Book 5 Chapter 7.2

Book 5 Chapter 7.2 - Snow Country

This snow-covered country had signs of habitation as well. At the foot of the continuous mountain range was a village that wasn’t that large. It was called a village, but it was more suitable to call it a fort. The walls made out of concrete reached two meters into the air, and at the top of the walls stretched a row of wire netting. These weren’t electrical wires, because in this frigid region, electricity was a luxurious commodity, something that would never be wasted in this type of fashion. However, there was a glaring skeleton image above the wire netting, the green pool on the image clearly stating that the wire netting was covered with chemical poison. This made its defensive power even trickier than electrical wiring. 

The village wasn’t that large, within the walls only the residents’ residences, a storehouse, power station, a clean water deep well pump, and other important facilities. The fields and most unimportant constructs were built outside the perimeter walls. At both sides of the village walls were five meters tall sentry towers, two fully armed sentinels stationed within them at all times, the dark muzzles of their anti-aircraft machine guns aimed into the distant cold and gloomy primitive forest. 

Roughly thirty families lived in this village, the total population close to a hundred. Different from normal villages, there were only seven or eight kids in the village, yet there were no elderly people at all. The village chief who was the oldest didn’t seem to have reached fifty years of age yet, and his entire body exuded an aura of toughness. Aside from the children, every single person in the village seemed to be an ability user, and from the village chief’s robust build, it was clear that he had at least four levels of Combat Domain ability. The important structures in the village all had cross-shaped crests engraved on them, and beneath them was an automatic rifle crossed with a long sword. The emblem was a faint golden color, precisely the Holy Crusaders’ symbol. However, compared to the Holy Crusaders that the dragonriders were fighting against, there were some slight differences.  

Life in this small village was extremely peaceful, and also quite rich. The smaller population brought one benefit, and that was that when war arrived, the nuclear warheads that landed in this area were also much fewer. Most of the radiation here was brought over by the clouds of radiation that covered the entire earth. Outside the village was a small slope, and a small river ran through the village. The river was already frozen, but during the summer, it would provide the fields outside the village with enough water. There was even a half-opened style animal raising shed outside the village, raised within several hundred large domesticated livestock. Judging from the amount, they could definitely provided enough food to support the residents for a long time. 

The village chief, or more accurately, Captain Aire, already guarded this place for more than ten years, and under general headquarters’ limited supply of materials, managed the village neatly and tidily. This place was far from Holy Crusaders’ general headquarters, the straight line distance between the two already exceeding a thousand kilometers. Regardless of whether it was communication or supplies, they were all extremely difficult. The most important reason why the Holy Crusaders established a fort like this here was because in the mountain region not far from here rested one of the world’s largest uranium mines. After several decades had passed, the mining site of the past had long become a forest, but in the new era where nuclear energy was becoming increasingly important by the day, the meaning behind a large scale uranium mine was needless to explain. The Holy Crusaders were powerless to open up this uranium mine, but that didn’t stop them from stationing a few soldiers here to watch over this place first. 

The north was extremely peaceful. The cold weather made this region unsuitable for the survival of most creatures, and as a result, this little village peacefully existed here for more than ten years. 

The Captain Aire who was stationed here, was actually sent here on a half-exile order. He wasn’t the only one; almost all of the village’s residents were the Holy Crusaders’ banished criminals. However, towards this type of peaceful lifestyle, Aire wasn’t too dissatisfied. Even though it was a bit dull, at the very least, he’ll live longer than he would struggling in the front lines. This long period of peaceful living already made him forget almost all of his combat techniques, forget the sharp instincts he previously had.

However, Aire always felt a bit ill at ease during the past few days, almost as if something bad was about to happen, and also as if something was hiding nearby, currently prying into his every movement. He already increased the patrol strength and even personally inspected all of the village’s important facilities, yet he ended up completely empty-handed. Aire really wanted to place the entire village in a state of emergency, but knew that this was unrealistic, because he didn’t have any proof that danger was approaching, what he had was only intuition.

In winter, it was only when it passed ten in the morning that the sky would gradually brighten. Meanwhile, Aire left his home at nine-thirty, bringing an automatic rifle and a flashlight with him as he searched the inside of the village. He then entered the livestock’s feedlot. The feedlot was extremely warm, the air vent continuously releasing warm air, the interior lit up by a gentle light; these were the essential conditions for maintaining large scale livestock growth. Clean water flowed about, with more than ten domesticated animals currently leisurely drinking. 

Aire looked them over one after another with a satisfied expression, and due to the habit that had developed over the past decade, he silently counted their numbers.

Everything was normal, Aire thought. He then walked towards the shed’s exit. When his hand touched the door, his entire body suddenly turned around, realizing what was wrong. The livestock shed was missing an animal! He had just patrolled this place yesterday!

“Maybe it was secretly eaten by a gluttonous fella, for example, that naughty brat from the Chad Family…” Aire continuously consoled himself, but his body felt more and more cold. He slowly hid his body, softly pulled open the gun bolt, assumed a battle stance, and then carefully moved between the pens, his sharp eyes even more so not letting a single clue go. 

The raising pen was extremely peaceful, calm to the point where Aire could hear his own breathing. With a pa sound, a round bead of sweat fell from his forehead, splattering everywhere when it made contact with the ground. This sound was near inaudible, yet it almost made him jump out. The cool-headedness of a veteran with close to ten years of experience on the battlefield was nowhere to be seen!

His legs that used to be strong and full of power felt as if they had lead poured on them. Aire clenched his teeth, forcefully suppressing the trembling of his legs, and then slowly moved his body. His hands trembled involuntarily, forefinger continuously pounding against the trigger, almost opening fire several times. Finally, he arrived in front of a livestock pen. 

The pen was empty, inside only some messy rice straw. However, Aire clearly remembered that there was a mutated bull used for meat here yesterday morning. It had already been raised for two years, its weight over six hundred kilograms. However now, there was nothing in this pen. 

Aire first carefully inspected every corner of the pen, but he still didn’t discover anything. He reached out his hand to touch the pen’s railing, but when he looked at his own fingers under the lighting, he still didn’t seeing anything. An enormous meat cow like that seemed to have evaporated into thin air.

Aire breathed in heavily. Sure enough, under the thick smell, he separated a hint of near indetectable bloodiness!

He took a deep breath, and with his right hand tightly grabbing the automatic rifle, he entered the beast pen’s fence. He moved aside the rice straw with his left hand to carefully examine all suspicious traces. After carefully searching around, sure enough, he found a few traces. There were a few inconspicuous little holes on the ground, and a few small scratches could be seen on the fence. 

These should be left behind by some type of creature’s claws; this was the conclusion Aire came to. However, from the traces, this thing didn’t seem to be that big, at the most the size of a stray cat. Could a stray cat be related to the disappearance of a bull? Aire felt that this notion was quite laughable, but he couldn’t bring himself to release even a single chuckle. 

Apart from this, Aire also discovered that the livestock in the pens were especially quiet today, all of them huddling tightly against railings or walls, crowding together, doing their best to stay away from this beast pen. 

Aire possessed abundant experience. He first carefully searched the holes left behind by the claw marks, and then stood up. From the direction the livestock were hiding, he slowly drew out a route from the beast pen to the wall. However, at the other end of this path was a wall. There was no door, only a ventilation window that was high above the ground, the size of the window definitely not enough to fit a meat bull that was almost fully grown. 

Aire still walked over to the wall, finally discovering a few more claw marks along the wall. He also saw that the ventilation had started up, the cover over it just temporarily covered. In addition, there were a few drops of blood below this shutter. The blood traces were quite fresh, less than a day since they was left here. This amount of time matched up with everything else. However, there was one question within Aire’s mind that never obtained an answer, and that was how the bull made it through this tiny shutter. As long as the answer to this question couldn’t be found, then it would be like an enormous shadow, constantly roaming about within his mind. 

Aire left the livestock shed through the pen’s side door, arriving outside the ventilation window, carefully inspecting the ground. Several dozen meters out, he finally found some clues. These clues pointed towards the forest a kilometer out. From within that gloomy primitive forest, there seemed to be something that was currently staring at Aire. Aire’s large mouth cracked open, and with a bitter laugh, he slowly walked towards the forest with the automatic rifle in hand. He knew that he had already been targeted by that thing. 

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