Xiaotian went back into the truck after preparing the drone. When Liushi upgraded the system, he also added a software for the operation of the drones. Xiaotian launched it, then activated the drone. Outside, the rest of the group watched as the machine's propellers started, and swiftly lifted it of the ground. Once its height surpassed that of the building, it flew away.
"Whoa, that drone was incredibly silent" muttered Zhang Hai. "And it blends well with the sky in the background."
"It's deliberated "explained Liushi. "With the danger posed by the zombies and mutant beasts, I didn't want them to easily notice the drones, and follow them back home, or for the zombies to gather more number in an area of interest" 'Or be noticed by hostile humans'.
He turned toward the lab building. It had 12 floors, and most likely, a basement as well. Once close to the door, he turned to his sister.
"Ladies first" he said while bowing.
"You're sending your cute little sister first in a building full of monsters?" she asked with mock horror.
"You're the one with the badass close combat weapon, and I gave you adequate protection" he replied dryly. "And I'll be watching your back" he finished while lightly waving his silenced handgun in view.
"I'll be with you as well" Qingping added in a resolute tone.
"Sure. Sun Kun will back you up. Lu, Haizi, make sure nothing surprise us from the back."
"Yes, big brother." "You can't count on me, brother."
Liushi opened the door, and Zhuying rushed in, beheading the zombie that was closest to the door. Qingping and Sun Kun quickly followed after her, as the rest of the zombies in the hall turned toward the newcomers and howled while attacking. Liushi was next to enter, and focused on making sure noone of the frontliners had to fight more than 1 zombie at the same time. Zhang Hai handled the pallet mover, and Lu closed the door behind them.
Once they cleared all the zombies in the area, Liushi checked the plan of the building. He quickly decided to clear the groundfloor first, then go straight to the 12th floor, and clearing the rest of the building as they got to the lower floor. Since their loot was likely to increase on the way, it was better to go down while it increased, than up.
Clearing the groundfloor was relatively fast. They also secured the windows and doors leading outside, just in case that, for one reason or another, a swarm of zombies came to the building. When they got to the stairwell, Qingping got directly in front of Liushi, behind Zhuying. So when they went up, he got a good view of her rear, and she moved her hips in hypnotic ways just for him. Earlier when they cleared the rooms, she also put her cleavage on display while stretching or fanning herself. While Liushi knew what she was doing, he certainly didn't mind the show.
They had to be careful in the stairways, moving slowly. Any noise would reverberate quite well, and it was a terrible place to be when swarmed. They reached the 12th floor, and after securing the door, they systematically cleared it. Any locked door or safe were quickly dealt with by Liushi using the Starseed. He discreetly scanned all the machinery available, and anything containing high grade materials small and light enough to be transported, was bagged and placed on the pallet mover. That included the iridium crucibles the professor told him about.
After finishing with the 12th floor, they slowly went down one floor at a time. On top of items, there were also many chemicals gathered. The number of zombies was rather low, and after thinking about it, Liushi realised that the government may have arranged for many of them to leave before the outbreak started, directing them where the rest of the military would handle the evacuation of civilians.
Overall, it took them a little over an hour to loot the place. At some point, Lu and Zhang Hai had to return back outside to store the loot in the trailer before coming back. In the end, Liushi was quite satisfied with the harvest.
It was decided to take a break before leaving, so when Liushi, Lu and Zhuying went into the Doomsday Ride, Qingping asked to come as well to use the bathroom. She brushed her chest against him when she passed him to go to the bathroom, and it would have had more affect if he wasn't still wearing his protective jacket. He ignored that to see what Xiaotian found while exploring the campus with the drone.
"I see. How is the drone doing?"
"Quite well actually" she said. "Its flying is smooth, and it answer well to instructions. Its camera and sensor suit are also working well. Quite well..." she paused for a bit, looking uncertain. "There are a few pockets of survivors in the campus" she added, frowning.
"Really? Where are they?"
"There are actually 8 survivors in the nearby dormitory, they are in differents room, a group of 3, 2 groups of 2, and one that is isolated. Then there are 3 groups in a few classrooms, and the largest group is in the cafeteria. The amount of zombies around those places is also large. It feels like they know they are nearby, but not exactly where."
"You want to help them."
"Yes. I'm sure there is something you can do!" she stopped and looked at him in horror. "I'm sorry! Everything my sister and I have is thanks to you, I didn't mean to tell you what to do, or force you to do anything" she said while slightly panicking. "It's just, I know a bit about what they are going through" she continued, lowering her head. "I remember all too well how it felt to be helpless in front of the zombies, with noone willing to help you..." she said in a low tone.
Qingping had gotten out of the restroom, and was listening to what was being said. She stayed behind, looking at Xiaotian with loathing and jealousy.
"I'm powerless, I can't do anything about it. I also know you don't have to do anything, it's not your problem, and you can't take care of all those people. Yet, I still wish something could be done for them."
He took her in his arm, and she didn't resist. He couldn't fault her for thinking like that, when even he himself was thinking about helping stranded kids the previous night.
"You're a kind girl, Xiaotian." 'Your kindness remind of so much of Li Yuxin right now. I hope she is okay.' "There is something simple we can do for them. Lead the zombies surrounding their places away from there on our way out. The lab building is safe so we can even leave something to direct them here. Everything else will have to be their own effort."
"Thank you, brother Liushi."
Zhuying and Lu smiled. Qingping scowled, but quickly schooled her face when they broke their hug. She put on a fake look of approval, but if someoone looked close enough they would see her facial muscles straining to keep it.
Looking at the map of the campus, they marked the places where the survivors were and where the zombies were concentrated. They decided to separate in 3 groups, one for each vehicle, and move following a path that would lead the zombies away from the survivors and back to the main entrance of the university.
There were between 35 and 40 survivors in total, so they prepared 40 rations out of Liushi's supplies, and left them in the entrance hall of the labs building. These rations were to feed them for a full day, so that they would have enough energy to take care of themselves later. It took a good chunk of Liushi's supplies, but it wasn't like he would have trouble making up for it.
While storing the loot from the labs, he had the factory make 5 cellphones-like devices. They were to play a recorded message for the differents survivors pockets, telling them about the little help they were given. The message would play out loud twice, 3 minutes after activation, just long enough to attract the zombies far enough.
Once all the preparations were done, they implemented their plans. Thankfully, there wasn't any bad surprises. The zombies reacted as expected, and they were able to leave their messages. They had timed their operation to arrive roughly at the same time at the entrance of the university. When they arrived, the sound of hundreds of zombies gathering to follow them made them shiver. It was a deep and low rumbling noise, and they were certain the ground was vibrating as well.
"Okay guys. We did our good act of the day, let's get away from here" Liushi said in a rush. "Go Xiaotian, go!"
She didn't need to be told twice. She stepped on the gaz, and the massive Doomsday Ride surged forward, completly surprising Zhuying's team by its speed. Still, Sun Kun and Zhang Hai didn't waste time, with the zombie horde rapidly closing on them, and followed close behind in their SUV. Liushi followed behind, and had Zhuying throw a grenade behind them, while the turrets on top of the trailer were activated despite the fact that they couldn't catch up. Zombies wave were really too unnerving.
They all released a sight of relief as they left the campus behind.
"I guess I really am done with this place now" Zhuying said.
"Yeah" Qingping replied. "Me too."
They were both surprisingly melancholic despite being used to the new state of the world. Deep down in their hearts, they still had attachements to aspects of their lives before the outbreak. And one of those attachements had been properly cut instead of just ignored.
Before the outbreak, going from Jingling University to the Industrial Park would have taken a little less than an hour. It wasn't the case then. A lot of streets had become completly clogged due to car pile-ups. Even with the power of the truck and its front plow, trying to force open a passage would have been ineffective. It took them nearly 2 hours to reach the place.
Like nearly everywhere else since the outbreak, the place was depressing, with abandonned and broken cars, and a lot of bloodstains on the ground and some of the walls. The Doomtrooper had taken the lead, as they searched for the Special Metal Company.
"Why are there no zombies?" Zhuying asked.
The industrial park had plenty of enterprises and factories, which employed plenty of people. Yet the place was eerily quiet, with no zombies wandering around. Even though it was a hot day, the place gave them some chills.
"Either somebody attracted them, or something hunted them. When I reached Xiaotian's hometown, the place was also lacking in zombies. That was because there were mutated bees hunting both normal people and zombies, and they were used as both food and building material for their hive. Keep your guard up."
Zhuying and Qingping shivered. Liushi had no doubt that they would feel sick if they learned about what they found at the heart of the hive.