Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 4: Kidnapping
The two looked at each other for a moment.
Shu Jun was only interested in playing the game and had never bothered to think about the official plot. Compared with analyzing the complicated emotions of love and hate, it was more practical to look at more maps and watch more battle examples. In his mind, NPCs like generals and marshals only had names and didn’t match their image at all.
But even if Zhu Yanchen hadn’t shown his face much before, he could still recognize him at a glance.
The reason was simple. Marshal Zhu’s appearance was quite handsome—<Erosion> focused on a wasteland background, and players used their real looks. It was impossible for all the NPCs to be handsome and beautiful, but games were still games, so there had to be some good-looking NPCs to attract players.
Marshal Zhu was one such popular NPC. The female members of the Blackbirds would talk about him constantly in front of Shu Jun.
With this face, coupled with the striking marshal uniform, the name “Zhu Yanchen” seemed to be imprinted on his forehead. There weren’t many young marshals to begin with, so it would be difficult for Shu Jun not to recognize him.
The NPC who had just passionately tried to persuade Marshal Zhu, approached and saw Shu Jun on the edge of the window. He jumped back a few steps and drew his gun with trembling hands, as if he saw a poisonous spider crawling on the bedside.
Zhu Yanchen didn’t react much, but his expression was a bit complicated. Shu Jun didn’t have time to appreciate the meaning of this expression; he was trying to think of a decent way to escape.
Since he was discovered by a marshal-level NPC, it was too late to find equipment to contact the outside world. The distance between strongholds wasn’t far, so he could think of another solution…
The main thing was not to get captured again.
Shu Jun’s mind quickly turned. He loosened his hands, and wind accumulated between his body. He was going to try to escape in one breath, but Zhu Yanchen was even faster and managed to grasp his wrist.
Once a skill was activated, there was no way to instantly stop it. Shu Jun was stunned as he was blown away by the wind with an expressionless NPC hanging on his arm. In theory, NPC intelligence should be no different from that of a real person. Marshal Zhu was known for his strategic abilities and shouldn’t take such inexplicable and reckless actions.
However, the hand on his wrist remained tightly grasped. The violent wind swept the two people away and they flew directly out of the stronghold range.
Seeing that he was about to land, Shu Jun instinctively protected the other party and used himself as a meat cushion. It wasn’t until his back hit the ground that he realized the person in his arms was an NPC and not a teammate that he wanted to protect.
The siren from the stronghold sounded so sharp that he could faintly hear it from here.
“…The sample escaped! The sample escaped! It has kidnapped Marshal Zhu Yanchen. Repeat, it has kidnapped Marshal Zhu Yanchen…”
Shu Jun: “……”
Kidnapping? Wasn’t it this NPC’s fault in the first place*?
*Touching porcelain (碰瓷) Slang referring to a person intentionally causing an accident in order to extort money or compensation from others. It’s usually used as an expression for someone who deliberately sets themselves up to be a victim or to be taken advantage of.
The culprit didn’t continue to press on Shu Jun. Zhu Yanchen neatly stood up with not a single crease on his clothes, and he was even holding a decent-sized briefcase in his hand, as if he were about to step into a conference in the next second.
He simply scanned the surroundings and stretched out his hand to Shu Jun, who was lying on the ground. The hand was covered with white gloves, and there was a little skin exposed at the cuffs, that was almost the same color as the glove fabric.
Shu Jun waved his hands full of sludge and stood up on his own. Zhu Yanchen quietly retracted his hand and turned to pat the dust off his uniform emotionlessly.
Shu Jun decided to size up the other person along with his uniform.
It was the first time he got up close and personal with an important NPC who was famous. Marshal Zhu wasn’t wearing a gas mask at this moment. He was indeed handsome, but his brows were cold, as if they were soaked in frost, making him seem quite unapproachable.
And it looked as if he had facial paralysis. Just looking at his expression, Shu Jun couldn’t figure out what the other party was thinking.
After looking at this bigshot, Shu Jun didn’t feel any excitement but only hoped that this person would have higher-level authority so he could contact an official sooner. Considering the other party’s NPC status, he decided to rule out the reality issue and start from the game perspective.
“Why did you just… Hiss.” He forgot about his mutated fangs and bit his lips again.
Zhu Yanchen stretched out his hand. His fingers moved to the corner of Shu Jun’s mouth naturally. The index finger that was covered with a glove touched the tip of his tooth and then the wound on his lip.
Shu Jun’s mouth was invaded by dry cloth. His tongue was astringent, and his cheeks tensed uncomfortably. If he wanted to, he could immediately shake off that hand. It was just that Zhu Yanchen wasn’t making any dangerous movements at the moment, so it wasn’t good to sour his relationship with an important character too quickly.
Fortunately, this process only lasted about five seconds.
Zhu Yanchen opened his briefcase. The lid blocked Shu Jun’s view. Watching the sporadic movements, Zhu Yanchen sealed the blood-stained gloves in a plastic bag and changed into a pair of longer gloves, which tightly covered his wrists.
Then he took out a dice-size cube, which quickly unfolded like a flower and turned into a familiar gas mask. After putting on the mask and buckling the goggles in place, Zhu Yanchen’s voice became a bit muffled. “There’s an eroded area ahead. The pursuers will catch up soon, so we must leave immediately.”
It seemed that this “deliberate accident” was going to continue. Shu Jun let out a sigh.
“Mr. Shu Jun, I know you have many questions. You won yesterday, but you can’t leave the game. There’s no customer service representative to receive you in <Erosion>. The NPC’s attitude towards you is no longer friendly.” Zhu Yanchen’s tone was as if he were reciting a speech. “I don’t have time to explain too much now. If you still want to live, please follow my instructions.”
This time, Shu Jun didn’t stay stunned for long.
The situation had gone really wrong—NPCs should follow the settings and know nothing about things outside the game world. Words such as “game” and “customer service representative” shouldn’t have come out of Zhu Yanchen’s mouth, let alone Shu Jun’s real name.
A pile of virtual data suddenly broke through the limitations and had a good understanding of reality, which made Shu Jun break out in a cold sweat.
Zhu Yanchen quickly said, “Follow me.”
The battlefield was changing rapidly, so there was no time to dawdle. Shu Jun decisively hugged Zhu Yanchen’s waist and held him tightly by his side. “Where are we going?”
“Due north, ten kilometers.” Zhu Yanchen didn’t resist.
A hurricane rose.
Shu Jun was taken aback. This guy didn’t go to the front lines much, but he wasn’t “weak” at all. Zhu Yanchen’s waist was thin and strong, and his physique was just as good as his own. He was even slightly taller. In the shock just now, Shu Jun didn’t pay attention and underestimated the other’s weight, almost causing him to stumble.
“This place is a bit far away. You have to bear with it during the journey. If you need to throw up, let me know.” He was used to moving with the wind, but others usually couldn’t handle this transportation method.
Zhu Yanchen didn’t say a word, acting as honest as a dummy. Thanks to this, it took less time along the way than Shu Jun thought.
Their destination didn’t look very safe.
The gray mist rolled against the ground, and giant stalagmites poked out of the mist. There were oddly shaped caves abound, creating what seemed like a maze, and the creatures were strangely shaped to the extreme. This place was definitely a heavily eroded area.
“Are you sure this is the right place?” Shu Jun didn’t let go of Zhu Yanchen’s waist, nor did he hide the suspicion in his voice.
“Okay, can you explain now?” Shu Jun paused for a moment and added, “…Marshall Zhu? Sir?”
Zhu Yanchen shook his head and pointed to a certain cave in the gap between the stalagmites. “I can’t stay outside for too long. Let’s talk when we go in.”
After he finished speaking, he skillfully flew into the depths of the cave and opened a thick metal door. It felt like an unreal development. Perhaps this was all a dream. Embracing his longing to wake up, Shu Jun pinched his arm hard.
The dream wasn’t a dream, and the pain was real.
Before he could collect his emotions, he was sprayed with disinfectant spray in the isolation room. The two stood in silence for a few minutes before stepping into the real entrance.
There was a small safe house hidden behind the main entrance. It could be seen that no one had been here for a long time. The erosion was all blocked outside as the furniture inside still retained its bright colors. Zhu Yanchen took off his protective equipment and filled up two cups of water from the water filter.
“Have a seat.”
“……” Shu Jun glanced at the clean sofa and then at himself, covered in mud. “How much time do you need to explain?”
“Is ten minutes enough?”
“Then I’ll take a shower first.”
The expression on Zhu Yanchen’s face finally twitched. “……”
“You don’t look like you’re conveying any good news based on this setup.” Shu Jun took the cup and drank all the water in one gulp. “It’s been a rough ride. I want to be as comfortable as possible while dodging bullets.”
“The shower cabin is over there, and there are spare clothes in it.” Zhu Yanchen sighed, unaffected by Shu Jun’s relaxed tone.
The shower cabin was extremely narrow, with only enough space for one person to stand. Shu Jun turned on the water to its maximum, allowing the water to beat down on his skin. Finally, his heart rate slowly began to stabilize.
In this situation, accompanying an important NPC, he appeared relaxed on the surface, but his nerves were already stretched to the limit. If things continued like this, he was unsure if he could appropriately respond—Zhu Yanchen was the most important character in <Erosion>. The current situation was so bizarre that Shu Jun didn’t want to make random mistakes.
Although he knew what was in front of him was an illusion, the warm water still made him feel better.
Is this really an illusion?
Shu Jun gave himself a self-deprecating grin. The nested bugs gave him a terrible headache, and he couldn’t distinguish between truth and fiction. He subconsciously wiped the water from his face and lowered his gaze.
The water rushed and splashed, scattering the remains of his clothes. The communication screen that came with it was still blinking. Wiping away the water mist on the screen, Shu Jun narrowed his eyes. The location tag belonging to “Smoke” was still glowing, unmoving near him.
……This may be the most terrifying “bug” he had ever encountered.
Three years ago, he and “Smoke” met while discussing strategic issues on a certain map. In the beginning, most of the topics were about combat, and Smoke always had some sharp opinions. He was also smart and humble, so it was easy to get along with him.
The two of them gradually became acquainted with each other and developed a relationship where they would chat every few days. Later on, chatting with each other became a regular occurrence.
It was impossible for Shu Jun to say he didn’t feel pressure, as he was known as the “Immortal Legend”. He spent almost all his time on work, and to maintain balance within the team, he couldn’t get too close to any particular teammate.
Slowly, Smoke, who didn’t belong to any team and was good at tactics, gradually became an oasis for him. Perhaps because of their matching personalities, this person could always give Shu Jun just the right amount of support and care. When it came to what kind of person he wanted to live with, Shu Jun’s first reaction was “someone like Smoke”.
After several years of contact, one could see a bit of character based on a person’s words and actions. He decided that Smoke was a girl who was a bit cold but gentle in nature. Even if it were a man, if the other party was willing, he would want to try to see where it went.
But he wasn’t an adolescent who would go crazy for some vague affection. Moreover, he was busy every day, and there was no need to rush to break the current understanding between the two of them as there was still plenty of time ahead.
Relying on text communication was still thin. He wanted to see the other after his career was over, confess his feelings, and everything would follow after that.
Shu Jun naturally thought about many situations where he would be unable to confess his feelings, such as if “Smoke” already had a lover or was already married. He even considered the possibility that “Smoke” could be an old man. Despite all his conjectures, not once did he guess that “Smoke” was an NPC in the game.
Shu Jun raised his face and let the water hit him heavily in the face. Leaving the gender issue aside, the object of his affection was just a pile of data.
…Or there was a possibility of something worse. Shu Jun didn’t want to think about it further until he fully grasped the current situation.
After eating a set of realistic combo punches in just one day, Shu Jun had the confidence to stay rational no matter what Marshal Zhu was about to tell him. After stabilizing his emotions, Shu Jun stepped out of the shower cabin and dried his gray hair with a towel.
“I’m ready,” Shu Jun said solemnly. He wrapped the towel around his neck, freeing his hand to grab a glass of water, with a face like death.
Zhu Yanchen looked him straight in the eyes and cut straight to the point. “Everything you have experienced isn’t a bug.”
“This world isn’t a game. Your world is.”
Shu Jun only felt that something in his mind had exploded. This wasn’t metaphorically, but rather realistically.
Pain surged like a tsunami, sweeping his nerves.
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One thought on “Access Denied Ch4”
he really dropped the bomb like that aha