On the 12th day of the secret room, the bugs gathered at the east bridge in accordance with the queen’s instructions.
The assembled bug army didn’t take any action. Sure enough, it was as Xiao Lou and the others had guessed. The more important purpose for the queen summoning the bugs was to find the ‘bug traitors’ who didn’t obey instructions and eliminate them one by one.
For her, more than 99% of the city had been infected and it was the last step before completely occupying the city.
Since the bugs could have only one leader at the same time the bugs couldn’t continue to upgrade after level 9 due to her existence. They would become her strongest subordinates once they obeyed her. If they didn’t obey her, these high level bugs would become the greatest threat to her.
The current strength of the bug queen was something that could no longer be defeated by ordinary humans. The thing she feared most were the high level bugs who wanted to replace her. Therefore, she gathered the bugs willing to take orders from her to prepare for the final cleansing of the city.
Shao Qingge was now a level 9 bug and one of the queen’s greatest threats.
After a day’s rest, he had completely tamed the new bug in his body and his abilities were restored to their full state. Shao Qingge tried to scratch his arm with his nails and within a minute, they healed visibly to the naked eye.
Ye Qi reached out to gently touch the healed arm and sighed. “It looks human but I always feel like there is hard armour under this layer of skin.”
Shao Qingge smiled and squeezed the muscles of his arms. “Yes, that is the armour of the bug race. Now ordinary trauma like knives or gunshots will find it difficult to pierce my skin. Besides, the bug’s healing ability is very strong. Even if the sharpest knife cuts off their hands and feet, in theory, new ones will grow in a few minutes.
Ye Qi gave a thumbs up. “This ability is too strong!”
Xiao Lou added, “Chief Shao can be said to have an ‘immortal’ body unless he is burned.”
Ye Qi asked curiously, “Are you afraid of fire?”
Shao Qingge shook his head. “I’m not afraid. I’m essentially a human now and my willpower has suppressed the willpower of the bugs, assimilating them. Bugs are naturally afraid of fire but I’m not. Of course, I can burn to death with fire.”
Xiao Lou’s eyes lit up. “In this way, we can try to use fire to deal with the bug queen. As long as she isn’t formed from a human assimilating a bug, Shao Qinnge will have one advantage over her. He isn’t afraid of fire.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly and touched his chin. “Will the bug queen be a challenger?”
Shao Qingge shook his head. “It is unlikely. If a challenger really assimilated and upgraded to a queen then she can issue other orders to let the bugs disperse or stop attacking, so that her challenger team can easily pass the instance. However, her first command was to have the bug army gather at the bridge and she has been sending signals to search for the bugs around there. I’m sure that the queen is still a bug.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other. They remembered that when meeting the challenger teams from Luoying Pavilion and the Eternal Kingdom in the supermarket, the captain of Luoying Pavilion mentioned that the bugs might produce a leader such as a ‘queen.’ It was a common setting in science fiction movies.
Who was it?
Xiao Lou thought carefully about the people he met initially. Was it the crazy woman in the hospital? The little girl? The intern next to him or a female respiratory patient who first developed the disease in the Second Hospital? Every one of them was possible or it might’ve been someone they hadn’t seen.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath and glanced at Shao Qingge. “Chief Shao, you have just acquired the bugs’ powerful abilities. You might not be very proficient in using them. Practice and master these abilities as soon as possible.”
Shao Qingge nodded. He jumped directly from this floor to the top of the building in front of them. The jumping distance was close to the 50 metres of the teleportation card. After the evolution, Shao Qingge’s climbing, jumping and attacking abilities had been fully improved. His fighting power wasn’t inferior to Yu Hanjiang and Shao Qingge had an advantage when dealing with the bugs. After all, the low level bugs wouldn’t actively attack him.
Shao Qingge repeatedly tried to jump and climb to practice her newly acquired abilities. Everyone watched him walking on the wall and couldn’t help feeling, “Chief Shao is no longer the fighting scum who lies down to win. It is so sudden that I’m not used to it!”
Yu Hanjiang’s low voice was heard. “One more fighting ability in the team is a good thing. We used to need to protect Chief Shao but now he doesn’t need our protection. He can protect his teammates, which is a great improvement for the entire team.”
Everyone nodded and they were happy for Chief Shao. They just wondered if this ability could be taken out of the secret room. Once the body data was cleared when leaving the secret room, Chief Shao will definitely return to a normal person unless he draws a relevant card. Judging from the fact that Xiao Lou drew the zombie leader Liu Xiaoyuan from 2 of Spades, perhaps Chief Shao could really draw the bug card this time.
It was almost lunchtime. Shao Qingge practiced his abilities and returned to the roof to have a meal with everyone.
Ye Qi wondered seriously, “Do you want to eat instant noodles or human blood?”
Shao Qingge grinned and rubbed the young man’s head. “Of course I will eat noodles. I am essentially human.”
He paused and then lowered his voice to whisper in Ye Qi’s ear, “After assimilating with the bug, I remember you feeling me blood… does your hand hurt?”
He gently pulled at Ye Qi’s hand and looked at the cut finger.
Ye Qi had put a band-aid on his finger. After all, Ye Qi’s skin didn’t have the ability to heal automatically. After a few days, the wound was still there. Shao Qingge’s heart tightened and he spoke softly, “Don’t do such a stupid thing later.”
Ye Qi laughed. “I was afraid that you would starve to death after turning into a bug. It’s fine. It is just a small injury.”
Shao Qingge didn’t say anything else and personally gave him a new band-aid.
The team members gathered to finish lunch. Yu Hanjiang stared into the distance before turning seriously to Shao Qingge. “The bug army should’ve been gathered and we must plan for our next actions as soon as possible. The queen can perceive Chief Shao’s position and will definitely bring some high-powered subordinates to destroy Chief Shao. If she brings some level 9 bugs to kill you, what is your chance of winning?”
Shao Qingge frowned and thought about it. “I’m still not sure how many high level bugs there are around the queen but we also have great advantages. First, I not only have the bug abilities but also the cards. As teammates, we can work together to control these bugs. Second, I’m not afraid of fire while the bugs are. Perhaps we can use this aspect to make some arrangements in advance.”
He paused before continuing. “I’m most worried about the queen. The level 9 bugs are already so powerful. I don’t know about the level 10 bug queen. How strong are her abilities? Will she be invulnerable and heal immediately after being injured?”
Yu Hanjiang had also considered this possibility. The ability of the level 10 queen was definitely stronger than Shao Qingge but the specific strengths were still unclear. Once she brought her elite troops to kill Shao Qingge, it was likely that everyone would be destroyed if they didn’t make arrangements in advance.
The enemy’s combat ability couldn’t be estimated. This was the biggest headache.
Yu Hanjiang’s thoughts were conveyed to Xiao Lou’s mind through the heart channel. XIao Lou took out a pen and paper and wrote while analyzing it. “Bugs will only merge when they are in danger. Two bugs of the same level will be promoted to the next level. To fuse a level 9 bug, you need 256 level 1 bugs.”
Xiao Lou carefully recalled his experiences in this secret room.
On the first day, the challengers were busy gathering their teammates and accumulating supplies. The bugs had just invaded the city and were madly biting the surrounding humans. The bugs had no organization or disciple and their locations were scattered. There would be no large-scale upgrade situation.
For example, their encounter in the supermarket. They killed 50 bugs. Even if the bugs merged with each other due to danger, only level 3 or 4 bugs were merged.
That night when they fled from the city centre to the east of the city, they saw all the bugs in the central area suddenly gather. The dense swarm of bugs flooded into the residential areas to attack the uninfected humans in the city…
Thinking of this, Xiao Lou suddenly said, “By the way, on the first night, the collective actions of so many bugs must’ve been done by a high level bug. Chief Shao, can you order around the low level bugs?”
Shao Qingge replied, “A few in a small area are fine. Only the level 10 leader can order a large army.”
Ye Qi’s eyes widened. “In other words, the bug queen actually came into being on the first day? At that time, we emerged from Old Mo’s studio to explore the way and we saw a large number of bugs flooding into the residential areas, shopping plazas, food courts, office buildings etc. Was it an order given by the queen?”
Shao Qingge’s expression became serious. “It seems so. Only the queen can mobilize thousands of bugs.”
Xiao Lou felt a chill shoot down his spine. “This queen should be very scheming. She has been lurking the entire time and used the bugs to infect the residents of the city centre. Then she had the vanguard troops look for the fish that slipped out of the net. Step by step, her plan was very meticulous. Now the residents of the city are also conquered and she is aiming at the high level bugs who don’t obey her orders.”
Yu Hanjiang added, “Gao Xiaoyi’s team was besieged by the bugs in the north university town. At that time, they relied on physical and chemical knowledge to blow up an experimental building. The bugs would’ve definitely merged in panic when they encountered an explosion and a level 9 bug should’ve been generated. We used gasoline to burn the bugs outside the warehouse and the bugs who weren’t burnt can also generate a level 9 one.”
Xiao Lou looked at Yu Hanjiang. “According to the characteristics of the bugs, a large group of bugs only merge spontaneously when they are in danger. The residents of this city were infected too much at the beginning because they didn’t know the truth. They are easily overwhelmed when facing thousands of bugs. Therefore, the biggest crisis of the bugs should be made by us challengers.”
Yu Hanjiang agreed. “Yes, the challengers have cards and people who can reach this level in the survival room are all experienced. They can quickly find the weakness of the bugs and learn to use fire to destroy them.”
Shao Qingge understood Xiao Lou’s meaning. “Professor Xiao, are you saying that the number of high level bugs should be related to the number of crises created by the challengers? It is only when we create these crises that the bugs will merge?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “These days, most of the challengers are fleeing and won’t take the initiative to trouble the bugs. However, if the bugs come to the door then they will all take measures in advance. They will use explosives, gasoline, alcohol and all types of inflammable and explosive products to deal with the bugs. This will induce their fusion.”
Ye Qi heard this and couldn’t help interjecting. “I remember that there should be around 30 challenger teams in this secret room?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes, but in the first two or three days, the challengers suffered heavy casualties. Many people didn’t realize the bugs’ weakness of fire. Several teams were wiped out by the bugs. Only the challengers who survived have the skills to destroy the bugs. This also catalyzed the integration and upgrading of the bugs. According to my inference, apart from the bug queen, the number of level 9 bugs after 10 days if guerrilla warfare should be around 100.”
His reasoning was based on the characteristics of the bug family.
Bugs like to live in groups but they didn’t randomly merge with each other. After all, every bug had its own consciousness, thoughts and memories. Even if it was weak, it was an independent individual and didn’t want to be swallowed by their own kind.
It was only when it was extremely dangerous and the bugs couldn’t protect themselves that they would quickly merge and upgrade with their surrounding companions. This was probably their survival instinct.
The city residents were infected too quickly and wouldn’t have created a crisis that panicked the bugs. Therefore, the number of times the bugs fused was similar to the number of troubles caused by the challengers. There could be only one level 10 queen and there shouldn’t be many level 9 bugs. For example, 80% of the bugs at the warehouse that day burned to death from the gasoline. Out of the remaining bugs, two or three at most would become level 9 bugs.
These days, the challenger teams had created big crises but the number of times the bugs fused shouldn’t be too much. The 100 he speculated was an overestimation. Maybe some challengers wouldn’t fight but would just hide when encountering the bugs.
Shao Qingge heard Xiao Lou’s conclusion and frowned. “According to Professor Xiao, if we consider there to be 100 high level bugs then we have no absolute certainty of winning. I can’t directly suppress those who are equal to me with willpower. I need everyone’s cooperation and arrangements in advance.”
Yu Hanjiang thought about it carefully. “I have a way.” He looked at Xiao Lou with a question in his eyes. “It is just that this way requires us to work with Gao Xiaoyi’s team.”
Xiao Lou reacted quickly. “You want to use their physics and chemistry cards to set up a trap and then activate the traps to blow them up after the bug queen comes?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “We have the advantage when dealing with the high level bugs. It is as Chief Shao said just now. First, we aren’t afraid of fire. Second, we have cards. It is only when these two advantages are fully utilized that we will have a chance of winning this tough battle.”
He added, “In the beginning, we didn’t dare cooperate with other challengers because we were afraid the infected people in their team would suddenly attack us. However, Chief Shao is a level 9 bug. Even if there are infected people among the other teams, Chief Shao can perceive the existence of the bugs. This concern can be completely eliminated. Therefore, we can try to cooperate.”
Ye Qi was worried. “Will they be willing to cooperate? After all, there are only three days left until the instance is cleared. If they hide and avoid the bugs then they will pass this instance more safely. Facing the bug queen with us is very dangerous.”
Yu Hanjiang replied, “We will talk to them as soon as possible.”
Xiao Lou fully supported Yu Hanjiang’s decision and nodded. “Okay, we will talk to them.”
The night the temporary challenger alliance came to them, Yu Hanjiang had remembered the direction they left in. It was further east and he guessed Gao Xiaoyi might’ve brought these people back to the warehouse.
There had been a big battle near the warehouse and the raging fire produced by gasoline burned countless bugs. Since bugs were naturally afraid of fire, they wouldn’t want to go back to that place.
At that time, Yu Hanjiang had controlled the flames in the outer circle and the warehouse wasn’t affected by the gasoline explosion. There were many fruits and vegetables inside. It was indeed the best choice if the challenger alliance wanted to find a temporary base.
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Shao Qingge. “I will hand this place to Chief Shao. Professor Xiao and I will talk to them.”
In the past, he was still worried about handing their teammates to Chief Shao for protection. Now dealing with ordinary bugs would be easy for Shao Qingge unless the bug queen personally came here. In addition, Xiao Lou had handed the card Tao Yuanming to Shao Qingge. If he encountered a problem that couldn’t be solved, he could open the Peach Blossom Spring, teleport inside as a group and hide there for three hours.
Shao Qingge told them earnestly, “Don’t worry, I”m here. Go quickly and pay attention to safety.”
Yu Hanjiang hugged Xiao Lou’s waist with a single arm and took Xiao Lou away with the light footwork and teleportation cards. The two men moved continuously through the air and soon arrived near the warehouse. The fire had burned all the surrounding trees and the ground was littered with bug limbs. It looked miserable.
Xiao Lou threw Ye Qi’s eavesdroppers into the distance and then whispered, “There are people inside the warehouse.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded and flew to the door of the warehouse with Xiao Lou. Xiao Lou knocked gently on the door and cried out, “Is Gao Xiaoyi inside? We have something to discuss with you.”
Inside the warehouse, Gao Xiaoyi’s eyes widened with surprise when she heard Xiao Lou’s voice. The girl stood up, asked her teammates to be on guard and replied from a distance, “What is it?”
“Can you step outside to talk?”
Gao Xiaoyi came to the door and maintained a safe distance from Xiao Lou. “You say it.”
Xiao Lou lowered his voice. “We want to gain a perfect clearance and need your help. I don’t know if you have any interest?”
Gao Xiaoyi was slightly surprised. “A perfect clearance?”
Yu Hanjiang stated, “According to the setting of the secret room, eliminating the bug queen will lead to a perfect clearance.”
Gao Xiaoyi’s face instantly turned as white as paper. “Don’t joke around. Do you know how powerful the bug queen is? We formed a temporary alliance because we met her!”
Gao Xiaoyi’s voice rose so her teammates heard her words.
The glasses wearing man from the physics department walked over. “We saw a flying shadow while escaping. The bug queen seems to have the ability to fly. She actually flew from one tall building to another. In addition, there are many high level bugs around her. If we didn’t have the group teleport card, we would’ve been wiped out.”
Gao Xiaoyi added, “Yes, the bug queen’s ability is very terrifying yet you want to destroy her? You must know that she isn’t alone when fighting. There are dozens of high level bugs and thousands of bug soldiers under her. How can we destroy her with our strength?”
Xiao Lou softly persuaded her. “Don’t underestimate your abilities. No matter how powerful she is, she is still a bug in nature. Her fear of fire won’t change. Moreover, she is only physically strong. Her climbing and jumping abilities have increased to the limit but we have cards in our hand. We can control her.”
The boy pushed up his glasses. “Your words made sense but it is too risky to do so. We can hide and pass the instance after three days. Is it necessary to take this risk?”
Yu Hanjiang hit the nail on the head. “Don’t you want a perfect clearance? It is only 8 of Spades but you don’t dare to challenge the bug queen who has obvious weaknesses. Do you want to keep hiding when you get to J of Spades or K of Spades?”
Xiao Lou agreed. “That’s right. The risk when obtaining a perfect clearance is high but the benefits are great. After you get an S-grade score, you can draw a powerful S-grade card. This is also helpful for future secret rooms.”
Seeing that the boy’s attitude was slightly shaken, Xiao Lou continued, “We only need your help in arranging the traps. You can entrust us with the dangerous task of fighting the bugs. There is the queen and many high level bugs. It is really difficult for us to destroy them with just the eight of us? Cooperating to clear the instance is good for everyone, isn’t it?”
Yu Hanjiang continued, “Besides, your captain Cheng Ziyang is dead. Based on his strength, it is impossible for him to return from the 8 of Spades Nightmare Room. Your team also needs to increase its combat effectiveness and draw more good cards. Think about it.”
The two people were like ‘husbands singing and following each other’. They had a tacit understanding.
Gao Xiaoyi glanced at her teammates.
She was about to open her mouth when she heard the female captain of the Luoying Pavilion suddenly say, “I’m willing to help.”
The neat girl walked up to Xiao Lou with a cold expression. “Those of us in Luoying Pavilion will pursue a perfect clearance in every secret room but it is too difficult to pass this level perfectly. Since you are willing to work together, I can provide card assistance.”
Xiao Lou nodded at her. “Thank you.”
Xiao Lou remembered the scene when the female captain burned her teammate to death. This captain was iron-blooded and really quick and decisive. Xiao Lou gained a bit more confidence with such an ally.
At present, there was no competitive relationship between the challengers and there was no need to be afraid of the infected people stabbing them in the back. As long as everyone was willing to join forces, the number of cards increased and it would naturally be safer to kill the queen. It was a mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
Seeing the people from Luoying Pavilion taking the initiative to join, Gao Xiaoyi also gritted her teeth. “Okay, we will also try it.”
Xiao Lou’s gaze swept over the others.
The bearded uncle from the Eternal Kingdom smiled. “We won’t join. We are only pursuing an ordinary clearance. It isn’t necessary to take risks for a perfect clearance. Good luck to everyone.”
This guild had always been laid-back and only did the World Weekly. Xiao Lou had previously wondered why they suddenly came to such a difficult room like 8 of Spades. However, he couldn’t guess their purpose from the bearded uncle’s smiling attitude.
Xiao Lou nodded and no longer tried to persuade them. The two teams who were willing to join were brought back to the temporary base by Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang.
The Distant Association had 10 people, Luoying Pavilion had 11 people and Xiao Lou’s group had 8 people. Their three teams added up to less than 30 people.
However, they were going to face the level 10 bug queen, around a hundred level 9 bugs and countless bug soldiers! This battle was extremely risky but in order to perfectly pass the level, draw stronger cards and go to more difficult secret rooms, everyone could only grit their teeth.
Xiao Lou told them, “If we can’t beat them, we will think of a retreat route to make sure that we aren’t destroyed.”
The female captain of Luoying Pavilion simply nodded. “Okay, say it. How to arrange it?”
Xiao Lou smiled and took out a piece of paper. “We want to turn this community into a maze of fire.”