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Chapter 24: Prior to the Apocalypse
After finishing a large meal within the space, Huo Zaiyuan finally exits. However, what he completely doesn’t expect is…this stretch of cultivation actually went on for the duration of two months. Seeing a layer of dust gathered in the rented house, he takes out a cleaning rug and wipes the place a few times. At the time he handed over the rental fee, the owner of the house said the internet had a one year contract, so he can feel free to use however much he wishes.
From the start, Huo Zaiyuan never entertained the thought of selling off his laptop, so having internet connection in this house is a good thing. Not to mention, having a computer allows him to have access to new information no matter how isolated Z City is. What he pays the most attention to besides his arrest warrant issued by an unknown party is the emergence of strange or special news. Currently, it is March, which means there is only about a month remaining until the end of the world. There will more or less be some indication of worse things to come.
In his previous life, he slept until three in the afternoon on the day of the apocalypse. It was only when he looked out the window and saw the chaotic streets outside, as well as numerous zombies shuffling rigidly along that he realised the Bible’s mentioned “Judgement Day” was here.”
The apocalypse is not an event that happens in just one day. A period before that select date, there will definitely be some indications of the approaching catastrophe.
Taking out his laptop and connecting it to the wifi, Huo Zaiyuan turns it on and the first thing he still searches for is the warrant. The one that never fails to depress him for a number of reasons. Closing the page, he goes into Phoenix web browser to see if there’s any special breaking news or new information.
There is a lot of news circulating the web at this moment, and Huo Zaiyuan pays close attention to them as he scrolls through. A large portion of them pertains to uninteresting events. Nothing of the sort he is looking for. Following the path his cursor takes across the screen, he suddenly sees a popup regarding the abrupt eruption of a dead volcano near G City. The eruption continued for several days, spewing forth toxic gases and suffocating ash clouds. The footage was taken by someone on the scene and shared across the internet, showing a short video of dark smoke emerging from the mouth of the crater. The constant stream dyed the sky a deep mauve. Clicking through the few photographs following the footage, the uploader evidently managed to get a close-up shot of the volcanic ash falling. Amongst the dusty flecks of ash, Huo Zaiyuan can vaguely make out a few blood red ants…
Seeing those insects on screen, he couldn’t help the shiver that runs through his body.
These blood red ants, he recognises more clearly than anyone else. Before his rebirth, his body was torn to pieces by them. Who would have thought the devil ants were spat out onto the surface of the earth by the dead volcano near G City?
Skimming through this article and a handful of others, Huo Zaiyuan cannot keep calm and collected any longer. His gaze rests on the publishing date. Five days ago. Closing the tab, he continues skimming through the news section, quickly finding yet another case that shocks his mind and astonishes him entirely.
This article describes an event which occurred a morning two days ago, in H City, someone discovered a drunkard’s corpse lying on the streets, his death caused by a torn throat. His entire torso and abdomen have been devoured by something, congealed blood pooled beneath the mutilated body and staining the ground…
Due to the grotesque nature of the corpse, the image was covered by mosaic. Although one cannot see the wound clearly in the picture, Huo Zaiyuan knows this incident is not something caused by a random wild beast. It is the work of the living dead. In a famous foreign movie, these walking corpses were dubbed “zombies”.
Before, he spent half a year during the apocalypse fleeing for his life and witnessed more than a few zombies. No one knew how they came to be, only that on the zombies which were formed after Judgement Day, one will be able to find handfuls of red devil ants crawling on the undead corpse. On top of that, the day he died surrounded by ants and zombies, he personally saw how these corpses clawed their way out of spontaneously spawning swamps and patches of corroding earth.
Volcanoes, devil ants, swamps, zombies…these things are surely related to each other.
Huo Zaiyuan’s panicky expression calmed, returning to a dignified serene state. Searching through the web once more, he confirms that there is no other news. Shutting down his computer, he silently sits in the house amidst the still silence.