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"Team to Command, team to Command! On west side of the reservoir, opposite the fifth deserted isle and about 800 meters into the woods, anomalies were detected! Repeat, anomalies were detected!"

"Any sign of the target?"

"Not yet. We've searched around following his footprints, so this should be it."

"Ok. You guys are free to act adequately to situation for now, wait for us to come over."



"Roger that!"

Putting away his walkie-talkie, Guo Tao started to assign tasks to his men. "Xiao Wang, take a few people with you; you'll be on the look-out. Old Zhang, let's dig and see what's in it."

"Tao Zi, the boss did not say anything about taking action," Old Zhang hesitated. [1]

"Acting adequately to situation means to improvise," Guo Tao did not think much of it and grinned. "Don't worry. If anything goes wrong, it's on me. Otherwise, the credit goes to the entire team!"

Since he had put it that way, the rest of the team found it pointless to dissuade him. Picking up their tools, they started emptying the pit. The burial site was not too big an area and before long, the outline of a seemingly oblong object was revealed.

They kept digging, taking great care not to damage that thing.

Guo Tao stood on the edge of the pit, gazing down anxiously with impatience. Sweat trickled down his forehead and he blinked involuntarily. When he opened his eyes again, he seemed to notice something strange about the light.

Turning around and looking into the distance, he saw what remained of the setting sun. The dim glow had tinted the branches with a faint red color.

"Tsk, is it just me or it's getting cold?"

A cold shiver ran through Old Zhang suddenly. He rubbed his arms in spite of himself.

"Hey, now that you've mentioned it, I feel cold as well," added a colleague.

"This place is not possessed by some evil thing, is it?" Someone was making a joke out of it.

"Don't say such stuff! Knock on the wood!"

Being a veteran police officer, Old Zhang was very popular among his co-workers and the joking one was kind enough to follow his order, knocking on a tree trunk while grinning cheekily. At that moment, the ones cleaning away the dirt called out in a low voice.

"Here we go!"

'Hm?'

The team turned their heads in unison. Inside the shallow pit was a human-shaped object. It was considered an "object" because of the thick layer of black cloth wrapped around it. They could not tell what was underneath it.

"Tao Zi, what now?" Old Zhang asked.

"..."

Guo Tao pursed his lips. In for a penny, in for a pound. He said, "Unwrap it!"

With that, two men tugged at the black cloth, peeling it from the object. The first things they saw was a pair of dirty embroidered shoes with delicate patterns and solemn colors.

After that, two legs put tightly together were revealed. They seemed dry and hard, and were all bones and skins.

Moving upwards, they noticed that the figure was dressed in dark-toned shroud and there was a bullet hole in its chest.

When the cloth was finally removed from the head, exposing the face, the two men slumped down backwards and shouted, "What is this thing?"

The team all shuddered. It was none other than the face of an old woman. Ghostly pale in color and with a slightly protruding mouth, the facial expression was very strange. She did not look dead to them, but rather like someone asleep, as though she would wake up at any moment.

"Brother, Brother Tao, let's, we..."

Xiao Wang could not even make a coherent sentence, but was stuttering in broken utterances. The turn of events also crept Guo Tao out, and he instructed hastily, "Back away, back away. Nobody touch it!"

The crowd drew back in a flurry, apparently all horrified. Theoretically speaking, the criminal police should be so used to dealing with dead bodies that they would not be terrified by them. However, this one was simply way too strange, so much that it was beyond any logical sense.

"..."

Silence fell over the place. Some exchanged looks every now and then, but would immediately turn away their heads. They had no idea where the backup was and every minute felt infinitely long.

By now, the sun had completely set, rendering the woods gloomier, as if a gray fog had set in.

No one wanted to stay with this unknown thing and they were all counting on Guo Tao to come up with an idea. Old Zhang said, "Tao Zi, shall we contact them again to see…"

"Flutter!"

The sound of flapping wings broke off his words. It was a bird coming back late, probably heading for its nest. A dozen pairs of eyes could not help but follow it, watching it hovering around and diving low, almost flitting past the shallow pit.

"Squeak!"

A blurring figure seemed to flash across the air. The bird let out a cry, as if frozen in mid-air. When the crowd was still wondering what had happened, the bird exploded into pieces like a burst balloon.

"Watch out!"

"Everybody on your guard!"

Startled, Guo Tao yelled at the top of his voice with a shudder. Without noticing anyone else's reaction, he took out his gun first.

Holding up the gun and trying to aim at a target, he saw a dark shadow leapt out of the pit and landed in front of Old Zhang in an instant. With a sweep of its claws, Old Zhang became shreds of meat like a piece of cut-up tofu.

"Splash!"

Bloody, sticky mush of intestines fell all over the ground.

"Ah!"

"Bang!"

"Zap!"

A female police officer cried and shouted, as if having lost her mind; someone was shooting blindly. Xiao Wang was the quickest to react and ran for his life. But he only made a few steps before a pain pierced him.

Looking down with much difficulty, the last thing he ever saw in this world was a sharp claw with a faint golden glow.

"Old Zhang! Xiao Wang!"

Guo Tao was struck dumb by the horror. The next second, utmost sense of danger enveloped him. Directed by instinct alone, he rolled on the ground, turned around and took a shot.

"Bang!"

The bullet hit the target, but the thing only swayed and grew all the more ferocious.

"Roar!"

It let out a beastly snarl and leaped forward again. The claws slashed all the way down without the slightest resistance. Guo Tao turned into shredded meat, just like Old Zhang.

With the two team leaders dead, the rest scuttled around in greater panic. Only a handful of them still had the courage to shoot. However, that thing was moving so fast that a single leap would bring it across a long way. There was never enough time to dodge.

"Ah!"

"Ah!"

Momentarily, the woods were filled with screams, turning it into a gory slaughterhouse. Blood and scraps of flesh splashed everywhere, painting the thick growth of grass, the bushes, and the branches red.

These human beings were defenseless in front of this unintelligent vicious beast.

"Quickly!"

"Shots were fired! Something's up!"

Moving along the reservoir, a team of people was quickening their steps, running to help out the other team. They had just passed the fourth deserted isle when two people dashed out of the mountain, coming towards them crying and shouting.

"What's going on? What happened to you?" The team leader came to their aid at once.

"A zombie!"

"There really was a zombie!"

"Dead! They're all dead!"

The two people were delirious by now, howling with incoherent words. The captain's face darkened immediately and ordered, "Get ready for combat!"

"Roar!"

He had barely finished the sentence when there came another growl. The white corpse galloped out of the woods, landing right in front of them.

"Hiss!"

Wang Ruoxu drew back his breath, his face turning green. It was definitely not his lucky day today! This was not just a zombie, but a zombie that had absorbed the evil energy of Metal!

Of the evil energies of the Five Elements, the Metal was the most ferocious one, for it represented the desire to kill and slaughter! Having been tainted, the white corpse had gone berserk and was driven by its desire to hunt for fresh blood alone.

'This is it. I'm finished.'

Wailing and sighing in whispers, Wang Ruoxu hauled his pupil backward sneakily, ready to flee the scene at any moment. The captain was startled at first, but soon calmed down. Raising his hand, he said, "Don't panic, keep moving… watch out!"

The white corpse would not stand still like a dummy and wait for them to empty their magazine before attacking. Sensing the presence of fresh prey, it grew more savage and pounced at them in the blink of an eye.

"Scat away!"

Shouting, the captain grabbed the teammate next to him and rolled several meters away on the ground together. The one standing on the other side, however, was less fortunate. A young soldier failed to dodge in time and was caught by the slashing claws.

They smashed right onto his head, which exploded, blowout-style. His brains—together with bone shards and other odd pieces—splattered with a loud bang, then fell to the ground in a shower.

[1] TL/N: Similar to "Xiao (Small, Little)", "Lao (Old)", and "Ah", adding "Zi" to one's given name is another way of addressing people, usually indicating the speakers are on very familiar terms.

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