Compared to the first floor, the number of insects on the second floor had not significantly increased. However, these insects were much larger. As they head toward the elevator, they encountered three to four more giant cockroaches. Fortunately, deterred by the flames, these cockroaches hesitated briefly before fleeing. They were accustomed to low temperature environments and were thus extremely fearful of high temperatures.
Dong Linhai threw away the empty fuel tank and replaced it with a new one. Including the one newly installed on the flamethrower, there were only two bottles of fuel left.
If they economized a bit, this remaining amount should be enough.
When they got to the elevator, Dong Zheng wasn’t surprised to find that the elevator car was missing. The door was wide open, revealing the slowly undulating biological tissue in the shaft. Inside the bulging, almost transparent womb were innumerable clusters of eggs.
A huge female sand cricket had transformed the elevator shaft into a nest. The dark green goo on the wall of the shaft had countless eggs attached to it. Some of the eggs had already hatched and white larvae was emerging from it, covered in mucus.
Dong Zheng stopped ten meters away from the elevator shaft.
He made a retreat gesture, and the group slowly retreated a step at a time.
Wang Que began to silently gag. The female insect’s thoughts were transmitted to her mind, and at this moment, she felt as if she’d turned into a disgusting insect with a kind and joyful love for those eggs and larvae.
She took a deep breath, trying to ignore those feelings, but this wasn’t something she could accurately control. Finally, Wang Que couldn’t help herself anymore and began to vomit.
Dong Linhai raised his hand and lightly patted her back. The other people stepped back and moved aside for her. Just when they were about to turn around and leave, a huge body climbed down the elevator shaft. It’s huge head had a hundred eyes of varying sizes, and it was staring straight at them.
Seeing that the situation was getting worse, Dong Zheng shouted, “Run!”
As they broke into a run, the female insect’s two wings rubbed against each other, issuing a sharp buzzing sound. Within moments, countless black male insects flew out of the elevator shaft like a black torrent and charged at them!
Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing were initially at the front, but they suddenly ended up at the back of the group. As Dong Zheng ran, he shot down the few that were in front of him. There were so many insects that he didn’t even need to aim at all and he would still be able to hit a target.
Compared to traditional bullets, the laser gun was more damaging to the insects. It could shoot down smaller male insects. Those that were burned by the laser fell to the ground. Some struggled before taking off haltingly and resuming the chase.
“Where to?!” Lin Hangzhi ended up being the one at the front of the group. Everyone had memorized the layout of the base, but he obviously wasn’t Wang Que or Dong Zheng. He was afraid that with his bad luck, he would lead everyone into a ditch.
“Turn right up ahead!” Wang Que was right behind him, and after confirming the approximate location of the Zergs ahead, she pointed out the way for him.
Lin Hangzhi’s figure disappeared around the corner on the right. In the next second, they heard him screamed, and his figure quickly reappeared. “There are bugs over there!”
“There are even more bugs in other places!” Wang Que ran past him.
After hearing this, Lin Hangzhi turned around and rushed to the front. He couldn’t let Wang Que take the lead.
A centipede more than 20 meters long was coiled up on the path ahead. It felt the vibration along it’s hundreds of feet and lifted it’s upper body up. The two antennae at the top of its head whipped around toward them. Gritting his teeth, Lin Hangzhi continued to rush forward. He pointed the laser gun at the centipede’s head and pulled the trigger, shouting, “Die!”
The laser hit the centipede’s head, and black liquid sprayed out. The liquid landed on the ground and melted the metal floor amidst wisps of white smoke. Lin Hangzhi fired a few more shots and shouted, “The centipede is poisonous! Be careful not to touch its juice!”
They sped past the centipede. Cui Zuojing looked back and saw that the hole in the long insect’s head was quickly healing at a speed visible to the naked eye. The angry centipede waved its hundreds of legs. It was about to chase after them when it was suddenly knocked over by the male sand crickets that were following them.
The object of its anger quickly shifted. The centipede opened its mandible appendages and, like a guillotine, ruthlessly clamped down on the sand cricket, directly cutting the basketball-sized insect in half!
Sounds of chaos came from behind them. The centipede and sand crickets’ original intention of chasing after them had morphed into battling each other. None of them cared about the battle’s outcome. Under Wang Que’s guidance, they chose the route with the least number of insects and ran all the way to the stairwell.
The door to the stairwell was blocked by something. After they violently broke it open, a large group of insects flew out in a black and white swarm and were soon burnt into crisp.
Dark purple fungus inhabited by insects filled the stairwell. The fungus’ anaerobic breath generated heat and produced toxic gases. As a result, the unusually warm temperature had turned the stairwell into the most suitable breeding ground.
This reminded Dong Zheng of the hospital in the secret realm within the Labyrinth of Time. Those mutant plants had also grown wildly in the stairwell, and he and Allen had stumbled up the steps with an infusion stand in order to look for the bedbound Wan Baoshan.
But now, the red-haired young man was gone.
Fungus covered the stairs in a thick blanket, giving no allowance for anyone to safely step through.
“Gross…” Dong Linhai’s entire face was scrunched up. “How disgusting. Do we really have to go through here?”
Cui Zuojing said, “Or else, do you want to see the sand cricket and her children again?”
“….Then, forget it.” Dong Linhai sighed and asked, “Will there be any negative impact from burning these things up?”
“It’s unknown how toxic these fungi are. The fact that these various insects could endure it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for us.” Lin Hangzhi sighed. “But what else can we do besides burning them?”
“I hope these protective suits are strong enough,” Dong Linhai murmured in a low voice. Accepting his fate, he prepared to pull the trigger to the flamethrower and shouted, “Everyone, watch out. I’m going to start!”
Flames spouted out of the nozzle like a fiery, red dragon, emitting temperature specific to white flames. The fungus blanket full of insects began to burn down with crackling sounds. The liquid that flowed out was instantly evaporated into steam. Everyone quickly followed behind Dong Linhai. Soon, Cui Zuojing heard an alarm–It was coming from the sensor on the protective suit, indicating that the level of toxic gas around him had exceeded the limit.
They walked as quickly as possible before any insects that may have cooled off could come after them. In less than two minutes, they had already descended to the third underground level. Dong Linhai took a look and realized that the stairway leading to the fourth floor was flooded with a murky green water.
Cui Zuojing swiped the tip of the sword through the water. It was very thick and, when stirred, bubbles rose to the surface. Obviously, there was unknown creatures lurking underneath.
Lin Hangzhi said, “Water? How come there is so much stagnant water?”
Cui Zuojing said, “A pipe must have leaked somewhere. The door to the fourth floor probably requires authorization. With it closed, water would naturally accumulate on the stairwell.”
“As expected.” Dong Zheng didn’t think it was an accident. He took a deep breath, mnetally preparing himself for meeting more giant insects. In a direct, no-nonsense voice, he said, “Let’s go through the third floor. The northeast corner still had a stairway.”
Wang Que quickly planned a route in her mind and anxiously said, “But then we’ll have to cross the third floor. There are a lot of insects here.”
Dong Zheng said, “Evidently, the box wants us to go this way. As we go, Que’er, pay attention to the situation and try to choose the safest path.”
Wang Que nodded vigorously.
Everyone stepped onto the third floor, muscles tensed. Wang Que stood quietly, sending out her perception. After a while, she pointed in one direction. “There.”
Up to now, they still hadn’t found an ID card with sufficient authority. They were already on the third floor, but all the cards they had found so far simply didn’t have enough authority to open the fourth floor, which was the most important floor.
For this reason, Cui Zuojing used a lot of effort to break open the door of each room.
Dong Linhai had an idea. “That’s right. Can’t we use Brother Fu’s key? Since his key has the function of 005, wouldn’t it be easy to open the door?”
Cui Zuojing shook his head. “It’s better not to use Fu Zhe’s things in the box. Once used, it has the ability to directly reduce the difficulty of the plot, which will attract Kether’s attention.”
Lin Hangzhi said, “K…what?”
“I’ll tell you after we get out.” Cui Zuojing banged on the door a few times and then kicked it open. His forehead was covered in sweat. “Also, since the door doesn’t have a keyhole, how can we open it?”
Dong Linhai said, “…That’s true.”
Cui Zuojing was tired. He’d never been good at this kind of unlocking. In the Afternoon Tea Party, he always liked to use knives to solve problems. Therefore, this time, he also used this kind of simple and rough method to unlock doors.
Fortunately, this room seemed to be the living quarters of a certain researcher. Dong Zheng was able to find an identity card in the drawer. Now, the only thing they needed to worry about was the mutant creatures they might encounter on the way to the main control room.
As he stood at the doorway of the living quarter, Lin Hangzhi felt as if something was watching him from within the depths of the darkness. He hesitated briefly and took two steps toward the hallway.
Suddenly he staggered and tripped over something.
At this moment, Wang Que abruptly said, “Something’s coming. Hurry!”
Dong Linhai was in the middle of rummaging for other clues. He quickly rushed out with the others. Under Wang Que’s guidance, they turned the corner and hid.
A spider nearly two meters high quickly climbed down from the ceiling and went straight into the room where they had just vacated. The spider’s hairy body was covered with many white spots that looked like eyes. It coldly examined the room.
After three minutes, the spiders still hadn’t found anything. It came out of the room, spit out a string of translucent spider silk at the door, and skittered into the darkness.
It was only now that Lin Hangzhi realized the thing he’d tripped over earlier was a spider silk.
The road ahead…couldn’t be full of this kind of “trap,” right?!
In a low voice, he made his apprehensions known to the rest of the group. Wang Que was silent for a moment, and then she said, “The consciousness of the insects in this place is very strong. Unlike those on the other floors, I can barely contain them for even a moment. They might also affect me in turn. This place is the lair that they’d lived in for many, many years. We might be met with a crisis one after another, so everyone must be extremely careful. All I can do now is find a more suitable way.”
“You’re already doing more than enough.” Cui Zuojing changed the ammunition clip on his laser gun and added, “If we let you do everything, what else is there left for us to do?”