Snow-white mycelium protruded and lightly rested against the surface of the metal mesh. Then it drilled in between the tiny crevices of the metal mesh. It was safe. At least here, there were no lethal weapons and just the mesh barrier.
After the first mycelium passed through the three-layered mesh and reached the pipe, the remaining mycelium also moved forward and gathered together because they were too soft and flexible, appearing in a newly liquid state. The snow-white tide permeated through all three layers of metal mesh and reunited behind it. A forward-extending pipe appeared in An Zhe’s perception. The wall of the pipe was smooth overall but some spots of rust had appeared and the smell of rust spread out, like the smell of blood. Wind was blowing from the end of the pipe.
An Zhe continued forward, his mycelium like tentacles against the wall of the pipe as he flowed forward smoothly. The pipe was straight and after turning at a right angle, it was still straight, He continued to move forward and a crossroad appeared in front of him. A horizontal, thicker pipe was connected to the current pipe he was in.
The wind was becoming bigger and the direction of the airflow was complicated, indicating that this huge pipeline system was like a tortuous maze.
An Zhe briefly hesitated before stretching out a long piece of mycelium that stayed in the pipe. Then he continued to move forward. Lu Feng might not think he was smart but An Zhe felt he wasn’t stupid. He decided to mark his path with this mycelium so that no matter where he went, he could return along the original path.
After making this decision, An Zhe was relieved and went through the intersection in his original direction. After a right angle, a faint light appeared from in front of him. An Zhe came to the source of light. It was another vent. The voice of a familiar newscaster was heard and it was likely he came to the vent of another person’s home.
“In over a month, the main city has recalled a total of 12,000 mercenaries and officially entered the recovery period. During the expected recovery period of 10 years, the main city’s scientific research team will be devoted to investigating the source of infection…”
“Tap tap tap.” A knocking sound was heard. An Zhe originally entered here by mistake. He didn’t want to peep into the privacy of other humans and planned to leave but the next moment, he temporarily dispelled this idea.
The door opened.
“Colonel Lu.” A woman’s voice was heard and the tone was very strong.
Colonel Lu. This was Lu Feng’s room. An Zhe quietly moved out of the vent in order to be able to hear more clearly. He was really curious about Lu Feng’s life. Then he heard a familiar cold voice. “Hello.”
“Hello Colonel Lu, I’m a staff member on the 21st floor of the Garden of Eden.”
Garden of Eden. An Zhe pricked his ears, if he had such things as ears now.
Lu Feng asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing.” The woman smiled. “First of all, congratulations on returning from the outer city. Secondly, on behalf of my superiors, I want to ask if you wish to donate sperm to Eden.”
Lu Feng’s answer was straightforward and heartless. “No.”
“That’s a shame. If you are interested in the future, please be sure to contact us. Your genes are excellent and if they aren’t used effectively, it will be a loss to the entire base.”
“Thank you.” Lu Feng’s tone wasn’t tempered by her praise. “Is there anything else?”
“The flowers planted by Mrs Lu are blooming.” The woman said. “She asked me to give you a bouquet. The work in the main city is very busy and the madam asks you to take a break and take care of yourself.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
After a brief silence, Lu Feng wondered, “Is her health okay?”
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An Zhe wanted to stick out a few mycelium from under the bed to see what the colonel was doing but he didn’t dare. Eventually, he returned to the vent.
At the crossroads, he chose the direction of the wind, dragging the slender mycelium to mark the path before moving on.
The cold, blood-scented wind blew his mycelium and the pipes were connected to other pipes, each opening connected to another complicated pipeline structure. At the same time, an intersection appeared in front of it. It was just a short path but it made An Zhe aware of the complexity of the entire system. He didn’t have a roadmap and only knew the approximate direction of the Lighthouse. He could imagine the difficulty of entering the lighthouse from the pipeline.
However, he could keep looking. He wasn’t an impatient mushroom.
After several turns, An Zhe was completely unable to distinguish his direction and he didn’t know the passage of time. He only knew that when travelling along the direction of the wind, the pipe openings would become wider and wider and the wind would also increase. He guessed it was because he found the backbone of the ventilation system. Sometimes, he worried that his mycelium would be broken but there was no way to strengthen it or leave another strand. Mycelium was like human blood to mushrooms. Excessive blood loss would lead to death and he couldn’t use it up.
Sometimes, there would be a metal net in front of him or sharp turbines that could cut at flesh and joints. At this time, he had to carefully slide along the blade to prevent being cut.
An Zhe didn’t know how long he had been gone. Only the wind and the rusty walls of the pipes accompanied him.
In front of him was an infinitely stretched out black pipe and behind him was the same. This made him return to the time when he lost his spore and he wandered aimlessly in the Abyss. Maybe he could retrieve it tomorrow or maybe he would never find it.
Once the diametre of the pipe became as big as two people, An Zhe saw a fuzzy red light ahead. He went forward, carefully crossing a large turbine and then he fell out of the pipe.
He fell onto a hard and rough metal floor illuminated by a dim right light. He looked around in all directions and found this was no longer the interior of the pipe. It was an empty and spacious cylindrical space as large as the lobby of Eden. It was a place where the wind combined with the red light from above, so high that An Zhe couldn’t feel it.
Then his white mycelium gathered on the ground to form a human body and skin. It was very cold so the mycelium spread on him and densely wove together to form a loose white robe, blocking the cold from outside.
An Zhe stood barefoot on the metal floor and looked up.
A huge turbine was at the top of the space, occupying his vision. Around the turbine was a dark red laser light curtain, similar to the outer city walls. An Zhe knew that this was one of the human defense systems. If a creature wanted to forcefully pass through it then an alarm would trigger.
He looked through the iron teeth of the turbine and saw the sky outside where the aurora was still shining. This place was connected to the outside world and An Zhe realized it was the air inlet of the ventilation system. Once the turbine started, the outside air would be continuously drawn in and transported through the pipes in all directions.
An Zhe retracted his gaze and looked forward. In the centre of this cylindrical space was a rectangular metal workbench. It was probably the operating platform of this entire system. He went up to it but found this wasn’t the case.
On the metal table, there were three rectangular boxes and mottled handwriting next to the small boxes which seemed to be plated. An Zhe slightly leaned over and wiped away the dust and rust to read the writing.
It was a letter.
To the latecomers:
I am Kang Jinglan, the head of the underground ventilation system’s engineering construction team in the Northern Base. The ventilation system took one year to design and nine years to construct. The cost was 110 million yuan per kilometer.
Opponents have suggested that the construction period be postponed because of the difficulty of the base construction and the huge amount of manpower and resources consumed. However, after discussion, we believe that once the weakening of the geomagnetic field continues, the human economy will inevitably collapse with 10 years. Within 50 years, the surviving humans will completely lose the R&D production capacity for heavy industry and the focus of production materials and scientific research will be tilted to the medical field. We have no time.
Fortunately, this year the underground ventilation system was successful completed together with the above-ground base. Fellow humans can now live in the tight protection of the base. This is the only thing I am happy about. Due to the cosmic radiation, despite being tightly protected, I still suffer from a variety of cancers and immune system diseases. I have asked the base to keep my ashes at the core of the ventilation system, so that for every generation of engineers entering for the system maintenance, I will know that the base is still safe and the great species of humanity is still alive.
May you have a bright future.
These were the ashes. So the remains in this box were once a human body. It was a tomb and these writings were a legacy the human left for later people. It was perhaps more appropriate to call it a epitaph.
An Zhe looked to the right side and saw an almost identical metal plaque. The bottom was welded to the box on the table and contained a letter with the same tone.
“To Mr Kang Jinglan and to the latecomers:
I am Liao Pingan, the head of the Northern Base’s underground ventilation system engineering maintenance team. The ventilation system is overhauled every six months and the overall maintenance is performed every two years. It is currently operating in perfect condition.
As Mr Kang expected, the weakening of the geomagnetic field didn’t stop and it completely disappeared in December 2030. Fortunately, the artificial magnetic pole project was a success soon afterwards and Earth is once again protected by a magnetic field. Humans no longer suffer from diseases caused by radiation exposure. Unfortunately, the cosmic radiation has caused infectious mutations of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Humanity has ushered in an unprecedented catastrophe. I have witnessed the shrinkage of the human population, the collapse of the economic system and the gradual loss of industrial capacity. The base has invested all remaining human capacity into military production, a military base construction and the base expansion. A steady stream of guns, ammunition, nuclear weapons, aircrafts, armour and tanks are being produced. I don’t know what the intention of the base is and I don’t know if this behaviour has accelerated the depletion of human resources. I can only hope that the base has far-reaching intentions.
During this catastrophe, I was unfortunately infected with deadly bacteria. At the end of my life, I still feel endless panic about the future of the base so I chose to be buried here with Mr Kang, waiting for the next generation of engineers to report the safety.
May you have a bright future.”
Next came the third urn with an epitaph.
“To Mr Kang Jinglan, Ms Liao Pingan and to the latecomers:
I am Yang Ye, head of the Northern Base’s underground ventilation system maintenance team. The ventilation system is overhauled every six months and the overall maintenance is performed every two years. It is currently operating in perfect condition.
I have to tell my two predecessors that in this era, the ventilation system no longest exists as one of the countless infrastructures of the base but has played a brilliant role in protecting humans. 2053 was the beginning of a global biological variation. The human base took the military as the main force while civilian mercenaries are an assisting force as we plunged into a grand defense war. In the absence of resources and industrial construction capacity, the solid military power and weapons left to us by the previous generation played an unimaginable role, ensuring the safety of the remaining humans. The ventilation system has been transformed into one of the fortifications of the main city to protect people from the invasion of monsters.
At present, the Northern Base is still safe and the military and mercenary teams are constantly returning with samples of monsters from the outside world. They as also recovering scientific research equipment, civilization materials and other necessary materials from human waste cities. The scientific research of the base is focused on the principle of infection and the reproduction of the human race. We haven’t found a direction for the former for the time being while the latter has been initially conquered. A large number of new lives have been born and the population has started to rise. Although the environment is still bad, I believe everything will improve.
I died happily of old age under the patronage of the base.
May you have a bright future.
An Zhe carefully read it before looking to the side blankly. There were no other boxes. 2104 was a very distant year and perhaps the next generation of engineers would soon be lying here, telling the story of a recent occurrence like the fall of the outer city or something else.
At this moment, there was a grand sound from all directions as the mighty night wind blew in from the air inlet. An Zhe shuddered. The strong wind was like an irresistible torrent, making him unable to open his eyes. He raised his elbows in front of him, resisting the strong wind blowing while slightly lowering his head.
Just then, he experienced a pain in his body. A piece of snow-white floated up in the wind. Then it flashed and instantly disappeared.
An Zhe turned back. The white mycelium he had deliberately left to mark the route was only a short piece on the ground that trembled in the wind. The gust of wind blew his mycelium and it was unknown where the broken piece flew to.
His pupils shrank as he looked in the direction of the pipes. Six dark holes were arranged there, looking exactly the same.
I want to recommend a novel. It is the new novel by Long Qi (author of Game Loading) and is a gaming novel. I love love love this novel. It is hilarious and the MC and ML are great. I especially love the MC, who is completely wild, shameless and hilarious. If it wasn’t for all the gaming terms, I might’ve considered translating it. Instead, I dragged Xin into the pit and eventually she cracked and was convinced to translate it.
There are only a few chapters out right now but Xin is a quick and great translator. I hope you check it out. It is called Glory and the link to the table of contents is below.