Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 7: Corpse Parasite
The lights lit up again, and the cement-colored room was as bright as day. Fighting instinct was engraved in Shu Jun’s bones. He grabbed Zhu Yanchen and leaped onto the pipeline. The pipeline creaked and hissed, spraying steam; mixed with the shadows it became an excellent cover.
Although he came to his senses and felt better, the strange sensation of being eroded by the Erosion Swamp still remained on his skin.
The situation was weird. Zhu Yanchen’s argument was logically sound, but Shu Jun didn’t intend to buy it right away—the new information was too sensational, and he hadn’t fully grasped the other party’s motives behind his actions. It wasn’t like he would believe what others would say.
Zhu Yanchen didn’t rush to explain. He put on his mask and quietly let Shu Jun hold him.
The body handler paced back and forth along the edge of the Erosion Swamp. The sound of bubbles from the Erosion Swamp echoed in the space. He flashed his light to illuminate a few corners on the ground but didn’t search the two-meter-high pipe clumps. After a while of searching and finding nothing, the corpse handler gave up going around, but he had no intention of leaving.
The two waited patiently for a while, but not only did the corpse handler not leave, but the main entrance of the building also rattled again.
What are you afraid of? It’s late at night. Is there going to be a party at the corpse disposal factory?
As a result, the banging from the door became more urgent, and there were a few screams mixed in. Shu Jun immediately collected his thoughts and tensed his back. It was getting late now, and it was a desolate and eroded area. There were various mutant beasts wandering around, and many of them could imitate human voices.
He didn’t know what Zhu Yanchen’s situation was. At least he suspected he was unarmed, so he couldn’t make a rash move.
The corpse handler also looked quite surprised. He took out a gun from his waist and slowly rubbed against the door.
The knock on the door grew fainter, and the screams grew louder with an unbearable sense of despair. An observation window was installed on the heavy metal door. The corpse handler used it to look out. They didn’t know what he saw, but he paused for a few seconds, then opened the door.
Three wounded soldiers came in from outside, all wearing masks so they couldn’t see their expressions. The leader looked like an officer, while the other two dragged in the corpse of a mutant beast full of bullet holes. The body handler saluted them, and the leader spoke while panting. “If we hadn’t killed that thing, were you planning not to open the door?”
“After all, given the time, I hope you can understand…” The corpse handler responded passively. Based on the voice, it was unexpectedly a woman—she had long arms and legs and was tall and sturdy. While wearing a protective suit, it was hard to tell her gender.
“The signal didn’t work. We needed to notify you of urgent information. Don’t misunderstand. Who would go to the erosion zone so late?” Seeing the dull look on the corpse handler’s face, the officer complained a few more times without any intention of continuing to make things difficult for her. “Alright, Xiao* Sun and Xiao Li, you two can dispose of the body of that thing in the Erosion Swamp.”
*Little/Young/Junior (小) When used as a prefix in front of a name, it expresses familiarity or affection towards a person, usually used when the person is younger or lower rank than you (like kouhai).
The corpse handler froze. She seemed to want to say something, but in the end, she didn’t say a word.
The other two wounded soldiers continued to drag the monster towards the Erosion Swamp. Shu Jun narrowed his eyes. His instinct as a soldier was screaming in his head. The scene in front of him was inconsistent—the two wounded soldiers limped along while dragging the corpse, while the leading officer in charge was walking behind them, never far away. Looking carefully, although the three people’s steps were irregular, their movements and frequency were exactly the same.
Shu Jun’s hair stood up.
That was a Corpse Parasite, one of the most annoying monsters for players. It was elusive in the erosion zone, and its essence was a tangle of straw-like limbs. That thing liked to burrow into ordinary mutated beasts, control them to attack humans, and then pretend to be defeated. When people thought they had won, it would leave the mutated beast’s body and sneak into the gaps in the protective suit while no one was paying attention.
It would inject paralyzing venom into the human body, eat them silently, and replace the missing flesh with its straw-like limbs to prop up their clothing. People normally wear tight clothes in the erosion zone, so they often wouldn’t notice the abnormality.
When the victim realized it, most of their body would already be gone, leaving only a skeleton and some nerves left, as well as an intact head.
Although the predation method of the Corpse Parasite was quite creepy, that wasn’t its most hated thing—the Corpse Parasite didn’t necessarily eat humans; it specifically attacked them for a reason.
Compared with ordinary mutant beasts, the Corpse Parasite was particularly dependent on the Erosion Swamp. There was a symbiotic relationship between the two. It deliberately left the human heads alive for a while and would take them to places where the erosion level wasn’t high—when the victim died, it would remember these locations and would feed the information back to the Erosion Swamp.
It was just like the hound of the Erosion Swamp.
In this way, the Erosion Swamp could erode more purposefully, increasing the concentration of the erosion substance everywhere, and in return, the Corpse Parasite could live more nourishingly. This was a beautiful win-win model for them, but it was undoubtedly a disaster for mankind.
In the past ten years, Shu Jun had probably killed around a few hundred of them, so he was familiar with this kind of thing—when it controlled multiple bodies, it couldn’t simulate different actions and movements completely. To cover this up, it would first use the skin of ordinary mutant beasts to injure the victims, making them unable to walk normally. However, if one observed carefully, the flaws could still be noticed.
Things were looking bad.
Although the heads of the three soldiers were still alive, they could only hold on for a while longer. Without weapons and relying solely on his abilities, Shu Jun could at most disperse the “straw” of the Corpse Parasite but couldn’t completely kill it. Their hiding place could only deceive human eyes. When the Corpse Parasite emerged from the bodies of those people, everyone in the room would become a target.
If he gathered wind into a hurricane, he might be able to break through the window in the corner of the wall. If he was fast enough, he could run away with Zhu Yanchen in one hand and the corpse handler in the other. He just didn’t know what was going on with his body right now or whether he would be able to complete this series of actions smoothly.
Zhu Yanchen, who had been silent all this time, also moved. He took out his gun and stared at the three “people” not far away.
“Marshal Zhu Yanchen is missing. If anything happens nearby, you must report it immediately.” The officer knew nothing about his approaching death.
“What about the Erosion Swamp here? Marshal Zhu has always been in charge here…” The corpse handler raised her head.
“The data monitoring of the Erosion Swamp will be done as usual. Marshal Yi Ning will arrange for people to deal with all abnormal reports.” The officer nodded, followed by his voice jamming, like broken audio data. “Deal, deal, deal…”
The two wounded soldiers nearby also fell down, and a gray-black straw-like object drilled out of the protective clothing of the three people, causing the fabric to deflate. The three of them remained motionless on the ground, and their protective suits crumpled up like deflated balloons, revealing the faint outline of their bony skeletons.
The corpse handler screamed. She dropped her gun, which scattered on the ground. The Erosion Swamp began to boil, making a small howling sound as if it were calling.
Zhu Yanchen’s entire body shook. “How troublesome.”
Indeed, it was troublesome. The Corpse Parasite shouldn’t act so quickly. Shu Jun grabbed Zhu Yanchen tightly, observed the position of the corpse handler, and prepared to carry the two of them away. As a result, as soon as he rushed out, he faced the oncoming Corpse Parasite head-on. Shu Jun stretched out his hand towards the pile of rotten straw, trying to blow it away to buy more time.
The howling of the Erosion Swamp was getting louder, as if it were calling for something.
Just as he gathered the power in his hand, Shu Jun’s originally clear mind became dizzy again, and he could hardly think smoothly.
Amidst the strange howling sound, he suddenly felt that the Corpse Parasite in front of him looked lovely, just like a pet dog frolicking and exposing its belly. The small Erosion Swamp next to it didn’t seem so annoying either. However, the light above his head was too bright, making him irritated.
As for the person near him, Shu Jun thought he looked… delicious.
He was hungry.
He stretched out his hand and pressed the other person to the ground. As a result, just as Shu Jun leaned down, the cold muzzle of a gun was pressed against the center of his brows.
“Hold on.” Zhu Yanchen’s voice became less cold, sounding a bit cautious, like he was coaxing an injured animal. “You have survived twice. You won’t fall this time. Don’t let it dominate you.”
These words reached Shu Jun’s mind, but he gradually couldn’t understand them.
Just as he couldn’t understand the meaning of the icy coldness between his brows at first, Shu Jun pressed his head down, trying to sniff Zhu Yanchen’s neck. Zhu Yanchen didn’t tremble and didn’t shoot, but there was more force applied to the muzzle of the gun.
“Shu Jun.” His call was like a sigh.
Shu Jun swallowed and began to tear Zhu Yanchen’s protective clothing with his claws. He was a little confused about the situation. Maybe he shouldn’t be doing this, but he was so hungry.
Zhu Yanchen raised his other hand that wasn’t holding the gun, as if he wanted to give him a hug, but he got stuck in the middle of his movements.
“I don’t want to say ‘sorry’ anymore.” His voice was low. Shu Jun didn’t know whether he was saying that to Zhu Yanchen or to himself.
For some reason, the Corpse Parasite waited obediently beside him while the small Erosion Swamp not far away was still howling. Zhu Yanchen closed his eyes and yelled at the frightened corpse handler, “Turn on all the purifiers and suppress the Erosion Swamp!”
The corpse handler had no intention of finding out where the two men came from. She shivered and started to move to the nearest operating table. Starting the purifier wasn’t a job that could be solved by pressing a button, but she was so nervous she couldn’t even get started for a while.
Zhu Yanchen stared at Shu Jun’s movement and pulled his finger on the trigger.
Shu Jun couldn’t bite down. At this distance, he could feel the other party’s body temperature. The temperature was like a pot of cold water, which sobered him up a little. Shu Jun knew he shouldn’t hurt him, but there was a force that seemed to be twisting his head and burning his stomach. Shu Jun tried to open his eyes, trying to make his blurred vision clearer.
It felt like he was struggling in a swamp.
His hands were pressing on Zhu Yanchen’s chest, and his sturdy protective clothing was torn apart by him. The dark claw tip left fine blood marks on the other’s skin, and a little blood bead oozed out. Fortunately, he hadn’t made any heavy moves yet. Shu Jun tried to suppress the urge to attack and adjust his breathing.
There was a special sound of erosion flowing that was beating in his ears. The woman’s scream and the whistling of the erosion were mixed together, and the volume was becoming louder.
“What is that?” The woman’s voice was full of fear. She even ignored the Corpse Parasite and looked directly at him. “What did you bring?!”
What is she saying?
Shu Jun moved his gaze and looked at his other hand—his left arm was in a semi-melted state, and black erosion was flowing down the skin, forming a small pool of erosion by Zhu Yanchen’s side.
“Shu Jun,” Zhu Yanchen called to him again.
Shu Jun moved the half-melted arm, and the erosion that was scattered on the ground floated back to its place, forming a normal arm again.
As his appearance recovered, although the corpse handler failed to activate the purifier, the howling of the Erosion Swamp slowly stopped.
“…Did you sober up a bit?” Zhu Yanchen asked with relief.
Then, he pressed Shu Jun’s head into his arms and slid his gun up, firing several shots behind him. It was obvious that Zhu Yanchen’s bullets were specially made, as the parts where the Corpse Parasite was hit were directly turned into powder.
After eating a few shots, the Corpse Parasite lost its honest appearance just now, and its body, which had no fixed shape, danced wildly and rushed towards the two of them.
Shu Jun wasn’t idle. He supported himself and rolled off of Zhu Yanchen, activating his ability. A storm was raised, blowing the straw-like monster directly onto the wall at the other end of the room.
The power was much stronger than before but was also extremely difficult to control. Not only was the monster blown away, but even the wall was blown down. The night mist filled the room, and the interior of the building was illuminated by blood-red warning lights.
“Suppose what you said is true—just suppose—I guess the concentration of erosion substance in my body can no longer be measured by ‘concentration’.”
Shu Jun glanced at his arm. The unpleasant feeling that overwhelmed his consciousness hadn’t subsided.
He had fought with the Erosion Swamp and mutant beasts for a decade and was familiar with all kinds of erosion conditions. The condition of his arm just now didn’t seem like it was eroded, but more like the erosion substance spontaneously formed his arm.
“You just said, ‘Don’t let it dominate me’. The Corpse Parasite can’t control me, let alone the corpse handler. Although I hope you were referring to that small Erosion Swamp, I have another conjecture.”
When he first woke up, the ordinary mutant beast passing by didn’t attack him. The same thing happened to the Corpse Parasite just now—this thing would only submit to the Erosion Swamp and had no goodwill towards its own kind. If he had just turned into a new type of mutant beast, it wouldn’t be so polite.
He started to feel wrong after hearing the Erosion Swamp’s howling. The howling sounded more like a test to confirm his identity than control.
“…There isn’t an Erosion Swamp hidden inside of me, right?”
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Thank you for the update ❤️💯