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195-chapter-27

San Wu and her companions slowly advanced, finally reaching the largest bramble thicket in the area.

Unlike the usual bramble thorns, the thorns there were intricately intertwined, supporting each other and growing lushly upwards, taller than some of the old trees.

However, they were far from as gentle as the trees. If someone dared to touch them without caution, the thorns would quickly teach them a harsh lesson.

“If only these things tasted better. We’re really lacking in staple foods!”

San Wu stared at the bramble thorns with a sigh. No matter how she purified the root porridge made from them, it remained horribly unpalatable.

“Insects!”

Nearby, Xiao San came over holding two huge dual-armored beetles.

No one knew what these beetles had mutated from, but they were unrecognizable now. With humans too preoccupied to care, countless animals mutated, new species emerged, and others went extinct, all beyond knowledge.

The dual-armored beetles had two thin, sharp pincers near their mouths, more powerful than a pair of pliers. One snip could cut through the bramble thorns’ skin, and they could dig into the soil to eat roots.

Like the mutant cicadas, they survived on the bramble thorns.

“Good job, Xiao San,” San Wu’s eyes lit up. “The pincers near the dual-armored beetles’ mouths are the most natural knives. They’re popular in the fortress because there’s no iron ore near the Eighteenth Fortress. Iron products are scarce, and knives are in high demand.”

The beetle’s meat could also be mashed up to feed the remaining livestock, and they were very hard to catch.

Seeing that San Wu liked them, Xiao San immediately knocked out the two beetles and continued to search for other valuable items.

“This fog will clear soon.” San Wu frowned. “I was hoping to catch a mutant leopard.”

The one that got away last time really piqued her interest.

It was incredibly fast and… very beautiful!

Just as San Wu was lost in thought, footsteps suddenly sounded behind her. She quickly turned around as Xiao Luobo’s voice echoed in her mind, “Master! At six o’clock, there’s a high-tier mutant black panther.”

Both San Yi and Xiao San lunged towards the direction of the panther.

San Wu placed one hand on the knife at her waist.

Ji Lingbai glanced at San Wu’s movement and sneered inwardly.

If a high-tier mutant panther got close, what good would grabbing a knife do for someone as small as her?

The best option would be to grab onto him.

Too bad this woman didn’t see that, she just didn’t understand.

Soon, the sound of the panther’s roar came from ahead. San Wu took a few steps back. Rushing over to see the fight now would be truly reckless.

She wasn’t very strong herself, so she needed to stay back and not drag down her capable companions.

San Yi was strong, while Xiao San excelled in both speed and strength. Together, they flanked the panther, and it quickly showed signs of fatigue, unable to fend off attacks from both ends.

“Master, San Yi and Xiao San are about to win.” Xiao Luobo quietly popped her head out of the nearby ground, reporting to San Wu.

As soon as she finished speaking, Xiao Luo saw the panther stumble from a slap by Xiao San , struggling to regain its balance.

Xiao Luobo, excited, shouted in San Wu’s mind, “The opportunity is here! Master, I’m going in!”

San Wu’s heart raced with fear. What could a small root like her do?

Unlike Kui Kui, who was tough, Xiao Luobo was a scout!

“Xiao Luo, come back!” She shouted in alarm.

Unfortunately, Xiao Luobo had already launched herself from the ground, her sharp tip piercing the black panther’s eye.

“Roar!” The black panther let out a cry of pain, swiping its paw swiftly at Xiao Luo. She quickly burrowed back into the ground, while Xiao San delivered a powerful kick, sending the panther, blinded by pain, flying a good distance away. The panther staggered to its feet, its roars turning pitiful.

It was going to be captured!

Despite its despair, the intelligent high-tier black panther suddenly caught a familiar scent.

Yes! The lord of the territory had arrived!

The territory lord, or “Ling Shi”, was the strongest being in an area, commanding both zombies and mutant animals within the territory. If the strongest was not a zombie but a high-tier mutant animal, it would be called “Ling Shou.”

(Ling Shi: This term literally translates to “territory lord of zombies”. Ling Shou: “territory lord of animals”.)

“Howl! Roar!” It began to howl desperately towards the direction of the territory lord, pleading for help.

San Wu’s face changed the moment it started howling. Was there another mutant animal nearby?

And how did Xiao Luobo miss it?

The territory lord, who had been secretly observing for a while, glanced at San Wu, then at San Xiao. Indeed, these people carried the scent of that delicious substance.

He ignored the still-roaring black panther, feeling overjoyed that he finally had a reason to approach the group. Holding his face in his hands, he ran over excitedly.

He wanted to eat something delicious.

His cheerful figure emerged from the gradually thinning mist.

San Wu’s expression was serious, ready to retreat at any moment.

The black panther trembled with excitement. He’s here! The lord has come to save it!

It let out a vigorous roar towards San Wu, as if to say, “Clean your neck and wait, human!”

—-

Inside the Eighteenth Fortress, the management team sat around a table, their faces clouded with worry.

Wang Haosheng, seated in the last row, didn’t dare make a sound.

The laboratory’s contents were nearly all destroyed, and the bean sprouts were gone. Even the zombies he had kept were reduced to ashes. Those zombies had been useful for dealing with uncooperative people by using their poison. What a pity.

“Fires don’t start without reason. It’s either an enemy attack or…” The fortress lord, Wang Hai, scanned the group with a sinister gaze. “Or we have a traitor among us!”

The others remained silent, too terrified to respond.

“Let’s set aside the lab issue for now.” Wang Hai’s sharp eyes turned to Wang Haosheng. “What’s this about the young master organizing some activity? If the fortress hadn’t caught fire and forced me to rush back, were you planning not to tell me about such a major event?”

“Hydroponic bean sprouts?” He sneered. “Since when were our people so capable?”

He knew the capabilities of everyone in his fortress.

If there were more talented individuals, would he need to go through the trouble of planting spies in the First Fortress?

He was aiming to poach talent and, eventually, swallow the First Fortress whole.

Wang Hai was not satisfied with being just a fortress lord; he aimed to rule all the fortresses.

As he envisioned his grand ambitions, his arrogance grew.

“Don’t get smart with me; I’m not dead yet.” He gave his son a knowing smirk.

Wang Haosheng broke into a cold sweat under his father’s gaze.

His father was a dual-ability user with high-level spatial and metal powers, accompanied by a territory lord animal, and supported by a group of loyal ability holders.

His father’s Translatoritarian control and domineering nature instilled fear in him, his own son.

“Show me your bean sprouts,” Wang Hai demanded in a deep voice.

The few conspirators who had been involved were sweating profusely. One of them was on the verge of speaking up.

Wang Haosheng felt his heart sink. When his father was away from the fortress, he felt comfortable, his word was law. But now that he was back, reality hit him hard.

These people were all loyal to his father.

They wouldn’t, and couldn’t, cover for him.

“Dad, I’ll tell you. But send everyone else out first.” He had to reveal it, but not in front of everyone.

The fewer people who knew, the better.

After nervously recounting the entire story, he braced himself for his father’s wrath, ready for the punishment he expected.

To his surprise, Wang Hai turned and sat down, silently contemplating for a full ten minutes. To Wang Haosheng, those ten minutes felt long, and his clothes were soaked with sweat.

His ribs ached faintly; the ones his father had broken the last time he angered him had just healed.

“Can you still produce the bean sprouts?”

“What?” Wang Haosheng reflexively asked, but immediately nodded excitedly, “Yes! Yes, I can! I still have some seeds in my room!”

Was his father interested too?

Of course! The gap between high-level ability holders was vast. His father wouldn’t miss any chance to grow stronger.

“Dad, have some water.” He eagerly poured a cup of tea for Wang Hai, saying, “Dad, what was your mission this time?”

When his father returned, his mood was terrible, suggesting his mission had not gone well.

Thinking about that damned zombie, Wang Hai’s eyes turned grim.

 

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