Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 1: Game Malfunction
Fifteen minutes before the championship of the large-scale VR game <Erosion>.
The preparation room was set in the erosion zone of the game, with the smell of ashes floating in the wind. After checking his equipment for the last time, Shu Jun’s communicator rang. There was only one person who would send a message at a time like this…
[Smoke]: Remember the strategy discussion last night. Stability is the best policy.
When he saw the other party’s ID, Shu Jun couldn’t help raising the corner of his mouth.
[See You Tomorrow]: Understood, Chief Strategist.
[Smoke]: Good luck.
[See You Tomorrow]: When we win the championship, let’s meet up.
Shu Jun held his breath. This time, the other person’s response was more than ten seconds late.
Staring at the word “okay” for a few seconds, Shu Jun felt a little nervous.
This would be his last big game in <Erosion>. After the game, Shu Jun decided to announce his retirement two years early. Then he would fly to City A, where “Smoke” was located, as soon as possible and meet this person who spoke sparingly and confessed his feelings.
He had spent too much time in the game.
Although he just turned 27, Shu Jun had already spent a decade in <Erosion> and was one of the most experienced players among the older generation.
This was all due to the special provision in <Erosion>—once a combatant was killed in battle, he or she must retire from the battlefield to engage in other occupations. The operator stated that this was to give people a stronger sense of reality and a better experience of “another world”.
Players could only have one character, and there were no such things as save files or rollbacks. This provision directly led to the pitiful few senior combat players. Most combat powers that had persisted until now were close to monsters.
Fortunately, the provision prohibiting saving didn’t reduce people’s enthusiasm.
After all, the game was about the experience. The elite combatants at the top of the pyramid had both fame and fortune, and even their professional lives had their own interests.
On the other hand, the battle itself was harsh enough, and with hardship came income. The rules of <Erosion> were quite peculiar. It didn’t advocate hostility between teams. There was no PvP1 schedule for the championship; only a vast PvE2 arena. Personnel losses, resource consumption, and cooperation between teams must all be included in the evaluation. The team that could reasonably plan tactics and achieve their goal first would win.
1Stands for Player vs Player. It’s a multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between human players.
2Stands for Player vs Environment. It’s a term used for both single player and online games where players go against computer-controlled enemies.
Everything was ready and set for this moment. The championship was just around the corner.
Seeing that his crush didn’t reply to him, Shu Jun put the greatsword behind his back, donned a gas mask, and left the preparation room.
The duration of the championship was three days and nights.
Before the night of the third day came, the situation wasn’t ideal. Just like they had previously speculated, their opponent, Groundwater, was moving much faster than they were, and no miracle happened.
“If this continues, we’ll lose.” Vice Captain Hu Yan sighed.
“This map is full of swamps, and Groundwater is good at water-based abilities. Vice Captain Hu, Captain Luo of Groundwater is also a veteran. In such a shitty environment, there’s nothing to be ashamed of losing to the number one support,” a team member closest to him answered.
Shu Jun was good at controlling wind, with rare attributes and top-notch offensive and defensive capabilities. Unfortunately, his skills couldn’t be applied to the whole team. Vice Captain Hu Yan controlled rocks, but on a wetland map with rich water bodies, their opponent still had the advantage—the captain of Groundwater, Luo Duan, was recognized as the number one auxiliary, with enough experience that this was now literally in his element*.
*Like a fish in water (如鱼得水) Refers to someone who is completely at ease in a certain environment or situation, just as a fish is comfortable and happy in water.
“Anyway, all actions will be counted towards the team’s contribution, so we might as well get any points we can,” another team member tried to encourage.
Shu Jun scratched his face and looked at Hu Yan. “Besides meeting with you, I have also discussed it for a few weeks with A’Yan*.”
*Using an [A] (阿) in front of a name signifies addressing someone affectionately or as a sign of familiarity. || A’Yan is referring to [Smoke], but I kept this pinyin because it doesn’t translate well to English. You can read my Kinky Thoughts in Chapter 2 for more details on this (when the gong is formally introduced).
Hu Yan: “What does sister-in-law… Smoke think?”
“A lot of tactics were discussed. Smoke thinks that we have no chance of winning, and if we’re lucky, we’ll tie at best.” Shu Jun sprayed his breath inside the gas mask.
“Right, just do our best. Groundwater won because of the advantage on this map. Next time—haa, well, you won’t be there. I was hoping for a nice win this match. I know you have a lot of tricks up your sleeves, but with this situation…”
There was no joy on Hu Yan’s face regarding being promoted from Vice Captain to Captain; instead, he looked extremely worried.
“Captain Shu, our team has won so many matches in a row. Can’t you choose a match where we have a higher chance of winning to retire? Can you think about it again?”
“Not all is lost. I just checked the latest terrain information and have some new ideas.”
Shu Jun opened the tent, scanned the grayish land in the distance, and his voice carried a hint of amusement.
“Don’t worry. We won’t lose.”
Outside the game.
The final viewing area was U-shaped and opened to the public. Tickets were more than ten times more expensive than paid live broadcasts. Several giant light screens hovered over the viewing area, filled with bleak and lonely images of the game world.
More than two days had passed, yet the cheers in the viewing area and the excitement were unabated.
As always, the arena was set in an unknown erosion zone in the game. In the game setting, the signal communication in the erosion zone was poor. Because the teams were too close to the center of the erosion zone, the screen would stutter and blur, which only enhanced the atmosphere.
Now, both teams were in the center of the erosion zone—near a monster called the “Erosion Swamp”—the images coming back on the big screen gradually became eerie.
Accompanied by the noise of electric currents, a dark, fluid object flashed past the edge of the screen. From time to time, deformed creatures would pass the cameras, facing the audience with features that couldn’t be distinguished. Even though the screen was filled with all kinds of anomalies, such scenes were still shocking.
On the land that had lost its color, there was a huge, pure black “lake”. Its surface was boiling in the windless world, with thin liquid columns extending towards the sky, slowly wriggling.
On the edge of such a huge Erosion Swamp, the people were almost negligible.
There was a humming sound of air conditioning running from the observation deck.
“As expected of the difficulty for the championship, this is the biggest Erosion Swamp I have ever seen.” It was late at night, but the enthusiasm of the host on the scene remained undiminished.
“It’s the third day of the championship. The scoring will stop after twelve hours. Now it seems that the most reasonable approach is to place purifiers in the surrounding area, as partial purification takes precedence over complete removal.”
As the full picture of the Erosion Swamp was unveiled, even a layman could see that the map was too difficult and complex to be prepared for a single match. There would be another major competition in six months, and the step-by-step processing of the large Erosion Swamp would be a good theme. It remained to be seen which of the two team leaders could steadily lay the foundation for future competitions.
“The decisive battle has entered a boiling stage…! Finally, the ‘Immortal Legend’ Shu Jun has led the Blackbirds to the center of the erosion zone.”
“The Blackbirds have no casualties, 25% of resources remaining, and their cooperation is impeccable, but their overall score is still behind Groundwater—under the leadership of Luo Duan, Groundwater has been purifying the surrounding area for more than five hours… and now, Shu Jun has taken action! Instead of following the usual procedure of purification, the Blackbirds have turned towards the cliff next to the Erosion Swamp!”
As if perceiving intruders, the monsters around the Erosion Swamp gathered and rushed towards the approaching Blackbirds team. In the blurred picture, the Blackbirds took up a defensive formation.
Shu Jun used his skill “wind walk” to float in the air. He wielded his greatsword with the help of the wind and was covered by his tight, but not bulky, mechanical armor. He looked like a knight stepping out of a wrong time and space.
People quickly discovered Shu Jun’s goal.
Several stalagmites stood in the center of the swamp. If the purification machine was installed there, it could force the huge Erosion Swamp into a ring shape so that those who came later could divide it further and break it down.
An incredible scoring opportunity, but it only existed in theory.
The location of those stalagmites was extremely dangerous. They were too far offshore and full of monsters. Only players like Shu Jun, who had the ability to control wind, could barely approach. However, approaching was one thing; reaching them was another. The Erosion Swamp would try its best to eliminate any threats. This Erosion Swamp was particularly powerful, and the monsters were particularly dense, so attacking alone was tantamount to suicide.
“Erosion Swamp… The Erosion Swamp counterattacked. The Blackbirds have blocked the erosion tide on the peripheral, but Shu Jun isn’t resisting, and his armor is beginning to peel off!”
The host’s voice was filled with shock.
“What the hell are the Blackbirds planning to do?! Will the myth of the ‘Immortal Legend’ end today?”
Like adding cold water to boiling oil, the viewing area instantly exploded.
In the image that was close to disappearing, Shu Jun was seen taking a direct hit from the erosion liquid ejected by the Erosion Swamp. Liquid bullets rained down heavily, but he wrapped himself in fierce wind, which formed a barrier of air, blocking most of the attack. Even so, his armor was still torn and tattered. His wheat-colored skin was exposed, revealing glaring burns.
Shu Jun didn’t stop. He firmly rushed towards the cluster of stalagmites. The purifier was firmly on his back, continuously humming.
Finding that it couldn’t block the enemy, the Erosion Swamp let out a sharp cry. The monsters went berserk. Anything with wings rushed recklessly towards Shu Jun. The latter picked up his greatsword and, with the help of wind, lifted the heavy piece of metal, splitting those monsters’ bodies as if he were chopping fruits and vegetables.
Minced flesh and black blood rolled up in the wind, creating a foul-smelling rain over the swamp.
Shu Jun was drenched in blood. The monsters’ corpses were swallowed by the Erosion Swamp while more monsters continued to attack. The liquid column of the Erosion Swamp became entangled, not daring to approach the purifier. It could only form a cage, trapping Shu Jun near the stalagmite.
There was still some distance away.
Shu Jun gritted his teeth and slammed directly into the liquid column. The battle armor turned into soft butter in front of the liquid column and was easily peeled off. As blood splattered, Shu Jun was almost split in half.
His skill was still running. The wind was still supporting Shu Jun, and he didn’t stop.
The Erosion Swamp seemed to sense the fighting spirit of the other side. It decided to abandon delaying tactics and instead crush its opponent before the purifier could fully activate. The liquid column began to deform and attack Shu Jun’s hands and feet.
More and more liquid columns became entangled. Shu Jun began to lose the feeling of his legs and feet. He was running out of time.
Shu Jun threw out his greatsword. With inertia and wind, Shu Jun advanced forward with it. After a grating sound, the greatsword was lodged in a stalagmite.
When he arrived at his destination, Shu Jun completely gave up his defenses and concentrated on activating the purifier. The Erosion Swamp entangled Shu Jun’s lower body and was quickly devouring him, moving upwards. Because Shu Jun’s face was covered with a gas mask, the audience couldn’t see his expression.
Everything happened all at once.
After just a few seconds, the dark fluid almost covered Shu Jun’s entire body; only the part above his chest was still exposed—his left hand clenched the greatsword nailed to the stalagmite to avoid being dragged away by the Erosion Swamp, while his right hand quickly activated the purifier.
Regardless of whether the purification function was successfully activated or not, there was only one fate for Shu Jun. This crazy guy was destined to be swallowed up. The difference only lay in “wasting his life” or “sacrificing himself to win the game”.
The audience invariably held their breath.
Finally, a pleasant beep sounded. Along with the humming sound of mechanical activation, the earth rumbled and shook, and everyone got their answer.
The purifier was successfully activated.
Shu Jun let go of his left hand and stopped resisting. The next moment, he was dragged to the bottom of the swamp.
In order to avoid the purifier, the huge Erosion Swamp turned into a ring, and more dangerous monsters were summoned to the area. The Blackbirds that were on the periphery of the Erosion Swamp caught a steady stream of them, as well as vital purification bonus points, causing their score to soar.
Groundwater also managed to tag a few elite monsters, but the points for this cooperative move would be credited to the Blackbirds. Even if the host didn’t announce it, any random spectator could tell the Blackbirds had won.
…With the price being the sacrifice of their own captain.
“It’s crazy. Shu Jun obviously still has two years before he reaches his retirement period…” After a moment of silence, the host finally found his voice. “The Blackbirds’ points have substantially overtaken everyone. The outcome has been decided.”
After a few seconds of dead silence, the buzzing discussion on the viewing platform became louder. First, there was sporadic applause that gradually turned into excited cheers.
Next, they just needed to wait for the hero of the Blackbirds to leave the VR pod and return to reality. The reporters were waiting in line near the players’ lounge. When Shu Jun appeared, he would be swallowed up by the crowd.
…But this wasn’t what Shu Jun was worried about at the moment.
He was still sinking.
The Erosion Swamp was the most dangerous source of erosion in <Erosion>. According to the game settings, he would undoubtedly die. It stood to reason that the game connection would disconnect, and he would immediately return to reality. However, Shu Jun didn’t see the familiar lights of the VR pod, and he continued to sink into the Erosion Swamp. The erosive substance that made up the Erosion Swamp bit his flesh, dissolving his skin giving him excruciating pain.
In <Erosion>, pain was realistic. Isn’t this a bit ridiculous to even simulate the process of death?
Shu Jun was able to maintain his thoughts at first. Soon, the severe pain beyond the limits of human endurance nearly boiled his brain. Suffocation and corrosive pain struck at the same time, and the cold and sticky erosive substance drilled into his mouth and nose, burning like strong acid.
For ten seconds, the connection wasn’t disconnected.
He was trapped in the depths of this dark foreign body, and even his bewilderment was swallowed by the excruciating pain.
If he really died in this shitty malfunction, it would basically be the same as working diligently all his life and dying the night before retirement, Shu Jun thought in a daze. He didn’t want to leave an image of an unlucky guy who made a fortune but didn’t get to spend it.
Thirty seconds passed, yet the connection still didn’t break.
He hadn’t seen Smoke yet. If he wasn’t sure whether his crush was a man or woman, his fate would truly end in tragedy. That group of bastards in his team even made a bet about it…
His beautiful vacation was gone. His free life was gone. Even his confession that he didn’t get to make was gone…
To die now would be too fucked up.
In severe pain, Shu Jun forced himself to hold his breath. He wasn’t sure what the end of his waiting would be, but he had employed a suicidal tactic. The number of people who were following the game from outside wasn’t low. Someone would eventually notice that he wasn’t in a normal state in the VR pod.
‘Have to hold on,’ he thought.
The surrounding Erosion Swamp made a strange cry, and his body almost completely melted. Shu Jun barely kept his consciousness and continued to wait.
Until he was completely unconscious.
Shu Jun failed to see that outside the game, another “Shu Jun” walked out of the VR pod and waved confidently at the reporters under the thunderous cheers of the viewing area.
The author has something to say:
As with tradition, the subject suffers bad luck at the beginning (x
This isn’t an e-sports novel. Repeating it to avoid misunderstanding √
I sense a reoccurring beginning prologue theme in all of Nian Zhong’s works here…
As I’m a big fan of this author, I have decided to pick up this project up. Originally, it was translated by Strictly Bromance, but it seems that it’s been on hiatus for a while. I did contact Michelle (the translator) a while back, who told me to give her a chance to finish it before I decide to start on it, but there doesn’t seem to be much progress after that. I would still encourage you to read her version.
This novel is also known as Saving Unpermitted. With the official signing from a publisher, they have decided to call it Access Denied, so I’m going with that. Below is official artwork for the books. You can order Vol 1 here.
|| Table of Contents || >>>
4 thoughts on “Access Denied Ch1”
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PICKING THIS UP ❤
Thank you so so much for picking it up!
Hey this novel is showing up on Novel Updates under the novel Evil As Humans.
aha~ the novel that made me discover nian zhong~ so glad you’re picking this up, it’s like it’s a sign for me to re read it but this time in proper english instead of mtl!!
also daaaamn these covers are so fine 🤤