Chapter 72: Depression
Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao and the others before looking at Qiao Chu again. “Where’s that laboratory?”
Before the helmeted Qiao Chu could answer, a desolate, hoarse roar sounded again.
This time, Shang Jianyao and the others could clearly hear that the roar’s origin wasn’t far away—just a few streets behind the City Intelligence Network Control Center.
The roar was so loud that Shang Jianyao and the others felt their ears ring and their heads spin. It seemed to come from the depths of everyone’s hearts, from a fearful memory that couldn’t be wiped away. It made Long Yuehong’s legs tremble uncontrollably, and Bai Chen subconsciously tightened her scarf as if she wanted to strangle herself.
Jiang Baimian’s body slightly trembled as if she were using all her strength to resist the fear. Shang Jianyao slightly cowered as if he were still a child. However, he quickly returned to normal. No, not exactly normal either.
Shang Jianyao smiled and looked excited. His mind seemed to skip the word ‘fear’ and turned to ‘excitement.’ Of course, it was mostly because the loud, hoarse, and desolate roar had stopped, leaving only the roar that undulated and echoed throughout the city ruin endlessly.
At this moment, Qiao Chu chuckled without any hint of humor. “That laboratory is where the sound came from.”
Jiang Baimian and the others were shocked when they heard this, and their imaginations ran wild.
A mysterious laboratory that produces a loud roar… A hydropower station that has been operating since the Old World was destroyed… A city ruin that is regularly maintained… Some of the wires and equipment can still be used today… A feline monster that can force people to sleep… A Nightmare Horse, which can create real nightmares that result in all kinds of serious consequences… A creature suspected to be a Superior Heartless. There are certain areas in the swamp’s depths that have no radioactive pollution but are filled with monsters…
When this information was combined, the truth seemed to be at hand, but it was also extremely terrifying.
Amidst her horror, Jiang Baimian felt a little excited. This was one of the reasons why she formed the Old Task Force!
“I wonder if the research in that laboratory is related to the Old World’s destruction…” Jiang Baimian muttered to herself.
Qiao Chu ignored this question and took a stride with his black metal skeleton’s feet. “It’s time to connect the power.”
Jiang Baimian chased up to him and quickly asked, “Do you have a map layout of this place?”
“Let’s go to the underground engine room to restore the power supply to this building. We’ll then go to the 17th floor’s power grid center and connect the power.” Qiao Chu seemed to have long figured out the situation of the city’s Intelligence Network Control Center.
Jiang Baimian, Shang Jianyao, and the others didn’t say anything else. They followed Qiao Chu—who was wearing the exoskeleton—through the door’s left side and entered the courtyard.
This place was very spacious, and there was plenty of greenery. All kinds of abandoned cars were neatly parked in their corresponding spots without forming any blockades.
Clusters of dark-green plants—tall, short, fluffy, and messy—were scattered around. They were everywhere, like monsters hiding in the darkness. This made Long Yuehong—who was already scared—tense up; it was as though he would act up at any moment.
From his point of view, the team shouldn’t have entered the City Intelligence Network Control Center at all. They shouldn’t restore the power or attempt to open all the doors to the mysterious laboratory.
Ignoring the fact that this would bring a new round of disaster to the already fragile human society in the Ashlands, Long Yuehong felt that it was impossible for them to survive the dangers brought about by the mysterious laboratory and the strange city ruin.
He didn’t want to sacrifice himself at all. He didn’t want to turn to an 80-month bereavement compensation.
There was a pool in front of the building where the City Intelligence Network Control Center was located. The water inside was dirty, and plenty of junk floated in it, but not as much as one would expect.
Under the weak moonlight and starlight, Long Yuehong suddenly saw a black figure flash in the water.
“There’s something!” He aimed the Berserker assault rifle at the pool in horror.
Qiao Chu turned around and glanced at him. “An ordinary fish.”
Long Yuehong heaved a sigh of relief, but the residual stimulation finally ignited the fear in his heart.
“No, it’s not normal! Don’t Heartless eat fish? I-I don’t want to go in! I give up! I’ll wait for you at the jeep!” Long Yuehong voiced all his thoughts in one breath. At this moment, he actually felt that Qiao Chu was not that charming.
Qiao Chu—who was wearing a helmet—was stunned for a second before narrowing his eyes. He silently raised his exoskeleton-covered arm and aimed the strange-looking silver rifle at Long Yuehong.
Jiang Baimian and Bai Chen simultaneously opened their mouths, prepared to stop Qiao Chu, but they were a little hesitant. They didn’t know if they should make a move, and a fierce struggle seemed to ensue in their hearts.
Qiao Chu did not give them a chance to react and prepared to pull the trigger. He suddenly realized that he couldn’t pull his finger back! In addition, his fingers could flexibly move in any other direction. All he lacked was the action of squeezing the trigger!
Qiao Chu’s gaze subconsciously moved past Long Yuehong and landed on Shang Jianyao, who was a little further behind.
Shang Jianyao had slightly bent over as if he was breathing heavily. His eyes darkened as he returned Qiao Chu’s gaze. With some difficulty, he said very seriously, “My mother said that one shouldn’t condone someone’s bad habits, no matter how much one likes them.”
When Jiang Baimian fired the grenade at the Slumber Cat, she caused quite a loud explosion.
In the city ruin’s square with many sculptures.
Jingfa—who was wearing a yellow monk robe and a red kasaya—stopped what he was doing and looked back in the direction of the sound.
In front of him were several female Heartless corpses—in pieces.
Before long, a roar—which sent reverberations through the clouds—sounded from the direction of the explosion.
As the red light in his electronic eye flickered a few times, Jingfa abandoned the corpses around him and ran in the direction of the sound.
In the dark city ruin, on a certain street’s certain building.
Du Heng—the middle-aged man in a black robe, with long hair of the same color and a beard around his mouth—muttered to himself in confusion, “Not here?”
Just as he said that, an explosion sounded from not far away.
Du Heng didn’t react much to this, but a desolate, hoarse roar soon sounded from that direction.
Could it be over there? Du Heng thought for a moment and walked towards the stairs.
A shop by the street in the city ruin.
The blond Daoist priest, Galoran, was lying in a very soft, black leather chair. She looked sleepy, but unfortunately, she couldn’t fall asleep. She was woken up by successive explosions and roars.
“Sigh, my cultivation level is still not high enough. Master can even peacefully sleep beside a factory… Forget it, forget it. Since I’m awake, I’ll just go over. I wonder if I’ll be able to hitch a ride on the way…” Galoran elaborately blamed herself.
She was even muttering to herself in the Ashlands language.
Then, Galoran slowly got up and walked toward the roar’s source.
On the other side of the city ruin, in a square with many pieces of equipment.
A convoy of five cars was parked here. One of the five cars was a grayish-green armored car.
Next to the armored vehicle, a muscular man wearing a grayish-green beret looked at his harvest and nodded in satisfaction.
A man with a shaved head came over and said happily, “Brother Li, it hasn’t been long since we filled up all the cars. Why don’t we search for vehicles that can still be driven and repaired? Each of us can get one.”
‘Hyena’ Lin Li—who was called Brother Li—looked around and slowly swept his gaze across the 13 core members’ faces. He saw that everyone was equally happy and excited.
Lin Li had a high nose, and his forehead was a little protruded. His looks were rather unique.
“Sure.” Lin Li nodded in agreement with the bald man’s suggestion. “The main reason is that we haven’t found a weapon that can effectively enhance our strength or technological information that can be exchanged for good items from large factions. We have to prepare for the future. There must be a large faction backing Blackrat Town. We have to deal with them before they figure out what happened.”
He was just about to continue when explosions and roars sounded in the same direction.
After quietly listening for a while, ‘Hyena’ Lin Li smiled and said, “Looks like there’s something good over there. Let’s go take a look. We’ll take action if there’s a chance. If not, we’ll find something else.”
This had always been the style of bandits like them. They were like hyenas that rushed over after smelling rotten meat but did not take the risk to approach. They only waited for an opportunity from afar.
“Yes, Brother Li!” His gang’s core members were just about to take turns sleeping when they stood up energetically.
Upon hearing Shang Jianyao’s words, the corners of Qiao Chu’s mouth twitched indiscernibly.
It was only then that Long Yuehong realized that Qiao Chu wanted to kill him. All the beautiful fantasies Long Yuehong had imagined collapsed suddenly, allowing him to truly return to reality.
“H-he…” Long Yuehong realized in horror that Qiao Chu was not his companion at all. He was not a charming person worth following.
Along the way, Long Yuehong felt as if his heart had been clouded by fat. This is too strange!
Before Long Yuehong could finish speaking, ripples appeared in Qiao Chu’s golden eyes.
Jiang Baimian—who had already decided to stop Qiao Chu—suddenly felt a strong sense of depression. She clearly wanted to lead Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong away from the dangerous area, but she ended up leading them to the dangerous ruins.
It was the team leader’s mistake for an ordinary field training session to have developed to this stage. Her former dream had to be abandoned because of a mistake, and her body had almost collapsed…
She should just die…
At this moment, Jiang Baimian was completely disheartened. She gave up on struggling and only wanted to await death.
Bai Chen, Long Yuehong, and Shang Jianyao had the same reaction. They were too depressed to do anything or say a word.
Qiao Chu did not attack. Instead, he put away the silver rifle and spoke with a cold and gentle voice. “Don’t worry; it’s all in the past.”
Long Yuehong and the others—who were deep in a gloomy and depressing world—seemed to hear the comfort of an angel.