Releasing the final chapter early. I received enough Ko-Fis for a bonus chapter but got swamped with work until now. These last two chapters were so much longer than usual…｡゜(｀Д´)゜｡
It's been three years since the base split.
The former A-city base had completely eliminated all the buildings in the outer city area along with the other buildings with a certain range of the base.
The ground was covered with barbed wire, traps along with mines, power grids, and other things. The already tall and mighty walls were now stronger and thicker.
The new base was still one of the largest in the country, with the strongest walls, roofs, farming along with resources and weapons.
But there was an important issue that could not be ignored – the number of people. After the original division of the inner and outer cities, many of the young females had been absorbed into the inner base, whether through connections or marriage.
Although those women were proud to survive the zombie siege, who knew why the fertility rate in base was low. After a full three years, the number of babies born could be easily counted.
On the other hand, the people who left the A-city base established bases. Or they wandered into the wilderness to build their own shelter.
These bases, both large and small had long been mixed and were baptized again and again by zombie attacks roaming Eurasia. Among them, some bases could not resist and disappeared but there were several strong bases that remained to this day.
Now, the zombie waves also warred with mutant plants, animals and the remaining humans so their numbers were no longer as large. As long as there were no surprises, people in the bases were able to pass these difficult days.
The spring morning breeze brushed against people's faces with a slight cool feeling.
Luo Xun lazily stretched out and smiled out the window at the golden blue sky.
"Dada, dada." A child sat up from his small bed and shouted at Luo Xun.
"Woke up?" Luo Xun turned to the small bed and picked up the child. He pinched his tender little face.
The child rubbed his eyes and looked around the room. "Dad, where's Father?" Because neither Yan Fei nor Luo Xun wanted to be called "Mom", both were called a variant of "Dad". Although there was a mixup for the rest of the team, Luo Xun and Yan Fei seemingly had telepathy and knew who was being called.
"Yan Fei is with the dogs, come one let's get dressed and out the door!" While speaking Luo Xun changed the child's clothes for him.
One adult and one child were changing clothes and ready to wash up. Yan Fei opened the door and gave each one a small kiss. "I took everything down and put the things in the car, we can go after breakfast."
"What about the three?" Luo Xun asked while helping the child into his pants.
"All outside and will be going in the car in a moment."
The two checked that there were no problems with the clothes before heading to the bathroom on the first floor to wash up.
Three years after the apocalypse, many people who left the base in order to survive and for safety amongst other reasons teamed up with mutant animals.
Mutant animals not only had strong combat ability but also helped hunt zombies and support their owners in critical moments. So now having a large number of mutant animals was also a sign of strength.
Ever since that popularity increased for smaller bases, Luo Xun would have their mutant animals escort them outside. Today was the same as usual.
After breakfast, they checked their home crops and then moved some of their goods through the tunnel.
The Otaku team had carried out large-scale reconstruction. These past three years, the devil vine planting area had more than doubled. Some had been specially cultivated by Luo Xun while some were wild-grown.
These devil vines were twice as high and wide compared to before. For their safety, Luo Xun had also increased the greenhouse space along with a third floor.
Fortunately, the vines grew no longer, seemed to have reached a limit. Otherwise, would Luo Xun be able to grow the vines into the heavens?
They added a layer to the basement and expanded the surroundings, some rooms had become a lot larger. The newest floor was converted into an ice cellar divided into two rooms. One was used to store mushroom juice while the other had a variety of meat and food reserves. The two cellars were cooled with each since they were deep underground and far enough from the other rooms. They could also use the area if they ever needed to cool down.
The team left the base with two wolves running beside the car and a pair of eagles in the sky. Speaking of the two birds, although their ability was very high, their size had not grown much…they were much smaller than their parents….
Speaking of parents, it was related to where they were going this time. The place where they picked up the chicks in the past and where they found the bouncy castle.
After the outer A-city base was destroyed, some people to this small town. A year after it started to develop and successfully resisted that year's zombie wave attack. After a while, many bases large and small set up nearby and formed a market exchange event three times a year. People of various bases would come and set up stalls and sell things.
In addition, Luo Xun knew that there were people who lived here since the start of the apocalypse. They also knew that since the chicks were runts, their parents would have abandoned the late-bloomers, afraid that others would not survive. The female flew back south first.
*Chirp, Screech* Two sounds came from the sky as they approached the area with apartment complexes. A person riding a cat ran towards the convoy, it circled the first electric car while meowing at the vehicle.
Luo Xun took out a piece of fried fish from his bag – one that they had dried, and bribed the cat.
The big cat happily grabbed the dried fish and squinted its eyes in happiness. The person on the cat's back smiled, "Not too many people are here, your stall slot is available for you."
"Thanks a lot." Luo Xun looked up and smiled. This man's appearance was not to the same level as Yan Fei or Zhang Yi but was somewhat similar to the latter, in short – a beauty. Compared to Zhang Yi's demonic elegance, this man seemed more fragile and slender than average. With softer than average facial features, long black hair tied back and inky green eyes. Even if he was not laughing, the corners of his mouth were raised.
The large cat finished eating the bribe then started at their owner, who took out another bag of dried fish. The cat proudly waved its tail while the two wolves stood beside their master on the road.
Luo Xun sighed. "Alas, no wonder he hid in that building when the apocalypse started, if he ran to a base looking like that…lots of hopes would have been dashed." He had not paid attention to when men on base turned to kiwis, but the world was about the same as before.
There were no old and young females who escaped and only a few females with a high level of fighting power.
So, it was the norm for two men to live together. Their group was now an exception with the two women along with Yu Xinran who was not grown up yet.
Those outside the team were heartbroken – the year before Xu Mei had hooked up with Li Tie. The two had married with the team's blessing. After that, Han Li, who was also single, began to desperately pursue Song Lingling.
It had to be said for this strong woman avoiding a relationship, Han Li dropped his face and started an unceasing wooing plan. In the end, the pair got together…
The remaining He Qiankun and Wu Xin did not mind in the slightest and did not begrudge Han Li. Because …He Qiankun finally shed his excess weight and turned into a handsome man. The two guys living in the same room fell into a relationship. Therefore, it fell to Han Li to pursue the single lady.
Only, since the two guys were already living together and did not show any in public, the rest of the team did not find out until last winter at the market. There were people from other bases eager to pursue them, only to find out – they actually got together!
Well, this kind of thing was actually normal. In addition, Xu Mei's daughter was born and Song Lingling got pregnant five months ago.
The former city was somewhat in disarray with several neighborhoods occupied by different large and small teams. But before they moved in, they signed a series of agreements with the landlords "White Cat Helper" team. It included an alliance for emergencies such as a zombie wave and for upgrading constructs in the city.
As a result, some buildings with scattered survivors were also included. They may not have high power, resources of quirks but they shared some characteristics – if their place of residence was threatened, they would do their part to keep their home safe. They had common interests.
In this way, this seemingly disordered separate residences actually lasted a whole three years in the apocalypse and would continue to exist smoothly.
The former commercial street's door was open with shops on both sides of the street. People did not need to pay a fee to set up a stall. It was mostly a few small teams coming and going, so there was no reason to go after someone.
The place where Luo Xun's team set up their stall was not small. Before the apocalypse, it had been a restaurant with clear glass windows. The cabinets and shelves were clean and tidy. They could place their goods inside and let people outside see the items.
The billboard outside showed the team's name "Otaku Squad Base" along with several different seals. The seals were set up by several teams in the community to represent quality, meaning that the goods were guaranteed to be authentic.
The main products were a variety of dried vegetables, meat, fish, mushrooms and some jam. These were semi-processed goods so the raw ingredients were identifiable. If they acted more like a grocery store, people dared not try as easily.
They placed the goods they brought from base on the shelves. This time in addition to the vegetables and meat, they also had sausages and canned fruit among other things. Quite a few people came over to see the goods for sale.
The next day the market would be officially open for outsiders. There were many empty houses for rent by teams or lone survivors. A small fee was charged for better conditions. The local teams manned these "hotels" for their own work.
If conditions were relatively poor, the houses could be lived in but there was no guarantee of safety. If there was rain there may be leaks.
Businesses like Luo Xun's team could live in the store, both to guard the goods and to save money.
Local teams also opened a few restaurants on the street to make money, business was pretty good.
The next morning, all the scheduled teams had arrived and set up their shops for the opening. Those who came to buy and trade also started.
On the first day, a few people were left in charge of the shop while the rest began to walk around to see if there were any supplies from other shops that they needed.
The people who often set up stalls were mutual acquaintances, so Luo Xun would greet almost every store. Though Luo Xun would vomit blood since they all asked similar questions, such as "Your girl is ten years old? She'll grow up soon and get married in a few years…By the way, you mustn't set up an arranged marriage, let her choose her own husband! Even after ten years, I am still young!"
Or, "Oh, you're holding your son in your arms right? Alas, such a good child, he really looks like his father and will grow up to be handsome…It's a pity he's so young…"
This group of wolf-like mixed eggs not only eyed their little Yu Xinran, but also the only four-year-old baby Yan! This child was only four years old! This group of middle-aged people needed to clear their minds!
More exasperating was that there were many people asking for Xu Mei's year old daughter and the child in Song Lingling's stomach. Although men and women got together – with so few newborns, Luo Xun's group was the best chance of chasing the family dream. It would be even better if one could have a beautiful girl! When they grew up and got married, they could give birth to children!
Along the way, they rejected group after group of wolfy opportunists. The couple were physically and mentally exhausted by the time they returned to their storefront. But then saw that their team members were standing guard along with a big white cat.
"They came to the store too?" Luo Xun asked in bewilderment while Yan Fei shrugged. The cat's owner liked to shop but did not like to cross paths with other people – along with the child in their arms…Who was now named Yan Xin to represent new life after the apocalypse, a new era, future and so on. They placed their hopes in their children, hoping that they will usher in a new world and live a happy life.
The name took a long time to finalize between the couple. This was because although Luo Xun was fond of the name, it shared a character with Yan Fei's father's name. Luo Xun was not as happy upon that realization.
Yan Fei said, "This name is his own and it represents our hopes. Who cares if the character is the same? With us, we won't let him turn out like that."
So, Yan Xin's name was finalized.
"Baien, are you coming? Luo Xun motioned towards one person in particular near the entrance. "Your husband didn't come? He knows that you're out shopping?" Luo Xun looked around and asked in confusion.
Baien heard the words and smiled, which lit up the room as well as the hearts of the onlookers.
"Came to find you." Baien ignored the crowd and walked towards the pair.
"What's the matter?" Luo Xun put down Yan Xin and let him find Yu Xinran to play around.
"We've just heard that there's a convoy coming, be careful not to provoke them." Baien spoke while pointing to the northwest.
Luo Xun narrowed his eyes while Baien went to the next store with the same news.
Where else would people approaching from the north-west come besides A-city?
The news spread immediately through the market. Within half an hour, everyone near the mall and those who came to buy things knew.
It started during the second half of last year, occasionally people from the A-city base would quietly come to buy and sell. Although they acted very low-key and tried not to advertise their identity, there would always be people who recognized them. Some of the teams could also get inside news and know ahead of time if they were coming. The news was spread in advance to be prepared.
Despite the other party having resources that were needed, unless they were critical, no one would take the initiative to do business with them. They were not given any face.
Just like now.
As soon as the motorcade entered the area, it was clear that they were being watched. The captain in charge of supply procurement smiled bitterly. "It's as they said, as soon as we arrive it becomes silent."
"Leader, how do they know where we're from?" They had just arrived and were already revealed to be from the A-city base.
"Who knows what special power they have?" The captain said helplessly. "Let's just buy what we need and not say long." It was certainly not a good idea to linger with people on guard against them.
They found an empty house and the group came to the market with gasoline, coal, steel, cloth and so on while looking for products they needed to exchange. They did not need cores but did need many other things like mutant animal meat.
Whenever the group came to the store, everyone stopped their business until they left.
By the time evening fell, this group of people had exhausted faces – they were ready to spend the night but the omnipresent hostility felt like needles, difficult to resist. Fortunately, they had bought or exchanged most of what they needed.
"Gone and out of town."
Luo Xun shrugged. "Eh, they left, otherwise it would have been uncomfortable."
Almost all the bases knew about the A-city base lacking virtue. Although most did not know the specifics, the situation in North China was obvious. The A-city base was still the leader but their position was not stable. If not for the mining rights at a few major points and the architecture of the base itself, no one would listen to them.
As for the exchange markets set up by the major bases….it was something that the average could and dared not attend. Unlike the smaller markets with regulars from the area, it was no surprise that more than one team ended up being robbed at each large-scale market event.
Therefore, Luo Xun and the team only participated in the small markets and did not expand past their local area. They did not pull new people in or spread to other urban areas. It was because they knew today's people so there would not be anything unexpected.
This time, the market would last a full week. Afterward, the various teams and people would leave with their supplies.
In other parts of the country, this type of small market bloomed across the city while forming quasi-villages.
Although people's lives were still difficult, without convenient tools and needing to personally cultivate resources, it was not as bad as the early days of the end.
In addition, the zombie waves were gradually receding. The zombies were still strong, but ones level five and above were as rare as phoenixes. The world had long formed a method to deal with ordinary zombies, enough to resist the waves. They would survive and build a home suitable for humans.
"Daddy, Dad! They say they've got a big one with a crystal core!" The team drove back down the path while Yan Xin pointed at the mutant farmland.
"Where is it? Have them bring it out." Luo Xun signaled the cars to stop.
Little Yan Xin stuck his head out of the window and waved at the mutant plants on the roadside. The vine twisted and rippled, transporting a gray crystal to the car door.
Wang Duo shivered from the back of the car. "No matter how many times I have seen this, I get shivers every time, what to do?"
Zhang Yi nonchalantly shrugged and said, "Get used to it."
Wang Duo put their faces close together and cooed, "My dear, help warm me up…"
Several people in the back were unable to hold on – they were being fed too much dog food.
Yan Feo reached for the crystal core and put it directly in his son's hand. "Yours."
"Ah!" The child nodded his head, smiling with the core in hand. He waved at the vines outside, who waved back as if alive.
Plant-type communication ability. Luo Xun had never heard of this exact ability but it was similar to the White Cat team's leader's ability. The difference was that their son could listen and control plants. The downside was that he could also sense the dead and control them too. But it was not a good thing, early on he could not go out without suffering a severe headache. He could only stay at home or collapse from a migraine.
Now that his ability was level five, he could also sense human emotions. As long as he did not end up in a crowded area, the mood would not drive him crazy.
Back home, everything at home was warm and peaceful even after ten days of being left alone.
The team simply packed up what they bought and worked in the planting room or the animal pens. They also checked the satellite news – many talents had left the A-city base including people who knew how to transmit messages.
The Otaku squad, with Yan Fei's help to provide the equipment, they could use the satellite to hand over a variety of news. The flow would depend on the information in the messages.
"What's the matter? A-city base sent a message to all the country's large and small bases!" He Qiankun suddenly exclaimed towards the team.
The group gathered around the computer to view the document.
The document was long, followed by another report. The most important points were:
- After a long period of research, it was found that after the apocalypse that all people, not just those with abilities had their bodies changed. This change was only reflected in one's physical condition, although some people had no ability, time and contact with the nucleus caused slow absorption, somewhat similar to mutant animals. Most of the "ordinary" people had an increase in physical strength, but it was not obvious so the base only found out after a long period of testing.
- After a long period of experimentation, the base finally found out the use of crystal core. They now introduced the correct and safe use of cores. They could be used as energy sources for equipment such as lamps and furnaces. Bases are open to make orders, exchanging cores for the equipment.
City Base Initiative: Hope that the various bases can act together to completely eliminate the next zombie wave before entering the country. Gather the nation's strength and completely eliminate this threat to all of humanity! Contact the A-city base for more information, send a message to XXX-XXX….
After reading the message, the team looked at each other.
"What are they trying to do?"
"Complete elimination of the zombies? How would that happen?"
"What happens after the elimination?"
"Wait, what if it's a trap?"
There were many other people than the Otaku squad with similar thoughts. No way around it, after the apocalypse, everyone's lives were in danger. But the most vital thing was frail bonds of trust between people.
Who would be the main force in this matter? If things didn't succeed, would they be abandoned as cannon fodder? If the results were a success, how would the spoils be divided? Would the smaller bases be suppressed by the larger ones? Was this a trap to trick people in smaller bases and end them along with the zombies?
All kinds of doubts, suspicions, and speculation.
Fortunately, the previous zombie wave had only left the country for half a year. For almost all the zombies in Eurasia to come together, it would at least next spring if they came back.
Prior to this, the various main bases held lengthy consultations and discussions. Meetings were held again and again but did not know that the scattered teams formed their own alliance against the major bases. A real force to be contended with.
Now, the base leaders knew that the ostracized, driven away and framed were no longer the weak who could be pressed down.
No, in the apocalypse, there were no weaklings.
Even more alarming was that the scattered teams across the region gradually came together and integrated. The previously abandoned city was slowly filled with the living. They used the buildings to establish a fragmented but would work in a pinch fortifications.
They began to grow rooftop crops, install production equipment on high-rise buildings and make a variety of handmade goods and fabrics. It was a true post-apocalyptic small society.
Even more scary to the large bases – they actually farmed devil vines in the perimeter! This kind of plant that attacked anything from zombies to mutant animals or even humans. There was no counter method but these people actually planted them as attack dogs!
In regards to the mutant plants surrounding the area, they had no way to domesticate the mutant animals.
All this only took half a year. The major bases discussed killing the zombies and distributing crystal cores. They had once again established a new post-apocalypse city.
Spring, eighth year after the apocalypse started.
All the survivors laid a line of defense and a layer of traps was finally finished. The zombies returned home from abroad and met with an incredibly warm reception….
In regards to the traps, A-city only provided a small portion of the mushroom juice, the remainder was provided by the ordinary people who had been evicted.
In addition, the large area was filled with cultivated mutant plants arranged so that the zombies had no choice but to pass through.
Long-range ability users and heavy-weapon users waited behind them, responsible for whittling down zombies and triggering traps.
Water-type users were on high ground with a large box. Once the mutant plants were full, they needed to stimulate their appetite with the mushroom juice.
The battle finally began at dawn and lasted five days. Afterward, only a small number of zombies that did not return were chased down and killed. But the opposing side was still strong and some managed to escape.
Even so, the danger that once threatened all of humanity had finally disappeared!
People cheered, hugged and celebrated.
But after everyone came back to attention, they found that the various scattered teams with ordinary people had already left.
They could not be blamed for not saying farewell or taking away a portion of the crystal cores from the mutant plants. The relationship between ability users from large bases was still delicate. The betrayal by family and friends had left deep scars. Perhaps in the near future, the two sets of people would reunite, but not in the present.
Luo Xun sat in his new energy car and patted the vehicle. "Unfortunately, the number of cars is too small and we have to buy from them."
Yan Fei drove the car and softly smiled. "Isn't Li Tie studying under Professor Chu? I expect it won't be long before they are copied. Li Tie also said that they must make a gun that can use the crystal cores as energy."
"That's true if it's them. Wasn't that similar to what they were researching before leaving the base? Had it not been for exclusion, would we have been able to get it cheaper?" Luo Xun yawned again. "I'm going to sleep for a while…I pushed myself…" His voice became quieter and quieter.
Suddenly, a small head drilled out from the back of the car. He smiled at Yan Fei while whispering, "Dad, when do we get home?"
"It's going to take seven or eight days, what? Want to go home?" Yan Fei smiled and patted his head.
"I miss the dogs, sister Xinxin also misses them too."
Yan Fei patted his son's head again. "Let's go back as soon as possible. Be good after we get back and finish your homework from before we left okay?"
Yan Xin stuck out his tongue and slowly said, "I – know – Dad."
The sleeping Luo Xun was awoken and stared at the precocious child.
Little Yan Xin knew that he was in trouble. He quickly retreated and muttered to Yu Xinran. "Dad only bullies me, unlike Daddy Luo."
Yu Xinran was now a little lady, hearing his words she pointed at his nose. "Be careful uncle Yan doesn't hear you or he'll punish you."
Yan Xin hummed while tilting his head. "I went to ask Dad Luo for help…" He frowned. "But Daddy Luo can't beat Dad. Once I got up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom and saw Dad bullying Daddy Luo until he cried!" It was like when got punished by Yan Fei!
Yu Xinran was silent for a moment before her face flushed. She knocked on the other's head. "Learn to write well!" She had seen Li Tie secretly kissing Mom and vaguely knew that it was something awkward.
Yan Fei faintly heard and scrunched his eyebrows, he knew it! It was time for this brat to sleep in his own room! After they got back he would move, even if Luo Xun was not willing to do so!
Outside the window, the night was starting to end. The sky was a mixture of red, green, yellow and all kinds of colors. It was like a scene from a beautiful dream. The sun was rising and a new day began.
This was the end of an era, but also the beginning of another one.
TN: I’m probably going to take a break from MTL for a bit as I don’t have a next project in mind. Although I’ll definitely take recommendations for ideas. However, any future releases will most likely be weekly as I have courses and work.