Running into the zombie without warning, this team was flustered and in confusion, which let the zombie gain the upper hand. What was more, the terrain was to their disadvantage, and they could not put their skills to good use; add to that the fact was that their firearms had little effect on the zombie, and they were almost annihilated.
Had they been adequately informed and prepared, they could take down the zombie within minutes. Obviously, with everything that had already happened, there was no point in pondering the alternatives.
Night had fallen. The lake sparkled under the moonlight. What had taken place on the bank, however, had nothing to do with natural beauty.
Massacred bodies were scattered all over the place, paving the ground with blood and soaking the stone bricks dark-red. The team leader rounded up the surviving members and stayed far. Wang Ruoxu kept a little distance from them, staring at the battleground in a daze.
From the hills behind them came some indistinct sounds. The other teams were probably rushing to their aid.
Right in front of them, two people and a corpse were still engaging in a fierce struggle. Gripping the rope in his left hand, the painted face clenched his right fist and pounded down at its head.
The roar was interrupted. It was about to snarl again when there came another strike.
His fist tamped down continuously onto its face like a piledriver. The impact had smashed the bricks beneath the zombie into crumbles.
Watching it from afar, odd looks crossed the faces of the team members. The strikes felt as painful as they were satisfying.
However, after hammering down several successive blows, the painted face stopped abruptly. He recalled when he competed against Tan Chongdai the other day. His spiritual essence was able to blow away his opponent in one go, yet now, although the zombie was taking his blows passively, his efforts did not result in any substantial damage.
Not only that, he also felt a prick on the back of his hand, as if it had been cut by some sharp-edged energy.
Having taken numerous blows all this time without being able to fight back, the white corpse was overwhelmed by a murderous desire. It could no longer hold it back and struggled with all it had.
The two stepped back hastily. Dirt and soil rose in plumes and the dust filled the air. That thing stood up again. As the rope loosened, it regained freedom and engaged the two people once more.
Dust wreathed around in the air and everyone was moving in every direction. It was a chaotic fight.
"What now? What shall we do?"
"Even they can't kill it!"
Seeing this, the crowd was terrified. Finally someone was able to subdue it, but still could not inflict any harm.
It was then that Wang Ruoxu came to himself with a jolt, who shouted into their direction at the top of his lungs. "This won't do! It has absorbed the evil energy of Metal and you have to deal with that first. Otherwise, nothing will work…!"
"Get to the point!"
Dodging a slashing claw, the painted face yelled with vexation.
"Release via water, burn with fire, or exhaust by wood!"
Wang Ruoxu had shouted himself hoarse and gave them the briefest instructions possible.
Burning with fire was self-explanatory. However, starting a fire here would be suicidal. This place was surrounded by woods. 'Exhaust by wood', what the heck was that? They had no idea how that could be done, so the only way left was...
Glancing at each other, they exchanged places again, then each picked up one end of the rope, tying the zombie up once again.
Dragging the white corpse on the ground, the two ran straight towards the lake. The body of the zombie grazed against the ground, leaving behind a shallow furrow along the way.
The closer they got to the lake, the more violently the white corpse was struggling. It did not know what was going on, but could sense that an utmost danger was incoming. When they were less than five meters away, it snarled suddenly and the evil energy of Metal poured out from its body.
Even with their power, they were losing control over it. Seeing that the zombie was about to break free, the painted face circulated his spiritual essence frantically, concentrating it in his arms. "Up!"
With all their strength, they threw the zombie straight into the lake.
Once in the water, the zombie seemed to be panicking. The lake bank was not too far away and it flopped about, trying to hop ashore.
The two people leaped out, each pressing onto one of its shoulders.
As if Iron Mountain itself had collapsed, the sound seemed to weigh a thousand tons. The next second, they were all in the water.
Once at the bottom of the lake, they felt as if they were in a different world. Sounds became meaningless and their vision was blurred.
They dared not let go of the rope and kept gripping it tightly. The white corpse was still struggling. Its roars issued no sounds in the water and only allowed dirty water gush into its mouth.
Slowly, its strength weakened. The golden glow on its claws was disappearing.
The lake was as smooth as a mirror, glistening under the moonlight.
Had they not seen it with their own eyes, they might doubt if it ever happened in the first place. After they sank into the water, everything went quiet. They stood on the bank, burning with anxiety, yet no one dared to make any rash move.
All eyes were fixed on the surface of the lake, which likely contained the greatest of expectations they've ever felt.
Li Suchun was there as well, standing not far from Wang Ruoxu. In fact, the idea of sneaking away had indeed crossed his mind just then. However, after a second thought, he realized this place was surrounded by government people. Where could he go?
What was more, he no longer had the white corpse. After being a fugitive for so long and being dealt so many heavy blows in his life, the teenager could not bear it any more.
They had lost count of time. Maybe it was a few minutes—but it well could have been a few hours—later that the lake's surface was rippling again.
'Someone's coming out!'
The crowd felt their hearts jumping out of their throats. Who would come up? Everything would be fine if it were those two. However, if it turned out to be the zombie, they were doomed.
The ripples expanded out, then with a splash, two weird masks surfaced.
The crowd let out their breath in relief. They were saved!
While they were at ease, those two were disgruntled. They had set out to watch the fun, yet ended up cleaning up other people's mess. It was so not worth it. They swam ashore, flapping and thumping. With their soaked clothes, one could smell their discontent and grievance a mile away.
"Thank you… that, the zombie?" The captain fought back his shame and asked.
"In the lake," the painted face pointed to the water.
"Why didn't you bring it out with you?" A soldier asked.
The clown gave him a look saying 'Are you nuts?' and said, "Fish it out yourself!"
The soldier was about to get angry when he suddenly remembered what they had done, then backed off without another word.
The two of them could not be bothered to deal with these people. After reorganizing themselves, they were ready to leave. The captain stopped them unexpectedly. "You can't go yet."
Those two masks had very imposing presence, making it difficult for him to talk to them. He forced an excuse out of himself, "Please cooperate with our investigation. Moreover, you've done us such a great favor that we need to show our gratitude."
"Not interested!" They turned to leave.
"Stop right there!"
Pointing his gun at them with a swift movement, the captain said, "I'm very sorry about this, but we really can't let you leave!"
They found the man unbelievable. Shaking their heads, they could not wait to leave these people.
"Stop, or I WILL shoot… ah!"
The captain was delivering his ultimatum when he screamed and dropped the gun. The others watched in bewilderment. However, immediately after that, another two soldiers holding up their guns cried out in turn, as though they had been bitten.
Within seconds, a flash of green landed on the ground. They only realized now that it was a small snake clad in bright-green scales.
The green snake darted them a look, apparently very satisfied with itself. It then twisted around and followed those two, looking all jolly. The clown spoke again.
"Your people should be here soon. The snake is extremely venomous, so I'd get those wounds treated as soon as possible if I were you!"
The faces of those bitten were drained of all color while looking at the two with terrified eyes, as though they just witnessed a pair of gods or demons.
Wang Ruoxu was frightened and puzzled at the same time. With him overwhelmed by complex emotions, one could not tell what was going on in his head.
Li Suchun stood where he was in a daze, his gaze fixed upon those receding figures. His lusterless eyes were now flickered with an unexpected radiance—longing.