Luo Yuan was about to lose consciousness when his spirit was elevated, and he started slowly regaining his strength. His Will had increased as well. He tried hard to lift his heavy eyelids and stand up.
However, what worried Luo Yuan was that strange feeling in his body that did not seem to go away. Instead, it became more serious as time passed. He could feel fire burning inside his body. He thought he might self-ignite soon if it did not stop.
“Could it be venom?”
Watching the giant lizard devour the Thousand-Tentacle Crypt Worm’s organs, he knew that the answer was no. If the crypt worm had been venomous, no matter how strong the giant lizard was, it would have had some sort of reaction after swallowing so much of its flesh and blood.
He suppressed his fear and checked his own body carefully. His back hurt after getting hit by a large rock, but other than that he did not have any serious injuries. The disgusting smell coming from the mutated beast’s brain matter was by far the worst of it.
While Luo Yuan had been hacking open the beast’s skull, he had not bothered avoiding the brain matter, and he had ended up getting some all over his face.
The fact that he was getting weaker was getting his nerves. Suddenly, he thought of his attribute point, and quickly opened up the Attributes Panel.
“I have no choice, I can only add my attribute point to Physique. I hope a 14-point Physique can help me get through this.”
Just as Luo Yuan was trying to distribute the point, the system sent him a new message.
“Warning! Warning! System analysis: A strong foreign gene has invaded your body, causing your genes to have an adverse reaction.”
“Right now you are evolving. There is a risk of failure, which might result in a genetic breakdown.”
“Please choose a safe place to fall asleep. Estimated evolution time is 10 to 30 minutes.”
Luo Yuan’s expression was incredulous. He did not know whether he should be surprised, or worried.
If he failed to evolve, he might die. Actually, he had no choice. Once the evolution started, it couldn’t be stopped. His survival or death depended solely on his destiny. Luo Yuan had to accept it, whether he wanted to or not.
He looked around him. This was obviously not a safe place. There was a dead mutated beast around, a dark blue level one, to be specific. It was an irresistible temptation that would soon lure a lot predators. Even dark blue level mutated beasts could show up.
He had to find a safe place.
The human genes and mutated beast genes inside him were having an intense war, destroying all his cells. The war involved every aspect, including but not limited to the genetic one, eventually using up all the strength he had accumulated through upgrading his level. Luo Yuan felt another round of exhaustion. His eyelids became heavier.
He understood that this was his body’s self-defense. A genetic war was an intangible, invisible war, but nevertheless a brutal one. Every inch of territory counted. Any depletion of any property could be the key to the outcome of the war. Through sleeping, depletion could be reduced to the bare minimum and the supplementary energy could be used in the war. He needed to find a safe place to sleep. He looked left and right, his eyes shining when he saw the giant lizard. He hurriedly jumped down from the head of the worm. His legs were so weak, he almost slipped. This only made him more nervous. He dragged his feet towards the giant lizard, using all his strength to climb onto its back.
“Back to the residential area!” Luo Yuan shouted in a hoarse voice. He patted the lizard’s back and leaned over it. Soon, he lost his senses.
Although the giant lizard did not have a high IQ, after such a long, systematic, violent training, certain words that had been used frequently had already been engraved onto its poor brain.
After hearing Luo Yuan’s voice, the lizard stopped what it was doing, and inclined its head a bit, as if it were listening. Looking at all the internal organs it had pulled out, it hesitated.
The next moment, it opened its mouth, straightened its neck and swallowed the last piece.
It still deeply respected Luo Yuan. Even though it was reluctant to leave, it walked back to the residential area.
Where was Hu Fei? Why had so few people managed to escape? A slightly tanned, tall, muscular man was looking at the people in front of him, They had originally been more than fifty, yet now there were only about ten left. His face turned dark.
“Hei Ge, everyone just blindly escaped this time. No one knows where Hu Fei has run off to. Nobody expected this level of mutated beast to come over here. It’s really hard to find resources now. Everything’s gone!” a man wearing a mutated-beast leather jacket said, sounding broken-hearted. His face looked like it had been corroded. Small craters could be seen all over it, and there were several areas where even his bones were visible. He looked quite hideous.
“Our resources might be gone, but we’ll find new ones. What’s important now is finding somewhere safe to stay,” a horse-faced man said in a husky voice.
“We definitely have to find a safe place. It’s too dangerous here. Any of us could die. Ma Lian, can you suggest somewhere we can go?” Hei Ge said as he nodded.
“Do you think I have safe places up my sleeve?” MaLian shook his head. Suddenly he seemed to remember something, and turned to a woman in the crowd. “Hey, you! Where was the place you took us to last time?”
A woman with filthy hair raised her head. She was wearing a ragged dress that failed to cover most of her body. Her snowy, white skin was exposed, and there were some dried stains on her blouse. She smelled really bad from head to toe. Noticing that there was someone looking at her, she said eagerly, “Big Brother, I am Huang Yuying.”
“You wish to get beaten again, is that it?” MaLian glanced at her and squeezed her breast hard.
That part of her body was really sensitive to getting pinched. Huang Yuying turned pale from the pain of it. Nevertheless, she still managed a stiff, charming smile. “I’m sorry, Big Brother. It was Jingyue District. I used to live there.”
“Damn, she never washes. My hand stinks now!” Ma Lian sniffed his palm and wiped it on the wet towel he kept in his pants. “Yes, Jingyue District. I remember it. There were things there that we didn’t move. We won’t run out of food anytime soon. Maybe we can hide over there for now?” MaLian addressed the crowd.
“Wouldn’t it be dangerous? How about the shelter?” said a disfigured young man.
“The shelter is too far,” said a middle-aged man in a suit holding a rifle. He shook his head calmly and added, “Those men are too savage. I’ve heard it from people who escaped from them. They said that they eat human flesh. They’re not easy to deal with. They could betray us.”
Hei Ge frowned and seemed to think for a while before saying, “Let’s go to Jingyue District then. It should be a safe journey. We’ll use melee weapons to deal with high-level mutated beasts.”
“We’ve been there before. It should be fine!” said the disfigured young man.
“Better safe than sorry.” HeiGe stared at him, holding a white knife made of mutated-beast teeth.
Several men turned in the other direction and walked towards the road. The rest of them followed quickly. Most of the people were women, all of them looking numb, like they had somehow lost their sanity. Huang Yuying touched her breast, which had gotten bruised from squeezing, before following the crowd towards the Jingyue District.
Other than meeting a couple of low-level mutated beasts, the whole journey was smooth. Within thirty minutes, they arrived at Jingyue District.
“This is not good. Is that a footprint?” the man in the suit bent down and inspected the footprint in the mud. His expression became nervous as he said, “It’s still fresh. No more than a day old. It’s dangerous here, we have to leave right away!”
“Are you sure?” Hei Ge asked seriously.
“You know I was an anti-smuggling officer at the Yunnam border. There was forest everywhere there. My judgment is never wrong.” The middle-aged man in the suit looked at the ground as he walked up and down. “There are a lot of messy footprints around here. Some are really old, but others are fresh. What we know for sure is that this is a busy road. The beast that made the most recent footprint must have just left here. I think it will come back sooner or later. It could actually be back any moment now.”
It had not been easy getting there, and now they had to leave again. They didn’t even know where would they go next. Hei Ge did not seem to want to give up. “Can you tell what level of mutated beast it was?” he asked hopefully.
If it was just an average one, why not take the risk and try to kill it? Level two mutated beasts could be killed with a rifle. Level three were a bit harder to kill, though. Last time, they’d had to sacrifice more than ten men to kill a severely injured level three mutated beast. An evolved person had died during that fight, and Deng Chao’s face had been disfigured. Their lack of experience had been a contributing factor. Some of them had been facing a creature like that for the first time in their lives.
The man in the suit shook his head. “It’s impossible to tell. Judging by its footprint though, we can assume that it weighs more than ten tons, and is about four to five meters long, tail not included. Based on its size, it could be a level three mutated beast.”
The crowd sighed, the expression on their faces hopeless.
“Let’s call go, Hei Ge. It’s too dangerous here, we have to go somewhere else,” said Ma Lian, whose face was white as paper.
Suddenly, the man in the suit asked in a very suspicious tone, “How come there’s a man’s footprint here?”
Everyone looked over. They could see several fresh human footprints beside the big footprint of the mutated beast.
“Could there still be humans in the area?” the disfigured young man called Deng Chao asked uncertainly.
Suddenly, the ground shook slightly. Before they could react, an enormous creature appeared at the corner of the street.
There was a lustre of jade to its green scales, and its head was full of crescent-shaped, sharp spurs. It suddenly lifted its head and glared at them.
Everyone felt their head tingle. Those who had evolved remained calm, but the ordinary humans among them had a mental breakdown. Some of them couldn’t stand it and ran away. The team lost half its men in the blink of an eye.
Cold sweat started dripping down the foreheads of the fellow evolved people. Hei Ge gulped unconsciously, feeling the pressure in his heart. The mutated beast was way too big, and it had zero injuries. It couldn’t be compared to the severely injured mutated beast they had fought previously. He quickly looked left and right.
His heart sank as he realized they were standing on a straight road. The nearest crossing was a few hundreds meters away. The buildings on Commercial Street near them were relatively short and if they hid there, the beast would find them in no time. There was no place for them to hide. He looked at the entrance of the district and shouted, “We’ve got no choice! Just head in and leave the rest to fate!”
Huang Yuying had turned dreadfully pale. She had to use all her strength to run and keep up with everyone else. This small district, where she had made a lot of memories, had now become a hazardous place. As the quake behind them got bigger, the beast got closer to them. Despair was all she could feel.
“Is there someone over there?” Ma Lian shouted suddenly, an incredulous look on his face.
They could see a few men and women standing together in a empty field far away. They looked like they were waiting for someone.
Huang Yuying was stunned as she looked at them absent-mindedly. Her legs moved habitually, like a machine’s. As she looked at their familiar faces, her heart flooded with mixed feelings.