Chapter 50: Roadtrip of Terror
Zhou Yu silently looked back at Zhou Qing, who was leaning on Li Qian and had yet to wake up. What he really wanted to see in the surveillance videos was how the S rank organism had entered the observation station and whether he’d left safely.
Now, of course, none of that mattered anymore.
He’d come out from it unscathed, and some secrets could be left buried.
Peering into the primeval forest before them, Wu Yun sighed and instructed the rest of the group through the radio transceiver, “Make sure that everyone has injected the suppressant!”
When all the teams had replied, Wu Yun led the way into the primeval forest.
“We will have to drive through the night in the primeval forest to reach our destination. The original plan was to leave the researchers at the observation station and escort a few virologists to base 2, but now, with so many people, the difficulty level is doubled.” Wu Yun clenched his teeth.
Sitting in Zhou Yu’s lap, Mo Ye reached out a forepaw and patted Wu Yun on the shoulder. He seemed to be comforting him, or saying, don’t be scared, bro, I’ll cover you!
The tense atmosphere dissolved, Li Qian and Han Li even quietly chuckled.
Then Zhou Qing woke up. He went to press on his nape when his eyes flickered open, then he abruptly realized something. “My brother—Save my brother!”
He suddenly straightened up and grabbed Wu Yun’s collar from behind. Wu Yun was yanked back and had his airway cut off.
“Don’t panic! Zhou Qing, I’m still alive!” Zhou Yu grasped Zhou Qing’s wrist.
Zhou Qing came back to his senses and looked at Zhou Yu’s side profile dumbly. “A-Am I seeing things right…? Did you really make it out?”
“Yes, Professor Zhou, we’re all safe! We’re on the way to base 2!” Han Li comforted Zhou Qing.
Zhou Qing finally let go and looked out of the window into the primeval forest. He finally leaned back into his seat and exhaled. “Thank goodness… we’re still alive. What about the observation station?”
“It’s been blown up. The culprit… Dr. Lin is dead, too. We’re lucky we were able to leave safely.” Li Qian replied, “Are you okay, Professor Zhou? Did Wu Yun beat you silly?”
“What are you talking about?!” Wu Yun said disgruntledly.
Their convoy drove beneath ancient trees that reached to the sky. Even the moonlight was concealed by a dense layer of foliage. They had no choice but to turn on the headlights and let the shadows fall around them like ferocious, nefarious claws.
Wu Yun suddenly stopped the car and pricked up his ears to listen carefully at something. Only the calls of some wild animals could be heard.
“There are organisms hunting…” At Wu Yun’s words, Li Qian’s eyes widened and any hint of drowsiness disappeared from him.
“What…? Could we be…?”
“We’ve all been injected with the suppressants. As long as we don’t encounter anything above A rank, we won’t be identified as prey… Assuming we aren’t intruding upon their breeding grounds or lair to aggravate them any further.”
In spite of this, Zhou Yu let Wu Yun take out the machine gun equipped on the Humvee and put the whole group on alert mode.
Wu Yun blew out from his nose. He knew that crossing the primeval forest would not be as simple as they thought.
The sound of sprinting got closer and closer, followed by the loud cracking and snapping of the ancient tree branches.
“Fuck… No matter how you look at it, they won’t be easy to get rid of!” Wu Yun immediately instructed their fleet to change directions, even when he wasn’t sure they would make it out on time.
But the running sound was getting closer and closer. Wu Yun’s eyes widened when he saw a pack of white ferocities rushing at them.
In total, there were about a dozen of them. They were stampeding through the forest in a disordered fashion and seemed to be panicking. Sometimes they bumped into the ancient trees on the side.
It wasn’t yet clear what was chasing them. But something that could make the white ferocities so afraid would certainly not be easy to deal with.
Seeing that the pack of white ferocities was about to run into their vehicles, it was too late to avoid them. They heard loud clunks as the white ferocities clambered onto their windows and over the roofs. Li Qian and Zhou Qing pressed each other’s backs down and lowered their bodies, their shoulders shaking with the impact of the white ferocities trampling over them. The Humvee bounced up and down as if the earth was splitting open.
“Oh my God…” Li Qian could not help exclaiming.
A white ferocity smashed into Wu Yun’s car, almost whipping their heads off. Their vehicle was pushed back several dozen meters, setting off a chain reaction. Several other cars also suffered through a series of collisions with the impact.
“Are we going to die?” Han Li hugged her head and looked down, not daring to peek.
The roof of the car had recessed, and some vehicles in the back had fearfully pulled out their machine guns to prepare to start firing.
Zhou Yu immediately contacted them via radio. “Don’t shoot! Absolutely do not shoot! As long as we don’t shoot, we won’t attract their attention! Once we open fire, we’ll become the white ferocities’ enemy! They’re running away, we just have to wait for them to pass by quietly!”
Finally, most of the white ferocities fled past them. Just when everyone was about to let out their breaths thinking that it had all passed, a cluster of fully grown two-headed wolf spiders came at them!
Their sharp limbs smashed into the windows, making an even more violent sound than before. Each strike sounded like they were going to shatter the windows and roof, and the sound of tires bursting repeated again and again.
Han Li and Li Qian, who had come across two-headed wolf spiders before, were scared out of their wits.
“Don’t be afraid! They’re just hunting for food. We’ve all been injected with suppressants and they can’t sense our fear, so we’re in a safer position than the white ferocities.” Wu Yun turned to comfort Han Li and Li Qian.
A two-headed wolf spider suddenly jumped onto the front hood of their vehicle. Its eyes were fixed on the people through the glass. Head slightly tilted, it seemed to be evaluating the “food” in the vehicle.
Its blood-red eyes turned around and around. The people in the backseat lowered their heads to avoid eye contact, the air so tense it was suffocating. The two-headed wolf spider appeared eerily like an alien creature in the shadows cast by the headlights.
Zhou Yu readied himself to open fire at any given moment.
The two-headed wolf spider suddenly raised its leg and struck the window.
The three people in the backseat all shuddered at it. Only Zhou Yu looked up straight at the two-headed wolf spider. There was no evasion or fear in his gaze.
In his arms, Mo Ye straightened up and stared back at it with his head crooked.
It inexplicably took a half-step back and slid down the window. The rear of the vehicle tilted up because of it and Li Qian and the others in the back were almost upended.
With a clang, the vehicle landed back on the ground. Li Qian and Zhou Qing almost hit their heads in the resulting thud.
The two-headed wolf spider retreated a little. Zhou Yu could sense its fear.
It wasn’t afraid of the machine gun on the car, but of Mo Ye, an organism of higher rank. The two-headed wolf spider crawled down, as if in apology. It passed by Wu Yun and Zhou Yu’s vehicle and continued to chase after the fleeing white ferocities.
Behind it, there was still a flood of about a dozen two-headed wolf spiders running their way, spitting out strong silk threads that would allow them to shuttle between the ancient trees and drop onto their roof.
In two or three more hits, their Hummer would cave in.
“We’re not going to make it to base 2 at this rate.”
But what they didn’t expect was that none of the two-headed wolf spiders landed on their vehicles. Instead, they climbed up the ancient trees and scuttled away. They watched as one giant creature after another passed over their heads. Wu Yun and Zhou Yu didn’t realize that they were looking up, bearing witness to the thrilling yet spectacular scene.
A two-headed wolf spider suddenly spat out a thick fluid from its mouth, freezing in place a white ferocity that had tripped while running. Then it jumped down and inserted a thorn-like appendage from its mouth into the coagulated pus, stabbing it into the white ferocity’s body and sucking. Soon, the pus shriveled, leaving behind only the bones of the white ferocity, until they too, disintegrated.
The scene before them was truly horrific. Many of them from the base had never seen anything like it before. Zhou Yu was worried that they were going to act irrationally under impulse. He reminded them again through the radio transceiver. “Absolutely do not shoot! Remember, don’t shoot! Once we shoot, we’ll really anger those organisms!”
What was comforting was that this time, the field personnel remained calm as they carried out Wu Yun and Zhou Yu’s orders. Although they’d moved out the machine guns, no one fired a single shot the whole time, until all the organisms left.
The primeval forest was quiet once again.
Wu Yun asked everyone to evaluate the damages through the radio transceiver.
There were three cars that needed to have their tires changed, and one that was completely out of service. Fortunately, the delivery vehicle used for replacing oil and provisions was still intact.
Wu Yun sighed and said, “Actually, compared with the last time we came across the silver spider overlords, we got lucky.”
Some of the field personnel got out of their vehicles and began to change the tires. Wu Yun also got out of the Hummer to help check the engine of another car that could not be started.
Opening up the hood of the car, a cloud of black smoke came puffing out. Wu Yun scratched his head and sighed, “Not even a god would be able to start this!”
He could only arrange with Zhou Yu to reassign the passengers to other vehicles. After the adjustments, the fleet set out again.
As Wu Yun drove, he mentally tallied up all the dangerous organisms he’d met.
For example, the swordbone butterfly, the three-eyed giant bird, the devil vine… It seemed like the perytons were nothing in comparison. Then he subconsciously glanced at Mo Ye. Mo Ye was capable of eclipsing them all.
Not even ten minutes later, they discovered another major problem; the entire patch of the primeval forest before them had been destroyed by the white ferocities and two-headed wolf spiders that had stampeded past. Although the damages the forest itself sustained were not serious, the fallen branches and tree trunks completely blocked their path.
“This is just fucking fantastic! By the time we clear the trees away, we’ll be just in time for our suppressants to lose effect.” Wu Yun took a look at the road ahead. It could be said to be in a complete disarray, and was, in no way, suitable for their Hummers.
“Should we go around?” Zhou Qing asked.
Li Qian took out the portable computer he was carrying, opened it, and pointed to the electronic map on it, saying, “Our current road is the safest path through the primeval forest. If we want to make a detour, whether it’s westward or southward, there are very dangerous creatures that habit those areas. The two-headed wolf spiders and white ferocities just now were more than enough for us, if we have to face other dangerous organisms… Han Li and I, as well as Professor Zhou, can at least say that it won’t be our first experience with them, and we all believe in both of your judgments, so if nothing else, we can prepare to keep our heads down, or we can die together. But I’m afraid that the others don’t have the same experiences and won’t be able to handle doing anything more dangerous.”
Wu Yun nodded and said, “Li Qian’s worries are reasonable. If we can, we’re better off following this road. And the trees here have all been destroyed, which means that the road is also more open than the dense virgin forest.”
Next, everyone looked at Mo Ye, who was still sitting on Zhou Yu’s knees.
Mo Ye seems to be totally unaware of the intentions of everyone looking at him. He yawned and lowered his head like he wanted to sleep. He laid down and rubbed up against Zhou Yu’s stomach with his head.
Zhou Yu pleasantly stroked his back; the satin-like fluff down his back seemed to feel even better than before. Mo Ye lazily made a rumbling purr, his entire body curled up.
“Hey, hey, hey! Zhou Yu, don’t let the little guy fall asleep, I’m counting on him to clear the road!”
Zhou Yu smiled. “He’s milking it!”
Li Qian quickly reached out and rubbed Mo Ye’s head. He pleaded, “What a good Mo Ye! A well-behaved Mo Ye! If you clear away all those tree trunks and branches, we can get to base 2 earlier. Then Zhou Yu can rest and play with you. Isn’t that great?”
Mo Ye buried his head even deeper and opened up his little wings to cover his ears.
“This little thing sure picked the right time to be stubborn!” Wu Yun found the affair both laughable and exasperating.
Zhou Qing also leaned down close to Mo Ye and said, “Mo Ye, we have very important things to do at base 2. Mr. Song and the rest are waiting for us to crack the virus in the Nibelungen jellyfish and save the rest of the base. If we’re one minute late, everyone will be in one more minute of danger. So, Mo Ye, please help us clear away the obstacles on the road!”
Hearing Zhou Qing’s words, Mo Ye moved away his wings and stared up at Zhou Yu with his beautiful eyes. Zhou Yu nodded to him.
“Hey! Mo Ye, listen to me, if you clean up those things, then when we get to base 2, I’ll have Zhou Yu give you a striptease! Do you know what a striptease is? It’s super sexy! And super exciting!” Wu Yun said in a serious tone.
Such a jarring shift in the atmosphere made Li Qian and Han Li look at him with surprise. Li Qian couldn’t help reaching out to swat Wu Yun over the head. “Can you not make such an indecent promise just like that?!”
But unexpectedly, Mo Ye hummed, looking to be very interested. He even looked at Zhou Yu expectantly.
Zhou Yu lightly tapped the tip of Mo Ye’s nose. There was a gentle indulgence in his gaze which Zhou Qing had never seen before. It made Zhou Yu’s perpetually cold countenance soften up.
“Do you know what a striptease is? Little thing? “
Unexpectedly, Mo Ye nodded.
Li Qian said angrily, “He must have learned it from Wu Yun’s inappropriate movies. How annoying!”
“But I won’t show you a striptease.” Zhou Yu replied with a shallow smile.
“Hrrn…” Mo Ye looked disappointed and lowered his head.
But Zhou Yu put a hand on his shoulder and leaned in towards him. “But I hope you can clean them up and help us move on, can’t you?”
“Hnn…” Although disappointed, Mo Ye got up to jump out of the vehicle.
Zhou Yu reached out and touched Mo Ye’s back. When he was leaving, Zhou Yu kissed him on the back.
Mo Ye’s body slightly stiffened. He turned to look at Zhou Yu, his big amber eyes filled with surprise and unspeakable joy.
“Go!” Zhou Yu said with a smile.
Mo Ye ran off without a second glance back. He spread open his wings to glide in the night sky, then suddenly dove down, like a meteor hurtling towards the earth. His front claws pressed against a broken stump, and with a kick from his hind legs and the flapping of his wings, he stirred up strong drafts of air. He made a drawn out call, then forced the stump away. In the blink of an eye, a flat, even road appeared before them.
“Oh my God…” Li Qian was completely dumbfounded.
“We’re so lucky that Mo Ye was brought up by Zhou Yu…” Han Li also exclaimed.
But Wu Yun looked at Zhou Yu with sympathetic eyes and said, “My goodness, what is Zhou Yu supposed to do? You’re not a match for Mo Ye at all, he can easily do anything he wants to you! That little guy probably hasn’t reached puberty yet, so he can only fantasize about you for now… But when he grows into his rebellious phase where emotions trump reason, coupled with the power to realize his fantasies, you’re done for, Zhou Yu!”
“What are you talking about?! Wu Yun!”
This time, before Li Qian could hit Wu Yun, Zhou Yu already slapped him on the back of his head.
“Hey! Only friends will tell you the truth to warn you, okay?!”
As soon as Wu Yun spoke, Mo Ye dashed back, jumped into the vehicle happily, and shrunk his body down to sit on Zhou Yu’s knees. He curled up into a ball as if to say: please give me hugs and kisses.
“Look! Look! Zhou Yu, it’s so obvious that you can’t say no to him anymore.” Wu Yun said discontentedly.
“Just drive the car!” Han Li couldn’t help but want to hit Wu Yun too.
With Mo Ye’s help, the whole fleet passed through the primeval forest safely. When the first light of the morning sun fell onto Wu Yun’s car window, they could already see the outline of base 2.
“God forbid that there will be more bone gnawing worms or other dangerous organisms in base 2. We just want to take the sample and study the virus.” Li Qian silently prayed with his palms put together.
Base 2 was one of the earliest bases established by Juli Corp in Nibelungen. Although it was founded early, the research equipment and projects there were no worse than those at base 5, where Song Zhi was located. Some of the research being conducted there was even at the forefront of all the bases, such as its virology department.
The current head of base 2 was an outstanding and talented ecologist, Dr. Ron. Dr. Ron was about the same age as Song Zhi, but he looked much younger.
He frowned as he watched the team led by Wu Yun and Zhou Yu enter his base, showing a very irritated expression.
“I remember Song Zhi told me that he would arrange for most of your researchers and field personnel to stay at the observation station, but now all of you are here. I had no time to prepare for it and space is limited at all the bases. You’ll have to stay in the dining hall until we can squeeze out more room.”
Dr. Ron’s displeasure was reasonable, and he was not unwilling to help Wu Yun and Zhou Yu. It was purely because of their limited capacity.
For the researchers who had been running about all day and all night, it was already a godsend that they were no longer exposed to a dangerous environment. Many people fell asleep on the tables as soon as they arrived in the dining hall.
Zhou Qing was extremely sleepy, so Li Qian very magnanimously patted himself on the shoulder and said, “If you’re tired, you can lean on me and sleep!”
Some of the field personnel went straight to sleep on the floor of the dining hall, while a few remained in the Hummers. For them, sleep was their top priority. They had to keep up their energy levels to continue their assignment.
Dr. Ron came to Zhou Qing’s side and leaned down closer to him. “Professor Zhou, you must be tired. You should go rest in my room.”
Zhou Qing was surprised. Dr. Ron had been tight-lipped since they’d arrived at the base. Zhou Qing thought that they had brought a great deal of trouble to Dr. Ron, so he didn’t expect Dr. Ron to come to meet him in person.
“You’re an excellent and outstanding researcher, but as far as I know, your health has been poor. As the head of base 2, it’s my duty to provide you with a comfortable place to rest in. Please don’t refuse, come with me. Our base has already agreed to sleep in turns. When the other workers in the base are carrying out tasks or research work, you can use their rooms to rest. When their research is finished, you can come back to the dining hall, watch TV, and play chess.”