When the officers left, Luo Yuan picked up one of the boxes and examined the anti-toxic mask inside.
My God, the pesticide must be severely toxic for them to resort to this kind of protective measure.
A chemical cocktail strong enough to kill off mutated mosquitoes had to be equally deadly to humans; as the mosquitoes had evolved, their vitality and resistance to poison had also evolved by hundreds, or even a thousand times. Unless a gene-altering medicine had been developed, it was safe to say that the pesticide the officers had claimed to be harmless to civilians was complete bullshit. However, even the best biomedical laboratory would not have been able to engineer a mosquito-gene-altering medicine in such short notice – everything was just theoretical.
“Brother Luo, did I bring out too much money?” Wang Shishi asked, finally coming to her senses. She still couldn’t believe that, in her fear and haste, she had brought out most of their money, leaving nothing but small change and a few strips of gold for them. It terrified her even more that Luo Yuan was being so quiet.
Luo Yuan didn’t know how to react, but he couldn’t help but feel sorry for Wang Shishi, who seemed to be weighed down by the guilt of what she had done. “Nah, It’s alright. We can earn back that money!”
Twenty thousand may have sounded like a lot but in fact, it equaled only about two rounds of freelance hunting. Plus, they still had ten stacks of food stamps locked inside the safe in the basement. Still, twenty thousand might not have been much, but it wasn’t an amount worth spending on a bribe. Luo Yuan couldn’t completely put the blame on Wang Shishi though. Any civilian would have been obedient in the face government exerted violence – even a university student would have soiled their pants. After all, she was just a fourteen year-old girl.
Wang Shishi sighed in relief. Luo Yuan had not given her an earful, but she still couldn’t help but ache. She had just given away most of their savings for a minor bribe.
9:50 a.m. – the alarm shrieked, waking the civilians of Hedong City from the silence of slumber. Fighter jets began circling the sky above the city. As time slowly crawled to 10:00 a.m., most people had already awakened.
The rumbling of jet engines outside drew closer, vigorously thundering the air particles and making the windows vibrate to the point of nearly shattering. Luo Yuan peeked through the window and saw a large bomber jet flying in their direction; judging by how dangerously close it was to the peak of the nearest high-rise, he estimated that the jet’s altitude was no more than 300 meters. After making a routine circle above, its wingtips began pumping pesticide. Thick pumps of white gas descended from above. In almost an instant, the whole city was covered in a thick fog, visibility diminishing rapidly.
Even though he was wearing the anti-toxic mask, the pungent smell of chemicals still managed to pierce Luo Yuan’s nose. They spent the whole morning covering all door and window gaps with wet cloths, but it was not effective in keeping the fog out.
Huang Jiahui looked at Luo Yuan, insecurity showing in her eyes. He held her hand and felt how moist her palm had gotten.
He noticed the visibility in the house was not too bad, and asked in a muffled voice, “Hey, are you alright? This slight exposure shouldn’t be too harmful to us.”
Wang Shishi, on the other hand, did not look shaken. She seemed quite excited by the mist looming outside. Her young body allowed her to tolerate the gas slightly longer than the other two; she’d decided to wait until the air thickened before wearing the mask. Then she realized acting calm probably hadn’t been such a great idea – seeing Luo Yuan holding Huang Jiahui’s hand made her feel jealous. She regretted not acting scared and missing the opportunity to share the same intimacy with him.
She reached out to hold Luo Yuan’s other hand as her heart raced.
The bomber jet would not stop circling the sky. It kept releasing pesticide from above as the fog covered their whole window. Even with Luo Yuan’s eyesight, he could only see about 7-8 meters high.
Turbid yellow liquid started coagulating on the windowpane and slowly dripping bit by bit, leaving behind trails of sodium-coloured stains. A mutated mosquito the size of a child’s fist flew by in a drunken-like trance. It moved in slow random motion before eventually bumping into the window.
The windows were made of high-quality glass – other than the dark stains left by the condensation, most parts were relatively undamaged. However, due to the constant vibration the wet clothes stuffed into the gaps started falling out and the fog began to creep inside.
Luo Yuan ran quickly to reseal the gaps. That’s when the earth started shaking.
“What the… Is that an earthquake?”
All was silent as the earth began to shake. The only sound was the muffled sound of their breathing through the mask. The earthquake seemed peculiar and sporadic with its timing – one moment everything was still and the next the earth was shaking once again. The look on Luo Yuan’s face changed. He later heard that it wasn’t just the earth, but the sound of plants being torn apart as well. He paid attention to the sound and was certain that it was no earthquake, but a monster moving in the area. He couldn’t hear the monster’s cries, but he estimated it to be no more than 100 meters away.
Concrete started falling off buildings following the explosive noise – it was as loud as buildings collapsing. The sound of trees falling drew closer as the monster headed in their direction. Oblivious to the impending horror, Huang Jiahui was petrified – she just stood there shaking, her teeth grinding. She may have been confident of the relationship between her and Luo Yuan but at times like these, she couldn’t help but fear that he might go and leave her behind.
“Brother Luo, what’s happening?” Wong Shishi had lost any sliver of calmness she had in her.
“Something’s coming. We have to get to the basement. GO! NOW!”
He grabbed a flashlight and opened the door as they ran as fast as they could.
“Follow me!” Luo Yuan walked into the washroom and pushed aside the wardrobe to reveal a hatch on the floor leading to the basement. He handed the flashlight to Wang Shishi, “You two get to the basement.”
Wang Shishi was the first to walk down the steps while Huang Jiahui followed her. She hesitated. One look at his eyes and she knew – he had no intention of following them.
“It’s so dark in here, why aren’t you coming down with us?” Huang Jiahui shouted from the basement. She noticed that Huang Yuying had already made her way there.
“You stay put, I’m going to take a look!”
“Are you crazy? The air is reeking with poisonous gas! You will die! Luo Yuan, PLEASE! WAIT! COME BACK!” she shouted with tears in her eyes.
“There is a monster coming this way and if the villa gets destroyed we will all die! Don’t worry, my body is stronger than the average man’s. A slight exposure to the pesticide won’t kill me!”
“You don’t know that! What if the monster is just passing by?” Huang Jiahui cried.
“I don’t believe in luck. Stop asking me to stay! You know you’re only pissing me off!”
Huang Jiahui was stunned, the words caught in her throat.
“Brother Luo, I… I want to come with you!” Wang Shishi said. She believed that her body might able to suppress the effects of the pesticide, so she offered to aid Luo Yuan.
“What? Aren’t you afraid?”
“Of course not! As long as Brother Luo is with me, I’m not afraid of anything!”
Luo Yuan wasn’t sure what to think but he knew there wasn’t much time to lose. “Alright then! It would be helpful to have your powers to assist me.”
He figured it would be good practice for her as well. Despite how weak her powers may be, she was still able to move about 20 kilos. All she needed was to deliver a lethal attack. Considering how special her powers were, in some ways she could potentially be stronger than Luo Yuan, although obviously not in terms of brute force.
She won’t learn anything unless she engages in combat!
“Initiating E-Grade Mission: Kill the Corrosive Earthworm”
“Mission Duration: 3 hours”
“Accept / Decline”
“A BLUE RANK MONSTER?!”