Chapter 28 Stench
“I’m sorry, but this is the only way we can separate your socks from your feet.” Chang sighed.
He knew just how much it would hurt to rub salt on a wound, not to mention soaking her feet in salt water. Moreover, because there were more sensory nerves at the bottom of the feet, the pain that she was enduring was amplified even more than if this were a normal wound on her limbs.
In less than a moment, Jing’s face paled. However, Chang didn’t look at her face; instead, he paid attention to the socks on her feet.
The hardened blood on the sock slowly softened in the salt water, and the adhesion between the sock and the wounds on her feet began to loosen up. After a while, Chang lifted her feet and carefully peeled off her socks.
“Pour some alcohol onto her feet. We don’t need to wrap her feet in bandages, since those blisters need some fresh air to dry up.” Qing shui continued to guide Chang behind him.
“I see.” He nodded and gently put her leg on the bedpost so that her feet wouldn’t touch the bed. Chang then took out some antibiotics from his backpack. He gave Jing a pill, and then he took another one.
“I’m really sorry you had to experience this…” Chang dropped himself on to the bed and covered his eyes with his arms after he disinfected Jing’s feet.
“How was it today?” Qing shui returned to the pile of plants to sort them.
“It was hard; hunting was extremely difficult.” Chang stared at the base of the upper bunk bed and said. “The animals were too vigilant. I didn’t even get close to them before I was discovered.”
“If hunting was that easy, there wouldn’t have been a large number of human hunters that starved to death in ancient times.” Qing shui chuckled and said, “If hunters were able to get a large prey, the money they could get from trading its fur and meat would be sufficient to cover their living expenses for a month or more. They could’ve been millionaires if every hunt was successful.”
“In fact, the hunter occupation isn’t stable in the least; they often face hunger, and many die from starvation.” Qing shui kept his hands busy and continued to explain. “It’s not only human hunters; the top predators on this planet also face these difficulties. For example, of all land animals, leopards have the highest chances of acquiring prey, yet they only have a success rate of less than 1 in 7. Moreover, after each hunt, regardless of whether it’s successful or not, they have a period of time where they can’t consume any food because they burnout, which creates a significant burden for their body.”
“Therefore, even if they have the highest success rate in hunting, they often get robbed of their food.” Qing shui picked out a strange grass from the pile of plants, sniffed it a few times and said, “What I was trying to say is, it’ll be hard to find food in nature even if you are a good hunter or a top predator. Animals lacking escape abilities or survival mechanisms have long been eliminated by the cruelty of nature. The ones who’ve survived are skillful and as you said, extremely vigilant. I’m going to hunt with you tomorrow. Anyways, I think the plants we picked today are enough to last for a few days.”
“Sure, that’s good,” Chang rolled over in his bed and happened to see Qing shui sniff at the plant. He asked, “Mr. Li, are you sure they’re edible?”
“I don’t know, they should be.” Qing shui’s eyes revealed a look of skepticism. “These plants were definitely edible before the red fog, but now they seem to have developed some unique abilities.”
“What unique abilities?” Chang frowned.
“The ability to prevent themselves from being eaten by other organisms.” Qing shui walked in front of Chang and squeeze some juice from the stem of the plant and smiled, “smell it.”
“Ahh! Get it away from me please.” The juice from the stem spurt on Chang’s face and made him feel nauseous. “What is this? It smells worse than shit, are you really sure this is edible?”
“I’m sure of it.” The choking smell caused Qing shui to sneeze a few times. “The composition of these plants should be the same as before the red fog, but they’ve just become stinky. We’ll boil them for longer, so at least we have something to eat.”
Qing shui picked up a pile of plants and stood up straight, “I’m going to the army kitchen to cook them. Does anyone want to come with me?”
No one answered him; they didn’t want to go to the kitchen.
“I’ll be going by myself then.” Qing shui wasn’t disappointed by the silence. He smiled and left the dorm room.
An hour later.
Qing shui held a pot of vegetable soup and carefully pushed open the door with his back as he walked in.
“Oh god, it smells like the sewer.” All of them, including the other two families covered their noses as Qing shui walked in.
“To be honest, I think the sewer smells way better than this.” Pangzi walked up to Qing shui with his nose covered. “Mr. Li, are you really sure this is edible?”
“Hahaha, of course it is edible, I’ll tested it out myself first.” Qing shui put the pot on a stool and picked a “vegetable” from the pot. He swallowed it without chewing evening chewing it. A bitter smile covered his face as he said, “It tastes just like it!”
“Really?” Chang got up from the bed and took a spoonful of the soup. The soup was warm, but a sudden taste of cooked feces filled his entire mouth and activated all of his taste buds in less than a second. He gagged several times because of the stench. Until he felt his gastric juices rise to the throat, he swallowed the soup using a great deal of effort while squeezing his nose tightly to reduce the horrible odor as much as possible. Chang choked when he smelled the stench, and tears and snot burst out, causing him to choke.
“It tastes just like the sewer!” Chang gave a thumbs-up to Pangzi while he was tearing up.
“All of you should have some, you know we don’t have any other choices. This is better than starving. I know it smells really bad, and the textures horrible too, but in the end it’s just vegetable soup.” Qing shui distributed bowls to Chang and the others while he spoke and filled each bowl with the soup.
“Eat it all and don’t leave any leftovers. How many days has it been since we had a full meal? If we don’t endure the smell and eat it right now, within three days, someone will die.”
“Is it that serious?” Chang held his nose and drank a mouthful of the soup. With a mouth full of the stench, he asked “I don’t think somebody would die from starving for three days… If someone were to take that half pack of hardtack and lay on a bed, I think they’d be able to survive for more than ten days.”
“They wouldn’t die from starvation, but rather from other diseases caused by extreme hunger.” Qing shui fed himself big chunk of vegetables, but he still swallowed them without chewing too much. “What do you think our world has turned into? It’s rapidly changing, but for the past millions of years, bacteria and human’s resistance to them had been at an equal level. But now, they evolve much faster than we do. While they’ve been evolving, we haven’t, so our immune system has gradually become weaker and weaker from hunger. The result is obvious: we’ll get sick easily, and by that time, every breath we take could cause a serious bacterial infection.”
“So, according to what you’re saying, there will be people dying in the next few days?” Chang scooped up another spoonful of vegetables and looked around.
“Not only will people die, but it’ll also be on a very large scale!” Qing shui sighed as he handed Lin a bowl of soup. “Eat it. The plants are evolving too; while it might taste like shit right now, in a few days, we won’t even have shit to taste.”