Chapter 8: Attack of the Dreadwolves (II)
“Reporting back to Captain An, we’re still alive.”
An Yi let out a sigh of relief when the other five squad members all reporting to him that they were fine. In the past, if the dreadwolves hurt their vital parts such as the legs, the stomach, or the eyes, then they’d be in big troubles. Those members either died immediately or died from a long and painful death. His team just disappeared like that, one by one.
Zhou Qing said nervously, “Captain An, your arm is badly injured. We have to treat it immediately.”
An Yi looked at the slender Zhou Qing and laughed toughly: “Don’t worry, Lil’Zhou. Us humans don’t have other advantages besides immunity against viruses. And we can’t evolve and get stronger because of our damned immunity.”
Old Kang patted An Yi’s shoulders from the back and said seriously: “Lil’Zhou is really worried about you, so quit joking around, Old An. Everyone knows we’re not afraid of viruses, we’re afraid of the mutated bacteria.”
Other squad members nodded. Their wounds weren’t serious, but Captain Ai, who was fighting in the front line with his enhanced strength and protecting his squad members, got hit the hardest.
An Yi grinned. He was in pain, but as a macho man and the squad leader, he needed his team members to not be worried. With his luck, he believed he wouldn’t get infected by mutated bacteria once they go back and treat his wounds right away.
Now, it was time to clean up the battlefield. Zhou Qing adamantly offered to carry An Yi back, and as they walked about ten meters, they heard the sudden scream of shock from one of the mercenaries who was dragging the dreadwolves’ bodies outside the iron door.
“Who are you? Why are you here?”
An Yi frowned. A human? Out in the wild? Then, he heard the stranger’s young and clear voice from outside the door.
“May I enter?”
It was a kid? An Yi detected the tenderness from his voice. That tenderness was young yet seasoned, tinged with a roughness that did not come with age. An Yi gently pushed Zhou Qing aside and walked towards the iron door.
“Who are you?” He asked. Then, a teenager that was 1.8 meters tall entered his sight.
The teenager wore a cape made from vines, carried a fully packed traveling bag, and a long object that was sheathed with animal pelt. His face was a little dusty but still fair. The nice-looking features that had a special verve, and big eyes that were as black as beautiful obsidian that reflected at him.
He was incredibly handsome on the outside, but he was also not without substance on the inside. His broad shoulders supported the clothes on his shoulders, his hands that were exposed outside the cape were rough and calloused. The teen stood there, not moving, as steady as a rock, much unlike those wussies in the safe zone.
What intrigued An Yi was the fact that the teen came from the wild. Just a few minutes ago, there were fifteen dreadwolves loitering in the wild outside the safe zone, and he was not hurt. Also, just now, how come there was not a slight hint of fear in this teen’s eyes, a boy around the age of sixteen, who was standing among a pack of dreadwolves’ bloody corpses?
Chilly northern winds blew from outside the safe zone’s iron door. It was late, the gradual temperature drop slowly took away the warmth of the humans. Obviously, outside the iron door was not the ideal place to talk. An Yi took a good look at the teen who came from the wild and let him inside the safe zone.
“You can’t just enter the safe zone freely. For security reasons, we have to check your belongings.” said An Yi as he reached his hand to Wu Qi.
Wu Qi examined this middle-aged man in the middle of the group of armed men who seemed to be the leader of the bunch. Technically, this was the first time he had seen a human other than Ruorong in nine years. He looked similar to him and smelled similar to him. His sharp sense of smell caught the scent of something that did not belong in the wildness of mountains and forests.
Wu Qi nodded and put his backpack on the ground. A slight whimper came from the bag as he opened it. It was the sound of an animal, which immediately alerted all the mercenaries.
Wu Qi rubbed his cold hands together, and once they were warm, he reached inside the bag and carried out a small red fox that was as wide as his arm. The red fox’s limbs clung around Wu Qi’s strong shoulders sweetly. Its hot red fur danced in the wind. It licked Wu Qi’s jaw with its tongue like a clingy baby that loved its mother. Its fluffy tail rubbed against the back of his hand. Its round little eyes blinked at Wu Qi to show fondness, then turned around to look at the surroundings.
The humans around them had different scents than Wu Qi. The scents of unfamiliarity and danger. The outside environment was not as warm as inside the bag, and the strong scent of blood and gunpowder irritated its nose. July the Red Fox hissed at An Yi and his team members, obviously a sign of unfriendliness and defense.
“Is this a red fox?” An Yi and his team were shocked. This teen that came from the wild became even more mysterious to them. Nowadays, humans were too busy to keep themselves alive that they didn’t have the time or energy for pets. Not to mention that mutated animals were big, savage, hard to tame, and hard to domesticate.
“This is July, my pet. You don’t have to worry about it hurting you.” Wu Qi stroke July’s soft back, his steady breathing rate and temperature gave July the safe signal. July understood Wu Qi and stopped baring its teeth. It quieted down and climbed up on Wu Qi’s shoulders.
Even the thirty-two-year-old An Yi was shaken by this scene. Just then, Old Kang called out to An Yi.
“Captain, look, this boy’s bag has all the top-quality beast pelts and body materials from mutated animals!”
That was enough to shock the others. It lit up their curiosity and peeked inside the bag. It contained the skin and other valued parts of the Crogerdragon that Wu Qi just harvested and the animal pelt rug that was used for years. Wu Qi knew they were valuable, but he didn’t expect them to be so flabbergasted.
An Yi gently stroked the warm and tough surface of the animal pelt and was sure it must be from a ferocious mutated carnivore, and definitely not from a beast the size of the dreadwolf. Just as he wanted to learn more about the animal pelt, a rough but fair palm entered his sight and grabbed the straps on the bag and took it away.
Wu Qi’s face was cold with resistance. There was a layer of frost in his jade-like voice. “I only said you can inspect my bag for safety reasons, I didn’t allow you to check so carefully.”
An Yi retrieved his hand bitterly. He grew even more curious about Wu Qi’s origins. He pointed to the long object on Wu Qi’s back that was sheathed by animal leather and asked, “What’s that?”
A mercenary went to Wu Qi’s back and knocked on the long object, then told An Yi, “It is a blade.”
An Yi’s heart was finally at peace. There was nothing else to worry if that was just a blade. After all, what other weapon in the world could fight against guns? If this guy wasn’t a threat to the authority of the mercenary squad, then they could use an extra hand if he joined them.
“Welcome to safe zone SW0304. What is your name?” An Yi offered to shake Wu Qi’s hand. Within the last minute, this person’s mysteriousness and the surprise that he brought them had earned An Yi’s respect, plus, he was really interested in the animal pelt in Wu Qi’s bag.
Wu Qi thought for a second and answered: “Wu Qi.”