Gang was shocked and instinctively used his hand to block it. The mutated rat ended up biting his arm and pushing down Zhao Gang, whose limbs had already gone numb. Zhao Gang cried and swished his arm around, but the mutated rat was too ferocious to give up.

“Zhao Gang got bitten too!” Ning Xiaoran shouted again.

“Are you doing a live show?” Luo Yuan stared at her. Ning Xiaoran was so afraid that she quickly shut her mouth.

Hearing that Zhao Gang had gotten injured, Jing Meili opened her eyes. When she saw Zhao Gang pinned to the ground by the mutated rat, she was so stupefied she almost fainted. When she recovered, she begged Luo Yuan, “Brother Luo, please, please go save Zhao Gang!”

Luo Yuan sighed and shook his head, “They can only save themselves. If they can’t even face such a small danger, it’s useless. They might live today, but they won’t survive for long.”

“Don’t worry, the mutated rats can’t bite through Zhao Gang’s clothes. He’ll be alright.” Huang Jiahui knew that Luo Yuan had synthesized the clothes. In fact, they were not normal clothes anymore, but body armor. It only looked like the man was in danger.

Jing Meili shook her head desperately, suddenly going down on her knees and kowtowing. Soon the floor was painted with her blood. “Brother Luo, I know that you are a good man. Please help him. We’ll repay you next time. We’ll do anything.”

Luo Yuan was moved. Just as he was about to agree, the situation outside changed.

Sun Xiaowu who had just been saved, was both embarrassed and angry by his actions. As he saw Zhao Gang get bitten, he flung himself forward and choked the mutated rat without hesitation.

Amid the slaughtering atmosphere, Huo Dong also forgot about his fear. He grabbed his spear and rushed over with a shout. His spear stabbed into the mutated rat’s stomach, the others’ spears following suit.

“Stand up, it’s alright. Zhao Gang has been saved,” Huang Jiahui said, walking up to Jing Meili to help her up.

Jing Meili raised her head excitedly. Her forehead was bloody and her face was covered in blood and tears. She looked outside doubtfully and saw that Zhao Gang had already stood up and the mutated rat had been thrown aside, its body full of holes.

She wiped her tears away. She was so excited that she was both crying and laughing at the same time.

As Luo Yuan watched the scene, he felt slightly touched.

After experienced this battle, which to Luo Yuan was a battle for kids, the temperament of these people seemed to change. Maybe it was the protective ability of their clothes or perhaps the fact that they had seen blood, but they became steadier when facing mutated beasts.

Each battle thereafter ended very quickly. Sometimes they did not even need each others’ help anymore.

Low-rank mutated beasts were not very strong, provided they were not some kind of weird mutated beast. With enough courage, a normal person without any training could kill them easily.

With their increased efficiency, it only took them half a day to clear the grass an 100 m2 area.

The amount of gasoline they used was also less than they’d expected. They only used about eight 25-liter tanks.

In fact, it was the windy conditions that assisted in spreading the fire to more than a 10-meter range.

At the end of the day, every one of them was injured, but most of them had only suffered minor injuries. Cheng Xianfeng had the most serious injury. Two fingers on his left hand had been bitten off, but although he was in agony, he kept silent. Zhao Gang had also gotten his arm bitten, but he was lucky enough to only get bruises. It was just his muscles that had been injured. He would only need to rest for a few days.

Their clothes were all synthesized using the bark of the locust tree, and they were coarse, hard, compact, and difficult to fold. They looked like a thin layer of armor when they put them on. As all the clothes were blue rank equipment, they were suitable for clumsy, normal people who had not had any training before. They would help them defend themselves if they got bitten.

Translator Notes
1 Yellow Crane Tower 1916, a famous cigarette brand in China

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