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3-chapter-3

San Wu walked towards the door carefully, making no sound.

She reached the door, which had a hole for peering through. She closed one eye and looked outside.

She saw several men frowning near an iron cage. Inside the cage was a male zombie who was bound. There were no particularly gruesome wounds on his face and body, only cloudy eyes and long fingernails that identified him as a zombie.

San Wu was startled to see an actual high-level zombie. His lack of injuries and bad smell confirmed his status as a high-level zombie.

“Boss!” One of the men in the group impatiently addressed the leader. “Didn’t the third brother say that if he fainted, he wouldn’t wake up for five days? But his eyes are open. He better not cause any trouble, as there are quite a few zombies wandering around this small village.”

“Boss, why don’t you use electricity to completely knock him out?”

San Wu clapped her hands, feeling too hungry. “No, I have to get some resources to exchange for meat.”

San Wu took the iron rod next to her and decided to go out to try her luck.

In the fortress, even if the mutated wild animals were killed, the resources gained could barely provide a small meal., and the rest must be turned in or exchanged for other things. It had been a long time since she had eaten a full meat.

The forts were strategically located in remote mountainous areas because these regions had more meat sources. Downtown areas were overrun with zombies, and human strength couldn’t overcome them.

San Wu found a towel to cover her mouth and nose, wrapping two others around her shoes to reduce the sound of her breath and footsteps. She ventured into a wilderness area filled with deep purple thorns, the only mutant plants that survived the apocalypse due to their toughness. These thorns were as hard as iron and couldn’t be easily pulled. They grew quickly and had tenacious vitality, quickly flooding into disasters in the apocalypse.

However, in order to survive in that world, some mutated animals could only rely on them to survive. So for that, they had developed sharp teeth and various body weapons.

In the apocalypse, animals had adapted faster than humans. When the number of humans was greatly reduced, more animals had mutated and become omnivores, and many herbivores had already eaten meat and vegetables.

The law of survival of the fittest was the same no matter what time it was.

San Wu gently pushed aside the thorns with a stick, and after carefully searching for half an hour, her eyes lit up when she spotted a black bug with a big head, navigating through the thorns while feeding.

This pitch-black bug resembled a pre-apocalyptic cicada, but it had mutated. Sensing someone’s presence, it opened its mouth, ready to attack. But San Wu swiftly killed it with a stick to prevent it from attracting nearby zombies.

While many mutated animals were inedible, they had significant medicinal value. The wings of this mutated cicada could be ground into powder to stop bleeding and relieve pain, often exchanged for food. The bugs had a slimy substance that took others a whole day to clean, but for San Wu, it was a simple task due to her ability to purify things.

But that was nothing to her. Others couldn’t do anything with that layer of slurry, but she could purify the layer with her ability. And others needed to spend a day, but she could complete the purification in a blink of an eye.

When she was in the fortress, she couldn’t hold back, and used it a few times without telling Ah Si, but after being found out and beaten severely, she didn’t dare to use it again.

After all, in the fortress, she and Ah Si lived in the kind of “ant nest” crowded with more than ten people in a small room, with eyes on the left and right, and if she used it often, it meant that her ability would be exposed.

San Wu took the mutated cicada to an exchange outside the fortress, where retail traders swapped mutated animals and corpse crystals for edible food. After obtaining the things she needed, she hurried back home, as being in an open area without walls was like gambling with her life.

Being outside for a person like her who did not have offensive ability was equivalent to gambling with her own life.

After securely locking the door from the inside, she prepared and cleaned the meat she had acquired. This meat seemed to be pork jerky, and there were individuals in the fortress who specialized in raising non-mutated animals, although the prices were high. That day, she had been lucky; she had come across a mutated cicada just outside.

San Wu filled a basin with water, retrieved a pot from the kitchen, and placed it on the simple clay stove she had recently constructed. In the past, only craftsmen could make clay stoves, but now it was a basic skill known to all.

The man known as the ‘Boss’ held a rare cigarette in his hand, a luxury in the apocalypse. He flicked his finger against the cigarette tip, causing it to ignite with a crackling sound. The scent of smoke intoxicated the men around him, reminding them of the pre-apocalyptic era.

The Boss took a puff of his cigarette and felt a comforting warmth. “Don’t waste time with chit-chat. The boss’s only son specifically requested this thing. If you accidentally fry him with electricity, our deal will be ruined, and I’ll twist all your heads off.”

“We’re just joking, Boss.”

“That’s right, can you share a puff of your cigarette?”

Several people chatted and laughed, paying no attention to the high-level zombie.

San Wu observed these humans coldly. They had their backs turned to the iron cage, relying on their abilities and seemingly unconcerned.

When San Wu heard them mention the boss of the fortress’ son, she clenched her fists tightly. If that person acquired the high-level zombie and became a high-level ability holder, avenging Ah Si would become even more challenging.

“What can I do to stop this?” San Wu pondered, but the next moment, she saw the zombie’s cloudy eyes staring at her.

Her expression changed, and in an instant, the chains that bound him snapped, and a hand reached out from the gap in the prison, grabbing the boss’s head.

“Roar!”

The zombie clenched its hands around the boss, and blood splattered all over the ground.

The man still held the cigarette, and the ashes fell as he collapsed.

“No! This zombie is out of control.”

“Boss!”

San Wu could hear several men’s panicked voices outside the door. She covered her mouth and nose tightly and took a few steps back. The zombie was dangerously close, and if it caught her scent, he might smash through the door.

“Second, surround it! This zombie is too powerful; we can’t fight it.”

“Damn! What did this zombie eat?! Why is it more formidable than before?”

“I can’t restrain it anymore; retreat!”

The commotion outside ended more quickly than San Wu expected. After waiting for a while, she peered outside through the hole.

The high-level zombie and the men were gone, leaving only an empty iron cage.

San Wu quietly opened the door and moved the dead man’s body further away. She didn’t desire the damaged iron cage, but she brought it inside the house, considering its potential usefulness for moving items.

“I need to find something to eat,” San Wu muttered as she entered the villa.

She could find water, but food was scarce. Most likely, it had been looted by survivors or residents searching for supplies.

“I should check the garage,” she thought.

San Wu went to the garage, found the key, and opened the door, revealing three parked cars.

A convertible sports car, a large business car, and an unfamiliar vehicle that seemed expensive but worthless in the apocalypse without gasoline.

The garage door was solid, and the people outside probably avoided making noise to prevent attracting zombies.

San Wu didn’t find anything in the two cars, but in a small drawer of the unfamiliar vehicle, she discovered three large bags of items.

After tearing open one of the bags, her eyes lit up. “Seeds!”

She didn’t know if the previous owner had bought them for planting in the small yard. Most of them had rotted away, but a few vacuum-preserved seed bags could still be salvaged.

San Wu soaked those seeds with her purifying ability. Although the seeds were shriveled and distorted, her ability had the effect of purification and recovery, which she had honed over the years.

With soil and seeds, she could attempt planting, although she wasn’t certain about the differences between the purified soil and seeds and those from before the apocalypse.

San Wu’s ability had limitations, and it took half a day to reclaim a small piece of land.

She loosened the soil with a stick. “I hope this works,” San Wu murmured to herself.

For as long as she could remember, she had been begging alongside Ah Si for their survival. Before the apocalypse struck, they lived under an overpass, slept on the streets, and resorted to stealing vegetables from other people’s fields to get by. Most of their time was spent in the countryside since, when they couldn’t beg for food, they could at least nibble on some vegetable leaves.

Ah Si rarely allowed her to beg with her. More often, she had her Ah Si stand outside the township school’s window and listen to the teacher’s lectures. After the school teacher discovered that, he directly let her join the school to study. At that time, there was a robust compulsory education system, allowing her to attend school. However, her classmates often shunned her due to her dirty appearance, but after the apocalypse, cleanliness became a luxury nobody had.

She, a little beggar, had never been dismissed for being unclean after that. The fortress schools, however, were off-limits for her. Luckily, she could read and write. Ah Si even traded several days’ worth of food for books to keep her learning. Ah Si even traded several days’ worth of food for books for her to read.

Ah Si always told her that reading and acquiring knowledge could lead to a better life, no matter the circumstances.

While thinking of Ah Si, she scattered the seeds into the soil. “I’m not sure if the temperature is right, but let’s plant them anyway.”

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