A building had collapsed right across the street which blocked the way. Luo Yuan observed the surroundings from the intersection. Gritting his teeth, he decided to go down another route.
The whole city had fallen beyond recognition within just a few days. Crumbled and damaged buildings were everywhere. Layers of dust covered the roads while human skeletons piled up around the roadside. A few pieces of torn clothes that were stained with dried blood could be seen fluttering in the wind.
Just as Lou Yuan and his group were walking past the skeletons, a colony of black beetles the size of a fingernail scattered out from the pile of skeletons and were gone in the blink of an eye.
A few low level mutated beasts passed by and some had stopped with the intention to hunt as their bloodshot eyes locked on to the group of humans.
An indescribable stench of rotting flesh permeated through the entire city.
It was a picture of absolute desolation!
If not for the howls from the beasts that could be heard further away, this place would certainly have been a ghost town.
Luckily, during their journey, Lou Yuan did not come across a single large creature- though that did not mean they no longer existed. A territorial aura was emitted a few blocks away. It was obvious that these creatures had divided their territories within the past few days. An oppressive atmosphere could be felt everywhere, making everyone want to just take off and run purely on instinct.
Yet because it was still some distance away, normal people could not sense it. Their senses were too weak. Among the group, only Wang Shishi could feel a hint of the aura that was emitted.
Luo Yuan would certainly have avoided this route if he had any other choice but this beast’s territory was too large, ranging from about 5 – 6 kilometer squared. If they wanted to avoid this area it would make for a far more winding route. Furthermore, the neighboring beasts would not be any better.
If Luo Yuan were to be categorized according to the mutated beast’s levels, he would only rank as light blue. With the aid of his weapon and combat skills, he could certainly battle against blue level creatures.
It was very risky for a light blue level creature to enter a blue level creature’s territory but the meditation that he had practiced was not for nothing. He could already master the manipulation of his own willpower especially after mastering his ‘Knife Skills’.
He did his best to contain his thoughts that were held deep in his heart, afraid to expose himself to the beasts. Wang Shishi was not afraid of these creatures as long as Luo Yuan was by her side. She cast her telekinesis powers and her shuttle immediately hovered over her head.
"Don’t do anything!" Luo Yuan immediately stopped her in a quiet voice. "We should cross this place as quick as possible" he added.
"What’s up?" Huang Jiahui asked and suddenly noticed that beads of sweat were already dotting Luo Yuan’s forehead. She began to tremble as she realised Luo Yuan must have discovered something frightening to summon this type of reaction.
"Boss Luo, please don’t scare me" Huo Dong said with forced a smile, attempting to lighten the mood but his voice was also trembling.
Luo Yuan looked at everyone with a grim face, "I’m sorry to tell all of you that an intimidating beast lurks around here. Even for me, running away is the only option! Everyone, please be quiet. We should quickly leave this area."
"Then… Then why didn’t we go the other way round?" Ning Xiaoran stuttered, this girl who was normally quiet was obviously horrified by the tensed situation.
"All beasts have their own territories. This might be the most dangerous area but it is also the safest route. Did any of you notice that there are low level mutated beasts all around? We’re probably considered similar if not lower rank than these creatures to the beast. If we’re lucky, maybe we won’t even attract its attention," another female spoke from the group.
Luo Yuan was a little impressed. He could see that she was also afraid but could still maintain a clear mind even when she was scared.
After she felt Luo Yuan’s gaze, Cao Ling could not help but straighten her back.
Cao Ling used to be a planning department manager. Her capabilities and social skills were great seeing that she could join the company’s higher management team from just a normal employee within five years after graduation despite fierce competition. Most importantly, she always stood out during crucial moments which left a good impression on the higher management.
Being a female during an apocalypse was a direct weakness- she had weak strength, slow speed and was not evolved. However, the competitive pressures she had felt before the apocalypse could match what she was feeling now. She would even sacrifice her body in order to survive.
Luo Yuan who had two women with him seemed to look decent and respected females. That was enough for Cao Ling. Relationships were considered a luxury for females her age. If it were not for the apocalypse, she would probably have gone on a blind date and gotten married in haste.
Sun Xiaowu did not want to be shadowed, especially by a woman this pretty. He laughed dryly, "Hopefully the beast would be full from feasting and wouldn’t want to have us as dessert."
"I should just follow the boss as I’m sure he wouldn’t let me get harmed," Chen Xianfeng laughed stiffly as he felt for the dagger by his hips which we had picked up along the way. Someone had probably left it behind amidst the chaos that had occurred.
"Since nobody has any objections, let’s keep going." Luo Yuan said after everyone was done speaking.
The streets became eerily quiet, only their footsteps and breathing could be heard. Suddenly, Luo Yuan raised his hand to give a signal. The group stopped at once as they watched Luo Yuan slowly tilt his head to listen to something. Everyone gazed at him nervously not knowing what would happen next.
Suddenly, he turned and ran! A few seconds later, he slid into an alley and accelerated his speed.
Nobody understood what was happening but no one asked as everything was happening in silence.
After a short time had passed, a dull rhythmic thud could be heard coming closer to them from a distance. The sound grew louder and louder and soon, the buildings nearby began to crumble and collapse under the quake.
Ning Xiaoran turned and saw a faint figure of a ferocious and large creature amidst the dust. She could even make out the black spikes and deformed wings on its back.
"God!" She let out a wail and quickly covered her mouth, afraid that she made too much noise. Fear quickly filled her heart, her limbs grew weak and she was about to collapse onto the ground.
"I mustn’t be afraid, I don’t want to die, Xiaoran, you can do this!" She bit her lips and quickly regained her energy as she sprinted towards the group that had already left her behind.
They ran for several minutes and finally entered the alley. Luo Yuan checked the surroundings warily and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he gave everyone who was nervous a calm smile and said, "It left! It should be hunting for food. We should be safe for now, at least for this part of the journey."
Everyone was exhausted. It was obvious that they were out of breath and could no longer run. Their energy had depleted much quicker under the influence of fear. Luo Yuan looked at his watch and allowed them to have a 5-minute break since it was still early.
The group quickly took a breather and let out a sigh of relief as they collapsed onto the ground. Ning Xiaoran, who felt as if she had just escaped death, sobbed for a while before wiping her tears away feeling embarrassed. Her clothes were old, covered with dirt and grime. In addition to the blood on her lips, her face was covered in stains from her actions earlier.
Huang Jiahui chuckled lightly and took a moist towel out from her bag, passing it to her and said, "Wipe your face."
“Thank you, thank you!” Ning Xiaoran hurriedly stood up to receive the towel and thanked her.
“This is my towel.” Wang Shishi said as she began to behave as the child she was- murmuring unhappily seeing that Huang Jiahui had mistakenly given away her towel.
Ning Xiaoran had sharp hearing and was quick to thank Wang Shishi which caught her off guard and made her blush.
Luo Yuan laughed but immediately changed his expression as he pulled his machete out. A maroon-colored lump fell onto the ground after only a strike from his blade but that thing was not dead yet! The two halves of its body began to twitch. It looked like an ant with a pair of transparent wings.
“This looks like a mutated ant.” Huang Dong went over as he saw it still struggling, “This thing has a pretty strong vitality as it didn’t die even after it was sliced in half.”
As he spoke, he subconsciously raised his foot to stomp it.
Luo Yuan did not care much but soon found that Huo Dong was all red. He was stomping on the ant forcefully but was not able to squash it as the ant’s crust was incredibly tough.
Luo Yuan was thinking of something as he raised his voice, “Lift your leg.”
Huo Dong quickly complied and raised his leg. The ant’s stinger was stuck on the sole of his shoe and almost pierced through it. If it had not been for his shoe’s insoles, the ant would have probably gotten his foot.
Huo Dong flung his foot around yet the other half of the ant’s body seems to be stuck on his shoes. He quickly asked Luo Yuan for help, “Boss…Boss Luo, can you please help me get it off?!”
“Don’t move.” Luo Yuan said quietly.
Huo Dong halted his frantic actions and before he was ready, the sole of his shoes together with the other half of the ant was sliced off.
Luo Yuan turned the sliced sole over with the tip of his machete. “The creature’s stinger probably contained a strong venom. If you don’t want your foot to rot away, it’s best to throw your shoes away. Also, don’t touch these creatures with any part of your body next time,” Luo Yuan warned him.
Huo Dong was freaked out to the point where his face had turned white as he quickly removed his shoes and threw them far away.