Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
He got in the car, and they were rapidly on their way.
Elsa sat next to Zhou Bai's feet, while Christina stood on her head, straightening her body. She placed her paws on the windowsill, looking at the outside world with wide eyes.
Under Christina's strong demands, in addition to the fact that Zhou Bai thought this cat would have to be revealed in the future anyway, Zhou Bai decided to let her out and watch over Elsa for him.
Zhou Bai then turned around, watching the scenery along the journey. Everywhere looked barren and desolate. He even saw the sparkle of fire twice, followed by loud bangs. It looked like a battle was taking place.
The entire world had become tattered because of the war between the Mara and humankind.
It had been said that after humans had retreated into the last one-third of human territory on the Eastern Continent, to defend against the Mara, as well as to respond to Spark infection, aside from some forts, 90 percent of the population was gathered in the five main cities—one in the east, the west, the north, the south, and the center. Nearly all the experts on Taoist technology and warfare had been brought to these locations.
Zhou Bai was headed toward Donghua City, one of those five cities.
Two hours later, Zhou Bai could see colossal black shadows hovering in the sky in the distance. The shadows were densely packed, like fleets of flying ships.
"This is totally different from what I had imagined," Zhou Bai thought. Donghua City was supercolossal in size with a population of three million people, but he hadn't thought it would appear this densely populated.
With their advanced Taoist technology, they had been able to levitate many buildings in the air, creating enough city space to accommodate the giant population.
All of Donghua City had the residential district at ground level, the military district at 1,500 feet, the administrative district at 3,000 feet, the Tao academy district at 5,000 feet, and so on. Districts were zoned according to function from 250 feet underground to 7,000 feet aboveground.
Around the exterior of the city, a membrane of faint, barely distinguishable light enveloped its entirety.
That was the enormous formation that protected all of Donghua City from the Mara as well as purified Spark and prevented infection. Under the triple protection of formation, primordial spirit adjustment, and rune vaccination, the risk of Spark infection had been lowered infinitely.
"It's huge!" he thought. As the flying car moved closer to Donghua City, Zhou Bai increasingly sensed how enormous and dense the city was. When they finally entered, he raised his head up to see the buildings floating in the hidden sky and covering the sun.
All the buildings had the same architectural style. They were all white, gray, or black, without any unnecessary decoration. They were like building blocks that floated back and forth and interlocked in the air.
By now, Zhou Bai was looking down on the streets. Because the sky had been blocked out by countless buildings, the streets were very dim, and the crowded houses and streets made everything feel cramped.
Zhou Bai got off the car when it stopped and took out the piece of paper that Zhang Aidao had given to him. It had two addresses on it, one for the enrollment location for Donghua Tao Academy and the other for Zhang Aidao's friend.
This was Zhou Bai's first time in Donghua City and he didn't have any place to stay, so Zhang Aidao casually wrote down an address, and told him to go stay with one of his friends in Donghua City.
So, with a cat and a dog, Zhou Bai made his way to the enrollment location for the entrance exam after asking around, and then he started looking for the address of Zhang Aidao's friend.
Throughout their journey, Christina and Elsa had attracted many people's attention, as almost no one owned dogs or cats during these times.
As the street became abnormally dark before the sun had even set, Zhou Bai sighed. "Donghua City looks magnificent from a distance, but when you actually walk the streets on the ground, you're probably in the shadows 24/7."
Most of the humans on the streets also looked like they were in a hurry. It was rare to see anyone simply strolling or chatting with others. Everyone seemed to be in a rush.
The streets were also abnormally clean. Not only was there no trash, but there also was no greenery, landscaping, or neon lights that many big cities had.
"Cold… Precise… Just like a machine operated by countless gears."
That was Zhou Bai's first impression of Donghua City.
Elsa stuck her tongue out and walked up to Zhou Bai, saying to him out loud, "I'm hungry."
Christina, who was riding on Elsa, slapped her head with her paw and said, "Who let you speak! I told you you're not allowed to speak when we're outside."
Elsa put her head down with a hurt expression. Perhaps because of the success of Professor Zhuang's experiment, Elsa, who had fully turned into an animal, could say simple phrases such as "Zhou Bai" and "I'm hungry."
To avoid any trouble, Zhou Bai told her not to speak when they were outside.
Hearing Elsa's words, Zhou Bai patted her head, and Elsa rubbed forcefully against Zhou Bai's hand. She heard Zhou Bai say, "Alright Elsa, we're almost there. We'll have food very soon."
He brought the two to a row of little uniformly constructed buildings that stood on the street like metal cans. They were all tiny homes constructed by Paradise and distributed to normal people as residences.
Knock, knock, knock!
Zhou Bai heard footsteps before a white-haired elder opened the door. He went blank for a second when he saw Zhou Bai before asking, "And you are?"
"Zhang Aidao told me to come. I'm here to take the entrance exam for Donghua Tao Academy. I don't have a place to stay, and he told me I could stay here for a few days."
"He still remembers his old father?" The old man grunted before walking back into the room and saying, "Come inside. Close the door."
Zhou Bai walked into the room and found it to be rather messy. Things were scattered all over the table and floor, and many areas were covered in dust and stains, making the place appear old and worn.
Although the elder looked serious and spoke with a cold tone, not long after Zhou Bai sat down he brought him a bowl of porridge and pickled vegetables. He even tossed two pieces of bread at Elsa and Christina.
Elsa picked up a piece of bread and wolfed it down. Christina, as some sort of special entity, didn't need to eat or drink, so she patted Elsa's head and said quietly, "If you obey me in the future, this piece is yours. Do you understand?"
Elsa cocked her head, looking at Christina with confusion.
Ever since Zhou Bai had entered the room, the elder had been examining Zhou Bai's face. His expression changed continuously—Sometimes he smiled, and other times he frowned.
After downing a few spoonfuls of porridge, Zhou Bai couldn't stand it anymore. "Old man, is something the matter?"
"Are you…" the old man said after examining Zhou Bai, "Zhang Aidao's son?"
"Bah!" Zhou Bai spit out his mouthful of porridge, continuously shaking his head.
The old man smiled at Zhou Bai. "You look so much like myself when I was younger…" Seeing that Zhou Bai was still denying it, he nodded with understanding. "Alright, alright, I know he doesn't admit that I'm his father."
The old man looked at Zhou Bai with curiosity and goodwill. Suddenly, he sighed and muttered, "I know he hates me. He hates me for making him join the military after he failed the entrance exam. His mother even divorced me over this."
"But I was a soldier my entire life. I know how fragile our current lifestyle is. If everyone only thinks about themselves, if everyone's afraid of danger, and no one steps up, then there will really be nothing left."
Zhou Bai responded, "Why are you suddenly telling stories?"
"Aidao…" the old man said while looking at Zhou Bai with some worry, "Do you hate dad?"
"Huh?" Zhou Bai was confused.
Christina said to Zhou Bai, "He probably has senile dementia. He's used primordial spirit power to battle in the past, but his practice level didn't rise, so there's a higher chance of him getting dementia as he gets older."
"After all, the Heavenly Tao and Spark are distorted. If humans fight using them for an extended period of time, but their practice level doesn't rise when they're older yet their will and physical condition have worsened, naturally they're more prone to disease."
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