Floating dust twirled in the ubiquitous black mist In the dim light, akin to a lonely dancer.
Black mist was an exclusive entity that only existed in the Inverse Universe, being the main culprit of the gloomy environment.
It absorbs large amounts of light and heat, leaving behind the Clough door forever dark and cold.
Next to the rusted filing cabinets containing cardboard boxes and files, a man wearing a red protective suit and a hood rummaged through the items on top of the cabinet.
Those things had existed for who knows how long, and shattered to ashes even on the lightest touch.
“This 127th Inverse Universe makes me sick.
This civilization that once existed here, so similar to ours.
I won't be surprised if I get to see another me”
Turning around, he voiced impatiently,
“What's the situation, Tianyang? Haven't been able to contact the base yet?”
A small, dim light shone on his shoulder.
The light's effective range was already short, and with the absorbing black mist in the air, the luminance was greatly dimmed.
With that luminance, one could barely recognize the room as a file storage.
Paper littered the floor, worsened by messy footprints, and someone squatted on a thick stack of documents, tinkering with a standard communicator.
This instrument, resembling a radio, could be used for communication in the Inverse Universe, transmitting and receiving data.
The built-in security system can block unauthorized reception, and its components include a receiving antenna, a frequency conversion module, an enhancement module, and a backup matrix circuit.
At the moment, a person named Tianyang was installing a component onto the communicator, trying to strengthen the transmission signal.
Even so, the electronic noise from the communicator indicated the team's difficult situation.
This is Collection Team Fourth Squad, I am Tianyang, soldier code 1507.
Base, please respond.”
No response, even after several attempts.
Tianyang looked up.
A young face was made visible by the light.
“I can't contact them, Captain.
Maybe we're too deep, outside the maximum transmission distance of the terminal.”
Someone nearby kicked a shelf hard, pointing at the red-suited captain and yelled, “It's all your fault, Qin Wu! If it weren't for your arrogance, we wouldn't have been intercepted by those damn prowlers and gotten trapped!”
The captain, Qin Wu, pointed to the fourth team member guarding the door.
“Can you blame it on me? If it weren't for Dongyan swearing that he found the signal of the Pillar of Star, would I have brought you here?”
The team member at the door defended himself, “My digital model was not wrong.
Based on the recent data on the prowlers' activity, a Pillar of Star must exist in this area!”
Qin Wu rushed over and grabbed his suit.
“Then tell me, where exactly is this Pillar of Star now?”
Tianyang raised his fist.
Everyone in the Collection Team, including the captain, stared outside the door nervously.
In the corridor, the mottled walls were thoroughly covered with mold.
Strange noises resounded, originating in the nearby corner.
Like the dying gasps of a seriously ill patient or the low roar of an injured beast.
Tianyang reached into his toolkit strapped to his waist and fetched out a glow stick.
“What are you doing?” Qin Wu tensed up.
“We need lighting.
Did you forget? Prowlers don't react to light.” Tian Yang bent the glow stick and tossed it out.
It landed at the corner of the corridor, and the chemicals inside began to react, gradually producing a cold light.
In the cold blue-gray light, several figures appeared in the corner.
Those figures being extremely distorted, staggering and wandering on the other side of the corridor.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed the corner wall.
The skin on it was ulcerated, secreting a dark green pus.
It was sticky and made sizzles as it dropped.
Like water dripping on hot rocks…
The Collection Team's hearts rose to their throats, but fortunately, the hand quickly retracted.
“It's the prowlers!” Dongyan, a team member, retreated, “Captain, let's go.
I don't want to be caught by those things!”
“But how?” Another member shouted, “Even if we rush through this corridor, there are more prowlers waiting downstairs.
They are in every building in the street!”
Qin Wu tightened his Raider gun, his eyes flickering, “Looks like we can only do it one way.”
He turned around and reached out his hand to Tianyang, “Newbie, give me your gun!”
There was obvious hesitation on Tianyang's face inside his hood.
He instinctively tightened his gun.
Raider gun, a weapon provided to all in the Collection Team.
Although this bullet-firing gun had limited power and was bulky, it could still break the prowlers' will cage as long as fired within a range.
It was the only way to stop these dark subcultures.
So, handing over the gun was tantamount to handing over their lives.
At this moment, the glow stick's light began to dim.
A foot stepped on it and completely extinguished the cold light at the corner.
Those twisted shadows began to walk toward them, and the pale light emitted by the prowler's will cage in the dim corridor shone like ghostly flames dancing in the graveyard.
“Quick! Let me hold them off so you guys can go!”
Qin Wu urged, “I need more firepower.
Damn it, do you think I'm going to trap you!?”
Tianyang bit his lip and agreed, “Alright.”
The young man handed over his rifle and a magazine.
Qin Wu took them and waved his hand, “You guys leave through the window and find another way out.
Tianyang, you go first!”
Tianyang nodded, turned around and sprinted to the window.
As soon as he took a step forward,
The young man shook all over, blood spraying from his right thigh, splattering on the helmet like a blooming flower.
He stumbled and fell to the ground.
This sudden change stunned the other two members.
Qin Wu shouted, “What are you waiting for? Follow me! There are too many prowlers in the building.
Now that his suit is broken, the type B pheromone he releases will attract those dark bastards.
This is our only chance!”
So that's how it is!
The young man felt cold reaching in his hands and feet, to which the injury and betrayal both contributed significantly.
The anger burned in his chest, rushing through his veins, finally turning into a roar.
“Qin Wu, why?!”
In his helmet, Qin Wu sneered,
“Why so many questions? I am a citizen of the fortress; my status is high.
Dogs like you who live in the lower levels should feel honored to die for me now that you have the chance!”
Tianyang wanted to fight Qin Wu.
But the rifle pointed at him decided something else.
At the same moment, calmness descended upon him.
Tianyang realized panic was meaningless, only calm could give him a chance at survival.
Qin Wu aimed the gun at the young man and sneered at the other two, “Are you staying? If you don't leave, you stay with him!”
Qin Wu then walked towards the window.
The two team members pondered, looking at each other, and finally chose to leave with the captain.
Tianyang took out a dagger, turning its tip towards his aggressor's heart.
“If you're leaving, give me a first aid kit and two units of survival supplies!”
Qin Wu panicked, “How come you still have a knife?!”
The dagger was not part of the standard equipment.
This alloy dagger was given by his mother for self-defense at his enlistment.
She had spent all of her savings to buy the knife.
The young man carefully hid it and never dared to use the piece of metal.
Naturally, Qin Wu did not know of its existence.
“Qin Wu, need I remind you that the dead won't release the type B pheromone.
If you don't give me what I want, I will die anyway.
I might as well take matters into my own hands now!” Tianyang shouted; his eyes determined.
In the helmet, Qin Wu sweat profusely and his eyes grew full of hesitation.
Tianyang looked at the other two team members,
“Perhaps you need to persuade Captain Qin Wu, otherwise, the next one to be abandoned might be one of you two.”
“After all, you are both low-level citizens who can be sacrificed at any time, right?”
Dongyan and the other team members swallowed, holding their rifles tightly, not daring to directly point the muzzle at Qin Wu, but putting their fingers on the trigger.
Qin Wu noticed this and cursed in his heart.
This new of a recruit was pressuring him.
If he had known that Tianyang would be difficult to deal with, or he could have just chosen another target.
“I'll give him a first aid kit, and each of you take out one unit of survival supplies! Hurry up, there's no time left!” Qin Wu quickly took off the backpack behind him, which contained a first aid kit.
The other two exchanged glances and also took out their survival supplies, then nervously watched Tianyang.
The young man moved his dagger away slowly.
Qin Wu breathed in a relief, then crawled out of the window.
Soon, the three of them used the building's external pipeline to climb up to escape from the prowlers inside.
Watching them leave, Tianyang did not say anything harsh, only keeping this grudge in his heart.
He wanted to reach out to the first aid kit, but a strange sound in the corridor attracted his attention, which sounded like wheezing bellows, getting closer.
Tianyang even saw a foot, with only three toes covered in viscous pus, stepping heavily on the ground.
The prowler had arrived!
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