Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the bookstore, it was business as usual.
All morning, there wasn't a single customer.
Ling PingAn lay prone on the counter and slept throughout the entire morning.
Only when he had finally woken up did he realize that it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
"Another boring day!" He rubbed his temples, opened the drawer under the counter, and saw a delicate short knife that had been placed in it. There was also a bag of something next to the short knife.
"This doesn't look like tea..." Ling PingAn picked up the bag and examined it closely.
The night before, he'd noticed the bag, but had only glanced at it fleetingly. Now he decided to look at it more carefully.
It was in examining it that he discovered that what was inside the bag wasn't tea at all.
It seemed like the leaves of some other kind of plant...
Prompted by curiosity, Ling PingAn pulled a leaf out of the bag, put it on his palm, and began inspecting it.
"Strange…" The leaf in his hand had a very unique structure. On its surface, it appeared to be a leaf with jagged edges that had been dried or roasted.
It was shriveled up, but at the same time felt very substantial.
What's more, Ling PingAn could even feel a mild warmth coming from within this shrunken leaf.
He carefully unfolded the curled leaf with his fingers. An alluring aroma struck his nose immediately.
"Is this some kind of spice?" Ling PingAn put the leaf back into the bag.
After all, it was somebody else's belongings. He didn't want to damage it.
Otherwise, he might be asked to make compensation.
The sun was going down.
Night was approaching.
Unlike in the daytime, the world at night was more perilous.
After the great apocalypse, half of the Earth's population had become Monsters or Evil Spirits.
Hence, the world after sunset became a nightmare for mankind.
At night, aside from a few safe zones, most all the other regions were dangerous red zones.
At times, some of the areas would even turn dark red in color, implying extreme hazard, or black, signifying calamity.
According to the standards issued by the United Nations Security Council, the safety levels around the world were divided into various zones: very safe (dark green), safe (green), dangerous (light red), extremely dangerous (dark red), calamity (black), and the highest level of depravity (dark black).
Donglin City was classified as a dangerous zone.
With the exception of the safe zones, all the other regions were zones in which the entry of civilians was prohibited.
During the nighttime, the danger levels in most areas would rise.
Even the army and demon hunters wouldn't dare loiter around dangerous zones in the middle of the night.
Because at night, both the power and the activity levels of Monsters and Evil Spirits would be massively amplified.
Also, low-level Monsters and Evil Spirits, who dared not appear during the day because they had been suppressed by sunlight, would emerge in groups.
Han Li, however, was sitting on the roof of a building in the Eastern District that was clearly marked as extremely dangerous.
Her slender, muscular legs were dangling off a rooftop balcony of a building more than 20 stories high.
This place had once been a high-class residential district located in the heart of the city.
Not far away were the ruins of Donglin University.
During the great apocalypse, an intense battle had taken place in this area.
An entire regiment of soldiers had perished in this place in order to cover the retreat of women, children, and students.
One could still see the trenches and fortresses that had been temporarily erected by the courageous soldiers on that day.
Tanks, which had long been covered in rust and dirt, were still pointed at the underground parking lots of the residential district.
In the community gardens, bullet craters and scattered bullet shells could be seen everywhere.
In the southern and northern areas of the residential district, all the buildings had been turned into fields of rubble.
A lot of the damage had been caused by the napalm incendiary bomb that was dropped by a bomber that took off from Donglin Airport during the most hazardous part of the fighting.
Night gradually descended.
Among the rubble of the collapsed buildings, shadows could be seen crawling out.
They looked like spiders, with eight legs, and they crawled like lizards.
Their bones and the skin that covered them were as hard as steel.
Their speeds could exceed 200 MPH.
Their fangs were extremely sharp. Their blood could corrode most armor.
The United Nations Security Council had named them Devil Spiders.
They were one of the kinds of Class B monsters most feared by humans.
This was because they lived in groups.
What's more, a group of Devil Spiders could often consist of hundreds of specimens.
At the zenith of their population strength, mankind had recorded clusters that had tens of thousands of Devil Spiders.
In this particular Devil Spider community, there had once been a few thousand individuals.
And they had torn apart an entire regiment equipped with mechanized armor in this very place.
But now their numbers in this community had been reduced to less than 100.
One couldn't be glad about that.
Because, if the number of a monster community were dwindling, it could only mean one thing: they were expanding to different areas.
Han Li looked at the Devil Spiders that were getting near the building.
The corners of her mouth raised into an arc that was pleasant to the eye.
The Crimson Tome that she held in her hands was flipping around constantly. Raving whispers were echoing deeply by her ears.
"Superclass: Abyssus, Class: Daemonium, Order: Arachnida, Human-faced Spiders!"
These were the real origins and the name of the Devil Spider.
Their most vulnerable spot was the third cervical vertebra under the neck.
Han Li leaped off the building.
The black tight-fitting suit she wore served as a foil for her beautiful figure as she fell like a Valkyrie.
Spirit Power bloomed from her hands, turning them into two sabers that looked like the tips of swords.
"Die!" Han Li had already locked onto the neck of a Human-faced Spider in the air. As soon as she landed, she took advantage of the spring force generated by her landing, made a light hop, and landed on its back. Her left hand that looked like the tip of a blade accurately slashed into the cervical spine of the Human-faced Spider.
Like a toppled domino, before it could even shriek, the massive Human-faced Spider slumped to the ground like a component that had had its screws undone.
Following a loud clatter, this monster that could destroy a grenade shattered into smithereens.
Dark green blood and its internal organs that were exuding various kinds of disgusting smells flowed all over the ground, corroding the ground into a deep pit.
Boring afternoon, boring game.
Five losses in a row...
Ling PingAn felt that he was a bit unsettled.
"In every game, there's either five ADCs, five spellcasters, or five junglers…"
"The Bronze Division is really a living hell!"
Dropping the phone in his hand, he rubbed his temple that hurt a little bit. The repercussions from staying up all night yesterday hadn't yet subsided.
"Looks like there will be no update today…"
He turned on the television. On the screen was yet again the familiar 3 o'clock soap opera.
Dramas within a family...dispute between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law...
Ling PingAn was falling asleep watching it.
Subconsciously, he picked up his teacup and began to make tea.
When the loud whoosh of water from the water dispenser sounded, the pleasant aroma permeated his mouth and nose. Just by smelling the scent, his entire person immediately became energetic as if the exhaustion from last night and the emptiness he was feeling at present had been swept away.
"How could it smell so good?" Ling PingAn lowered his head.
He looked at the stuff floating in the teacup.
There were a few golden leaves.
Plump and vibrant.
"Have I made the wrong tea?" Ling PingAn was stunned. Then he remembered that he had seemingly mixed up the tea leaves in the drawer and had used the bag of leaves that was by the girl from last night.
He picked a leaf out of the teacup. The unknown leaf was still golden in color after having been soaked in boiling water. It was just like gold. When gently squeezed, juice leaked out from it, filling his nose with a pleasantly fresh aroma.
Ling PingAn stained his finger with a little amount of the golden liquid on the leaf in a probing manner, stuck it into his mouth, and tasted a bit. "It's so sweet!"
The taste buds in his mouth were instantly overwhelmed by the sweet, fragrant taste.
Ling PingAn swore to himself that he had never had such a delicious drink!
The voices echoing in her head were intensifying.
Han Li shook her head to sober herself.
She took one more slight puff and kicked the skull of the Human-faced Spider under her feet.
Then she strode forward and went all the way into the murky underground parking lot.
Taking her flashlight, Han Li switched on the power and illuminated the parking lot where no one had been for decades.
Luxury cars that had been abandoned for ages were all shoved together.
Many vehicles had been flipped over sideways.
Within these cars that had been moldering for decades were skeletons of the dead.
Han Li bypassed these obstacles and moved on.
Suddenly, she saw a scene that shocked her enormously.
More than a dozen skeletons of soldiers in military uniforms were scattered in a bunker.
Several heavy machine guns were still aiming toward where the enemy had been.
Machine gun shells were scattered everywhere in the bunker.
And on the stone pillars and walls of the parking garage were tons of gunshot holes.
Han Li walked over and looked at a skeleton that had obviously belonged to an officer. From under him, she picked up a yellowed, discolored photo that was buried in the rotten soil and couldn't be made out clearly.
However, in the photo, one could still see the outlines of a couple who were cuddling together and smiling brightly.
Beneath the photo was a nameplate.
On it was the officer's name and his unit number: Colonel Yu Aiguo of the People's Army, 5th Airborne Division, 3rd Rapid Response Battalion.
This was the first relief column that had arrived in Donglin City during the great apocalypse.
Looking at the nameplate and photo in her hand, Han Li swore faintly, "This cursed world!"
Then she squatted down to find other pieces of nameplates amid the bones and mud.
She wanted to keep them.
Han Li continued to move forward. She walked into the depths of the underground parking lot until she came to a huge collapsed hole.
She shone her flashlight downward. In the gloomy underground hole were miserable, grey-looking grasses that were densely packed together.
This was the Death Grass.
"This is way too awesome!" Ling PingAn murmured to himself while sitting at the counter, holding the empty teacup from which even the dregs had been licked clean.
At present, he felt that his energy was seemingly endless.
His whole body was full of strength, maybe even capable of fighting ten men by himself.
More important, his eyesight had also improved a whole lot.
He took off his glasses. He could actually see clearly!
"What are you?" He grabbed the bag of dried leaves and leaned backward as he recalled the woman from last night. "Could it be that these leaves have been secretly developed by some huge enterprise and were meant to be supplied only to the nobles?"
Carefully thinking about it, he realized that that really was a possibility.
After all, nobles in the Federal Empire were audacious for having fun ever since ancient times.
Distinguished figures in the Wei-Jin period had been obsessed with Cold-Food Powder. In the modern era, nobles of the Federal Empire were eerily similar to those figures from the Wei-Jin period.
Thinking about all of this, he quietly put away the bag of dried leaves.
"I mustn't touch it again!"
"I can't afford to pay for such an expensive thing."
 Cold-Food Powder: A poisonous psychoactive drug popular during the Six Dynasties (220–589) and the Tang Dynasty (618–907) periods of China.
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