Chapter 36: Mutant nest
Lou and Kim followed the giant mutant tiger making sure they kept out of sight and made as little sound as they could. Thanks to there being a lot of ambient sound being caused by the tiger, it was easy for Lou and Kim to talk without drawing attention.
"I wonder where it is going?" Kim was intrigued by the tiger's action as it seemed that they had a sense of direction which before did not seem like the case. 𝐟𝗿𝐞𝐞𝘄𝐞𝗯𝐧𝗼𝘃𝐞𝗹.𝗰𝗼𝐦
"I think whatever transformed them into mutants has some sort of agenda and it wouldn't surprise me that it was to take over the planet." Lou assumed the most likely answer and that was to take over.
"We will just have to find out and who knows where this giant tiger will lead us." Kim was having a few doubts that the tiger was just wandering, but the way it was moving looked like it was heading to a specific place.
20 minutes had gone by and the tiger finally stopped moving. Lou and Kim were getting rather bored and on multiple occasions almost jumped in to attack, but were stopped by Kim.
"Finally." Lou let out a sigh as something interesting was finally happening.
The tiger looked around for a moment and turned onto a road that had caved in leading somewhere underground.
"Hmm we should be very careful." Lou did not like the look of the cave that had been formed, but it also spelt danger which is also what she wanted.
"I will get an angle on the cave while you go inside, so if you start getting attacked please make sure you are by the exit." Kim knew Lou was going to go in either way so she was going to play her role in supporting Lou while she fought.
Lou nodded and seeing that the tiger was now not in sight she put the pistols on her heel and gave her bag to Kim. Lou then climbed down the side of the building to chase after the tiger and investigate where the cave went.
Kim went ahead and looked for something she could sit on top of, safe from mutants while also seeing the cave.
Spotting a billboard that was advertising the military Kim started to make her way over.
'It is a little further back from the cave, but it's rather high up so it shouldn't be a problem.' Kim was worried she would not have a good angle, but since the billboard was on a rather high building she did not think it would be an issue.
Crossing the road Kim found a metal ladder that went up the side.
'Why did Lou have to give me her bag? It makes it super hard to climb.' Kim was carrying two bags and her barret which made it awkward to climb.
Slowly making her way up to the side of the building Kim reached some metal stairs and managed to get to the roof. Checking for any mutants hanging around the roof, Kim was glad to see there was no one.
Going underneath the billboard Kim found the ladder to go up. Climbing once again Kim got onto the platform in front of the billboard. Putting down her and Lou's things Kim started to set up her spot to help Lou if there was any conflict in the cave.
Resting her sniper on top of the railing Kim adjusted the magnification and got a clear look at the cave. Kim spotted Lou waving at her from the ground acknowledging her position.
'At least she waited for me to be ready before entering, now let's see if I can spot anything.' Kim looked into the cave to see if she could spot the tiger mutant or anything abnormal. Kim's vantage point turned out to be the best spot as she got to look directly into it and had nothing obstructing her view.
"What is that?" Kim had spotted a green glow in the middle of the cave and almost looked like it was pulsating.
"Shit I can't contact Lou!" Kim was going to warn Lou, but they had no communication devices on them.
'I am just going to have to cover, Lou isn't stupid enough to just ru-.' Kim was hoping Lou would not just run in, but as she thought this saw her sprinting into the cave.
'This woman!' Kim tightly gripped her sniper, but there wasn't much she could do.
'Alright now that I know where Kim is, let's explore this cave.' Lou began to run straight into the cave.
Spotting a glowing core Lou already had a target in sight and ran towards it. However, what Lou didn't expect was the ground was completely covered in slime.
"Ew." Stopping in her tracks Lou lifted her foot and stood back.
'Great, now I'm covered in mutant slime.' Lou had panicked for a moment as the thought of turning crossed her mind. A few seconds went by and Lou did not feel anything and so she assumed it was okay to touch.
'Well, it's good to know we can touch the slime without worry.' Lou proceeded to step into the slime-like substance and was glad that it was only a thin layer and did not go too deep.
'I better make sure the slime doesn't get on my shoulder.' Lou remembered her shoulder being injured and knew if it touched the slime she would turn.
'If it is covered I should be fine, but I shouldn't try anything spectacular while in here.' Lou thought about how she wouldn't be able to flip around like she usually does due to the floor being covered in a residue.
Continuing to get closer to the core, Lou was looking around for the tiger but was unable to see where it could have gone.
Getting relatively close to the core Lou felt something inside her resonate.
'Huh?' Lou was very confused as it was clear this was something to do with the mutants, but she felt the essence inside her react strongly to it.
Lou shook her head for a moment as she was getting distracted by the core and needed to look for a tiger.
'I will worry about the core later, I need to make sure I don't get bit in the back by a mutant.' Lou focused back on her original objective not worrying about the core for now.
'It's so dark I don't know if there are branching caves.' Lou went to turn on her flashlight until suddenly Kim fired a shot right next to Lou.
Quickly turning around a mutant that was silently moving out of the slime was dead.
"They come out of the ground?" Lou looked around her feet with her flashlight and just as she turned to her right a mutant was coming out of the slime.
'Fuck this must a nest of some sorts.' Lou quickly fired at the mutant, setting it on fire and destroying the core. The fire provided a bit more light revealing the area and for the first time, Lou thought she really fucked up.
Looking up at the roof, hundreds of mutants were coming out of the thin layer of slime across the room. Their green eyes shone and not wanting to stay any longer Lou ran for the exit.
'Last thing I want is to get stuck, especially with a giant mutant.' Lou knew her limits and fighting off a mutant horde with a massive one was beyond that.
Mutants of varying races came falling from the roof landing all around Lou. Some had also started coming out of the ground and attempted to grab Lou by the ankles.
Lou was constantly shooting around her hitting any fallen mutants or ones appearing from the ground.
Using her heel pistols she was also able to shoot anything that attempted to grab her by the legs.
'Almost there.' Getting closer to the exit Lou pushed on her feet harder and harder trying to get out before she got overwhelmed.
Kim had also started firing mini-explosions into the cave, shaving off a good number of mutants around Lou. However, this attracted more mutants from within the cave increasing their number.
Lou jumped out of the cave and ran up the slope that led into the cave without turning back till she was at the top.
Kim had kept firing, but with Lou out of the cave, Kim used more powerful explosive bullets to cover more area. The mutants were building up more and more with no end in sight and despite Kim's mass killing, it seemed to not even put a dent into the number of mutants.
Lou was unsure if there would be an end, but still wanting her fight, she aimed her berettas and began firing a barrage of bullets. This created a massive fire within the horde which had fully lit the cave. Lou's heart dropped for a moment as there were multiple sets of eyes of varying colours.
Lou was instantly able to tell they were essence variants, but this was not what had made her so worried. They were giant mutants that had the capabilities of essence which was a terrifying thought. However, what she noticed was they did not move and stayed in the darkness of the branching caves within the nest, not revealing what kind of animal they were.
'I think it wants me to leave.' Lou was extremely conflicted, as she wanted to stay and fight, but she knew this was a battle she couldn't win and not winning equalled losing which is something Lou couldn't accept.
"Tch, I will have to come back here later." Lou decided to retreat for now as it was too dangerous to handle for now.
Running along the side of the street, Lou was making her way to where Kim was, who had stopped shooting at the mutants. Also to their surprise, the mutants that were coming out of the nest did not go any further than the slime which was confusing but was grateful nonetheless that they didn't need to fight off a massive horde.
'I need to get stronger, but how the hell do we improve our essence?' Lou had wondered this question for a while as there hadn't been any way to improve someone's essence other than increasing its capacity through repeated use.
'That core looked and felt special, even my essence seemed to have a positive reaction.' Lou was rather perplexed by the phenomenon and was tempted to go back in to find out.
'We need to get the squad together again so we can take on these nests as the answer to getting stronger may be within those nests.' Lou did not want to jump to conclusions, but how she felt around that green core supported that it was a good thing for them.
Climbing up the building that Kim was on, Lou had managed to successfully escape and was able to avoid a bunch of roaming mutants that were attracted to Kim''s gunfire.
"I'm glad you decided to run away, after seeing that core I was going to contact you but realized we don't have any form of communication." Kim expressed how relieved she was, but all Lou could do was chuckle.
"Pfftthaha, well I'm sure it wouldn't have worked even if we did, we were at their nest and I can only assume that emp effect would ruin any radio line we would have." Although there was no Lava, Lou assumed that whatever that slime was had the same effect seeing as the mutants originated from it.
"We don't know that for sure." Kim pouted as there was always still the possibility of it working.
"True, true, but I have to say it looks like we are going to have to camp out tonight and wait for that tiger to come out." Lou still wanted her fight with the tiger and figured they could wait for it to come out.
"You still want to kill it?" Kim was baffled as it was clear the tiger was long gone.
"Of course, if it doesn't come out in the next 24 hours we will move on." Lou knew they couldn't stay for too long, but she wanted to try waiting.
"Fine." Kim let out a sigh as although she would prefer to get going, there was no rush and in their current position they were rather safe.
"Heh, now let us enjoy this view we get from this billboard." Lou sat down leaning up against the billboard.
"Are you sure you can wait?" Kim could not see Lou waiting for so long.
"I can just go down and kill some stray mutants, it isn't a big deal." Lou shrugged as it wasn't hard to come by mutants especially if they were by the nest.
Kim facepalmed as she didn't even know why she asked.