Chapter 55: Taumarunui
“But you guys did not do bad this time, it was a stroke of luck but fortunately we managed to catch this guy. Otherwise, it would have been really dangerous to just let it hide in ambush near us.” Bai Yi said.
“Bai Yi, are we going to keep this lizard for food?” Woolf said.
Bai Yi looked over the flesh of the spiked lizard and saw that it was bright red. However, he adjusted his angle so that it would be against the Sun and saw the fluids containing a tinge of purplish light. Meat could of course be consumed, and the nutritional value would be very high as well. However, this meat couldn’t possibly be prepared through normal means, if they didn’t want to be poisoned to death.
“No, there’s poison in this. If it were before then perhaps I would have the interest to try and prepare and neutralise the poison, but we don’t have that time now.” Bai Yi said as he used his broadsword to flip the lizard over. He then split open its tummy, then cut off a few organs and roughly a meter-long stretch of meat.
“Didn’t you say that it’s inedible?”
“This thing can’t be eaten, but I want to try and see how can I prepare and neutralise the poison in this meat. Nobody knows what we will encounter in the future. Who knows, maybe this can stave off hunger when we have no food left. Remember well, don’t take the wrong food in the future!” Bai Yi said to everyone.
“En.” Everyone nodded, and Bai Yi placed the poisoned meat inside a metal container.
Bai Yi returned to Momo’s side and found that Momo was still trembling, but she still brought out her short sword and grabbed it tightly in her hands. Due to an excessively tight grip, her small hands had already turned white. Seeing Bai Yi walk over, Momo immediately raised her head and look at him, her eyes containing fear and grievance.
Bai Yi squatted down and gently caressed Momo’s little tense face, revealing a small smile.
Under Bai Yi’s consolement, Momo’s tense body gradually relaxed and her unfocused eyes gradually came back into focus. She then immediately jumped into Bai Yi’s arms and wailed loudly. Momo almost stabbed Bai Yi with her indiscriminate sword, and after Bai Yi carefully grabbed hold of her sword, he patted her on her back.
“En, cry as much as you want.”
Bai Yi had always been emphasizing during this period that New Zealand became extremely dangerous, so everyone had to be prepared to face danger at any time. What was important to know was that, when facing the danger, the only one who could protect you at the very last moment was only yourself. This was the first time Momo had faced such a fierce monster directly. The fact that she could still remember his words and draw her sword was already very good. One must know that Momo was still only four years old.
“Bai Yi…!” Woolf and Martin wanted to explain themselves, but Bai Yi just shook his head at them.
Bai Yi wasn’t angry. You could even say that he was slightly happy, since Momo had to take that step eventually. Although it was quite dangerous this time, at least nothing bad happened in the end. When Momo calmed down, Bai Yi brought Momo back to Sharpei’s side. Now Sharpei was already a meter tall standing up straight, looking extremely sinister.
Bai Yi saw that Sharpei’s right paw had some bloodstains. It wasn’t his own, but from when the spiked lizard just appeared from the water and Sharpei clawed its nose.
The genes that Sharpei fused with now were 1. Slug, 2. Ant and 3. Hummingbird. These were the genes that Bai Yi had decided for Sharpei, and now Sharpei probably fused with its fourth type of genes. It was just that they didn’t know what the monster’s original genes were. Hopefully it wasn’t too lousy.
Bai Yi patted Sharpei on its head, the muscles that burst out from underneath its split skin were rather rough to the touch, but they also felt very tough.
As the group walked back towards their campsite, Sharpei followed behind Bai Yi and his huge body gave off a terrifying pressure.
Though there was a small accident, everyone put it aside very quickly. It was just a monster, what was the big deal? It wasn’t like they had never encountered one before. Very quickly, Woolf’s long-awaited beef hotpot was prepared, and everyone ate in a circle ravenously. In times like this, there was nothing more important than filling your stomach.
Very quickly, they finished their meal and left this place in their cars. More than two hours later, another two cars reached this place and stopped here.
“Team leader, there’s a small farm here. The sky is almost dark. Are we going to rest here for the night?” A voice came from the car.
“We’ll rest here then, remember to be careful.” Another voice sounded, and six people got out of the cars. Of course, the six people were just ‘human-like’, there were probably very few people who still maintained their original human form now. Excluding the dead, 90% of those who were still alive had probably already fused with genes from other animals.
“Team leader, there seems to be people who were here before… Team leader, team leader! There’s a monster here, so much meat!” Suddenly, the person who was sent out to scout the situation shouted in joy and ran over to the spiked lizard’s corpse.
“Wait!” The person who was being called team leader immediately stopped the guy nervously.
“What’s wrong, team leader?” Luckily, the trust in leader was still not bad, the initially excited guy immediately stopped after hearing his voice.
“Be careful, at a time like this where everyone is starving, don’t you find it strange that there would be monster meat leftover?” The leader said and slowly walked towards the lizard corpse.
The group of them walked over and the leader carefully checked over the marks in the surroundings, his eyebrows creasing tighter and tighter.
“What’s wrong, team leader?”
“An expert, and this meat probably can’t be eaten.”
“Look at these marks, very obviously, somebody encountered this monster by the river, but they didn’t panic much. And over here, look at these spikes, it fell all over this area but there’s just one space within the area that didn’t have even a single one. There weren’t any other bloodstains in that area too, apparently all the spikes were blocked. There weren’t any other signs of battle nearby either, it should mean that in the next moment this monster was slain. What a smooth cut, I’m afraid that person has a very sharp sword in his hands.” The leader started deducing from the small details he observed.
“This monster probably has poison…” The leader said as he looked at its tummy area, the huge cavity that Bai Yi cut down.
“Maury, bring the knife, we will cut a piece of its meat too.” The leader said to the excited youth.
“But team leader, didn’t you say that it was poisoned?”
“It’s poisoned, but I’m not making you eat it. This thing might have other uses, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.” The team leader explained. After slicing off a big slab of meat, the team leader casually dug a hole and buried the lizard corpse. If this thing fell into the river, it would probably poison the entire river.
“I can even be sure that the previous team definitely has an excellent chef, not sure how long they’ve left this place for, but I can still smell a trace of a delicious aroma…” The other guy said as he swallowed his saliva. He then discovered the scraps from the leftover of the hotpot at the corner.
“Hey you, are you saying that my cooking skills aren’t good? That the things I make don’t taste good?” A rather plump pig-man walked out and said in a low muffled voice.
“It’s really not good…”
“Then you do it, I happened to not want this job…” The pig-man immediately gave up his job and quit.
“Hey, how can you be like this? Out of everyone here, only the things you make could barely be considered to be edible. Bastard, don’t be arrogant…” The team immediately started to become noisy.
The team leader held his head helplessly. A bunch of idiots, looks like we really have to find a chef now, a real chef. The so-called real chef referred to somebody who could turn these weird ingredients into something delicious. Even people like them would definitely be able to season the food properly, but there weren’t any normal ingredients left in New Zealand anymore. If you did not know how to prepare those ingredients, the texture was enough to put you off. After eating the food made by the old pig for a few days, their tongues were almost growing mold.
No, they should say that as long as they weren’t poisoned to death, it meant that they had a strong life force!
Bai Yi’s group didn’t know that the scraps they poured into the corner from their hotpot resulted in an internal conflict for another team, if they knew, they probably would’ve burst out laughing.
By now, they had already reached Taumarunui.
Taumarunui was located at the confluence of Whanganui River and Ongarue River. The scenery was very beautiful, and Bai Yi had even brought Momo here to ski during Waikato University’s holiday last year. Now, however,, the city in the late afternoon was completely lifeless. The remnants of the snow only revealed the biting cold and dead silence.
“Let’s go and find a place to rest inside the city while the sky hasn’t darkened yet.” Bai Yi said.
The city now wasn’t chaotic like how New Zealand had been when the changes first started happening, and they also weren’t completely powerless like how they’d been at the start.
Bai Yi drove the car to the edge of the city and stopped at a coffee shop called The Flax Café. The last time Bai Yi was here, he’d visited this café and the coffee here was quite good. Moreover, the coffee shop wasn’t too big, and with the few of them it was just right for resting. Not too far away, they could see a gas station. Although it was damaged, they still hoped that they could find some gas there. Otherwise, their cars wouldn’t be able to move anymore.
“Bai Yi, what’re you looking for?” Sara looked at Bai Yi searching the café and couldn’t help but ask.
“The last time I came here I got along really well with Yoshimoto. He said he had some treasured civet coffee that he never could never bring himself to drink. Ah, I found it…!” Bai Yi said, and his tone suddenly became heavy. The last time he drank coffee here, the surroundings was still so comfortable and serene. Now though, the shop was still here, but the people were long gone. Yoshimoto didn’t even bring his treasured coffee away; the chances were high that he had met with some mishap.