Chapter 20    Plague-Breeders’ Nest (I)

 Wu Qi slowly digested the explanations from Old Hu. Of course, he didn’t know Old Hu’s comments on his looks. Sister Ruorong had told him many things about the plague-breeders, such as the “natural-born hostility” that Old Hu just mentioned. Sister Ruorong also told him that if a plague-breeder had way too many viruses in its body, then it could infect a mass group of mutated animals and even harbingers, dragging them into an abyss of horrendous viral infections to become another plague-breeder.

There was not a single plague-breeder in the mountains where Wu Qi spent his childhood, and if it had, there would’ve been a lot of them.

The noises coming from the car motors suddenly became much quieter, the light disappeared as well. The armed truck’s speed also slowed down once they entered the tunnel.

“Everyone in the back, be alert at all times. We don’t know when or where will a monster come out from the darkness and kill you!” Wang Sheng yelled from the passenger seat. He threw away his cigarette butt that was still lit.

The cigarette butt dropped to the ground of the tunnel and lied down quietly after a small bounce. The faint light from the cigarette but became the only light in the dark tunnel.

The tunnel was pitch-black and silent except for the much-quieter motor sounds from the armored truck. The air inside the tunnel was not fresh; a layer of dust covered the walls, filling the space with strong dusty smells. Every single mercenary was on full alert, and even An Yi, Gao Yuan, and others who were sitting in the back were now on their feet, studying their surroundings.

The Black Blunderbuss mercenaries put their protective face guard down and turned on night vision to watch every possible move in the tunnel. Not everyone had enhanced vision powers.

In the back, An Yi looked around nervously. Zhou Qing’s legs couldn’t stop shaking. He closed his eyes tightly shut and wished he could use all his danger-sensing powers. Too bad, he didn’t sense danger coming from an individual, the danger was emanating from the entire tunnel.

“Captain, this is just an exploration mission, nothing should happen, yeah?” the young Big Yong grabbed An Yi’s arm and asked in fear.

An Yi gave him a heartening smile, albeit being unsure himself. He patted Big Yong on the shoulder and said: “Relax, even if there is danger, the Black Blunderbuss has all the equipment, it’s not our turn to fight the monsters.”

“Hmm…”

The armored truck stopped after driving for a while. The driver and Wang Sheng saw a huge hole that was about three to four meters-wide in front right. Parts of the concrete tunnel wall had collapsed, the edges around the hole were uneven. The concrete blocks that fell on the ground looked like they were broken off from brute force.

“Prepare the search.” Wang Sheng gave the order. He opened the car door and stepped his dark brown tall boots on the tunnel ground. Most of the people in the back, including Wu Qi and An Yi, also exited the car. The highly alert Black Blunderbuss mercenaries readied their weapons. Wu Qi slowly unwrapped the leather around his long blade and put it in his bag. He also stuffed July in there.

Wang Sheng and others walked to the hole on the right side of the tunnel and studied carefully. He touched the dust fallen on the ground and rubbed it between his hands. He tried to detect some biological traces from that mess of a hole. Another mercenary on his side took out a pen and a piece of paper to sketch and record some information.

Wu Qi wandered around. His vision was able to see everything clearly, even more clearly than what the mercenaries who are wearing night vision goggles could see. He stepped onto the railways and immediately felt the unevenness on the tracks.

Wu Qi knelt down, and he used the observation skills he learned from the complex jungles to detect his surroundings. Pretty soon, he saw something that shocked him to his core.

There were countless irregular indentations on the ground of the tunnel, even on the railway tracks. Upon closer inspection, Wu Qi noticed a special and uniform outline along their edges.

“Could it be… the footprint of a plague-breeder?” Wu Qi murmured to himself as he focused. That speculation came naturally from the nine-experience of living in the forest.

All of a sudden, a slight electric current traveled from the top of his head to the rest of his body, his skin and muscles went numb for a second. Wu Qi’s pupils constricted, he knew that was an ominous sign of danger.

The grey concrete walls that lined the tunnel were very well-constructed, safe, and meticulously sealed to separate the soil layer. In terms of thickness, a 5.56mm rifle bullet ammo could only make an indent the size of a fingernail.

The places that the armored truck visited along the path to the tunnel were not very humid, a normal humidity level that didn’t feel dry or moist to most humans. But as they entered 800 meters into the tunnel, Wu Qi definitely felt the humidity level in the tunnel is much higher.

Wu Qi was particularly sensitive to the scent of moist soil from his rich experiences of living in the forests. Wang Sheng was carefully observing a three-meter-wide hole on the wall. Wu Qi couldn’t see what was inside, but his skin could sense something; this kind of humidity wasn’t just coming from the soil inside the hole, he sensed the same humidity coming from every single direction.

In other words, the entire tunnel did not completely separate from the soil layer. This conclusion reached by his instincts was too ridiculous, Wu Qi couldn’t even believe it.

In the complete darkness, creepy movements came from a small patch of soil behind the concrete walls at the top of the tunnel. A small mound raised up from the soil and spreaded out. A patch of blackish-purple skin came out from that mound, then the mound expanded, and finally, the blackish purple thing struggled out of the soil.

That was a weird-looking skull the size of a human’s head. It had no eyes, the nostrils degenerated into two short lines, the skin was very wrinkled, and its color was a disgusting blackish purple. The size of the mouth took up half of the skull. The monster opened its lips and revealed a ferocious, bloody mouth. The length of its crimson teeth was almost as long as a human’s finger, the shape was like a beast’s talon. Its teeth were tightly packed together in more than one row with multiple clusters of smaller teeth inside the oral cavity, almost like a shark’s teeth. It looked extremely terrifying.

The monster stuck its head out and smelled the whiff of humans with its tiny nostrils. The color of its skin was a natural camouflage in this dark place where the sun didn’t shine. Humans would not be able to detect its presence even with night vision goggles unless they keep staring above at all times. Its lizard-like skin slowly glided out of the concrete layer little by little, almost like it was born to swim freely in there, not making any sounds.


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