Chapter 010: Confusion and Revelations 
Author: He Feng Yan
Lan Cheng, in the misty mountains, is located in the south of Tianchao Dynasty, near the southwest region. It was initially an unknown town. However, the apocalypse had pushed people away from the quickly degenerating cities, to seek refuge into the vast countryside. Places with natural resources gradually transformed into bases. One of these bases was Lan Cheng, which owed its fame to its favorable geographical location. Situated between the mountains and water, it wasn’t too cold in winter but it was hot in summer. Still, it wouldn’t be too hot as the rest of the country, where the heat could send people to death. This climate allowed Lan Cheng base to grow food and sustain over 100,000 survivors.
This is, of course, if it was properly managed, and if its superiors were considerate of its people.
However, reality was cruel. When the apocalypse came, people struggled to care for their needs, much more to care for other people’s lives.
Lang Cheng was a settlement built entirely by survivors. The government and military had less power here as survivors called the shots. It was complicated and chaotic because this place was governed by the rule of might. The bigger the fist, the stronger the power to control. Right now, Lan Cheng’s control was in the hands of several powerful zombie hunters. After a long period of struggle, all parties concluded that their powers were more or less at par with each other, and agreed to manage the city together, creating a sense of balance.
Also, the Zombie Hunter Union was cooperatively managed by the base and the government, with the government facilitating hunter missions. Despite the survivors having greater power in Lan Cheng base, the government exercise their authority by serving as the coordinating figure for hunters as well as managing Lan Cheng’s interactions with other bases.
Special Guards, the elite troops drafted from the military, were stationed in large and medium-sized bases. Their responsibilities were to patrol and ensure the security of the base and immediately solve probable attacks from large or medium scale zombie tides. In return, the base supported them. The government would not meddle in base affairs unless in time of crisis. At such time, the government could temporarily hold the highest authority and replace the base director.
These intricate and complicated forces within the base had imposed fees upon fees on top of the taxes that the residents had to pay exorbitant amounts of money.
As they approached the base, Wu Ye saw numerous ragged tents set up around the city wall, stretching out two to three miles. Among these tents, numerous yellow, thin, and dull-looking survivors walking through. After two days and nights of rainstorm, the ground had become muddy everywhere, creating large and small puddles, making the entire refugee camp look more dirty and wrecked.
This scene reminded Wu Ye of the refugee camps in Africa. This place is definitely worse than the camps in Africa! In there, there was at least humanitarian relief given out to people, and there were no zombie tides ready to attack any time. If being born in hell was a misfortune, then falling from heaven to hell was definitely worse.
“Boss, Qin-ge, this way. You have to get temporary pass first.” Ji Yun led the two men to the south entrance. There was a long line in front of them and its end was nowhere in sight. Still, the line was moving very fast.
“It looks like we have to stand in line for a while. Get inside the city first and find your teacher. We’ll meet you once we get in,” Wu Ye prodded considerately.
“Okay, I’ll go first. I’ll cook at home and wait for you later.” With this talented person, Qin Wuhua, Ji Yun made lots of money this afternoon. In addition to the Level 2 crystal nuclei he gained from killing a zombie dog, he also got more than 30 Level 1 nuclei after. This could be his biggest income ever since the apocalypse began.
Ji Yun is a resident of Lang Cheng Base and holds a temporary ID card. He did not need to pay any fees when he entered the base. He only needed to pay the residence tax and rent every day. With the recent changes in zombies*, residence tax in Lan Cheng Base had changed from a gram** of gold per day to 10 grams*** of gold per day.
*The zombies are becoming stronger and faster than humans.
**1g gold = 1pc Level 1 nucleus
***10g gold = 2 Level 1 nuclei
The house rent was even more expensive than the residence tax since Lan Cheng Base’s structure was quite sturdy. It was not a problem to live in villas as long as you could afford to pay the base price. However, Ji Yun was not skillful enough to be able to afford those villas. He could only live in the cheapest low-cost housing available, around 10-square-meter wide, built with plastic boards, where you could eat, drink, and sleep, all in one place. It was not much better than the broken tent outside, but it still charged 3 pieces of Level 1 crystal nucleus a day. It’s only advantage was that it was more secure than the refuge camp.
Aside from paying for his own accommodation, Ji Yun also had to shoulder his teacher’s share. As long as he kept his temporary resident permit in Lan Cheng Base, he had to pay at least seven crystal nuclei every day, excluding food expenses. Because Lan Cheng Base was an agricultural settlement, grain products were cheaper here than in any other place. Among these products, soybean powder, corn, and sweet potatoes were the cheapest, priced at one crystal nucleus per 3kg. They were staple food to the people in this base, since a kilo of rice and cheap flour were sold for one crystal nucleus, and vegetables were even more expensive. The cheapest seasonal vegetables were sold for the same price as rice noodles and rapeseed oil, which was five crystal nucleus a kilo. Lard was for eight crystal nuclei a kilo, and pork scraps for a whopping 15 crystal nuclei a kilo.
In addition to food, salt was also essential. After the apocalypse, seawater was seriously polluted. The existence of zombie marine beings made it impossible for humans to live along coastal areas. Salt extraction from seawater? Don’t even think about it. It’s impossible. People could only rely on salt produced in salt wells controlled by the government. Government-produced salt would be directly sold to various bases through military channels. Only after going through several checks from authorities at the base, would it be sold to ordinary survivors.
As for medicine, it was out-of-this-world expensive!
The heavy cost of living has forced countless survivors to become zombie hunters, setting out early and coming back late every day, fighting for their dear lives in their desperate struggle against the zombies. Life sure was hard for zombie hunters. How much harder would it be for women, children, and elderly, who couldn’t hunt for zombies?
Those who were able to place their families within the base, their women and children could still have the opportunity to find a job within its walls, and help ease their family’s financial burdens. But for those living in the camps outside the base, they could only rely on the income the got from zombie hunting, selling their bodies or other means. It’s no wonder why survivors would do anything to survive in the camps, where chaos and death had long become the norm.
Ji Yun did not want his teacher and himself to live in the camps outside the base. That’s why he joined the Zombie Hunter Union and kept looking for opportunities to form a team with people to do union tasks and kill zombies, all in order to fight for his chance at survival.
“Teacher, I’m back!” Ji Yun paid for two days residence tax and rent. He also bought some rice, potatoes, cabbage, lard, and pork scraps from the trading area. This extravagant spending was for the sole purpose of making a good impression on the boss he had just met. It’s no wonder his pockets were cleaner than his face when he came out of the trading area.
HEXIE: Here’s the second part of the compensation. Hope you’re willing to forgive me! And do please check my patreon for a bit?