Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 104: Deathbed
There was only fog outside the train window.
Zhong Chengshuo was sitting upright in the middle of the carriage’s seat. The old man-like evil creature was half sitting, half leaning less than an arm’s length away from him. The window behind the two seemed to be a gray reflector.
Around the “reflector”, sheets of yellow talisman fluttered without wind. To the side of the talismans was covered in paper, making the carriage wall a little less creepy due to the pure, bright yellow.
Zhong Chengshuo twitched his nose as he used his feet to push away an obstructive steel pipe. After staying in the carriage for so long, the stench wasn’t as pungent as when he first smelled it.
He simply bandaged his wound, took out his glasses from his pocket, and carefully put them on.
“Higher… Higher…” The evil thing kept murmuring. It was tearing up and its cloudy eyes were looking at a point in the void.
Zhong Chengshuo took out a fountain pen from the sampling bag and spun the end of the pen. A tip poked out from the opening, revealing a hidden syringe. Hearing a soft grunt, the tranquilizer was injected into the neck of the evil thing.
Since it was considered a “Living Evil”, it would have a biological nature.
Sure enough, the old man shook in place for a moment. A few seconds later, he wrapped the blanket tightly around himself, and another confused look appeared on his face.
“Ah… I… Why…”
He curled his body. His eyes wandered from the ground full of townspeople and zombies, and finally stopped on his own deformed body. The old man opened his mouth and vigorously vomited on the ground.
However, all he vomited was transparent mucus.
“You… Who are you…?”
Retching for a few minutes, the old man asked in a daze.
“Official staff.” Zhong Chengshuo lightly flashed his blood-stained ID cards. “I’m here to deal with you.”
The old man’s face was full of wrinkles and tears. The astonishment quickly turned into deep sorrow. A few seconds passed, and his expression became dazed again.
“Tell me everything.” Zhong Chengshuo took out a small hard-cover notebook for recording and scratched the blade of the Evil Fruit with his thumb.
The old man panted for a while, and when he spoke again, his tone had a strange sense, as if he were tearing up and was speaking in a dream.
“Twenty-eight years ago, I was damned… When the mine collapsed, I was on the mountain.”
“Blood-red sky, a black vortex. Something hit me…”
Zhong Chengshuo opened his notebook and carefully recorded and analyzed it.
The Evil Fruit was placed on the page of the book as he flipped the gel pen between his fingers. His beautiful handwriting flowed onto the paper, succinctly recording the events described by the old man.
Divine Descent came into the world and disordered the evil spirits.
A strong and Evil Force fell from the sky, like invisible hail, stimulating the remaining evil things in the Ant Nest, causing the mine to collapse.
That was the beginning of their nightmares.
Back then, Mr. Evil, the old mayor, happened to be on the mountain. Rolling rocks caused by the quake almost crushed him in two. When he was on the verge of death, something extremely cold smashed into his internal organs, and the cold spread rapidly causing him to instantly pass out.
When the old mayor woke up, his injuries, which should have been fatal, were perhaps lighter.
But as a price, he began to experience severe pain, as if his body were being ground up into mincemeat. The pain felt like countless red-hot needles poking into his bones day and night.
The old mayor only regarded it as a sequela of his serious injuries. He kept prescribing analgesics to himself and continued to work conscientiously.
But there were many changes in him.
For example, he only needed to consume very little food. For example, he didn’t need to normally sleep. Despite that, there was an inexplicable hunger in his heart. Hunger and severe pain tormented him so frantically that reality took a sharp turn for the worse.
“That’s a good point, but the other party says they won’t sign the contract. Didn’t they say they could still work together for a few more years?”
“My family has taken out loans. Haven’t you read the news? Those people up there definitely value you. You have to find a way!”
“If the mine suddenly doesn’t produce anything, what are we going to do?”
“This isn’t the end of Gensheng Town, right?”
“How can it end so easily! Right, Mayor?”
At the beginning, everyone was optimistic.
The mine had enriched the people of the town, and every household had a surplus of food. The townspeople firmly believed that when the disaster passed and the sadness faded, the mines would continue to develop, and the former prosperity would surely return.
However, as time passed, panic gradually spread.
They were unable to find new mineral deposits, and investors were beginning to pull out. Companies withdrew, factories shut down, and shops fell to pieces. The townspeople could only pick up manual labor to make ends meet or sit and eat mountain air. The prosperity and happiness in those reports were like soap bubbles that popped the second before.
The circular loop repeated itself day in and day out, just like in the past. Its rumbling sound carried countless prides, but now there was only boundless sadness.
But the people couldn’t leave.
Their ancestors were born here and grew up here for generations. They were different from those “outsiders”, who simply came and went. Besides here, they had no other “home” to go back to.
The people once again turned their eyes to the old man; the man who once brought the mountain town to its peak.
“Think of a way…”
“It can’t go on like this…”
“Mr. Mayor, can you change this place back?”
The townspeople came to his door day and night, praying in vain.
No one wanted to point out the truth. Everyone knew the town was reaching its end—just like a terminally ill patient looking forward to a miracle while knowing such a miracle wouldn’t happen.
The mountains were too ugly due to the mining to become a natural landscape. The destroyed arable land couldn’t grow crops, much less raise specialty products. The built real estate couldn’t be rented out, and it would cost too much to demolish them.
And even if they were removed, there was nothing to fill the space.
The paint flaked off and the metal corroded. The supply of electricity and water became increasingly scarce, and the barren city slowly decayed in silence.
They couldn’t go back.
At the end of the year, Gengsheng Town finally welcomed new visitors—after measuring the situation in Gengsheng Town, the relevant project personnel brought a compensation agreement.
They asked the townspeople to leave and relocate en masse to a large town down the mountain. For the mess in the mine, the public government would be responsible for ecological restoration and reclamation.
But this process would take a very long time—long enough for a generation of old people to die in a foreign place.
In the midst of heavy snow, the other boot finally fell*.
*Metaphor that comes from the saying “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. It’s referring to deferring action or a decision until another matter is finished or resolved/awaiting a seemingly inevitable event, especially one that is not desirable. (In this case, it means the latter).
The compensation wasn’t much, nor was it too little. If they were in the pre-development era of Gengsheng Town, most likely the villagers would’ve accepted it with enthusiasm. But the villagers of the current Gengsheng Town only showed confusion and despair.
Is it over just like this?
It was unknown who was the first to take up arms, but the project staff was eventually driven out—there was a mixture of desperation and hope on the faces of the townspeople, as if the town could be saved by driving away this person.
The mayor hurriedly came out to dissuade them but was surrounded by the out-of-control townspeople.
“Mayor, think of a way.”
Countless eyes looked at him.
“This is our home.”
“I can’t live without my home!”
Countless hands stretched out to him.
“You’re so powerful. Look at the great city we have built.”
“If we all work together, there are no obstacles that we can’t overcome, don’t you think?”
Countless mouths were speaking to him.
Chaos and sorrow were like echoes, lingering in the crowd endlessly. The faces of the townspeople had stiff and uneasy smiles, but their eyes, which were no longer young, showed a little sadness.
…Familiar people, familiar scenes, but not familiar emotions.
Surrounded by the group of townspeople, the mayor vaguely saw the day when the first mine was successfully mined.
Every family set off firecrackers. Men, women, and children walked out of their low adobe houses, and laughter filled the town. They said that their future would definitely get better.
Perhaps it was because he didn’t take painkillers tonight that the pain inside him was burning like a prairie fire, heating him so hot that it made his brain boil.
“This is all temporary, right? Mayor… Mayor?”
Accompanied by huge sadness, countless fragments of information flooded the mayor’s mind. Something seemed to have broken in his body, and cold mucus flowed freely from his chest and abdomen. His internal organs seemed to be frozen and twisted into a ball.
The world was spinning, and everything in front of him melted like cream.
Countless thoughts converged into a torrent, whispering frantically in his head. They formed a cold and heavy stone mill, and the mayor could feel that his sanity was slowly being crushed by it.
I want to go back to the past. Such a good life has just begun… Slightly younger voices were buzzing.
Our ancestors were born here and died here for generations. Our roots have been entrenched here for hundreds of years… The thoughts of the old people were sticky and churning in his mind endlessly.
Yes… They watched their adobe houses turn into brick houses, and the brick houses turned into high-rise buildings that were only prevalent in the cities. The railway was opened, and the circular line was built. Gengsheng Town was like a teenager who was changing every year.
Everything was clear… It shouldn’t be like this…
Helplessness, confusion, pain, bewilderment, and despair all rolled into a chaotic mess, eventually culminating in great sadness.
[I don’t want to disappear.]
They eventually merged into one voice. The voice was tormented and lost, sounding like his own, yet completely out of his control.
[I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to disappear.]
The mayor who fell to the ground was supported by the townspeople. His eyes were extremely dull and the depths of his pupils were dimly red. He just looked at the land under his feet steadily, then suddenly vomited dirty blood from his internal organs.
The “Living Evil” was born.
For some reason, the mayor sensed something. There was something underground. Something rare and powerful, but extremely ominous.
It didn’t matter. As long as he could use those powers… As long as this place didn’t disappear…
The mayor closed his eyes. His hands became cold and were no longer human-like.
“We can go back in time.”
His thinking almost stagnated and his vocal cords vibrated of their own accord. His consciousness seemed to be divided into thousands of pieces and scattered among the villagers.
“As long as everyone… work together.” He heard himself say this.
In the hazy consciousness, the conversation continued out of his control. “I’ll let everyone live like they used to.”
Countless consciousnesses were entangled, and the expressions of the townspeople gradually became blank. Emotions of sadness and paranoia surged from all sides, blending with his own emotions.
It was like some of their emotions had been opened up and continued to circulate in this land, and he had become the heart of this huge cycle.
He could direct the flow of emotions and the strength and weakness of those emotions, slowly integrating the newly joined people—as long as they believed in him, respected him, and agreed with him.
A strange sense of peace of mind swept over the mayor.
Just like a drop of water that merged into the sea, relying on this common grief, they condensed into a huge, sturdy, and uncontradictory group.
No one could tear it apart.
This was a miracle, he thought in a daze. “Gengsheng Town” would definitely continue to exist.
The pen Zhong Chengshuo was holding didn’t stagnate, and he didn’t raise his head.
“Divine Descent happened, and the former mayor was severely corrupted by its Evil Force, turning into a half-evil thing. On the basis of being ‘widely known’, the people have placed a unified emotion… The birth method is somewhat similar to that of a ghost.”
“You in turn use this emotion to influence the evil things around and achieve the result of ‘driving them’.”
“But at that time, you didn’t look like this, did you? Did Sunken Society come into contact with you?” Zhong Chengshuo paused.
“They’ve been… observing me. Those painkillers I’m taking… What’s in them…” The old man said with difficulty.
“When I went underground to look for Yellow Millet, Sunken Society approached me… They told me a lot of knowledge… In exchange, I must continue to take medicine… and don’t interfere with… their actions…”
Zhong Chengshuo remained silent and wrote in his notebook: [Under the condition of Divine Descent, long-term use of Evil Force from a corruption source.]
The situation was clear.
Most of what the mayor found underground at the beginning were “dangerous evil things” that would be left behind by Sunken Society. As long as Yellow Millet used a little cognitive interference, naturally, the townspeople would see the “prosperity of the past” and continue to live in their fantasy.
As for the silent and sluggish evil things above ground, they were just by products of high concentrations of evil qi, which could then be used to raise the underground “army of evil beings”.
The underground was a research institute while the above ground was a breeding farm. The people in the meantime were probably the most insignificant part of this experiment.
“I just remember… this…”
Tears gushed out of the old man’s eyes again. The tone of his words was chaotic, as if he had suddenly forgotten how to express them.
“Hometown… My… hometown… My… I don’t want to disappear…”
Zhong Chengshuo closed his hardcover notebook. “26 minutes and 37 seconds.”
“Are you going to… kill me…”
The old man wrapped himself tightly in a blanket, but he couldn’t cover his rotting, weird limbs. They were scattered all over the ground, oozing sticky pus.
“But I still… don’t want to die… Everything just started… just… started…”
He didn’t know if this was the collective will or the mayor himself who was talking.
Those aging eyes flickered with a dim, hopeful brilliance. Through the decaying shadow in the mist, those eyes seemed to be staring at the past, revealing a trace of innocence belonging to the young.
Zhong Chengshuo remained silent.
He knew he should kill this thing.
When facing some evil things, he occasionally had a… strong intuition. It wasn’t derived from a biological instinct to seek profit and avoid harm, but more like some kind of subtle impulse.
Zhong Chengshuo put the notebook back in his backpack and replaced the Evil Fruit with an ordinary blade. Using the blade, he took part of the tissue from a relatively fresh strange limb. The evil thing sat stunned, without resisting.
When he finished all this, Zhong Chengshuo clenched the Evil Fruit tightly, but in the end, he let go.
Behind the lens, Zhong Chengshuo lowered his eyes and stretched out an empty hand.
The weak monster turned its head and looked at him in bewilderment.
“You used too much power that your cognition is unstable.” Zhong Chengshuo stared at an upside-down yellow talisman. “As a human, you’re too old. As a monster, you’re too young and unrestrained… You know your ending.”
For twenty-eight years, it lived here, slowly losing its human form. It lived clumsily, maintaining a deceptive illusion for its “believers”.
It was strong, but broken. It was collapsing silently, just like “sorrow” itself.
“Even if I don’t kill you, you’ll die soon.” Zhong Chengshuo calmly said his conclusion.
“…” The evil thing didn’t answer.
Its fighting spirit had long since disappeared, leaving only a tired gasp, like a weak little animal.
“If you’re really uncomfortable, you can hold my hand.” Zhong Chengshuo opened his hand and showed his palms. “…You used to be human, so it should have some effect on you.”
“I don’t want to disappear…”
“I don’t want to disappear…”
“You will not disappear.”
“The people who live here will die and be forgotten, but you will always be here, and I will always remember you. Perhaps in the near future, countless people will know you, and you’ll be turned into data forever.”
“Maybe one day, someone will see your case and remember, ‘My ancestors lived here’.”
Zhong Chengshuo rubbed hard on the leather book with one hand as he explained solemnly.
“I don’t want to… disappear…”
In a weak gasp, a trembling strangle limb climbed into Zhong Chengshuo’s palm. It was dry and wrinkled, and it still had a trace of human temperature.
“Eventually, one day, this planet will be destroyed. All things are classified as nothingness and become other things again. You, and me too—we’ll all be scattered everywhere, existing in everything.”
In the rumbling sound of the rain, Zhong Chengshuo closed his hand.
“Your traces will always exist. You will not disappear.”
“No… I want to… Ah…”
The evil thing swallowed with difficulty for two breaths. The power of its body suddenly ignited like a flash, but it didn’t take this opportunity to attack.
It just turned its head with all its strength, and on its thin body, the oversized head turned to Zhong Chengshuo.
For so long, it made the first action that was close to “human”.
It smiled with difficulty.
“Ah… You… You are…”
The next moment, its sound dissipated in the air.
Zhong Chengshuo’s eyes widened suddenly.
He didn’t know when, but at some point a round hole appeared in the carriage window behind them. Before the evil thing could finish speaking, it was suddenly sucked away by the mouth of the hole, leaving only flesh and blood behind around the hole.
The turbid droplets slowly slid down the window glass, and the talismans in the carriage burned at the same time, turning into fine paper ash.
The two zombies standing quietly lost control and let out a hoarse roar. The brilliance of the Evil Fruit flashed. Zhong Chengshuo kicked the edge of the round hole, causing the window glass to shatter in response.
At the same time.
Yin Ren on Yellow Millet suddenly got up, and Fu Xingchuan in the ruins opened his eyes.
The mist gradually thinned, but the evening sky darkened. A huge black vortex gradually formed.
“…A sense of peeping.” Under the red cloth, Yin Ren bit his thumb nail.
Fu Xingchuan half sat on the ground, glanced around at “his companions” and took a deep breath.
“Why are there two missing?”
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One thought on “Evil As Humans Ch104”
of course the two missing are the problem children too…
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