Chapter 266 Run
“What the hell?!” exclaimed Ma Wei’s imposter in disbelief and horror. Zhang Heng, on the other hand, was already in grave danger.
Having witnessed how the wall engulfed an old lady before, he instantly noticed it moving and managed to pull the clueless girl away from danger. If that was his first encounter, he wouldn’t have been certain, but now, Zhang Heng confirmed that since it hunted it’s victims so strategically, whatever that thing was, must have some sort of higher intelligence. When the wall began to ripple like boiling water, it caught Zhang Heng’s attention. He swiftly shoved the woman away before the oozing black fluid could reach her. However, the creature was actually feigning an attack, as its real target was actually Zhang Heng. The curious creature seemed to be able to control how fast it melted, where the wall’s corners dissolved more quickly than its body.
Unbeknownst to Zhang Heng, the black liquid had already wrapped around his feet when he grabbed the collar of the woman. He had seen how efficiently the thing hunted, taking less than ten seconds to completely engulf the old scavenger. He knew he was running out of time.
Even at this juncture of life and death, Zhang Heng remained as calm as a millpond. He turned away as he threw the woman aside, then quickly tried to pry the creature away from his feet. However, as he suspected, the beast could switch forms freely between solid and liquid. After wrapping itself around Zhang Heng’s ankle, it instantly hardened and became as hard as concrete. Now, Zhang Heng felt as if his left foot was encrusted in plaster, and he was completely stuck in place, unable to move an inch.
This was also the same reason why Zhang Heng couldn’t save the old lady. Now, it was his turn. He realized that this wasn’t something he could possibly fight against. The black liquid spread like wildfire, running up his ankles, unhindered.
In a blink of an eye, the tar-like substance had engulfed his calf. If this were to continue, he would soon be dragged into the wall alive, a horrible way to die, to say the least – not something anybody would want to endure. To Zhang Heng’s greatest surprise, Ma Wei’s imposter had a little more loyalty than expected. Although scared to death, she didn’t run even after getting back on her feet. Instead, she shouted at Zhang Heng, “What’s its weakness? What should I do?!”
In response, Zhang Heng simply stared at her, pointed to the direction of the field’s exit, and said, “Run!”
Had this been a Qiong Yao opera, Ma Wei’s imposter would have been deeply moved by Zhang Heng’s oh-so-sacrificial, tough-guy act. She would have been tugging on Zhang Heng’s other thigh, crying and screaming at the top of her lungs, begging, “No, I’m not leaving you! If one must die, then we die together!”
However, this was hard reality, not some stage show. After staring Zhang Heng in the eye, she hesitated for a moment before turning around to run toward the gate as fast as her legs could carry her.
At a time like this, there was no time for second thoughts. She could only trust his judgment. There could only be two reasons why he told her to run. First, the action of running could be useful against the creature, or second, Zhang Heng knew that he was a lost cause and didn’t want to drag her down with him, the reason why he made her leave while she still could.
After running for a bit, tears started pouring out of the woman’s eyes. She stopped and, at the same time, cried out to Zhang Heng, “Dude! I don’t have the key!”
Zhang Heng had brought her to the field to prevent her from attempting any more tricks, locking up the gate for good measure, and effectively keeping outsiders from entering. However, that meant that nobody was getting out either. The key to that lock was still with Zhang Heng, and as the woman turned around, what she saw gave her a chill.
Zhang Heng had disappeared. In his place was what seemed like a stone wall that had appeared out of nowhere, right smack in the middle of the running track.
It was all like a poorly written piece of dark comedy.
As hilarious as it might have been, the woman couldn’t laugh at all. Right now, she was in complete shock. Too bad for her, as she didn’t have the time to mourn Zhang Heng’s death. Even though the creature behind her had just swallowed a person whole, it didn’t seem to satisfy its insatiable hunger, appearing to be more raucous than ever.
After running for a while, she realized that the black substance wasn’t very speedy. It moved only as fast as she could run. The only reason for its success so far was because of its sudden and abrupt attacks, all coming without prior warning. Most people would have a sense of security when they leaned against a sturdy wall, subconsciously believing that they were protected from threats that came from every other direction.
In fact, if the victim was prepared, the prospect of an escape was still on the books. Moreover, whatever worried the woman the most did not actually happen.
That creature didn’t have an Image Splitting Skill, which would allow it to replicate itself, making it omnipresent. That would have allowed it to surround its victim from every angle. It seemed that it could only remain as one entity, and a part of its body had to be connected to the wall no matter how far it ventured.
However, it could definitely move freely from one wall to another, provided that the wall that it was attached to had returned to its original state. It was during these snatches of time that the woman could take a breather. Unfortunately, she failed to see a way out of the predicament and was, in fact, feeling absolutely awful. Due to specific reasons, she wasn’t supposed to be doing vigorous exercise. She hadn’t run so fervently since her high school fitness test, and now, her lungs felt as if they were about to burst out of her chest.
Nevertheless, not running would mean the end of her. She even began to wonder if she would die of exhaustion before the creature could get its hands on her if she kept sprinting at such a pace.
As a matter of fact, shortness of breath and a tightness in her chest was beginning to plague her, and now, her vision was getting blurry. Just as she was about to give up, she suddenly heard a familiar voice saying, “Here, quick!”
Lo and behold, Zhang Heng, of whom she thought was dead, was alive and standing at the gate. He had miraculously, at some point, opened the entrance of the field, and was now shouting at her. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one who saw Zhang Heng. When that creature realized that he was actually alive, the wall behind the woman quickly returned to its original state.
This was her golden opportunity. By the time the wall was restored to its previous form, that thing would have been part of the gate’s pillars. By then, it would be too late for her.
Ma Wei’s imposter felt as if all the energy in her body had been drained out her as she attempted to move her lead-laden legs toward the gate. Every ounce of strength in her body had fizzled out, but she tried to squeeze whatever little energy she had left within her Just as she began to pick up her pace, the dreaded creature of a wall began to move again. There was a look of hopeless despair in her eyes. But just as she thought that the creature would surely swallow her, a pair of hands wrapped her waist tightly.