Even a territory littered with powerful mutated beasts would not be as quiet as their current location. Aside from the tiny flies, there was nothing else. Based on past experiences, the only explanation for the silence was that they were on a radioactive site. However, they realized there were a lot of plants in the area. Apparently, their initial theory had been wrong.
“Commander, it looks strange. Shall we go back?” someone asked desperately.
Everyone gathered, looking very depressed. The commander looked at them for a second and realized that the scene felt familiar. He knew there would be a few more people committing suicide soon. They had been relying on their will to sustain them until now. Once they gave up, they would all kill themselves.
“We can’t go back anymore,” he said. “We need to keep moving. There’s no way back! Move!”
“I’d rather die than return,” another man said.
“I’d rather die on the journey.” someone else mumbled.
Everyone looked numb. The team was walking at a very slow pace. Suddenly, one of the team members fell to the ground, struggling to get back up. He had no more energy. Everyone could smell an awful scent coming from his body. One of the team members tore his shirt off, only to discover that his chest had started to rot. Several worms were crawling in and around his wounds.
After a while, the team resumed walking. The further the team went, the more flies they could see. A single mutated fly was not scary. Anyone could kill it. However, a group of mutated flies could be very dangerous. Everyone had been paying a lot of attention, but many of them had still not been able to escape the call of death. The flies had sucked their blood until they died.
The commander looked at the few remaining members of the team and sighed. He began to feel hopeless. He knew it would be difficult for them to defeat the mutated flies. Suddenly, someone noticed something strange.
"There’s a carcass up ahead. It’s still fresh. It’s yet to become a skeleton."
Maintaining a carcass for extended periods of time was hard. The rate of decomposition was very fast even if no animals were trying to eat the flesh. Worms and bacteria helped decompose the carcasses. In other words, any carcass would go rotten in less than three days.
“There’s a bullet hole. Someone has been here.”
“There’s also a bullet shell.”
“The beast is about three meters tall and had been killed with a knife. It must have been someone very powerful, or someone that owned an excellent knife,” someone said in an incredulous tone.
The soldiers found more carcasses as they moved on. There was a hill of carcasses blocking the street, emitting an intense, awful smell. As they walked on, they saw a lot more mutated flies and were forced to stop moving forward. Finally, they found a building they where they could seek shelter.
“Everyone come here. Let’s have a meeting,” the commander said after performing a safety inspection of the building.
“We can now confirm that there were several survivors from a battle that must have taken place a few days ago. Based on the carcasses we have seen, it must have been a big group of survivors,” one of them said.
“These men didn’t have many weapons. I could not find many shells, and knives made most of the wounds on the carcasses. We can’t confirm whether all the mutated beasts were killed by this group, though. If that’s the case, then it must have been a group of powerful soldiers,” another man said.
Everyone took a deep breath, looking a lot more energetic than before. They thought it would have taken 2,000 – 6,000 soldiers with tanks and cannons to kill a few hundred dark blue mutated beasts.
“If they did not have many bullets, that means a lot of them must have been evolved humans.”
“Evolved men do not possess that kind of power. Although I’ve never met one, a few experienced generals would be enough to kill any beast if they had a sufficient amount of weapons,” someone else said.
“Evolved men are not as weak as that. A short period of training would be sufficient for them to take down a soldier who has been training for five to six years," the commander said, shaking his head.
His status afforded him more knowledge than the rest of the men. If evolved humans were as weak as they thought, the government and army would not have conducted an inspection as fast as they did. They were trying to maintain the social order as well as draw the line. There was even a task force at his military base formed exclusively by evolved humans. Most of them had become senior generals or mayors as soon as they had joined the army, and their salary was much better than his.
“Stop analyzing such useless things. They just killed all the beasts in the city, so they must still be somewhere in the area, or planning to make Jiaping City their base. We have to find them and treat our friends. Platoon Wang, give me the map!”
He thought the survivors were going to make this city their base because he did not know anything about the tentacle crypt worm. A man with a big scar on his face took a map out of a plastic bag and opened it carefully. It was a 1.5-meter long, 1.5-meter wide map of Jiangnan Province. They could see the main roads of Jiaping City.
“Based on the current critical situation, they must be residing at the bomb shelter, an underground tunnel or the defense worksite. However, Jiaping City fell a while ago, so there are only two possibilities. Besides, the carcasses are here, so they must be somewhere nearby,” he said before he drew a circle on the map.
“But there are three train stations and a shelter,” someone said gloomily.
“Then we will search them one by one. It’s better than simply going somewhere else," the commander said. "All of you with severe injuries will stay here. The rest will split into four groups. Each team will go to one of the locations we mentioned. If you don’t see anyone, retreat immediately. If you find them, ask for assistance. Please be sincere. We are seeking their help after all. We will join their army if they ask us to."
If this had been before the end of the world, many of them would have protested. Military discipline was as important to the men as their lives. No one would dare do anything even remotely close to treachery. However, no one said a word about it now.
“That’s the final plan. We will depart in half an hour. Now rest!” the commander said, looking slightly excited.