Luo Yuan and Zhao Yali entered the courtyard. At this moment, the skinny man saw Luo Yuan holding a knife contaminated with some fresh blood and his face became pale. He quickly stepped back and shouted out, "What do you want? We have no money!"
Luo Yuan frowned. From the reaction of the man he guessed that things here were obviously more chaotic. He then smiled and said, "Don’t be nervous, we are not bad guys. The knife is just for self-defense. Without the knife, we couldn’t have escaped from the mountains. We encountered a dozen mutated rats that would have turned the two of us into white bones on the roadside.”
The skinny man looked surprised, obviously in disbelief, but on the surface he just nodded his head repeatedly. At this time, a middle-aged woman heard the conversation. She came out with a kitchen knife and then started screaming.
Luo Yuan frowned again and wondered why the family was so quick to startle. Even speaking in a kind manner was useless. So this time he spoke in a cold voice, "I don’t want to cause any trouble. I just need to stay for one night and tomorrow morning I will leave. Nothing else. Tell her to stop screaming.”
The skinny man quickly pulled the middle-aged woman away and dragged her to his side. He quickly whispered in her ear, and soon, her mood improved a lot. She reluctantly smiled and said, "Luckily you told me we have guests. Come, come on in and sit.”
"Please, go get the dinner ready and add more dishes, I will stay here to entertain,” the skinny man whispered to his wife, and then talked to Luo Yuan and Zhao Yali. “Let me make some tea for the two of you."
The middle-aged woman looked at her husband with some worry and hesitation but then entered the kitchen. The three of them in the meantime entered the living room, and the skinny man brought three cups of tea.
Luo Yuan quietly checked it with his super power, and took a sip after confirming it wasn’t poisonous. He said once more, "You don’t have to be afraid. She and I are from Donghu City, and we’re here to visit relatives. This knife is just for self-defense. You must know how dangerous it is out there now.”
"Yes, yes!" the skinny man replied, laughing bluntly. His eyes gazed at the dazzling weapon from time to time. But the action seemed quite restrained.
Luo Yuan looked at the sky which was now dark, then at the living room that had no lights. He felt strange and asked, "Is there electricity here?”
"The cable was bitten by a rat, so we have been without power for three days now, since no one has come to repair it," the skinny man carefully explained with a smile.
"Is there any water?" Zhao Yali asked as she was sweaty and greasy. It would be uncomfortable for her to sleep at night without a bath.
"Yes, we have both cold and hot water since the roof is fitted with a water heater."
The skinny man stayed alert through the evening. Luo Yuan tried to chat for a while but then lost interest. Thus, in the end, the three of them just sat at the table drinking tea.
Soon, the food was ready.
The middle-aged women quickly served their food on the table. Although they had added two dishes, the meal was very simple. Aside from a bowl of meat, the rest were vegetables.
The middle-aged women sat down and felt the atmosphere was odd. She looked at the skinny man and then said to Luo Yuan and Zhao Yali, "Please help yourselves. It is just a simple dinner because it is very difficult to get vegetables and meat. All the greenery you see here is grown in our own backyard. It is all very fresh. And the dish is preserved dog meat. We killed it a few days ago, so it is still very fresh. Taste it.”
"That’s very kind. This is a lot more to eat than I have in Donghu City," Luo Yuan said, and smiled politely.
"Why did you kill the dog? It’s cruel,” Zhao Yali stated as she looked at the bowl of meat. She’d had a dog at her home and every time she needed to leave the animal would follow her as far as possible because it was very attached to her. So seeing the family’s dog killed, she could not help but worry about her own family’s one.
The middle-aged woman looked at Luo Yuan’s expressionless face, then smiled and explained, "My husband looked after the dog since it was small but there were several mad dogs in the village that killed people. We were worried about the incident, hence we put our own down. There are no more dogs in the village now."
No wonder they hadn’t heard any barking along the way as they were being killed. Thinking about it, such animals were always a hidden danger. Although harmless to the owner, dogs could be dangerous to other people. Raising one also consumed a lot of food which at the moment could be an unusually heavy burden. At least they could also get a large amount of meat after killing the beast. It was more cost-efficient to just do that.
Luo Yuan had another thought about the bowl of dog meat and with the information that surfaced in his mind, his face could not help but change slightly
"Seasoned Mutated Dog Meat"
"Material: Mutated dog meat, Salt"
"Weight: 300 grams"
"Effect: Rapid recovery of fatigue, enhances the body’s immunity system"
"Evaluation: this is a variant of a simply cooked dog meat, which contains traces of active energy.”
Luo Yuan was slightly surprised. The food made from mutated creatures actually had these kind of effects. The effects were subtle and generally undetectable, except if he used his identification power. Otherwise, he didn’t know when he would have found out about them.
The mutated dog was only white ranked, which was the lowest level of mutation. Luo Yuan wondered about the pale blue level of the snake he had encountered earlier, and what its effects would be. But he did not regret not trying to fight it as the giant snake had also swallowed a few people. Even if he had gotten a chance to eat it, he wouldn’t have tried to. He would have only paid more attention to it.
After saying a few words, the atmosphere became somewhat dull.
The couple occasionally winked at each other and communicated silently. Luo Yuan continued to eat and pretended to see nothing. They quickly finished the dinner and the sky gradually became dark.
The woman stood up, smiled and said, "There are no rooms upstairs, so will you be okay staying in the room downstairs? I’ll tidy it up for you now and make the bed soon.”
"Sure!" Luo Yuan nodded his head. He knew they were both being highly alert, hence he didn’t want to create any more trouble.
The woman looked relieved. She smiled good naturally and said, "Qi Yuan, can you bring over two pairs of slippers and some candles?” She then turned to the guests, “If you want to bathe, you can use the bathroom downstairs." From the words now and previously, it could be seen that the master of this family was the wife, as the husband was being very quiet.
At this moment, Zhao Yali suddenly pulled Luo Yuan away. Luo Yuan began to feel a little strange, but he quickly responded, "Can you add another bed? We are not a couple so sharing a bed is inappropriate for us.”
The woman frowned as she said, "There are only two beds in the house. What about an extra mattress?” "Good!" Luo Yuan nodded his head.
A moment later, the couple left and headed upstairs. Luo Yuan entered the room, handed the candle to Zhao Yali and said, "You go bathe first."
The outside was dark and coupled with the new environment, Zhao Yali held the candle with fear. She replied, "or… you bathe first?”
"Nothing to be afraid of," Luo Yuan told her, smiling, and continued, "Do you want me to accompany you to the bath?”
Zhao Yali stared at him fiercely, hesitated for a long time, bit her teeth, and then left the bedroom. She immediately shut the door after entering the bathroom. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She had always been afraid of ghost movies and could easily get scared for several days. Sometimes she even refused to go to the bathroom when she needed to pee in the middle of the night. Not to mention after such a horrible experience as today.
When Luo Yuan was around, she did not feel anything, but now when she was alone, she felt that every minute was excruciating. She was afraid that there were monsters which might break into the bathroom. She felt like leaving the small room as soon as she could. Taking off her clothes, she stood under the shower and bathed quickly.
When she was about to put on her clothes, she hesitated. Most of her clothes had been lost with her luggage, and there were no clean ones to change into. Her t-shirt and skirt were still clean, but her underwear had a dark circle in the middle. Her face became a bit hot as she recalled the times when she was in danger and almost peed her pants. It was too disgusting to wear that kind of underwear again. If she chose not to wear it, though, she had to be careful not to expose herself.
She dressed up again, feeling chilly at her butt as she wasn’t accustomed to not wearing her underwear. She opened the bathroom door and hurried back to the bedroom. She found Luo Yuan holding a cloth and focused on wiping clean his knife’s blade. The fear in her heart disappeared immediately as she felt secure with Luo Yuan around.
"You showered so quickly!" Luo Yuan gently put down the knife and returned it to the sheath.
"I’m done. Please come back quickly!" Zhao Yali cried as she did not want to stay alone here.
Luo Yuan helplessly replied, "I will come back soon. There’s really nothing to be afraid of. If there is something entering the house, they must pass through the main door. I will come if I hear it."
"But I’m scared!" Zhao Yali said as she sat down on the edge of the bed with a pitiful look on her face. She suddenly recalled that she was not wearing her underwear and quickly pressed down on her skirt, standing up.
"Don’t think about it. Fear causes most people to scare themselves. Think of something happy or play a game while I take a shower," Luo Yuan replied, and then got up and headed to the bathroom.
When he came back from the shower, he found the door was locked from the inside and knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" Zhao Yali asked with a trembling voice.
"It’s me, open the door," Luo Yuan reluctantly said.
Zhao Yali opened the door and quickly turned back, walking a few steps forward then jumping onto the bed and covering herself to her head. Luo Yuan shut the door, feeling speechless when he saw the scene of Zhao Yali covering herself from head to toe. “Is this the only way you can fall asleep? Don’t you feel hot?”
"It’s not hot," Zhao Yali answered in a muffled voice.
"Is it alright if I blow off the candle?" Luo Yuan asked as he took off his clothes.
"Don’t blow it off!" Zhao Yali anxiously replied, while lifting the quilt and revealing her head.
"There is only a short length left, and if you want to go to the toilet later, there will be no light," Luo Yuan said as he observed the candle which was only about the length of a thumb. At this rate, it was going to burn out soon.
"Then blow it out. Your phone still has some battery left, right?" Zhao Yali asked.
"Why? There is half of the battery left, but don’t bother thinking of keeping it on for the whole night. Based on the situation in Choo Village, your home probably has no electricity, either. And I’ll need the phone later." Luo Yuan knew her well enough to stop her before she even made her intentions clear.
He blew out the candle, and the room turned completely black.