Luo Yuan moved the tussock aside and finally found a trace of the road. The path, which was made of cobblestones and cement, had been eroded by the roots and had almost turned into soil. If the cobblestones had not still been there and the color of the disintegrated cement had not been different from the soil, he could not have distinguished the original path from the land.
He kept chopping away the branches blocking his way while he slowly walked towards the heart of the district. Soon, he saw the first house. He could not see its number as the whole building was wrapped in layers of vines and branches, and every surface was covered in moss and lichen.
Several black snakes as thin as chopsticks were wreathing on the strong vines, hissing and flicking out their forked tongues.
Luo Yuan took a look around before he stepped onto the high weeds and slowly walked towards the villa. Thanks to the oppressing aura spreading from him, the black snakes and mutated beasts hiding around the building quickly run away. The area in a 10-meter radius around him suddenly became very quiet.
Luo Yuan took out his Zhanmadao and chopped off the branches wrapping around the villa.
The building was filled with cracks and the cement was dropping off. If it was not for the vines supporting it, the villa would have already collapsed.
“Number 5. This is the fifth villa. Wang Xiaguang’s message said that it was number 18. If the buildings are in numeric order, it should be somewhere further inside,” Luo Yuan thought.
He sped up and passed by a few more buildings. The houses were all wrapped in layers of plants, their formerly luxurious exterior no longer visible. His oppressing aura was released continuously, so no mutated beast dared go near him.
Meanwhile, he kept checking the numbers on the buildings. Two hours later, he finally found Villa Number 18.
Luo Yuan was slightly nervous. He took a deep breath, and chopped off the vines by the entrance, revealing the collapsed door. As he walked into the villa, a strong moldy smell hit him. The walls were filled with spider-like cracks, and all the wooden furniture was in a state of decay. Marble surfaces were covered by moss, and even the ceiling light fixtures had grass growing around them. The place looked like it had not been inhabited by anyone in centuries.
Luo Yuan used his Sensory Perception to get an accurate picture of the underground condition of the villa. His heart sank.
Nobody. There was nobody there at all.
His 14-point Sensory Perception helped him sense everything up to a 50-meter radius, even underground. Provided that he was not blocked by any metal or ore, he could sense things up to 10 meters deep.
As long as he used his Sensory Perception, nothing around the villa could escape his senses.
Yet he could see nothing. There was a basement, but it was too small, and it had mainly been used as a winery. There was nothing, not even any useful supplies. It seemed that they had taken everything with them when they’d left.
Luo Yuan knew that Wang Xiaguang’s message had been sent long ago, prior to the attacks from large groups of animals and mutated mosquitoes. Anything could have happened within such a long period of time.
Her family was rich and they could solve most problems with money. Therefore, it would not be surprising if they’d moved to some underground base.
“Hold on, something seems to be wrong.” Luo Yuan finally recalled that the base was not owned solely by Wang Xiaguang’s dad, but had been built in collaboration with a few of his friends. Therefore, it might not be under his villa, but somewhere else.
During the apocalypse, the inflation rate had been so great that most things were too expensive for people to afford, and certain types of goods had been listed as regulated products as a war strategy. Therefore, the average millionaire would not be able to afford to build an underground base.
His leg accidentally tripped on something. He lowered his head to take a look, and picked the object up. It was a broken picture frame. The picture inside it was blurred, but Luo Yuan could roughly recognize Wang Xiaguang.
He thought of Wang Xiaguang’s character and the last message he had received. He felt moved as he walked briskly to the second floor. With the help of his Sensory Perception, he kicked open the door of the bedroom that he thought had belonged to Wang Xiaguang. That’s when he saw it. A thin, transparent plastic sheet with a piece of paper inside it. It was on the table beside the bed, anchored by a paperweight.
Luo Yuan picked it up and opened it. The wording was beautiful and neat. It was her handwriting.
“I’ve waited for you for a few days, but you have neither come nor replied. I tried calling you, but I discovered that your phone has been turned off.
How are you?
The mutated mosquitoes have been killing a lot of people lately. Everyone is panicked and many have decided to go to the underground base to seek refuge. My family and I are going, too. That’s why I’m leaving you this message, so you can still find us when you come.
I’ve been missing you so much lately. I miss you every day. I’m worried about you, and I’m praying to goddess Guanyin that you’re safe.
The entrance to the base is drawn on the back of this paper. Maybe this piece of paper won’t last forever, but I still wanted to write it down in hope that a miracle would happen.”
After Luo Yuan finished reading, he stood there for a long time, feeling torn. Then he carefully put the letter back into the small plastic sheet and took it with him.
He picked up his Zhanmadao and rushed out.
The entrance was under a pavilion at the central part of the district garden. However, the pavilion had turned into ruins, and it took Luo Yuan about an hour to find it between the dense bushes.
He removed all the weeds and pebbles until a metal 1.5 meter-diameter cover was exposed. He used his Sensory Perception and discovered that there were about 100 people hiding underneath. Luo Yuan could not tell which one was Wang Xiaguang, but he believed that she was there.
He pulled off the metal cover and a cement staircase was revealed.
The stairs looked quite humid and there were several blood stains on them. Obviously, something had happened there.
At the end of the 30-step long staircase, there was a thick, stainless steel door. The defense measures were quite tight. Luo Yuan sensed that there were three such doors, each 30 centimeters thick.
He pulled out his Zhanmadao, but put it back seconds later. He realized destroying their door would not be a wise move. Such an action might enrage them, especially considering the hard times they were all going through.
Instead, he used the holder of the knife to knock on the door hard. A few minutes later, there was a loud noise that sounded like two metals striking against each other, and two pairs of small speakers appeared at the door. Luo Yuan was surprised.
“How did you get here? Why are you here?”
Luo Yuan realized there also had to be a hidden camera.
“I’m looking for someone. I wanted to ask if Wang Xiaguang is inside. She’s in her twenties, 1.65 meters tall-”
“There’s no one like that here,” the man interrupted him impatiently.
“Are you sure? Maybe you don’t know her. Why don’t you ask someone else?” Luo Yuan’s heart beat fast.
“What’s wrong with you? I’ve already told you no. Go away, we’re not going to open the door,” the man said impatiently.
Even though Luo Yuan wanted to stay out of trouble, he could not help but get angry. He stared at the camera ferociously as he said, “I’m asking again, is there someone like that in there?”
The man seemed shocked. He replied after a while in a better tone, “It’s useless to ask again. I’ve been here for a long time and I’ve never heard of a woman called Wang Xiaguang.”
Luo Yuan could not believe it. He dared not believe it. “Open the door, I want to see it for myself,” he said in a low voice.
“We won’t open the door, no matter what you say. Please go away,” the man said.
“Then I’ll open it myself.” Luo Yuan shook his head. He had not expected that he would have to resort to violence. He took out his Zhanmadao, inserted it into the door, and cut the lock off. Then he pulled the door open by force, ready to open the second door.
The man had thought that Luo Yuan was just joking, but when he saw him open the first door as easily as cutting tofu, he shouted, “Stop, please stop! I’ll get someone to open the door now!”
Luo Yuan sneered. He stopped and stepped back a little.
Ten minutes later, ten men came out. As soon as the second metal door was pulled open, ten guns were pointed directly at Luo Yuan. Their leader was an arrogant, tall young guy wearing a tailored suit.
He was completely unarmed as he walked up to Luo Yuan and said slyly, “Why don’t you take the easy road to heaven instead of the difficult road to hell? Your knife looks good. I’ll have it as compensation for destroying our door.”
“We’ll talk about compensation later. Someone said that Wang Xiaguang is no longer here. Do you happen to know where she is?” Luo Yuan looked very calm despite the fact that he was surrounded by guns.
The young man clapped admiringly and said with confidence, “I don’t believe you are really that calm, but since you have come all the way here, I will tell you. The b*tch is dying as we speak. I’ve been starving her for three days, but she’s still not giving up. Why is that whole family so stubborn? It really puts me in an uncomfortable position.”
Luo Yuan’s face darkened and a terrifying aura broke out uncontrollably from him. The strong, intimidating aura twisted the air surrounding him. Everyone felt oppressed and had difficulty breathing. Cold sweat dripped down their foreheads.
The young guy got scared, but realizing he had more men, he calmed down again. He shook his head and said, “So you want to put up a fight.”
With a gloomy expression, Luo Yuan walked slowly up to him while a sheer layer of Willpower membrane formed on his skin. He smirked as he said, “Idiot.”
Watching him walk over aggressively, the young guy shouted, “Fire!”
His voice was still echoing out when warm, fresh blood splashed on his face. The man nearest to him had pressed on his throat and pulled the trigger instinctively.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Numerous bullets were flying around the narrow space, causing some rather unlucky men to die.
The men’s shooting accuracy was very poor.
One of them was about to shoot when he realized that Luo Yuan had disappeared from where he’d been standing. Suddenly, he felt a cold breeze on his back and before he could react, he felt something cold go through his head, followed by a burning hot feeling. The most excruciating pain he had ever experienced spread through his whole body. He tried to scream in anguish, but he could not.
Before the man could slump down on the floor, Luo Yuan had disappeared again.
The narrow space was packed, so the men didn’t have much space to move. Luo Yuan managed to decapitate five people in the blink of an eye. Blood was oozing out like a spring from the necks of the five headless bodies, frightening the rest of them.
Each time he swished his knife, someone fell dead. After all, these were just normal people. They might have guns, but their fighting skills were a lot worse than Luo Yuan’s.
Besides, they had been hiding in the underground base, and thus had been out of contact with the outside world for a long period of time. As a result, they did not know that humans could have such abilities.
They did not even have enough time to aim. Luo Yuan was too fast. He seemed not to stay in the same place for more than a second after he killed each man. Extreme fear caused a mental breakdown among the men. Bullets were shooting in all directions, causing only more death on their side.
The whole corridor looked like a slaughtering chamber. Seeing his men fall one after the other, the young man’s courage and confidence soon collapsed like a weak building. His face turned pale as he tried desperately to run back inside.
Luo Yuan sprinted past him, turning his knife to cut through his stomach. His intestines came out instantly. The young man screamed loudly and slumped down on the floor, trying to put his intestines back in while he screamed in anguish.
Luo Yuan was not a cruel man, but he was infuriated.
He glimpsed at the young man and then he turned away. He walked quickly inside, hearing agonizing screams and curses from behind him.
The people inside the base had heard the noise outside and were all hiding in their rooms. Though some braver ones looked at Luo Yuan from their doorways, they closed the doors as soon as Luo Yuan looked back at them. He might as well have been the devil.
The base was huge. It was a five-meter tall area of millions of square meters. An enormous effort must had been made to build it. The whole area was lit up and there were many different facilities such as an entertainment room, a library, a gym, a shooting field. There was even a dancing room and a sauna. Luo Yuan felt odd being there.
These people were too comfortable. They didn’t have the slightest idea about what was going on outside.
Luo Yuan walked past quickly. He did not feel like observing all the details. His Sensory Perception kept sensing the condition of each room. Suddenly, he walked to the front of a wooden door, took out the Zhanmadao and cut the door open.
He pushed it and entered the room. He was shocked to find Wang Xiaguang lying on a bed motionless. She looked rather ill and her face, which had once been plump, had become very thin. When Luo Yuan realized that her chest was still moving up and down slightly, he felt relieved.
He tried to carry her, but Wang Xiaguang sensed that someone was holding her and began to struggle intensely. She opened her eyes, stupefied.
For a moment, she thought she was hallucinating. Everything seemed so unreal. She wanted to touch his face, but she hesitated.
Luo Yuan felt sad as he comforted her, “It’s alright, everything’s alright.”
“Am I dreaming?” Wang Xiaguang asked. She sounded like she was talking in her sleep.
“Try pinching yourself,” Luo Yuan said.
Wang Xiaguang shook her head. She stared at him as she said lightly, “I heard that people hallucinate before they die. I’m afraid if I realize this is a hallucination, it will end instantly.”
Luo Yuan eyes were a bit moistened, but he was smiling wholeheartedly, “You’re so stupid. This is not a dream. It’s the real me coming for you.”
Wang Xiaguang smiled weakly. Her eyelids were getting heavier, as if she was sleepy.
Luo Yuan was shocked. She had not eaten anything in a long time, and struggling just now must have taken up the last bit of her energy. Luo Yuan could feel her breathing getting weaker.
He stood up and kicked open a nearby door. A middle-aged couple screamed loudly and offered all their food before he could threaten them.
Luo Yuan just took a bottle of water and a can of mixed congee. When he got back to the room, Wang Xiaguang was almost asleep.
“Hold on, you must not sleep. You have to eat something.” Luo Yuan opened the mixed congee, scooped it up with a spoon and put it into her mouth.
She had just a few mouthfuls before she gradually fell silent. She had fallen asleep.
Luo Yuan was very worried about her condition. She might not be able to wake up from her sleep. Normal food would definitely not have a significant effect on her body. He needed high-level mutated beast flesh, but he could not find some in such a short time.
Then he suddenly had an idea. Maybe his blood would do. His body attributes were upgrading continuously and his body rank was supposed to be about the same as that of light blue rank mutated beasts. If he added in all his secondary attributes such as Willpower, Sensory Perception and Intelligence, his total attribute points were actually much higher than the giant lizard’s.
He was a man-shaped mutated beast.
As he thought about that, he took out the Zhanmadao and, without hesitation, cut his wrist lightly. Blood quickly dropped onto Wang Xiaguang’s cracked lips, and she swallowed it unconsciously.
His blood was like concentrated plasma, much thicker than the average man’s. As a result, it would coagulate easily and wounds would stop bleeding quickly.
Luo Yuan had to cut his wrist many times, creating many wounds on his skin.
After about ten minutes, Wang Xiaguang’s cheeks gradually regained their color and her breathing stabilized. Luo Yuan was relieved.
Suddenly, he noticed a few people standing outside the door, looking hesitant to enter.