Chapter 172: Deterioration

When Luo Yuan and Zhao Yali came back, the rest were already preparing to sleep. They still had three additional tents after giving two to the soldiers which were more than enough to accommodate the team of 8.

Chen Xianfeng was excluded, unfortunately, since no tent could fit him.

Before sleeping, Luo Yuan went to the corner with the food cubes and stood there pondering for a long time. Finally, he carried almost all the cubes outside, leaving only three behind. Under the moonlight, Lao Huang was seen curled up. Even after three days, its layer of fur was still very thin. It still had some obvious wounds, but these were no longer the bloody sight they used to be.

Hearing Luo Yuan’s footsteps, Lao Huang’s tensed muscles slowly relaxed. It lifted its eyelids to reveal a pair of shiny eyes but then slowly closed them again. It looked like a dying old dog. Luo Yuan went to him and opened the package containing the food cubes. Just as the smell floated to it, its eyes reopened like a pair of bright bulbs! It struggled to stand, but its broken tail wagged with joy. Luo Yuan chuckled slightly and thought, "Not even mutation could change a dog’s behavior."

He threw ten cubes to Lao Huang, and his heart ached at the amount he invested as the energy from a food cube was enough to sustain everyone in the group aside Luo Yuan and Chen Xianfeng (as well as the soldiers), for a full day. On top of that, the high amounts of active energy it contained were highly nutritious and could give a boost any living creature.

Other than the first day where Lao Huang subconsciously devoured so many food cubes, it only got to eat three over the last two days. Luo Yuan hoped they could help Lao Huang recover. It quickly ate the cubes along with the sand and stones around them. He then turned towards another direction and noticed that the lizard and Lao Huang did not stay in the same area as mutated creatures were far more territorial compared to humans. Two of the beasts were at least a kilometer apart.

When he returned, the package he brought with him was empty. The moon was covered by the clouds tonight, leaving a faint glow. Luo Yuan looked at the sky and sniffed the air. The moisture level was extraordinarily high tonight. He was worried that the weather might be bad the next day. Rain would not only slow them down but dampen their spirits as well. It would cause unnecessary trouble and danger would usually follow. It would be even worse if it were stormy as they had to go through the forest. Luo Yuan had no other resort and could only act accordingly.

Their journey might have to be delayed if it was stormy tomorrow. He frowned and sighed at the thought of this.

Entering the subway station, Luo Yuan intentionally stepped on the ground a little harder to silently notify everyone that he was back. He knew that a lot of them could not sleep peacefully without him around. Not just those close to him, Huo Dong and the rest too. The level of alertness in each survivor was unimaginable. Everyone senses were enhanced by the situation.

Luo Yuan sat in meditation alone at the subway station’s entrance as per usual. If he slept near the others with his current conditions, everyone would have been haunted by nightmares. If he could barely control his aura when he was awake, he certainly could not do anything about it when he was asleep. A slight shift in his mood could change his aura completely, especially if he had dreams. It would be worse if they were nightmares. All this was because Luo Yuan still could not completely control his strength after the recent level ups he experienced.

Aura was mystical indeed but what it was made of was nothing else but strong Will and Sense – Will was for strength while Sense was required to support that strength. Those with weak Will would still look inferior when they put on a tough front, but those with strong Will would create a field of pressure around them even if they stood completely still. Therefore, controlling one’s Will meant controlling their aura and meditation was the best method that Luo Yuan could think of to achieve just that. Of course, without the necessary skills to control it, his aura would be unrefined, and its aggressiveness would only be for show making his knife skills the perfect cure to refine his aura.

The night passed serenely and the next day, Luo Yuan who was half asleep in his meditative state, opened his eyes feeling palpitations. The surroundings were silent and only insects could be heard. The sky had yet to brighten as it was only 4 am. The night had been unexpectedly moist, and his hair felt wet. He wiped his face dry of the moisture and looked at the sky. Gloomy clouds present were a sign of heavy rain.

He stood up and straightened his slightly numb legs. He then proceeded to walk towards a nearby building with his Zhanmadao. It could be seen that the building was a high-class office tower pre-apocalypse since it was still 12 stories high when part of it had already crumbled. This was the highest vantage around.

The inside of the building was severely damaged though, with a lot of the cement gone along with a few twisted steel fixtures visibly poking out. All these did not hinder Luo Yuan from entering. Where there were no stairs, he jumped; where there was no floor, he ran along the wall. Using steel fixtures and broken parts of the building, he went through the entire building quickly.

His 14-point Dexterity allowed him to treat the building like a parkour playground- with movements that exceeded the agility of a monkey was more gentle than a cat. Less than 2 minutes later, he was already at the top of the building looking towards the horizon. The sky was still dark that even with Luo Yuan’s vision, he could not see much in the distance. He waited patiently for the sun to come up but still could not spot anything unusual, making him question himself about the palpitations earlier.

Luo Yuan returned without an answer. When he got back, everyone else except the soldiers who were still in a deep sleep was already awake and packing their things.

“Should we wake them up?” Huang Jiahui asked.

Luo Yuan looked at the time and said, “It’s only 5 am now, we will leave at 7. Let them sleep for another hour!”

“What’s up with your neck?” Luo Yuan asked once he noticed some pale swelling on her neck when Huang Jiahui turned around.

“I just wanted to mention it. Water seemed to seep in here. The tent was wet when I woke up,” Huang Jiahui said while frowning as she touched her neck.

“Where? Let me have a look,” Luo Yuan quickly said.

The tent was already packed, so Luo Yuan went to where Huang Jiahui had her tent assembled last night, and without having to look closely, he could see that the area had already been drenched with a pool of water. Maybe the floor was cracked, so the water seeped through here as the other spots were dry.

He tasted some of the water with his index finger. It was seawater! He realized that his previous assumptions were wrong. Some of the lower grounds were already affected by the high tide. If it were the peak of flood season, the tide would have already engulfed the entire Jiangnan Province. The time it would take for this to happen would not be long. The best case scenario would be half a month, and if it was the worst case scenario, it could be merely a few days.

Then came Huo Dong… His voice was laced with fear and hopelessness, “Boss Luo, come quickly. Look what’s outside!” Luo Yuan’s heart almost flipped! He quickly went out with his Zhanmadao with the rest of the group trailing behind him. He subconsciously took a deep breath when he looked upwards. From where he was standing, it looked as though countless of black dots covered the sky and formed a black slab flying over from the far front. It covered almost half of the skies above.

The sheer amount of the many dots was causing numbness to his head. These were flying creatures, and they were not even of the same breed or species. There were birds, insects and even beasts that mutated with wings. Some of them were probably prey to others but right now, all of them were flying in the same direction. The volume of their loud chirps got louder as they got nearer to where Luo Yuan and his team had assembled. These noises were strung out, sounding like they were wailing loudly.

They were fleeing.

Half an hour later, the black dots in the sky passed the subway station – leaving a floor full of feces that disturbed many people. Luo Yuan said grimly, “We can’t wait anymore. Wake everyone up, we leave immediately after eating.” If the area in front was flooded, this flight of fleeing creatures could very well be just the first wave judging from their speed. It meant that Luo Yuan and his entire team would have to face the next wave of beasts. They had to leave as soon as possible or face death.

The soldiers were all called up. Most of their energy was restored now that they had slept for over 10 hours. They looked much better than the previous day, with color returning to their faces. To save time and quicken their journey, Luo Yuan gathered everyone and briefed them about his analysis as well as the brutal truth they had to face. Everyone’s expressions changed as they listened intently.

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