The countless Experimentals scuttled through the shadows in the forest like a large, dense group of spiders. Faced with this sight, even a highly experienced soldier like Xu Man paled.
For someone like Xu Man who could grasp the situation, he knew immediately that “Xu Xianchu” had accidentally walked into the current hideout of the Experimentals. That was why he attracted all of them.
Those who didn’t would fucking think that Ren Xiaosu had called for backup and come back to seek revenge!
But because of this, Xu Man could confirm “Xu Xianchu’s” identity even further. After all, as Liu Bu had said, Xu Xianchu once used his shadow clone to carry himself as they walked. It was just that easy and relaxing.
Honestly speaking, Ren Xiaosu himself also had not expected that Liu Bu would somehow end up helping him to conceal his identity and even end up selflessly paying the price with his life.
Those Experimentals were chasing after Ren Xiaosu in a frenzy. Their saliva was flying all over the place as they scampered across the ground.
When Xu Man saw this, the first thing he did was to call out on the comms channel, “Attention, everyone in the vicinity of the city, set up a defensive line!”
There were a lot of Qing Consortium troops in the forest, with up to several hundred of them. But it seemed like there were even more Experimentals than them!
But at this time, Xu Man had notified those in the city to set up a defensive line instead of issuing the command for those who were here to evacuate?
Xu Man said on the comms channel, “All units onsite, stay in your assigned positions as per your platoon orders to defend and fire. We have to buy some time for those who are still in the urban area!”
As Ren Xiaosu ran like mad, he watched the Qing Consortium troops stop in their tracks and kneel down to adopt a shooting stance. Without any other defensive fortifications, they started using their own bodies as shields.
Ren Xiaosu’s speed while his shadow clone piggybacked him was much faster than the Experimentals could travel. Thus, he was able to successfully veer off his initial trajectory when the Qing Consortium troops opened fire and avoided being caught in their line of fire.
However, Ren Xiaosu felt rather shocked at heart. So this was the difference between an organization’s combat troops and soldiers from a private army? The combat troops of an organization would actually sacrifice their own lives and safety in order to gain more time for their brothers in arms! What was it about that suit-wearing young man that he could lead a force like that?
In reality, Ren Xiaosu had thought too highly of an organization’s combat troops, or rather, the soldiers under Qing Zhen’s command had given Ren Xiaosu a false impression that soldiers belonging to an organization were very united and fearsome. The truth was, these soldiers serving under Qing Zhen were in fact also considered the best of the best within all of the organizations’ militaries.
Xu Man was a very combat-oriented warrior, but that didn’t mean that he was unafraid of dying.
One of the most important qualities in combat was an understanding of the overall situation so that a correct decision could be made.
He understood this. If he stayed to buy time for those in the city, he would very likely end up dead. But if he were to retreat, his comrades in the city would not have enough time to prepare for the situation and even more people would die as a result.
Qing Zhen had already ordered the troops to fortify the defenses, such as building simple bunkers and enclosures that were all necessary.
But Xu Man knew well that they had incorrectly estimated the number of Experimentals here in the Jing Mountains. According to their information, there should only be about a hundred or so Experimentals here.
The records of the Pyro Company’s research laboratory only showed 87 living specimens back then!
Could it be that the Pyro Company had purposely leaked this false information to lure the Qing Consortium into a trap after they were unable to get ahead of them to restart this research lab? Importantly, Qing Zhen had killed many of the Pyro Company’s people over the past two years.
Of course, Qing Zhen was not a fool either. He had brought several times more people out here than was originally planned. Qing Zhen wasn’t going to die in such a place.
What Xu Man was worried about was not Qing Zhen’s safety, but the heavy losses that Stronghold 112’s combat brigade might suffer.
At the moment, Xu Man’s open communications channel was live. As such, he could hear Qing Zhen’s calm voice speaking in his helmet, “Go and save them, then slowly retreat to the edge of the city. I was prepared for this.”
Xu Man heaved a sigh of relief. He said on the tactical communications channel, “Hold the line! Reinforcements will be here soon!”
If they could defend long enough, they wouldn’t die. Or at least, most of them wouldn’t.
If it had been another big shot of the organization, their first response would probably be to abandon the lone fighting force out here.
Ren Xiaosu took advantage of the chaos to bypass the perimeter the Qing Consortium’s troops were defending, and his shadow clone made a mad dash south. Ren Xiaosu had initially thought that it would be safer for him to go north, but who could have guessed that it would be even more dangerous.
When the Qing Consortium came into the Jing Mountains, they had deliberately avoided the volcanic area because the poisonous gases there could not be warded off. So this volcanic area became the only place where the Qing Consortium had not conducted a sweep. Who would have thought that those Experimentals were hiding in the vicinity of the volcanoes?
However, these Experimentals were not lured out by Ren Xiaosu. He had only encountered them along the way while he was heading north. These several hundred Experimentals were clearly looking to attack all humans who were in the Jing Mountains at this time!
Ren Xiaosu did not know what attracted them out, or if they were awoken when they realized the volcanoes were about to erupt. Ren Xiaosu didn’t care. Even if he had to face the face bugs or the wolf pack, it was still a better option than facing the Qing Consortium or the Experimentals!
He could handle four of them, but taking on several hundred Experimentals was way out of his league! If he didn’t have his shadow clone to carry him as he made his escape, Ren Xiaosu might have laid down on the ground and pretended that he was an Experimental too. These Experimentals might just fall for it since their intelligence had lowered to such a point.
Ren Xiaosu wondered why there were so many of these Experimentals. It was quite obvious that Xu Man did not expect there to be so many of them either, so could it be that they had been breeding all these years? Were those Experimentals unchained at their limbs the ones born later?
Ren Xiaosu wasn’t being overly imaginative. He just didn’t understand why. These Experimentals didn’t have many recreational activities to do deep in the mountains and forests anyway, so other than reproducing, what else could they do?
After he killed those four Experimentals, Ren Xiaosu felt like he couldn’t be more invincible. But just half an hour later, that sense of superiority was crushed by reality.
Ren Xiaosu: I am invincible!
Reality: No, you’re not.
The rest of the Qing Consortium’s troops headed north to save Xu Man and his men.
Meanwhile, Ren Xiaosu made use of this gap to escape south, which would bring him back on his original route to Stronghold 113.
Yang Xiaojin’s and Luo Xinyu’s whereabouts were unknown, while Xu Xianchu was leisurely taking another route as he left the Jing Mountains.
This adventure had ended up more like a farce. However, it did reveal the true nature of the world to Ren Xiaosu.
He only knew about the Pyro Company and Qing Consortium for now, but there were many more organizations and strongholds out there. This world was much bigger than he had thought it to be.
While Ren Xiaosu was making his escape, he suddenly heard another loud rumble from the volcano behind him. This time, the ground even started shaking.
He saw the volcano erupting as lava spewed out of the crater into the air. Clumps of magma cooled rapidly after reacting with the cold air and solidified into hot rocks. Shortly after, a hail of meteorite showers started pouring down, and the forest turned into a sea of fire!