Global Evolution - Chapter 58
Chapter 58 Dodder
’’Who knows, you just look skinnier and paler to me.’’ Chang looked at the young soldier up and down, but he didn't find any signs of visible attacks, so he then asked, ’’Are you sick?’’
’’That's impossible. If I were sick, I would have died in the Deadly Evolution period;I must have been attacked by something.’’ The young soldier loosened his gun and took off his camouflage uniform in a flurry. He touched every inch of his skin to check for anything strange. A moment after, when he got to his waist, he noticed there were lumps bulging from his skin.
’’F*ck!’’ He shouted in panic. He further removed the camouflage on his upper body, exposing a tight t-shirt beneath the uniform.
’’It seems like you tucked something underneath your t-shirt.’’
’’What?’’ The soldier took off his t-shirt in panic. When they saw clearly what had attached to his skin, they had goosebumps all over.
’’What's wrong?’’ The stir at the back alarmed Zhao;he stopped and moved back along the line, and was stunned by the strange scene.
’’This is disgusting! What is this?’’ Zhao only saw the young soldier hastily plucking some sort of tassels from his skin - those stems and tassels had firmly attached on his body, as if a leech was sucking up his blood and fat.
’’It looks like dodder.’’ Qing shui followed Zhao and pointed at the stems and tassel. ’’You didn't feel it when it climbed onto you?’’
’’Of course he didn't feel anything. Otherwise he would have known before these things got so plump.’’ Chang looked over the soldier again and his struggle made him nauseous. - those plants literally wrapped around his waist tightly, and the tiny prickles penetrated into his muscles and blood vessels. The dodder kept taking his blood and fat through straw-like holes on each prickle;perhaps the dodder had been on his body for quite a while, as the green membrane was now mixed with red and yellow from the color of blood and fat. The tassels were plump.
’’Son of a b*tch, no wonder I felt dizzy just now;it turned out something was sucking my blood constantly.’’ He threw the dodder onto the ground angrily, and then stepped on it. The membrane was crushed by the pressure and the blood and fat splashed all over. As if the dodder could sense pain, it rolled around and attempted to drill downwards.
’’They are dodder for sure.’’ Qing shui pinched at the ’’tail’’ of the dodder to pull it out from the ground, and it was still struggling on his palm.
’’What exactly is dodder?’’ Chang also went ahead to check his body while he was asking, and sure enough he found a smaller one in his pants. Fortunately, it hadn't been too long, and the plant sneak in so it hadn't penetrated his skin yet.
’’Dodder is a kind of parasitic plant, and can be rootless after it reaches adulthood;they usually parasitize on plants, but now, even animals can be their targets.’’ Qing shui stirred around the dodder on his palm, but carefully avoided the prickles on the tassel. ’’The prickles can be paralyzing, and like the mouth of a mosquito, it doesn't really feel anything when it pokes into your body.’’
’’Sh*t, that was such a shock.’’ Chang ripped off the dodder on his leg and trampled this ghost-like plant, and then shouted, ’’Check if you have dodder on your body, it will drain your blood before you even know it!’’
With his shout, the troop knew what had happened, so they all hurriedly removed their camouflage to check if there were any dodder on their bodies - about three or four soldiers discovered these horrifying tassels.
’’Mr. Li, do you think this plant is venomous?’’ Asked a soldier who had suffered the most from this misfortune. His cheeks were sunken due to excessive loss of blood. He apparently was the most frightened - if this plant was venomous, he could have been dead.
’’I don't know...but it shouldn't be venomous.’’ Qing shui carefully observed the prickles on the tassel and asked, ’’Do you feel nauseous or have any muscle spasms?’’
’’No, I am just dizzy.’’ That man shook his head.
’’Then that's fine. You just lost too much blood;that's likely the cause of your dizziness.’’ Qing shui threw away the dodder from his palm, and he shouted to the whole troop, ’’From now on, we need to pay extra attention to the surroundings. There are too many lurkers in the jungle, so you need to check if you are attacked once in a while.’’
There were sporadic answers from the back and sounds from soldiers removing their uniforms. A moment later, all soldiers had finished checking their condition and the surrounding quieted down again.
’’Jing, why you were not aware of these dodders?’’ After re-packing their bags, Chang carefully whispered to Jing. He even thought before entering the jungle - as long as Jing was with him, he would be well-prepared in advance even if he was to receive attacks. However, these lurkers soundlessly educated him with what a real sneak attack was. An attack that could drain you slowly, without ever knowing about it until you die.
’’I didn't know...I thought it was just grass, since they have the same kind of life features to me;and I only had a weak sensation of them...’’ Jing's eyes were full of grievance. ’’I am sorry...if you didn't notice that soon enough, you and that soldier would have been dead already...’’
’’Don't apologize, I am not blaming you. I guess the dodder came from underground, and it would be hard for you to detect anything.’’ Chang rolled up his pants to make his ankles exposed within his sight, so that he could find out earlier when a similar attack found him next time.
’’Hurry up, the smell of blood is too heavy in here, and I am afraid that carnivores will find us.’’ Qing shui took a glance at the blood stain and asked the soldier who was injured the most, ’’Can you still walk?’’
’’Yes, I can. Don't worry.’’ That man shook his head hard, as if that could drive away some dizziness.
’’Alright folks, let's move!’’ The jungle was so bizarrely dangerous that Zhao realized the troop was at risk at any time. He waved his hands and raised the flashlight higher to gesture the soldiers to move forward with him.
However, the jungle appeared to not treat them nicely. When Zhao had just raised the flashlight, Jing whispered to Chang warily.
’’Chang, there is a big group of 0.2 organism coming from 100 meters away;they are fast.’’ As Jing spoke, a burst of flapping sounds came from a far end. Chang hadn't had a chance to warn the troop as the cause of the sound had already appeared in front of them.
It was a group of morphologically strange birds that flew over their head. Their beaks were sharp like perfect cones and the size of their heads were as big as humans. As soon as they noticed a group of humans on the ground, they swooped down towards the troop and their eyes were scarlet red and oddly small. Apparently, they didn't come with good intention.
’’Folks! There is something in the air!’’ By the time Chang had just dropped his words, a big bird sped up and aimed at his head, but it was knocked out heavily by Chang's crossbow swing in the air.
’’F*ck!’’ The big bird lost consciousness temporarily, but Chang wanted to stamp on its head to make sure it was dead. However, the group of birds didn't leave him a chance to do so, and instead, they all swooped down at the same time. Judging from this situation, Chang was forced to dodge behind a tree and cover Jing with his back.
’’Fire your weapons to the sky, everyone!’’ Zhao's voice went through the fog. ’’Be careful of your angle, do not hurt anyone around you!’’
A wave of gunshots blasted in the air as the captain commanded. The strategy was effective and the birds withdrew immediately, but they were still hovering in the air - anyone could tell they did not intend to leave yet.
’’They have not yet left!’’ The echo of the gunshot got soaked up by the fog, yet Chang's voice again resounded. ’’They are hovering over us;they probably won't leave until they get something out of us!’’
Chang knew that none of the soldiers would be capable at this moment to impact the flock, therefore he squinted his left eye and aimed the crossbow at the leader of these birds.
The bolt was ejected by the force of the mechanical spring in the crossbow. It was so fast that the bird hadn't had a moment to realize a bolt had penetrated through its torso;a flower of blood and feathers blasted in the air that looked like a bloodily aesthetic illustration.
Chang almost screamed blissfully, but the birds had made their move already. The blood smell stimulated their brain intensively, and the beautiful illustration was torn apart by their sharp beaks in the air. Countless pieces that came from the dead body were soon swallowed, leaving the only one in the troop who could see the war, Chang, speechless.
The reality was cruel enough just as Chang was once again warned by Jing in an even tenser tone.
’’There...there is another group. They are more aggressive! 0.5!’’
’’You've got to be kidding me... we can't even escape from them...’’ His heart sunk. A wave of buzzing sounds gradually became clearer.
A group of mosquito-like insects came in Chang's line of sight, but with slightly different stingers - they were all equipped with sword-like stingers. The flock fled in all directions as if they were freaked out. Some slower ones were firmly captured by the legs of these giant insects, and later became their ample breakfast.