443 The Ladder Going Down

    Between the swarm of locusts and scorched ground, 3 people and 1 cat hurried on their way. Along the way, the cat pointed her paw at the alphabet form while Gu Jun jotted them down. Based on the cat's description, Gu Jun caught the gist of her travel. Many questions bobbed in his mind. Who was that body, what was his history with the Locust God, what was scientific arcana, where did the power in Dirty-minded Yu's paintings come from and what did all of these have to do with the Yith... The questions entangled together. At that moment, the cat finished spelling another sentence. Gu Jun's lips moved as he read it in his mind, 'Ps, congratulations, you're going to be a father soon. You've scored during that time around new year."

    His heart stopped. He halted and his face flushed as he turned to glance at the cat on his shoulder. If this was really Wu Siyu, and if she was not joking... The cat patted her stomach and then waved her paws as if saying it was not the cat which was pregnant. Then she spelled out, "The human one."

    "Captain Gu?" Noticing Gu Jun lag behind and the weird expression on his face, Yu Chi stopped nervously to ask, "What's wrong?" Keziah Mason stopped with confusion as well. Yu Chi could not tell whether Gu Jun heard good news or bad news. The man just stood there numbly as if petrified.

    "Meow!" The cat mewled and reached out to pat Gu Jun's shoulder as if saying, 'I know how you feel.' Gu Jun took a deep breath and raised his brow. "Then I'll take it for real. Dirty-minded Yu, we'll have to return alive, we need to." He would not wish his own childhood experience on his own child. Furthermore, if she die in this cat form, what would happen to her human form?

    "Captain Gu?" Yu Chi asked again.

    "It was just something unexpected." Gu Jun explained, "My girlfriend is pregnant."

    Yu Chi felt hit by the head with a mallet. He saw the cat rub her belly. When he came to, Yu Chi congratulated the pair and then he worried. The pressure would be huge for these young parents to have a child at their age, furthermore, the situation of the world was also worrying... They communicated in Chinese so Keziah Mason couldn't understand it. She stayed silent. She was not clued into the information given by the cat earlier as well.

    "Let's continue." Gu Jun picked up his pace and asked the cat, "How much time left?" The cat bit on a pen and wrote down 4:23. She could write down numbers but when she wrote in letter, they would be distorted. This was her observation from the hostility shown to her when she tried to communicate with Phecda. But why? Why would it only affect written characters?

    Gu Jun noticed that time itself had gotten fluid after their multiple transmigration. According to Dirty-minded Yu, she was at the Wasteland World for less than a day but when he was in Elder Tong's mind, he believed multiple days had already passed. In fact, he had spent almost half a month at Mysterium World. The timeline was all over the place.

    Even now, their movement speed was not in line with time and space either. It felt like they covered hundreds of metres with one step. Even though the surrounding looked the same, they could feel the difference. To prove that, they came up with a small experiment. Gu Jun plucked a ball of fur from the cat and stuck it into the ground. They walked for a few steps and turned back to look. The tuft of fur had disappeared. But when they walked back for a few steps, the fur returned.

    "This is a different dimension with its own rule." Yu Chi mumbled his earlier hypothesis. "We are not really here... the centre..."

    Everything was inexplicable due to the chaos. Were they doing this out of freedom of choice or compelled by time? No one knew anymore. Even though the distance shortened, they still had to traverse for half an hour. The cat though saved her energy by slumping over Gu Jun's shoulders. The countdown had less than 4 hours less. They had been following the movement of the locusts. Wu Siyu raised her paws to signal her confusion about this. "I remember this was where the mutated area was when I first arrived here." But now they were still trekking on scorched land. The swarm of locusts was still moving forward. There was no sign of the mutated area, nothing changed down the horizon.

    "I believe the size of the mutated area has expanded." Gu Jun said. His infiltration of Elder Tong's mind worked and his speculation was correct. "The construction of the life circle contained the mutated area. Even so we only have 4 hours later, things are progressing at a dangerous rate..."

    Wu Siyu herself could not tell where exactly the Angel City and the entrance to the underground altar were. However, it was as if there was an invisible GPS system within the cat's body. With that as guide, she led them through another stretch of journey.

    Eventually, a sense of familiarity came to Gu Jun. He had been here before. A giant metropolis once sat here, the Angel City. But now there was nothing. Everything was vaporized by the nuclear explosion. The photon radiation, nuclear radiation, radioactive wave and electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion had a certain range. Underground bunker was not unheard of at the Phecda World. If the altar was built deep enough underground, it could survive the explosion unscathed.

    "Moew!" The cat called as she jumped down from Gu Jun's shoulder. Her nose sniffed around. She padded to a spot and patted the ground with her paws. This was the place.

    "This is it?" Yu Chi walked over and knocked the ground with his hands. He was the team's archaeologist. He dug with his shovel. After parting the surface away, they were greeted by some fallen debris. The two men worked together to move the boulders away and then a small circular entrance was exposed. The entrance was very small and the light could go down for only 5 metres. The tunnel seemed to disappear down into darkness. The tunnel went vertically downwards. It was not carved out of stone or made with cement. Instead a ladder was built into the wall. Yu Chi grabbed the first rung and shook. It did not budge but it did not look that stable either. However, the altar should be protected by some kind of power or else the entrance wouldn't be so well-preserved. Gu Jun glanced down it. In this kind of situation, the order was important. If the person above decided to kick at the people below them, all of them at the bottom would tumble down into the unknown darkness.

    "Miss Mason." He turned to Keziah Mason, "Due to the unique circumstance, we'll have to ask you to go first."

    Even though Yu Chi wanted to be the first to see the altar but he understood the possible danger. He scratched his head. "Miss Mason, you're wearing a dress and it's inappropriate for us to climb below you. I'll go second, if anything happens to you, I'll grab you." Wu Siyu knew who the girl was. She hissed as if in warning.

    "The witch goes first. I'm fine with that." Keziah Mason was still dressed in 17th century dress. But it did not restrict her movement. She grabbed the handle and descended into darkness. Then Yu Chi followed. Last was Gu Jun with the cat hugging his neck. With both hands and feet on the rungs, he went down the stairs. He was suddenly reminded of Ah Bao, Shou Hou from the resistance. He sighed. After paying with their lives, the Flying Locust was still around. But perhaps things would change once they arrived at the bottom of these stairs.
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