Chapter 1.4 - Completely New Era
Turner stopped ten meters in front of him and carefully sized up the strangely dressed man. The majority of his face was hidden under the thick tan-colored cloak, but under the light of the setting sun, he could see that the individual’s right eye was covered by a black eye-patch. Messy ashy blonde hair covered most of his forehead. Even though only the individual’s left eye region could clearly be seen, the thin, long, and fierce curved eyebrow, his green pupil with gray lines embedded within, as well as the line running out from the end of his eye created an almost perfect image.
Turner suddenly felt his throat become a bit dry. Even though he could tell from the individual’s build that he should be male, he couldn’t confidently say that what laid hidden beneath those bandages was human. However, In this era where survival was the only goal, the restraints on desire had long been lost. Violence and sex had long become instinct for a great majority . Regardless of whether you were male, female, young, old, human or inhuman, in the eyes of those that thirsted for stimulation, all boundaries were blurring rapidly.
After struggling on the fine line between life and death for so many years, Turner had become cool-headed. He was glad to find that there was no hostility within the other party’s green eye.
After a moment of hesitation, Turner loosened his grip on his M3A and stretched his arm towards the stranger. “I’m called Turner.”
For an interaction between human parties, this was a rarely seen amicable exchange. The stranger was clearly a bit strange, but his eye slightly turned, and a smile appeared on his face. He shook Turner’s hand. “I am… Su.”
Su’s hand was tightly wrapped in bandages, and not a bit of skin could be seen. However, Turner could feel through the bandages that even though his arm was more slim and soft than that of a normal person’s, there was an explosive strength within that softness. This contradictory feeling gave him the feeling that he wasn’t shaking the hand of a stranger but instead the sharp teeth of a stone lizard.
Turner’s hand trembled softly and he quickly pulled it back in a slightly rude manner. However, Su did not seem to particularly mind.
Turner waved his hand and made a gesture indicating that it was safe. The small party of soldiers released a breath of relief and began to inspect the dead rotting wolves.
Turner stood together with Su and brought out a wrinkled pack of cigarettes. He carefully took out two and handed one to Su. “You saved my men’s lives! Take one.”
Su smiled and said, “This is good stuff. Why not?”
After a flame was lit, Su took a deep breath through a gap between the bandages. Only after three or four minutes had passed did he exhale a faint vapor. It was obvious that he knew how to enjoy tobacco.
Turner watched the people below him skillfully dismember the rotting wolves’ corpses while absent-mindedly asking, “Apart from rotting wolves, this region really doesn’t have anything. How did you end up here?”
“I was following some rotting wolves that had abnormal movements to see if they had undergone some type of transformation and noticed that you guys were trapped within the valley. It was due to luck that the wolf leader died.” Su’s voice was smooth like flowing water.
Creatures that had undergone variation, regardless of whether they were dead or alive, fetched a good price in any base or inhabited area. The genes of these creatures were the source of gene improvements. As a result, there were those that specialized in pursuing these abnormal creatures to exchange for money, known as hunters.
“You are a hunter?” Turner asked.
“First rank hunter and a junior mercenary,” Su replied.
“What company is your license from?” asked Turner.
Hunters and mercenaries were professions that anyone could go for. In addition, they would be assigned a rank based on past achievements that was highlighted on an issued license. This license could have originated from one of many different organizations and scattered bases, and it could also be tied to a large corporation. Depending on which organization you received your license from, one would receive a certain amount of recognition and corresponding benefits from within that organization as well as other friendly and ally organizations. Of course, any organization could decide to refuse the license provided by another organization. As a result, having the first rank hunter license from a large company was far more useful than a fourth rank license from a small organization.
Turner was considerably startled, and his voice became somewhat more respectful. “This is a pretty big fellow!” However, when he thought back to Su’s sniping, firing, hiding, and movement skills, this kind of license was not still not undeserving.
When he thought back to the wolves shot dead by Su, the corners of Turner’s eyes couldn’t help but jump a few times. He sucked in a deep breath of smoke and spoke in a rather low voice, “Who would have thought that even rotting wolves would develop near human-like intelligence. What a shitty world!”
Su watched as the soldiers wrapped up the rotting wolves’ corpses and carried them on their backs. He sighed and said, “These types of wolves will only become increasingly common from now on.”
Turner released a few strong curses before shouting in a loud voice, “Fellows, move faster! We are going to travel several nights in succession to hurry home!”
After giving his orders, Turner then said towards Su, “Looks like you’ve been out for a while as well. Come back and gets some rest at the base!”
Owning a license meant having a history, making him no longer a dangerous stranger. At the very least, Grace Company’s power and influence was quite strong within this region.
As dusk fell, Turner’s men borrowed the cover of night to leave. The trip from this place to the base required a few days of walking. Even though it was dangerous to travel at night, this area was even more dangerous. Moreover, following their group was the ghost-like existence of Su.
Burke intentionally fell towards the back to walk alongside Su. Borrowing the faint green light of night, he would sneak a few glances at the enormous modified rifle at Su’s back. However, what left him bewildered was that there was only a simple and crude optical sight on it. Even an amateur could tell from the size of the scopes that this ‘toy’ was far inferior to Burke’s SVD sniper rifle.
Burke was clearly a rather shy person. His face was completely red, and he could only ask in a low voice, “Sir, no, senior, may I ask what level your sniping skill is at?”
Su remained silent.
Burke became even more nervous and stammered, “I’m sorry, I had no intentions of provoking you… Your esteemed self should know that I am only twenty years old, merely a first level sniper. I have never met someone like you before.”
Spirit energy domain… Simple weapon mastery… Sniping expertise...
These contents momentarily passed through Su’s mind. Hundreds of numbers changed within his head, and three seconds later, he finally produced a result.
“Third level,” Su smiled and replied.
Burke became even more excited. Su truly was just like how he had imagined, already reaching a third level sniper. Each increase in level signified double the amount of evolution points consumed. Third level meant that he had at least undergone seven points of evolution. For Burke whose lifetime goal was to become a level two sniper, Su was already like an idol.
The bashful Burke was somewhat hesitant to say anything else to Su, and Su seemed to remain silent for a majority of the time. As a result, the back of the party became quiet again. The ten or so men peacefully and quickly travelled through the night.
The crude, simple, and outdated modified rifle on Su’s back became a rough, direct, and powerful work of art.
He, however, was not aware that Su had not spent a single point of evolution on any sniping proficiencies.