Once he looked at the newspaper, Luo Yuan realized that there were articles about evolved people in every other page. Judging by what he read, things did not look good for the evolved.
Hedong City had been on a high-pressure policy ever since the world had started mutating, but there were still robberies happening from time to time. They only seemed to increase in time as a big portion of audacious evolved people got involved in murders and rapes, even killings of policemen and men of the armed forces.
As social security issues magnified, the government lost its patience and decided to completely wipe out these kind of people.
At least that’s what he had deduced from reading the newspaper, and it didn’t seem like reality was far off.
Luo Yuan put down the newspaper. His heart felt a little heavier.
Others would never believe that he wasn’t an evolved person and the police would definitely come knocking on his door when people realized that he was different. This made him worry because there was a real evolved person in the house. It was not that he did not approve of the government’s recruitment policy or that he was worried about being dissected for scientific purposes– only an otaku would come up with something that ridiculous.
He just didn’t want to lose his freedom.
The various regulations and unspoken rules made working in government sectors suffocating. This was also why he had never attended any civil service examination even though it would have been a piece of cake for his 13-point Intelligence.
Using his ability, he could survive without getting recruited. There was no need for him to commit himself to the government.
The fat middle-aged man did not leave right away after his haircut. Instead, he sat down next to Luo Yuan and spoke to him like they were close friends, “Let’s leave together when you’re done. That mutated earthworm scares me. We can have each other’s back.”
“Why did you come out at all if you’re scared?” Luo Yuan was curious about his attitude. If he was that afraid, then why had he left his house in the first place?
“I didn’t want to, but we don’t have any rice left at home anymore. I couldn’t let my wife and children starve!” The man rubbed his belly as he smiled wryly, “I just went out rashly. I thought there’d be nothing to be afraid of. It’s just an earthworm after all. But to be honest, I dare not go back now.”
This was when Luo Yuan noticed the bag of rice next to the couch.
“Right, so why did you come out?” The man had to be telling the truth about working in insurance. He sure could talk a lot.
“If it doesn’t even have a mouth, how can it possibly eat a person?” Luo Yuan quipped.
The man agreed, “Yeah, I don’t know what there is to be scared of. The residential area was deserted the whole morning.”
While they chatted, Luo Yuan found out that the man’s name was Huang Wei, and that both him and his wife were jobless.
Even though Hedong City was still an industrial area, the number and size of its factories could never compare to those before the mutation. The unemployment rate in Hedong City was higher than 70%. Most people were losing their jobs.
Luo Yuan’s neighborhood was still a middle to high income residential area, and most people were of a certain financial status, so they could still survive without a job. However, there were also people who didn’t have a lot of savings, and even people in debt who had to depend on relief food to get through the day.
It was almost ten by the time Luo Yuan had gotten his haircut.
Just as he was stepping out of the barbershop, a black insect about the size of a fist flew right past him.
Luo Yuan instinctively grabbed it and the insect was crushed inside his hand. He wasn’t sure if that was because of his strength or because the insect had been too fragile. Opening his palm, he found a slimy substance on it together with the insect’s carcass. He frowned in disgust.
“What is it?” Huang Wei asked curiously.
“Not sure. Just a bug. Wonder where it came from,” Luo Yuan said carelessly.
Bugs like that were common these days, even at home. He had killed multiple cockroaches the size of a palm in his own bedroom and had become immune to them. They seemed to have disappeared after his Sensory Perception had leveled up anyway.
“I have to spray insecticide every day at home, but it’s completely useless. I actually found a ‘stringed money’ about a meter long the other day while I was spring cleaning. What a scare! It took me so long to kill it.” He was obviously still feeling the aftershock.
“Stringed money?” Luo Yuan asked curiously. He had never heard that name before.
“It’s also called a house centipede. It’s similar to a regular centipede. You must have seen it before. Maybe your house has them too,” Huang Wei smirked.
As they were talking, a second insect flew by and Luo Yuan finally got a good look at it. “This looks like a mosquito.”
Huang Wei paled. “You can see that it’s a mosquito?”
“My vision has always been good. It’s a bit large, but I’m sure it’s a mosquito,” Luo Yuan said, his face completely serious. With his 13-point Dexterity, his eyes were like a high speed camera. The mosquito had been flying fast, but not fast enough to escape his eyes.
Luo Yuan could not believe it. Like all other insects, mosquitoes had also mutated, but their size was never this large. They were usually only about the size of a nail. Plus, it was easy to spot them, so most of them were killed on sight. This meant that mosquitoes had almost become extinct in Hedong City. Who would have known he’d see two of them that day, let alone that they’d be so much larger in size.
“What’s happening over there?” Huang Wei exclaimed.
A crowd had formed down the road. Between its gaps, a middle-aged woman could be vaguely seen having a seizure on the ground. Luo Yuan walked over briskly, a bad feeling bubbling up inside him.
He and Huang Wei squeezed through the crowd, Luo Yuan’s expression darkening when he saw the woman. She was swollen beyond human capacity. Her skin was almost translucent from expanding so much and she was foaming at the mouth – it was a frightening sight.
“What’s going on?” Huang Wei asked the bystanders in shock.
“You’ll have to ask him, I came later,” said someone, pointing to another man.
“Watch what you’re saying. She was just walking in front of me and then she fell down just like that and started convulsing. A lot of people saw it too,” a middle-aged man pleaded innocence, afraid he would get in trouble.
The woman’s breathing quickened and got harder as she panted like a wind box. Realizing that she was near death, Luo Yuan shouted towards the crowd, “Is anyone here a doctor?”
Seeing nobody come forward, a young man said hesitantly, “I haven’t gotten my medical degree, I can only perform some first aid.”
“Whatever, just look after her. I’ll go get my car and drive her to the hospital before it’s too late.”
“Alright!” the young man agreed.
Luo Yuan sprinted towards the residential area, trying to keep his speed as normal as possible. Then he got into his van and drove over.
“Coming through!” Luo Yuan squeezed through the crowd once again. When he got down from the van, he realized that the woman was lying motionless. The medical student stood aside forlornly as he saw Luo Yuan approach, “She’s dead,” he said, “There’s no heartbeat and she’s not breathing.”
“So fast? Did you find out what was wrong with her?” Luo Yuan was surprised.
The student shook his head, “Maybe some acute disease, but I’ve never read about such symptoms.”
“Man down!” someone exclaimed.
Someone in the crowd had fallen to the ground in a fit of spasms. At first, he was able to moan, but when his body started to swell, he lost his voice and foamed at the mouth with wide eyes.
The crowd buzzed, panic filling the atmosphere.
“It’s contagious, get away!” somebody advised before running away quickly.
The crowd dispersed at once as everyone’s expression darkened and turned scared. The medical student, who had touched the woman earlier, went pale as a sheet and ran away like crazy.