When Shi Fuyin was shocked by their experience on Lunaris last time, her fragile body deteriorated even further. She had to be moved to Zhou Jian planet, which offered better medical facilities. With nowhere to go herself, Rui Bing decided to stay by Shi Fuyin’s side. She had developed a certain tenderness towards the girl.
Shi Chongming was out on an errand, leaving only her and Shi Fuyin. The sudden appearance of so many of those creatures outside left Rui Bing deeply shaken.
Rui Bing witnessed with her own eyes how the urban streets were transformed into a living hell. There was blood everywhere. People who could not escape fast enough were chewed to pieces. The sight of blood, flesh and organs here and there was nauseating.
The victims wailed in pain and distress, or shrieked in fear and despair. It was as if the world was turned inside out.
Rui Bing stood by the window, watching the tragedy happening outside from above, feeling deeply troubled.
Just what had the world come to? Why was this happening?
There was a pedestrian who could not make it in time, and his one leg was bitten off by one of those huge rats. Blood gushed out from the wound, bloodying the rat’s face. The rat chewed on the leg for a few times and swallowed it. Its blood red eyes shone menacingly. The pedestrian’s face twisted in pain from the sudden amputation, but before he could react any further, the other rats swarmed over him and finished him off. Rui Bing saw everything, including the expression of the pedestrian in the last moments of his life. That twisted face lingered in her mind, and her heart ached.
Rui Bing inhaled deeply to calm herself, and began to assess the situation. However, the conclusions she reached from her observation of the situation outside gave her pause.
The rats were strong, and astonishingly so. Their teeth could gnaw through the strong compound material used to built the walls, as easy as chewing a biscuit in their mouths.
"If this was the case, then we’re defenseless," Rui Bing thought to herself. The hospital’s walls were all made of the same compound material, which could not withstand the assault of the rats.
She would have to fight! Rui Bing’s eys glowed with determination. As a Jie expert, she would not easily lose hope against hurdles like these.
As she walked to Shi Fuyin’s bed, Shi Fuyin woke up. She opened her eyes wide and looked at Rui Bing, and called sweetly, "Sister Bing."
Rui Bing caressed her forehead and asked softly, "How do you feel?"
"Much better," Shi Fuyin smiled in reply despite her pale appearance.
Rui Bing looked at Shi Fuyin with sympathy, and could not help but worry. If they leave the hospital, would Shi Fuyin’s condition worsen without the medical facilities available here? There was no other alternative, however. Rui Bing gritted her teeth and said to Shi Fuyin, "It’s chaos out there. We’re leaving now. I’ll carry you."
"Ah!" Shi Fuyin gasped in surprised. "What about Uncle Ming?"
Rui Bing shook her head. "I don’t know why he’s not back either, maybe he’s in trouble." Rui Bing was right. Shi Chongming was trapped somewhere outside, and in a worse situation than them.
Rui Bing walked to the window for another look, and knew that they could not afford to delay any further. She quickly helped Shi Fuyin into her clothes. Shi Fuyin managed awkwardly due to her weak body. She was wrapped up into a large bundle since she was still feeling chilly.
Rui Bing walked to the bed and tore off a few strips of cloth from the bedsheet. She took a strip
and carefully blindfolded Shi Fuyin with it. She did not want the young lady to see the hellish world outside. Shi Fuyin seemed to understand her, and smiled sweetly as she accepted the blindfold without protest. Rui Bing took the headphones from the bedside and put it on Shi Fuyin. The headphones had good noise-cancelling features. Once it was put on, she would not be able to hear anything but the beautiful music coming from the headphones.
Rui Bing tied Shi Fuyin onto herself tightly. She was not scared, nor did she hesitate as she began to move.
Ye Chong turned back to see a lady holding onto some chips in her arms and frantically looking at the ground around her. The soil around her was rippling like the surface of boiling water.
Ye Chong leaped and reached her side. He gripped her arms and began to run forward.
Clatter! The chips fell from her arms. The lady paled, and cried, "My chips, my chips!"
She struggled in Ye Chong’s hands, trying to free herself and head back for her chips. However, Ye Chong’s hands held onto to her strongly like pincers, and no matter how much she tried, she could not break free.
"Let me go! Let me go! My chips, ooh, my chips!" She punched Ye Chong repeatedly, but it was no use. Abruptly, she lowered her head and bit deeply into Ye Chong’s arm!
Ye Chong’s eyes turned grim, and he striked out with his left hand!
Slap! The slap on her face was loud and clear. The lady’s face was now imprinted with a red palm!
"You - You actually hit me?" The lady stammered in disbelief.
"You’re sure you want to die?" Ye Chong ignored her reaction and asked coldly. The lady felt a chill down her spine, still not fully believing. It was still too early for Ye Chong to practice what he had learned in this short period. Given the emergency of the situation, he reverted to his old behavior of cold logic.
If the lady replied in the affirmative, Ye Chong would definitely let her go. He did not distinguish between men and women, but he still found it hard to believe that anyone could be so stubborn given the situation. If it was before, he might just break her neck there and then. However, dear Ye Chong had progressed much since then. He would only let her go, and leave her to her demise.
Behind them, rats emerged in great numbers from where the lady was standing earlier, and began to scatter about the academy grounds.
Ye Chong ran faster towards the school building in front of him. He did not have time to check his bitten hand. The block was surrounded by security mechs. There were also many mechs in the skies with their weapons pointed towards the ground, fully prepared for battle.
As Ye Chong approached the building, the mech closest to them stepped aside for them to pass through. Ye Chong slipped through and entered the school building.
Inside the building, people were huddling in corners, crying to themselves, or just spacing off, or gritting their teeth in anger. However, they all looked panic stricken and scared. The sudden calamity had caught them off guard.
"Madam Fei Si! It’s Madam Fei Si!" "Madam Fei Si!"
A few female students recognized the woman Ye Chong was having with him, and rushed to her. Some even threw themselves into her arms, crying. Fei Si was now behaving completely different from before, patting the students’ backs and comforting them.
Strange. Ye Chong took another look at Fei Si, now with a completely different personality, and went to sit in a corner. He needed to organize his thoughts. Everything happened too quickly, without any warning! Why were the rats like that? No, there was something else he saw. He recalled then that there were other animals as well. When he turned back to look at Fei Si, he remembered seeing animals other than the rats.
Could they be mutants? The idea was immediately rejected. As someone who grew up on a trash planet, he had seen countless mutants before, but none of them were like this. These rats were even stronger than the engulfers on the trash planet.
Something must have happened!
Besides, Ye Chong found it curious that no one here had any idea of the possible causes of this calamity. If no organization on Zhou Jian planet realized anything was amiss before this, it would be very strange indeed!
But why should this concern him? Ye Chong dismissed his worries. If things really got out of hand, he can always find a starship and escape to planet of Yi Ju. Hijacking a starship was a piece of cake for him. It was a pity, though, to end his studies here. He had just started his humanities studies, only beginning to grasp the important ideas in this field.
No one paid much attention to Ye Chong. In the midst of this chaos, why would they pay attention to a random student?
There were loud sounds of battle coming from outside. Everyone but Ye Chong lifted their heads and looked outside the school building. They had always lived in a peaceful life, and had never seen actual battles before. Ye Chong was unaffected by what was happening outside.
The battle was fierce!
Ye Chong was right. There were other mutants besides those rats. In fact, it seemed as though all kinds of animals had evolved into some kind of strong mutant creatures overnight.
Fortunately, however, they were all land animals. None of them fly. It they could, the mechs would lose their flying advantage. Most of the mechs engaging in fights outside were teachers. They were all experienced in combat, and fought with competence. It was their leadership that managed to keep the students calm and organized.
Nonetheless, the mutated creatures were all tough animals. Even when wounded by energy beams, they could run about unaffected if they were not hit at critical body parts. Additionally, the creatures were strong and powerful, moving too quickly to aim at them. It was due to their large numbers that almost any random shot would end up hitting a target.
The He Ye galaxy was more specialized in long range combat, just like in the Five Galaxies. However, the current emergency required more close range combat mechs. Without close range combat mechs at the frontlines, the swarming mutants would quickly overwhelm the entire academy, leaving everyone at risk.
The rats were terrifying enemies, especially when they attacked together in the dozens!
Swoosh! A mech flew in to the school building and yelled, "Any more students with mechs? We need reinforcements! All students with mechs please get in your mech and and prepare for battle, especially the close range mechs." The mech’s bionic eyes scanned through the people around and said grimly, "The situation is critical, please lend your strength! I hope you understand one thing - your lives are in your hands! Defeat will mean death!"
The mech looked ghastly, covered with damages. Even the shield on its left arm was missing a corner, having been bitten off. Done with his speech, the mech pilot returned outside and continued to battle.
Gradually, students began to stand up and take action. In this dangerous situation, everyone began to fight for their survival.