Chapter 69.2 Savage expansion (2)
The three people who were walking ahead immediately turned to look at her.
“What’s wrong?” Lin Zhaohe was startled and asked, “What happened?”
Xiao Die, who was originally standing next to Nangong Chengfeng, looked as if she had seen a ghost. She almost crawled and rolled away from Nangong Chengfeng, covering her mouth and shaking her head in fear, pointing behind Nangong Chengfeng.
“What’s wrong?” Nangong Chengfeng thought there was something behind him and reflexively turned to look behind himself.
With this turn, all three of them understood why Xiao Die had let out such a terrifying scream.
They saw that the part of Nangong Chengfeng’s body behind him was completely rotten, as if corroded by some potent poison. His skin and muscles were no longer visible, revealing the bones and internal organs inside. Half of his body had decayed, and just a glance at it was horrifying beyond measure.
“What is this?” Yun Yuzi almost vomited upon seeing it, horrified as she asked, “What happened to him?”
“It should be a viral infection,” Zhuang Lao, who hadn’t spoken much since seeing these two people, spoke softly, “Stay away from him.”
The three, including Xiao Die, involuntarily distanced themselves from the person in front of them. Nangong Chengfeng finally realized something was wrong. They weren’t afraid of what was behind him but of him himself. He reached behind his body and felt a hand covered in blood and jagged bones. However, he felt no pain at all. Nangong Chengfeng shouted in terror, “Help, help—my back—what’s happening?!”
He looked at Xiao Die and saw that the woman who had always been by his side, promising never to leave, had now run as far away as possible, her eyes filled with fear.
A surge of anger erupted from the depths of Nangong Chengfeng’s heart. He yelled furiously at Xiao Die and charged towards her.
Xiao Die was terrified and turned to run. The two of them engaged in a chase, but it didn’t last long. The virus in Nangong Chengfeng erupted, and his body rapidly deteriorated. He fell to the ground and transformed into a grim set of bleached bones right before their eyes.
“I, I’ve seen this plot before,” Yun Yuzi’s face turned pale, devoid of any color on her lips. “It’s ‘The Plague’! If you come into contact with an infected person, you’ll be infected too.”
If you come into contact with an infected person, you’ll be infected too? Upon hearing this, the three couldn’t help but look at Xiao Die. She had been in close proximity to Nangong Chengfeng. There must have been physical contact between them.
Xiao Die clearly didn’t want to believe this cruel reality. She shook her head like a madwoman, covering her face with force and howling, “No, I don’t want to end up like him!”
“Is there any way…” Lin Zhaohe felt like his breath was about to stop.
“There isn’t any in the original work,” Yun Yuzi sighed bitterly. “No solution at all.”
Xiao Die released her hand from covering her cheek, unaware that several wounds had already appeared on her face. They began spreading at an exaggerated speed, revealing the bones underneath in an instant.
“Ah!!!” Xiao Die let out a piercing scream of agony.
“The contagiousness and toxicity of the virus are inversely related. The stronger the contagiousness, the weaker the toxicity, and vice versa,” Yun Yuzi’s face turned stiff. Though she had witnessed many intense scenes before, seeing a living person decay before her eyes was still overwhelming. She quietly spoke the lines from the original film, “Once all the infected people have died, the epidemic will come to an end.”
Xiao Die collapsed onto the ground, her body transforming into a set of white bones. Within a few short minutes, the two individuals who were lively just moments ago abruptly perished.
“Burn them,” Zhuang Lao sighed softly.
Yun Yuzi picked up a flamethrower and, following Zhuang Lao’s words, burned the remaining corpses to prevent the continued spread of the epidemic.
“How many more of these things are there in this fusion zone?” Lin Zhaohe said. “The virus… or perhaps something else…”
“Who knows,” Yun Yuzi forced a bitter smile. “It feels like we’re playing Minesweeper. The worst part is there are no hints at all. We have to step on them ourselves.”
“Can’t reach Lin Yan anymore,” Zhuang Lao lowered his head, fiddling with the communicator. The communicator that was functional just a moment ago was now being disrupted. This indicated that the fusion level in the fusion zone was increasing at an alarming rate. In the mist they stood in, other deadly fusion creations could appear at any moment.
“I feel like I’ve really witnessed the end of the world,” Lin Zhaohe laughed bitterly.
Yun Yuzi murmured, “It’s my first time entering a place like this.”
“Do you still want to continue?” Zhuang Lao asked. “We can evacuate from here now. The outskirts are already like this, and the source area is undoubtedly more extreme. Finding the source of the fusion zone and destroying it was always an impossible task. Judging from the government’s attitude, if they can rescue a few survivors, it would be considered exceeding expectations. As for the few teams trying to stop the spread of the fusion zone, they are practically prepared for total annihilation.”
“Let’s go in,” Lin Zhaohe gazed into the depths of the fog, mustering his determination. “I don’t want to move houses again.”
Yun Yuzi put away the flamethrower and said, “Then let’s continue.”
The three of them decided to move forward.
With the examples of Nangong Chengfeng and Xiao Die in mind, they became much more cautious, avoiding touching anything they could. No one knew what kind of bizarre and deadly viruses were lurking above.
The air became increasingly humid, and the surrounding environment grew more exaggerated. Human traces were almost entirely concealed by vegetation. It was unimaginable that just a dozen days ago, this place was a bustling city center. Thanks to Zhuang Lao’s acute hearing, the three of them managed to evade many large animals roaming through the jungle. Through the mist, Lin Zhaohe caught a glimpse of a gigantic wild boar. It still resembled a boar, but its face had six eyes, and its body was as large as a small hill. Its long fangs emitted a dangerous aura. It seemed to sense the presence of the three individuals but showed little interest before turning away.
Yun Yuzi held her breath, her senses heightened. When she finally relaxed, she was drenched in cold sweat. She forced a bitter smile and said, “Can we actually defeat these things?”
“No problem,” Lin Zhaohe encouraged her. “If you can’t win…”
Yun Yuzi: “Hmm?”
Lin Zhaohe: “I’ll definitely make sure you’re insured.”
Yun Yuzi: “……”
Yun Yuzi, who didn’t want her colleague to claim her insurance, decided to take extra care of herself. She walked cautiously, afraid of stepping on something she shouldn’t.
The three of them had entered the interior of the fusion zone. Amidst the dense fog, the surrounding buildings had undergone drastic changes due to fusion. Only faint traces of their original appearance remained. As Lin Zhaohe passed by an intersection, he even caught a glimpse of a noodle shop sign hanging above. It used to be his favorite noodle shop, but now it was unrecognizable.
“Something’s not right,” Yun Yuzi frowned, holding a compass in her hand. “Why does it feel like we’re going in circles?”
Lin Zhaohe replied, “Going in circles? Aren’t we moving forward?”
Yun Yuzi looked at the similar surroundings, frustratedly shaking the compass in her hand. “Strange, could the compass be malfunctioning…?”
However, it didn’t take long for Lin Zhaohe to realize that what Yun Yuzi said was true. They were truly lost. The thick fog prevented them from discerning their surroundings, and even a slight distance from their companions posed the risk of getting separated.
“Damn. We’re really lost.” Upon seeing that sign for the third time, Lin Zhaohe confirmed their predicament.
Yun Yuzi fiddled with the compass and furrowed her brow. “Is there something here? The needle keeps pointing in this direction.” She pointed to a nearby building.
The architectural style of that building stood out among the surrounding high-rises. It was a two-story wooden structure that looked very old. The compass needle in Yun Yuzi’s hand consistently pointed toward it, no matter which direction they turned.
“I remember there used to be a road here,” Lin Zhaohe, familiar with Min’an Street, furrowed his brow. “I just recalled! This wasn’t a building before the fusion. It was a road!” And it was a necessary route to Min’an Street. The presence of this strange building seemed off.
“Are you saying we have to go through it?” Yun Yuzi asked.
“If we don’t go through, we’ll have to take a long detour,” Lin Zhaohe said. “Now that the compass is malfunctioning too, taking the longer route might be more dangerous.”
Yun Yuzi pondered for a moment and said, “Then let’s go inside and take a look.”
It seemed that was the only option now. In the dense fog of the lush jungle, danger lurked all around. Choosing the shortest route appeared to be the wisest decision. Lin Zhaohe stepped onto the wooden stairs and approached the two-story wooden building that stood conspicuously in the middle of the road, peering inside through the windows.
The interior of the house was pitch black, giving no indication of human habitation. From the outside, the building seemed ordinary, lacking any distinctive features. It was impossible to tell which work it belonged to.
“No one’s here,” Lin Zhaohe said.
“Then I’ll go in,” Yun Yuzi said. She was someone who took action. After saying those words, she lifted her foot and kicked the wooden door in front of her. With a few kicks, the flimsy door gave way, kicking up a cloud of dust.
Zhuang Lao entered first and inspected the room. Shaking his head, he said, “No one here.”
Upon hearing this, Lin Zhaohe breathed a sigh of relief. He hoped there wouldn’t be anything else in the house besides the absence of people. Since there were no other windows on the ground floor, he thought about going upstairs. Ideally, he could climb out through a window and make his way to the blocked path behind the building.
The house was extremely old, the stairs leading to the second floor giving off a musty smell. When Lin Zhaohe cautiously stepped on the steps, they creaked. The passage on the second floor was very narrow, and he struggled to climb up. After reaching the second floor, he confirmed that there was nothing strange there either.
Relieved, Lin Zhaohe called Yun Yuzi and Zhuang Lao to come up.
“We can go to the backyard this way,” Lin Zhaohe found another path leading to the back of the house. “We can exit through the back door.”
Yun Yuzi also reached the second floor, but instead of joining them, she stood in the room, staring intently at a photo hanging on the wall. Lin Zhaohe called her several times, but she didn’t turn around. When she finally faced him, Lin Zhaohe noticed that her expression was extremely unpleasant.
“Sister Yun, what’s wrong?” Lin Zhaohe asked her.
“Come and take a look,” Yun Yuzi pointed at the photo on the wall.
Lin Zhaohe approached and glanced at it. The photo depicted a man and a woman, and at first glance, there didn’t seem to be anything strange about it. He asked, “What’s wrong?”
Yun Yuzi swallowed and said, her voice trembling, “Have you watched ‘Ghost Grudge’?”
Lin Zhaohe paused. He hadn’t watched it, but he had heard of it.
‘The Grudge’ was probably the precursor to all horror movies, incredibly popular and influential. Its influence could be seen in the majority of horror films in later years. One of Lin Zhaohe’s roommates in college had watched it, and after watching it, he couldn’t sleep that night. The next day, with dark circles under his eyes, he claimed he felt like someone was in his bed. At the time, Lin Zhaohe laughed at his friend’s cowardice, until he himself decided to watch it. After seeing the beginning, he wisely turned off the TV…
“I have a feeling,” Yun Yuzi said, her voice trembling, “that this room we’re in is the same building as in ‘Ghost Grudge.'”
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