379 Motorcade

    There was shrill engine noise and billowing smoke. The big cross country tires caused the cracks to widen and dust to fly everywhere. The vehicle looked like it came right out from Mad Max. It had the structure of a cross country trunk but the front of the car was fitted with a steel plate armed with sharp gears. The sides were protected by iron plates. Through the shattered car window, Gu Jun saw 4 people sitting inside the car. They were all men of prime age and compact build.

    Even though the dust covered up their faces, Gu Jun managed to identify the passengers as human beings. They were Asians, probably the same descent as he was.

    Despite the tattered appearance of the vehicle, it was moving at 80 km per hour. As mentioned earlier, outrunning it was impossible so Gu Jun did not make futile resistance and only stood there patiently. Holding the poster in one hand and the scalpel in another, he waited for the men to arrive. He hoped to solve this encounter without conflict.

    "Stand right there and don't move!" A rifle barrel poked out from the broken windshield. Gu Jun could not identify the weapon model, it appeared to have been heavily modified. The person spoke Chinese but he had a very weird accent. Thankfully, Gu Jun could still understand him. Gu Jun responded calmly, "I come in peace. I do not wish for any altercation."

    The car stopped before him. The square-faced man at the driver's seat asked, "Where are you from?"

    "Eastern State." Gu Jun answered, even though he had no idea whether he was still on Earth or not. The men shared a look as if they had not heard of the place before. The bald-headed man in the passenger seat kept the gun trained on Gu Jun. While he studied Gu Jun, he questioned, "You look quite fit, life must have been good for you so how did you end up here?"

    Gu Jun answered honestly, "I am just passing by."

    "Friend, you're here to look for the Angel City, aren't you?" The square-faced man asked while levelling Gu Jun an eagle-eye gaze. "Or you're from the City itself?"

    "I have not heard of Angel City." Gu Jun realized he was under great scrutiny so he decided to be as open as possible. "I am honestly lost. I don't even know where I am."

    "You are alone?"

    "Yes." Gu Jun answered. His mind pondered over this new information. 'Angel City...' It reminded him of the City of Kindles. 'I am still probably on Earth but... I've crossed into a different timeline. Am I in the future? Barrenness and parched lands, that is what awaits us in the future? Then again, which version of the future is this? This future does not appear to share the same timeline inhabited by the City of Kindles...'

    "Friend, I don't care where you come from." The square-faced man said darkly. "But you'll have to come with us. We're heading to Angel City." Gu Jun noticed that when the man mentioned the 'Angel City', his voice dripped with condescension and fear. It was like he was talking about the residence of the devil. He noticed a shift in the other men's eyes as well. They carried a heavy hatred and anger towards this place.

    "You are not going to stop us." The bald man warned, "Even if the Locust God descends on us today, it will not be able to stop us."

    Then, their voices were overwhelmed by a greater engine roar. Gu Jun saw a large cavalcade of cars coming from the direction the truck came from. A dust storm trailed behind it. It dawned on Gu Jun then that the 4 men he had been speaking to were merely the scouts. The main army was the one behind. Soon the cavalcade arrived. There were about 20 cars and they all had the strange automotive design. Most of them were trucks but there were several vans as well. The largest of them was a red-colored truck that was surrounded in the middle of the cavalcade. An unknown cargo sat on its carriage. It was hidden under an old tarp and the cargo was heavily guarded. Clearly the thing under it was very important to these people. Each vehicle had 2 to 3 people and the clothes they wore showed some age. Most of them were thin and lanky. They had yellowed skin, which was a sign of malnutrition.

    Gu Jun then realized the 4 acting the scouts were the elites. Because of that, even though he just survived an ordeal with the witch and he had lost body mass from his recent coma, among these people, Gu Jun still appeared like a giant. Another detail jumped out at him. The cavalcade was filled with men, there was no sign of any woman.

    "What's going on?" A middle-aged man with a bushy beard inside a small car shouted. He appeared to be the leader. The scouts did not descend from their car but shouted back directly to update their leader. Gu Jun said, "My name is Gu Jun."

    The new arrivals took caution around this foreigner. He was not only fit and muscular, he was also calm and collected. Most people would have begged for mercy when they came across their cavalcade. Not many could stand firm to converse with them like this Gu Jun. Then again, the man did appear to be too soft and naïve to be trusted easily.

    "Brother." The leader began. His eyes were not as sharp as the square-faced man but he carried an aura of dignity with him. "We are not bandits but there mustn't be any hiccups in our plan today so you will have to follow us for now. I am so sorry."

    Gu Jun studied the men. They were armed with guns. This was not Dreamlands so Gu Jun could not use the Eye of the Abyss and he could not remember the spell he used to summon the big bird. Furthermore, he knew he should consider himself lucky that the men did not pepper him with bullets without any negotiation.

    "Okay." Gu Jun nodded. "But I have a question. What happened over there?" He pointed at the iron cage, "What happened to that man?"

    "Are you trying to test our patience?!" Someone groused loudly. "As someone from the Angel City, you should know better!"

    "We honestly have no idea who that is." The leader waved for his people to stop. "He should be someone passing by just like you but he was unlucky to get captured by the Flying Locust and was then sacrificed to their Locust God. In any case, we do not have time for stories. Ah Bao, grab him into the car! Brother, please cooperate. This is for your own good."

    Ah Bao was a young man around 18. He jumped down from a van. Gu Jun followed along and crawled into the van. When he did so, the other passengers turned to stare at him. Soon the cavalcade continued their journey. The engine roar was booming.

    Gu Jun's mind burst with questions. 'What is this Angel City? Who are the Flying Locusts and Locust God? Is it another evil cult? Why are these people going there today? To fight? It does look like it...'

    Gu Jun tried to get some information from the other passengers. He looked around and realized Ah Bao was the youngest and thus probably had the loosest lips. Gu Jun focused his attention on Ah Bao. "I came from another land, so I really don't understand what is happening here."

    But Ah Bao did not appear to have heard him. Instead the young man studied the poster Gu Jun held with greater interest. "What is that thing? Is that a picture of the ocean?!" An excitement took over Ah Bao. He shouted at the other passengers. "Hey, guys. This picture has the image of the sea on it."

    That attracted the attention of the other guys instantly. If not for the loud engine that overwhelmed Ah Bao's voice, Gu Jun believed the men from the other vehicles would have turned to look this way as well.
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