“Normal mushrooms?!” Luo Xun exclaimed, he could hardly believe his eyes.
One should know, whether in his past life or current, he had never seen a normal mushroom after the apocalypse! Never before-seen in the market!
In his two lifetimes, the mushrooms he had painstakingly planted were all mutated. It seemed contagious, no matter what species he prepared, it would only produce one crop – the corrosive, bright red mushroom!
He thought he would never see a fresh, normal, edible mushroom during his lifetime, then one appeared at home.
Song Lingling proudly laughed at Luo Xun’s shocked expression – both of their expressions had been similar upon seeing the mushroom.
Xu Mei also exclaimed while walking out the door. “There are three, not very many.”
Yan Fei also entered through the door after hearing Luo Xun’s words. He naturally also saw the rare, ordinary mushrooms. “Are these…edible?”
Yan Fei had reason to worry, where had these mushrooms been grown? It could only be the mushroom wood! What usually grew on that wood? Mutated mushrooms that could be used as a weapon against zombies. An ordinary mushroom grew from this location, his fear was not unfounded.
“Should be…no problem.” Luo Xun excitedly picked up a perfectly shaped mushroom. The pieces looked and smelled like mushrooms. “I bought a variety of mushroom species before, didn’t think any mushrooms would turn into the same poisonous mushroom. I think if there are enough mushrooms at home, the toxins would be reduced to allow normal mushrooms to grow.”
He turned to look at Yan Fei. “We’ll let a quail eat one and see if there are any problems.” After all these mushrooms looked exactly like ones before the apocalypse. If there had been some mutation, it should not maintain this normal shape.
There were not many shiitake mushrooms at home. The two women had checked all the mushroom wood and only found seven. For security reasons, Luo Xun picked a small quail and fed it some. They did not have any equipment for experiments and did not want to ask scientists for help. Thus they used the simplest verification method, who knew what would happen if a person ate one?
Perhaps the quail’s vitality was too strong, or it ate too little of the mushroom. It went to sleep in it’s lone bed for the night.
In the end, they unanimously decided to dry the seven black flowers on a string on the balcony. They would use it when it was time to cook some soup.
As long as there was hope, they would look forward to the future. They had found seven mushrooms at home, who knew how many would be grown in the future?
That evening, everyone cut cucumbers for pickling while imagining about the future – mostly about how delicious mushrooms were.
The small quail’s health condition showed everyone that the mushrooms had no problems. Everyone watched the mushroom wood with enthusiasm. Xu Mei and Song Lingling used to check the mushroom wood every few days, collect the mutated shrooms for juice. Now they checked everyday to check the overall growth.
Had they jumped the gun? Were their expectations too high? During a day-to-day inspection, Xu Mei was sure that there was a small, suspected normal mushroom. Only the growth cycle was slower than mutant mushrooms, the fastest took nearly a month to grow, the slowest could take half a year. Luo Xun and company could only hope that some mutated mushrooms would be converted into as many ordinary mushrooms as possible.
“We’ll bring more wood back when we go out this time!” Everyone nodded at Luo Xun’s words.
It was pitiful that they could not eat meat, if there were mushrooms as a replacement, it would alleviate some of the pain.
Before the end of September, Luo Xun harvested a batch of tomatoes – a part was frozen while the rest were turned into tomato paste. The rest was taken to sell at the barracks.
The team was very happy since the watermelon had been finished and temporarily had no fruit to eat, now was a good time to eat tomatoes mixed with sugar. Luo Xun had staggered each tomato batch so they could harvest some every once in a while. This fruit-vegetable was nutritious with vitamins and good things – especially for Yu Xinran who ate these as fruit.
Before going out this time, everyone prepared themselves better. Xu Mei and Song Lingling were mainly responsible for everyone’s food. In consideration of nutrition, they prepared tomato egg soup for each person in a thermos – the eggs were quail instead of chicken. Along with home-grown parsley and tomatoes…this taste was something nostalgic, even drinking it several days would not be enough.
Early in the morning of the 27th, the Otaku squad assembled again. In the corridor, Luo Xun stood in front and checked everyone’s equipment. He nodded in satisfaction and then gave the routine speech before leaving for the mission.
“It’s been two months since we last left base. In the middle people dealt with a zombie siege, we heard about the situation outside of base, I will say nothing more.” He looked at the crowd. “There will be more high-level zombies outside base, perhaps some unexpected zombie animals. Our ability users have risen to level three, but since we have not fought zombies in a while, I hope everyone will be more careful while outside town. Even if our harvest is relatively small, do not venture into dangerous places like into the city.”
“Yes.” The members of the squad were fond of staying alive, no one wanted to risk their safety for some meaningless things. They were well aware of the situation outside base having been attacked by zombie rats. In case someone was careless, no one would be able to come back safely.
The group valiantly left out the door and followed traffic to the base gate. As usual, there was a line of cars being released in groups. Unlike in the past, there was no zombie containment outside the gate, instead there was a bridge over the moat, a lot of traps. Most of that was created in response to the zombie siege.
The group would fly forwards, the different teams would separate at the intersection heading towards various directions for their missions.
“There are no simple missions on base now.” Luo Xun glanced at their orders – deliver 200 level one, or 20 level two/three nuclei within three days.
“The crystal nuclei missions are relatively safe considering the time limit. There are a lot of tasks in the mission hall that require heading deep into the city to find something specific.” Yan Fei took a look at the list, he opened a window and prepared his ability.
Having risen to level three, Yan Fei’s metal manipulation abilities could be activated without gestures. Along with the other metal users on the wall team, it was gradually possible to use hand gestures or mental force to make the metal change in the air.
Yan Fei’s speed of extracting a single metal element was also increasing, as well as fusing them in specific proportions. Especially after he used his ability on some pots and pans at home. He could quickly imitate the same element configuration, or higher purity.
The pots that the Otaku team had brought, including the heat-insulated jars, were from that.
Using metal abilities, in order to make these utensils…Luo Xun wondered how the rest of the base would react? Anyways, he was very satisfied with such a practical ability. It allowed him to upgrade everyone’s weapons, so that the range and lethal power was increased.
It also had some similar concepts to the military ‘water guns’ for mushroom juice. Although there was an issue with range, the lethality was considerable when used during the siege. The mushroom bombs were simply a weapon to kill zombies.
The group, with new weapons carefully left the base and headed towards the southeast direction like before.
Yan Fei sat in the passenger seat and started manipulating the metal they passed. Each time they passed this road, he would collect some metal, there should not be too much left.
But after his power upgrade, he was able to clearly sense metal in more hidden places and draw them over. For example, some smaller pieces of metal were wrapped in rocks and cement. These metals he had sensed before, but was unable to collect them along the road.
His ability had increased a lot after the upgrade, the search range was much larger than before.
Once again, the team drove to the traps they had dug before. The ruins seemed more shabby than the last time they came, but no other differences. The only issue was – the zombies had much higher abilities than they were used to.
Before they reached their destination, they encountered a level three fire zombie. It burst into a huge fireball, if Yan Fei had not reacted with the metal collected along the way, Luo Xun was afraid their car would have been melted.
While Yan Fei stopped the zombie’s attack, Zhang Yi had launched a wind attack piercing the zombie’s body with gravel. Xu Mei successfully collected a level three fire nucleus.
When they arrived at their destination, some high-level zombies had heard the noise and rushed over. Yan Fei once again reacted and the team shot at the zombies plastered against the metal wall.
Then the metal plate moved and smashed a number of zombies with unknown elements or levels.
There was a general increase in zombie ranks, the zombies were enthusiastic about fighting people. They did not give humanity time to clean up, organize or build defenses. The enemies warmly greeted everyone with the speed of lightning. Attacked, one wave after another so they had to keep their guard up.
“Remove the trap covers!” Luo Xun immediately ordered.
According to this, if the zombies attacks had been constant, did they not have to wait until night? Continuous attacks would not allow them to prepare, they would get flayed alive.
In accordance with Luo Xun’s instructions, Yu Xinran immediately turned the surrounding area into sand. Xu Mei immediately created a firestorm that lashed out in all directions! Yan Fei took the opportunity to straighten the metal. The fence that had been hidden beneath the ground was uncovered.
With Zhang Yi and Yan Fei’s abilities, the zombie offensive had slowed down, the team breathed a sigh of relief.
“Stick to shooting at openings and let Zhang Yi use his abilities.” Luo Xun observed the situation. He brought Li Tie to top up the water gun and mushroom bombs to show their power. They had not been out of base for two months, it was time for their saved up supplies.
If the trap hole was too large, he would have to fill the trap with mushroom juice. Give the zombies a bath to enjoy.
After finishing the difficult part, the Otaku squad finally mastered the rhythm of battle. They resumed the offensive with a round of attacks to destroy the most threatening zombies. Leaving the rest to fall into a trap, wait for fire to deal with the corpses.
There were pinging sounds from the metal walls. At this time Yan Fei was concentrating on the iron plates and gradually raised their height. Ready to make a roof like last time – today’s weather was not good, it was overcast and it seemed it would rain at any time.
Luo Xun began to look at the different zombies, calculated when to start pouring mushroom juice and gasoline. When the zombies in the traps reached a certain level, the iron box filled with mushroom juice was poured out.
Yan Fei was still the one controlling the metal boxes, the couple would get out of the way then let everyone safely pour mushroom juice and gasoline. Using the previous method, if they were careless they could get burned.
Seeing the mushroom juice had been poured, Luo Xun immediately ordered everyone to pour gasoline into the metal boxes. The boxes would not be used to hold anything other than mushroom juice/gasoline.
Everyone immediately moved to the car to bring out the gasoline. The light darkened, as if a large cloud suddenly covered the sun. He looked up – it was sunny, but now it was cloudy, was it going to rain?
Luo Xun cried out with frightened eyes, “Mutant bird! Giant mutant bird!”
A bird with a wingspan twice the size of buildings was hovering near the team.
“I, I, I…” He Qiankun stuttered without saying anything.
Other people also stared with large eyes and shivered.
The giant bird circled round, 400-500 meters above, refusing to leave.
Luo Xun’s face was pale, it was his first time seeing a mutant. Do not ask how he knew the bird was a mutant and not a zombie. After the apocalypse, all the zombie animals were rotten, even if it appeared to fly, they would like a bat with no feathers. But look at this bird – brown feathers were intact, impossible to be a zombie animal.
“It, it’s not going to come down? What the hell are we going to do?” Wang Duo’s voice trembled. Who let such a big animal fly above them, ready to come down at any time.
Luo Xun instantly reacted, immediately yelled, “Quick! Pour the petrol, hurry up and fill them!”
Although everyone was puzzled, they all obeyed orders and quickly poured the petrol into the empty metal boxes.
Luo Xun hurried over and looked up – sure enough! The bird was coming down!
“What is it going to do?!” Xu Mei said in horror.
“It’s going to land, our walls are round, I am afraid it’s going to nest!” Luo Xun’s voice was tight. He would like to be wrong, but facts told him that birds thought like that!
“A nest? Why can’t it look for trees for a nest instead?!” Song Lingling’s tone became hysterical.
Han Li hollowly laughed while trembling, “Maybe it could not find a tree that could support it’s weight…who made it so big.”
“This size, what did it eat to grow so big…” Li Tie joked, unfortunately now was not the time for humor so no one laughed.
Zhang Yi looked with a cold expression, “Want to use my ability to blow it away? Compress some air and mis it together with Xu Mei’s fireball?” They had been staying on base for two months but there had been some progress. They delved into their abilities, see what they could do at level three.
Compressed air and flames, even the size of a small fist was enough to blow a hole into Yan Fei’s metal sandbags. It would take one or two times to deal with that thing!
Of course, this was only the case when Yan Fei did not compress the metal and strengthen the durability.
“Don’t use abilities! If it has a power, let it attack first to see if we can block.” Luo Xun’s mind was very clear, he knew that they could not attack first. Provoking could easily cause the death of their team, they absolutely did not want to see those results.
“Petrol! All around the edges!” The petrol was poured as Luo Xun ordered. As for the few cars that still remained in the middle…it would depend on the bird’s weight, hopefully they would not get flattened.
Luo Xun gathered everyone. Yan Fei tightly hugged him, his eyes firm – he would protect him with the metal walls. No matter what happened, Yan Fei would not let Luo Xun suffer any harm. Over his dead body!