Chapter 47: The bone gnawing worms
Mo Ye was on a corner of the table. He lowered his head to sniff the plate in front of Zhou Yu. Then he raised his paw to hold a spoon and bring it to Zhou Yu.
“Does Mo Ye think there’s no problem with the food?” Wu Yun asked.
“Yes.” Zhou Yu nodded and leaned down to eat the spoonful of food. When the others saw it, they began to lift their chopsticks to eat, too.
“Shit, why does it taste like something poured out of a can then mashed into pulp?” Wu Yun shook his head. “Isn’t there a cook in the observation station?”
Gradually, voices started to grow louder around them. It wasn’t as cold as before, but there was still a strange atmosphere in the base, which Li Qian could vaguely feel.
He kicked Wu Yun under the table.
“Can you tell me what’s going on?”
Wu Yun sighed, then whispered, “Don’t you find Professor Lu’s reactions strange? Professor Lu is a researcher. Any researcher here should be very surprised and curious to see Mo Ye, like Dr. Carlos. Even if they were afraid of an A rank organism like Mo Ye, they would still want to steal some glances at him. But Professor Lu isn’t like that. It’s like he’s afraid of being seen through by Mo Ye.”
“I’m a botanist like Professor Lu. But when Professor Lu saw me, he didn’t come up to exchange greetings or any research discoveries with me, as if he didn’t know me at all. This is not normal.” Zhou Qing said.
“And even if they did go outside for sampling purposes, how could he send out more than two-thirds of the guards protecting the observation station? Doesn’t Professor Lu have any basic common sense?” Zhou Yu looked at Li Qian coldly. “Li Qian, I need you to find a way to hack into the surveillance system and check what happened here recently. If we don’t clear up these uncertainties, Wu Yun and I will not be able to leave you here at the observation station.”
Han Li nodded. “I also think it’s not normal for there to be only three guards in the entire observation station.”
Li Qian grew nervous. When everyone else explained their thoughts, he also felt that there were many points of suspicion.
“I understand. If I want to hack into their surveillance cameras, I’ll be under suspicion, so I need to be in a place where I can connect to a computer.”
“Then we’ll at least need a laboratory. How about this: after dinner, I’ll tell Professor Lu that I have research I need to conduct and I want Li Qian to accompany me to the lab.” Zhou Qing said.
“I want everyone to gather together, especially the guards. No matter what happens, Professor Lu’s side doesn’t have much manpower, while we have the advantage in numbers. If we’re scattered, it’ll be easier to be attacked separately.” Wu Yun said.
Zhou Yu nodded in agreement.
“Han Li, you stay here. You have the radio for medical staff, we’ll contact you through that.”
“Okay.” Han Li nodded.
After lunch, Zhou Qing asked Professor Lu to borrow one of the labs here.
“Li Qian and I designed a system to study plant samples. When we left the base, the designs for the system were only half complete. As we were having our meal just now, Li Qian and I had another discussion and we thought up of several new ideas that we want to implement right away.”
“Of course, of course! Such a system exists? How interesting! I’ll take you to the lab!”
Professor Lu led Zhou Qing and Li Qian out of the dining hall. Wu Yun and Zhou Yu followed behind them. Mo Ye stayed behind in the dining area to look after the others.
When they got to Professor Lu’s lab, Professor Lu opened the first set of doors through a fingerprint lock. He turned to face Wu Yun and Zhou Yu and said, “Are you going inside the lab too? This doesn’t seem to be in compliance with Juli Corp’s rules…”
Professor Lu was right in that regard. In general, guards were not allowed to enter the laboratories, which contained classified research.
“That’s okay, we were just curious.” Wu Yun waved his hands and blocked in front of Zhou Yu. Zhou Yu smoothly stuffed his gun into Zhou Qing’s hands.
As Li Qian walked up to the second door, he looked back in Wu Yun’s direction. Wu Yun spread out his hands, meaning that he hadn’t had a chance to give him his gun.
When both doors closed, trapping only Zhou Qing, Li Qian and Professor Lu in the laboratory, Li Qian started to grow nervous.
Li Qian sat down and tensely started up the computer. He typed in the code as fast as he could. While tapping on the keyboard, he nervously watched Professor Lu’s every move. At the same time, Zhou Qing deliberately stood in front of Professor Lu’s line of sight and leaned over the lab bench, as if he was casually discussing some research ideas with him.
Professor Lu smiled and listened to him carefully with interest. But Li Qian knew that he wasn’t actually listening at all and that Zhou Qing was deliberately making himself look very excited. What was funnier was that Zhou Qing had recited a foreign botany paper word-for-word, yet Professor Lu was completely unresponsive.
This further confirmed Zhou Qing’s suspicions that there was something wrong with Professor Lu.
At this time, Li Qian had cracked into the surveillance system and was accessing the surveillance footage from a few days ago. He put it in fast forward mode, only looking for places were something went wrong.
The time was yesterday at 3:45 in the afternoon, and the location was that very lab. What Li Qian saw made his pupils shrink and his fingers freeze over the keyboard.
Professor Lu was looking at something very carefully through the microscope. Another researcher in a white lab coat came in from behind him. Although his expression couldn’t be seen clearly, he had a stooped back and a lowered head. His posture looked abnormal, but Professor Lu was entirely unaware of it.
The researcher patted Professor Lu on the back. Just as Professor Lu turned around, the researcher suddenly spat out a creature with segmented limbs, similar to a worm.
In abject horror, Professor Lu tried to avoid it, but the worm had already clung onto his face and it quickly forced itself into his body!
Professor Lu started to struggle, but the researcher pressed down on Professor Lu’s shoulders with extraordinary strength. Professor Lu fell to the ground and fought to pull out the worm with both hands. His face turned red as he resisted it with all he had. Meanwhile, the researcher seemed to lose all strength and he collapsed to the ground, both hands supporting himself on the floor as he stared unwaveringly at Professor Lu.
He stared until the worm completely crawled into Professor Lu’s mouth and squirmed down his throat. Professor Lu’s body shook violently, his limbs were twisting as if something was traveling through his body and breaking the bones that held him together.
Then the researcher’s skin came peeling off as if his flesh and blood had been torn apart. The ground was dyed red.
Li Qian resisted the urge to vomit. He sliced out that portion of the video and sent it to Zhou Yu’s communication device.
Ten minutes later in the video, Professor Lu stood up and methodically cleaned up the researcher’s corpse and the blood on the ground. There was a slight smile on his face, disconcerting enough to send shudders down one’s spine.
Right then, the communication device around Zhou Yu’s wrist beeped outside the lab. He received a video clip, and although the screen was tiny, what had transpired was obvious. His expression clouded.
“Shit! It’s the bone gnawing worm!”
“What worm?” Seeing Zhou Yu’s expression, Wu Yun knew that the situation was serious. He immediately ordered the other guards to protect the researchers in the dining hall, and to under no circumstances allow anyone else in the observation station to approach them.
If they wanted to enter the lab, then they would have to wait until Li Qian hacked into the system and opened the two doors.
Zhou Yu quickly assembled his carry-on gun. Together with Wu Yun, they held up their weapons and pointed them to the door of the laboratory.
Li Qian was nervously inputting codes to take control of the guarded entranceway. He glanced up at Professor Lu and found that he was slightly bending down. His face was getting closer and closer to Zhou Qing, just like when he had been attacked by his own researcher, but Zhou Qing didn’t know about the impending crisis. Li Qian had no time to input the rest of the code, he abruptly stood up and pulled Zhou Qing over.
Just then, a large worm with thick segments suddenly burst out of Professor Lu’s mouth!
Zhou Qing eyes opened wide in shock. He narrowly avoided it and fell on top of Li Qian.
Li Qian’s internal organs were being squeezed out as he shouted, “Shoot! Zhou Qing, shoot it!”
The worm Professor Lu had spat out quickly shrank back inside. Professor Lu’s smile became menacing.
He walked up to Zhou Qing then lowered his head with his mouth open, looking as if he was about to spit out the worm again.
Zhou Qing took out his gun but found that he hadn’t unlocked the safety. It was too late!
Li Qian pushed Zhou Qing off of him. The worm was now coming straight at Li Qian!
Zhou Qing, who fell to the side, could only stare, wide-eyed, at what was about to happen. A voice in his mind rang out, “Don’t reject me.”
At that moment, a force came rushing out of his brain and along his line of sight like a rushing torrent. The world became still in his eyes and time slowed. The giant worm seemed to explode from the inside, its guts splattering everywhere.
“Ah—Ah—” Li Qian closed his eyes tight and waved his hands around while screaming.
Zhou Qing sat down to the side blankly, his hands still wrapped around the gun.
The mess of flesh and blood seemed to have been deliberately arranged so that it did not touch Zhou Qing and Li Qian at all.
“Next time, remember to learn how to use a gun from your brother.” The familiar yet elegant and gentle voice in Zhou Qing’s mind rang out.
Was he the S rank organism that Zhou Qing had met when he first entered Nibelungen? Had he been following Zhou Qing and watching him all this time? Or did he only come to him starting from the first time he left the base? Where was he hiding?
Zhou Qing was expecting that voice to call out to him again, but it seemed to disappear completely from his life. Everything was quiet, except for Li Qian’s panicked cry.
Zhou Qing quieted his heart and came to Li Qian’s side. He pressed down on Li Qian’s shoulders. “Li Qian! Li Qian! Open your eyes! It’s fine now, let’s get the two doors open, quickly!”
Li Qian snapped out of it. He realized that he had been screaming for a while already. If he had been attacked, then it would have been over by now.
He looked at Professor Lu, who had fallen to the ground, and was totally dumbfounded. “What… What happened?”
“Probably when he attacked me the first time and didn’t succeed, he self-destructed the second time!” Zhou Qing squeezed out such an explanation.
Of course, Li Qian didn’t want to stay there for a second longer, so he immediately entered code into the computer to open both doors.
When the doors opened, both Wu Yun and Zhou Yu barged in with guns blazing. Seeing Professor Lu on the ground, Wu Yun asked, “He’s… dead? “
Zhou Yu’s expression grew serious. “We’re leaving, now. Don’t forget that there were three guards and two researchers with Professor Lu. It’s very likely that there’s something wrong with them too!”
This strangeness of the observation station was so obvious that newcomers like Wu Yun and Zhou Yu could feel it. As for the original employees, there was sure to be something wrong with most of them, too. They had to quickly hurry back and tell the others to leave as soon as possible.
Wu Yun did not put down his gun but raised it up to defend Zhou Qing and Li Qian in the front. After Zhou Yu followed up behind them and the group of four walked out of the lab.
But as soon as they got out, they saw the three guards coming towards them. Both ends of the hallway were sealed. Unless Li Qian returned to the lab and opened them using the computer, they couldn’t leave.
“Hey! What happened? Where is Professor Lu?” Asked the captain of the guards.
“In the lab.” Wu Yun replied indifferently, but he didn’t lower his gun.
Although the guards all look like they don’t know what had happened, the more time dragged on, the stranger their attitude seemed. After all, Wu Yun and Zhou Yu were holding guns, which showed how dangerous the situation was. But even so, they did not draw their guns, as if they wanted to ease the tension. This was not in line with a normal reaction from the guards.
“I’ll go check on him. What did you do to him?” The team leader saw that Wu Yun and Zhou Yu had no intention of relaxing their guards, so he finally pulled out his gun and inched up to the lab.
Although there were four of them, Zhou Qing and Li Qian had no combat abilities to speak of, while there are three guards opposing them, making it three verses two. The other two would drag them down, so Wu Yun and Zhou Yu were at a disadvantage.
“Don’t move.” Wu Yun pointed his gun at the captain of the guards.
As a seasoned veteran, Wu Yun knew that if the captain entered the lab, and if his teammates were to split up and face him and Zhou Yu from the two opposite sides, then they would be able to attack them on three separate fronts. Wu Yun and Zhou Yu can’t win with just the two of them, so they had to keep the guards at bay at the left and right ends of the hallway, which was the most favorable position for them.
“What are you trying to do? Did you kill Professor Lu?” The captain also loaded up his gun.
Three guns were aimed at them. The atmosphere was so tense that it was suffocating. Li Qian gulped and Zhou Qing’s back was sweating.
The air was chilly yet also dry enough to crack. However, Wu Yun and Zhou Yu both looked calm.
Wu Yun was only facing the captain, while Zhou Yu faced two of the guards. He mentally played out how to hit them both in the shortest time possible.
The captain of the guards slowly moved towards Wu Yun, step by step.
Wu Yun instantly fired a shot. The bullet swiped the captain’s cheek and echoed as it hit the entrance of the hallway junction. Li Qian’s shoulders hunched in.
Wu Yun wasn’t sure if there was something wrong with the guards, so he didn’t dare risk killing them rashly.
“I’ll really shoot you if you come any closer. I think I can shoot faster than you.” Wu Yun said coldly.
The captain of the guards was frozen in place and did not move forward again.
“Even if you want to shoot me, please tell me what you did to Professor Lu and why.” The captain’s finger was also on the trigger. The outcome of this confrontation was likely to hurt both sides.
“Did you really not find anything abnormal about Professor Lu? There are bone gnawing worms in his body.” Zhou replied.
“What? What is that?” The captain showed a lifeless expression.
“Are you still going to keep pretending? Have the other people in the observation station already become food for the bone gnawers?”
“I’m not! I really didn’t know. Professor Lu told us that they all went outside the observation station to take samples. He’s the director of the observation station, how could he lie to us?!” The captain of the guards slowly put down his gun and turned to face his two team members, signaling to them to put down their guns as well.
He raised up both hands and walked in Wu Yun’s direction, but Wu Yun kept the muzzle of his gun aimed at him.
The captain’s eyes expressed that he didn’t really hadn’t known about it.
Just when Wu Yun was also starting to doubt him, the captain bowed down and covered his chest, as if in pain.
Wu Yun turned his head to see what was wrong with him. Behind him, Li Qian shouted, “Watch out—”
Wu Yun barely had time to respond. From the captain’s mouth, a huge bone gnawer was being dislodged. The slimy sound was sickening. Wu Yun’s eyes were wide open, clearly reflected in the gaping mouth of the bone gnawer, even down to its larynx. He was about to be swallowed up.
But the body moved faster than the brain, and he pulled the trigger, the bullet going down the bone gnawer’s throat and ripping into its interior.
The ejected bone gnawer abruptly fell down less than a centimeter away from the tip of Wu Yun’s nose.
Wu Yun’s heart was about to leap out of his chest.
But the problem Zhou faced was even more serious. The two guards bent down at the same time and spit out the bone gnawers.
Zhou Qing, who was behind Zhou Yu, was currently hoping that the S rank organism that had helped him before would use his miraculous powers again, but it remained empty in his mind. He wanted to knock aside Zhou Yu and block in front of him.
Zhou Yu fired and hit one of them, but he was clearly out of time.
Just as Zhou Yu was about to be hit by the other bone gnawer, he entertained the thought that he would finish himself with one shot when it entered his body.
But he didn’t expect his body would act outside of his control as if it was being manipulated by an outside force. His actions were several times faster than before. It was completely beyond his brain’s capabilities to react to himself moving his gun. He simply pulled the trigger at the bone gnawer who came at him with perfect timing.
Zhou Yu leaned back just enough so that the bone gnawer was a mere hair’s breadth away from touching his skin before it suddenly burst open.
Zhou Yu kept his gun up. He hadn’t expected that to happen at all.
Zhou Qing was already frozen in shock, because for a moment, the speed Zhou Yu displayed did not belong to human beings.
Wu Yun and Li Qian turn around together to stare at the two guards that had fallen to the ground and the splattered bone gnawing worms. They were both left flabbergasted.
“Oh my God, Zhou Yu, how did you do that?”
Wu Yun’s admiration for Zhou Yu reached new heights.
Zhou Qing’s gentle call returned Zhou Yu to his senses. He knew that whoever had just pulled the trigger for him was not himself.
He gulped and a familiar voice sounded in his mind.
“How can you think about committing suicide? No matter what happens, under no circumstances should you consider hurting yourself.”
It was the voice of that youth.
Did this mean that the S rank organism was nearby?
Different from the previously playful and lazy tone, this time it was full of oppression, with a hint of sullenness.
Zhou Yu’s fingers trembled inexplicably. He could acutely feel the anger of that S rank organism, as well an emotion that was hard to describe… Fear.
It was as if his mind and that organism’s mind were linked together. They were able to know what Zhou Yu was thinking, and Zhou Yu could also feel their mood at that moment. The tight feeling in his heart and in each cell in his body was constantly exceeding his limits, making him want to drown in the insanity. It was close to overwhelming Zhou Yu.
“Hey! What’s wrong with you, Zhou Yu? Were you shocked senseless?” Wu Yun noticed the sweat running down Zhou Yu’s forehead. Although his expression was still calm, Wu Yun could sense something off about Zhou Yu.
Zhou Yu took a deep breath and lowered his gun.
“I’m fine. Let’s go back to the dining hall, the others are still there!”
Li Qian promptly returned to the lab and used the computer to open up all the nodes in the hallway.
At this time, Han Li and other researchers were sitting together. She had no appetite for the food. Suddenly, all their communication devices received the same message: “Do not let anyone in the observation station approach you! Shoot those who don’t listen to the warning!”
Han Li immediately spoke into the transceiver, “Zhou Yu! What happened?!”
“This observation station has been infected by bone gnawing worms!” Zhou Yu replied.