Once Liu Bu realized that it was not possible to head back, he said to Ren Xiaosu, “You’ll sit alone in the pickup truck bed while Cheng Donghang will sit in the vehicle.” He sneered, “Since you claim that you didn’t take us on the wrong road, we’ll leave you to face the danger yourself.”
He couldn’t care less about Ren Xiaosu eating the crackers. Obviously, surviving was more important than him eating some crackers. After all, none of them wanted to die out here.
Ren Xiaosu ignored him and went over to check on Xu Xia’s injury. He took Xu Xia’s hand away from his neck and was surprised to see a long stinger in his neck. Ren Xiaosu immediately recognized what it was… a hornet!
He quietly pulled out the stinger with his back facing those standing behind him. He didn’t want the others to know how Xu Xia had died. The atmosphere in the team was becoming stranger and stranger. As the “guide,” it would be more advantageous for him if the group learned to be fearful of the wilderness at times. Ren Xiaosu had never regarded himself as a good person, nor was he obliged to tell others about everything. His own survival was more important than anything else.
However, Ren Xiaosu also heaved a sigh of relief. As long as it was not some mysterious species that attacked humans, it was all good. In fact, he was also startled by what had happened just now.
Ren Xiaosu deduced that a hornet might have flown into the pickup truck bed and remained in there. When Xu Xia climbed into the vehicle, his movements alarmed the hornet, so it stung him.
But he had not expected that a hornet’s sting would be so lethal. Was it the swollen neck that caused asphyxiation? No, no, no, that couldn’t be. If he had suffocated, it would at least take some time for him to die, certainly not just ten seconds. It seemed that the source of the problem was the venom itself.
When Ren Xiaosu was young, he had also been stung by a hornet before. But only half of his face swelled up for several days, and he did not die from the sting.
This wilderness was getting more and more dangerous.
Sometimes Ren Xiaosu would have contradictory thoughts. On one hand, he was attracted by the mysterious wilderness and wanted to learn its secrets. On the other hand, he well knew that his curiosity could kill him.
There were many different dimensions of a human being, and their thoughts were always complicated. This was a defining factor of humanity.
The shadow of death enveloped the entire convoy, whereas Ren Xiaosu had now become the calmest person in the convoy. Xu Xianchu came to check on the wound but could only see a red dot on his neck. Meanwhile, Ren Xiaosu was observing everyone’s reaction. He saw Yang Xiaojin frowning as well after she pretended to inadvertently check on Xu Xia’s wound.
Only Ren Xiaosu knew that Xu Xia had actually been stung by a hornet that had evolved in the wilderness.
Someone said, “What should we do with Xu Xia’s body? We can’t possibly abandon him in the wilderness, right?”
“What else can we do?” Liu Bu frowned. He had planned to dump Xu Xia here as burying him would take them some time. He didn’t want to stay a moment longer in this godforsaken place.
Luo Xinyu said, “Put him in the bed of the pickup. Let’s get out of here first before we find a suitable spot to bury him.”
As the leader of the band, what would the others think of her if she dumped Xu Xia here? Her reputation would be tainted if word of what happened got out.
When Liu Bu heard her, he immediately made a decision. “Ren Xiaosu, carry Xu Xia into the bed of the pickup and sit in there with him!”
Ren Xiaosu did not mind this at all. Since he hadn’t eaten any of the crackers since a day ago, he rather missed them.
He was even less stressed with sitting with the corpse. He had also not been frightened by the number of corpses left behind by the wolves when they attacked the factory.
People in the stronghold were awed by death, but Ren Xiaosu only had reverence for life. He did not fear death at all.
As the convoy set off again, Ren Xiaosu sat in the back of the pickup truck bed, eating crackers and drinking bottled water while muttering to Xu Xia, “Why did y’all have to come out here for no reason? See, you’re dead now, aren’t you?
“Hey, what exactly does the inside of the stronghold look like? Many of us on the outside are on the verge of starving to death, yet y’all’re still in the mood to listen to music and support celebrities?
“Even the pork gets shipped into the stronghold for y’all to enjoy while we can’t even get to eat it.”
Ren Xiaosu was bored and had nothing to do, but the two buddies in the driver and co-driver seats did not think that way. Along the way, they heard Ren Xiaosu’s faint voice. The driver felt a tingling sensation on his scalp. He asked his co-driver, “Who is he talking to?”
“I… I don’t know. He’s probably just talking to himself….”
“Do you think there’s something wrong with his head?”
That evening, the convoy failed to find a suitable place to set up camp and was forced to settle for a small clearing. Everyone was quiet as they were in no mood to chat and brag after all that had happened today.
Early the next morning, Ren Xiaosu got up and stretched. He did not go out to find food last night. After all, he had gorged himself on crackers.
The chocolates had also been placed in the pickup truck bed. However, Liu Bu had shrewdly carried them into his vehicle. As there was no space for the box of chocolate in the vehicle, Liu Bu had to hold onto it for the entire afternoon.
Ren Xiaosu had already planned ahead for the day. He did not have to eat in the morning since he could eat whatever he wanted in the cargo bed after the convoy set off and continued journeying.
Right at this moment, however, he heard a scream. He whipped his head in the direction of the pickup. A soldier shouted, “Where is Xu Xia’s corpse? Did any of you see his body?”
All of them were stunned. “Isn’t it in the pickup?”
“His body has gone missing!”
This time, Ren Xiaosu felt a tingling on his scalp!
What was going on? The corpse had been placed properly in the cargo bed, so how could it just disappear?
The typical adult male weighed between 70 and 90 kilograms. So it would be exhausting for a human to carry off the body without making any noise.
How could no one have heard any noise when there were so many people around? Who had carried Xu Xia’s corpse away?
Ren Xiaosu suddenly recalled the fish scraps and bones that he had thrown away earlier. It seemed that those had disappeared in the same manner. Without any clues, there was absolutely no way to tell what could have done this.
At that time, he had guessed that ants did it. But it couldn’t possibly be them this time. No matter how much ants had evolved, they couldn’t carry away such a large corpse overnight.
This time, Ren Xiaosu was overwhelmed with doubt. He frowned and wondered, ‘What on earth could have done this?’
Liu Bu was trembling all over as he looked at Xu Xianchu. “Sir, why don’t we all head back to the stronghold? This is getting eerie.”
Xu Xianchu was holding his gun and warily pointing it at the surroundings. “I’m just as afraid as you are, but we absolutely can’t go back until we’ve accomplished our mission. From now on, we must act like we’re refugees. If we can’t go back, you guys can’t go back either.”
“But these woods are way too strange!” Liu Bu was almost crying.
“Everyone, get into the vehicles and let’s get the hell out of this place!” Xu Xianchu roared.
From this moment onward, Ren Xiaosu held his bone knife in his hand at all times. His mind sharpened, and he would always be on guard against any danger that might approach him.