Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
It was noon in the early summer, and the temperature was a scorching 56°C.
The scorching sun poured down unbridled while the air above the parched land was distorted. Even then, the forest on top of the ruins and remains displayed an unusual and wild vitality as if it relished the heat.
That's right. Those who failed to adapt died a long time ago. Such soaring temperatures in the year 2177 was the new norm.
Tang Ling lay down quietly in a valerian bush, smeared in a grass extract to camouflage his scent as he waited patiently and silently like a cheetah in hiding.
His target was oddly simple - the source of water less than a hundred meters in front of him.
The source of water was huge, and it reflected the bright sunlight like a giant mirror. It was filled with Level 3 drinking water that Tang Ling yearned for. He carefully calculated that based on his running speed, it would take him less than 7 seconds to reach the source of water for a delightful quenching drink, and he might even have the luxury to take a bath.
However, life wasn't that easy since it wasn't heaven after all. If water could be easily drawn from this Level 3 source of drinking water, it would have been taken over by some faction from the settlement. Then, how could Tang Ling even get the chance to keep vigil here?
Sweat rolled down his forehead and blurred the scene before his eyes. All he could make out was a herd of huge scaled horses slurping water quietly beside the water source. The horses flicked their tails from time to time, shooing the giant gadflies away.
They seemed tamed and even drank the water in a relaxed manner, but Tang Ling knew very well in his heart how scary these mutated scaled horses were. A single stomp from a hoof could crush rocks, and their scaled bodies were difficult to penetrate even with a halbert. Moreover, these seemingly elegant horses were actually fierce. Any other species that got within 20 meters of their proximity would be attacked by a herd.
Nimbly and carefully, Tang Ling wiped the sweat on his forehead away and licked his dry lips. According to his calculations, he would die of dehydration in less than 3 hours and 17 minutes.
However, things weren't that bleak yet. Tang Ling already had some experience with this water source after spending two days observing its surroundings. He also managed to locate and secure the vantage point, which was the spot that he was hiding in, so he was confident.
Five minutes had passed, and the herd of mutated scaled horses finally finished their drinking session and neighed sharply in excitement before they slowly moved away in groups, disappearing into the thick forest further away.
Coincidentally at this time, a heavy, reverberating noise came from the northwest direction. It felt like a small magnitude earthquake. Had there been an experienced hunter around, he would have been able to discern that it came from the galloping of a group of iron bristle hogs.
The law of the jungle was as such. The cost of slaughtering other species was too high, hence they formed some kind of tacit agreement to avoid conflict.
Therefore, this water source would never be safe around the clock. There would always be some dangerous animals there for a drink.
However, Tang Ling chose to make a move right now. His tightened calf dug into the ground powerfully, and using the strong rebounding force coupled with his explosive speed, he shot himself out like an arrow towards the water source.
This was the only chance he could utilize. He only had a window of less than a minute after the mutated scaled horses left and before the arrival of the iron bristle hogs. However, the key factor here lay in the iron bristle hogs' poor eyesight since they would not be able to spot Tang Ling's existence without coming close to a range of a hundred meters.
In other words, their terrifying acceleration would not happen outside the hundred-meter range. With a quick calculation, Tang Ling would have exactly 56 seconds to get himself some water.
Less than 7 seconds later, Tang Ling was already squatting beside the water source, panting. He took a big empty bottle out from his arms and started to fill it with water.
The sun was scorching as ever while the air was heavy with silence. A faint smile floated in the corner of Tang Ling's mouth. Two days of hard work finally paid off! Alas, never did he think at this moment, a series of rapid rustling would come from the dense trees.
Could it be?!
Tang Ling's ears were sharp, so he caught the noise the very moment it was emitted. He raised his head in shock and saw were three mega-toothed crocodiles that were 11 meters long less than a hundred meters opposite him.
How could there be mega-toothed crocodiles in the area? Despite the temperature being a scorching 56°C, cold sweat still trickled down from his forehead! He thought his observation for the past two days would have allowed him to grasp every detail about the water source. Now, it all seemed like a twisted joke.
At that moment, the mega-toothed crocodiles obviously noticed Tang Ling. The unknown mutation granted the crocodiles exceptionally sharp eyes. Instinctively, they crawled forward quicker after they locked onto their target, and would soon approach the water source.
"Those bastard mega-toothed crocodiles are definitely the 'small fry' among the mutated crocodiles in terms of size, but their eyes are sharp and greedy. They'd never let go of any meat as long as they feel like they can eat it. Once discovered, the only option is to keep your distance." Tang Ling thought of Uncle Zhang's words. Back at the settlement, Uncle Zhang might not have been a decent hunter, but he was surely an experienced one who was like a walking encyclopedia.
Instantly, Tang Ling remembered all the information he got about the mega-toothed crocodiles. He faced a clear choice: give up on the chance or persist.
This was a hard choice to make, but in this era, hesitation was always a luxury. When Tang Ling thought of his grandmother and sister back at home, he made up his mind.
The three clattering mega-toothed crocodiles dove into the water. Swimming, the crocodiles were much faster than they were on land. The moment they plunged in, they rushed towards Tang Ling like three heavy cannon pellets.
Greed and excitement flickered in their eyes as they realized that the seemingly weak prey did not choose to escape upon their appearance. It seemed like they were destined to have an additional meal which was better than nothing.
That's right, Tang Ling did not give up on the chance to refill his water. He did not even know whether he was scared or if he shut his eyes all of a sudden in such a tense moment.
He displayed himself as a weak, greedy person who could not make up his mind.
However, upon a closer look, Tang Ling's lips seemed to be slightly moving rhythmically. If one could hear him, one would be able to realize that the soft noise was actually him counting.
Tang Ling relied on it to survive in this era. It was a type of intuition which he claimed to be called "Precise Instinct". This instinct enabled him to accurately sense upcoming dangerous moments, which allowed him to take precautions in advance. With this instinct of his, Tang Ling was able to bear the heavy life of this era since a tender age.
"One, two, three…"
The warm wind that blew from the nearby valerian field made Tang Ling's hair at his forehead flutter. The cold sweat on his forehead had dried up without his knowledge while the right hand he put in the water source with which he refilled the bottle was unusually calm. Occasionally, mosquito larvae the size of a thumb swam around his submerged hand, but it still failed to affect his steadiness. Not even the angle of him refilling the bottle changed the slightest bit.
The mega-toothed crocodiles were less than 30 meters away from him now.
The crocodiles had reached the last dozen meters, and the one at the most front excitedly widened its mouth a tad, baring its sharp and huge teeth.
"Six…" At the same time Tang Ling muttered 'six' out loud, his body leaped backward powerfully. The bottle in his hand drew a line of crystal clear spray in the air when it emerged from the water, refracting the scorching hot sunlight into a rainbow.
The tremendous momentum made Tang Ling's body retreat by more than 3 meters backward before he landed on the ground. His calves, which had been charged, twitched due to the excessive force.
The dust he kicked up, his skin chafed by the hard ground, and even the twitching of the calves were not a problem for Tang Ling. It was as if he did not feel anything. The moment he landed, a quick tumble followed and he stood up to run away from the water source like the wind.
At the same time, a malicious snap came from behind Tang Ling. It was the noise of two rows of iron teeth ramming together. In the end, less than 2 seconds late, the mega-toothed crocodile which charged at the front missed its prey.
When it dashed out of the water with a great splash, Tang Ling had already fled a dozen meters ahead. The mega-toothed crocodile's average moving speed on land could never catch up with him.
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