When that strong, concentrated sweetness nearly reached her throat, Lin Sanjiu held her breath. Her abdomen tightened and she forced herself to spit out that mouthful of water. There was still a tinge of sweetness on her tongue and near her throat. She coughed vigorously for a few times as she tried to expel the last bit of sweetened water from her mouth. Meanwhile, the grand prize swallowed down the sweetened water with a loud gulp. Qing Jiuliu held on to the cup; his face was covered in sweat as he stared blankly at Old Ke.
"He's crazy too."
Lin Sanjiu couldn't describe her current feelings. She flung the cup without turning her head. The plastic cup flew and hit the crazy son. Thud. Sugar water sprayed everywhere. Taking a deep breath, she frowned at Old Ke. Saliva and sugar water dribbled from the side of her mouth.
"The food on earth is poisonous to the aliens. It is poisonous. They're all poisonous—"
Seeing that his plan had failed, Old Ke sprung up with unbelievable agility while he chanted some exorcism scriptures. He took out pieces of torn bread from one of his pockets and threw it at the three people. "Quick! Beat them!"
The wooden floor creaked. The crazy son, who had been sitting at the corner hugging his knees, stood up. He revealed a bag in his hands. He had been hugging a bag of rice all along. He stuck his hand into the bag of rice and immediately threw handfuls of rice at them. Once the rice hit the floor, the sound was like a call for battle. The wooden door swung open suddenly. The three other mental patients were standing outside. Each of them was holding a large bottle of soda which they had prepared beforehand. With a loud shout, they twisted open the cap of the soda bottle facing the cabin.
The bottles of carbonated soda had apparently been shaken vigorously in advance. The jets of sodas shot toward the cabin. At that moment, even Lin Sanjiu couldn't avoid getting sprayed. All of them were instantly drenched by soda.
The people outside the cabin confronted them with red faces flushed with agitation and insanity. Their murderous shrieks and stomping feets made it seem as though Lin Sanjiu and her companions were demons that could be scared away by the noise. Actually, it was even somewhat hilarious.
While she stood pathetically under the rain of rice and bread, rather than being angry, Lin Sanjiu felt a strong urge to sigh from a sense of resignation and irritation. She felt a vague, inexplicable disappointment which made her upset for some reason. She narrowed her eyes and looked at the unnerved crazy son and the maniacal Old Ke. Lin Sanjiu suddenly remembered what Qing Jiuliu said to her: "This father and son duo look so different." As a matter of fact, there wasn't even a single similarity between their facial features.
The real narrative wasn't that of a father living tenaciously while he took care of his sick son. This was her conclusion. The only end she could see for this group of people was that they would continue living with their sanity lost in a twisted darkness.
Her skin felt a little numb as the rice grains hit her body. Naturally, this food could not harm them. The harassment was just irritating. Qing Jiuliu was just about to react when Lin Sanjiu held him back with one hand. She looked at her two companions as a signal for them to not do anything.
In the next second, Lin Sanjiu let out a soft sigh as her higher consciousness sweep through every corner of the cabin.
The group of mental patients barely grunted as they fell to the ground one after the other. It was as though they were hit in the head by an invisible weapon. The soda bottles, the rice bag and the other sacks of food fell to the ground, strewn. Everything stopped abruptly. Even as silence enveloped them, it felt as if the lunatics were still shouting around them.
After quite some time, Qing Jiuliu broke the silence. "****", he swore quietly. He slumped into a chair listlessly once again. His clothes were soaked with large patches of soda. It stuck on his skin uncomfortably. His hair was covered in rice and breadcrumbs so he was in a sorry state. Qing Jiuliu wasn't the only one who was in a mess. Lin Sanjiu was no better. The grand prize received the least attacks because the mental patients probably thought that he was already "finished" after he drank half a cup of that sugar water nonchalantly.
"How admirable," Ji Shanqing suddenly muttered as he examined the Old Ke, who lay unconscious. "You were mentally unsound yet you still managed to glean some truth about this world. Furthermore, you guys adapted and came up with this scenario after you saw us."
Lin Sanjiu watched them grimly without saying a word.
They were the ones who suddenly trespassed into their camping grounds and they were the intruders. The old man was very clear on his stance that he didn't want to interact with them and he even seemed sane. Regardless of this...
Lin Sanjiu wiped the soda from her face. "I let my emotions get the better of me," Lin Sanjiu muttered. Ji Shanqing and Qing Jiuliu looked at her.
"I saw a father... taking care of these mental patients…" Lin Sanjiu stopped after she uttered these detached sentences. She didn't continue but sighed and massaged her temples.
Anyway, people tended to believe in what they want to believe.
"I was wrong too," her grand prize admitted slightly reluctantly. "When he poured the water for us, I noticed that there weren't any injection marks on his arm. I thought he might have injected himself elsewhere—"
Before he completed his sentence, he stopped as he saw Qing Jiuliu bending down suddenly. The latter took something out from Old Ke's trouser pocket. He scoffed after he opened the small wallet and threw it on the table.
"This is his ID issued before the apocalypse. Based on the age stated, this man is only 40," Qing Jiuliu crooked his head while he inspected Old Ke. "He abused himself to such a point just to gain the trust of 'aliens'... He's really psychotic."
Lin Sanjiu took a deep breath before exhaling.
"Forget it. Let's go." Lin Sanjiu didn't want to see the people on the ground anymore so she walked out of the cabin.
"What do you want to do with them?"
"Let them be, they will wake up after a while," Lin Sanjiu stepped over the unconscious people and walked out into the open space in the camping ground. She felt a well of pent-up emotions. "Since they've survived here all this while, I'm sure they will continue living here."
"If only they stop ambushing other posthumans," Qing Jiuliu remarked in a half-mockingly, half-apathetic tone, "they might not be so lucky if they drench the next visitor with cola."
Lin Sanjiu entered the cabin that Magus was in and let out a sigh of relief. The mental patients probably noticed that she was unconscious so they didn't treat her as a target. They did nothing to her and simply left her in the cabin.
The taps in the camping grounds were still working so the three of them washed themselves after they threw away their sweet and sticky clothes. The water was icy cold so Lin Sanjiu shivered when she poured it over her head.
Ten minutes later, Lin Sanjiu said a little bleakly, "In any case, our priority right now is to look for a consular officer. We don't know when Magus will be transferred to the next world…"
With their hair wet and dripping, the three people were ready to leave. Lin Sanjiu carried Magus while her grand prize carried the wheelchair as they walked down the stairs leading to the door of the cabin. Meanwhile, Qing Jiuliu followed behind them lethargically like always.
"Ah," he suddenly exclaimed before stopping.
"What's the matter?"
Following the direction of his finger, Lin Sanjiu turned her head and saw a face peeking from a window of a cabin not far from them. She suddenly realized that apart from the "father and son", there were only three lunatics lying on the ground outside the cabin. Based on what Old Ke said, there should be one more person.
"Ignore him," Ji Shanqing looked away, annoyed, "Let's go."
Needless to say, his two companions had no objections. After Lin Sanjiu placed Magus on her wheelchair once again, she looked away from the cabin and continued walking out of the camping ground. Unexpectedly, the door of that particular cabin suddenly opened with a creak.
That face which previously avoided Lin Sanjiu's gaze was now peeking through the ajar door with half his face. They could see that the person was male. When he realized that they had turned back to look at him, he immediately shuddered.
Lin Sanjiu tossed a glance at him. Then, she turned and walked away, paying no heed to that mental patient. Yet, she froze the very next second when she heard a voice from behind.
"Are… are you posthumans?"
The man spoke very quietly as if he was afraid that he might wake the other unconscious men, "Did you eat anything unintentionally?"
The three of them exchanged glances. They were bewildered. The man gulped. Since they did not answer him, he suddenly seemed to be wagering an internal battle with himself. After a short time, he finally made a decision. He opened the door further and walked out sideways.
Almost all the posthumans in this world were skinny and malnourished. This was especially true for that man. He was wearing skinny jeans but the leg trousers were hung loosely around his legs.
"Bring… bring me along with you," the man's face was large and round despite his skinny frame. It looked like a dish plate secured on top of a rod, "I can't stay here any longer."
"You're not insane?" Lin Sanjiu narrowed her eyes. She was like wound-up spring, she really couldn't tell who was sane and who wasn't.
"I'm not. I didn't eat anything," the large-faced man shook his head immediately, "Whenever they gave me food, I would chew it and spit it out after that."
He probably noticed their unconvinced faces so he quickly took out a palm-sized, toy-like, silver little trash can. "Look, this is one of my Special Items… I can throw away as much trash as I want as long as the item fits the opening of the trash can."
As he said that, he picked up a few rocks from the ground the threw it into the trash can. They heard a thud. When he turned the trash can to empty it, nothing came out from it. It was empty just as he described.
Lin Sanjiu and her companions' expressions immediately relaxed a little. However, they suddenly became tensed again.
"So," Lin Sanjiu stared at him icily, "you are a posthuman."
"Yes. Yes," the large-faced man replied hastily.
"How did you infiltrate this place? They didn't treat you as an alien?"
"It's a long story," the large-faced man sighed. "I came here with a comrade. There he is," he turned behind and pointed at Doggo, who was still unconscious. "He was originally a posthuman…"
"What happened?" the grand prize couldn't help asking.
"We came here last month. We were only three months away from our next world so we decided to find a secluded place to wait till we got out of this shitty world. I don't even want to stay another second. Unfortunately, we met this old man and one other lunatic."
Lin Sanjiu frowned. She noticed that he used the words "one other".
"Although they were off their rockers then, they were meek and quiet. They didn't speak much and didn't go against us. Once, we told them to sweep the floor jokingly. Surprisingly, they really did. After that, ahem, we ordered them to do some chores," the large-faced man did not show any hint of remorse when he said that. "In the end, we had almost the same experience as you. They added sugar to our cups secretly. If Doggo didn't drink his cup of water first and noticed something amiss, I would also have fallen into their trap. Say, who would have thought of that!
"For some reason, I didn't run away after Doggo went mad… I stayed behind and acted crazy. I listened to the old man telling us that many aliens had arrived in this world. He said that the food on earth was the only thing that could cleanse the aliens and make them earthlings again."
"What reason?" the grand prize raised a brow.
The large-faced man paused for a moment before he gave them a slightly cunning smile. He did not give a direct answer.
"After that, two other posthumans came. They went through the same thing as you guys, but they weren't as lucky. They became members of this insane camping ground. Ah, they were the ones who also attacked you."
Lin Sanjiu's face darkened when she heard this.
"You knew that they were out to harm others," she said slowly, "so why didn't you warn them?"
"I was scared," the large-faced man answered truthfully.
"Why were you scared?"
"To be honest, I don't know what agendas those posthumans had," he laid out his hands. He had a sincere yet scoundrelly expression. "That includes you people… Who knows why you came here? Do you have any ill intentions? If I showed myself rashly, I might get caught by those posthumans. If that was the case, I would rather act like a madman."
He sounded adamant that his actions were justified. However, an image kept appearing in Lin Sanjiu's mind. It was the image of the large-faced man hiding in the corner watching quietly and knowingly as the other posthumans drank their sugar water ignorantly.
Even though Lin Sanjiu nodded stiffly, her expression didn't improve much.
"Why did you come out now?"
"I observed you for half a day. You decided to leave after you left them unconscious," the large-faced man chuckled. "Since you decided to spare them, it means that you guys are kind. Since you decided to leave immediately, you don't have other hidden agendas. If I don't follow you guys, I don't know how long I will need to wait."
Lin Sanjiu stared at him for a short while and slowly smiled, "I see."
"That's right. Let's go together. We can accompany each other," the large-faced man heaved a sigh of relief when he saw her smile. He took a few steps closer, "Ah, I haven't introduced myself. You can call me Carrot Lo."
That definitely wasn't his real name. However, judging from his personality, he probably didn't plan to tell them his real name.
Lin Sanjiu turned behind to Ji Shanqing. He returned a look. Qing Jiuliu was too irritated to even listen to that man. After they exchanged glances, Lin Sanjiu immediately made a decision.
"Sorry, we have to take care of a sick person. It isn't too convenient for us to bring another person with us," she felt like an examiner who was rejecting an interviewee when she said that, "I think you better leave on your own."
However, Carrot Lo flashed a smile as if he had a card up his sleeve. Lin Sanjiu instantly regretted thinking that the man was an interviewee. At that moment, Carrot Lo looked extremely confident that Lin Sanjiu and the others would accept him.
"Really? Don't you want to think it over?" while he spoke, he slowly opened his palms. "I remember hearing that you were looking for a consular officer."
A visa with the words "The Olympics" immediately formed in his hand.