Zi City Bug (2)
Hei Cha’s gaze wandered over You Yu and Chi Nan’s faces with disbelief.
He found that the taller ‘Chi Nan’ had strangely pure black eyes. His demeanor, expression, and posture weren’t the same as the ‘Chi Nan’ that Hei Cha was familiar with.
“What’s going on? Is this one…?” Hei Cha looked at You Yu and asked in a stunned manner.
Before Chi Nan could speak, You Yu smiled calmly. “Hello, I am the dream maker you threatened.”
Hei Cha: “……”
The muscles of Hei Cha’s face twitched and he carefully exclaimed, “Ye Chang?”
Chi Nan nodded in a very calm manner. “That’s him.”
Hei Cha revealed an expression like his worldview had collapsed. “F*k… You are…playing at attacking yourself?”
He knew that the dream maker was a pervert, but he didn’t expect the other person to be so perverted that he wanted to use the same face as his boyfriend…
Chi Nan: “……?” In the eyes of Hei Cha, was the relationship between him and You Yu already so complicated?
You Yu smiled and didn’t answer. It was as if he didn’t intend to explain anything.
Hei Cha quickly accepted this absurd reality and muttered, “However, even if you have the same face, you still aren’t as good looking as our Chi Nan.”
You Yu couldn’t help smiling as he answered naturally, “I think so too.”
You Yu’s answer startled Hei Cha again. He scratched his head and didn’t know what to say.
He muttered in his heart, ‘This bad guy is still quite self-aware.’
Chi Nan asked Hei Cha, “How did you come back?”
Hei Cha was questioned like this and finally came back from the joy and shock of meeting. He remembered the serious matter and said urgently, “Can this train’s dining carriage be used properly?”
Chi Nan nodded. “We just came out of the dining carriage and took a lot of weapons.”
Hei Cha’s eyes lit up. “Great! Let’s hurry to the food carriage and get some dry food. I’ll tell you the details later before the killing team is revived again.”
He still had the same mobility and motivation as before. He jumped directly onto the train and ran in the direction of the dining carriage. He looked anxious, like a student who just left class and was rushing to the cafeteria.
Chi Nan wasn’t in a hurry to ask. He followed behind Hei Cha and illuminated the way with the flashlight.
In the blurred outline of light and shadow, Chi Nan found that Hei Cha was much thinner than when he left last time. The shoulder blades on his back were protruding bulges and the half of his arms exposed outside his sleeves were full of blue veins.
“Chi Nan, please help me see the food shelves here.”
Chi Nan aimed the flashlight in the direction that Hei Cha was pointing. He saw that Hei Cha was acting like a person who had been hungry for a long time. He hurriedly opened a box of canned beef, but because he moved too quickly and too violently, he accidentally broke the iron ring of the can.
Chi Nan saw his anxious, trembling fingers, and said calmly, “I’ll do it.”
He took the canned beef from Hei Cha’s hand, took out a knife, and gently moved it along the lid of the can. Then he pried open the aluminum lid with the tip of the knife.
A dizzying stench swept toward his face. Chi Nan instinctively pursed his lips and put the stinky can back in place.
Meanwhile, Hei Cha on the side instantly turned pale and the brilliance in his eyes faded.
“What is going on?” Chi Nan asked.
“We need food…” Due to his anxiety, a layer of sweat appeared on Hei Cha’s forehead. “Without food, the sleepwalkers at the rescue base won’t be able to hold on.”
As he spoke, Hei Cha opened five more cans in quick succession. It was just that these meats, which had been delicious not long ago, suddenly turned into spoiled food that was black, smelly, and covered with mold. It was as if they had been stored for decades.
Chi Nan shone the flashlight on the shelf life of these canned foods and found that they were still within the shelf life.
“How can this be…” The moment he opened the tenth rotten can, Hei Cha threw the cans on the shelves to the ground and his voice trembled a bit. For a moment, he was drowned out by the sound of the cans falling to the ground.
This was the first time Chi Nan had seen Hei Cha being unable to control his emotions. It was also the first time he had seen Hei Cha reveal such helpless and desperate anger.
Then Hei Cha met Chi Nan’s inquiring gaze and he immediately wiped away the frustration on his face. He reluctantly and apologetically pulled up the corners of his lips in a smile. “Ah, sorry. I lost control just now…”
You Yu picked up one of the cans, looked at the wrapping paper with a flashlight, and frowned slightly. “Due to the bug, the system has seriously collapsed. All the food within Zi City has become rotten in an instant and it is inedible.”
All the supplies of the Nightmare World were maintained by the energy of the internal system. The collapse of the system would trigger a series of bad phenomena, such as the complete decay of the infinite supply of food in the city.
This meant that all those trapped in the city would face the dilemma of not having food.
Hei Cha looked at You Yu with a last glimmer of hope. “So the current situation in Zi City is caused by a system bug? Can you fix it?”
You Yu never gave people a promise he wasn’t sure of so he shrugged. “I’m not sure. The system has collapsed, so my authority has been completely frozen.”
Hei Cha lowered his gaze in frustration. “I’ll first take you out of the danger zone to the rescue base. Then we’ll think of a way to deal with the food.”
They came out of the carriage again and Chi Nan sneezed.
Hei Cha instinctively wanted to take off his jacket and put it on the other person. Then he raised his hand to his chest and realized he only had a single, thin coat left.
He looked back and saw that You Yu had already draped his coat over Chi Nan’s body. Hei Cha sighed with relief and said, “The temperature here is also very unstable. Sometimes it will drop below zero like now.”
They had no food to eat and they had to face the extremely cold weather that came from time to time.
Chi Nan found that the corpses blown up by Hei Cha had disappeared. There were only traces of the explosion and flames in the ruins of the platform
“What about the corpses?”
“We can’t kill them. Every time…they will recover after a while.”
Hei Cha led them to a hidden corner of the platform. He looked around warily to make sure that no one was there before opening the lid of something similar to the sewer. “Quick, first hide in the underground tunnel. I will carefully explain it to you.”
Chi Nan used a flashlight to illuminate the ladder leading underground. He didn’t hesitate as he climbed down with Hei Cha. You Yu was the last one and he tightly closed the round iron cover over the tunnel entrance.
The iron ladder hadn’t been repaired for a long time and it made a creaking sound when it was stepped on. This gave the illusion that it could collapse at any moment.
It didn’t matter whether it was this rusty iron ladder, the narrow and damp tunnel, or the shaky sense of security in the hearts of the people walking.
“After leaving Zi City last time, I did successfully wake up in reality and the system fulfilled my wish as promised.”
Hei Cha started to tell them what happened to him and everything he knew about the collapse of Zi City.
“After waking up, my memories of the Nightmare World were wiped out until I was pulled back to the Nightmare World without any warning and all my memories were restored in an instant… No matter whether it was the previous experience or my memories after returning to reality, they were all connected…”
“This time was different from the first time. The system didn’t have me make a wish. It just simply and rudely informed me of the rules and tasks. Then it left me here and didn’t give me a choice.”
“I’m not alone in this situation. There are 21 sleepwalkers, including me, who hid at the rescue base in the beginning. The biggest thing we had in common was that we successfully exchanged our wishes and left the Nightmare World, returning to reality for a while.”
Chi Nan asked, “Is your mission the same?”
Hei Cha nodded. “Exactly the same.”
The light of the flashlight illuminated the tunnel and Chi Nan could see more clearly that Hei Cha’s face had lost its defined shape due to being too thin.
Once people were extremely hungry and cold, their judgment and control were seriously affected and negative emotions would prevail. Hei Cha’s reaction just now had fully demonstrated this.
Chi Nan wondered, “What about the ‘dangerous elements’ who hunted the sleepwalkers just now?”
“They are all sleepwalkers who died in the nightmare instances and were resurrected when the bug arrived. Their mission is to hunt down the sleepwalkers who successfully exchanged a wish and left.”
“It is rumored that once they are successful and kill all of us, they can break out of the system and return to reality. Therefore, they call us ‘prey’ and their mission the ‘Shuffle Cards Operation.’”
As the ‘prey,’ Hei Cha fell silent. He was full of reverence for life so he couldn’t accept this type of cannibalistic task.
It was a pity that no matter whether it was a dream or reality, the rules never cared about the will of the people involved. In the face of the established rules, acceptance or not was the most insignificant thing.
The distance between predator and prey was just a rule.
Chi Nan wondered, “What is the task you received?”
Hei Cha answered, “Kill the Lord God.”
“Lord God? Chi Nan was a bit curious and You Yu’s eyelids twitched for some reason.
Hei Cha nodded. “The mission book of every surviving sleepwalker says the same thing: Kill the Lord God and sacrifice him to the broken world. All the broken order will return to the right track.”
You Yu wondered, “Do you have any clues?”
Hei Cha shook his head. “This mission prompt is too vague. We don’t even know what ‘Lord God’ is referring to. This is probably the part that we need to explore. Unfortunately, we have no clues up to now.”
You Yu didn’t speak and Hei Cha continued, “Now, in addition to the predators, there are many monsters and evil spirits in Zi City. There are all types… In addition, my talismans seem to have lost their effect. They aren’t afraid at all and I was almost killed by them several times.”
Extremely cold weather, severe food shortages, threatening predators and monsters lurking around—This out of order Zi City resembled an apocalyptic city where one couldn’t survive.
“How long have you been recalled to Zi CIty?” Chi Nan asked while looking at Hei Cha’s thin silhouette.
Hei Cha’s expression was confused for a moment and he shook his head. “There is no way to accurately calculate the time. I feel like a long time has passed but perhaps it has only been a week or so.”
Chi Nan looked at You Yu, who nodded knowingly. “You guessed right. The collapse of the system has led to a time disorder. The time flow rate of Zi City is different from the outside world.”
Hei Cha sighed. “There are already two sleepwalkers who have chosen to commit suicide because they can’t stand the torture.”
His eyes filled with traces of dampness as he spoke and he hurriedly looked away into the darkness.
It wasn’t known when it would end.
Their group walked silently in the tunnel that twisted and turned a few times. Then they found a barbed wire vent on the ceiling not far away.
The moonlight that shone down was cut and torn apart by the dense barbed wire and scattered over the dusty ground of the tunnel.
Chi Nan looked up when passing by this ventilation port and his expression changed slightly.
In the night sky, the originally pale moon was dyed a faint green.
It was the same color as Chi Nan’s eyes.