Chapter 4.2 – Hijack
The car drove half an hour to the north and arrived at a temporary garrison. Several vehicles were parked on the outskirts, armed soldiers patrolled back and forth, and reinforcements had set up tents and bandaged the wounded.
The reinforcements from the city were divided into two groups, one team went to pick up the convoy, and the other team went to Shi Yuan. And the people who were rescued from the road and left alone were concentrated here.
Shi Yuan and Lu Bafang just got off the bus and saw Wang Yu.
Wang Yu had a bandage on her head and was limping when she saw them. She was stunned when she saw them, and murmured, “That’s great, you guys are still alive…”
She gave Lu Bafang a hug and touched Shi Yuan’s head.
Shi Yuan and Lu Bafang had their blood drawn and stayed in a guarded tent to wait for the results.
The result was that neither of them was infected.
After coming out of the tent, Lu Bafang went to the wounded to find his good brother. Shi Yuan didn’t know anyone else, so he was idle and wandering around.
There were quite a few wounded. There was not enough manpower, the seriously injured were given priority treatment, while those with minor injuries gathered together, either gnashing their teeth and bandaging themselves, or lying on the ground moaning in pain.
Shi Yuan saw some people’s injuries began to grow feathers – feathers identical to those on the tentacles, trembling in the wind, like extremely gorgeous flowers. These people were taken away by the medical staff, and Shi Yuan did not know where they went.
Shi Yuan just watched from the sidelines for a while, secretly observing the humans, watching their expressions, movements and conversations.
He didn’t leave until a few stares fell on him, causing his anthropophobia to kick in.
When he was walking beside the off-road vehicle, he heard someone shouting in a low voice, “Shi Yuan! Shi Yuan, come here for a second!”
The voice was coming from behind one of the cars.
Shi Yuan went around and searched for a long time, and saw a middle-aged man leaning on the rear tire, his clothes covered with blood and mud.
Shi Yuan recognized him. He was the taciturn driver in the car, and Lu Bafang seemed to call him “Old He”.
Old He’s face was pale, his forehead was full of sweat, he covered his abdomen and shouted, “Shi Yuan, come here.”
Shi Yuan walked over and squatted beside him: “You are injured, I’ll go call someone for you?”
He felt that Old He was badly injured, the weathered face was tightly wrinkled, squeezing out the fine lines on the forehead and the corners of the eyes.
“No, no, don’t call someone.” Old He gasped. “Listen to me, child, I need you to do me a favor. Look to your left, in that row of cars, there should be a car with the keys still inside, can you find which one it is?” He added, “Don’t call anyone.”
Shi Yuan: “Are you sure you don’t want a doctor?”
“No need.” Old He insisted, “Child, go now, I can only rely on you.”
Shi Yuan curled his tail in confusion. He could see that something was wrong with Old He, but he thought he couldn’t understand human beings, so he got up to look for them one by one, just as Old He had said.
The cars were dirty, with mud and water smeared on the windows and tires, and what looked suspiciously like minced flesh tissue. When he found it, he heard a man shout: “Hey what are you doing there! Get away from the car!”
When he looked over, a young soldier was staring at him, walking quickly with a gun: “Yes, that means you, where did you come from, leave now!”
Shi Yuan: “Okay.”
Old He didn’t want to see others, he couldn’t lead the soldiers over.
When Shi Yuan walked towards the outside of the vehicle, the soldier relaxed his expression and was about to turn around when he suddenly stopped.
Shi Yuan followed his gaze and saw an inconspicuous bloodstain.
Old He should have struggled from that direction, leaving traces, dots of crimson falling on the ground. The soldier frowned, realizing that something was wrong, and took a few steps forward: “Why—”
It was too late, a figure lunged out from behind the car like lightning! Shi Yuan was restrained by someone’s arm from behind, the cold barrel of the gun pressed against his temple, and Old He’s hoarse voice came: “Don’t come here! Don’t come here – or I’ll kill him!”
The soldier jerked to a halt, shock and anger flashed by.
Then he stared dead at Old He and said word by word, “What do you want to do, are you crazy?”
Old He was very weak, and he had used all his strength to make such a quick movement, and now he could hardly stand still. His hands were cold, but his strength was very strong, like a beast that was cornered to a dead end, grabbing Shi Yuan tightly was like grabbing a life-saving straw.
He coughed a few times, gritted his teeth and said, “Give me a car with gas, turn off all positioning systems, and give me two more guns and suppressants.”
“…Are you injured and infected?” the soldier said cautiously, “Let the doctor take a look at you, we have plenty of inhibitors, you will be fine.”
Old He coughed violently again, “Don’t fucking talk bullshit, do as I say!” The gun against Shi Yuan pushed a few points harder, “I know my condition well, I’m sure I’ll be euthanized immediately. I want to live, I want to live! Even if it’s a day or two!”
Soldier: “You calm down…”
“I don’t need to calm down!” Old He growled, “Give me the car!”
It turned out to be like this, Shi Yuan thought. Old He’s infection was serious enough that he would be killed by others.
The two sides were deadlocked.
“Raise your hand.” Old He said viciously in Shi Yuan’s ear, “Put your hand where I can see it.”
Shi Yuan raised his hands.
Old He said again, “And the tail.”
Shi Yuan raised his tail and said, “I really can’t lift my feet.”
Old He: “…”
Shi Yuan: “Do you want me to lift it? I can try it.”
Old He: “Don’t.”
Their movement attracted others, one by one, people came out of the tent and gathered over here.
The camp was not big, and there was a circle of people soon. The one-eyed dragon who had saved Shi Yuan before also came, standing at the front, his cold eyes gouging out Old He’s face. Old He became more and more emotional, took a few steps back, leaned back against the car to block his figure, pressed Shi Yuan and shouted, “Don’t come, don’t come.”
In the crowd, Shi Yuan saw Wang Yu. Wang Yu squeezed past the crowd and said urgently, “He Yu, don’t do this!”
The one-eyed dragon also said in a deep voice: “You’re not a professional, you think there’s still salvation for an infection that can’t be cured, it’s just a matter of probability, but we always have to try, right? Drop the weapon and give yourself a chance, there’s no need to do such a thing, he’s just a normal person. If you let go of him, I’ll make sure you get an injection of the inhibitor the first time.”
“…There’s still help?” Old He’s voice shook for a split second, “No, no, no, no, I don’t believe it, I know which are the fatal injuries. Wang Yu – Wang Yu look at my wounds, tell me, am I still saved?”
His expression was odd, a mix of fear, hysteria, and a sudden burst of hope.
His shirt was lifted.
But not by his hands. Several newborn tentacles propped up the shirt, exposing the wound.
The crowd was horrified to see that Old He’s upper and lower body were disconnected, and the tentacles were forcibly sewing him together like a needle and thread. The infection was taking his life, and also allowing him to hang on so that the tentacles could get more nutrients.
Old He said, “Wang Yu, is there any salvation for me like this?”
Wang Yu’s pupils dilated, staring at the wound.
One-eyed Dragon was giving her a wink – everyone could see that Old He was close to being convinced. As long as Wang Yu admitted that the inhibitor was useful, he would lay down his weapon.
After just ten seconds or so, Wang Yu’s forehead was covered with sweat. It was hard to describe how her heart was in a war of heaven and earth, her nails were pinching into her palm and bleeding, and she was unaware of it.
She took a half step back, her body was trembling, shaking her head in pain, “I, I… Shi Yuan, I am sorry, I… am a doctor, I have no way to lie about such things.”
She has her own principles.
Just like a few days ago, she said that her test results were the decisive evidence, and insisted on testing Shi Yuan’s blood, who seemed to be severely infected. Now there was no way she could promise a man who was going to die that he would be saved.
Seeing her reaction, Old He understood everything, forcing out a low roar of despair from deep in his throat, his finger on the trigger kept shaking.
One-eyed Dragon cursed, and Wang Yu took a few steps forward and said sadly: “He Yu, He Yu, you look at me. Remember the declaration when you enlisted in the army, ‘I swear never to actively inflict violence on the lives and persons of civilians, nor to take civilians as hostages’. We all swore to the flag of the Alliance, Shi Yuan is the person you should protect, he is innocent. You let Shi Yuan go, and I will be your hostage.”
“No,” Old He said hoarsely, “no, I refuse.” He stared at One-eyed Dragon. “Give me the car, the gun, the food, and the inhibitor.”
After a short stalemate, One-eyed Dragon said, “Give me a moment, I want to ask the superior.”
He turned his head away, picked up the communication terminal, and whispered something.
The scene froze for a while.
Shi Yuan looked at the crowd surrounding them.
He knew that Old He had used him. He was the best candidate, and he was the only one in the entire station who would believe Old He’s poorly thought-out lies.
But he did not have the anger of being deceived, nor was he very afraid.
Old He was nervous and desperate, while Shi Yuan looked at the crowd and saw One-eyed Dragon’s rage, Wang Yu’s worry, and the alert or indifferent faces of all kinds of people. He scrutinized these emotions like watching a flower through the fog, as if he was watching a movie. He didn’t have the slightest empathy. He only understood one thing: human beings can lie.
They help others and use each other.
Shi Yuan didn’t know if he would die if he took a bullet in the head. His body was fragile, and the wound from his slip in the stream was still fresh and vaguely painful. His tail was also forced to be raised, otherwise, he could knock Old He on the head.
As an abyss, his only remaining means of self-protection is infection.
—Infect Old He, just like how he killed those monsters.
Old He didn’t want to die, and Shi Yuan also wanted to live.
He hasn’t found his human yet.
He would infect faster than a bullet.
On-eyed Dragon waited for a reply from his superior for a long time. And when Old He was about to collapse, he raised his chin to his subordinate: “Go prepare a car and give him the car keys.”
Old He was stunned, suppressed his excitement, and said, “I want to pick it myself, I want the third car from the left.”
“Okay,” said One-eyed Dragon. “We’ll load you up with water and food.”
After the car was loaded with a few boxes of water and food, two guns, and five inhibitors, the technician turned off the positioning system in front of Old He.
Then all the staff backed away, Old He held Shi Yuan hostage and got into the car, holding a gun in one hand and the steering wheel in the other, stepping on the accelerator.
The off-road vehicle staggered and disappeared into the distant hills.
The quiet garrison was left intact.
Wang Yu said incredulously, “Just let them go? Since when do we satisfy the robbers, don’t we always firmly reject their conditions?”
“This is an order from the higher-ups,” One-eyed Dragon said.
For some reason, he didn’t have the anger he had just now.
“What about Shi Yuan then?” Wang Yu frowned, “Has your ‘superior’ considered this? If you let me delay the time just now, I can save him when the sniper is in place. But now, we left him alone with an infected person with a broken sanity?!”
“He Yu’s spirit is too unstable, my judgment is that it can’t be delayed,” One-eyed Dragon said, showing a strange look. “And he can’t escape.”
Wang Yu: “How are you sure?”
“It was an order from General Lu just now,” One-eyed Dragon said. “He asked me to meet He Yu’s request.”
Wang Yu was stunned: “…Lu Tinghan is here?”
“Yes. This rescue operation is under his command,” One-eyed Dragon replied. “General Lu should have moved now – he said he would take care of it, so He Yu can’t escape.”