Chapter 553 – First Day of the Desert Survival
The speed of the sandstorm in the desert exceeded their imagination. The moment Lu Jiuchuan’s voice was heard, the tens of meters high sandstorm had already arrived in front of them. It was accompanied by a fierce wind that almost destroyed everything.
The entire desert was engulfed in this fierce wind and human beings became incomparably small in the face of this terrifying force of nature.
Countless gravel slammed fiercely on their faces, making it difficult for them to speak. They covered their mouths and noses with their sleeves. Xiao Lou shouted loudly before covering his mouth, “Come to me quickly!” The moment he finished shouting, his mouth was filled with sand. Xiao Lou hurriedly lowered his head to spit out the sand before taking out the Compass card.
The team members ran to his side after hearing Xiao Lou’s voice.
The tens of meters high sandstorm was like a great mountain. Everyone looked at the sand wall in front of them with shock. Seeing that the sandstorm was about to engulf them, Xiao Lou drew a huge circle that was like a transparent cover. It covered a range of 10 square meters!
The rolling yellow sand flooded everyone in an instant but the invisible barrier formed by the compass was like a huge umbrella hanging over their hands. Countless fine pieces of gravel flowed down the boundary to the surroundings but couldn’t get close to them.
The people who stayed in the circle looked at each other as the sky above them was rapidly covered with sand and dust.
Fortunately, Professor Xiao’s invincible barrier was opened in time or they would’ve been buried alive by the sandstorm. You know, being buried alive by tens of meters of sand was almost a dead end because humans couldn’t climb out of the sand at all. The moment they moved their hands or feet, the surrounding sand would pour in and surround them without any gaps…
The sandstorm, which was tens of meters high, soon piled up on top of the barrier. The sun’s rays were completely blocked and the invincible circle became pitch black. Xiao Lou hurriedly used a Night Pearl to illuminate the surroundings.
The new rule of this challenge level was that ‘all cards would be discarded after use’. In the light of the Night Pearl, the Compass card and Night Pearl card in Xiao Lou’s hand became a pile of card fragments and could no longer be used.
Even so, it was worth using these two cards to help everyone survive the sandstorm crisis.
Xiao Lou looked around and asked in a low voice, “Is everyone okay?”
The expressions on the faces of his teammates were either nervous or shocked. Fortunately, the invincible circle stopped the sandstorm and the people standing in the circle weren’t injured. However, they soon found that Liu Qiao, Old Mo, Long Sen and Qu Wanyue were gone!
There were only eight people in the compass’ circle. Four were missing.
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “What about Old Mo, Xiao Liu, Long Sen and Teacher Qu?”
The compass’ circle only had a range of 10 square meters and it was clear instantly who was missing. Xiao Lou was a bit nervous. “The position where they were standing just now was relatively far away from me. Were they unable to hear my voice because the wind was too strong or did they have no time to come over?”
Ye Qi’s face was pale. “Were they swept away by the sandstorm?”
Lu Jiuchuan stared at Tang Ci solemnly and asked, “How much hope is there for survival when buried by a sandstorm?”
Tang Ci’s expression was heavy. “Ordinary human beings will die in less than one minute due to being unable to breathe. After being buried by a sandstorm, there is no way to climb out in one minute. It is better not to have this result or it will be very hard to save them.”
Xiao Lou hurriedly took out the contract book and checked the names on it. In the contract book, the signatures of 12 people were arranged page by page. The names of Old Mo, Liu Qiao and the Long Qu couple weren’t erased.
He sighed with relief and said, “They are still alive for now. This means they weren’t buried by the sand. Perhaps they have just dispersed?”
The sandstorm wasn’t over. Xiao Lou was obviously aware that the speed of the wind sweeping through the sand and dust in the sky above his head was becoming faster and faster. It was like a tornado had formed. Once Liu Qiao’s group of four were swept away by the tornado, it would be difficult to find them again.
The desert was bigger than they could’ve imagined.
Maybe once the wind stopped, the four people would’ve been swept hundreds of kilometers away.
Yu Hanjiang’s brow furrowed. “If they were really swept away, it will be difficult to meet up again. We must find them as soon as possible.”
Shao Qingge took the initiative to stand up and offer with a smile, “I’ll go find them.”
Ye Qi nervously tugged at the corner of his coat. “It is too dangerous for you to go alone…”
Seeing Ye Qi’s worried eyes, Shao Qingge couldn’t help reaching out to gently rub Ye Qi’s head. “Rest assured, I am now in the bug king state and the transformation will last for another 20 hours. This bit of sand can’t hurt me at all. It is safest to let me go.”
Ye Qi’s voice was serious. “If you go alone, are you sure you won’t get lost and lose yourself?”
Shao Qingge, “……”
Can you please stop tearing me down?!
It was just that Ye Qi’s words made sense. Shao Qingge’s sense of direction really wasn’t good. The probability of getting lost in the desert was as high as 99%.
Xiao Lou agreed. “Chief Shao can’t go looking for them. Won’t it be more troublesome if you also get lost?”
Shao Qingge shrugged helplessly. “Okay. What do you suggest?”
Xiao Lou thought about it carefully. “I have an idea. Just open the teleportation to pull them back. We have two Tao Yuanming’s and two Li Qingzhao’s cards. Li Qingzhao’s mark can be modified five times so it should be enough.”
Between the Peach Blossom Spring’s teleportation and the mark’s teleportation, Xiao Lou decided to choose the latter.
The Peach Blossom Spring might be safer and could last for three hours but the disadvantage was that the entrance and exit were in the same place. They were currently safe in the compass’ circle but it unfortunately only lasted for 10 minutes. If they came out of the Peach Blossom Spring after three hours in this place, they faced the risk of being buried alive by a large amount of sand and dust.
It would be difficult for them to climb out from under the sand and dust. It was estimated that they would suffocate before they got even halfway.
Meanwhile Li Qingzhao’s mark could be modified five times. Chief Shao, who wasn’t afraid of suffocation, could go out before the end of the compass’ invincibility time and find a safe place. Then pull everyone over with the mark.
Xiao Lou had this in mind and took out Li Qingzhao. He put down the mark in the compass’ circle and said, “No matter where they are blown, we can pull them over with the mark as long as they are in the same world.”
Everyone agreed with Professor Xiao’s thoughts. Sending people to search wouldn’t be as safe and fast as pulling people back.
Five minutes later, Xiao Lou opened the team teleportation.
Long Sen and Qu Wanyue soon appeared in front of them, faces shocked.
Qu Wanyue’s long hair was covered by sand and she looked very embarrassed. She sorted out her hair while saying, “Just now, Professor Xiao shouted but I didn’t hear it clearly. As a result, I was blown by the fierce wind.”
Long Sen said with a white face, “It scared me to death! We were both swept up over 50 meters by the sandstorm. Fortunately, we reacted quickly enough. We used the Chameleon card, merged with the sand and slowly descended back to the ground.”
Xiao Lou told them, “It is good that you’re fine.”
He looked around and found that Liu Qiao and Old Mo still hadn’t appeared. Xiao Lou couldn’t help his expression changing and he asked in a low voice, “Teacher Qu, did you see Liu Qiao and Old Mo?”
Qu Wanyue shook her head. “I didn’t see them. Just now, the wind and sand were too strong. The visibility was less than five meters. I couldn’t see anything clearly. A teleportation notification popped up in the floating box and I returned here.”
Long Sen scratched the back of his head before suddenly saying, “I seem to have heard Xiao Liu’s voice. She was shouting, ‘Uncle Mo, be careful’.”
Just now, Long Sen had been standing relatively close to Liu Qiao and Old Mo. The moment the fierce wind blew over, he vaguely heard Liu Qiao’s voice shouting. As for the specific content, he didn’t hear it too clearly.
Long Sen was apologetic. “The tornado came too quickly. The moment I turned my head, I found that everyone was gone.”
Qu Wanyue looked around and quickly realized that something must’ve happened to Xiao Liu and Old Mo.
She gazed at Xiao Lou in a worried manner. “Professor Xiao, were Xiao Liu and Old Mo swept away by the tornado?”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and fell silent at the same time.
At present, it seemed that Liu Qiao and Old Mo were unlucky.
Their names were still on the contract book, which proved they were still alive. It was just that they didn’t respond to Xiao Lou’s teleportation summons.
The card summons would pop up directly in the floating box. As long as Liu Qiao and Old Mo were awake, they just had to press the ‘agree to teleport’ button and they would instantly come to Xiao Lou’s side. In such a dangerous situation, they had no reason not to accept the teleportation summoning.
—Unless they lost consciousness.
In such a terrible sandstorm, whether they could wake up or not was still unknown.
What if they were blown hundreds of kilometers away by the wind and buried? They wouldn’t see the living person or their corpse!
Xiao Lou clenched his fists.
Yu Hanjiang pressed a hand to his shoulder and whispered in a comforting manner, “Don’t worry, Liu Qiao is so smart and Old Mo’s sense of direction is strong. They might’ve lost consciousness but perhaps they will wake up soon. They can survive as long as they wake up.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “I know. I hope they are okay.”
The group was very worried but now the sandstorm hadn’t passed yet. It wasn’t good for them to leave the compass’ barrier rashly. Xiao Lou took a deep breath and quickly calmed down. He handed the Li Qingzhao card to Shao Qingge and said, “Chief Shao, the mark can be modified five times. You are the only one who won’t suffocate. Please go out and find a safe place to pull everyone over.”
Shao Qingge nodded. “I understand. Wait for me to pull you.”
He gave everyone a reassuring look. His legs stomped slightly on the sand and the jumping ability of the bugs reached its peak at this moment. Shao Qingge jumped tens of meters high like an arrow released from a bowstring. He left the compass boundary and flexibly drilled into the sand using his hands like a fish in the deep sea.
Everyone else was waiting in the same place. Liu Qiao and Old Mo were still missing so their expressions weren’t very good.
Xiao Lou forced himself to calm down and gave the team’s Voice Headset to everyone.
The card was invalid after being used but the item would stay as long as it remained in everyone’s ear. They could always maintain communication. Of course, the communication range was still 10 kilometers.
Xiao Lou pressed down on the earpiece. “The sandstorm is just a meeting gift from the two jokers. There might be greater danger later. Everyone, follow closely and don’t get separated.”
The compass’ invincibility time was getting shorter and shorter. If Shao Qingge didn’t teleport them soon and the invincibility ended, the sand piled up on the boundary would instantly collapse and bury them alive.
Xiao Lou was anxious but he could only trust Chief Shao.
Shao Qingge used the climbing and jumping ability of the bugs to crawl through the sand. He climbed for one minute and as soon as he jumped onto the ground, he started to use the teleportation card to quickly teleport in the opposite direction of the sandstorm.
He teleported 50 meters in one second. This speed wasn’t inferior to the sandstorm. In just three minutes, Shao Qingge got rid of the impact of the sandstorm and came to a vast open space.
He stared into the distance.
The climate here was excellent and there wasn’t a trace of a sandstorm. There were no clouds in the clear blue sky. In the distance, there was a clear lake like a mirror cast by God into the desert that reflected the vibrant greenery around it.
By the lake, beautiful girls dressed in western ethnic costumes were gathering to dance. There were also some bare-chested men riding around on camels with strange goods.
How could there be such a lively town and oasis in the vast desert?
Shao Qingge didn’t hesitate any longer. He modified Li Qingzhao’s mark and pulled his teammates over.
After receiving the teleportation prompt, Xiao Lou’s group of seven and immediately pressed to agree. They instantly appeared next to Shao Qingge.
Ye Qi was excited when he saw the scene in front of him. “Great. There is still an oasis in the desert. We don’t have to worry about water or food. Why don’t we stay in this small town for three days?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes, there might be hunters lurking around the town but it is better than wandering aimlessly in the vast desert and lacking water and food.”
They didn’t want to experience the scorching sun again or the sandstorm that could occur at any time.
The oasis in the desert was breathtakingly beautiful. They couldn’t help feeling thirst at the sight of such clear lake water. If they could get clean water here…
They exchanged looks and walked side by side in the direction of the oasis.
After walking for five minutes, Ye Qi couldn’t help wondering, “Why haven’t we arrived yet?”
Long Sen also scratched his head in a confused manner. “It looks very close, like it is just a few hundred meters in front of us. However, we have been walking for five minutes. Why do I feel like the oasis… is still a few hundred meters ahead?”
Qu Wanyue looked solemn. “Yes, we take a few steps and the town retreats a few steps. It is like it is moving.”
Yu Hanjiang suddenly stopped and shouted sharply, “Evacuate quickly!”
Xiao Lou also reacted and told them with a serious expression, “There is no town in front of us. It is a mirage.”
A mirage—a strange landscape in the desert.
They could obviously see a beautiful landscape not far ahead but they couldn’t reach it.
It was because it was an illusion cast by light.
Like a rainbow in the sky, it could be seen but not touched.
It was said that people who encountered mirages would never be able to walk out of the desert.
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality