The Underground City Base.
On the open ground, the upper half of the artificial magnetic pole stood, looking like a magnetic tombstone in yellow sand.
The location of this place was excellent, with high mountains on all sides to block storms and cold snaps. In the middle of the wilderness was a river. The geological structure was stable and solid enough to support the construction of an incredible underground city. The size and capacity of this underground city were comparable to that of a main city in its peak.
In the beginning, when the four human bases were in their infancy, it was predicted that if the day came when humans could no longer resist, the underground base would be the last to fall.
Now the open plains area was covered in blood. There were the blood of monsters, heterogeneous species and humans as well as broken limbs and remnants of heavy weapons.
A black fighter jet passed by quickly, dropping several large bombs. There was the sound of dull explosions and the howling of the monsters was deafening. This was soon drowned out in the billowing smoke.
The fighter jet rose high before hovering steadily in the sky. Lu Feng held a walkie-talkie in his hand and spoke into it, “The ground monsters have been cleared.”
Next to him was Hubbard, the legendary mercenary captain of the outer city. Hubbard looked at the tunnel entrance and said, “It is hard to clear inside.”
Lu Feng also glanced over there and didn’t speak, acquiescing to Hubbard’s point of view. In the past few days, he had co-commanded air operations with this mercenary captain and had established a sufficient tacit understanding, not to mention they were originally the type of people to penetrate the Abyss. No one knew the habits and lethality of these things better than them.
The underground city was easy to defend and difficult to attack. It was a safe and strong fortress and naturally had the advantage of preventing radiation. However, its structure also meant its doom. Once it was breached by the heterogeneous species, everything would be a mess.
Now it had been breached.
“The thing they lack most is firepower. Their birth rate can’t keep up and the number of soldiers isn’t enough. They can only increase their armament consumption and overdrafted it in advance. Now there is no way to defend effectively.” Hubbard’s eyes narrowed slightly. “We brought enough equipment and came in time. There is still a chance of winning.”
Just then, a voice was heard from the intercom.
“The underground city thanks you for your generous support.” The operator’s voice trembled. “However, due to our humanitarian principles, we must inform our compatriots of the Northern Base that contactless infections have been observed inside the base. There are unpredictable conditions and infections can occur anytime and anywhere…”
“The Northern Base has received it.” Lu Feng interrupted the operator. “Please prepare for a ground response.”
Lu Feng said, “The fighter planes will temporarily hover while I take people down.”
“I’ll go,” Hubbard said. “Listening to him, the inside is more dangerous than we think and you won’t be able to go back.”
“You have no obligation.”
“I have no one to care about.”
Lu Feng’s tone was light. “I don’t either.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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“Who did you kill?”
Lu Feng didn’t answer.
“So he had an affair with you.” Hubbard mused like he was remembering something, “I met a boy who had a shell casing from you. He asked me if I knew where it came from.”
Lu Feng smiled.
Hubbard added, “Then your relationship is very complicated.”
“Maybe.” Lu Feng came forward. “My relationship with everyone is very complicated.”
His voice was cold and he ordered the pilot, “Be prepared to glide.”
This time, Hubbard didn’t block him. Instead, Hubbard stared at Lu Feng’s back in a thoughtful manner.
Under the blood-red sunset in the western sky, the fighter planes landed. The hatch opened and Lu Feng walked off the PL1109 into the underground, blood-filled city.
The Northern Base.
The moment he was about to place the ID card against the sensor, An Zhe heard footsteps behind him. He turned his head and saw a soldier patrolled led by a familiar judge.
The judge saw him and asked, “Why are you here?”
An Zhe replied, “I’m helping Dr Ji get something.”
“Is the doctor still doing research?”
An Zhe hummed and didn’t speak. The judge didn’t ask anything else and just said, “Go back early. The military has something to do today.”
They walked past. An Zhe took a deep breath and touched the ID card to the sensor. Fortunately, the access control system hadn’t been turned off yet and the door lock opened.
An Zhe pushed open the door. It squeaked due to friction and he closed it immediately after entering. In the dim light, the huge instruments were dark outlines. The centre of the room contained a glass cylinder standing silently. A ray of dim light under the glass box illuminated it and a cluster of small bubbles emerged from the ground and floated above it.
An Zhe held his breath. Before he opened the door, he had been prepared for the worst. He would be caught, his spore had been transferred or there were others in the laboratory… at this moment, his heart stopped completely.
Then his gaze passed through the glass water tank into the pale green culture medium and saw a white cluster floating alone in the centre. An Zhe trembled, his lips curved up and his heart jumped a few times. He wanted to run over right away but he could hardly move due to excessive emotions.
The little white thing was wandering in the liquid under the dim light like it was wandering in the deep sea. An Zhe stared at it without blinking. Just then, he saw the quietly floating spore suddenly spread out its mycelium. Perhaps it was more appropriate to describe it as a blast. Then it floated forward at a speed that definitely wasn’t slow and suddenly stopped at the glass wall like it was hit.
An Zhe took a few steps and arrived at the glass water tank. His palms and then his entire body attached to the glass wall. His spore was also clinging to the glass wall, the mycelium touching the layer of glass. It obviously wanted to get closer to him.
An Zhe couldn’t help smiling. When Lu Feng was beside him, the spore hadn’t seemed to see him but now it recognized him. He couldn’t bear to blink as he watched the spore stretch out delicate mycelium to him. Due to the obstruction of the glass, it could only work harder to attach them to the glass, almost becoming a small white pancake on the inside of the water tank, every strand of mycelium emphasizing how much it wanted to be close to An Zhe.
An Zhe leaned against the glass, a long lost comfort surrounding him but separated by an unbreakable membrane.
He had to get it out of the water tank. An Zhe struggled to tear himself away from the water tank and moved to the side where there was an operating station. According to the general rules of human machines, he tried to press the largest button. The screen of the console turned on and there was an indicator light by the side of the card slot. He swiped Lu Feng’s card and the indicator light turned green. This person’s authority was almost couldn’t be blocked throughout the base.
Then facing the shapes that were exactly the same, with only a few complex symbols on the buttons, An Zhe fell into a daze. How to open the water tank?
He moved his fingers up the operating station before finally pressing the most central button.
Three seconds later, the water in the water tank fluctuated and the spore was helplessly swept up in the current, swirling to the centre of the water tank. Looking at the spore moving helplessly in circles, An Zhe also felt his head was spinning in circles and pressed a random button anxiously.
The next moment, a red laser light turned on at the top of the water tank. Even An Zhe standing next to it could feel the heat. The mycelium of the spore exploded a bit before falling down weakly like it would be dried out in the next second.
An Zhe suspected it was screaming silently. He frowned sadly. Was this the type of torture the spore suffered every day in the human laboratory? However, he didn’t have time to think about anything else and pressed another button. The red light became a pulsing light and the spore moved helplessly again and again.
An Zhe quickly pressed a button in the distance. This time, the red light disappeared and he was relieved. However, the next morning, there was a buzzing sound and blue sparks shone brightly in the water tank. Then the water’s surface started to shake slightly and the spore in the water also trembled like crazy.
An Zhe, “!”
He had electrified the water.
He was in a mess, pressing one button after another until finally, there was a bang and the light green solution was slowly removed from the container. An Zhe pressed a button next to it and there was a click as the top lid of the water tank opened.
The water tank was too high. An Zhe had to bring a chair over and stood on it before finally being able to reach the top of the water tank. However, the culture medium had been discharged and the spore couldn’t float to this height.
An Zhe saw the spore sticking to the glass wall and slowly crawling up along the glass. It slid down while crawling, sliding for a while before continuing up again.
This little thing wasn’t fully matured and hadn’t inherited his ability to move freely. An Zhe reached out a hand. His arms and fingers turned into white mycelium that descended the inner wall of the container and touched the spore.
At this moment, it was like a current penetrated his body and he was reborn. He had taken back apart of himself and there was a strange fluctuation around him.
Holding the spore, he carefully fished it all. All the spore’s scattered mycelium were neatly connected and rolled between his mycelium.
An Zhe smiled at it. His mycelium connected with the spore and carefully incorporated it into his body. The spore’s body was completely integrated into his body and a euphoric emotion passed through him. The spore had finally returned to the place where it should be raised. The human’s culture fluid was useless. It was only the nutrition in An Zhe’s body that would allow it to grow until it matured.
This time, there was no bad thing to dig it away, although An Zhe didn’t know why the spore took the initiative to approach that guy.
In fact, it was a good thing the spore hadn’t approached An Zhe when he was in the laboratory the other day. Once it showed a tendency to approach him, the researchers would immediately observe him and his identity would be doubted. Thus, An Zhe one-sidedly decided that his spore was extraordinarily smart.
Thanks to the return of the spore, the empty space in his body was finally refilled. All his uneasiness fell to the ground. It was a feeling beyond description, like he had gained a new life. An Zhe walked to the window, pressed the button and raised the steel sheet.
The glare of the light came in and he squinted. Outside, there was wind and sand. In the golden morning, a bright red sun shone intensely.
An Zhe slowly turned his head, looking at the silver-white laboratory where machines were placed side by side. The wires were clear and the test tube racks in the cabinets were neatly arranged. From this laboratory, he could imagine what the entire base looked like.
This was the base of humanity. Its past, present and future had nothing to do with him.
His hands gripped the edge of the window, knuckles white as he pushed open the clear, three-layered glass window.
The window had only been opened to the size of a finger when a hot wind covered with gravel blew over his fingers. The strong wind from the outside was filled with radiation from the universe. The huge wave contained countless tiny ripples and An Zhe seemed to hear the Abyss calling him back.
He could go, leave here and return to the Abyss. It was equally cruel outside and he didn’t know if he could survive, but he had recovered his spore. He wasn’t afraid of anything.
…He wasn’t afraid of anything.
An Zhe gently pressed his left hand against his abdomen, forehead against the window edge as he closed his eyes, his entire body suddenly trembling slightly.
He gripped the edge of the window with his right hand and pulled it back, applying the opposite force. There was a soft click and the window closed, followed by the radiation-proof metal layer. He took a few breaths, placed his fingers against the metal plate and clenched his fingers like he had made a difficult decision.
Once the radiation was isolated, the tingling sensation in his body gradually faded away. It was just like when Lu Feng held him that night, blocking An Zhe with his body and rolling them away from the area with radiation. In fact, Lu Feng would do this for anyone else. However, this scene left a deep impression on An Zhe, just like he remembered every time Lu Feng left.
An Zhe walked out of the laboratory. At this time, two soldiers were passing by in the corridor. The previous patrol of soldiers had long gone and now it was another group. An Zhe met their eyes and smiled in greeting before turning and walking toward the stairwell.
In the dim stairwell, he could only hear his own heartbeat, beating again and again, faster than usual. The human heart beat faster when they were afraid but he didn’t know what he was afraid of.
He wouldn’t be able to conceal it for long, he knew. Once order was restored and research resumed, they would be able to discover that the human laboratory had lost something important. He had to go. The sooner the better.
Still, he couldn’t control himself from taking something out of his shirt pocket. It was the badge on Lu Feng’s jacket that he had taken off. He held this object in his hand and thought that he would wait until the aurora appeared again and he heard news of the PL1109 plane returning. Then he would leave.
There was nothing good about the city. Only potato soup was good.
If… if his spore hadn’t been close to Lu Feng then he would’ve left.