Chapter 19 – E City Tour Guide (3)
After the personnel dispatched by the HQ reported that the strange species had been neutralized, the E City Special Investigation Unit personnel, who were waiting outside the cordon, quickly rushed to the scene. The first responders were utterly unprepared and felt a wave of nausea upon witnessing the scene, with some individuals vomiting on the spot.
Rain continued to fall on the wide river surface, but the splashing water now bore a faint red hue.
As far as the eye could see, the river had turned into a crimson expanse. The enormous monster’s corpse lay half-submerged in the center of the river, its body exposed, flesh, unidentifiable organs, all laid bare, a mass of red-purple, emanating a strong and unpleasant odor.
It would likely take a long time to clean the river, but fortunately, the surrounding buildings hadn’t suffered major damage. The bridge had been long gone from the outset, skyscrapers stood intact, though the riverside pathways and railings needed reconstruction and reinforcement. Some riverside shops had their doors and windows broken by the rushing water, requiring separate handling and resettlement.
Compared to this side, the situation was much better at the far end of the river, separated by a considerable distance.
The strange species’ corpse in the river there was inexplicably charred, reduced to a small, quiet mass near the riverbank. Considering the colossal size of the child Devourer observed earlier, it was difficult to fathom how such a massive entity had diminished to this small remnant.
The houses surrounding the river showed no signs of burning, except for a bridge that lay across the river, charred completely black, sparing the need for extensive cleaning afterward.
Apart from the bridge, the surrounding structures remained undamaged. However, some items within the houses melted due to the high temperatures, ranging from small to valuable belongings, which posed a headache for the finance department in estimating the losses.
In the neighboring A City, the temporary headquarters of the Special Investigation Unit for Strange Species held an emergency meeting.
According to the compiled summary from employees returning from the “Game,” they knew that the Devourer operated as a pair, a mother and a child. Xu Tonggui dealt with the mother Devourer, while an unidentified individual resolved the offspring.
The appearance of the Devourer caused abnormalities in the cross-river power cables, leading to power outages in several streets. Public and private surveillance cameras along the route ceased functioning. The only operational camera by the river was either destroyed or obstructed by the water churned up by the anomaly, failing to capture any images. To date, they couldn’t confirm who handled it.
Seated at the conference table, Hu Li flipped through the photos sent by the E City branch, pausing after two, closing his eyes for a moment in thought before picking them up again.
Amidst the random discussions of others, he set the photos down and stated, “It’s Yuan Sanshui.”
Instantly, everyone looked at him.
The person in the main seat asked, “How do you know?”
Casually lounging in his chair, Hu Li said, “Anyone who has come out of the Game knows this.”
However, he happened to be the only one in the conference room from the Game.
The person in the main seat nodded. “Go on.”
“Yuan Sanshui, ranked sixth in the game, gained the ability to manipulate fire after completing a certain scenario.”
“Is that all?” someone countered, “We’ve previously apprehended anti-social players who could control fire.”
Hu Li’s tone remained steady, “Have you observed the size of the Devourer? Only he could burn something that massive like this.”
He added, “There’s another piece of information: Yuan Sanshui’s wife, originally a top fifty player, was impaled by this thing and died on the spot.”
The expressions of the others shifted as they began contemplating.
Someone suggested, “So, his handling of this strange species might not be out of goodwill but for revenge.”
Hu Li adjusted his posture. “Based on the scene, he should have arrived within a short period—though not too short.”
Others turned to look at him. He continued, “He’s likely living in the residential area around E City.”
Their eyes widened, thoughts suddenly clearing up.
Someone beside him asked, “Do you know what he looks like?”
Hu Li shook his head. “Never seen him.”
In the end, Jiang Yujin didn’t get to pet the large orange cat and didn’t return to the fabricated hotel to retrieve the charger. Instead, he went back to the museum.
Upon his return, he witnessed Zhang Xin being scolded. Her homeroom teacher’s face and neck were still flushed with anger.
Sighing, Jiang Yujin quietly joined the group.
His mistake lay in not remembering what the driver of the vehicle he sat in looked like, so he randomly stood next to the driver. The driver turned and asked, “Where were you? Didn’t see you around.”
Jiang Yujin waved dismissively and started concocting a story, “I went to the restroom.”
The driver replied skeptically, “For this long?”
Jiang Yujin displayed a classic embarrassed expression, saying, “Truth be told, had a severe case of diarrhea for days.”
Silent for a moment, the driver patted his shoulder. “You’ve been through a lot.”
Jiang Yujin peacefully closed his eyes.
After spending some time at the museum, it was confirmed officially that the strange species had been eliminated, alarms deactivated, and they could continue their tour. However, the notification also informed them of the closure of two streets, forbidding citizens from entering for the time being.
Although they could continue their tour, after witnessing the colossal creature, no one had the heart to continue exploring. The teachers gathered for a brief discussion and decided to take the students back to the hotel.
When they returned to the bus, Xiao Mei was pulling Zhang Xin, and they saw their tour guide already seated in the bus, focused on his phone, furrowing his brows with intense concentration.
As they approached, they heard the sounds of the Xiaoxiaole game being played.
Upon hearing this familiar sound, they oddly felt a sense of relief.
After all, no matter how much the world changed, their tour guide would still play his Xiaoxiaole game as usual.
It wasn’t until they were seated and the bus started moving that Xiao Mei noticed a long cut on Zhang Xin’s palm, with traces of blood seeping through. She couldn’t help but exclaim before lowering her voice, “What happened to your hand?”
Jiang Yujin, who had exhausted his game moves once again, heard the voice and turned his head.
Zhang Xin turned her palm downward and said, “It’s nothing, probably got scratched accidentally somewhere.”
Perhaps when she jumped onto the broken bridge earlier, she used her hand to support herself and got scratched by the debris. She felt the pain at the time but didn’t expect it to leave a cut.
Finishing his game level, Jiang Yujin put down his phone, stood up, and took the first-aid kit from the bus.
Facing the curious gazes of the two, he said, “High schoolers getting injured is normal. My son often comes back with a bunch of injuries.”
Zhang Xin fell silent for a moment. She didn’t think normal high schoolers would be like that.
Jiang Yujin opened the first-aid kit, taking out alcohol and gauze.
Xiao Mei was surprised, “So, you know how to bandage wounds!”
People could be quite surprising.
Handing the alcohol and gauze to Zhang Xin, gesturing for her to bandage herself, Jiang Yujin turned his head, “Hmm?”
Xiao Mei: “It’s nothing.”
Ultimately, Zhang Xin’s wound was handled by the teacher.
Unlike their arrival, the bridge they had crossed earlier had collapsed on their way back. The bus took a detour, and there was a dispirited atmosphere inside. The students peered out the windows, especially when passing the collapsed bridge, as if fearing something might emerge from it again.
There were no more sightings in the water. They crossed two other bridges and safely returned to the hotel.
Playing Xiaoxiaole on his phone until it almost died out of battery, Jiang Yujin hurriedly went upstairs to recharge after returning to the hotel.
Students were instructed to stay in their rooms and not go out. The teachers found a room and began discussing whether to cancel the educational trip.
When Jiang Yujin received the notification, he was informed that his tour-guiding career would continue, with changes to the planned tour location.
Temporarily setting aside his Xiaoxiaole game for a quick revision session, he once again searched the internet and happily resumed gaming after going through the “Travel Encyclopedia.”
In the next few days, he spent his time moving back and forth between the scenic spots that must be visited by high school students during their study tour, pretty much idling around the entire time.
It turned out high schoolers were resilient. Rather than returning to school, they were more willing to continue playing in the city where a strange species attack had just occurred, and they played joyfully.
Fortunately, nothing happened in the following days. After their playtime, the students returned to school by bus.
Jiang Yujin didn’t go to the school but had to return to A City. He caught a ride conveniently. As the bus entered A City’s urban area, he got off at a rest stop. When he got off, the students inside the bus waved goodbye at him through the windows, especially a group of boys who seemed particularly excited, waving their hands wildly.
Jiang Yujin smiled, waved back, and then hailed a taxi.
After taking a refreshing shower and lying comfortably in bed at home, he received the payment for this assignment. Due to the appearance of a strange species within the city during his work, as compensation for any mental distress, he was paid a fee of 1.5 times the usual rate.
Even though he hadn’t suffered any mental distress, being an honest citizen, Jiang Yujin accepted the money without guilt. Dreams inside his mind were all sweet.
Back in A City, it happened to be a Saturday. After getting off at the school, Zhang Xin called Chen Jing and Xiao Pang, and the three arranged to meet at the usual spot, downstairs from Chen Jing’s place.
Chen Jing and Xiao Pang were busy with some formalities on the other side of the city when they returned to the building and coincidentally met Zhang Xin.
The barbershop downstairs was still open, bustling with people chatting. The owner was focused on cutting hair, eyes drooping in quiet concentration, the typical demeanor of a barber.
After glancing inside, the trio diverted their gaze. Chen Jing led the way upstairs, commenting, “He’s out working.”
He didn’t specify who ‘he’ was, but the other two understood, following Chen Jing upstairs.
Using the keys, Chen Jing opened the door. The door made a faint sound as it swung open.
As the sound faded, another noise came from the bedroom, as if something had collided with a wall.
Xiao Pang and Zhang Xin became alert, while Chen Jing’s eyes subtly shifted.
The bedroom door opened, and a person with disheveled hair walked out, wearing wrinkled pajamas, eyes barely open.
He looked familiar.
—After all, not long ago, they were all in a car together. Despite the change in clothing and appearance, he was still barely recognizable as the same person.
Zhang Xin’s eyebrows lifted, momentarily unable to process the situation.
Squinting, Jiang Yujin tried to look towards Chen Jing’s direction and raised his hand, “You’re back.”
Chen Jing remained composed and replied smoothly, “Yes.”
Zhang Xin was utterly bewildered, rooted to the spot: “…?”