Saving Unpermitted

Saving Unpermitted – Chapter 5

Table of Contents

Chapter 5: The Moment Before Death

This was the first time Shu Jun had gone through such a novel experience.

In the last second, he was still standing a few steps away from the sofa, then the next second, he was sitting on the sofa. The water glass he was holding fell to the ground, splashing water on the floor.

A fraction of time seemed to have been cut off.

…Could a VR game also remove time frames? What did he want to say just now?

A strange impression popped up in his mind — Disregarding the removed time frames, it seemed that he just heard something incredible from Zhu Yanchen. However, he couldn’t remember any details and his memories only retained his own phrase “I’m ready”.

Shu Jun picked up the glass in confusion, feeling his head throbbing as he straightened up. The more he tried to recall his memories, the harder his stomach churned, as if he had just swallowed a live snake. In the end, before he could even stand up straight, he had to lean over the sofa to throw up.

There was supposed to be nothing inside to throw up, but a lot of pitch-black fluid poured out from his mouth, carrying lumps that looked like the remnants of his organs. Some fluid splashed on the sofa and its bright brown surface was quickly dotted with many grey spots, which instantly ate into the surrounding patches of colour.

This substance was the same thing that made up Erosion Marsh.

It took a while before Shu Jun stopped vomiting. His chest and abdomen were still aching, and his head was spinning. He raised his eyes and tried to gather Marshal Zhu’s multiple blurring shadows into one. What he vomited was the erosive substance, but Zhu Yanchen had taken off most of his protective equipment and this might put him in danger. Shu Jun had spent so much effort to find this life-saving grace, and he also couldn’t allow himself to hurt someone when they barely just met.

“I’m sorry.” Zhu Yanchen’s voice came from a place above him, sounding extremely surreal.

Why is he apologising?

His ears felt like they were soaked in water, and Shu Jun shook his head, making him even dizzier. Someone put him on the bed and injected a needle into his arm. After a long moment, Shu Jun was finally able to distinguish between the nose and the mouth on Zhu Yanchen’s face.

He asked the question he deemed most necessary: “Your gas mask?”

“I ate some protective medicine when you were showering. I’ll be fine for half an hour.” Zhu Yanchen pulled out the syringe and put on his protective clothes. “How are you feeling?”

Good question.

After ten years of combat, Erosion Marsh had hurt many of his teammates. They could still be saved if there was only a little bit of it, but if they were swallowed by the marsh, it would be no different from falling into a pool of sulfuric acid. Now that he was someone who just threw up sulfuric acid, he should celebrate that he was still breathing.

He wanted to laugh bitterly, but he was exhausted to the point that he couldn’t laugh: “I’m okay. I just learnt how to shift time, and I feel a bit of motion sickness.”

Zhu Yanchen lowered his gaze: “…”

Interesting. Marshal Zhu didn’t question his ‘time shift’, which meant that this person knew something. Shu Jun coughed and it was difficult to speak, a bunch of questions still stuck in his throat.

“A Yan1.” It took him a long time to utter these two words. It was an affirmation, not an interrogative question.

Zhu Yanchen paused for a moment, but there was still no expression on his face. Shu Jun didn’t know whether he was quietly accepting this name or feigning innocence. He took a few medicine bottles from the suitcase and dexterously mixed them up, looking like a professional nurse.

Shu Jun felt his vision collapse again. Putting on the gas mask, Marshal Zhu started to clean Shujun’s wound.

As his eyesight blurred, Shu Jun felt his whole body left with no strength and his brain almost no longer functioning — Perhaps the culprit of this whole ruckus, Zhu Yanchen, was indeed Haze, and this NPC wasn’t controlled by AI. This could explain a lot of things, such as his positioning point, his knowledge of this whole thing being a game, or his skilful medical operations.

These thoughts were better at making him feel at ease compared to an NPC that was interfering with his ‘reality’.

As he saw Shu Jun’s confused gaze shifting to the side, Zhu Yanchen’s expression twitched slightly, but Shu Jun still couldn’t tell whether he wanted to smile or frown: “Even if I tell you what happened, you won’t be able to remember it… It’s not easy to explain now, you should take a good rest first.”

Shu Jun used all his strength to point his mouth towards the glass of water on the table. Zhu Yanchen understood and poured him more water. Shu Jun was shaking with exhaustion, but he still said firmly: “I was full of energy before we came here, and you sent me into this state with just a few words. At least tell me why.”

Finally, he raised his voice, as though he feared that the guy couldn’t hear him clearly: “A Yan.”

Zhu Yanchen neither admitted nor denied it. Shu Jun didn’t have time to interrogate Zhu Yanchen on that, because the next bomb dropped by him was even more shocking —

“Just now, that was a surge of energy before you die2.”

After that, he added one more sentence in a hard tone: “Take a rest first, don’t think too much.”

…How can I not think too much? Shu Jun almost choked on his own saliva.

He was locked in the game for some unknown reason, a fraction of time was lost from his memories and he threw up poison. Everything that this major NPC, who was likely to be his crush, had done was unreasonable, and now that NPC told Shu Jun that he was dying and should first take a rest.

Other people harvested double successes in both their career and their love life, while Shu Jun received double bombs in both his career and his love life.

Seeing that Shu Jun was so terrified he was stunned, Zhu Yanchen began to draw his blood for testing. Shu Jun vaguely saw that his blood was black, but he already had too many question marks flying around his head, so he wasn’t in a hurry to ask about this one.

Shu Jun picked up the biggest question mark and threw it out: “Why are you here?”

“To save you.” Zhu Yanchen said.

As if afraid that Shu Jun would keep asking, he added another sentence.

“…I have no intention of hiding anything from you. When your situation stabilises, I’ll take you to a place, where you will learn about everything.”

Somewhere inside the city.

“Is something wrong with Zhu Yanchen’s head?” Xia Liang pulled her hair in front of the makeup mirror.

The leader election was just around the corner and intelligence agencies all over the country were working hard. Expectedly, the news that “Marshal Zhu was attacked by a mutated monster and his current whereabouts is unknown” bloomed instantly. Everyone knew that ‘unknown whereabouts’ was just a nice way of saying that someone who entered a heavily eroded zone wouldn’t survive past 48 hours without preparation.

As long as Zhu Yanchen stayed hidden in a safe room for a week and the Alliance couldn’t locate him, they would be bound to announce that Zhu Yanchen was dead. The leader was meant to be chosen from either Yi Ning or Zhu Yanchen. If Zhu Yanchen died, the whole process had to be repeated and last another three months.

According to their agreement, this was nicely just the time that Zhu Yanchen wanted to go outside to try out his experiments.

Human beings hadn’t entered any heavily eroded zone for more than 200 years. Whether Zhu Yanchen could live outside for three months would all depend on his luck. According to Zhu Yanchen’s own statement, if he was to win, it had to be a real victory, and if he was to lose, proper arrangements had to be made.

In this current world, only the very lucky ones would be born with a golden spoon, but some people still wanted to try their fate. Xia Liang naturally hoped that Zhu Yanchen would live longer, because, as much as she might not want to say it, he was a great man. They had been preparing for this plan for so long, but who would have expected that Zhu Yanchen, one who had always been calm and steady, suddenly walked off track like this —

The mutated monster that was arranged to ‘attack’ Zhu Yanchen hadn’t actually arrived here, yet Marshal Zhu disappeared with another unknown mutated monster from nowhere. Xia Liang never believed that Zhu Yanchen was really taken away. To prevent the original kidnapping plan from going haywire, Marshal Zhu had in fact brought along a lot of special weapons to help him restrain the monster.

But the outcome at the moment wasn’t much different from what they had wanted. He had been ‘kidnapped’ anyway, and the news of his supposed death had come out pretty much within the expected timeframe. There was no need for Xia Liang to intervene too much, but these unforeseen changes in the plan still irritated her to no ends.

Why did I follow such a troublesome boss?

After venting her anger, Xia Liang put some lipstick on with her pinky finger. She turned on the recording device by her side and the recorded sounds of sobbing came out.

This is even more troublesome. As his ‘ex-girlfriend’ who had just peacfully broken up with him, she still had to put up an adequate act.

She truly hoped that what Zhu Yanchen had planned for Blackbird hadn’t gone wrong. Xia Liang thought left and right, then cursed under her breath. She pulled a loose red robe from the closet, activated the image projection, transformed into a stooped old man and slipped out of the room through a secret tunnel.

The city center was some distance away from the base where the players stayed.

“Lao3 Dong.” Seeing Xia Liang, who was dressed like an old man, the guards hurriedly saluted her.

This old man with a mysterious background was Zhu Yanchen’s right-hand man. Although the news of Marshal Zhu’s disappearance had blown up, his death hadn’t been officially confirmed, so it was too early to be rude to Marshal Zhu’s confidant.

The guards’ thoughts were all written on their faces, and Xia Liang knew that these people were Yi Ning’s supporters at a glance. She didn’t bother to talk nonsense with them and headed straight to her destination. The guards exchanged glances, then one of them followed behind her.

The chamber containing the players was underground, where rows of hibernation pods were densely packed together. The pod design was inspired from those pods inside video games before the apocalypse came, and the server was also a heritage of humanity’s technology prior to the apocalypse. Their living weapons were sleeping inside the pods, dreaming of a dream called ‘the real world outside the game’.

A new player was sleeping inside Shu Jun’s pod.

“Lao Dong, the management here has been taken over by Marshal Yi Ning.” Seeing that Xia Liang was about to overstep her line, the guard quickly gave a reminder.

“Are you trying to tell me to not steal anything?” Xia Liang rolled her eyes and feigned an old man’s voice: “Marshal Zhu isn’t dead yet. Can’t I even deal with the damage?”

“But Marshal Yi…”

“Why? Even if he takes over this place, he can only officially do so tomorrow.” Xia Liang ignored the guard and pressed her hand on the hibernation pod.

The guard was speechless for a long moment, knowing that it was always a bad idea to talk against the elderly. Marshal Yi hadn’t officially registered his management of this place, and this old man shouldn’t be able to see much just by having a look, so there was no reason to stop him now.

Xia Liang had already joined the observation system by herself.

Instead of logging in as a player, she could only see through a limited God View4. The players lived in the same virtual city, where the Blackbird team was celebrating their success, and Shu Jun, who had been replaced by AI, had blended in. According to the game requirement that he had to leave the combat team the moment he died in battle, Shu Jun would then announce that he would leave the city to travel the world and would contact everyone again in the future — It wouldn’t be difficult to devise a small amount of ‘fake’ messages to send to his friends, so they shouldn’t be able to detect any issue.

The Groundwater team seemed to have finished their celebration, and Captain Luo Duan had even arrived home. Xia Liang glanced briefly, then turned her attention back to Blackbird. The happy Blackbird team was still touching shoulders with the fake Shu Jun and had detected nothing wrong.

Zhu Yanchen was the same Zhu Yanchen as always, never letting any detail slip. After making sure that everything was all good, Xia Liang decisively logged out.

“Let’s go.” She waved her hand, leaving the guard smiling sheepishly at his spot.

“We’ll bring you out.” The guard and another one from the security room winked at each other, and they both sent Xia Liang out together. In any case, this chamber was meant for the top combat teams. Both Blackbird and Groundwater were having their holidays and wouldn’t be doing any training for a short period of time, so leaving them for a minute or two shouldn’t be a problem.

Indeed there was no problem with the Blackbird team, but someone in the Groundwater team wasn’t enjoying his holiday.

Luo Duan, the captain of the Groundwater team, hid himself under the blanket and seemed to be in a bad mood. He was nearly 30, almost two years older than Shu Jun, and logically speaking, he would have to retire soon. The championship round didn’t turn out well for them, so his attitude at the moment was inevitable, which no one should be suspicious about.

So no one saw what he was doing under the blanket — Luo Duan turned on the screen to shed some light on himself and rolled up his sleeves, which exposed a short sentence tattooed on his arm.

[This world is a lie.]

At first glance, it looked like a line from a poem. This tattoo was quite new and had been with him for less than a year. Luo Duan had forgotten why he had such a tattoo and thought it was the product of a drunk night. But recently, things had become weirder and weirder. When he looked at it, sometimes he just dazed off, as though a fraction of time was stolen from his mind.

And the daze was often accompanied by a headache. Recently, this headache had gotten more and more serious, and when he logged in to the game, his body still felt uncomfortable.

Shu Jun won because he paid the price of sacrificing his own account.

For some reason, this thought didn’t make Luo Duan feel bitter about his team’s loss, and there was even an inexplicable sadness in his heart. He seemed to have forgotten something important, feeling as though he had walked through a dream. He somehow remembered that it was a dream, but he couldn’t recall the content at all.

This world is a lie?

Overwhelmed by this strange feeling, Luo Duan got up from his bed, subconsciously walked towards the VR cabin, then woke up in the hibernation pod in the game. The guards who usually patrolled here were nowhere in sight, and there was no one in the room. An unexplainable sense of discomfort engulfed him again, so Luo Duan coughed and sat down, leaning on the hibernation pod.

No one from the Groundwater team was online at the moment, and the training ground hadn’t yet opened. Luo Duan didn’t know why he felt the impulse to go online, so he sat there staring blankly into space. After a while, he could hear the NPCs talking from a distance. Luo Duan was feeling unwell and was too lazy to deal with them, so he conjured a mist and hid behind it.

One of the guards looked in to make sure that there was no one in the room: “About Lao Dong, how should I talk to Marshal Yi now? What a headache.” 

“Lao Dong always likes to run around and it’s hard to know what he’s planning. He hasn’t taken anything, so perhaps we don’t have to report it.”

“Marshal Zhu was kidnapped and Mr. Dong immediately runs here. Also, the captain of Blackbird just died. I somehow think that this isn’t a coincidence…”

“Maybe he really wants to deal with the damage. Marshal Zhu has always liked the Blackbird team, but he isn’t here, so it isn’t surprising that Mr. Dong comes here to look at the situation. Alas, I thought Shu Jun could be used until his expiry date. Now it seems that Luo Duan of the Groundwater team will last longer. I heard that Luo Duan can only be used for another six months at most? This is the first time I’ve ever seen a ‘synthesised human’ living so long, it’s amazing.”

“It has always been Marshal Zhu’s team that carries out the checking, What should we do now?…”

“Who knows.”

Luo Duan remained motionless.

It was a similar incident and a similar conversation. He remembered that he had discovered something similar back then, and he knew that he would soon be overwhelmed with headaches and forced to forget all the details. He had to do the same thing as last time: before his memories were erased, he must somehow leave himself a note.

The players are not humans, they are all being used, and their world is indeed a lie.

Perhaps because he kept repeating that line over and over again, or because he was already on the verge of death, he could see the god of death welcoming him with open arms. This information seemed to be able to stay in his brain longer and longer. When the guards had finally walked away, Luo Duan stretched out one hand to touch the pod’s lid, and his hand stopped dead in its tracks.

Something was leaking from the gap in his palmless glove. The dark fluid dripped to the ground, looking frightfully familiar.

The translator has something to explain on Zhu Yanchen’s name:

His first name is written as 延辰, pronounced as ‘Yanchen’.

His nickname is written as 烟尘, which is also pronounced as ‘Yan Chen’ and literally translates to ‘Haze’.

Now the reason why I decided to translate his nickname to ‘Haze’ is because throughout the story, there will be occasions when Shu Jun says things along the line of “He is their 延辰 but he is my 烟尘”, which will cause confusion if the name is left in pinyin.

On the other hand, Shu Jun often calls him ‘A Yan’ (阿烟, with the ‘Yan’ taken from his nickname). I could have translated ‘A Yan’ to ‘Haze’ to keep things consistent, but I think keeping ‘A Yan’ will add an endearing connotation to the way Shu Jun addresses Zhu Yanchen. In Chinese, adding an ‘A’ before someone’s name sort of indicates a close relationship between you and that person (something like ‘-kun’ in Japanese, I suppose?).

So, in short, Zhu Yanchen = A Yan = Haze ^^ I hope it’s not too confusing.

Saving Unpermitted - Chapter 4
Saving Unpermitted - Chapter 6
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9 months ago

Damn…What a time to have an existential crisis, huh?

and you are leaking too…

My buddy, fate sure don’t like you!

1 year ago

Thank you, translator-sama! Gotta go and chase the plot.ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

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