Bai Jing did not speak. The sense of urgency that had just been extinguished once again reared its head in his heart. He turned, sat on the bed, and began to cultivate. He hadn’t checked on his space ever since they picked up some jade today. He knew that his space dimension would upgrade soon, but there seemed to be a bottleneck that he couldn’t break through no matter what. It was annoying, and he once again became anxious.
The vehicle swayed as it continued forward. Although the rain had stopped, the weather was getting colder and colder, the chill wind was biting, and the branches and leaves on the road seemed to have turned yellow overnight. The tree branches were bare, and looking at this scene gave one the feeling of being in the latter months of a cold winter. There was no sign of inhabitation along their three hour journey, and there was a kind of loneliness and depression coming in from all sides.
The smooth journey did not make them happy. Even if this had not been a heavily populated city, people had still used to come and go here. Looking at the scene where broken walls were everywhere, people’s hearts became heavy as they mourned for the losses of humankind. How long would they be able to survive…
After receiving Xu Lei’s warm hospitality, Yang Chonghui and Liu Hui had relaxed. The heater was on in the car, and they were drinking warm water; they felt as though they had not been so comfortable in a long time. Their fatigue from these recent days had made them exhausted, and once they were more at ease, they leaned on the sofa and soon fell asleep.
When Bai Jing woke up from his meditation, it was already afternoon. He sighed softly to let out his frustration. He could feel that his spiritual strength was very full, and the jade he had absorbed this time hardly had any effect. His powers had already reached the peak of his current level, and now only needed a chance to advance. It was easy to say, but in reality many days had already gone by without any signs of advancement. Sometimes, he even felt resentment in his heart; even just upgrading to level one would be good… at least that way, he could use his ability without restraint, rather than just a chicken rib ability to teleport.
“You’re awake. Are you hungry?” Xiao Sa asked softly from his position lying lazily in bed, one hand still resting on Bai Jing’s leg.
“Did I disturb you?” Bai Jing shook his head. Seeing him appear to have just woken up, he couldn’t help blaming himself. He remembered that Xiao Sao hadn’t rested at all last night.
“No, I slept for a while and it’s enough. The weather outside is bad, and I can’t sleep soundly anyway.” Xiao Sa spoke lightly as he sat up.
Bai Jing noticed that there were snowflakes outside the window, and the weather outside was cloudy and overcast. Looking at the time, it was only five o’clock in the afternoon, but outside, the sky had already darkened. The wind blew debris through the air, and the branches along the road were swaying back and forth.
“How far have we gone?” Bai Jing was very afraid of such weather. It wouldn’t be long before the cars could no longer travel and the crisis they faced would be even greater.
Xiao Sa was silent. Obviously, he and Bai Jing had the same thoughts.
Cao Lei heard their conversation and turn around, and his cynical face was more solemn than usual as he answered, “We’ve completed half the journey. If we take the highway from Heyuan, we can reach L Province in two days.”
“What else?” Bai Jing asked faintly, looking out of the window. He knew Cao Lei must have something to add.
“The expressway was broken in many places, there were landslides and the Hengjiang Bridge was broken.”
Bai Jing was too lazy to look at him. What he said was not useful at all. In short, they could not use the highway, and couldn’t cross the bridge.
Cao Lei did not take it seriously and turned to Xiao Sa. “How much metal can you manipulate?”
Xiao Sa frowned, thought for a moment, and shook his head. “It’s no good. I can control the metal within a wide range, but my control over the details is not absolute.”
Cao Lei sighed, and no longer spoke. It was simple to talk to smart people, only a few words needed to be said for the meaning to be understood.
Bai Jing was curious, but he was also unhappy. He couldn’t figure out what kind of puzzle they were talking about.
Xiao Hao laughed, and explained it lightly, “Cars are also made of metal.”
Bai Jing’s brain turned and he understood instantly. He also knew why Xiao Sa emphasized that he did not have good control over the details. It was a small matter to have Xiao Sa manipulate the vehicles across the bridge en masse, but in order to have them cross the bridge intact and land safely, balance, speed and gravity were the problems. Even if the cars had been refitted, nobody could guarantee the car would not be damaged when it impacted the ground, let alone if somebody was on the car. This risk could not be taken.
Having arrived at this point, Bai Jing thought of another question. Looking at the cold weather outside, his heart moved slightly: “What about water? It’s cold now. When the water is frozen, it would be faster travel along the water than over national roads.”
The more he thought about it, the more Bai Jing felt that he was right. He continued, “And we still have two ice power users. Even if the ice breaks, we’ll be safe with them.”
Xiao Sa carefully considered for a moment, but did not immediately make a decision. The water surfaces had not yet become frozen at this point, and even after the water froze over, he would also need to consider how solid the ice was, whether it could withstand impacts from fighting, and whether or not there would be zombie fish. He always felt that it would not be so simple. If there were other mutant animals under the water, they would surely die on the surface. He pinched Bai Jing’s nose and laughed. “We’ll wait and see. By the way, are there any other animals under the water? Will they attack the ice?”
Bai Jing tilted his head as he frowned, then finally pouted and did not speak. He knew that even though he was reborn, he was not good at using his brain. Although he was somewhat clever, he had no understanding of the big picture. Even after he had gone through many things in his previous life, in the end those were only experiences. Rivers and streams were not the same, and his thoughts had been too simple. Although he had walked over ice in his previous life, the stream had only been filled with small fish and shrimp. There would be a lot more fish, shrimp and river crabs in the river. If a big crab suddenly came out, perhaps it would be enough to fight with them.
Xiao Sa gave a low laugh. “Don’t think too much, I will protect you.” His Little Jing was still the most suited to following his heart and being as direct as he liked. Young masters were naturally meant to be spoiled; things that required brains should be left to him instead. Little Jing’s words had also been reasonable, however at present, they still needed to observe the situation. If the weather stayed cold, they could then consider going via the Hengjiang River.
“There’s danger up ahead.”
Bai Jing was just about to speak, when Yu Yuee suddenly showed an expression that was even worse than crying.
As the sky grew darker, a large number of densely packed zombies appeared in front of them in a dark spread. There were countless numbers of them, and amongst them there were a few whose movements seemed to be more agile and rapid than the rest.
Qin Yi’s eyes were as sharp as knives. He quickly turned the leading car around, and swept a cold gaze over Yu Yue. This road had been chosen by him, and he had guaranteed that it would be safe.
“I don’t know what happened either. I clearly felt that there would be no danger.” Yu Yue grabbed his head and looked irritable. No wonder it felt like there was no danger on the road – it looked like all the zombies were gathered together. But the zombies did not have the ability to think… Surely they weren’t holding a party here?
“Quickly retreat.” Qin Yi shouted into the walkie-talkie as he pressed down on the gas and sped up. He had heard the young master’s words this morning about ability user zombies in the area. Even if he was still uncertain about it in his heart, the closely packed zombies were not something that they could cope with. They could only use guerrilla tactics to submerge them.
“To the left.” Yu Ye spoke in a hurry. His forehead was covered with cold sweat, and there was a throbbing pain in his brain.
The car swerved left and right, and shook violently. Their cars jolted along the road as they fled from a small road to the left. Qin Yi’s car that had originally been in front was now last, the zombies behind them were getting closer and closer.
Yang Chonghui and Liu Hui had also woken up. Their eyes grew wide as they looked behind them. Liu Hui covered her mouth and exclaimed, “It’s Wang Qi—”
Bai Jing’s heart sank: “Was he an ability user?”
Liu Hui nodded and said in a rush, “I recognize him. He was the one who broke down the building’s steel door.”
Bai Jing narrowed his eyes slightly as he looked into the distance. The zombie’s eyes were dull and grey, but his face was neater than that of the corpses beside him, and not rotten at all. No, that’s not right, there were more than a dozen zombies in the same state as Wang Qi.
“Pooh!” Yu Yue suddenly vomited blood. His face was twisted in pain. His pupils contracted and suddenly turned gold, as though thin rays of light were emitting in all directions from his eyes.
Cao Lei nimbly chopped down on Yu Yue’s neck even as Xiao Sa’s voice sank. “Take a detour and go on the right side.”
Qin Yi had no time to think. He just obeyed orders and hastily turned right. The vehicles in front of him also turned around and daringly rushed to the right.
Bai Jing’s expression was black. Killing intent flashed across his eyes and he ruthlessly said: “Someone was behind this. They have first-level power users.”
“Who would know our whereabouts?” Xu Lei was puzzled. They had been very careful this entire journey, and the routes they decided on had been arbitrary. Who could prepare an ambush ahead of time?
Bai Jing turned his head and looked at Wang Xuebing. Xiao Sa also looked at him.
“I…” Wang Xuebing pointed to his nose and did not understand.
Xu Lei realized in an instant, “Somebody knew that we are going to L Province. This was the only route we could take.” But she didn’t get it, if it had been a human ambush that would have made sense, but how could it be a large group of zombies? Was there someone who could manipulate the zombies?
Wang Xuebing opened his mouth. He had just recalled that he might indeed have told others about their destination.
Cao Lei sighed and took his lover’s hand, fearing that he would think too much again. He knew that the young master wouldn’t be too particular about this, and quickly shifted the topic, “They have a psychic ability user.”
Wang Xuebing was stunned and looked at the comatose Yu Yue: “He…”
Cao Lei nodded and explained, “For Yu Yue’s judgment to be wrong, he must have been screened by another psychic power. Judging by his state just now, it appears he was attacked.”
Wang Xuebing’s face was unsightly: “You mean to say that somebody led the zombies here, and then gave Yu Yue an illusion so that we would step into their trap. They have no reason to do this. Why would they do it?”
“They’ve caught up. There’s a lot of them…” Qin Hao forced himself to be calm. He was so agitated he wanted to cry, his hands were sweaty, and his body trembling with fear. He was only a child who had not yet reached eighteen. Although their car was now in front, zombies were about to catch up to the cars behind them.
“Shut up unless you’re contributing!” Bai Jing called out coldly. He had not yet made his move when Xiao Sa directly opened the window, letting the bitter wind blow in.
“Bang!” A loud noise sounded.
“Ah—“ There was a cry from the car behind them. A zombie had jumped with amazing speed on top of the last car in line and began to hit it relentlessly.
“Bang! Bang! Bang!” The car swerved, turning left and right as it slowed down.
“Bang—“ Another zombie jumped onto the roof.
chicken ribs 鸡肋 – metaphor for something people can’t bear to give up even though it has no value or meaning.
thanks everyone for all the encouragement!