Translator: xujin Editor: xujin-editor
A drop of cold sweat dripped down his forehead, as Jiang Chen stared at the massive pair of boobs in front him. They were at least size 36D.
Below her eyebrows was a pair of valiant looking eyes, a beautiful nose, and a delicate mouth. However, her malicious expression certainly tainted her beauty. A pitch black pistol and a wicked looking whip, were held in her hands.
If the surrounding was decorated with a few more sexually suggestive items, every man in the world would fantasize about what could happen next.
Fantasize my a*s!
Jiang Chen’s heart swelled with regret and fear. He did not feel any sense of pleasure or consider the possibility of being aroused.
His pants all the sudden felt tight. He must be delusional right now. [There is no way I am a masochist.]
He knew he had no weird fetishes. So, any physical reaction would be an accident in this dire situation.
“Name?” The busty girl asked. She was wearing a black leather jacket, with a pair of jeans that has started to fade after too many washes. She shook her hair, as she forcefully stepped onto the chair’s arm.
“Jiang Chen…” He swallowed, as he responded truthfully. As a civilized man himself, he has never seen a girl so barbaric.
The girl raised her eyebrows. “What a girly name?”
[Why don’t you ask my mother? Dammit!] Of course, he could only say that in his head. He feared that the moment he opened his mouth, a bullet would create a new hole on his forehead.
Yes, this hottie had a pistol on her, which made the atmosphere not even remotely romantic.
"I was born in the morning, hence the name morning (Cheng) in my name,” Jiang Chen mumbled. The name was not girly by any means. However, the fact that he looked very delicate, didn’t contribute to his cause. Even if he had a masculine name, the contrast would be even odder.
“Don’t get off topic.” The girl lashed the whip onto the sofa beside him. The loud cracking sound scared Jiang Chen so much, that he curled into the chair. “I am not interested in your mom.”
[God, you were the one that asked.] Jiang Chen swore in his mind, as his face paled.
“You have the potential to be a great looking guy.” the beauty smiled, as she approached him. She touched Jiang Chen’s face with the side of her whip. “You are going to answer my questions. If you dare to lie, I don’t mind creating a few scars on your lovely face.”
Jiang Chen’s face turned red as he tried to hold back his scream. [Why do I feel so violated?]
“Where are you from?” The girl questioned as she gazed directly at him.
“I am from the north.” Jiang Chen responded with a lie. Of course, he never believed that the girl could see through him. [ Wang Hai City? Here is Wang Hai City? This deserted place?]
“This can of cola, where did you find it?” The girl’s pronunciation was odd as if she has never heard someone say Coke before.
Jiang Chen felt the girl’s voice transform as her breathing rapidly grew. The tone was filled with an intense lust, or greed?
“Coke… it’s a type of pop.”
“No sh*t! I know it is pop. I am asking you, where it is from!” The girl chugged the coke. As soon as she finished, she exhaled with relief. Then she threw the can onto the ground, and lashed her whip onto the poor sofa once again.
Jiang Chen stared directly at the odd looking gun pointed directly at his forehead.
A drop of sweat dripped down his face. He steadied his breath as he tried to remain calm. “I can’t explain that.”
“Do you want to die?”
“Is this the way you treat someone who just saved your life?” With a sudden burst of courage, he argued back.
After a brief moment of silence, she let out a slow sigh. She put the gun away and threw the whip onto the ground. “Fine, I did cross the line.” Despite admitting her fault, she had no intention of letting Jiang Chen go.
[Since she only whipped the sofa, she probably has no ill-intention after all.] Jiang Chen thought in his head.
“Trust me. I have no harmful intentions,” She said. However, Jiang Chen was uncertain about how long her conscience would last, so he continued to make up stories.
“No harmful intentions?”
“Like how I saved you from starvation? If I told you anything today, it would make both of our lives more complicated than it needs to be.” Jiang Chen continued to respond with a secretive tone. His words left a lot to the imagination.
“Haha,” the girl forced a careless laugh. But the uncertainty in her eyes was clearly evident.
“Maybe we can partner up! I just got here and… how can I explain this. Everything here is terrible. I need a guide, and I can pay you handsomely for it.” He proposed an offer with a luring hint in his voice. He was using the stick and the carrot strategy.
“Oh? You are from the Northern Alliance?” The girl asked with her eyebrows raised.
On this wasteland, if there are any signs of law and order; it must be the distant alliance on the northern tundra. They were not a target of the nuclear destruction, nor were there any infectious disease breakouts. Hence, order remained on the land far away.
However, order was a relative term; they lacked real justice because slavery, corruption, and civil war all still existed on the land. Only the slightly higher food production made the area, made it somewhat more attractive. Overall, it was no better than the anarchic Wang Hai City.
“No, I am only from somewhere relatively well off. Hmm, and I am collecting some useful resources for someone. At the same time, surplus commodities are disposed- like the can of pop you just finished, or the three cans of food that you devoured clean.” Jiang Chen did not continue with the disguise as a member of the Northern Alliance. What if she realized he was lying after all.
The best idea right now was to say that he came from a distant place. A place that nobody visited before.
The girl blushed as she heard the words “devoured clean” and she realized that her etiquette at the time must not have been the finest. She stared at Jian Cheng with a fierce look. Jian Cheng laughed as he dismissed the idea. He knew the negotiation was successful.
“I don’t know what you guys want in this city. All the supermarkets, storages, and even refrigerators are raided clean. There is no way you can even find one piece of bread.”
“My fair lady, what is your name?” Jiang Chen said, shaking his head.
“Sun Jiao,” She responded, as she again raised her eyebrows. With a devious smile on her face, she said, “Let me get this clear, if the partnership involves anything strange, I might blow your head up."
“Don’t worry, miss.” Jiang Chen sighed. There was no way he would get in bed with a girl that could kill him at any moment. “I only need an experienced guide and, do you think I lack food?”
“Then what exactly are you searching for? Could it be… for slaves?” Sun Jiao paused for a second before she maliciously gazed at Jiang Chen.
Of course, if he had plenty of food, then he must have farms or plantations, and related production facility. Sun Jiao’s first instinct was that this guy might be a slave trader. Slaves were the finest labor force on the wasteland and slave trading was considered to be the norm. However, Sun Jiao thoroughly hated slave trading because a slave trader abducted her sister. It would be fine if she got sold into a factory, but if she got sold into prostitution or even to the cannibals, it would be a complete nightmare.
“No, no, no. This is a complete misunderstanding,” Jiang Chen explained. “I don’t need slaves. I need technology.”
“Technology?” Sun Jiao seemed confused.
“Yes, technology. Just like the laser gun you are holding and the computer on your arm. While we have those things, we can’t produce them ourselves. Therefore, we decided to come to this deserted city to find some old technology.”
“These things?” Jiang Chen's question caused a mixture of confusion and suspicion. “These things are hard to make? In Liu Ding Village a lot of people can assemble these.”
[Dammit,] Jiang Chen swore in his mind, but he remained calm.
“That was only an example. Our technology in food production and transportation is highly advanced, but our general technology is rather lackluster. Which is why I am here.” He explained, impressed by his improvisation as it was far better than he thought.
He noticed that while this world had previously made significant technological advancements in the past, the civilization was in complete ruins after the nuclear war. Especially since infections broke out across the land, it was a miracle that humanity still existed.
The state of this wasteland after the fallout was rather strange. Highly advanced levitated cars existed simultaneously with internal combustion engine vehicles. While some advanced technology were preserved, the civilization undoubtedly regressed.
“Whatever.” Sun Jiao shrugged. With interest in her voice, she opened her mouth. “Now, let’s talk about my compensation.”
“What do you want to be paid in,” After a short pause, Jian Chen asked. He was unsure what the currency was in this world.
“C-type battery, food, and crystals are all fine. Though personally, I prefer food.” Sun Jiao responded. Then with desire filled eyes, she asked, “Oh, do you have more of those curry chicken?”
“You finished them all.” Jiang Chen sighed with a fake heartbroken look. He has never even seen batteries or crystals before. So without a doubt, food would be the best choice.
“Oh, I am sorry,” Sun Jiao said with an awkward tone. All of a sudden, she turned back into her usual malicious character and forcefully stepped onto the armrest. Then she bargained, “salary will be ten cans of food per month. You are also responsible for my meals!”
Jiang Chen’s direct response made Sun Jiao guilty about her rather unreasonable demand. Although on this wasteland only fools had a conscience, conscience always existed inside people’s heart.
Cruelty was only a protective response for survival.
“I will be responsible for your safety.” Sun Jiao added as guilt overwhelmed her.
[No sh*t! If I die, who will pay you?] Jiang Chen responded viciously in his head. The compensation was nothing for him, but it would still cost him around one hundred dollars.
“Ok, my beautiful bodyguard, can you untie me now?” The crisis was finally alleviated as Jiang Chen finally let out a long sigh. His limbs almost losing all sense of feeling. Sun Jiao casually took out a dagger and sliced through the rope.
Jiang Chen moved a little as he stared at Sun Jiao with a sad look. Then, he went and picked up his empty backpack.
Sun Jiao forced an awkward smile and pretended that she never searched his bag.
“What’s next? Get out of here?”
“Get out? Why? This will be our temporary meeting location.”
Outside the window, the mega metropolis already lost its liveliness. The once crowded streets were now empty, without a soul in sight. The endless amount of zombies replaced what was once a vibrant city. The occasional howl and scream from unknown creatures also traversed through the dead city. Guns fired in the not so far off distance, mixed with barely audible noises. In the city permeated with death, familiar battles occurred every day. Zombies against humans, humans against humans…
Through the undusted stained window, Jiang Chen saw the danger, the death, and the opportunity of gold everywhere.
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Translator: xujin Editor: xujin-editor
The universe existed as a multiverse.
A butterfly’s wing in the Amazon rain forest may have caused the tornado in U.S. Texas. The butterfly effect could exaggerate any small changes to infinity. It could alter the path of the future.
Therefore, the understanding of the future is extremely uncertain and relative.
Jiang Chen, Male, 23 years old. An undergraduate student. He spent some time after graduation as a sales associate in a clothing store but has since been laid-off. The increased financial pressure forced him to make a difficult decision: to search for another job in Wang Hai City or to go back to his hometown.
In his opinion, he did not want to give up so easily. To live in a major metropolitan like Wang Hai was his dream since he was a child, and it was also what his parent’s expected. For someone that did not experience the world yet, he was eager to explore what the world had to offer.
However, he knew that the journey would be difficult. He got drunk. It was the first time since graduation where he drank alone till he passed out. After he let out all his frustration and sorrow, dizziness struck his head, and he became immediately unconscious. An unknown metal object directly hit his arm and fused with it. It disappeared as quickly as it has appeared. It was almost as if it never existed in the first place.
Then, he discovered a peculiar ability – time and dimensional travel
Of course, it took him several months before he realized it.
The strange looking pattern surrounded his right wrist like a watch. If one examined it carefully, the bracelet was shaped like an odd looking tattoo.
Then it obviously something was wrong because he never had a tattoo. He did not know why he became the chosen one. However, he understood at that moment, this was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Time travel? Dimensional travel? He didn’t have enough knowledge to understand these strange phenomenas. But one time he was struck by electricity and felt completely fine. That was when he discovered the tattoo’s empty bar filled up after absorbing around 100 voltages of power. Then, it met the requirements to perform “multiverse travel.” Multiverse travel itself costed half of the energy. Therefore, completely filling 100 voltages of electricity would allow for a round trip through time and dimensions at the expense of around 50 dollars. It was very economical. Not only did the tattoo had the ability to travel, but it also contained an alternative dimension that he could visit at any time. Hence, it was a storage dimension roughly one square meter cubed size. But because it costed energy to store and retrieve items, Jiang Chen preferred to use a backpack to store items. If he was not careful and lost the means to charge the energy in the apocalyptic world, then there was no way to come home.
Jiang Chen had a feeling that the energy storage could be upgraded, including the storage dimension. The functionality definitely could also be improved. He just didn’t understand how at the moment.
Charging the power was simple. Jiang Chen only needed to put his finger into an electric socket. Although this was not aesthetically pleasing in any way, it was perfect for getting the job done. How did he figure out? Like mentioned before, it was completely by accident.
The first time he time traveled, he found himself in an abandoned residence. The dust covered bed along with the corroded furniture spelled the timeliness of the place. He checked his surroundings as he began examining this timeworn house. With the information from a half-broken storage tape and old newspapers lying around, he gained some partial understanding of this world.
This world was a parallel universe similar to earth. However, the technology was clearly far more advanced. High rise buildings spanned across the landscape, but there were no traces of any civilization. Zombies and mutants occupied the once busy streets. Jiang Chen did not dare to step out without a weapon.
The time was the year 2190; the location was still Wai Hai City. However, the difference between the two time periods was night and day.
The year 2150, global warming intensified. Excessive extraction caused shortages in all kinds of resources. An economic crisis ensued.
The year 2164, a political crisis in Poland triggered a war between Europe and China. The red army began invading westwards. The global politics, as a result, were in a tense period. It was worth mentioning that in this parallel universe, USSR was not dissolved in 1991, hence the global politics were divided into three organizations. First, US-led alliances known as NATO, a Soviet-led Europa known as CCCP, and lastly, the Chinese formed PCA with the Southeast Asian countries. The rest of the forces remained independent.
The year 2171, the tension on Europa escalated as the CCCP declared war on the PCA. Both parties accused the others of initiating the warfare which caused the start of the third world war.
In the same winter, China and Japan launched a naval war over the conflict in the South China Sea. NATO and CCCP declared cooperation as fires spread across Asia. That year, Mongolia experienced a political crisis which caused further escalation between CCCP and PCA, with both sides amassing tremendous firepower on the borders.
The year 2172, the first nuclear weapon was detonated by the CCCP in Paris, which officially brought the third world war into tactical nuclear warfare.
The year 2173, this modern warfare was in a surprising stalemate. The entire world experienced nuclear fallout as the habitable, without a doubt, received significant destruction. The nuclear winter covered 80% of the land in snow. Nobody thought that such an ironic cause would end global warming. Refugees, starvation, diseases were all symptoms of this modern warfare. It only took two years to destroy humanity entirely. The total economic losses far exceeded the combined losses of the previous world wars. Due to this, peace came without a decisive victory for either side. Everyone knew that if the war continued, no one would survive.
New Year 2174, a peace treaty was negotiated and enacted. “Habitat Revitalization Program” was established to remove nuclear fallout. All nations participated in the funding of the program.
Fall of year 2174, the United Nations announced the abortion of the ““Habitat Revitalization Program” as the cells used to remove nuclear waste experienced uncontrolled mutation. At the same time, due to the attack by unknown militants, the mutated cells began to spread into major cities. The infected humans turned into zombies, as the human civilization entered a biological apocalypse. The law and order that once governed civilization, shattered in days.
The year 2176, The United Nations sent six colony exploration ships towards Kepler B in Alpha Centauri. These ships contained the last hope for civilization. These ships were meant to plant a seed in the universe, in hopes of finding a new world. However, this was completely irrelevant for the humans still fighting on the ground.
In the same year, the United Nations were dissolved.
The information contained in the newspaper only lasted till the year 2176. The remainder of the news came from an ancient diary. From the electronic clock that still ticked in the drawer, the time was June 2190.
By coincidence, the world he lived in was also June.
But within this timeline, civilization destroyed itself in just five years
After he had made a brief stop, Jian Cheng chose to return to the modern world. There were too many unknown dangers that it would be unwise to continue. He must first be thoroughly prepared.
After he had rested for two days, he bought a box of canned food, a box of sausages, and a box of instant noodles. Even if he did not consider staying overnight at the dangerous place, he brought three days of food, just to be safe.
The zombies during the day time seemed to have lost the majority of their powers. It eased the exploration in that area, as Jian Cheng carefully stepped across the middle of the street. He avoided the area concentrated with zombies before he found a mansion.
The high wall and Iron Gate made it look very safe. The yellow grass on the ground made the place look fairly outdated. The marble sculptures by the gate were no longer recognizable due to the corrosion from the acid rain. It was evident that the world was filled with pollution.
As to why he chose this place in particular? The answer was quite obvious. The rich looking mansion would contain some valuable items.
To his surprise, he did not find anything valuable, but he did find a girl that was almost starved to death.
Maybe it was because of the girl’s beauty that caused him to put his guard down, or because of his experience from the civilized world that made him not think about the possible danger. When he saw the despair in the girl’s eyes, she looked so powerless. He took out a bottle of water from his bag and fed her the water slowly.
[Saving the girl is the most important priority because maybe she will marry me in the end?]
Immediately, Jiang Chen took out the curry chicken from his bag. After the girl had smelled the aroma from the can, the same wimpy eyes looked at Jiang Chen filled with despair. He was a virgin himself, so there was no way he could have resisted the seduction, especially when a beautiful girl gazed at him with her watery eyes. He felt a wave of joy both spiritually and physically. So he took out his spoon in good heart and began feeding the girl with the flawless body.
After… well, there was nothing after.
Jiang Chen deeply regretted his decision.
The girl’s action accurately defined the story of the farmer and the snake.
After going through a couple of pieces of bread and a canned curry chicken, the girl whipped out the pistol without hesitation. She pressed the gun against Jiang Chen’s forehead as Jiang Chen was shocked in place. She then skillfully tied him onto the chair, as she interrogated Jiang Chen with what once belong to the former mansion owner, the whip.
Now, Jiang Chen realized what it meant to be carrying a full bag of food. He was fortunate that he met Sun Jiao who still had some conscience. If he instead met some cannibals or slave traders, he probably would have ended up as either food or product.
Of course, Jiang Chen could always activate the tattoo and travel back, but that meant his biggest secret would be exposed. If this girl “camped spawn,” then he could face even more danger.
He did not want to give up this “treasure land.”
Also, it took time to activate the time travel function. If the girl realized that something was wrong, there was no guarantee that she would not pull the trigger.
He didn’t want to risk it. The good thing was that they were able to reach an agreement.
“How would you transport the supplies here?” Sun Jiao questioned with confusion in her voice while reinforcing the mansion’s external defense.
“Of course my partners have ways to do so, you don’t have to worry about it.” Jiang Chen continued to bullshit.
The mansion had quite a bit of cash, but the value of cash in this world was drastically different compared to the original world. Jiang Chen wanted to look for gold and other valuables, but it was evident that the previous owner did not store any at home.
The painting on the wall may be quite expensive, but of course, these artists did not exist in the world Jiang Chen belongs to yet. So these painting would be worthless. The mansion, however, did contain some highly advanced electronics such as a hologram TV and automatic cooking equipment. But he soon realized that none of it functioned properly, so Sun Jiao was quick to answer his confusion.
“Oh, these things… " After the nuclear explosion, the majority of the electronics ceased to function. But some parts were quite useful and valuable for the survivors.
Jiang Chen let out a sigh as he gave up on the plan of selling these electronics in the modern world.
However, since these existed before, there must be someone who could produce this equipment again. Jiang Chen knew that if he traded with food, there would be plenty of “geniuses” that would be willing to work for him. In this apocalyptic world, these skills were worth almost nothing.
For those technologists, if it was not high-end military weaponry knowledge, their life was no different than someone who lived in the slump.
Sun Jiao didn’t know what Jiang Chen saw in this mansion. Nevertheless, since her employer said that work needed to be done, she didn’t refuse.
“Let me be honest here; there is not much value in reinforcing this structure. If we don’t make a lot of noise, those brainless zombies will not find their way here. The area is also free from powerful mutants. This is a complete waste of…"
“Enough, I am not preventing the zombies. I know that if I don’t bother those disgusting things, they will not go out of their way to bother me. I am preventing intruders because I am pretty sure you don’t want your throat slit while you are sleeping.” He rambled as he gave Sun Jiao a hard stare.
“Okay boss.” Sun Jiao rolled her eyes as she hammered the last nail into the wood. She wanted to argue that nobody would bother entering into these buildings because they have obviously been looted.
As to why she is here, that was her secret.
“Do you have the map of this place?” Jiang Chen crossed his legs as he sat on the moldy sofa. He did not feel the slightest guilt for making a girl work this hard. It certainly was not the most enjoyable experience having a gun pointed at his head.
Sun Jiao was experienced in this type of work. She quickly reinforced the mansion with any materials she found.
“What’s your EP? I can directly send it to you.”
“EP?” Jiang Chen was confused.
“It is this thing.” Sun Jiao pointed at the computer on her arm. She grinned as if she had heard a joke. “You don’t have one?”
“... I can buy one,” Jiang Chen forced a smile. He felt uncivilized in front of this girl.
“That’s hard to imagine that you have the courage to explore the city without EP. Are you not afraid of the radiation level?” Sun Jiao sighed as she took out what looked like a large electronic watch from her backpack. She threw it to Jiang Chen. “Try it out.”
“Seems fitting…where did you get it?” Jiang Chen played with the EP. He was amazed by this world’s technological advancement, as the EP was as light as a feather. The crystal screen displayed Jiang Chen’s biological stats. It seemed to be a health monitor device.
“I found it from an unlucky guy’s body.” Sun Jiao grinned. The smile was certainly delightful, but a shiver went down Jiang Chen spine as if he just saw the devil.
User Name: Jiang Chen
Muscle Strength: 12
Bone Strength: 10
Brain Cell Strength: 14
Radiation Level: 11 (Safe)
Irregular Status: None
Cold sweat appeared on his forehead as he saw the radiation level. He almost forgot that radiation saturated the world from top to bottom. He wasn’t clear as to what it meant by a radiation level of 11, but he knew that before coming here, there was no way he could have been exposed to radiation.
“None of your abilities exceed 20… Come on, are you even a man?” Sun Jiao glanced at Jiang Chen with an arrogant expression.
“Do you want to try?” Jiang Chen responded with a furious voice.
“I am standing right here, why don’t you try?” Sun Jiao stepped onto the armrest of the sofa again, her eyes full of defiance.
[There was no way I will let this go. Nah, it it better to stay calm.]
Jiang Chen was quick to admit defeat. There was no way he could beat this “barbaric” girl. Even if the slim possibility became a reality that they did hookup, he had to prevent the girl from biting his dick off. He was confident that she would do it, if given the chance.
For these types of enjoyable actions, it would be more appropriate to do it in the modern world. If he had the money, girls would follow.
For no apparent reason, a person popped into Jiang Chen’s head. A girl who fired him and made him lose his source of income. The girl who made life in Wai Hai City miserable. The girl who always held a bit*h face and a terrible attitude.
“What happened, my little boss, why are you silent all of a sudden?” Sun Jiao emphasized on the word little as she looked at him mockingly.
“Nothing. I just remembered something from the past.”
Sun Jiao, surprised by the calm voice that answered, felt a chill run down her spine. Although she was not afraid of the guy that didn’t even hit 20 in any aspects of combat, her years of fighting instinct rarely lied.
Sun Jiao was smart to keep her silence. There was no reason to offend free food. Life without the need to worry about food was something Sun Jiao never imagine. That curry chicken was amazingly delicious. On this wasteland, it would be fortunate to have a single piece of bread. The majority of the people here lived off of nutrient supplies. Something that never made you full, but kept you alive.
Also, the immature boss seemed like a genuine person.
Don’t be confused, the word genuine person had an adverse connotation on the wasteland. However, much to her surprise, she would rather spend time with “Mr. Good Man” than the “normal” wasteland person. At least she did not need to worry about waking up and realizing that she was tied up.
She thought about it, and with her slightly cracked lip, she let slip a small but delightful laugh.
“Lady, could you not laugh so maliciously?” He didn’t know why, even though her smile was beautiful, it made Jiang Chen shiver.
“Did I? Don’t you think I am very attractive?”
“Do I answer yes, or no…” Jiang Chen murmured as he stared at the gorgeous face.
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The next morning, Sun Jiao was delegated by Jiang Chen to explore the commercial banking building near Qing Pu. Sun Jiao was curious as to what was at the bank, and Jiang Chen answered with a direct response.
“I need the gold from there.”
The world here was full of treasure. Any of the civilian products could easily out tech the prototypes in the science labs back in the modern world. But, it was impractical to sell it there. Therefore, a highly valuable commodity that exchanged smoothly would be gold.
Jiang Chen guessed that in a structureless apocalyptic world, gold had no practical value. In a place where everyone starved, no one would trade food for some shiny metal.
He was absolutely correct.
Sun Jiao wanted to know what gold was good for, but Jiang Chen did not want to share. So, she stopped being persistent about the question.
A small incident also happened in the morning.
After she opened her eyes, Jiang Chen placed a piece of bread in front of Sun Jiao. Sun Jiao snagged the toast as she looked at Jiang Chen cautiously.
“Speak your mind, what do you want?"
“Want? Didn’t you say I have to take care of your meals?” Jiang Chen rolled his eyes up. He was not that desperate to sleep with someone that could bite his dick off. Once he had the money in the modern world, girls would follow.
She was shocked for a brief moment before she realized it was part of the compensation package.
“This is breakfast. Three meals a day, but you probably have to eat outside for lunch. Let me grab a can for you.” Even if this girl completely looted the bag, there was still food in the storage dimension. There was plenty of energy left to grab a can.
Sun Jiao was genuinely surprised. Her eyes felt watery. She saw too many tragedies and deaths over food, but this was the first time someone was afraid that she would go hungry.
She grabbed the canned food. Sun Jiao’s didn't want to look Jiang Chen in the eyes. She had the intention of robbing this guy and using him as a hostage in exchange for food from his partner.
Even though she immediately rejected that thought, the idea still indeed existed. She felt a profound sense of guilt.
“Breakfast… What is breakfast?” Sun Jiao feasted on the bread with her mouth full of food. She looked quite barbaric, but it was a rather amusing sight to see.
“If you don’t eat breakfast, it may increase your chance of getting stomach diseases.” Jiang Chen muttered as he almost ignored that this was a different world. Most of the people were used to the uncertainty of food. “If you eat food in the morning, it would make you more energetic.”
“Thank … you.”
“Huh?” The voice was so faint that he couldn’t entirely make out what she said.
“Nothing.” Sun Jiao licked the crumbs off of her lips as she savored the last piece of the bread. She looked at her rather greasy hands but resisted the temptation to lick her fingers. It was the first time she had the strange desire to save her face. She didn’t want someone to think she was barbaric, although that wasn’t necessarily the right way to put it either.
“I will do my best to find the gold in the bank’s vault… but it would be much harder to move them back here. “
Yes, this deserted city was full of abandoned vehicles. The EMP created by the nuclear weapon had destroyed the majority of the electronics in this city. Advanced technology became an obstacle to survival as the cars on the street were all products of the advancement. Even the internal combustion cars were integrated with high tech parts. Therefore, these cars were completely useless.
Without the proper maintenance and replacement by a professional, it was almost impossible to find a drivable car.
“Be careful. The goal is to understand the area. I want to know the surroundings and the exact location of the gold. That should be all. Try to come back before it gets dark.”
“Ok, I know.” Sun Jiao waved her hand as she inspected her equipment one last time. “Wang Hai City’s night is full of danger. These zombies are much more intelligent without sunlight.”
“Oh, can I see your EP status?” As Sun Jiao was about the depart, Jiang Chen opened his mouth and asked all of a sudden. He was curious as to what kind of ridiculous stats this girl had to beat him in one move.
Surprised, Sun Jiao immediately waved her EP. Jiang Chen was stunned.
User Name: Sun Jiao
Muscle Strength: 44
Bone Strength: 61
Brain Cell Strength: 13
Note: Level C Repair Vaccine, T-Virus Vaccine.
Jiang Chen never imagined that her delicate arms could exert three times his strength. Was that even humanly possible?!
After he made sure Sun Jiao left, Jiang Chen immediately traveled back to the modern world.
The time in both worlds was parallel. Therefore, it flowed at the same rate.
The battery, of course, cannot be charged in the apartment. As it would take who knows how long to charge 100 volts there. If Sun Jiao did not find him after she came back, there would be a lot of trouble. Thus, to charge, he had to steal electricity from elsewhere.
He sneaked into a small power substation in a neighboring community. With a profound sense of guilt, he cut open the rubber that transported electricity. He then sighed deeply, as he placed his right hand onto the wire.
The open current caused a flurry of sparks. The energy bar on his wrist was charged almost immediately. But of course, the entire community’s power jumped.
“Dammit, what’s wrong with the electricity company? Why did the power jump again? My ranked game…”
“Why do we have no power again? I am pissed…”
Waves of roars emerged from the neighboring community as residents searched for the cause. Without even closing the lid to the power substation, Jiang Chen immediately snuck away. He chose this place because it lacked surveillance.
Full of guilt, Jiang Chen escaped back into his rented apartment. “It looks like the power issue is an immediate concern. Should I ask someone to upgrade the circuit? But it would be difficult to explain the situation without causing suspicion. Should I move to another place? Or rent somewhere that can sustain large voltage machinery? Dammit, it would be better if I could replace electricity as the source of power.”
To better visualize the remaining battery, Jian Chen used a ruler to mark the energy bar with small increments.
Jiang Chen packed the food into his backpack as he envisioned his life in the future. At the same time, he ordered boxes of canned food, instant noodles and bread from Taobao. Jiang Chen looked at his near zero bank account balance, but he was not upset at all. He understood that very soon, the money he just spent would be pocket change for him in the future.
The entire bank’s gold! That would be a lot of money.
The only thing close to resembling his feeling was winning the lottery.
He also brought bandages, medicine, and other medical supplies. He estimated that he would spend quite some time in the post-apocalyptic world. He then spent 10% of the energy to pack two boxes of canned food and four boxes of instant noodle into the storage dimension. Although it took energy to store, it was better to be prepared.
He lit up a cigarette, as he placed his finger into the electrical socket. He waited as the battery charged. It would be a hassle to steal electricity again.
To pass the time, he played with the computer folded around his left arm.
The radiation level concerned Jiang Chen. He did not want to be exposed to possible diseases caused by radiation. He opened the help manual for radiation levels and studied through the notes. To his surprise, once the radiation level surpassed level 50, the user’s health would be affected. It was recommended to store some iodine in the EP to reduce radiation exposure.
He pressed the iodine extraction button as a thin needle appeared from the side of the EP. He had studied it before he placed the needle into the iodine alcohol on the counter.
The color of the iodine alcohol began fading, as it slowly turned colorless.
He stared at the slow moving iodine meter and the reduced radiation level. Surprised by the outcome, the problem that bothered him was easily solved.
In this case, he only needed to purchase some iodine pills from the pharmacy to resolve the radiation problem.
The fully charged Jiang Chen stretched his arms. He walked into the kitchen and grabbed a few ingredients from the fridge. He cooked tomato fried eggs and pepper roasted meat, and sat down to enjoy his lunch with a cold beer. He gulped down the beer and let out an emotional sigh.
This simple meal would cost countless amounts of gold in the apocalypse. In that troubled world, gold would not be more valuable than rock. From Sun Jiao’s pure joy and satisfaction in devouring that can of food, Jian Cheng knew how important food must be in that world.
Jiang Chen imagined taking out a can of food at Liu Ding Town, and the countless attractive women that would sleep with him.
He finished the last bite of rice. He chewed on it carefully, as his mind wandered elsewhere.
[If world war three broke out in this world, what happened in the apocalyptic world would be repeated.]
He shivered at the thought and was afraid to think further.
“Haha, why did I start to think about these weird questions? I need to figure my life out first,” he mocked at himself as he shook his head.
The first important step was to get the gold and then convert it into currency. Then, spend some time enjoying the life of a millionaire.
The first step would be to buy a mansion. A car would be necessary too.
Girlfriend? Why worry about that when there’s so much money?
Jiang Chen washed the dishes before putting them away neatly. He then picked up his heavy backpack.
Time travel. Wait.
He seemed to have thought of something. He opened the fridge and grabbed a can of coke.
Time travel initiated.
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It took only a second, before Jiang Chen stepped onto the dusty hardwood floor.
He checked the energy bar on his wrist. To his surprise, it only cost him 40% this time to complete the travel. Maybe the energy storage upgraded with the number of the times charged?
Jiang Chen shook his head. It was great news for him, but he couldn’t why it happened.
As he sat on the luxurious sofa, he enjoyed the comfortable life not common in the modern world. He lit a cigarette and watched time pass.
From the mold-filled window, Jiang Chen saw a glimpse of Sun Jiao’s shadow in the distance. He took out his binoculars to confirm before he opened the door to let her in.
“This is the gold you wanted.” He caught the bag and both of his hands suddenly dropped. Happiness overflowed his heart, as the bag was hefty. The bag weighed at least a couple of kilograms, but the girl threw it like a volleyball. The amount of power she possessed was daunting.
Jiang Chen glanced at her arms. Her slim arms didn’t contain any signs of muscle.
“That was so tiring. The bank had zombies everywhere. It took me almost two batteries of ammo to completely get rid of those gross creatures. The vault was also sealed by a heavy layer of steel boards that I couldn’t open. I got these gold bars from the VIP room.”
Sun Jiao wiped the sweat off of her forehead and threw her backpack onto the ground. Even if the gold bars only weighed a couple of kilograms, combined with her equipment and supply, she almost encumbered 20 kilograms while traversing the long distance.
“Hmm? This is …” Sun Jiao caught the coke as she gazed at him.
“You seemed to have liked it.” He was a bit embarrassed after Sun Jiao stared at him for so long.
Her lips moved without a word. After moments of silence, she resumed her usual boldness. She opened the can and took a big sip out of the coke.
“Gulp, Gulp… Haha, this is awesome. This weather is so ridiculously hot. Hmm, this is cold?” Sun Jiao looked at Jiang Chen suspiciously.
“The fridge in the kitchen is still usable. The photocell and solar panel is working in this place.” He did not lie about this. Even though most of the electronics were destroyed, the power system somehow remained intact.
Maybe someone lived here and fixed some of the electronics. But from the layers of dust on the ground, that was a long time ago.
“That’s fine. You wouldn’t tell me where this Coke came from even if I asked.” Sun Jiao waved her hand to dismiss the thought. “Ok, what’s next? If we were to blow open the vault and move the gold here, it would take some professional help. At least, we need powerful explosives, or skilled hackers to break the electronic lock.”
“Where can we find them?” The explosives were a problem. It was almost impossible to buy them in large quantities in the modern world because of its restrictive nature, especially given Jiang Chen’s social status.
“A lot of survivor bases have them, like Liu Ding Town.” Envy flowed out of her eyes, as she gazed into the distance. “That’s a place people consider fun, even on wasteland…”
“Is it far from here?”
“Not too far, but a bit expensive. Except for the resident who owns the property and the labor who lost their freedom, visitors must pay one energy unit worth of crystals, or equivalently priced items to enter.”
“One energy unit of crystals?” Jiang Chen was confused.
“It’s this thing.” Sun Jiao searched in her pocket before grabbing a piece of darkened green crystal. “This piece of crystal has about 37 energy units left. You can use EP to check. These are quite difficult to find because only powerful mutants possess them on the back of their heads. If possible, I never want to meet those things again…”
Creatures that made this girl afraid? The thought of it sent a shiver down Jiang Chen’s spine.
He took the crystal and a faint attractive force pulled at his right arm. He was shocked. This thing could be used to charge the tattoo.
Jiang Chen’s facial expression remained calm. He played with it for a moment before returning it to Sun Jiao.
“What is one energy unit of crystals worth?”
“One-tenth of a can of meat or half of a normal can of food, ten nutrient supplies, one c-type battery, or three battery ammo. You can exchange so many things with it. This type of energy source is considered currency by many survival bases. You could even find a woman to sleep with you there.” Sun Jiao looked at Jiang Chen mockingly. She enjoyed teasing this little guy.
“Hmm...37 energy units of crystal. I’ll use four cans of food in exchange?”
“Deal.” Without hesitation, Sun Jiao threw the crystal into Jiang Chen’s hands. However, as if she just thought of something, she hesitantly explained, “Even if you have quite a lot of food, you lost out on the deal. If you ever trade like this in the future, people are going to take advantage of you…”
“Oh?” Jiang Chen shrugged. He didn’t care too much about the three energy unit difference.
“Although ten energy units is worth a can of food. It also depends on what kind it is. The majority of canned food contain mutant fish meat, or a lot of them are also filled with sand. Which are the best case scenarios. Some of the canned foods even include human meat…“
The voice was full of despair and numbness. Jiang Chen had difficulty breathing; he was out of words.
“Curry chicken, fried pork… This is the first time I have ever had these delicacies in my life.” Sun Jiao looked at Jiang Chen full of awe. “Merchants use mutant cows to transport goods. I had the pleasure of having a meal with the beef from the mutant cows. Even the dry taste made me extremely satisfied.”
“I trust you,” Jiang Chen voice was quiet.
He felt a sudden fear overwhelm him. To Sun Jiao, he was powerless. If she desired his food, it would only take a blink of an eye to finish him.
Trust? Jiang Chen felt a deafening fear overwhelm him. He almost wanted to grab the gold, travel back to the modern world, and forget everything that happened here. With the gold bars, he could live like a millionaire.
He only realized now that this world was more complicated than he thought.
Maybe it was because of greed, or because of a strong sense of arrogance. After a hard internal battle in his head, he calmed down and resisted the temptation to flee.
His face was emotionless as he tried to disguise his fear.
“Trust?” Sun Jiao laughed. However, within her eyes, there was a flicker of emotions that she couldn’t hide. This distant word had long been extinct in this landscape; long buried by starvation and death. Although Jiang Chen said this valuable word to her, Sun Jiao unconsciously reacted with a disdained look.
With a sigh, Sun Jiao walked into the kitchen.
“Your naïveness is becoming very worrisome. However, I am not bothered by it.”
“…” Jiang Chen was more relaxed as he heard her words. This time he made the right bet, Sun Jiao had no ill-intentions.
Otherwise, she would have had plenty of time to kill him and wouldn’t have waited this long. Jiang Chen finally felt relieved, from this thought that has been bothering him for the longest time.
As Sun Jiao was about to reach the door, she turned around. “Since you are my employer, not only do I need to ensure your safety, I have the responsibility of preventing you from being tricked. If someone is after your wealth, that is also a problem for me. If you ever trade in the future, you should bring me.”
“Don’t look at me like that! You are giving me goosebumps.” Sun Jiao fled frantically from Jiang Chen’s sight. She ducked into the kitchen, and screamed in shock, “what! How is this possible? A fridge!”
Deception, and stories, the majority of Jiang Chen’s responses were lies. It was to avoid the imminent trouble and danger.
But the glimpse of emotion from her eyes was real.
At that one glimpse, to his surprise, the bold girl was not so annoying. She was ... cute?
“Stop eating canned food; tonight let’s eat a fresh meal! For celebrating my first employee.” Jiang Chen laughed and dashed into the kitchen, filled with an overwhelming amount of joy.
Sun Jiao was stunned in front of the fridge, as she did not bother to dispute her employee status. She stared at the tomatoes and eggs in the refrigerator.
Jiang Chen put these fresh ingredients in before Sun Jiao came back.
“You…” Sun Jiao turned her head around slow, with a dumbfounded voice.
“Don’t ask. I know you have a lot of questions. We can discuss this while we eat dinner. Now, do you know how to cut tomatoes?”
Jiang Chen left the dazed Sun Jiao in place, as a proud smile stretched across his face.
He took out a couple of tomatoes and eggs. “Tonight, we will make tomato fried eggs!”
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The reason why he chose to cook this dish was because of his limited cooking ability. Hence, this was the only dish he was good at, since he cooked the same thing every day.
[Once I have money, maybe I should hire a maid? ] Jiang Chen thought, before he got rid of the idea immediately. His secret would cause too much hysteria. Therefore, a maid would be inconvenient in hiding the truth.
A girlfriend would be his priority.
He thought about the gold bars in the living room, as a mischievous and happy smile appeared on his face.
Sun Jiao’s mind was full of questions she wanted to ask. But instead, she stared at the steaming tomatoes and sniffed the delicious fragrance- she couldn’t remember how many times she had done so already.
Jiang Chen already said that her questions would be answered at the dinner table. She was in no rush to know now. She cut the tomatoes silently, but uncontrollably glanced at Jiang Chen who was mixing the egg. His faint but happy smile made her heart beat a little faster.
“Lightly… It looks like you are going to chop through the cutting board as well…”
“Ah, oh.” Jiang Chen’s voice made Sun Jiao instantly look back at the chopping board. When she realized her irregular action, she felt a mixture of rage and embarrassment. But behind those emotions, a little bit of happiness was there as well.
[Happiness? What a distant word.]
She almost had to trace back to her time in the survival base.
Sun Jiao faintly remembered when she was young, the survival base’s door was still locked and it was almost like heaven in there.
No crimes, no class structure, and a society governed by Artificial Intelligence. Everyone equally shared the work and resources, and there was no conflict of interest. Everyone was kind and happy. Although people occasionally longed for the blue sky, nobody questioned their happiness. Compared to the wasteland, survival base 071 was heaven.
At the time, both of her parents were still alive. She had an adorable sister that was only one year younger. After the end of the lockdown period at the survival base, they both witnessed the first ray of the sunshine that shone through the cold steel door.
Then they lost each other.
She later learned that a lot of bandits picked poorly defended and newly opened survival bases as raid targets. They used the remaining conscience of those people and looted their survival supplies and population. It was at the raid, that she lost her family.
After that incident, she destroyed any remaining conscience she had, and became a qualified “wasteland survivor”.
But for some strange reason, her frozen emotions melted a little now.
Sun Jiao had an illusion that she was home. She soon realized what she was thinking and her face turned red.
These past two days were the most emotional she had been in the last few years. With a bitter smile on her face, she shook her head. She then placed the sliced tomatoes into a bowl.
To suppress her emotions, she only had to take a deep breath. However, the feeling that touched the softest part of her heart could no longer be hidden.
Even Sun Jiao, herself, didn’t realize that the man standing beside her became a bit more important in her heart.
As he watched Sun Jiao devour the dish, Jiao Chen laughed at the thought. This was the first time he saw someone eat this dish with that amount of excitement.
“I know you have a lot of questions. For example, why do I have so much food.” Jiang Chen put down his bowl and looked at Sun Jiao quietly.
“I can’t explain how I feel.” Sun Jiao also stopped eating as she gazed into Jiang Chen’s eyes. With a puzzled voice, she replied, “you gave me a feeling that … it’s almost like you are from a fairytale.”
“Psh, a fairytale?” Jiang Chen was astonished.
“It’s from the books published before the war. In the survival base, we called them fairytales.” Sun Jiao sighed as she continued to mock herself, “everyone lived in harmony, with families, friends, and even lovers. Regardless of what you think, it must be a fairytale. Like the first time sunlight shone on me, when I was seven years old.”
Jiang Chen was silent. He walked to the fridge and grabbed a few cans of beer. He turned around and gave her an assuring smile. “Where I am from, when people feel tired and lost, they have a drink.”
Sun Jiao chugged the beer as her throat let out a satisfied noise.
“Grrr. This does not taste as good as Coke.”
“Nevertheless, it is a good way to let out your emotions. Which is a good thing at the end of the day.” Jiang Chen also took a long sip of his beer. How many times did he drink alone? It wasn’t until after graduation did Jiang Chen start to enjoy the feeling of tipsiness. He ventured into an unknown city, worked at an unknown company, and was burdened with the stress of work and life after he was fired.
The cruel reality shattered the porcelain tower in his dream.
When he received his notice of termination, he felt the world collapse around him.
At least here, there was someone that drink with him. This apocalyptic world is not as bad as he imagined.
They chatted as if they have been best friends for years. With hands crossed, their distance got closer, and so did their heart.
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The gray concrete road, filled with cracks, stretched towards the horizon. The unknown looking plants vigilantly sprouted through the cracks on the concrete, as it bathed in the unhealthy looking ray of sunshine.
The buildings in the vicinity had no closed windows. They were all shattered in the nuclear explosion. Some of the abandoned cars occupying the streets had windshields that were cracked but remained intact. They were made with higher quality glass than the windows.
It was also possible to spot the occasional sleek looking “metal box.” Sun Jiao explained that NATO’s paratrooper previously used them as shock absorbers. However, as she talked about the city’s history of invasions, she didn’t express too much emotion. It probably had to do with the fact that she was raised in the survival base and the concept of patriotism was non-existent.
But when she mentioned the history of wars, she openly expressed her disdain. Her eyes showed that both sides, in the war, were complete dumba*ses.
“Is it going to rain?” Jiang Chen raised his head as he gazed into the sky. The thick gray clouds covered the sun, as if it was the clouds that made the sunshine looked so unnatural. There was a suppressing yellow light mixed with the ray of sunshine. He was curious as to how the plants grew here.
“Those are not clouds. Those are radiation dust.” Sun Jiao found the comment quite funny. He was almost as naïve as she was when she left survival base 071.
“That means we are completely exposed to radiation?” His only understanding of radiation was from the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident. He remembered, at the time, all the salt was purchased clean from the stores.
Although it's absurd looking back now, it was easy to imagine the emphasis people placed on health in the modern world. Radiation was as fearful as it could get.
Sun Jiao wasn’t too fazed. “Don’t worry, as long as there’s iodine in your EP, the radiation level will not surpass the limit. You also don’t need to worry about growing a third hand. However, if you are in front of a nuclear reactor or a former government’s parliament, where radiation is high, it would be wiser to wear a protective suit,” Sun Jiao warned as she rolled her eyes again.
Although they had an exciting night, there was no sign of Sun Jiao being fatigued. But Jiang Chen felt a bit drained from all the action.
It was not to say that Jiang Chen was weak, regardless how much endurance he had. There was no way he could compare physically to a female Superman that constantly fought in battles.
[Those ridiculous body stats…]
Jiang Chen could not imagine that, without any signs of muscle, she was much stronger than him who at least maintained some muscles.
The decision to venture out together was completely HER idea.
“Since you said you are going to help me, then you have to study some combat related knowledge. Tomorrow let’s venture out together. At least you need to learn how to shoot, and how to protect yourself.”
“Hmm, well, I do think I can be a backup personnel.”
“Be quiet… tomorrow we’ll go to the survival camp at Sixth Street. You need to inject the anti-infectious vaccine. Without it, it would be too dangerous. You have to go.”
Therefore, Jiang Chen had to carry the rifle as he quietly followed.
They continued to chat along the way, but for some reason, she didn’t ask about his origin. Since she didn’t ask, Jiang Chen did not bring up the topic either. Jiang Chen knew that she stopped asking because she developed trust in him. When the time comes, she knew he would tell her.
For the same reason, Jiang Chen didn’t pursue the topic of why she was at the mansion in the first place.
“We’ll pass a zombie infested area up front. The best place to practice shooting is the battlefield itself. Get familiar with the weapon first, but don’t fire, “ she explained, as she took out a high-powered looking rifle from behind. She then looked at Jiang Chen, as she continued to answer his questions.
“SK10, short-to-medium range laser rifle. The best kind of weapon against zombies would be lasers because it has low noise and high accuracy. However, to improve your shooting, let’s start with bullet weapons first,” She pointed at the gun Jiang Chen was holding and continued.
“PK200 assault rifle. 7.62 mm in diameter. These bullet guns are not as accurate as the laser ones, but the high penetration power and reliability cannot be underestimated. Even if you use the barrel to smash your enemies, it would be durable enough to get the job done. The safe is on the right side of the rifle, remember to keep it closed if you are not firing.”
The sleek looking gun barrel had a futuristic design. At the handle, Jiang Chen saw a small symbol.
The two of them walked through the empty street. The occasional three feet long rat crossing the road would always scare Jiang Chen, but he got used to it after a while. These mutants were everywhere. Jiang Chen even saw a cockroach the size of a dog as it fled into the shadows of the street. Their one-meter long tentacles were disturbing to see.
“Not all creatures possess attacking abilities. For example, while rats are large, biologically they still preserved their natural fear of human. While cockroaches certainly look frightening, due to the source of their food, they won’t attack any living things.” They were approaching the intersection as Sun Jiao raised her rifle in caution. “Zombies would stop all activity during the day time. The mutated cells in the back of their heads require a stable environment to photosynthesis. Shocking right? That’s why these zombies survived all these years without starving to death. I think some of the zombies even evolved to a point where they can reproduce asexually.”
Sun Jiao joked around for a bit while keeping her guard up. “What we need to be careful of are the carnivores. They usually eat zombies or other creatures at the bottom of the food chain. However, if they do encounter a human, they are not picky eaters. Lastly, the most dangerous species are humans. If someone points at your head, don’t hesitate and fire immediately.”
Her decisiveness made Jiang Chen feel a sudden coldness run down his spine.
Astounded by the cruelty on the wasteland, Jiang Chen was also amazed. The city developed its own complex yet distinct ecosystem. Nature was truly compelling in adapting to the idea of survival of the fittest.
Under the iron forests, there were no signs of civilization. Only an uncivilized land remained. Despite holding a highly advanced weapon, Jiang Chen did not feel safe at all.
“Shh.” Sun Jiao suddenly stopped and raised her right hand to stop Jiang Chen.
“Don’t point your gun at me, dumba*s. Watch my back,” Sun Jiao cursed at Jiang Chen under her voice.
Jiang Chen took a deep breath and opened the safe, as he pointed the gun directly into the peaceful street.
“This is odd, all the mutants in the surrounding area disappeared. They must have sensed their predator.” There was a shiver of nervousness in Sun Jiao’s voice. The hint of nervousness made the almost calm Jiang Chen nervous again.
“Carnivores of some sort. Hopefully, it is not a Death Claw.”
Although he didn’t know what a Death Claw was, Jiang Chen heard the concern in her voice.
At that moment, a loud blast came from somewhere far down the street. Immediately, a deep but loud roar followed and a burst of gunshots ensued.
“There is a battle up front, come with me.” Sun Jiao instructed after she heard the noise in the distance. Without retreating, she moved in the direction of the battle.
“I mean, are you sure we are not going the wrong way?”
Sun Jiao didn’t respond to Jiang Chen’s question; he had to follow as he had no other choice.
A burst of howls erupted from a hideous yet vicious looking face. Saliva was flowing from its mouth, while it swung the almost broken lamp post. The fat on the creature’s body looked as if it was about to burst.
“Focus fire. Throw the explosives over! Quick!”
“Ammo! I need ammo!”
“Ahhh, my hand!” A flying car door cut through a poor guy’s arm, as it penetrated into the wall not far behind from him.
The monster was angered, as it unleashed all of its power onto the soldier's defense line.
The mutant was under heavy fire from the not so well equipped soldiers. They tried to suppress the raging meatball. A few soldiers ducked under friendly fire while avoiding the debris that the monster throw. They continued to throw explosives at the monster.
“… It's Roshan!” As Sun Jiao backed into the corner, shock was written all over her face. “How did it appear here…”
Jiang Chen was even more surprised. With his mouth wide open, he was completely stunned.
[What the hell is that? That thing is massive!]
Roshan pressed forward, as it bathed in the heavy fire. The situation was looking dire for the soldiers. While the bullets did affect Roshan’s movement, it was far from stopping him. The thick layer of fat was like a bulletproof vest, which stopped the bullets from penetrating through his skin.
The soldiers were out of solutions. Even the leader of the squad immediately sent out an order to approach the Roshan with explosives. However, the thick layer of fat was designed for more than bullet protection.
Although the waves of attack were not effective, the Roshan’s movement was hindered by it. The Roshan could no longer make any advancements forward.
At that moment, a homing missile penetrated the air, as it cast a gloomy trial of death directly at the Roshan.
But the missile did not hit the Roshan. It skidded across the Roshan’s face, as it impacted the building behind it.
Boom! Following the impact, a wave of the violent explosions ensued. The steel reinforced concrete broke into pieces as it left a massive hole in the building behind the Roshan.
It seemed to have sensed the danger, the Roshan’s body of fat began shaking violently, as its power was even more explosive and fierce. Its bloody mouth opened wide, as if it was letting out an angry roar, but the roar was silent.
Another missile flew across the battlefield. Following the track of the first missile, this one directly penetrated into the Roshan’s bloody mouth.
In seconds, blood, brain, and fat exploded into small droplets. The content of the Roshan's body filled the street.
The Roshan, without its head, fell to the ground. The soldiers celebrated their victory.
Soldiers walked out of their covers as the battle came to an end. They hugged each other and helped the wounded. Then, they cleaned the battlefield in an organized manner.
“99-Type Anti-tank Missile, that is pretty much the only thing that could destroy the Roshan. The Roshan’s fat is very thick, which would make any bullet type weapon obsolete. At the same time, the Roshan's bad habit of throwing things makes fighting one a nightmare.” Sun Jiao felt relieved as she let out a sigh.
“What are they doing?” Jiang Chen glanced at the people who were dissecting Roshan as he tried to keep the food in his stomach down.
“Collecting the crystals. Also, Roshan’s fat can be used as nutrients in the nutrient supply. Oh, I think the blood cell can also be used as ingredients in the vaccines.”
Nutrient supply? Why does it sound like food?
Jiang Chen shivered as he promised himself that he would never touch that nutrient supply. Wouldn’t that be equivalent to eating Roshan’s meat?
Sun Jiao smiled as she seemed to have guessed why Jiang Chen was grossed out. She then took Jiang Chen to the group of soldiers.
Sensing their approach, a soldier walked over. He then examined the group of two.
With professionalism, he spoke, “Sixth Street welcomes you. Based on the necessary procedure, I need to inspect your gene code.”
Gene code was a type of code based on an algorithm developed through a person’s genetic sequence, and was used as EP’s user ID. Due to EP’s broad adoption, and the uniqueness of each genetic sequence, it was used as a form of ID. In the apocalyptic world, the government didn’t exist. Therefore, to prove one’s identity, DNA was the only option.
In some governed survival bases, the entrance was dependent on the inspection of the gene code. The goal was to find criminals who violated the law in the survival base.
In some governed survival bases, the entrance was dependent on the inspection of the gene code. The goal was to find criminals who violated the law in the survival base.
After they had displayed their EP, the soldier allowed both of them to pass politely.
“I always thought only barbarians existed in the wasteland. I can’t believe I can see some traces of civilization.” Jiang Chen’s cautious heart calmed down as he saw the soldiers did not bother them any further.
Sun Jiao grinned as she heard Jiang Chen’s statement.
“Oh, my opinion is the opposite of yours. I think civilization exists everywhere on this piece of land. It’s just that its form is rather unique.”
The steel gate slowly opened, as the tension within the camp decreased. Behind the sandbags, Jiang Chen saw the Anti-tank Missile that destroyed Roshan. The vicious cannon spread an eerie vibe as it just stood there. The ground was littered with its large metal shells.
Jiang Chen followed Sun Jiao into the camp.
Sixth Street was a harbor that welcomed travelers of the wasteland. Its philosophy was to protect the order in a land filled with chaos. But it would be naïve to consider Sixth Street as the enforcer of justice.
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Civilization transcended through time, as history unfolded the successes and failures of a species. Humanity was a product of human adaptation and increased the understanding of humans themselves. Civilization hence existed as the cultivation of all the spiritual, intellectual, and physical discoveries of humankind. It has no accurate definition and can exist in any form.
Therefore, civilization existed at this place. But the definition was different than what Jiang Chen believed.
The technological level at Sixth Street was all over the place. A soldier carried an old automatic rifle with a cigar in the other hand and stared blankly into space. While a merchant, with an advanced full-sensory computer, calculated the price of goods. People with missing limbs were everywhere. Some used canes while others were geared with robotic arms that were agiler than a real leg.
The lives of the Sixth Street residents were also drastically different.
People starved to the bones crowded the streets. They no longer even have the energy to howl. Uniformed soldiers, in groups of three, overlooked the road. They ignored the starved refugees and hookers on the street.
Like machines, the dark shades disguised any emotions they had.
“Absolute neutrality. That is Sixth Street’s founding principle on this wasteland. The laws are rather simple here. Murder and theft will be punished by death, tax fraud will be punished by eviction, and intentional harm will result in jail time,” Sun Jiao explained to Jiang Chen as he tried to get familiar with the rules.
“Then, why is that guy not shot?” Jiang Chen swallowed his spit as he stared in disbelief. A man was beating a woman to death. The starved woman did not fight back. The man sensed Jiang Chen stare and gave Jiang Chen a friendly smile.
“That’s the inspector. They are responsible for cleaning up the corpses at the ghetto,” Sun Jiao answered with ease, but Jiang Chen could sense her dislike for this place.
That woman was clearly alive.
“The inner circle at the Sixth Street is a bit more organized, but it’ll cost us one crystal energy. We are here for some small exchanges, so the outside market should be more than sufficient,” Sun Jiao said avoiding the previous topic.
“…” Jiang Chen nodded in silence.
It was a twisted civilization.
The outside market was littered with filth, but it was much better than the ghetto. The thief that got shot today was thrown into the dump. At night, the inspector would drag the body into the farm. It would then get mixed in with the lard that they looted from the Roshan and get made into fertilizers.
Some of the more famous, grand thieves, were nailed directly to the wall.
“Roger Clarkson, known as the werewolf, perpetrated three murders at Sixth Street and was shot by the security team in the sewage.”
A close examination of the wall explained the death of the criminals.
The name suggested that the guy was a foreigner, but it was nothing surprising since NATO’s troops had previously landed in this city. A lot of people remained here.
At the front of the market, two rather clean looking merchants were arguing fiercely. They seemed to have reached a conclusion in the end, as they signed both their names. Under the supervision of the market regulator, one side put a piece of crystal onto the crystal counting machine. The other one leashed out ten barely clothed women.
Indeed, they were on leashes.
Every woman's slim and pale body was chained with a collar shaped electronic lock. Their spirits seemed to have escaped their bodies as they blindly obeyed the order.
Their graceful figures were stunning to the human eye. They were like dolls with almost flawless skin, but a barcode tattooed on their cheeks ruined the perfect image. It's a symbol that typically appeared on products only.
The merchant was satisfied by the “products” he had just purchased. He waved his hand as the women were loaded onto the truck, that was leaving the market.
“New Ray Hotel,” with her eyes fixed in the direction the vehicle, Sun Jiao slowly let those words out of her mouth.
Jiang Chen noticed that Sun Jiao’s hands clutched into fists.
“It’s a brothel. The goal of it is to provide full services to all customers. I think you understand exactly what kind of services they provide. At that place, female labors are expendable, since people with weird fetishes exist everywhere. I heard once from a not-so-smart guy, who was bragging at a bar in Liu Ding Town, how soft the girls were. Soft, as in an edible way.”
Jiang Chen shivered, as if he could almost imagine the hell those spiritless women go through.
“That slave merchant is probably from the force that occupied survival base 101. They use cloning technology and nutrient supply to provide low-cost clones. The people cloned are more like products than they are human.”
“So, what exactly is a survival base?” Jiang Chen looked at Sun Jiao’s emotionless eyes as he opened his mouth in disbelief.
“It’s something rather peculiar. Each survival base had a unique design philosophy to increase its survival probability,” she shrugged as she continued to explain, “I was born in survival base 71. Now that I think about it, I was quite fortunate. The design philosophy was to use A.I. to govern human nature. Although my life was structured, at least I was happy. Some of the survival bases were not as lucky.” A cruel smile, unfit for her age, appeared on her charming face.
“I heard before that one survival base was designed to use people to govern people. It aimed to create a spiritual leader that motivates people’s desire to survive. It was clear how naïve the designer was. The “spiritual leader” only enforced justice for a few years before he neglected all human consciousness and became a barbaric tribe leader. He used the security measure in the place to eliminate all males and left all the women as his sex slaves. For survival base 101, I’d assume it was a human-less survival base.”
Shocked by the harsh truth, Jiang Chen forced himself to remain calm. However, he didn’t completely understand Sun Jiao’s words.
“Human-less survival base? What is a survival base without survivors?”
“Hehe, it stored the DNA of the human race’s elites. After the survival base reached its time limit, the breeding system automatically “manufactured” perfect bodies. It then used virtual reality to produce years of memories within a short amount of time. I don’t know what the designer considered, but they did not realize how popular these "people" would be after the war.” Sun Jiao’s words were full of mockery. Jiang Chen remained silent and continued to listen.
[Is this the end of civilization…]
“We are here.” Sun Jiao’s voice abrupted Jiang Chen’s thought as she dragged him into a store.
The store was Sixth Street market’s official purchasing station. It was responsible for evaluating the price of goods necessary for the survival camp and make purchases accordingly. Although canned food and batteries could all be used as currency in most survival bases, these trade rules were not applicable at the “prosperous” Sixth Street. Therefore, it was necessary for a credible organization to enforce a consistent currency. It also simplified the taxation process.
Crystals were the source of energy for high power equipment. It acted as a hard currency in any survival base. Its ease of access also made it match all of the characteristics of money.
Although it would be much more profitable to open his own store and sell canned food, the “wealthy” Jiang Chen chose the simpler option of selling it directly to the Sixth Street officials.
Sun Jiao did not stop him as she noticed he didn’t want to stay here much longer.
“Items.” The mechanical voice echoed through the window.
Jiang Chen opened his backpack. He took out one of the items and placed on the table.
The trader let out a loud gasp.
Jiang Chen heard a shiver of disbelief from the tone. Then, he felt all eyes were on him, without any intention of hiding their greed or desire.
Uncontrollably, Jiang Chen looked at Sun Jiao with pleading eyes. Sun Jiao signaled Jiang Chen to remain calm. No one dared to break the rules here. At least before they leave Sixth Street, they are safe.
“Sir, do you have any more of this?” The tone had a mixture of respect.
Fresh, canned meat. Even the elites that lived within the inner circle only ate the meat of mutant cows, and force-sprouted vegetables. The trader almost questioned the sensor because the screen printed <Fresh cow meat. The expiration date is 127 days. The toxic substance is far below the consumption threshold. The food quality is – perfect!> Meat in itself was considered a luxury, but fresh beef was the ultimate luxury. These things are almost extinct in the apocalyptic world. Finding an unmutated cow in the entire world was impossible! Even if there was one, it could only be in the far north where the radiation level was relatively low.
In Sixth Street or the entire wasteland, the majority of people had no access to healthy food. In most situations, the survivors chose nutrient supply as their primary source. Those were mostly composed of mutant protein and the taste was lackluster, as it was only a means for survival.
Out of everyone on the wasteland, only Jiang Chen was lavish enough to eat “healthy food” every meal.
What was even more absurd was that he complained about the taste of canned food being worse than fresh food.
“I have plenty of them.”
“Please come to the VIP room. There will be a designated trader at your service.” The trader smiled at Jiang Chen while he sped through the process. After a brief moment, a pretty-looking girl approached Jiang Chen.
“Sir, please follow me.” The female trader mischievously smiled at Jiang Chen as she led them towards the VIP room. The goal of the room was to protect the privacy of the customers. If someone displayed valuable goods in the grand hall, he would be dead immediately after he stepped out of Sixth Street.
As they pushed open the ancient wooden door, the fragrance of tea emerged from the carefully decorated room. A traditional wooden table was supplemented by real leather sofas. In the middle of the chamber was a set of burning incense. The antique porcelain tea set only added to the place's glorifying elegance. This VIP room was quite similar to the tea rooms in the modern world.
“Please come in, Sir.” The gorgeous female trader welcomed Jiang Chen. Her cleavage slightly exposed. Sun Jiao grinned at the scene.
The way the female trader looked at him made him feel slightly uncomfortable, almost as if she was going to eat him. However, Jiang Chen didn’t give it much thought as he walked into the room.
As the female trader was about the enter the room and close the door, Sun Jiao slipped in.
The female trader glanced at Sun Jiao with slight anger, but she was met with a defiant stare.
The female trader saw the enormous pair of breasts Sun Jiao had and a look of defeat crossed her face. However, she still maintained a professional smile and closed the door behind her.
Jiang Chen had, clearly, no idea about the fierce exchange that happened within a few seconds.
All transactions over 100 crystals must be done in the VIP room for privacy purposes. At the same time, it was a strategy to establish relationships with the wealthy. It was no news that at Sixth Street, the VIP room also offered extra "intimate" services.
Professional female traders used the “extra” services to make tips, and Sixth Street exchange would gain favorable reviews from major clients. It was a win-win situation.
But since Miss Sun Jiao was there, the female trader’s dream for a big tip was shattered.
After the cans had been evaluated, the transaction was cleared. Twenty cans of perfect quality meat. The exchange paid a hefty price of 50 crystals per can, because these cans far exceeded the necessity of being just food and was considered a luxury. Therefore, if the exchange auctioned these among the elites, the price would easily double. After all, these were as rare as it could be.
Because of this, Sun Jiao complained to Jiang Chen countless times. But Jiang Chen didn’t seem to be bothered by that fact; he was quite satisfied.
How much was a can even worth? However, one crystal was enough to charge the multiverse bracelet by 10%. Therefore, he no longer needed to steal electricity.
There was no way to lose in the trade.
“Do you know what the VIP room is for?” Sun Jiao suddenly asked, as they stepped into the crowded street.
“Hmm? A place to exchange multiple items?” Jiang Chen paused for a split second, as he was confused by the question.
Sun Jiao suddenly laughed so hysterically that she needed to hold her stomach. “Of course you don’t know.”
“I don’t think this is funny.” Jiang Chen blankly stared at Sun Jiao.
Just as Sun Jiao finished having her fun, she whispered into Jiang Chen's ear with a smirk, “it’s a place where you receive intimate service.
The light breath tingled his sensations. He was used to Sun Jiao’s flirting, so he did not blush or run away like before. Instead, he enjoyed the feeling.
“Don’t you hate me for ruining your chance of having a great time?” Sun Jiao jokingly asked. “If I stood outside, maybe she would have given you the intimate service. That girl is probably still cursing at me for ruining her business.”
“Why would I hate you? I prefer to get intimate service from you.” Jiang Chen also had a mischievous smile on his face. He approached Sun Jiao’s ear and in retaliation, he also blew into it.
She blushed as she was new to the experience herself. Although she assumed her role as someone older than Jiang Chen, she was not.
Suddenly, Sun Jiao’s eyes lit up in caution. “Someone is following us.”
“Who?” Jiang Chen paused as he subconsciously wanted to turn his head.
“Don’t turn your head. Pretend like nothing happened. Nobody dares to do anything here. I have my ways of dealing with them, my boss,” Sun Jiao said as she bit Jiang Chen’s ear. In other people's eyes, they were a loving couple.
Because someone was following them, they sped up their itinerary.
Sun Jiao took Jiang Chen to a hospital looking place. He learned that the place was for vaccines and genetic injections.
After a total of 55 crystals, the doctors injected the vaccine and genetic injections into Jiang Chen’s arm. One of them was a T-type vaccine which prevented zombie infection. The other, was a C-type genetic injection. Based on the doctor’s description, its effects included an increase in muscular strength, reflex, and bone strength between 10-25 points. The body’s ability would increase gradually over three days.
There were some other useful injections in the store, and Jiang Chen selectively purchased a few. They were all beneficial in improving the body’s performance and combat powers. After all, strength was necessary to protect the wealth; he couldn’t hide behind Sun Jiao for his whole life.
However, Jiang Chen still thought it was much cooler to hire someone to fight for you than to fight yourself.
Immediately after, they replenished their ammunitions at the firearm store. Sun Jiao’s assault rifle used the C-type battery as ammo, and five clips of ammo cost only one energy unit.
The PK200 rifle that Jiang Chen used, the 7.62mm ammo, were a bit more expensive. 360 rounds of ammo cost a total of 4 crystals. While Sun Jiao was uncertain about making the purchase, Jiang Chen paid the full price without hesitation.
Canned food for firearms, it was a win for him in any situation.
Of course, the uncivilized world would not understand this.
On the wasteland, laser weapons were without a doubt the most economical and effective weapon of choice. Most short-mid range laser rifles were sufficient in any terrain within the city. Only long range rifles cost a significant amount of energy. For Sun Jiao’s rifle, its effective range was only 400 meters. After that, its power would decrease significantly. But one C-type battery was enough to provide 200 shots. If overheating was not a problem, its power could directly match that of a machine gun.
As to bullet weapons, its benefits included an effective firing distance and immunity against energy shields. For the PCA manufactured PK200 assault rifle, if the gun were equipped with a scope, it would be as effective as a sniper rifle. Although it was a bit of a waste for Jiang Chen to use it, it fitted his need. The reliability of bullet type weapons was much higher compared to laser rifles. An EMP grenade would render a laser rifle completely useless, but a bullet weapon would continue to function. If there were any malfunctions, Sun Jiao would know how to solve the problem, even though Jiang Chen would be clueless.
“Let’s stay here tonight.” Sun Jiao watched the searing sun make its exit into the horizon and subtly peeked at the follower.
“But.” Jiang Chen raised his eyebrows as he felt extremely unsafe about being followed.
“The night will disguise all the dangers,” Sun Jiao replied calmly with a fierce smile, “and it is also our opportunity to be the dangerous one.”