Access Denied Ch31

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 31: First Encounter

They didn’t spend too much time on buying weapons—it was just for show, so they didn’t need to be too picky. The greatsword Monday was uniquely styled, while Marshal Zhu’s weapon was too advanced to be used directly, so they had to make do with something else.

Seeing that they were efficient, Uncle Xiong simply waited outside the store. After shopping, the three of them headed straight to Yu Jin’s residence.

Given how proactive Zhu Yanchen was and knowing the jargon of the settlement, Shu Jun subconsciously assumed that there was some connection between Yu Jin and Zhu Yanchen. But when they met the real person, he wasn’t so sure.

In appearance, Yu Jin and Zhu Yanchen were completely different people.

Yu Jin was slightly shorter than Shu Jun but had an unusually sturdy body, easily one and a half times Shu Jun’s width. His protective suit made of mutant beast skin was covered in bright patterns, and was bulging. Judging from his physique, there weren’t many signs of deformity.

He had a crew cut and his hair was dyed an eye-catching golden color. The skin around his left eye was flat indicating there was no eyeball. It was clear that Yu Jin cared about this defect, as he had tattooed the left half of his eye with patterns to make up for it. Unfortunately, the settlement’s tattooing skills weren’t that great. With the real eye and the fake eye so close together, there was a stiff and terrifying feeling, as if the left half of his face was made of paper.

There were four purifiers in the room and Yu Jin didn’t wear a mask. As the three of them entered, he was using his teeth to tear apart a braised chicken leg.

“Lao Xiong.” He lifted his greasy hand and greeted Uncle Xiong. “And who are these two?”

“Guests of my brother’s. They can outrun a Corpse Parasite. They’re interested in this NPC mission. Your last partner was quite useless. I’m introducing two reliable ones.” Uncle Xiong got straight to the point.

It seemed that both sides were trading favors, but Uncle Xiong didn’t dismiss them during their conversation, which could be considered fair dealing. Shu Jun shifted his gaze from Yu Jin and turned to Zhu Yanchen, who had returned to his usual statue-like state, showing no signs of recognition of an old acquaintance.

“The last guy could also outrun a Corpse Parasite, but when it came to the mission, that coward could do nothing but run. When he saw a dangerous mutant beast, he ran faster than a thief. ” Yu Jin spat out the hard bone and looked the two of them over. “These two are different. At least they have a good physique..”

Uncle Xiong was a master at sales and struck while the iron was hot. “Exactly. Hasn’t Lao Xu just received a large shipment of good skins today? My brother sold them, and these two brothers hunted them.”

Yu Jin finished the chicken leg and smiled wryly. “I don’t like to work with newbies, but since they’re friends of Pan Ge, I’ll give them face. Let me make it clear, those skins better not be stolen—when the time comes and you ruin the mission, I’ll shoot you both first.”

Then he turned to Uncle Xiong without any hesitation. “If they’re really reliable, I’ll give you an introduction fee when we’re done.”

“Hey, you’re really straightforward.” Uncle Xiong smiled widely as everything was settled.

If they were really new recruits, it could be considered finding a big thigh to hug, so it was hard to say anything. But in fact, they weren’t new recruits, which was even better—they had originally planned to pass the test while also disguising themselves. With an experienced teammate to draw attention, it was much easier to deceive.

Shu Jun looked at Yu Jin intentionally, and the vague familiarity grew stronger. But this person’s appearance was too flashy; if he had seen such an NPC before, he wouldn’t fail to have an impression.

How strange.

Until the test officially began, Shu Jun still couldn’t figure out where the familiarity came from.

The testing site was a wasteland right next to the settlement, with the remains of a small town that had been there for hundreds of years. The towering billboards were buried deep in the ground, with only the top edges visible. The electric wires on the poles were tangled together, clinging to the mud, like hair stuck to bathroom tiles. The exposed parts of the buildings were scattered about, with only some dilapidated walls leaning in various directions.

Most of the people were grouped into teams of three, with a few confused individuals wandering alone.

There weren’t many military personnel present, and they had set up a small tent against the wall. The test itself wasn’t complicated. The military released a high-level mutant beast, and each person was given a recording device. The more detailed the footage captured and the less injured they were, the higher the evaluation they would receive.

“Don’t even think about attacking. This test subject is quite brutal.” The invigilator’s expression was serious. “We’ve placed military purifiers nearby, and if necessary, we’ll escape back to base. As for whether you can make it back… You all should have signed a waiver. Since there are other mutant beasts nearby, we have put a fluorescent collar on the test subject’s neck, making it easy to identify. The test will last five hours, and you have to prepare your own weapons—the test starts now!”

People scattered around, but Yu Jin didn’t rush to run. He crouched down and began looking at the footprints on the ground.

“I’ll track it. You two handle the troublesome beasts. Can you do it?”

Shu Jun responded and drew out a makeshift greatsword. Zhu Yanchen looked in the direction of the military tent for a while before taking out his gun a few seconds later. Shu Jun skillfully swung the sword around, but the more he swung, the more he felt that the sword was awkward in his hands. He flipped the sword over and found that there was a large area of severe erosion on the back, which looked new and somewhat familiar.

Shu Jun poked at Monday, who was wrapped tightly in cloth. It was always together with his greatsword which he always carried on his back.

Monday sensed the tapping and lowered its voice, using a hissing sound. “Pfft…!”

Shu Jun: “…” It was clear that this thing was doing it on purpose.

Well, he could still make do with it. Shu Jun kept a straight face and turned the erosion part towards himself. With Yu Jin’s experienced nose, they didn’t encounter many dangerous mutant beasts along the way.

Shu Jun had thought that they could easily pass this small test, but as soon as they entered deep into the small town, things went wrong.

“Give it back to me!” A female voice screamed from not far away. “I took that shot!”

A woman leaned against a rusty billboard, covered in blood. Two men stood in front of her, with one holding a blood-stained recording device. All three were dressed similarly, clearly part of the same team.

“You’re already so injured, so you’re just dragging us down,” the man holding the device sneered. “What could we do?”

“Bullshit! You didn’t offer me any support at all!” The woman coughed up a mouthful of blood, gritting her teeth. “If we had stuck to the plan, I wouldn’t have… cough.” She broke off, clearly in pain. “We agreed on this before we started.”

“Look, you have to understand that if we get injured, our score will go down.” The other man sang with a red face*. “At least we didn’t just leave you to the beast, did we? How about this. If we all make it, we’ll give you 3% of our compensation.”

*One sings with a red face, the other with a white face (一个唱红脸一个唱白脸). Idiom referring to one person acting as the “bad guy” while the other acts as the “good guy” or the mediators (aka good cop, bad cop). || In this context, he’s acting as the “good cop”.

“Don’t waste your breath. Just find someone else to group up with. We just got our hands on one, and we still have to take more pictures.”

“Give it back to me!” The woman grabbed one of the men’s ankles and pulled him back, clearly desperate.

“What the fuck? Are you still not done?”

The man was about to kick her when both Shu Jun and Zhu Yanchen got ready to fight. However, someone else was quicker than them—Yu Jin was closest to the woman and grabbed a large stone, accurately hitting the man’s chest. The man stumbled back two steps and fell into the mud.

“I was just thinking, why are there so many useless NPCs in these missions lately, and now I know why.” Yu Jin snatched the recording device from the man’s hand and tossed it to the still-dazed woman. “To risk your life for a good score—even a pig would laugh at that.”

Then he sneered and kicked the man a couple more times. Seeing Yu Jin approach, the red-faced man had already disappeared without a trace.

“Sorry about that. I can’t stand this kind of bullshit.” Seeing that both Shu Jun and Zhu Yanchen were about to take action, Yu Jin’s attitude softened. “Let’s continue—continue… Gray Claw, what’s wrong?”

Shu Jun stood still. His vague memory gradually became clearer. Along with a slight headache, some images floated up from the depths of his mind.

[Are you Yu Jin? That’s a really interesting name. Does it refer to tulips*?]

*Clarity: Yu Jin’s name is (郁金) which is the first two characters of tulips (郁金香).

Before his eleventh birthday, he had gone on his first field mission. The mission was located near a stronghold, and the content was quite simple.

The mission required them to search for a boy who was lost on the edge of the erosion zone. They quickly found their target—a chubby boy covered in black mud, who only had a right eye. When they came to rescue him, he covered his left eye with his chubby hand, looking very resistant.

And so the above conversation took place.

Children were always innocent. Shu Jun brought the conversation back to the target’s name, and the team members began to chat about this interesting name, ignoring the nonexistent left eye. The chubby boy looked at himself for a moment, stood up obediently, and limped along with them.

This was just the most basic training mission, not even lasting two hours.

However, there was a problem on the return trip.

There was a clever little girl on the team who was a bit younger than the other members—just nine years old. Perhaps because her resistance to erosion was relatively low, her whole face had turned pale so she hurried back to the base. By now, they were quite close to the stronghold, and there would be no more mutant beasts nearby. After thinking for a moment, Shu Jun agreed to let her walk ahead.

Then she was attacked.

The attackers weren’t mutant beasts, but three kids around their own age—two boys and a girl. They were hiding behind a rock and had shot her with a small gun. Then they gathered around her as they fired several more shots, not aiming for her vitals, and let her struggle on the ground as if torturing a kitten.

The little girl was wearing protective gear, so the bullets didn’t penetrate her body. However, the impact was still quite scary, and she struggled in pain and couldn’t get up.

Shu Jun, who was far away, was unaware and didn’t arrive in time. But the girl later clearly recounted what those kids had said.

[You see, this girl is numbered K-786. The number is already up to K! Her ability must not be very good.]

[Are you sure nothing will happen?]

[Well, she’s young, so she won’t waste too many resources. They… Oh, no, I can’t say that. Anyway, if something happens, my family can afford it.]

[Wow, it’s the first time I’ve seen one.]

[You see, it’s not that big a deal up close. Even a girl like you dared to come out yet that loser from the Zhu family was against it. Speaking of which, where did he go? My mom asked me to take care of him for a bit, and if he gets into trouble, I’ll get scolded…]

[Didn’t you snatch his protective mask? He can only stay at the stronghold. Nothing will happen to him.]

[He’s such a wimp. He gets scared even when we’re talking about hunting. No wonder the leader doesn’t like him. I’m telling you. He’s the type of wimp who wouldn’t even step on an ant. Oh, do you want to try hitting its neck? I’ve heard that it might kill it.] The boy handed the gun to another boy.

[Huh? But, but it really looks like…]

[Looks “like” doesn’t mean it “is”. You said you could afford it, so let’s test it out. Then you can tell people about it. How cool is that?]

[Who pushed me?!]

When the sound of gunshots reached him, Shu Jun rushed over and saw the scene from afar—

Three children stood near the struggling girl, and a fourth child staggered towards them, pushing the others aside to help the girl up. He wore a full-face hood that clearly didn’t fit, with the seal not even properly closed, indicating that he had rushed over in a hurry.

The child didn’t have a number, so he should also be a member of the NPC. He awkwardly comforted the little girl, then put her arm on his shoulder, and walked towards the direction where Shu Jun was.

Shu Jun was too far away to hear the child’s voice, but he could hear the angry shouting of the boy with the gun.

[You told my parents? You traitor who tattles! Scumbag! Garbage! Are you even a man?!]

The boy threw the gun to the ground and picked up a stone, then started to hit the back of the hooded boy. The hooded boy was also wearing protective clothing, so these stones couldn’t hurt him, but he had to support the girl while also dealing with the heavy hood, so his balance was unstable. After taking a few hits on his back, the hooded boy fell to the ground.

[This is your own fault!] The boy with the gun yelled, clutching the stone tightly and preparing to throw it again.

Seeing that he was still some distance away, Shu Jun immediately fired his gun. At that time, they were still too young, and they didn’t have customized weapons—only a small self-defense pistol that was uniformly distributed. The bullet had little power, but it was enough to hit the stone accurately and send it flying. The boy with the gun’s hand was shaking with blood, and he screamed and ran away. The other two children followed him, and they ran away together.

The hooded boy was still lying in the mud, unable to get up. 

Shu Jun walked over quickly and checked the injuries of the two people. His teammate was hit by the impact of the bullet and had a rib injury, but other than being a little frightened, there was no major harm. The hooded boy twisted his foot and couldn’t stand up.

[Go find a stretcher. She should lie down. I’ll carry this one.] Shu Jun pointed to the boy lying on the ground.

The hooded boy clutched his hood tightly, trying to stand up. But after a few tries, he just cried in pain. As he couldn’t successfully get up, he had to let Shu Jun carry him.

[Write this down in the report when you go back. We are not supposed to encounter random events until we are 13 years old. There was a problem with this mission arrangement.] Shu Jun calmly gave instructions. [You go first and take Xiao Yu back. She isn’t used to being outside.]

Yu Jin blinked his only right eye vigorously and walked to the girl’s stretcher while mumbling incoherently. [We, um, I… I should say thank you… um…]

He stammered for a while, but in the end, he got stuck and watched the stretcher being carried away.

[Does it still hurt?] Shu Jun felt the arm around his neck tighten and turned his head. [If it hurts, just say so.]

[……] The hooded boy suppressed his rapid breathing and remained silent.

It seemed like he wasn’t much of a talker. Shu Jun adjusted his posture so that the person behind him would be more comfortable. [It’s the first time I’ve encountered such an unexpected situation.]

[…But you did a good job.] The boy finally responded in a rather low voice. [I couldn’t even take her a few steps.]

[What are you talking about?] Shu Jun stopped in his tracks. [If you hadn’t bought us time, she would have been more seriously injured.]

[……] The boy remained silent.

[I’m not bragging. I’ve seen a lot of N… people in this world, and you’re the coolest person I’ve ever met!] Shu Jun said seriously. [Much cooler than those crazy guys. Have some confidence, okay?]

[……] The boy continued to remain silent.

They weren’t far from the stronghold and soon reached their destination. Several adult NPCs were waiting at the gate, likely to deal with the sudden incident. As they were about to enter, the boy tugged at Shu Jun’s clothes, indicating for him to put him down.

[Is someone coming to get you?] Shu Jun looked at the beautiful woman rushing over. [If someone is coming, then that’s fine. Be careful. I’ll put you down now.]

When the boy’s feet touched the ground, he let out a gasp. He swayed a bit and then leaned his head against Shu Jun’s body, causing the ill-fitting headgear to fall to the ground.

The boy was about the same age as Shu Jun, with handsome features and slightly long hair. He looked at Shu Jun with a nervous and cautious demeanor, as if not used to looking directly into someone’s eyes.

[Can I…] He glanced at the fallen headgear, struggling to speak. [Can I touch your gun?]

[Huh? Sure, go ahead.] Shu Jun generously took out his gun. The boy touched the gun through his gloves, with a complicated expression.

[Thank you.] He said softly after withdrawing his hand.

Shu Jun blinked. He had wanted to say a few more words, but the boy was immediately taken away by someone.

Compared to the farewells he made to his teammates one by one later on, this was a distant, small event. It was buried deep in his mind, as if it had never existed. However, for the present Shu Jun, it wasn’t just a simple memory.

He recognized that face.

On the day he defeated the Sweet Edge, he had seen that boy in that strange dream.

The author has something to say:

Heheh (?)

Shu Ge will slowly remember!

Kinky Thoughts:

Ahh, I love childhood sweethearts.

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