The reason they stopped here was because of the giant tree in front of them which had a natural tree hole. The current standards of a big tree are vastly different from the time before the apocalypse. It was very common to see big trees which had trunks that were one to two meters thick. Only those that were three to four meters thick were considered a big tree nowadays and the tree they found had a six-meter-thick trunk! That was the biggest tree they saw along their journey.
Luo Yuan had removed all the surrounding aerial roots and then told the rest to keep a distance. He walked to the tree hole and released a force which made numerous insects and small animals run out from the hole. That place looked like a mini ecosystem as there were many kinds of insects and small animals there.
Everyone walked over to Luo Yuan after the mutated animals and insects left the tree hole. After removing some humus, the hole looked bigger- it went from two meters to four meters in diameter and formed a space of about 10 square meters. Although the space was not very big, it was enough to fit all of them.
"Flame and light can attract mutated beasts so I think we’d better avoid cooking tonight. Everyone can have some dried meats for a night… we depart immediately when the sky is bright tomorrow." Luo Yuan said carefully.
He still felt that there was something strange in the area so it was better for them not to attract any unnecessary attention for their own safety. Although Luo Yuan did not say it directly, the tone of his voice already made them feel worried.
Huang Jiahui took out the packets of dried meat and passed them around. She looked at Luo Yuan when she was passing the meat to him. She felt slightly relieved when she saw his calm expression. He was like the doctor of the team… everyone was not afraid to fall sick if he was around as he would be able to help them.
Sometimes she would think to herself… what if she did not get to meet Luo Yuan? She wondered what would happen to her now. However, she guessed that the most likely scenario was that she would be dead. Perhaps, all of them here would have died. It was just their luck to bump into Luo Yuan.
Luo Yuan took the dried meat and put a small piece into his mouth and then slowly chewed on it. Since he lost a few of his teeth, he could only chew the food using the other side of his mouth. He has not gotten used to it yet. The smoked meats were as hard as a rock and normal people might need to soak it in water before they could even attempt to eat it. Of course, he did not need it as his body was as strong as mutated beasts which also allowed him to have strong teeth. The dried meat soon became minced meat and was then swallowed.
Within 10 minutes, Luo Yuan was done with dinner. He drank all the water inside the wooden glass and when he was finished, none of them had even started to eat their dinner.
Luo Yuan used his tongue to check the area where he lost his teeth. He had felt that his gums were swollen and painful a few days ago and his teeth were in pain as well. After checking, he realized four of his new teeth had already started growing and it was incredibly fast! Three days ago, his teeth were still tightly wrapped in his gums, but now it was already protruding out. Based on his estimations, his teeth would be ready to work again in another 10-14 days.
Luo Yuan was happily surprised by that.
Normally people only have two sets of teeth in their lifetime- one when they are born and another which they have until they die. If they were to lose their second set of teeth during adulthood, it would not grow again. However, Luo Yuan seemed to have broken the rules of that theory.
"How about other parts of the body such as the limbs… are they going to grow again if they are broken?" Luo Yuan wondered.
It was very common to lose an arm or a leg during the end of the world. It has happened a lot during their battles. If he can regrow broken limbs, he would get to upgrade his survival ability instead of becoming a disabled person in the event of a severe injury.
After his dinner, Luo Yuan took out the drafted map he had been working on when the sky was still bright. There were some drawings of mountains and rivers on the map as well as a dotted line crossing over the entire map. There was one curved solid line drawn on the map all the way around the dotted line.
"These are the routes we have taken today… let’s discuss if there is anything we’ve missed out." Luo Yuan said as he pointed at the solid line.
"Gosh! We’ve only completed such a short journey even after walking the entire day?" Wang Shishi could hold back her frustration. She shouted as she looked at the curvy line, especially the last part of the route which looked like they were walking in the opposite direction.
"Traveling through the mountains is like this… it’s impossible to see just straight roads." Huang Jiahui said softly.
"If the giant lizard is strong enough, we might not need to take so many big turns. King Kong is a lot more useful!" Wang Shishi said. She liked the mischievous King Kong more than the scary lizard.
"Alright, let’s stop wasting time. Do you have any good ideas?" Luo Yuan raised his head up and asked calmly. Wang Shishi was scared and shied away from his question.
"Brother Luo, the map seems to be very accurate… there is nothing much to add. However, I feel it is not necessary to follow the dotted line if we have a rough idea of the direction we are taking. It should be fine even if we take the route slightly further away from the dotted line. More importantly, we need to leave the area as soon as possible. We will find human footprints once we get out from the mountain and we might be able to find a map." Commander Xia looked at Luo Yuan and said.
By addressing Luo Yuan as ‘Brother’, the Commander could maintain his status and ego while reserving his power in the group. However, he has been influenced by the other members over a long period of time and began to address Luo Yuan as ‘Brother Luo’. It was a complicated emotional change.
In fact, Luo Yuan was not very dominant but his incredible performances made the rest have some difficulties being calm when interacting with him. Sometimes, their heartbeats would speed up when he frowned and they would start sweating or feel numb when he stared at them slightly longer than normal. Other than the psychological effect, his strong will is also one of the influencing factors. Even if he did not use his will intentionally, the rest did not even dare to think of rebelling.
Luo Yuan pondered and said, "You’re right, I was too fussy. We should leave this place first."
Luo Yuan looked at the rest and asked, "Any better ideas?"
Cao Lin held her fists tightly and said bravely, "Since we are not going to stick to the original route, I feel we should follow the river flow. That way we won’t have to worry about where to get water and we know that the river flows to a lower area. Thus, we don’t have to make any detours and it should be faster. The most important thing is that the water always flows to lower areas so we definitely won’t lose our direction if we follow the river."
Luo Yuan pondered again and said, "That’s a good idea, but there will be many mutated beasts around the river. It’s too dangerous if we simply follow the river."
Luo Yuan then said, "It’s quite late now, let’s sleep."
"Thanks, Brother Luo." Huo Dong said as he tried to please him.
Luo Yuan did not respond but instead got up from the ground. He pulled out his Zhanmadao and inserted it into the ground in front of the entrance and then sat down with his legs crossed over. He then closed his eyes. The night was finally here.