Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 6: Corpse Disposal
Shu Jun didn’t dare to really fall asleep and stared with wide eyes for a long time.
The first reason was that he was afraid that if he closed his eyes and kicked his legs, everything would be over without any follow-up. As for the second reason…
Zhu Yanchen was cold by nature, but he didn’t have the air of someone in a high position. His every move was characterized by a faint sense of detachment. However, if it was in regards to unconsciously provoking people’s emotions, Shu Jun truly thought he was fitting for a Marshal.
While he was lying there, completely awake, a few steps away, Zhu Yanchen was cutting off rotten flesh from his wound and collecting it as samples. The scene was quite grisly. Every now and then, the strange smell of flesh and blood being handled would waft over. If Marshal Zhu was a dentist, he would definitely use glass as the walls in his clinic and wouldn’t mind if his patients screamed in pain for everyone to see.
Not to mention that this person was so busy that he realized it was time for a meal halfway through, and he simply drank his nutritional supplement at the same table. This practical approach was indeed reminiscent of the characteristics of the Smoke he knew.
There were many bloody elements in <Erosion>, so he didn’t dislike seeing such a scene; in fact, he found it quite interesting. The Marshal Zhu portrayed in the game’s promotion seemed more like an empty shell, but now there was a bit more substance to him.
Zhu Yanchen brewed two cups of nutrients; one of which was placed gently by Shu Jun’s bedside.
Shu Jun gathered some strength and asked, “Aren’t you tired?”
He had been lying on the bed for a while, and Zhu Yanchen had been busy at the table all this time without taking a break.
Zhu Yanchen hesitated for a moment, shook his head, turned around, and was about to leave.
“I feel much better now. Why don’t we talk—”
Zhu Yanchen glanced at him from behind the goggles. “Speak less.”
Shu Jun smiled and then grabbed Zhu Yanchen’s arm. Marshal Zhu was strong, but unfortunately, he didn’t have much hand-to-hand combat, so he was caught off guard. He didn’t feel any pain and didn’t sense any intention of being harmed by the other person. Zhu Yanchen didn’t struggle and sat by the bed, letting out a sigh. “Okay.”
“It took me a long time to squeeze out just a few words.” Shu Jun let go of Zhu Yanchen’s arm. “How about this. I’ll talk, and you listen.”
Zhu Yanchen looked at him.
Shu Jun didn’t joke around. Even though he had been lying there for half a day, his mind wasn’t idle. Waiting around and doing nothing was never his style.
“I thought before that for a casual player like you, A’Yan, your tactical level is too strong. Even if you’re an official from <Erosion>, there was no need for you to deal with my bug using an important NPC identity.”
“Your job is to play ‘Marshal Zhu Yanchen’, right? Your original purpose shouldn’t be to ‘save me’, but to make other arrangements. It’s just that we happened to meet, and we know each other, so you just went along with it.”
If he had been prepared, “Zhu Yanchen” wouldn’t have let him touch him in such a simple and crude way. And considering the company’s confidentiality issues, it was understandable that Smoke was reluctant to talk about his work. The more Shu Jun thought about it, the more plausible he felt this was.
“So that leaves just one question.” He tried smiling but his sharpened teeth got in the way. “We’re friends now, so why don’t you respond to me?”
Zhu Yanchen narrowed his eyes.
The game and reality had been reversed, and Shu Jun started speculating based on what he knew of the NPCs and the bugs. But aside from this, Shu Jun had mostly guessed his own actions.
What terrible intuition.
“You said my brain would ‘reject specific information’, but I don’t have a headache now.” Shu Jun confidently took a sip of the nutritional solution. “It seems that I successfully bypassed that minefield.”
“That’s because you’re lucky. Rejection… No, intracerebral shock hurts. If it happens a second time, I may not be able to save you.” Zhu Yanchen’s voice was cold. “It’s hard for people to control their own thoughts. You’ve always liked to indulge in your own wild thoughts. Don’t be in such a hurry to throw your life away.”
He didn’t correct the way Shu Jun called him.
“A’Yan, it’s really you.” Shu Jun scratched his face. He forgot that his nails had sharpened, and he made thin marks on the side of his face. “It was worth it that I came up with all these messy thoughts.”
Zhu Yanchen: “……”
Although he was wearing a mask, the marshal looked like he wanted to smack him for a moment.
Unexpectedly exposed, Marshal Zhu’s mood declined instead of improving. Seeing this, Shu Jun stopped and quickly flattened himself on the bed, with a posture as if he could be buried immediately.
Zhu Yanchen didn’t plan to let this go. “It seems that you’ve almost recovered. Let’s set off.”
He threw down a healing patch. “…Deal with your face.”
Shu Jun’s nerves finally loosened a bit. In any case, this was the Smoke he knew. Even if in the past few years, the other party’s communication had other purposes, it was better than facing a completely unknown “Marshal Zhu”.
In all things, there was a limit to what could be said, and some dangerous topics couldn’t be rushed—such as saying it was Marshal Zhu who saved him, and it was also Marshal Zhu who told him to be careful of the intracerebral shocks, yet he was the one who induced it in the first place.
He hoped that their destination would give him an answer.
Shu Jun initially thought Zhu Yanchen would send him to an official reception center, where there would be a normal building. However, they only moved from one dangerous location to another.
On the ground, Shu Jun was gasping for breath as he leaned against the stalagmite. A feverish feeling and weakness spread through his body.
There was a building here—a low concrete structure ambling on the ground that looked patchy and wrong, covered with gray and black caused by erosion. There were only a few purifiers around, dutifully filtering the fog. This place didn’t even have the quality of a stronghold, and it didn’t look like it was hiding any earth-shattering secrets.
As soon as the two landed, Zhu Yanchen led Shu Jun away from the surveillance cameras and headed to the back door of the building. The interior of the building was neither minimalistic nor crude. One half of it was filled with instruments, while the other half had square pits dug into the ground. Shu Jun recognized what was in the pit—a small Erosion Swamp was rolling in it, leisurely swinging its liquid columns.
After suffering a big loss, Shu Jun had even less fondness for this thing. He squatted behind the machine and looked at it for a long time, still without the slightest premonition of enlightenment. There were some changes; the air here must have been eroded, yet that made him feel comfortable.
As soon as Shu Jun was about to turn his head and ask questions, Zhu Yanchen made a silent gesture.
Someone was coming.
The main entrance creaked open, and a man in thick protective clothing came in with a cart. There were two carts filled with bulging body bags that resembled the shape of a human body. He—or she—unloaded them from the cart and put them into a chute, then watched as they were swallowed up by the Erosion Swamp.
The bodies buzzed, then quickly dissolved.
“How much do you know about the Erosion Swamp?” Zhu Yanchen spoke amidst the cacophony of corpse disposal.
“…Just the background of the game.”
In the game, it was inevitable that there would be some strange settings. The Erosion Swamp was an aggregate made up of erosion substance, making it the number one monster in <Erosion>. Shu Jun only knew how to deal with it but didn’t consider any more detailed levels.
How come they started discussing the game setting?
“During the apocalypse, the research talent was interrupted. Even today, human understanding of erosion substances is limited,” Zhu Yanchen said. “People have only ever utilized a little of it. Keep watching.”
Shu Jun turned his head in confusion and saw the man begin to throw the corpses in the second cart into the Erosion Swamp.
Something was wrong.
The first cart of corpses decomposed quietly, but the second cart of corpses didn’t. The unnatural land fluctuations, the pervasive mist, and the sound of rocks clanking one after another caused even the walls near the Erosion Swamp to peel off.
The momentum was somewhat similar to their abilities, but compared to that, it was extremely weak.
“The first cart has civilians who died normally, while the second cart has soldiers who were eroded by the Erosion Swamp. The body of the latter will resonate with the environment. The air, water, soil… in the erosion zone, they have different levels of erosion, so the ‘properties’ presented by the resonance are also different.”
Having said that, Zhu Yanchen paused for a moment and looked at the corpse handler.
Shu Jun suddenly felt an inexplicable chill. It was late at night, which made the scene in front of him look particularly gloomy.
Players would have some transcendent abilities or traits, which was almost a conventional rule. Such things were taken for granted, and most people focused on the skill itself, while few seriously pursued “what is the principle behind this skill”.
According to Zhu Yanchen, to what extent does the player have to be eroded to possess such a powerful ability?
“Continue,” Shu Jun said.
“Erosion can interrupt signal transmission and corrode mechanical joints. Machines cannot replace humans in setting up purifiers. Some people have strong resistance to erosion, but no matter how special humans are, in the long run, there’s only a dead end… There are not many survivors, and the sacrifice of the purification project is too great for society to sustain.”
Zhu Yanchen spoke a bit slowly. Following his narration, the corpse handler packed up the cart and slowly retreated.
“By using humans as a blueprint for transformation, it’s possible to obtain ‘synthetic humans’ with extremely high resistance to erosion. However, there’s a cost. As non-natural products, they are destined not to survive for too long.”
The light went out, and the room fell into darkness.
“…No, it should be said that ‘you’ are destined not to survive for too long.”
Not to mention, whether he believed it or not, Shu Jun already had a vague guess in that direction.
As a “human” who was born with great power, who would want to be born only to risk their lives in battle and then quickly die? Currently, synthetic humans had intelligence that was no different from humans, and brainwashing education was prone to accidents—due to the vast difference in power, whether the probability was one in a thousand or ten thousand, if a rebel appeared, humanity would suffer a heavy loss.
Then it was better to find a way to ban certain truths and deceive everyone.
An extremely absurd tactic, but logically, it made sense.
As his thoughts spun, a familiar headache slowly crept back. Shu Jun didn’t vomit but couldn’t help but kneel down on one knee. The impact on his brain this time was stronger than before, and his head felt like it was being split in half.
The Erosion Swamp made a sticky churning sound that was unpleasant to hear. In the darkness, something climbed onto his arms and legs.
Shu Jun lowered his head and looked at Zhu Yanchen. The man’s face was covered by a gas mask, so he couldn’t see the eyes behind the goggles clearly.
Zhu Yanchen said that if he experiences this a second time, he will probably die. So what was he doing now? If his goal was to kill him, then these methods seemed quite unnecessary and only complicated matters.
…Wait. He was clearly kneeling on the ground, so why was Zhu Yanchen looking up at him?
Only then did Shu Jun realize that the Erosion Swamp was boiling under his feet. At some point, a liquid column lifted him into the air, wrapping around his body in all directions. His entire body was in excruciating pain, and he wanted to scream, but no sound came out.
“Sorry.” Zhu Yanchen apologized for the second time; his voice was muffled as if it were like a puff of mist.
More liquid columns entangled, and the passage of time began to blur. Everything in front of him became more distant. Shu Jun gasped with difficulty. He was unable to struggle anymore and could only accept the pain as he tried to keep his eyes open with the last of his strength.
Zhu Yanchen took off his gas mask. A glimmer of moonlight fell through the window, illuminating his pale face.
‘The concentration of erosion substance here must be off the charts,’ Shu Jun thought fuzzily. ‘Does this person want to die?’
Zhu Yanchen reached out to him and said something, but Shu Jun couldn’t hear it clearly. The pain of his body disintegrating engulfed him, and he closed his eyes, wishing he could just pass out.
[You will not lose.]
A voice sounded in his hazy consciousness. The voice wasn’t like Zhu Yanchen’s. He didn’t remember it, but it felt nostalgic. Stimulated for a while, Shu Jun tried to lift his eyelids. Zhu Yanchen was still standing there, with his hands outstretched and his face unobstructed.
And his expression looked sad.
He wasn’t even skilled at expressing his sadness. As for this pile of crap, he still owed him 10,000 explanations…
Wait. Despite the headache, he didn’t forget what he had heard. Shu Jun’s mind shook, and the pain also numbed slightly. After all, he was swallowed by the Erosion Swamp once. He had to stay conscious. Even if he died, he had to hold onto the information to the end…
But the Erosion Swamp didn’t seem to have any plans to swallow him.
He didn’t know how long but Shu Jun finally fell from the air. To be precise, it was more like he was being inspected by the Erosion Swamp and then thrown away in dissatisfaction. This time, it was Zhu Yanchen’s turn to act as a meat cushion, and he was hit hard.
The liquid column receded, and the pain dissipated. For some reason, the previous weakness was also swept away. Shu Jun suddenly became energetic and looked at Zhu Yanchen.
Marshal Zhu’s lips were pale, and his appearance looked quite wretched. The sadness he had shown earlier seemed to be his own illusion. Now, Zhu Yanchen had a serious look on his face, and his dark eyes were bottomless.
Shu Jun decided to cut to the chase. “What did you let the Erosion Swamp do to me—”
“Who?!” A sharp shout interrupted Shu Jun’s question. For some reason, the corpse handler, who was supposed to leave, suddenly turned back.
The light switched on again, lighting up the entire room as bright as day.
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One thought on “Access Denied Ch6”
Thank you for the update ❤️💯