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Volume 1 Chapter 1 – A Wolf
In the area that should have four seasons, in this new era, there were still four seasons. But their meanings were a bit different.
The meaning of spring was awakening. The large monsters were Violent Bears and Stone Dragons, whereas the small monsters were Blood-sucking Flies and Glowing Fleas. They would all awaken from their hibernation, and after being starved for an entire winter, naturally, they would be particularly violent. The danger level of the small guys such as the Blood-sucking Flies was not any lower than the danger level of the steel armored Violent Bears. In this time period, who knew how many epidemics there were that could swiftly cause a person to die? Pretty much every single type of them were bacterias and viruses, so it made the Blood-sucking Flies the most suitable type of carrier. Every year, the types of epidemics were always rapidly increasing. There had never been a time where a profession such as doctors were so significant, yet there was also never a time that they were this powerless.
But spring was still the best season.
The summer was boiling hot. The strong ultraviolet rays from the sun meant death for a large portion of organisms. Even the mutated animals or humans were no exception. Autumn was no longer the season of harvest. The food and fruits from the old times were extinct because of they did not adapt to the new environment. That was why the worries of all organisms were food. Most of the plants that were able to happily grow even in the worst environments were even more dangerous than the Stone Dragons. As for winter, the only question to consider was how to not starve before the arrival of spring.
The thin gray clouds in the sky constantly changed irregularly, and they revealed an extremely beautiful blue sky. The sunlight poured down as if it was fire, and it sprayed on the extremely hot and dry land.
In the instant that the sunlight came down, Tena lowered the goggles that were on his helmet.
The goggles that were meant for soldiers in the old times were able to filter the strong sunlight and the ultraviolet rays to protect the eyes. Although the ultraviolet rays were many times stronger when compared to the past, the humans that survived also adapted to the new environment. As for the weak humans, they already became skeletons in the wilderness. Although the ultraviolet rays that passed through the goggles were strong enough to blind, to Tena, they were just a bit bright. The eight soldiers behind him were also very strong, and although the sunlight would make them uncomfortable, it wouldn’t affect their movements.
Tena’s right hand was being supported by a revamped M3A automatic rifle. He looked at the ground all around them, and he did a gesture with his left hand. The troops followed him and continued moving forward. Every single soldier wore camouflage clothing, equipped with automatic rifles, and they even had one grenade launcher. Although the soldiers’ clothing were a bit broken and their weapons were not all the same, as they had the elite M3As to the AK series from the old times, it still showed that they were a real troop and not some random team with weapons like bandit mobs. These troops had ranks, tactics, logistics, training, and the most important thing was the organization that was able to support a troop like this, as it certainly would not be small.
The forty-three year old Tena had almost twenty years of army experience, and he was a reliable, good senior officer. At the moment, he was leading his team and going onto a bare mountain ridge. The benefits were that the vision was extremely good, as he was able to put the scope of a dozen or so kilometers into his eyes. As for whether or not there were trees that could block the sunlight, Tena didn’t mind it since a large portion of green meant unpredictable dangers.
In the mountains, the cries of Decayed Wolves resonated. Tena instantly looked towards the direction of the wolf cries. His pupils rapidly expanded and shrunk. The shape of his eye also slightly changed accordingly. Without needing binoculars, his gaze locked onto the several small black dots several kilometers away. Only then did Tena raise his binoculars, and through it, he could see several gray and black Decayed Wolves spinning left and right uneasily on a red and brown mountain rock. Once in a while, they would face the sky and cry out several times.
Tena’s vision range was 1.5 times the normal person’s, and the price was the consumption of an Evolution Point. Or in easier terms, one chance in genetic modification. In an ordinary person’s life, there was the possibility of getting one or two chances in genetic modification, and a large portion of people choose muscle strengthening or body defense power. Tena on the other hand, he used his Evolution Point on his vision without any regrets. In the wilderness battles, if one could discover dangers earlier, then it meant that there was a bigger chance of surviving.
“Damn it! It seems like the sizes of those guys got bigger.” Tena cursed a bit, then with the wave of his hand, he turned towards the valley and prepared to attack.
Who knew what happened with those Decayed Wolves? They were actually coming out in such strong sunlight, and weren’t they a species that had a night movement habit? But Tena didn’t need to know about those things. According to experience, he determined that there was a wolf nest in the valley, so that was enough. Summer was also the breeding season for Decayed Wolves, so at this time, there should be a few little wolves that just started weaning in the wolf nest. His mission was to completely annihilate these Decayed Wolves and other organisms that were mutating, to find out if there were new, unknown organisms; and also, every 3 months, to bring a few corpses of the Decayed Wolves back to the research base.
Usually, this mission required Tena and his men to walk in the wilderness for a good half month, but the difficulty wasn’t high. To this wilderness area that had a circumference of 100 kilometer or so, Tena already knew it like the back of his palm. He could recount the places that were suitable for which organisms to exist with his eyes closed. With his small team of nine people, even if they met a large wolf pack of up to a hundred Decayed Wolves, they could take care of it.
The problem was in his era, everything was changing with flying speed. Tena was looking, with his own pair of eyes, as the sizes of the Decayed Wolves increased. The adult Decayed Wolf that only required one bullet to kill at first now required two 3-round bursts. The faster they changed, the stronger their body got. According to the director of the research base, in the past twelve months, the weight of the adult Decayed Wolves increased by an average of 12%, their muscle increased by 23%, agility by 18%, defense by 35%, and resistance against radiation increased by 50%.
Of course, Tena couldn’t remember all that, nor did he have any interest to remember such accurate and careful explanations. His line of thought was extremely simple to describe. The Decayed Wolves were currently becoming larger, and becoming more and more dangerous. His small team could defeat a hundred and fifty Decayed Wolves in the past could only defeat no more than a hundred Decayed Wolves now. Just like that. Although it seemed that everything was under the control of the base, everytime that Tena went out for a mission, his feeling of uneasiness in his heart would become stronger everytime. Could you imagine Decayed Wolves that were as large as tigers yet were as intelligent as humans? Tena did not only dream about that once.
To Tena and his small team that specialized in mountain battles, several kilometers of mountain road was half an hour of walking. Seeing as Tena and the others arrived, the male adult Decayed Wolves on the mountain rocks crouched while baring their teeth that was dripping with saliva and continuously made snarling sounds from its throat.
That was the very typical movements of Decayed Wolves who were protecting their land. It meant that behind them, there was a wolf nest, and inside of it were many young wolves that were unable to wean, unable to follow the footsteps of the huge wolves.
The territory of the Decayed Wolves was extremely large, and the caves all around in the valley could only belong to these group of Decayed Wolves. Tena did not want to search in every single cave one after the other, so he made a hand gesture, and an old soldier behind him raised his automatic rifle. The first burst made the Decayed Wolf fly in the sky, the second burst followed quickly on its heels. The 3-round bursts all shot into the body of the Decayed Wolf that was no longer moving, and it flipped it over a few times.
The remaining Decayed Wolves started whimpering, and leaving their comrade, they pressed their tails and escaped deeper into the mountain valley.
Tena moved his M3A and said, “Lucas, you’re up!”
“Understood!” A little guy that seemed to just reach twenty years of age took off his mask and revealed a nose that was double the size of a regular person’s. He kept on sniffing as he walked deeper into the valley. Although there were the nose-piercing smell of the Decayed Wolves all along the valley, Lucas’s nose was not any worse than the Decayed Wolves. To him, every single smell of the Decayed Wolves was different from one another, and as they just left, there was no way that he would be mistaken.
The nine man team did not walk slow yet walked without rush, and they slowly reached the middle of the valley. Their target was very clear. It was the cave several hundred meters away, and at the entrance of the cave, one could see several dried out bones.
As same as always, Tena left two soldiers to guard at the entrance as he led the remaining soldiers into the cave for searching. He was not afraid of ambushes because in the narrow and long cave, the high speed and mighty M3A was undefendable. Besides, within the eight people that he had brought here, there were five veterans that had been in over ten missions, and they had modified their genetics at least once so they were enough for any situation. There were already team members that started assembling an simple beast cage, as the value of one alive Decayed Wolf Club was way higher than ten dead wolves.
The cave was not deep, and after walking for thirty meters or so, they reached the end. Other than the piles of dried up bones, there was only a huge pile of hay and there was not even the shadow of the little wolves.
Tena’s face turned green, and he glared the dry hay to death as the corner of his eyes were twitching. Suddenly, he used the muzzle of the gun to split open the hay pile and what was revealed under it was a rock that had sticky traces of dirt, but there were still no shadow of the little wolves.
Someone said half a sentence, but was roughly interrupted by Tena, “Shut up damn it! Lucus would never make a mistake!”
Tena kneeled down, took out a bayonet and poked at the seemingly still fresh wolf excrement. He looked carefully, then suddenly stood up, and with a loud sound he pulled open the bolt of his M3A and yelled, “Damn it! This is a trap! Let’s go!”
A veteran behind him followed up and said, “Hey! Boss! Who made this trap for us? Don’t tell me it was the Decayed Wolves! Haha…”
After two laughs, he found out that no one responded to that, so he could only stop and helplessly shrug his shoulders. He also smelt danger, but to make a joke at that time was a good way to ease the nervousness.
Tena increased his speed and muttered, “It’s most likely Decayed Beasts! Lord, I really hope I’m wrong!”
They took large strides, and after a few steps they moved around the last bend and arrived at the cave entrance. The two people who were guarding at the cave entrance had their waists bent, and while trembling they retreated back into the cave one step after the other! Tena said nothing and directly rushed out of the cave. He pulled those two people apart and looked out of the cave.
Tena’s eyes suddenly widened, and within his deep brown pupils, they were filled up with Decayed Wolves!
“Lord! there are at least three hundred Decayed Wolves!” Tena’s heart suddenly tightened up and he almost couldn’t breathe.
Suddenly, Tena smelt a faint stink with his nose, and the instinct raised up by many years of battle made him immediately leap back. At the same time, he shot a burst at the air above the cave entrance.
A black shadow swept through the air like lightning, and sharp teeth closed in at the location in which Tena’s neck should have been. Five rounds of red-hot bullets lifted its entire belly open!
That was a strong, male wolf that weighed a good thirty kilograms. By the force of impact made by the bullets, it flew several meters away, and after landing it rolled a few times. It could still struggle to stand up even with its organs that were almost completely loose from its body. It lowly roared with deterrence while shaking towards the cave entrance until another male wolf stopped it by biting it on its neck.
Poof! Tena heavily fell on the ground, knocking two other soldiers along the way. When he was propped back up, he discovered that his cold sweat completely soaked through his outer clothing!
A veteran looked out the cave, and his face instantly paled and said, “Boss, it seems that we’re surrounded.”
Another person looked at the walkie-talkie in his hand, then shook his head and said, “Absolutely no signal from the base.”
“Our food and water can support us for ten days.”
“We only have roughly three hundred rounds for our ammunition supply, and it won’t be enough to kill them all.”
A few veterans automatically reported the circumstances of their supplies, and Tena’s face looked more and more ugly as he listened. He carefully stood one meter away from the entrance of the cave, looked out, and as he looked, his heart became heavier and heavier.
The strong Decayed Wolves circled back and forth outside, and their saliva dropped on the burning hot rocks in the valley as they became white steam. Although they were all hungry, they all stayed five hundred meters outside of the cave. It was as if they also knew after this distance, the accuracy and power of the automatic rifles would decrease significantly. The over three hundred Decayed Wolves in the valley made Tena’s little team despair. If they left the protection of the cave, then the fast Decayed Wolves would completely surround them and with one attack they could completely shred the entire team.
Tena returned back into the cave, leaned by the cave wall, sat, then said, “It seems like these Decayed Wolves want to surround us to death in here. Two people guard the entrance, and every two hours switch. Lucas, Berg, you two first. Everyone else rest. Let us hope that we have good luck and the reinforcements from the base can find us.”
The soldiers sat down against the wall one after the other and took a nap. No one knew how long they had to stay in here.
But pretty much no one was able to sleep, since in everyone’s heart, there was a question that never went away. When did the Decayed Wolves become so smart? They knew how to set the trap, and they even knew the range in which the automatic rifle had the most killing power. And even though they were hungry, not one single wolf passed that invisible boundary. With this behavior, it seemed just like an…
“Boss! Quickly look!” Lucas suddenly urgently yelled out. He instantly lowered his sound as if afraid of alarming something.
Tena carefully moved to the cave’s entrance and looked out. Along Lucas’s finger direction, he finally saw the head of the wolf crowd.
That was an unordinary wolf. The huge body, smooth, black fur was extremely rare for Decayed Wolves, but the most shocking thing was that the wolf was standing!
Occasionally, the wolf head would land on four paws, then for most of the time it stood like a person and used long, short, high, and low growls and front paws to command the crowd of Decayed Wolves.
A experienced veteran listened for a while, then sighed with surprise, “There are at least thirty different syllables! If those syllables were combined, it would just simply be a language. Is it really a Decayed Wolf?”
Tena was already sitting down while leaning on the cave’s wall. He closed his eyes and said with a heavy voice, “Of course it’s a Decayed Wolf. There’s nothing strange about Decayed Wolves talking. In this year, anything can happen. ……We must think of ways to kill it!”
Berg was the sniper in the small team. He had a SVD sniper rifle and he slowly used the cross on the scope to aim at the head wolf. The head wolf was a good thousand meters away from the cave’s entrance, and it was obviously more alert and quick than regular Decayed Wolves. To want to kill in one shot at this distance, you had to be a sniper specialist that had been genetically modified two times while also using the new age’s corporation’s newest sniper rifle. But, Berg wasn’t a sniper specialist that had been modified two times, and he was holding an ancient sniper rifle from the old times. Whether or not he could land the hit depended on luck.
“…I must find a way to kill it!” Berg constantly repeated that in his heart, and the cross patiently followed the head wolf’s movement.
The head wolf straightened its body, extended its nose trying to sniff something from the air. Berg would obviously not miss such a good chance, so he decisively pulled the trigger!
Bang! The huge knockback heavily hit Berg’s shoulder and pushed him back centimeters. And Berg clearly saw in his scope, at the instant the gun sprayed sparks, the head wolf used an unimaginable speed and leaned down then disappeared within the crowd of wolves. One second later, a huge flower of blood spread from the body of a Decayed Wolf, and its tough spine was almost cut off. Berg’s heart sank to the bottom of the valley. A chance like that would only happen once, and since he missed it, there would be no next time.
Berg weakly buried his head into his arms.
A rough, powerful, yet warm huge hand patted Berg’s shoulder, and after that Tena’s unique calm voice rang in Berg’s ear, “In the past twenty years, the things that I’ve messed up were a lot worse than this. Don’t think about it too much. If you can’t do this, then none of us can. For most of the time, we can only try our best, and whether or not we succeed, we hand it over to fate.”
Three days passed.
The head wolf was still commanding the movements of the wolf crowd and kept order. The Decayed Wolves that did not obey were killed by it. When it needed to, it would walk like a human, but it would never stay in the same place for too long. There were even more times when it completely disappeared into the crowd of wolves. Other than the shape of the wolf, if you look at it in any way, it seemed more like a calm, cruel, and cunning human commander.
“Must find a way to kill it…”
On the mountain ridge, a pair of green jade with a gray stripe eyes were staring at the head wolf. No one knew when he concealed himself on the mountain ridge that could look over the entire valley. A heavy tan blanket was over his entire body, allowing him to completely melt into the surrounding rocks. After observing for who knew how long, finally, he slowly pulled out a brown covered gun from the blanket, and on top of the muzzle of the gun was an old-fashioned front sight that slowly aimed towards the wolf head of the head wolf.
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