The white rice on the surface was quite clean, but the rest had for the most part been stained by green beetle bodily fluids. The grains had also been mixed with green beetle skeletons scraps, which made them utterly disgusting. Luo Yuan wanted to throw them all away but he was stopped by Huang Jiahui who felt that it wasn’t right to waste food.
The trunk of the Volkwagen Santana was not big enough to fit everything, so Luo Yuan pushed down the back seat to make space for the supplies. The car was completely full.
“Alright, let’s go!” Luo Yuan got into the driver’s seat.
Huang Jiahui rode shotgun with Wang Shishi sitting on her lap. When they took their seats, Luo Yuan started the engine. He drove to the entrance of the district, and then turned back and took a look around the area, which was almost in ruins. It suddenly occured to him that he may no longer be able to come back.
There were more people walking down the street. They had just been bombarded with a barrage of weapons, and some of them looked happy to be alive while others were crying loudly, seeing corpses of green beetles lie everywhere around the devastated city.
Luo Yuan felt that the scene was both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, but he could no longer blend in. He remained silent while he drove on slowly. Not long after, he saw a guard rank green beetle near a dilapidated roadside café.
Its stomach had been blasted open and disgusting liquid was dripping from a wound the size of a table, forming a large pool of sticky fluid on the ground. The formidable insect was still trying to stay alive, flapping hard its only wing and creating a strong wind that almost blew the café tables away. It was struggling to stand up, but without a complete set of limbs and wings, its struggles proved pointless.
Luo Yuan just looked at it while he continued to drive.
Even though it was badly injured, the fierce insect would still be able to kill him despite his experience killing one of its kind.
Besides, he knew that he had only succeeded by pure luck. Considering luck might not be on his side every time, it would be very risky to fight this fierce organism. If he decided to, he would have to avoid any mistakes because his body defense was too weak. The guard rank green beetle could defend itself from bullet attacks, but all it would take for Luo Yuan to die would be one shot.
The road started to vibrate slightly and a roaring engine noise came from afar.
At the crossroads, they saw five armored cars and three large trucks rumbling. Luo Yuan turned the steering wheel and gave way.
There were about seven people loading heavy machine guns onto the trucks. They looked towards Luo Yuan solemnly.
The group was obviously on cleaning duty as Luo Yuan could see that several of the trucks, which were more than 10 meters long, were carrying a guard rank green beetle.
Seeing it made him get lost in thought. Other than collecting the guard rank green beetles for research purposes, their main purpose had to be to produce more evolved men. The human evolution percentage was small, only one in a thousand. However, if the army cardinal number was one hundred thousand, then the evolved men in the army had to be about a hundred. If the number was a million, then there would be a thousand evolved men.
In fact, the odds could be even higher than that.
The general public’s disgust in eating raw green beetle was definitely not an issue in the army. Discipline and obedience had already been engraved deep into the men’s souls. Therefore, he had no doubt that, given an order from their superior, they would squeeze those sick things into their mouths and swallow them without hesitation.
He suddenly felt scared as he realized that he was not truly ready to face the end of the world. Even though he knew these things could give him a chance to evolve, he still insisted on not touching them because he found them disgusting.
“Why aren’t you driving?” Huang Jiahui did not want to talk to him, but she could not help it when she saw that Luo Yuan had stopped for such a long time.
“Finally, I’m convinced of one thing,” Luo Yuan said brightly when he recovered.
“What are you talking about?” Huang Jiahui asked. She was too curious not to.
“Would you eat a green beetle if you knew there was something in it that would provide you with a chance to evolve?” Luo Yuan asked as he started the engine and drove towards the junction.
“Evolve? Are you kidding me?” Huang Jiahui said scornfully. She didn’t go online that often, nor was she in possession of any classified information, so she didn’t know anything about the existence of the evolved man.
“I know about the evolved man. It’s everywhere in the internet,” said Wang Shishi.
“Does the evolved man really exist?” Huang Jiahui inquired doubtfully.
“Do I look like I’m kidding?” Luo Yuan said while he drived.
“Then of course I would eat a green beetle. Only an idiot wouldn’t eat it,” Huang Jiahui said indifferently. She did not believe Luo Yuan. What he was saying seemed too absurd to her to be true.
“Brother Luo, I want to eat one too!” said Wang Shishi in a low voice.
“We can have as much as we want later. We’ll eat until we’re are so full that we can’t eat anymore,” said Luo Yuan with a mysterious smile on his face.
Several ambulances were driving over, followed by more emergency vehicles arriving one after the other.
A few minutes later, Luo Yuan pulled up in front of a hotel. The four-floor building was the one in the best condition around the area.
He opened the door and got out of the car. The glass door was in shatters and the ground floor was covered in thick dust, indicating that the hotel had been closed down for some time now.
“Let’s stay here. We can choose any room we want,” Luo Yuan said as he walked inside and took a look.
Huang Jiahui walked in as well. “Isn’t it odd?” she said, “What if the owner comes over later?”
“This is a hotel. If the owner comes, we’ll just pay. Considering its condition, he won’t charge us much,” Luo Yuan laughed.
Huang Jiahui did not say much after that.
The two of them found a luxury suite on the third floor and started to carry in their belongings. By the time they were done, it was already noon. Huang Jiahui had just gone into the bathroom when he heard her fretful voice.
“There’s no water supply anymore?”
“No water supply? But there was one this morning!” Luo Yuan looked gloomy, but he wasn’t that surprised. “I’ll go look for the main valve downstairs and check whether it has been switched off.”
He headed downstairs quickly. He had to search for more than 10 minutes before he found the valve inside the storeroom on the first floor. He was disappointed to find out that it was open. He walked out of the hotel and towards the already closed down restaurant just across the street.
He walked into the kitchen and turned on the tap water. “Crap.” The water pipe made a sound but no water flowed out.
Luo Yuan walked back to the hotel gloomily.
“There’s no water supply! Not in the restaurant across the street either!” Luo Yuan flopped down on the sofa in disappointment. “The bombing today was too intense. Maybe the water supply was also affected. Luckily we still have about ten bottles of mineral water. We can no longer stay in Donghu City, though. We have to move somewhere else.”
Huang Jiahui sighed and sat down, a scowling expression on her face. “Move where?” she asked.
Luo Yuan thought for a while before he said, “Let’s go to Hedong City. As a capital city, there should be at least one group of army troops there. The conditions will be a lot better.”
When Luo Yuan was calm, he could be very good at convincing others. Huang Jiahui felt reassured. “Alright, you decide then,” she said.
“We’re leaving for Hedong City tomorrow morning!” Luo Yuan decided. “You got enough gas for the car, right? We don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
“Gas won’t be a problem. As long as the car doesn’t break down.”
Luo Yuan frowned.
Huang Jiahui rushed to add, “Hedong City is about 100 kilometers away from Donghu City, and this Volkswagen Santana 2000 is maintained quite nicely, so it should be alright.”
“That’s good then, or else we’d have to pick up another car. Everything’s a mess now, so I don’t know who we would buy one from. Let’s eat something. Get the bag of bread. We’ll just have that today.” Luo Yuan touched his stomach. He had been in an intense mode all day, so he had not felt like eating although he’d had the bag of the bread. As a result, he was starving.
Huang Jiahui stood up to get the bag from the living room, but she was stopped by Luo Yuan. “Wait, let’s not eat right away. I’m worried you might both vomit. Let me get something from downstairs.”
Luo Yuan walked out.
Both Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi were confused and felt like something bad was about to happen.
“Sister Huang, what’s Brother Luo going to do?” Wang Shishi asked curiously.
“I don’t know. But I have a feeling it’s not something good,” Huang Jiahui said as she tried to look calm.
They waited for about 30 minutes before Luo Yuan finally came back. He was holding a piece of green beetle exoskeleton in his hands. Judging by the color of the exoskeleton, it had to belong to a guard rank green beetle. Luo Yuan had searched around the area, but that was all he had managed to find.
According to the identification technique, the probability of evolution was the same for both the regular green beetle and the guard rank green beetle. This vague description could be inaccurate, though. For example, the probability of three in a thousand, seven in a thousand and even ten in a thousand could all be the bare minimum, but their sizes were entirely different and that difference could have a huge impact.
Luo Yuan believed that the probability to evolve by eating a guard rank green beetle was stronger than that of eating a regular green beetle. But even if the probability proved to be the same, he would not suffer much of a loss.
Luo Yuan put the exoskeleton on the table. It made a loud snapping sound.
Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi suddenly recalled what Luo Yuan had said in the car. Both their faces turned green as they shook their heads.
Luo Yuan looked at the two of them retreating. He believed that they had to eat because they had already agreed to it. He had to eat too. After all, it would be more fair if everyone suffered together.
Like a salesman, Luo Yuan tried to convince them, “I have already cleared all the inner organs and bodily fluids. It’s only the muscles left. It’s extremely nutrient-rich, way better than any supplement in the world. Plus, it will also give you a small chance to evolve. Even if it doesn’t though, it will still enhance all your body functions.”
“Huang Jiahui, would you like to have a superpower and still survive even after all mankind has perished?”
“Wang Shishi, I know you always feel insecure. Would you like to change and not be afraid anymore?”
“Human life is no longer that valuable. Do you know how many people were killed just today? It must have been more than one hundred thousand. If we hadn’t been lucky enough to hide in the underground parking area, we would have died too. But the war isn’t over yet. We might have been able to survive today, but what about tomorrow? It’s worth to suffer a little now if it means that we can get the power to protect ourselves.”
Wang Shishi listened to him as she clenched her fists. She felt her blood boil and her eyes sparkle. “Yes, I…I want to become stronger, Brother Luo. I’ll eat.”
Huang Jiahui was also brimming with emotion. “I’ll eat too, I’ll get a wok now!” she said excitedly.
Luo Yuan gave them an odd smirk as he said lightly, “Why would we need a wok? That’s too much trouble. Plus, this thing has to be eaten raw, or it will lose its effect.”
Huang Jiahui looked terrified. She stumbled a few steps back, her eyes were widening. She looked at the ivory white muscles on the green beetle exoskeleton, then back at Luo Yuan. She swallowed a mouthful of saliva before she said in confusion, “Eat…eat raw?”
Wang Shishi had turned pale. She felt sick to her stomach, and she suddenly covered her mouth and rushed into the bathroom.