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Meng Chao went around the market with great interest.
He found all sorts of poisonous monster organs that were difficult to find elsewhere, but in which he was interested due to his nature of a harvester.
After he went through the market once, Lu Siya appeared at the entrance.
But her getup left Meng Chao slightly stunned.
She had a ponytail with a baseball cap over her head. She wore a tracksuit and a pair of sneakers, which made her look like a university student who did not put on any makeup.
Speaking of which, Lu Siya was just in her twenties.
But she usually wore thick makeup, which made her look like a skilled, strong woman. She usually gave Meng Chao the impression that she was too mature for her age.
When he saw this youthful and pretty Lu Siya, he blinked for a long time before he dared to go up and talk to her.
“Big Sis Ya, what’s with this?”
“There are all sorts of bad people in Golden Tooth Lair. Dressing up less conspicuously will avoid us a lot of trouble,” Lu Siya explained.
‘So you do know how to keep a low profile!’ Meng Chao shouted out in his head, but he thought better of saying it out loud. Instead, he looked behind Lu Siya. “Where are the fighters from the abnormal beast research department?”
“They came in through another entrance.” Lu Siya looked at Meng Chao with an intense gaze. “Don’t worry. I have a mini camera and signal flare on me. I can contact the main team at any moment. The moment we find the target, we’ll definitely be able to control the situation. Enough with the talk, let’s go in!”
They passed through the market and entered a supermarket that was opened under a tall apartment complex.
They moved through rows of shelves positioned in such a complicated manner that the place looked like a maze. They passed two corridors that led them down two basement floors before they started walking up. Then, their field of vision widened and became bright. They saw a small impluvium.
Towering but old apartment complexes surrounded it.
The residents did not open their windows wide. They were also packed closely to each other. At first glance, the place really looked like a concrete hornet nest. Meng Chao could not help but think about just how small and cramped were the living spaces behind the windows.
He was only able to see a small patch of gray sky when he raised his head up. That patch of sky was practically perpendicular to his head.
Countless pairs of eyes looked at the people in the impluvium. Their gazes were curious, aloof, or gloomy.
The expressionless faces made everyone look like criminals who were out for a breath of fresh air.
‘So, this is a lair.’
Meng Chao had never come to a lair before.
Even though there were no laws that forbade those beyond the lair from coming into contact with those in the lair, the lairs were the final symbol of the darkest, bloodiest, and lawless era decades ago.
Many of the citizens who had struggled through that age and were finally able to move out to small public renting houses like the ones in Blessed Heavenly Garden warned their children repeatedly to never go to the lairs, or else, they would end up being corrupted.
Meng Chao remembered a few delinquents, who were ignorant and incompetent, from his middle school. To them, going to the lairs was a sign of glory. If they skipped school and went to the lair, they would brag about it for more than a month, even if they had just wandered around the outskirts of the lair and ate one Hundred Poison Banquet.
He looked at the buildings that reminded him of a maze and the branching alleys and realized that he did not know where he should go.
But Lu Siya had already contacted someone living in the lair.
Soon, a strong young man with a vivid double-tailed venomous scorpion tattoo on his arm appeared in the impluvium and bowed a little to Lu Siya.
That was not a normal tattoo.
It was the emblem of a gang.
During the bloody age when zombies ran rampant, when law and order collapsed, and everything operated based on the law of the jungle, the survivors chose to protect themselves by forming organizations.
To seize precious water, food, energy, living space, and other resources, practically all the organizations that managed to survive had great fighting strength. They then used various means to ensure and strengthen the loyalty of their members.
That was how gangs came to be.
As the city developed, some of the gangs grew larger and more successful. Their leaders obtained a vast amount of resources and used them to unlock the shackles in their genes. They challenged the limits of their lives and became superhumans who could control spirit energy. Their heads also became clearer because of that, and they upgraded their gangs into various companies, industries, and organizations.
In the end, with Battle God Lei Zongchao as the witness, the nine great companies signed a contract of peace and created laws to restore Dragon City’s order. Thus began a brand new era.
And many of the middle-sized and small gangs either gradually merged with the mega corporations of the nine great companies or disappeared without a trace.
Now, it was hard to find the appearance of tattoos in more than 90% of the regions in Dragon City.
The surviving gangs were only able to maintain their last operations in the three lairs.
Sky Pillar Corporation began its business through the mining industry.
No matter when, those who could become rich through mining were not kind people.
Decades ago, Sky Pillar Corporation had risen to power by being the first to discover a crystal mine in Dragon City, so naturally, they had all sorts of connections to other gangs.
Even now, they supported quite a lot of gangs in the lairs. It was something normal for mega corporations.
Hence, the sturdy man with a gang tattoo on his arm was incredibly respectful to Lu Siya.
“I’ve already investigated things,” the man with the scorpion tattoo said. “The Jin Yongqiang you mentioned liked gambling at Black Blood Colosseum, which is located in the eastern region of Golden Tooth Colosseum. He has won and lost over the past few years as well as borrowed money from the finance companies over there.
“He had already returned all his debts when at the start of this year, he lost a lot and he borrowed a large sum from Fast Money. It’s one of those finance companies. The compound interest caused the debt he accumulated to reach sky high numbers.
“Fast Money has a pretty good relationship with Poison Scorpion, which is my gang. I’ve already notified them earlier. If we go there straight away, we should be able to get more detailed information.”
“Good.” Lu Siya nodded in satisfaction. “Lead the way!”
The scorpion tattooed man led the way.
Meng Chao and Lu Siya walked down the bumpy path. Golden Tooth Lair’s alleys were full of holes, and they needed to take a lot of twists and turns through chaotic electrical wiring.
The buildings to their sides were all illegal constructions. Perhaps they had only seven or eight floors in the beginning, but later, people had gone mad and turned them into buildings with twenty or even thirty floors. They were not straight and looked like they were about to knock into each other.
To make them sturdier, all sorts of things were added as if patching up a torn hole in a piece of cloth. There were steel girders and steel columns stuck in them diagonally. Quite a number of those steel columns were already crooked because of the buildings pressing down on them, and Meng Chao’s heart leapt to his throat when he saw it.
The further they went into Golden Tooth Lair, the better he could smell the scent unique to the lair.
It was the aroma from cooked venomous monster organs. It was mixed with low-quality perfume, the scent of sweat, the pungent scent of pheromones, the blood of monsters and humans, and the smell of photinia. It was a really strange scent.
Monster gambling was really popular here.
While on the way to the place, Meng Chao saw more than one hundred posters related to various underground colosseums.
There were also monitors hanging high above the exterior vertical planes of the buildings. They showed repeating videos of deformed and ugly mutated monsters tearing into each other and ripping out each other’s organs. They were so huge that they far surpassed the monsters found in the legal matches organized by the government.
A lot of youngsters who had nothing to do walked while swaying in the streets and alleys. Most of them had holographic technology strapped to their heads, which allowed them to watch the monster fights, as if they were at the arena. These were people who were rather poor and could not even buy the cheapest tickets. So, they could only use this method to satisfy their addiction.
There were quite a lot of people with tattoos on their bodies or faces. They watched Meng Chao and Lu Siya, who were newcomers in the place and did not fit into the place because of the air they gave off.
However, when they saw that the person leading them was a young man with a scorpion tattoo on his arm, they shrank back.
‘I didn’t expect that there would still be places like this in Dragon City.’
Meng Chao could not help but sigh. ‘Now that I compare this place to my area, I think I’m actually quite lucky. Blessed Heavenly Garden might be run down, but at the very least, the order there is pretty good. My neighbors have proper jobs, and all children receive compulsory education. Even though the education level is slightly inferior, it can satisfy their basic needs.
‘Of course, the continued existence of lairs comes from the government having no choice but to compromise. Once Dragon City has enough space and resources, the modification of lairs will definitely be pushed forward. Otherwise, these places will remain as ticking time bombs buried in Dragon City. When we face even stronger enemies, they will blast Dragon City’s future to pieces.’
After thinking about it, Meng Chao chose to focus and search the memories of his previous life for when the lairs would be taken apart by the government.
He felt as if something had stung his brain. He saw the image of a lair burning. Screams, chaos, and explosions were everywhere. Countless people fled out of the lair. Buildings collapsed. Smoke and dust filled the area. The out-of-control superhumans, who had been hiding deep in the lair, were like fiendish demons who had been unsealed. They charged into Dragon City.
Meng Chao cradled his chest and sucked in a deep breath to calm his racing heart.
The Dragon City of his previous life did not seem to have properly solved the problem of lairs.
And hence, it led to a great disaster that caused countless deaths.
It added a certain degree of uncertainty to the end of the Monster War.
It also resulted in the humankind paying an even more devastating price before it finally won the war. Even so, the funeral bell of the city rang out, signalling the apocalypse.
‘How could this be?
‘But it makes sense… Dragon City didn’t manage to win the northern offense in my previous life, so it didn’t have enough resources and space to solve the problem of lairs.
‘When the monsters with high intellect showed up, they just needed to head to the lairs, where there are a lot of people and the environment is really chaotic. It wasn’t difficult to cause chaos there.
‘Now, we already changed the end of the northern offense. We will now develop the northern frontlines, and it will provide a lot of jobs. This also means that the Survival Committee will get a continuous supply of money, which will allow them to set some aside and create a budget for the modification of the lairs. We should be able to prevent the disaster from repeating itself.’
As Meng Chao thought about it, the scorpion-tattooed man in front of him stopped.
They arrived at the entrance of a crooked, illegal building with more than ten floors. Through a narrow flight of stairs, they went underground.
Dim neon lights were twisted around to form the words for Fast Money.
The tattooed man went inside to negotiate.
“Aren’t you going to resume your strategy of throwing money at them?” Meng Chao whispered.
“Don’t need to,” Lu Siya whispered back at him. “The people here are all dogs who won’t ever be full. If you fork money out, they’ll think that you’re some dumb idiot with a lot of money. The guy who led us here is one of the leaders of a group within Poison Scorpion, and Poison Scorpion’s influence is second only to that of Golden Tooth in Golden Tooth Lair. Their word holds weight.”
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