Plane Supermarket Plane 1: Da Liang Dynasty C26
The night was exceptionally dark as Zou Ming took a shower in the bathroom. Fine streams of water rained down from the showerhead, cascading over his body. He brushed his black hair back, revealing numerous scars on his chest and back.
One particularly hideous wound was on his right shoulder, as though someone had once tried to split him in two with all their might.
Zou Ming turned off the water, dried the remaining droplets on his body, wrapped a towel around his waist, and stepped out of the shower. He walked up to the mirror.
Gazing at the scar on his shoulder in the mirror, he raised his left hand slightly and gently touched it.
In the split second his fingers brushed the wound, he seemed to remember something, and a faint smile curved his tightly pursed lips.
Zou Ming changed into his pajamas and opened the bathroom door. When he looked up, he saw Ye Zhou already fast asleep on the bed.
Ye Zhou had spent too much time selecting weapons in the evening and was so tired he directly fell asleep after.
Zou Ming stopped by Ye Zhou’s bed and lowered his head to look at the innocent face.
Without undergoing the baptism of blood and fire, without experiencing the intricacies of conspiracy and deception, Ye Zhou still didn’t have the courage to kill.
How does one who has lived a peaceful life, someone who has been raised from childhood to uphold the law and punish criminals, arrive at the point where they can say, “If he must be killed, then it can only be me who does it,” with such words?
Zou Ming stared at him, tracing the contours of his face with his gaze.
He had forgotten when he had first killed someone. It seemed like he was six years old, and yet it also felt like a lifetime ago.
The base always felt like it was shrouded in darkness. It was both a fortress and a prison. Those at the bottom lived worse than slaves, while those at the top indulged in even more decadent luxuries than before the apocalypse.
But he remembered that he had never hesitated, nor had he ever struggled with the pain of his actions.
It was a simple choice. Either they die or he does. It was a choice that was righteous and unquestionable.
If it weren’t for…
Zou Ming withdrew his gaze, and his steps were nearly soundless, so light that he made no noise, except for a faint “creak” when he opened the door.
Inside the room, Ye Zhou turned over, still fast asleep.
Zou Ming then pushed the door handle down and closed the door.
He walked to the entrance of the room filled with Sun Hao’s belongings. Sarah, who had just come out of the warehouse, stood face to face with him. After contemplating for a couple of seconds, she yawned and said, “You go ahead. I’ll continue sleeping.”
She now preferred sleeping with Cao Er instead of sleeping alone in her own coffin.
Zou Ming didn’t respond, and Sarah didn’t wait for his response.
After Sarah left, Zou Ming finally opened the door to the room filled with Sun Hao’s belongings.
In the pitch-black room filled with belongings, Sun Hao didn’t know when he had found himself there. He sat on the floor, hugging his knees, as if it brought him some sense of security. When he saw light seeping in through the door crack, Sun Hao’s numb eyes transformed into excitement.
“Immortal! Immortal!” Sun Hao hoarsely shouted, “I really know I was wrong. I really repent!”
Zou Ming switched on the light in the room and closed the door behind him.
He also sealed Sun Hao’s last hope.
In his dreams, Ye Zhou suddenly felt like he was falling, a sensation of weightlessness that aroused him from his sleep.
He covered his head with the blanket and went back to sleep.
Just as he was about to fall asleep, a sudden burst of light from the door caught Ye Zhou’s attention. He groggily sat up, squinting his eyes. There he saw Zou Ming, clad in nothing but pajama pants, with the sleeves of his robe draped over his arms.
Zou Ming faced the light, leaving only his silhouette visible to Ye Zhou.
“Where did you go?” Ye Zhou yawned. “Did you go to the restroom?”
“I went to the storage room,” Zou Ming replied without hesitation.
Ye Zhou, who had been drowsy a moment ago, suddenly sat upright. He sat cross-legged on the bed, extended his arm, and turned on the light in the room. Now, he could finally see Zou Ming’s face and the various scars of all sizes that had healed on his body.
The question Ye Zhou had just thought of got stuck in his throat, and he asked hoarsely, “Is that a gunshot wound on your left side?”
Zou Ming replied nonchalantly, “It’s from a wound I got a few years ago.”
He sat on the edge of his own bed and realized that Ye Zhou had been staring at his face. This made him aware of something. He reached out and wiped away a drop of blood from his cheek, leaving a faint reddish mark.
“They’re not far from us. They’re in this mountain too,” Zou Ming said. “They’ve been watching us all along.”
Ye Zhou couldn’t hide his surprise. “I’ve scouted all around. If someone were moving, I wouldn’t have missed it.”
Zou Ming explained, “Our position is on the mountainside, while they’re on the mountaintop. They’ve destroyed the path leading up the mountain, and there’s only a small trail left. It’s not your fault for not noticing.”
He responded in a calm tone, “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have known either.”
“So… are we going to remain under their watchful eyes?” Ye Zhou’s gaze sharpened for a moment, and fear made him more alert. “No, if they stay quite distant from us, we don’t need to confront them.”
Ye Zhou looked into Zou Ming’s eyes. “Two tigers can’t live on the same mountain.”
Although he felt he had little in common with bandits, he had to be the strongest within this area to ensure their safety. As the owner of a supermarket, there was no way he could maintain friendly relations with a group of cannibalistic bandits.
Zou Ming added, “They didn’t dare to make any bold moves before, but this time they’ve depleted their supplies, and there are hardly any people left around here. That’s why they attacked Sarah and the others.”
“If they succeed, the next step will be here.”
Zou Ming stated calmly. “I won’t be able to hold them back alone.”
The employees hired from the local area by Ye Zhou couldn’t be considered combat-ready, and he couldn’t even include himself in that count. Ye Zhou clenched his teeth. “The problem now is that Wu Yan and his team have returned, but our weapons are still limited. If I provide them with firearms…”
The current situation at the supermarket was too complicated, and it wouldn’t be in his favor.
Zou Ming looked at Ye Zhou. “You’ll figure something out.”
Ye Zhou frowned. He hesitated for a moment and said with a bitter smile, “You have quite a bit of faith in me.”
Zou Ming lowered his gaze and replied, “You’ll get used to it.”
Ye Zhou mumbled, “Will I? Maybe.”
He didn’t know when he could return home, but it seemed like he would always have to search for hope on the edge of a knife.
All his employees held a great confidence in him, believing he was capable of anything and all-knowing. But Ye Zhou was acutely aware that he was just an ordinary human being. Throughout his life, he hadn’t even killed a chicken, let alone taken someone’s life.
Ye Zhou sighed and said, “Tomorrow, the handguns I bought should arrive. I got two of them and spent all my money.”
He sighed deeply and added, “Why am I so unlucky?”
He wondered, “There are so many people in the world who own supermarkets. Why did I end up here?”
Suddenly, Ye Zhou remembered something, “Sun Hao isn’t dead, is he?”
Judging by Zou Ming’s demeanor, he didn’t seem like someone who would hesitate.
Zou Ming stated, “Not yet dead.”
Ye Zhou was about to let out a sigh of relief when Zou Ming added, “But it’s almost there.”
Ye Zhou choked on his own saliva and coughed violently. Zou Ming immediately stood up and moved to Ye Zhou’s side, patting his back. His tone was somewhat stiff as he said, “I won’t hold back.”
This wasn’t a bluff. Ye Zhou could sense Zou Ming’s intent. He genuinely didn’t know how to hold back.
Ye Zhou waved his hand and said, “I’ll go check on him.”
He stood up while Zou Ming followed suit. Ye Zhou looked at him, and Zou Ming said confidently, “I’m staying with you.”
“I’m not that much of a coward,” Ye Zhou sighed in resignation and went to get the first-aid kit. “For now, it’s better to keep him. We’ll need him for directions when we head up the mountain, and we can only draw the map with his help.”
Zou Ming’s brows furrowed slightly, as if he regretted something.
If he had known, he should have sent Sarah instead. She had a lighter touch than him.
Unfortunately, Ye Zhou didn’t know what he was thinking, and he couldn’t be certain he’d say it. If Sarah had gone, the room would now be a corpse.
Sarah’s touch was light, but she was a vampire!
What if she sucked him dry?
Moreover, Sarah had killed to protect Wu Yan and the others last time. And even though the employees were scared, they wouldn’t see Sarah as an adversary.
But if Sarah were to feed on a nonthreatening, living person in the supermarket, from Wu Yan’s perspective, that would be a whole different story.
No matter what, Sun Hao was still a human being, an unarmed defenseless one at that.
Zou Ming took the first aid kit from Ye Zhou. Without saying much, he walked straight into the storage room.
Ye Zhou looked at his empty hands and thought that, despite Zou Ming’s seemingly cold demeanor, he had a good eye for things.
Even though his supermarket hadn’t officially opened yet, and he hadn’t experienced the feeling of employees flattering him, Ye Zhou figured this must be what it felt like to be buttered up.
Standing at the entrance of the storage room, Ye Zhou took a deep breath . After injecting himself with chicken soup against fear, he extended his hand to open the door.
“Don’t be afraid,” Zou Ming said the moment Ye Zhou pulled the door open.
But Ye Zhou had already glimpsed the scene inside the storage room—
A man lay sprawled on the floor, his limbs twisted behind him in an eerie fashion, two fingers lay scattered nearby, along with a few teeth. His head was so swollen that it was hardly recognizable as human. More than a man, he looked like a demon from a horror story.
He seemed dead, but his body still twitched.
The sight was enough to make one feel that living was the real torment for him, and only death could bring him peace and release.
Ye Zhou examined Sun Hao’s face, that face with a sly expression. It was now a patchwork of bruises, especially around the mouth, which was extremely swollen. He can’t help but turn stiffly to look at Zou Ming.
Ye Zhou had known that Zou Ming was an expert at extracting information through severe methods, but he didn’t expect Zou Ming’s methods to be this brutal.
Zou Ming said, “I’ve told you about the environment I grew up in. This is the only method I know for questioning people. It’s also something I don’t enjoy.”
For some reason, Ye Zhou detected a hint of resentment in Zou Ming’s calm tone.
Ye Zhou replied, “I’m not blaming you. It’s just that the scene was quite shocking to me.” He continued, “Can his limbs be reattached, or are they permanently severed?”
Zou Ming knelt beside Sun Hao, looked up at Ye Zhou, and said, “They can be reattached, but he’ll need to rest and avoid moving for the next few days.”
Ye Zhou breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Not being able to move isn’t a problem, as long as he can still speak.”
Zou Ming abruptly replied, “I didn’t cut his tongue.”
After his statement, he glanced at Ye Zhou without leaving a trace.
Ye Zhou: “…”
What’s this? Should I praise you for being so meticulous?
Ye Zhou could only dryly reply, “You secure his limbs, and I’ll give him some medicine.”
He couldn’t help but feel that Sun Hao’s vitality was really tenacious.
In the pitch-black cave, tattered flags hung on all sides, bearing the word “Zhao” written in blood.
A foul stench pervaded the cave, and a dozen or so men were gathered inside. On the top of the stone steps in the center, there was a high chair adorned with an entire tiger skin.
“Dawang 1! There’s a demon!” The man kneeling in the middle of the cave was completely overwhelmed. His entire body trembled, and it seemed he had forgotten how to even position his own limbs. He stammered, “She, she took out Wang Yong’s heart!”
The person on the tiger-skin chair stood up. “Demon? Who?”
The man said, “It’s, it’s that girl with the appearance of Hu ren!”
The bandits around took a deep breath in surprise.
“Are you sure you’re not mistaken?” The ‘Dawang’ frowned. “There are no such things as ghosts or gods in this world! You’re scaring yourself!”
The man continued, “Not just me, but also him. They all saw it!”
“Her nails can grow this long…” The man gestured, dumbfounded by the length. “Like they pierced through tofu, pierced through Wang Yong’s back…”
The man stammered, “Th-that strange house, it must be a demon’s lair!”
The ‘Dawang’ sneered, “Have you ever seen a demon that captures mortals and lets them do things?”
“A demon? So what if it’s a demon? Can’t demons die too?” The ‘Dawang’ suddenly shouted, “With the protection of Buddha, and my indestructible body, I’ll kill any demon or monster that comes our way!”
“You’ve all eaten two-legged lamb meat, why are you scared now?!”
The ‘Dawang’ continued, “I fear neither gods nor demons, much less demons. Only by taking the mountain and occupying that demon’s lair can you all survive!”
One man slumped on the ground and said, “Dawang… I won’t go. It’s a demon, Dawang! I won’t go…”
The ‘Dawang’ left his tiger-skin chair, descended the stone steps, and approached the man. He raised his longsword, and shouted, “You’re shaking everyone’s morale, I will kill you!”
With a single stroke, he pierced through the man’s chest.
The room fell into silence. ‘Dawang’ turned to his lackeys and ordered, “Take him away.”
The lackeys stood with their hands on their waists, cautiously approaching, and exerted all their strength to drag the man away, leaving a trail of blood on the ground.
‘Dawang’ returned to his rightful “throne” and addressed all his confidants, “We can’t wait any longer. We must take it within three days. Now, we can’t find a living soul within a five-mile radius. If we continue like this, our brothers will either starve to death or die in conflict. We broke the taboo earlier…”
He had allowed cannibalism before, but once food became scarce, they would start eyeing those around them.
What about their brothers with good relationships? Could they bear to kill them? What about those with bad relationships? What about those they barely knew?
In the end, even he, this “Dawang,” couldn’t escape.
He was also a human being and was also afraid of death. He also regretted not bringing people with him to the south at that time.
But at this point, it was beyond his control.
The loyal ones hesitated. “Dawang, that’s still a demon’s lair…”
“If we make a mistake, we’ll all pay for it.”
‘Dawang’ stood up in a fit of rage. “Enough talking! Do you think you can stay alive if you don’t go? We’re just a little over four hundred brothers. Even if we eat one a day, how long do you think we can hold out?”
Their thoughts struck a chord, and they all lowered their heads, silent.
Living one more day was a day gained, and they hadn’t been thinking so long-term. But now that ‘Dawang’ had brought it up, the idea of self-destruction certainly didn’t seem like a feasible path.
The ‘Dawang’ argued, “Didn’t that demon only kill one person? If she’s truly powerful, not a single one of them will make it back!”
“Don’t panic as soon as you hear about ‘demons.’ Besides, Wang Yong and the others have never seen Hu ren. If the Hu ren use any kind of illusion, they might mistake it for magic, but that’s not unusual.”
“Being suspicious of the enemy before the battle means we’re already unsure of the outcome, whether we can win or not.” The ‘Dawang’ widened his eyes, his extremely stern face made his words all the more powerful.
“Since the ‘Dawang’ has spoken, us brothers will certainly go!”
“Exactly! No matter what kind of demon it is, if it stands in our way, it must die!”
“Such a big house, there’s probably a lot of food inside, and there might even be women!”
They laughed, “I haven’t seen a woman in a long time.”
“That little brat from before was quite nice. But she didn’t behave, bit the ‘Dawang,’ and had to be used as a lamb.”
“That woman seemed easy. I see there are many women in that house who have already had children. We can have them serve ‘Dawang’ well, maybe even give him a few sons.”
The ‘Dawang’ had no interest in sons. He had married and had children long ago, so he had no interest in the village girl’s children.
But he did have an interest in women. “We keep the women and not a single man can stay. As for the children, we can keep them. When they grow up, they’ll be the most loyal.”
As long as they thought about what they might gain from seizing that strange house, they could forget all fear, forgetting that it was a demon’s lair.
“What’s a demon anyway? If demons were that powerful, why don’t we see them often?”
“Exactly! We’ve dared to rebel against the imperial court, why be afraid of a few little demons?!”
Finally, a hint of a smile appeared on the ‘Dawang’s’ face. “It’s great that you think this way. Let those who shouldn’t speak keep their mouths shut, so the other brothers don’t find out there are demons in there.”
The loyal ones exchanged a knowing look. “We might as well have a good meal before we fight.”
“You’ve got your handgun, and I’ve got these two.” Ye Zhou stood outside the supermarket, holding two guns and said somewhat strangely, “Normally, the system delivers things to me the next day. Why did they send the guns tonight?”
“Is it because guns are more expensive?”
Zou Ming replied, “You can distribute the handguns as you see fit. I have my machine gun, which should be enough.”
Ye Zhou didn’t object. After all, machine guns required a place to set up and keep a distance from the enemy. Once they created that distance, the handguns wouldn’t be as useful.
“They have over four hundred people…” Ye Zhou had never been this worried before. Even with firearms, the numerical advantage of the enemy was overwhelming. They absolutely have no chance if they engage in close combat.
For this trip up the mountain, he had to bring everyone who could use a repeating crossbow.
The best plan Ye Zhou could come up with was to strike first.
Catch the enemy off guard and make their hearts tremble in fear.
It would be best to kill some, let some escape. That way, the pressure on them would be reduced, and those who were scared off wouldn’t dare return. Even if they wanted to return, the harsh environment here couldn’t support their actions.
“It’s still a matter of money,” Ye Zhou rubbed his head and said irritatedly. “If I had tens of thousands more, I could buy a couple of hand grenades. Even just two would be enough to scare them off.”
He had once been proud of the money he earned, but now he realized that his earnings were nowhere near enough to guarantee his safety.
“Nothing will happen,” Zou Ming reassured in a soft voice.
Ye Zhou noticed that Zou Ming had a peculiar kind of confidence in him. That confidence wasn’t flattery. It was Zou Ming’s genuine belief that he could overcome the challenges, even more than Ye Zhou himself.
“Tomorrow, we’ll have Sun Hao find the way,” Ye Zhou rubbed his head once again.
When Ye Zhou was agitated, he tended to do this. He needed to move his hands, but he was wary of touching his face. Since, his hands might not be clean. So, he could only mess up his hair instead.
Zou Ming watched Ye Zhou’s disheveled hair and moved his fingertips.
Ye Zhou said, “I’ll give Sarah a gun.”
Zou Ming’s tone was cold. “She doesn’t need one. She doesn’t know how to use a gun, and she can’t aim.”
Ye Zhou widened his eyes. “She’s not an iron wall. She can get hurt and die in hand-to-hand combat, right?”
“Her healing speed is incredibly fast. As long as she isn’t injured by silver, she can regenerate endlessly, be it flesh or bone.”
“But it still hurts.”
Zou Ming paused, then suddenly smiled. “You’re right, it does hurt.”
Ye Zhou stared at Zou Ming’s rare smile in confusion. He had no idea what Zou Ming found amusing. Was it because of the generation gap between them? But aren’t they the same age?
Maybe it was due to their different upbringing environments?
Ye Zhou can only say, “Next time we run into something like this, can you please let me know before you act?” He continued in a hushed tone, “I know it’s not your fault we went to find Sun Hao. We wouldn’t have known those people were on the mountain or how to get there. But I want to be informed. After all, I’m the employer, right?”
Zou Ming slightly tilted his head. He gazed at Ye Zhou’s serious face, and for a brief moment, his eyes seemed to lose focus. Then, he quickly replied, “I’ll remember.”
Ye Zhou sighed in relief, patting Zou Ming on the shoulder. “I’ll go get some food, and we can eat and talk. I can’t sleep right now, anyway.” Then, he quietly retrieved four sausages and a self-heating hotpot, along with two bottles of cola and some spicy snacks, before returning to the lounge area.
“This is what I’m thinking. Once we find the way, we should go check out the situation first without being detected,” Ye Zhou said. “But we need to bring everything and not split up. If we’re discovered, we should immediately fight back.”
“Otherwise, if we go in separately, as long as one of us is captured, we’re done for.”
If the other side had hostages, their concerns would multiply.
Ye Zhou wasn’t a real deity. He couldn’t just wave his hand and rescue people.
Ye Zhou opened the lid of the self-heating hotpot, sniffed the aroma, and picked a piece of fatty pork belly for Zou Ming before taking some bean curd skin for himself. He exhaled hot air as he struggled to swallow it and then said, “Catch the ringleader first, and once we kill their leader, they should disband.”
“Regardless of what history and military strategy say, that’s how it’s written,” Zou Ming replied. “Let’s give it a try. If it doesn’t work, we’ll just have to resort to ‘kill or be killed’.”
Ye Zhou chuckled wryly. “I never thought I’d have the word ‘kill’ on my lips one day.”
He considered himself a decent person, maybe not quite a good person, but definitely not a bad one.
The worst thing he had ever done in his life was probably breaking the lampshade at home and not admitting it. He hadn’t even hit a person. And now, he was about to go and kill someone.
Ye Zhou took a sip of cola, trying to imitate the spirit of alcohol. “If I hold you back, you can beat me up.”
Zou Ming opened his mouth but didn’t say a word.
How could he bear to…
This was quite long ૮₍ ˃ ⤙ ˂ ₎ა Also
ZM being eye candy What do you all think abt ZM?
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- 大王 Dàwáng: king / magnate / person having expert skill in something