“Hi Mr. Luo, I’ve heard of you! My name is Hu Lianqing, and I’m a fire based evolved human. You can call me Mr. Hu!” Hu Lianqing sounded full of excitement. He looked like he was meeting his idol.
“My name is Xiao Baihong, and I’m a metal based evolved human. My friends call me Iron Flask!” said Xiao Baihong with a laugh as he scratched his head dumbly.
“My name is Shen Jixing, and my power is Air Shock. It’s a pleasure to work with you,” Shen Jixing said calmly, yet arrogantly.
Luo Yuan smiled as he nodded. Shen Jixing reminded him of Lin Xiaoji. They looked like a similar kind of person.
“Little Shen’s ability isn’t bad at all, but he’s still a long way from reaching level-5. Hi, Boss Luo. My name is Li Qingqing, and I’m a mysterious evolved human. I didn’t realize that you were so young!” said the only woman in the group. She seemed mesmerized by Luo Yuan. She looked like she was interested in him, but unfortunately, her looks were below average. Apart from her nice body, there was nothing attractive about her.
“My name is Peng Guohua, and I’m a flesh based evolved human. I’m an expert in defense. It’s a pleasure to be your teammate,” said a laughing hunk.
Luo Yuan glanced at him. He was tall and muscular like a gorilla. He gave the impression that he was extremely strong, but instead of coming off as aggressive, he actually looked like an honest person.
Luo Yuan frowned. He had sensed a hint of madness and distortion in his laugh, a vibe that hinted that he was insane. That was pretty common though. Living through the cruel apocalypse, oppression and darkness were the only themes the world offered. Everyone more or less had some sort of mental illness, especially those working in the military. Luo Yuan did not think about it any further.
Xu Zhiqiang encouraged them once again, “Considering that this mission is very tricky and the circumstances are very unusual, besides the victim’s pension, which is indispensable, I would like to make an exception for you. This time we will have to turn in 30% less than we usually do, and Mr. Luo’s portion will be given by the superior. I think the superior won’t deny such a request.”
There was something hidden between the lines of that last sentence, but besides Luo Yuan, no one else noticed it. There was joy on their faces. Luo Yuan was listening to the rest calculate how much they would get at the end of the mission. Only then did he realize that before the evolved people headed out on a mission, they had to turn in 50% of their loot. Afterward, they had to split the loot with their teammates. What they got, in the end, was pathetically little.
Compared to the filthy rich front-line soldiers, evolved people were just a bunch of poor wretches. Of course, if they compared themselves to common civilians, they were a lot better off.
After hearing the good news, the happy team continued its journey. Xu Zhiqiang approached Luo Yuan and asked softly in complete seriousness, “What do you think?”
“No doubt, the city was burned by a fire based mutated beast. I can’t identify its attributes, but one thing is for sure. It must be hard to deal with,” said Luo Yuan, covering the whole truth. He knew that if they knew how terrifying this mutated creature actually was, they would probably lose any will to fight.
To him, these people were the bait that would lure the super creature out of hiding. However, his attributes and confidence were not the same as they had been before, and Luo Yuan knew very well that one small mistake against a super creature could cost him his life. Perhaps he was being selfish. Even without Luo Yuan, the team would still have carried out the mission on their own, despite their bad odds. The only thing he could do was kill that mutated creature as fast as possible and save as many people as he could.
Xu Zhiqiang nodded in concern. There was an oppressive atmosphere in the area, and he felt as if it was smothering him. Suddenly, a sense of remorse rose inside him, but he managed to suppress the feeling. He turned around and asked softly, “May I know what level of attributes you have?”
“Level-5, I think. Maybe even more than that. I just arrived at the reconstruction area, so I haven’t been tested properly.”
Xu Zhiqiang looked at him. Unfortunately, there was no expression on Luo Yuan’s face, so he could not analyze him. Just as he was about to question him further, something happened.
“Leader Xu, Mr. Luo, there’s a gigantic hole up ahead! Should we keep going?”
As they’d been talking, they had fallen far behind everyone, and the people in front had gone into the cargo terminal hall.
“Let me take a look at it!” Xu Zhiqiang said, walking towards the hole quickly.
Luo Yuan followed him. The cargo terminal hall was a large area of over 10,000 square meters. There were piles of container boxes everywhere. Obviously, there had not been enough time to move all the cargo when the worm tide had struck, as there was half a warehouse worth of cargo in there. The hole was in one of the corners.
Luo Yuan took a look at it. It was approximately 100 square meters and 10 meters deep, and it was linked to the train tracks underground. It was dark inside, and they felt like there could be monsters coming out of it at any time. It gave everyone a chill.
Luo Yuan stepped onto the ground hard, whipping up fine, carbide-filled sand. The signs of desertification there were obviously worse than in the surrounding area.
“There’s a train track under the hole. The mutated creature should be in there. Let’s look for a way in,” Xu Zhiqiang said seriously.
The train track was more than 10 meters under the ground, so no ordinary person could jump in just like that. However, due to the collapse of the building, a big amount of concrete had been stacked together, forming a slope that led underground. This was not difficult for a bunch of evolved people by any means.
They hopped into the giant underground tunnel swiftly. The place was airtight, so the temperature in the tunnel was obviously higher. It was close to 80 degrees, so it felt like they were entering an oven. Apart from Luo Yuan and the guy named Hu Lianqing, who were not affected because they were both fire based evolved humans, the rest were dripping in sweat and their faces were red.
As a fire based evolved human, such conditions were nothing for Hu Lianqiang. Luo Yuan had survived thanks to the plasma undergarment he was wearing. Although he already knew it was equipped to protect him against most energy attacks, and heat was a source of energy, the effect still exceeded his expectations.
Except for the burning sensation on the parts of his body that were exposed, he was otherwise unaffected by the heat. As he was quietly folding his sleeves, he noticed that his equipment was blinking with a dim fluorescent light. Compared to the light he had seen in the morning, the brightness had increased significantly. Apparently, his equipment could not just block out the heat, but also absorb its energy at the same time.
He pushed down his sleeves and gripped his sword firmly. In such a sealed space, the existence of the super creature could not be concealed anymore. It was as if it was a natural disaster. It felt like there was a black cloud smothering them, filling them with boundless fear in that dark space.
Barely a few steps later, the dim light of the tunnel disappeared. The place became pitch black. If it wasn’t for the glow sticks that were scattered around on the ground along the way, Luo Yuan might not have been able to see clearly. His eyes could not radiate light after all. Vision required the reflection of light. In that sealed underground space, there was not even the slightest trace of light.
“What do you guys think it is? A worm or a monster?” Xiao Baihong asked slowly, his voice shaking.
Nobody mocked him for his trembling voice. As a matter of fact, except for Luo Yuan, everyone else looked afraid.
“Shut up! Don’t make any noise!” Xu Zhiqiang said in frustration.
Silence filled the tunnel, until all they could hear was their own footsteps and pounding hearts. The gravel occasionally falling from the holes nearby scared them.
The tunnel was broad. There were four train tracks stretching from left to right. They were different from usual train tracks as they remembered them. The distance between the tracks was very long. Each gap was approximately two meters away from the next, and the tunnel was about 20 meters wide and six meters tall.
Luo Yuan noticed that there was a deep scratch with some kind of gelatinous liquid on the wall on the left side of the tunnel.
It seemed like this creature had been separated from its tribe and gotten injured, thus getting forced to stay there.
Luo Yuan was relieved. In any case, an injured mutated beast would be much easier to deal with compared to a healthy mutated beast.
When they reached a corner of the tunnel, they all stopped moving at the same time. It was as if they had turned into stone; they could not move their bodies at all. An intense fear made their hearts almost stop beating. There was a light shining in the distance. In that dim light, a gigantic creature appeared before them, exuding an immense pressure. It had a pair of flame-shaped pincers with long hair, and it was curling right on the train tracks. From the look of it, it had to be only slightly smaller than the tracks. On its body, there was a pair of long, gold-gridded wings similar to a cicada. Its texture was like gold, and there was a sting as long as its whole body on its tail. It was black, and its look alone gave them goosebumps.
It was lying on the ground, not moving, its body glowing as the brightness changed with its movement. Although it was lying down, it was still more than five meters tall. Its back touched the top of the tunnel, almost blocking the entire space. Although they were looking at it from a distance, it still looked extremely intimidating.