Chapter 24 Hunting
“That’s gross!” When Chang took the food from Jing, his face crumbled. The bread was squishy and sticky. He frowned, “Is this bread? It’s literally become a ball of yarn.”
“Unfortunately, not a single piece of it is edible.” Pangzi showed a look of pity when he looked at the bread.
“What can we do now? We haven’t had proper food since two days ago.” The five had been tense and stressed from running back and forth in the military base. This was already very energy consuming, not to mention that they didn’t have any protein the past two days. Their strength was drained.
“The military should be distributing food these days. Although most of their grain reserve probably perished, they’ll figure out a way to solve the food shortage.” Qing shui leaned against the wall and said in a faded voice, “Let’s just wait for now.”
“Yeah.” The other four nodded as they stood in silence.
They didn’t wait too long; the family of the dead son came back, followed by some soldiers who were distributing food around.
“Each of you gets half a pack of hardtack or half a can of canned food. You can only choose either one of these, and no one can take more than that.” The soldier didn’t explain much and gave out a portion for everyone in the room, then he continued onto the next room with the cart.
“Hardtack is a kind of cracker that soldiers carry in the war zone as food. Apparently, it can last longer than regular crackers in the supermarket.” Qing shui took a pack of hardtack and flipped over the package. “The sealing technique they used on the hardtack is so much better than those in the supermarket, and it contains less moisture. There’s no doubt that these can be preserved for a long time.”
“The seal on the canned food is also impressive.” Pangzi opened a can and sniffed, “Although it smells a bit sour, it’s definitely edible.”
“But we only have half a piece of hardtack or half a can of food for each person. There’s no way it’s enough.” Lin was sitting by the bed as she spoke emotionlessly.
“We’re lucky that we still have these.” Chang took a bite of his cracker and sipped some water, causing the cracker to expand in size.
It took less than a minute to finish the cracker and canned food. The five had been hungry for two days, so they swiftly finished their meal.
Each of them laid on their beds after they ate up their prestigious and only meal of the day.
“I feel even hungrier after eating that cracker; do you guys feel that way too?” Pangzi rubbed his belly as it rumbled deeply.
“It might be because the food we just ate stimulated our stomachs to become more active.” Chang felt the same as Pangzi. He laid down for a while, then sat up while rubbing his right eye, “Although we’re still hungry, at least we’ve had something to eat and regained some strength. Let’s take advantage of this and go out and do something, otherwise we’ll starve to death.”
“You’re right. It seems like the military doesn’t have much food in their reserves either. Even now, the portions of food are a mere drop in the bucket.” Qing shui analyzed. “The crackers can probably last longer than the canned food. I suspect the canned food will perish soon. At that time, we’ll be in the worst situation. We really should go out to look for our own food if we want to survive.”
“Although it’s dangerous outside of the base, the plants and animals are flourishing. I don’t think it will be a problem for us to find food in this situation.”
“I agree, the stems and branches of plants are edible, and so is animal meat. How about this…” Chang lowered his voice when he heard Qing shui’s suggestion to go out to look for food. “Teacher, you’re more familiar with plants, so it won’t be a big problem for you to distinguish which one is edible. You can bring Pangzi and Lin to collect plants in and around the base. I’ll go out with Jing to see if we’re lucky enough to run into some small animals so that we’ll have meat for dinner. Hopefully, we’ll find something to eat if we split up this way.”
“You’re hunting by yourself?” Pangzi shook his head as he heard Chang, “That’s too dangerous, bring me with you. I don’t know anything about plants anyways.”
“Well…since you’re chubby, you’ll become a big target. It’s not safe for both of us if you follow me.” Chang made a joke to turn down Pangzi’s kindness. “Go with Mr. Li, it won’t be too much of a problem for me as long as I’m with Jing.”
“No one can be sure about that.” Qing shui shook his head too. “Jing didn’t detect the danger until the tentacle of the monster came out from the urinal.”
“He’s right.” Jing also shook her head. “I didn’t sense it until its tentacle reached out.”
“Does that mean that you sensing abilities can be blocked?” Chang frowned. “But that’s not a big deal, is it? After all, only a few monsters live underground. We’ll just look for animals around the base. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be dangerous.”
“But…” Pangzi was going to express his concern, but Chang interrupted him. “That’s it, I’ll be going around the base with Jing to look for small animals. There’s no need to be sentimental; just wait for the big dinner tonight.”
Chang held onto Jing’s small hand as he spoke.
“Let’s go.” They walked out of the room and walked through the base; the world was still drowned in this mysterious red fog.
However, the base wasn’t silent; it was filled with civilians because it was the time that the soldiers were distributing food. Even though the base wasn’t bustling with noise and excitement, it wasn’t as quiet as the outside world either.
They passed over the crowd and walked out of the base. Chang found out that there were still many civilians trickling into the base for shelter.
“The number of refugees is still increasing, and with that many people, the military will soon have many more problems.” Seeing the stream of people peeking into the base, Chang pulled Jing aside to avoid the crowd.
Despite being in an apocalypse, there were barely any mutated organisms in this area. This was a phenomenon that other species had learned in order to avoid an excessive population that could threaten their survival. After all, it was part of an animal’s instinct for self-preservation.
“We’ll go around the base and try not stray too far from it. Jing, please tell me if there are any dangerous animals circling around us, as well as any large groups of small insects.” Chang told Jing earnestly. “If you notice an organism that has a high danger index or is really big, hide first, then pat my back to let me know. I won’t go too far from you.”
“Understood,” Jing nodded determinedly.
“Okay, let’s go.” Chang went out first and pulled out his scalpels and held one in each hand. They started hunting for the first time in their lives.
“Right now we’re at a pretty quiet area; it’s best not to move too far away from here, and make sure you pay attention and scout out dangerous creatures around here, since this is a large area.” Liu Chang led the little girl while reminding her, “if the danger value of a creature is too high or a large number of creatures appear, make sure to get yourself in a safe hiding spot, then we can’t signal each other by tugging on our clothes. I won’t leave you too far.”
“Our goal for hunting is to find an individual animal with a danger value of 1 or less. Is that clear?
“Yeah, I understand.” The little girl nodded energetically.
“All right, let’s go.” After finishing his sentence, Chang headed out. With the two scalpels in his hand, he had officially begun his first hunt.