A row of people went downstairs, got on the bus and squeezed inside the vehicle to reach the barracks. The camp entrance looked more desolate than before the spring festival. There were people and vehicles coming and going but there were fewer unauthorized people wandering around.
Luo Xun and Yan Fei locked the car before entering the barracks. Li Tie and the others entered earlier. After entering the small square at the front, they found the military truck they normally rode in and saw the captain.
The captain gave a greeting as he saw the two. “They shipped in materials yesterday afternoon, we’re busy again today.” He said as he motioned for everyone to get on the truck.
After climbing in the car, the captain took out three heavy bags for the metal ability users, his expression was slightly heavy. “Some of the team already knows, but I have to explain the situation for those who are not clear.” It was obviously for Luo Xun and Yan Fei to listen, the other soldiers had nothing else to do but seriously listen.
“The number of zombies outside skyrocketed on New Year’s Eve near several outside established monitoring points. The warning has brought a great threat, that night, only a few soldiers managed to escape the guard positions. The remaining majority of soldiers…all died.” The captain’s voice was heavy, no one made a sound.
Luo Xun looked at Yan Fei, both of them thought of the firecrackers that night.
“Yesterday a number of earth ability users continued to heighten and thicken the outer wall. Also built a staircase leading to the top of the wall, to make the walls into an ancient bunker so the soldiers can patrol the large perimeter. Yesterday teams went out to find a large quantity of metal materials, we have to go through those stairs to continue building the outer metal wall.” The captain briefly explained the situation, said the task was more difficult than before because-” There are more zombies around, they are now blocked outside the wall but there is a steady stream of zombies towards the base. We can not go out of the city to build the wall, you can only climb from the inside to try and handle the outside walls.”
Although the base had thought of some ideas, how the metal users operated would have to wait for arrangements to be made. Otherwise, zombies right now might not be able to climb the three meter high metal wall, but what if they evolved like how the slow, stiff zombies evolved into the currently nimble and powerful zombies, would they be able to make the jump? So the wall needed to be built higher.
When they arrived at the designated position, once they exited the car they could tell the wall was much higher than before. The outer walls were not six meters high! Also seemed to have widened a lot and there was a staircase in the distance.
They wondered if all these things were made by earth ability users during overtime? Or were there ordinary people involved?
Luo Xun parked near the newly built door at the wall perimeter, the wall was stacked with a lot of various metals. It looked as if the military had pulled all the material from a nearby steel field.
After looking at the stacked metal materials, they slowly approached the newly repaired wall to look outside. Only to see the claw of a zombie waving horrifying long fingernails in the direction of the wall blocking the scent of human flesh.
“The future seems grim…will miracles appear?” They turned away and ignored the zombies who were waving like demons from hell. Thinking of those creatures that wanted to drag people away, the metal user looked at the walls with a headache.
Now the six meter earth wall was double the full height of the metal wall. If one wanted to use their hand to stick metal at those positions…How were they going to get down? It had been thought that the three meter wall was already very high, but now looking below at the zombies at the top of the metal walls…they might be able to jump this distance!
This was not like before when everyone stood on the edge of the fence where there were people protecting the area. Now there was only a short ten centimeters to stand on! If one was not careful, they would fall!
The captain also did not think it would so dangerous today, even worse that the number of zombies below was far more than previously forecast. What could they do to protect the metal users as they were building the wall?
It was not wonder that the earth ability users were busy for a day and night working overtime to build the wall, the base was afraid the zombies would leap over the three meter wall. But could they have not slowly repaired meter by meter, leaving a way for others to reach that height as well?
“I’ll get someone to help.” The captain thought for a moment.
It would be difficult for the metal users to work their abilities since like earth users, they had to touch the material to create the wall. Unlike other people with fire, water or wind powers, they could not wave their hand and materialize earth or metal!
Seeing living beings on the wall, the zombies waved their arms excitedly while screaming like babies. Luo Xun and several others standing on the wall, triggered a headache while looking down at the mass of zombies. The number was far from the point of a death siege, but if this slowly continued sooner or later it would reach that scale.
But these days marked the first month spent inside, the outer wall had just been repaired and thus many people did not want to go out in order to find supplies.
Luo Xun suddenly looked north towards the new gate which faced a large road, there was an eccentric small building at the intersection. The building was very tall, but not very large, like a simple watchtower from the set of an ancient historical film.
Of course, the role of that and a watchtower were similar, they were the alarm towers the captain had mentioned in the briefing. The small building would see trouble early and alert any external circumstances.
But at this time, the outside roads were full of wandering zombies, the base of the tower was also surrounded by a lot of zombies. The creatures were tirelessly battering against the building walls, there was someone on the roof!
The distance was a little too far for Luo Xun to clearly see the situation, but there was definitely someone up there. They were likely soldiers who were stuck there and could not withdraw.
Now there were some soldiers ready to go out the gate, looked as if they were going to rescue them.
Not long after the captain hurried back, said while lightly gasping. “Already negotiated, the base will open the door and rescue the people who have been trapped outside for two days. When the door opens, zombies will obviously be attracted, our priority is to fire upon the zombies. Let the metal users tie ropes around themselves and speed up wall construction.
Afterwards, all the metal materials were transported one by one to the wall which took some time.
Luo Xun’s expression was not good, only having one rope attached was too dangerous! If there was no other way then fine, but now there was a way to somewhat avoid the danger.
Luo Xun glanced towards the wall in thought, there were no less than fifty to sixty zombies near the target’s position, even if opening the gate would attract a portion, it would only be a minority. If a few zombies instead attacked the people hanging from the rope, how would those standing above walls enact emergency response measures? And what if the ropes snapped?
Luo Xun suddenly turned to the captain and added his comments. “Captain, only having the metal users hanging on the rope is too dangerous.”
Hearing Luo Xun, the captain understood, of course he was worried about the safety of his ‘cousin’ but there was no other way right now. “I have reported this matter to my superiors but at present there is no other way to take advantage of the open gate for repairs. Today troops were sent out to clean out nearby zombies, it should soon be more convenient.”
Of course Luo Xun knew that the base would send out people to clean up zombies, but the problem was that zombies were constantly coming to this place. The outer wall area was now stretched too long, there was no way for all the zombies outside the walls to be killed.
Of if all the survivors on base participated in an extermination mission at once, they may be able to clear out the zombies in just a day’s time, but that was not realistic at the moment.
“There’s safer way than hanging the three of them on a rope.”
The captain froze and asked. “What method?!”
“Seek cooperation from the earth power users.”
Luo Xun’s advice was simple, but was a bit of a hassle. His idea was to the have the earth users open a ‘mouth’ from the inside of the wall at a designated location, allowing the metal users to build from inside the holes.
But this required the help of the earth users and for the three users to form three groups of people working together. It was somewhat troublesome to partially dismantle the already built wall.
However this was a more practical approach and would also ensure the safety of the metal users. The problem was that workers could not be scheduled to come over and not convenient for people to cooperate.
The captain thought for a moment and decided to speak with his superiors out a team protection mentality. Unfortunately the captain returned ten minutes later downtrodden.
“Superiors ordered us to act as planned.” He sighed and looked at Luo Xun with melancholy. “There are not enough earth users or crystal nuclei…”
This part of the wall had been built, if they followed Luo Xun’s advice, opening then resealing after the metal walls were done would be a duplication of work.
The superiors disagreed, there were not enough earth users to do something so extravagant. The number of nuclei on base was limited, they had deliberately given more to the metal department to support their work. Now having crystal nuclei did not work but also tried to find excuses to ask others for cooperation…although metal powers were rare, they could not waste resources.
So, the captain was scolded and sent back.
The wall teams of earth users and metal users were separated, the others were also competing who could finish faster. Climb down to repair the metal casing? Even if there was no metal shell, the defensive properties of earth were not bad, could they not just make the wall thicker? Did they always find excuses to look for trouble?
The captain did not need to find the leader of the earth users, he could guess what they would say to each other. Moreover, his own superiors all disagreed with this proposal.
Yan Fei was working with two of metal users to discuss the operation details. He came over to hear Luo Xun and the captain speaking, understood that he was worried about him and smiled. “I have a way, don’t need the help of the earth users but can also build the wall from the inside and not have to go down personally.”
“Oh? What way?” The captain perked up and excitedly looked at Yan Fei.
Yan Fei had just spoken with the two other metal users and learned that they did not have the ability to float metal. Although he did not know if it was a unique aspect of his powers or if this kind of effect naturally occurred when a metal ability rose to a higher level? But the wall construction would not only rely on one person floating things, so these two individuals would be responsible for handling the other materials?
Yan Fei did not know how much attention this would attract, or if he would get stolen into a laboratory. He had a better way to let the three metal users remotely manipulate metal, using conduction effect to make external walls.
The method he had used at home to reinforce the doors, windows and other things, using the metal bars in the concrete walls.
In his personal experience, he had a range where he could sense metal, which was similar to fire user sensing internal heat, or wind users like Zhang Yi being able to sense wind. Yan Fei had a similar ability.
At home, he was roughly certain that his range had a diameter of about ten meters, which was comparable to Zhang Yi. Of course, the metal arrows that he made could have far range but were not under his control. Those were launched long range attacks whose intensity depended on the mental strength used.
This effective scope of operation was not limited by other’s ranges, so ‘conduction’. With metal as a medium, the metal’s shape, appearance and so on could be changed using spiritual power.
The other two metal users could do the same, it was not unique to Yan Fei.
Although not clear, but strong feelings appeared – all the soldiers who heard Yan Fei’s explanation had the same idea.
The captain was also dazed, after all as a person without powers he could not intuitively understand the situation. He chose the simplest and direct way to verify. “You two can do it?”
The two metal users nodded with excited faces. “We experimented. There will be difficulties if the distance is too far, but certainly possible within three meters, although it consumers some more mental strength than usual.”
The captain waved his hand. “Don’t worry about the crystal nucleus problem, we’ll find a way to deal with it! Use however many you need! Safety first!” This was one of his own soldiers, and he would never sacrifice one if he did not have to. Even if face of his superior’s orders, even if the wall construction speed slowed down, he would rather choose the more secure method.
Yan Fei’s idea was simply use a piece of metal as a ‘pen’, use the metal materials at hand as ‘ink’ to build what they want like using a 3D doodle pen.
Plus, it was easier than making a giant, stiff iron wall. As long as they pinched the metal afterwards, the walls would be hard and smooth!
The two men copied Yan Fei, using metal to make a long, fine iron bar. The metal around grabbed a piece and fused together, gradually the metal wall thickened and grew.
Although this would require a greater concentration of mental strength, the two unexpectedly found their strength after each supplement had become more clear, concise and easy to operate. They seemed to perceive every inch of the metal which changed in accordance with their own ideas. Much more wonderful and free than the simple hand ‘pinching’ before.
Seeing the three people getting down to work and they did not need to risk hanging from a rope. So long as they were lying on the wall, with a little bit of metal ‘painting’ could build the outside wall. All of them breathed a sigh of relief.
While Yan Fei was resting, the captain asked with a comforting smile. “How did you think of this approach?” It was not just him that had been surprised, the other two metal users were also curious. Although they were metal users, they had not thought of a way to manipulate metal without touching it.
Yan Fei’s heart made a sound, he was able to do this once he discovered he had metal powers, it was just using pure mental power to manipulate metal. He had been surprised upon seeing that the other metal users did not do the same.
But he did not want to expose the matter for the time being, he casually found an excuse. “The windows in my house were not strong enough, I subconsciously connected the metal bars in the concrete wall. Later I was afraid that the walls could not bear the weight and tried to reinforce the steel bars, did not expect I could manipulate the bars without actually touching them.”
The crowd started and the captain laughed. “No wonder you wanted some metal. DId you want to reinforce the wall in your house?”
Yan Fei smiled and nodded while giving Luo Xun a look from the corner of his eye. “If we have the resources for it.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll let you bring some home with you when we return! Teams go out in a few days to gather some more steel, but be careful and do not let other people see.”
“That’s fine, we have a car. We’ll just stop at the parking place when we get back.” Yan Fei nodded cheerfully.
There was a lot of and he had heard that there were two water cisterns on the roof. They were worried that the floor would not be able to support the weight – they lived on the 16th floor! If the floor collapsed…
Luo Xun did not notice Yan Fei looking at him, also did not fear his roof would collapse under the weight of the two water tanks. However nothing was more important than getting something back for Yan Fei!
The three power user’s wall building smoothly started, the captain saw that the three had a good run and called over the people responsible for protection, plus to give them some things. He carried the rest of the team to the next place to deal with the zombies.
Now that the base gate had been opened, an armored car rushed out to rescue the trapped soldiers in the vicinity of the surveillance guard tower. The zombies were part of the group at the wall but the scent of human flesh was too delicious, they refused to leave even after forty to fifty corpses were dealt with.
The captain’s goal was to kill these dozens of zombies, they would only be relieved when the zombies were completely destroyed. Otherwise the ability users and soldiers were tied with ropes in case they fell, but were not completely reassured – what if they really did fall? Getting scratched up was no joke!
After a dozen zombie kills, the other soldiers tried to use a hooked rope to dig out the nucleus from the zombie’s heads in midair. The speed and efficiency was slower, but better than no gains at all.
Luo Xun was at Yan Fei’s side transporting metal materials, on guard at all times against the zombies. He occasionally helped shoot several heads with his crossbow.
Such operations drained Yan Fei and the other metal user’s nuclei and mental strength, but the effect was good. Consumption efficiency was comparable to making metal mesh net from a lump of metal that he did every night before bedtime – although still not as good.