Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 33: The Old Fourth
After taking a shower, Shu Jun poured himself a glass of water and sat on the edge of the bed. His body was mainly composed of erosion substance, so theoretically, he didn’t require bathing. The food he ate would also be completely broken down. However, he retained his old habits to feel normal.
Zhu Yanchen’s clothes were neatly folded and placed at the head of the bed. He lay on the bed with his face towards the wall, breathing softly and evenly. His sleeping position had improved significantly—he no longer curled up in agony, and he appeared calm and relaxed.
He left a lamp on for Shu Jun, and the dim light illuminated the edge of the bed, which made the air feel like it had been soaked in honey.
Thinking that they had once been friends, Shu Jun had a strange feeling. The string in his brain that had been tense had loosened, and at least for this second, he found some peace amidst the tension, anger, and fear.
He climbed onto the bed lightly, only to find that Marshal Zhu had wrapped himself in the blankets again. Considering the man’s listlessness throughout the day, Shu Jun could guess what had happened. He curled his lips at Zhu Yanchen’s back and wrapped himself in the blankets as well, trying to sleep as flat as possible so he could behave himself after falling asleep.
For a moment, they looked like two spring rolls laying side by side in a frying pan.
After a cold shower, Shu Jun was completely calm. His mind was clear, and he yawned a few times before quickly falling asleep.
However, Zhu Yanchen couldn’t sleep.
He could feel the bed sink as Shu Jun climbed onto it. The scent of soap mixed with body temperature exuded from Shu Jun’s body, creating a heavy vitality. The surreal feeling of reality struck him again, and Zhu Yanchen was lost in thought for a few seconds.
Then he forced himself to close his eyes and waited for the other person to fall off the bed, but unexpectedly, the other person slept until dawn without a hitch. That night, Shu Jun and the blanket battled it out, and they managed to flip the blanket over, leaving Zhu Yanchen untouched.
It was a satisfying and happy sleep, but after Marshal Zhu was fully awake, he felt a sense of loss.
Forget it. He carefully buttoned his clothes, and he pushed Shu Jun’s arms and legs back into the blanket.
An hour later, Shu Jun was awakened by Monday’s sharp scream. He sat up with messy gray hair. His claws had ripped several holes in the bedsheet. When he realized that Zhu Yanchen wasn’t in bed he panicked for two seconds.
“Breakfast is on the table and is still warm.” Zhu Yanchen sat in the armchair, manipulating the giant screen in front of him. “The faucet doesn’t have cold water anymore, and I’ve reported it to Pan Ge. Be careful not to get burned when you use it.”
“Oh,” Shu Jun got out of bed bare-chested and walked towards the bathroom in his slippers.
A’Yan was still the same A’Yan, with the same attention to detail as always. If Zhu Yanchen’s temperament weren’t so cold, Shu Jun would have considered reverting back to their online relationship and talking to him about recent emotional problems.
“Why are you up so early? What are you looking at?” Since he had nothing to do, Shu Jun brushed his teeth while approaching the screen.
“The Blackbirds’ new mission.” Zhu Yanchen had no intention of hiding anything. He tilted the screen slightly so that Shu Jun could see it more clearly. “I’m a little concerned about the content of the news broadcast.”
“The new Erosion Swamp near X City has an extremely special condition.” Shu Jun looked at the data on the screen, clenching his toothbrush with his teeth. “Hmm… it’s a bit strange.”
If its condition was really that special, Sweet Edge, who was determined to die, wouldn’t miss this opportunity. If this large Erosion Swamp appeared after Sweet Edge disappeared, the timing would be too coincidental.
“What do you think?” Shu Jun had a rough guess.
“Sweet Edge might have been intentionally ‘left behind’.” Zhu Yanchen slid his fingers over the screen, connecting two pieces of data. “She’s powerful and has a strong obsession. Although the Erosion Swamp got her brain, it can’t completely control her consciousness.”
“I’m sure that after she destroyed X City, she stayed there of her own will.” Shu Jun wiped the toothpaste foam from his mouth. “But you’re right. It is a bit strange. If someone accidentally discovers her, the evolution of the Erosion Swamp will definitely be exposed. Even if she can hide herself, it’s still a potential problem.”
If there was an Erosion Swamp, assuming it existed, that was hiding behind Sweet Edge, then the situation was quite dangerous. Logically speaking, the later people discovered it, the easier it would evolve.
“This idea has a premise. If a sentient Erosion Swamp wanders alone, it is indeed the best strategy to drive away and expose its same kind.”
Zhu Yanchen pressed his thumb against his lips. His jet-black eyes shone in the screen’s faint light.
“But if they have already become accustomed to communicating with each other and have a certain degree of intelligence network, there is also a possibility of intentionally leaving her.”
Quickly catching on, Shu Jun said, “As bait?”
“Yes, as bait. Leave behind an ‘incomplete’ but strong enough Erosion Swamp not too far from humans. She can become an excellent beacon.”
They had discussed countless tactics together, and Shu Jun knew what Zhu Yanchen was going to say.
The highest-level Erosion Swamp was hiding in the distance, leaving some brainless companions around humans so that they naturally wouldn’t discover the truth. But as a cost, that advanced Erosion Swamp also found it difficult to obtain human intelligence.
From this perspective, Sweet Edge, who had a strong desire to attack, was indeed a suitable beacon. If she was defeated, there were only two possibilities: either humans acquired the ability to invade deeply into the erosion zone and discovered and defeated an advanced Erosion Swamp, or a more powerful sentient Erosion Swamp than Sweet Feng was generated nearby and needed to be cleaned up or roped in as soon as possible.
If she survived normally, the sentient high-level Erosion Swamp could continue to evolve and grow behind the scenes without worrying about the situation in the human cities, saving time and effort.
Shu Jun was dumbfounded.
…If he didn’t merge with the Erosion Swamp and only relied on his past combat experience, he would only think that Zhu Yanchen was a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Even as a “player” fighting against the Erosion Swamp, he could barely see this. How would normal humans view it? Shu Jun could easily guess.
Embracing such a ridiculous and terrifying conjecture and studying it alone, Shu Jun didn’t want to imagine that feeling.
“So you think the new Erosion Swamp near X City was deliberately released by a high level sentient Erosion Swamp?” Shu Jun seriously took over the conversation.
Since he couldn’t participate in Zhu Yanchen’s past research, it was best to follow the logical and reasonable discussion instead of emotionally questioning it.
“That’s right.” Seeing that Shu Jun was quickly catching on, Zhu Yan Chen looked slightly happy. “After all, Sweet Edge’s situation is special, and her disappearance may be a more extreme accident, but the accident will not happen twice in succession.”
“Whether it’s humans or a new Erosion Swamp that defeats her, as long as Sweet Edge is eliminated, it can confirm the existence of a ‘strong enemy’ and then consider countermeasures.”
“However, there is also the possibility of unexpected situations. You have to get a closer look to know. It seems like you’ve taken on the right mission, Chief Strategist.”
In order to have a serious discussion, Shu Jun went to rinse his mouth. He had been worried about getting toothpaste on Zhu Yanchen before, but now he felt refreshed and leaned closer. The numerical values on the screen weren’t large and kept flashing. Shu Jun leaned forward, pressing his bare chest onto Zhu Yanchen’s shoulder.
After waiting for five seconds without a response, Shu Jun realized that his Chief Strategist had frozen in his chair.
Zhu Yanchen was introverted and usually serious, and he probably wouldn’t like intimate contact with people. Even if they were good friends, personal space should be respected.
“Oops, sorry, sorry. Let me put on a shirt first.” Shu Jun awkwardly straightened his waist.
Zhu Yanchen still didn’t respond while his gaze was still fixed on the screen with a blank expression. When Shu Jun came back dressed, Marshal Zhu had resumed drawing lines on the screen.
It was just the line had become more crooked than his previous ones.
It seemed that he needed to remember to maintain an appropriate distance in the future. Everything went as usual afterwards—they finished breakfast, went out to collect information, and looked for suitable supplies to replenish.
Just as the two were leaving the morning market, an accident occurred.
A mechanical arrow was shot from the dark at a tricky angle. Shu Jun didn’t have time to draw his sword, so he simply pulled Zhu Yanchen and held him in his arms. The arrow penetrated deeply into Shu Jun’s shoulder, and Shu Jun could hear the surrounding people gasping in shock.
“It’s coated with erosion substance!” someone exclaimed loudly. “Oh, this guy is done for.”
Shu Jun: “……” He only felt a bit itchy. The other party’s luck was truly terrible—for him, this was more like feeding the Erosion Swamp with fresh erosion substance than a sneaky assassination.
Zhu Yanchen reacted quickly. Although he was held down by Shu Jun’s hand on his neck, he kept his posture low and fired several shots in the direction of the arrow. The opponent screamed, and another wave of poison arrows was shot with obvious poor accuracy.
This time, Shu Jun had time to react. He let go of the hand holding Zhu Yanchen and swung his sword through the air, blocking all the poison arrows.
If he didn’t have to hide his identity as a player, a wind shield would have solved the problem. In order to play the role of a wounded soldier well, Shu Jun tried to swing his sword with difficulty, silently sighing inside.
Seeing that the attack was ineffective, the poison arrows stopped, and the attacker clearly wanted to run. Before Shu Jun could chase after him, Zhu Yanchen rushed out with a dark face. In the end, the user with the gun had the advantage. When Marshal Zhu came back, he was dragging two people—they were wearing protective clothing and hadn’t suffered fatal injuries from the bullets, but judging from their curled-up posture, some of their bones were probably broken.
“Peh.” One of them spat; his voice sounded a bit familiar.
Shu Jun felt Monday twist in his hand, as if it wanted to spit back. He quickly covered its mouth with a piece of cloth.
“I saw them during the test.” Even with a mask on, Zhu Yanchen still exuded a lot of cold air, and his voice was frosty. “They are the scums who stole their teammate’s equipment.”
“Don’t be polite, bro. I’m just giving you a little gift.” The man who kicked the woman looked at Shu Jun and spoke with a sinister tone. “Help send my regards to Yu Jin.”
If he were an ordinary person, the erosion substance would be enough to take half his life. Even if he continued the mission, his chances of survival would be greatly reduced. Shu Jun frowned—whether in the past or present, he hated those who harmed others for their own benefit.
“You can’t afford to provoke Yu Jin, so you target us?” Shu Jun sneered, squatting in front of one of the men.
Half of the morning market had come to see the bloodshed as the crowd gathered to watch the commotion.
“Who asked you to mess with the wrong person?” The man spat again as the audience grew. “Just consider yourselves unlucky. Anyway, the higher-ups don’t care about what happens here. You can’t kill people in the settlement. If you mess with us, The Old Fourth won’t let it go.”
“Lord Hou is here!” Someone outside shouted, as if to confirm his words. “The Old Fourth has arrived. Make way, make way!”
Shu Jun clicked his tongue. He and Zhu Yanchen had intended to make a name for themselves, but the reputation couldn’t be notorious. As the saying went, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Otherwise, they might end up eating a loss.
“What is the Old Fourth?” He murmured to Zhu Yanchen.
“There are three families associated with the United Government: the Zhu, Xia, and Tang families, but the resources of the United Government are limited, so they usually don’t deal with the borders of the erosion zone.” Zhu Yanchen stared at the mechanical arrow on Shu Jun’s shoulder. “The Old Fourth is a loose organization, considered to be the underground manager of this area.”
“The local boss, huh?” Shu Jun suddenly realized. “Ah, I hope we can reason with them.”
“It’ll be okay,” Zhu Yanchen whispered.
In the common knowledge of ordinary people, “The Old Fourth” was a mocking name relative to the three major families, but Zhu Yanchen was quite clear in his mind—
The Old Fourth was just the name on the surface. Among the lazy and unscrupulous core members of this loose organization, they referred to it as “The Fourth Squadron.”
The author has something to say:
Captain of the Fourth Squadron = Ai Xiaoxiao
Marshal = Ai Xiaoxiao’s superior
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3 thoughts on “Access Denied Ch33”
lmao they’re messing with their boss’ boss! 😂
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thank you for the update ❤️💯
Thank youuu for the update
Anyways you poor soul messing with the wrong guys🥱