Chapter 184: Afterglow

From start to finish the whole battle had taken less than thirty seconds, yet Luo Yuan was sweating profusely as if he had just come out of a sauna.

It might have looked like he had killed the giant effortlessly, but he had just taken advantage of its weak points. Frankly speaking, the giant had been terrifying.

The mysterious camouflaging power and the attacking power of its eyes were significantly different from that of ordinary mutated beasts’. It was like the giant had been able to evolve, and its ability to hide had managed to cheat Luo Yuan’s Sensory Perception. Luo Yuan had never faced a similar situation before.

After all, the theories behind Sensory Perception and the naked eye were very different. Hiding in the dark uses an optical illusion to cheat the eyes, but it could never do so against Sensory Perception. Nevertheless, he had not been able to see nor find the giant, even though it had been standing right next to him. If Luo Yuan’s oppressive aura had not forced it into giving itself away, the battle would have ended before it had even started.

As for its mysterious attacking power, although Luo Yuan had not come into direct contact with it, the feeling of impending death he had felt still made him feel lingering fear as he recalled it. It had been so dangerous, that he felt like he had just come back from the threshold of death.

As soon as the battle ended, everybody rushed over.

“Are you alright?” Huang Jiahui asked worriedly. When she saw Luo Yuan nod, she looked relieved. “I was so scared. How on earth could such a creature even exist?”

Looking both curious and afraid, Huang Jiahui sized up the giant’s corpse. “Is it a mutated human? It’s just so… so big.”

The giant’s body lay on the floor, covering an area of about seven meters, its limbs looking big and strong. It was still exuding a horrific aura, even though it was dead. Its whole body was hairy, but the hair on its head was rather thin. There was also a short, thick, dark green horn on its head, but what attracted people’s attention was the polished stone necklace hanging in front of its chest.

It was an obvious sign of intelligence. Other than a mutated human, no other mutated beast would have been able to design such a thing.

“Why do I feel that it’s somehow different?” Luo Yuan had hesitated for a short moment before adding, “Now matter how mutated a person is, they should still maintain some human characteristics, just like Cheng Xianfeng does. This creature is too different from a man. It has to be a mutated beast.”

“You’re probably right.” Cao Lin dared not go near it, so she merely pointed at the giant’s limbs as she said, “Look, it only has four fingers. Its toes are the same too.”

Everyone soon found more proof. The giant had six breasts, a short tail that has yet to decompose and two nostrils without any indication of a nose on its face.

The atmosphere was chilling. Nobody said a single word, and everyone looked shocked and afraid.

“Would you go check on Zhao Yali?” Wang Xiaguang asked Luo Yuan, breaking the silence.

Luo Yuan sighed and nodded as he sprinted towards her.

Zhao Yali was squatting beside the corpse of Lao Huang, sobbing. She was touching its body, which was gradually getting colder, tears streaming down her face uncontrollably.

Luo Yuan walked to her side and squatted down. “Are… are you alright?” he asked softly after hesitating for a moment. He knew that Lao Huang had always been by her side since the beginning of the apocalypse. It was because of its loyalty and protection that she had safely survived to that day. She considered that beast her dearest relative.

Zhao Yali finally broke down. She hugged Luo Yuan and bawled, making everyone sad.

The few women around were all moved, their eyes turning red as tears slid down their faces.

Luo Yuan touched Lao Huang, who was already stiff. He felt uneasy as he sighed. “Let’s look at it for the last time. We’ll bury it later.”

Zhou Yicheng seemed as if he wanted to say something, but he kept his mouth shut when he noticed everyone’s condition.

Naturally, the giant lizard took care of digging a hole at the slope of the nearby hill. This time, it did not try to escape as it had before. In fact, it took the initiative to dig the large hole on the hillside, as if the death of Lao Huang had affected its emotions too. It got extraordinary quiet and did not show a single sign of impatience.

After throwing Lao Huang into the hole and covering it with gravel, the giant lizard lowered its head and smelled the grave before it looked up and howled loudly as if it was sending Lao Huang off.

Zhao Yali was still bawling. Lao Huang’s death had hurt her deeply.

The gravestone was a piece stone about three meters tall. After getting Zhao Yali’s permission, Luo Yuan wrote, “The Grave of the Loyal Lao Huang.”

When it was over, the giant lizard did something that shocked everyone. It ran towards the side of the dead giant and tore open its stomach, its inner organs dropping out on the ground before the lizard gorged on them.

The scene was so bloody that the few kids around went as white as a sheet and turned their eyes away.

Huang Jiahui pulled at Luo Yuan. The beast had been human-shaped, so she was afraid that the giant lizard might think it was allowed to eat humans now. Luo Yuan did not stop it, though. The death of Lao Huang seemed to have greatly stimulated it. When it had eaten all the inner organs, it finally stopped.

Luo Yuan chased the lizard away and walked towards the head of the giant, cutting the small horn off its head with the sword’s glimmering light. The small dark green horn had drawn Luo Yuan’s attention from the moment he had seen it. Next, he dug out the giant’s eyes. He thought the eyes could have unique properties considering that they could mysteriously attack others. He had no interest in the beast’s bones and flesh, though.

This wasn’t because the beast had been man-shaped, and therefore taboo. After all, nobody thought of such nonsense anymore after surviving the apocalypse for so long. All things could be eaten provided that they were not human or toxic. In fact, he didn’t take it because the flesh’s raw smell would cause them trouble along the way, and they still needed to keep moving.

The giant rock had been knocked off, so cleaning up the road had gotten a lot easier. Within 30 minutes, the giant lizard had opened up a path that it could walk through.

Everyone climbed on it again and continued their journey.

The rain had stopped, and the moonlight glimmered through layers of dark clouds, producing a little light among the darkness.

Traces of villages could be seen along the way. Collapsed walls, broken glazed tiles, and eroded bricks were hidden among the trees, flickering as the group passed by quickly. As time passed, they could see even more traces of buildings along the road. Rotting high-rise buildings were becoming a common occurrence.

The sea-level was rising fast. Some lower buildings and parts of the highway were all submerged in water.

“Have we reached the suburbs yet?” Huo Dong said uncertainly, looking at the unrecognizable city, which was mostly submerged in water.

“It looks like we have. I used to come here before.” Wang Xiaguang said as she took a closer look.

Luo Yuan stood up and looked ahead. Other than the high-rise buildings that were barely standing, the whole view was a vast expanse of white. There was water everywhere. As he wondered whether the military base was still intact, his face turned sour.

Zhou Yicheng seemed to have guessed Luo Yuan’s thoughts. He had the soldier beside him help him up as he said, “We are near the sea. The military base is not located here, but at the district’s highest point, the Baoshan Area. It can’t have been affected by the flood yet. However, we don’t have much time. Given the current situation, they must be preparing to retreat. We have to get there as soon as possible.”

Luo Yuan nodded with a heavy heart.

He took over the map from Zhou Yicheng and observed it carefully. The Baoshan Area was about 30 to 40 kilometers away from there. Fortunately, they were in an urban area and thus would not have to stop due to collapses and blockage. Furthermore, the wave of beasts had already been eliminated by the flood. The journey would be difficult, but they might be able to reach their destination by the next day.

After they had left the highway, Luo Yuan realized that the water level reached the thigh of the giant lizard. It had to be around 3 to 4 meters deep already.

The vines beside the road were growing without anything to hamper it, but this was meant to be their last growth spurt. As the sea level continued to rise, they would get submerged in the sea along with the largest city in the East.

Other than some insects that were as small as grains floating on the water surface, barely any terrestrial animals could be seen. Most of them had moved to regions with higher elevation. As the giant lizard walked by, it stirred up a giant splash, dispersing the insects, who acted as if they were afraid before they quickly gathered again somewhere else.

As the giant lizard walked past a corner, Wang Shishi suddenly nudged Luo Yuan. “Look over there.”

Luo Yuan turned his head to take a look. It was a huge tree about a hundred meters high with thick branches and leaves. Other than the fact that its roots were on the surface of the water, there initially seemed to be nothing strange about it. As Luo Yuan looked at it for a longer time though, he was surprised to realize that the tree seemed to be running for its life.

It made for a bizarre image as it pulled out its roots and staggered forward as if they were legs.

Unfortunately, its movement was too slow. It took a few minutes for the tree to take a single step. Besides, without the supporting network of its roots, it was swaying all over, running the risk of stumbling at any time. Nobody knew how long it had been staggering like that, but at such slow speed, it would never be able to escape.

They all observed it in silence. As the giant lizard moved forward, the tree gradually disappeared.

A broken thirty-floor building in the distance could not fight the corrosive sea water any longer and finally collapsed. The collapse produced a ten-meter high splash on the surface of the water, its rippling effect causing even more buildings to fall.

This incident made Luo Yuan vigilant, so he had the giant lizard walk towards an area with fewer buildings.

The buildings had been eroded down to their very foundation. Unstable as they were, a strong wind, slight quake or even a weak wave could easily destroy them.

There was lots of garbage floating on the water surface; an empty plastic water bottle was caught in an eddy and spun round and round in the water before a wave hit it and thrown somewhere far away. The salty, fishy smell of the sea breeze that permeated the atmosphere made everyone feel as if they were walking by the seashore. As Luo Yuan looked at the cluttered city, he felt that the destruction of civilization had transformed the world.

In fact, he was right.

None of them spoke along the way. They were just looking in silence at the afterglow of the doomed city, which had once been the most prosperous city in China.

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