A shadow was running across the deserted street.
The fallen building and the flames nearby formed a perfect apocalypse scene.
Luo Yuan had nowhere to go in his anger. He could only keep running. The street was deserted, forming a grey miserable picture. He crossed street after street as he headed to the grocery store in his residential area. It took him more than ten minutes, even though he’d picked up his pace. His eyes squinted when he saw the situation at the store.
There were eight heavy trucks by its entrance, and several dozens of soldiers moving bags of food outside relentlessly.
“Thank god, they haven’t left,” Luo Yuan muttered to himself. The expression on his face was gloomy.
After looking at it for a while, he walked towards the store.
He’d barely walked a hundred meters when some of the soldiers turned in his direction in alert. One of them waved his hand and hollered, “Hold up! The store has been taken over by the military! Nobody is allowed here!”
Luo Yuan did not stop.
“Last warning! If you move forward, we’ll fire!”
The soldier turned serious while the rest of them tightened their grasp on their weapons.
Luo Yuan stopped, making the soldiers think he’d given up, before he quickened his steps and sprinted in their direction. His speed was so high, all they saw was his shadow.
“F*ck, he’s evolved! Fire!” a Second Lieutenant ordered when he saw his incredible speed.
If this had been a peaceful time, the soldiers might have hesitated upon hearing the order, but these men had just returned from the battlefield. Bullets rained down on Luo Yuan as they did what they’d been told to.
The bullets swept up sand and stones as they hit the ground, but none of them hit Luo Yuan.
It was not that the soldiers had terrible aim. They were actually not bad after having been through so many battles. It was just that Luo Yuan could sense all the fired bullets. He could endure the exertion now that his Physique had gotten stronger and he did not get nosebleeds as easily as he’d used to. He was like a rootless duckweed, dodging bullets left and right as they grazed past him.
The Second Lieutenant grew worried. Watching him get near, he raised his hand and hollered, “Everyone stop firing!”
The firing ceased at once.
This was how the strong got treated. One had to be strong to earn a conversation. Otherwise, Luo Yuan would have been fired to death before he had even gotten near.
“Are you evolved?” the Second Lieutenant asked lowly.
Luo Yuan stopped and nodded. He had already sensed that he was being targeted from three different directions following the Second Lieutenant’s signal. He checked those directions without batting an eye.
Noticing Luo Yuan’s action, the Second Lieutenant was startled. “I’ve seen people like you in the first special force, but I have never met anyone as strong as you. If it’s the food you’re after, it belongs to the government. You’re delusional if you think you can walk away from here with so much as one bag! Over our dead bodies!”
“I’m not after the food!” Luo Yuan stared coldly at the Second Lieutenant for a while before he added in a raspy voice, “I just want to know where you’re taking it!”
“This is confidential military information. You have no right to know!” The Second Lieutenant said.
“Are you preparing to pull back?” Luo Yuan asked.
“That’s confidential military information!” the Second Lieutenant forced the words out as he broke out into a sweat.
Luo Yuan grew wary as he took in the ashamed expression on the soldiers’ faces. He walked forward and said agitatedly, “Where are you going? When? Tell me!”
The Second Lieutenant took a step back, still not saying a word.
“You can’t even tell me that much? Humans are made of flesh and blood. Are you all really going to watch Hedong City fall without lifting a finger? There are millions of people, millions of innocent souls! Give everyone a way out!” Luo Yuan said emotionally.
The dozens of soldiers moving the food had already come up to them by now. It was quiet all around. After a while, a soldier suddenly took off his helmet and threw it to the ground, “Sir, just tell him. We’re already committing a sin for the next dozens of generations by doing this, why care about f*cking confidentiality?”
“Shut up!” the Second Lieutenant scolded.
“Sir, we’re all people’s soldiers. We should be finding a way out for them!” another soldier expressed his thoughts.
“Sir, tell him. My parents are still in my hometown. I don’t even know how they are, but if they knew, they’d agree with me… We’re not any different just because we’re wearing a military uniform; it’ll be hard to see our parents again after leaving home…,” a dark-skinned soldier sang as he spoke.
A lot of soldiers followed suit, singing in low voices, some of them with red eyes as they thought about their parents’ unknown fate back at home.
“Are all of you free? Have you finished moving the food? Who said you could rest? Keep moving the food!” the Second Lieutenant hollered. He knew that he could not allow this mood to spread among the platoon. These soldiers had been under a huge amount of pressure ever since hearing the huge death tolls the previous day. If they broke down, the consequences would be unimaginable. There could even be a mutiny.
Nobody moved in the platoon. A few soldiers halted when they saw that nobody else was moving.
The air seemed to have frozen.
The Second Lieutenant maintained a straight face. After a while, he sighed and told Luo Yuan quietly, “We would not have been able to last any longer… All we could do was retreat to the underground base temporarily!”
“Where’s the underground base?” Luo Yuan rushed to ask.
“In the Lanshan Area, a large site not too far from here. It could host about a million people once the construction is completed, but time has been tight and the war broke out suddenly. Only one third of the area has been completed yet. Hopefully, you’ll be able to sneak in. It’s at 12 a.m. tonight!”
“Of course it’s there!” Luo Yuan suddenly came to a realization. He remembered the construction site not far away from the residential area. The construction had never stopped ever since it had started, other than for the last few days. Construction vehicles had kept buzzing even when the mutated mosquitoes had been raging. It was all because they’d been building an underground base.
“If you agree to military recruitment, you can follow us back now and can bring up to two family members with you!” the Second Lieutenant suggested.
“Only two?” Luo Yuan asked.
“The space is limited. This is already a special treatment for evolved people!”
Luo Yuan remained silent for a while. In the end, he shook his head, “I need to think about it. I’ll take my leave now, thank you.”
“No need to thank me, I didn’t tell you anything. It’s best that you forget everything you’ve heard. Just keep it in mind,” the Second Lieutenant said coldly as he turned away.
Luo Yuan nodded and walked away shakily.
“Why are you back so late?” Huang Jiahui asked as she passed Luo Yuan a bottle of water.
Looking at Huang Jiahui’s worried expression, Luo Yuan said softly, “I went outside to check on things.”
“What’s going on outside?” her hopeful face held a hint of unease.
Luo Yuan opened his mouth, but the words got stuck in his throat.
“The bombing has quieted down. Are the mutated beasts almost wiped out in the city?” Wang Shishi asked softly.
Luo Yuan looked at her young face. He remained quiet for a moment before he said slowly, “All of you are leaving with me tonight. We can’t stay here anymore. The military can’t hold the beasts out and they’re retreating into the underground base. We’ll join them!”
Everyone was stunned. After a long while, Huang Jiahui asked sadly, “What about the food here?”
“Just leave it, no one’s gonna steal it. When the situation gets better, we can still come back and get it,” Luo Yuan said,
“Brother Luo, can everyone go to the underground base?” Huang Yueying asked timidly. She had been quiet all this time.
Luo Yuan took a glance at her. The sensitive woman had already sensed that something was wrong. Even though it would be cruel, there were only two places. If he had to choose, he could only give her up.
Luo Yuan did not say it out loud. People could do unthinkable things if they lost hope. Instead, he said, “No, there’s a quota. I can bring you all along because I’m evolved.”
Huang Yueying nodded and cast her eyes down. Her body trembled slightly.