The mixture of gravel and mud poured down, covering more than half the entire cockpit.
This completely damaged the dark and heavy armored transport plane. Parts of the plane were cracked open due to the blast, and the other parts had smoke billowing, imminent of a potential explosion.
Seconds after the collision, a sharp and loud metal clink was heard and the silverish tip of a sharp blade protruded and extended further. Immediately, it carved a big circle on the body of the plane, as though cutting through tofu.
It was followed by a loud bang, and the carved circular metal was blown out to 4 to 5 meters away.
Figures after figures jumped out from the plane one after another. These people looked worn out, and almost all of them were wounded.
Luo Yuan handed Zhao Yali over to Wang Xiaguang, and requested them to stay away as quickly as they can. He then came back immediately with a few other soldiers. They dragged out two badly injured bodies from the craft. Lo and behold, they appeared to be the pilots!
The huge collision had completely disfigured the shape of the plane, and the fallen gravels that followed had left no chance for the pilots to escape, resulting in a tragic death. If not for Luo Yuan and the soldiers who dug with their bare hands, the bodies would have not been found.
Luo Yuan also wanted to rescue the giant lizard, but with the strength he had, he could not even move the containers. As he saw the smoke getting thicker, he had no choice but to dash out of the transport plane. The explosion of the transport plane would have not been able to kill the giant lizard, as it was still safely inside the container.
It was still midnight, and the surroundings was blanketed in complete darkness. As Luo Yuan possessed the ability of night vision, it posed no difficulty for him to see in the dark.
From the mountains to the valleys, and along with the precipitous hill, the endless forest stretched to the horizon. It akin to taking a peek into the primitive world, with no trace of civilization.
There was nothing else in the vicinity but a thick, endless forest.
The dense branches and leaves formed a net-like facade covering the sky, like a canopy of lush greenery.
Huge trees were everywhere, and some of its roots were even exposed. They were thick and rough, like a giant python, stretching out from ten to hundreds of meters away. Some rattan as thick as a human thigh were even intertwined.
Comparing to the forest in Jiangnan, which was managed by humans, the size of the trees were usually small. Unlike the ones here, which were usually enormous with dense, dark green leaves and coarse, dried barks, it gave an impression of old age, steeped in rich history.
Anyone can see that that they were no longer in a plain field, but in a pristine, and ancient forest. Even before the apocalypse, it was still a dangerous place to go, with numerous poisonous bugs and fierce creatures everywhere, making it hard to protect themselves. With the current apocalypse, it was no wonder that survival proved to be an arduous task.
“Does anyone know where we are?” asked Luo Yuan, after he checked on Zhao Yali’s condition. Although she was injured at the cockpit during the collision, she only suffered mild injuries, which thankfully, were non-fatal.
“I think this should be the Kunlun mountains… I’m not too sure exactly, but judging from the flight routes, we shouldn’t be too far away from the Reconstruction Area.” said Commander Xia with a gruff voice, as he shook his head. He was also injured, with blood dripping from his head, that stained almost his entire face.
Luo Yuan looked around at his surroundings, and began to feel somewhat annoyed.
The topographic features was a steep one, with high density of forests. Even if they were able to split the mountains and rivers apart, they would have still easily gotten lost. It seemed to be difficult to escape this.
All of a sudden, a loud boom broke the silence. The transport plane exploded into a gush of flames, which shot up hundreds of meters through the dark sky and formed a giant, dark mushroom cloud.
“Stay here! Shishi, keep vigil, I am going to take a look,” said Luo Yuan as he was worried for the safety of the giant lizard.
“Please come back as soon as possible!” pleaded Wang Jiahui, nervously.
The forest at dusk was resonating with a cacophony of noise, like sounds of insects chirping, beasts howling and sometimes, the ghostly laughter and wailing similar to those of a human being’s. The darkness made them feel like they had entered hell or another dimension, reducing everyone to fear.
Luo Yuan nodded, and dashed to the transport plane.
A fire broke out all of a sudden but also disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Within seconds, what was left on the transport plane were just fumes of smoke.
Thanks to the insufficient gas, the explosion was less powerful. The metal rack in the transport plane remained perfectly intact.
Luo Yuan then climbed through the torn opening and made his way into the cabin. He then found out that some containers were blackened, while two of them were sunken from the blast, resembling a deflated basketball.
Thankfully, the container that housed the giant lizard was still safely intact with only mere dents. After all, the container was specially protected by the extra protective layers, hence the explosion could not malform it completely.
Luo Yuan marched forward, brandished his Zhanmadao and cut off all the iron chains, which was used to hold and stabilize the container.
The tip of the knife cut into the gap of the container, traced the welded part, and swiftly, he cut it open.
Luo Yuan discovered that his giant lizard was awake, albeit its eyes partially opened, looking weak. The explosion could have most likely awaken it.
The giant lizard acknowledged Luo Yuan’s presence upon laying eyes on him. It was whining weakly, as if seeking self-pity.
Unfortunately, Luoyuan had no idea what it was trying to say. He then pat the giant lizard’s enormous head, and pacified it for a while before he resumed efforts in trying to free the giant lizard. Soon after, he cut open the container and the whole body of the giant lizard was finally free.
Sensing its freedom, it shook its head and struggled to stand up, but as soon as it managed to stand up, its weak body slumped back onto the ground. It felt depressed, looked at Luo Yuan with its droopy eyelids, while whining helplessly.
It seems like the giant lizard still required a long time to recover completely. Luo Yuan looked at the time, and it showed that it was 12 o’clock at midnight, which was another five or six hours to sunrise. With this little time, it wouldn’t be sufficient for the giant lizard to completely recover to its best state, and snap out of its anesthetic influence.
He hesitated for a while, went back to get the snakeskin storage bag, and picked up the giant snake’s internal organs. Using a strong and sturdy string of grass, Luo Yuan tied and hung them together, which weighed about forty to fifty catties.
When he got back to the giant lizard, the smell of the treat invigorated its senses. It tried to raise its head and struggled to open its droopy eyelids as wide as possible, trying to please Luo Yuan, despite such a ferocious face.
To the giant lizard, these green rank mutated beasts were like top predators, superior in the food chain. Therefore, consuming its meat would bring unimaginable benefits, and might even trigger its body to evolve.
Luo Yuan threw the internal organs towards the giant lizard, initially aiming for the sides of its mouth, but he did not expect it to reach out and fiercely chomp hard on it with its giant mouth. With its neck merely stretched out, it gulped the whole bundle of meat of forty to fifty catties, defying the fact that it was still weak prior to this.
The moment it had finished eating, it went back to its sickly appearance, and laid on the ground lazily.
Luo Yuan looked at it for a while, and quickly returned to his friend.
It was definitely not a safe place, especially the fact that it was an ancient forest prior to the apocalypse.
In terms of danger, Jiangnan could be ranked as slightly dangerous, but according to the standards here, it might even be medium to highly dangerous.
Due to the massive disturbance by the transport plane previously, most of the creatures might have already fled, but as the time flew by, more creatures had definitely returned.
A pile of bonfire was burning vigorously at an open space not too far away from the transport plane.
A mutated beast with its skin already shredded, was pierced through by a wooden stick and hung onto a simple barbeque stand to be slow-cooked.
Golden liquefied fat was dripping onto the flames, further igniting the flames while it sizzled, spreading a rich and flavorful aroma.
That was a low rank mutated beast, which wandered into their grounds by itself, and was killed easily by Huo Dong with a slash.
If it was a high rank mutated beast, its muscles would have shrunk and harden while it burned, rendering it unchewable for the rest, except of course, for Luo Yuan.
They sat in a circle, talking and chatting while cautiously looking at the dark forest nearby.
Their surroundings were flickering with shadows; the branches resembled sharp claws of monsters, swaying under the dim light as though with threatening gestures.
It was their first time spending the night in the ancient forest, thus they could not help but to be spooked by this eerie experience.
“Guys, let’s make a checklist of how many provisions we have, as we might have to live in the forest for a while,” said Luo Yuan indifferently.
“We don’t have much things as we’ll be in the Reconstruction Area, we had already thrown out most of our things.” Wang Jiahui said with a heavy heart, before continuing sadly, “Things like towels, tents and others, are already gone!”
“We even threw away the salt!” Cao Lin added.
Luo Yuan’s face slightly darkened. Other equipment were not as important as salt, as it was needed to survive. It was a matter of life and death, as it was an ancient forest without any trace of human activities; it would be difficult to find even a pinch of salt here.
“For the time being, we can solve the problem by getting the iodine from the blood of mutated beasts. Besides, there should be some form of salt around here, if not, the creatures wouldn’t be able to survive. We can find rock-salt if we pay close attention to these mutated beasts,” said Commander Xia, while throwing some dried sticks of wood into the bonfire after a thought. “The issue of salt is temporarily solved. Also, about the issue of water, we should locate its source as soon as possible!”
Luo Yuan responded, “I have decided to stay here for a few days to identify the direction before we depart again!”
In fact, they did not have to stay for a few days just to get their bearings right, but nobody objected. Even Commander Xia muttered softly to himself, and was silent when he saw all the soldiers looking numb.
Losing the plane had also crushed their only hope of survival, as if they fell directly to hell from the heaven. Everyone was in despair and lost all motivation to keep going.
Then, with a light moan, Zhao Yali opened her eyes slowly, sat up and asked, “Have we reached the Construction Area? Where are we?”
Luo Yuan was expressionless for a moment, and sighed, “When you fainted because of your evolution, our plane crashed. How do you feel right now?”
Zhao Yali was stunned, and sized up her surroundings as it took awhile for everything to sink in.
The brutal reality had dampened her spirits. But as she had walked through the apocalypse, she had experienced something far worse than this. Her mental strength had been groomed to not be as weak as a common woman. She just shook her head gloomily, “I’m alright, just having a bit of a headache!”
“Did you just say that I have evolved?” She suddenly responded and asked in surprise. As she was emotionally excited, she raised her voice a few notches higher.
Suddenly, Luo Yuan could feel like a wave had scanned or passed through his body. Thus, he looked towards the dark forest quickly, checked around in detail but to no avail. Seeing that Zhao Yali was still looking at him, he nodded.
Zhao Yali also looked at the rest, and saw that they nodded slightly with mixed expressions.
Only then she was convinced with what had happened. At that moment, she felt an intense surprise in her heart, which swept away all the gloom and despair she had.
When the apocalypse began, her fiancé had died in vain, followed by her parents. Even her only and last companion, Lao Hang, was killed in front of her. The pain of losing her loved ones had broken her heart again and again, but she was still able to stay strong. It was already the best that she could do. Others might not be able to cope with such a painful experience any better than she could. These incidents had made her feel insecure, which turned her to a more reserved person eventually. In fact, these were the people who usually hungered for power, and thrived to survive.
The sudden rush of emotions had caused her tears to stream down her cheek slowly.