Doomsday Wonderland Chapter 521
It was an overstatement to call that place a village.
After Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing came down from the mountains cautiously, they snuck into the village made of a few dilapidated houses under the guise of night.
Moonlight came down from the clear night sky dyeing everything in sight with a tinge of white. The serenity of the surroundings made them feel as if their narrow escape from the battling gods had happened centuries ago.
The 'houses' were basic wooden huts. Some of them had straw roofs while others didn't even have a roof. When they look into a house, they saw a bed covered with leaves. There were sporadic heaps of ashes near the entrance clearly left behind by previous man-made fires. The door and walls had already been stained black. The few pieces of wood and a saw on the floor hinted that the owner had abandoned them on impulse mid-way through his work.
Most of the houses were empty. However, when Lin Sanjiu reached the last two houses, she noticed a nearly imperceptible sound of breathing. She didn't even have to think twice about how she could find the source of that sound. She stood beside a house that had a hole in its wall instead of a window. She peeked in and quickly surveyed the house. She discovered a person— seemingly a man. He was tall and emaciated. He was lying on his side on a large slab of stone. There was even a piece of tattered, moth-eaten, burlap cloth draped over the stone.
Apart from the man and his stone bed, there was only one cup and a few pieces of wood in the run-down house. It was almost hard to imagine how that man could survive.
Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing exchanged glances and shook their heads. Since they found someone living in this village, they knew they could not stay. This world was too bizarre, so they had decided earlier that they would try their best to avoid others here.
Lin Sanjiu mouthed for her grand prize to follow and started walking away from the village. They had barely taken a few steps without making any sound when they heard a deep murmuring voice from the dilapidated house. They hastened their pace, but they were unexpectedly hindered. They stumbled over something like a fine thread. The sound of a small copper bell reverberated through the silence. A few startled birds disappeared into the night sky.
Ji Shanqing cursed inward and took a step back. He noticed a thread as fine as a strand of hair on the ground. The thread was tied to the door of the house and there was a copper bell hanging from it. Considering how fine it was, it was probably hard for even a deity to spot it in this darkness.
"Crap," Lin Sanjiu muttered however she wasn't really anxious. That tall man was the only person in this entire village. The situation was hardly threatening.
"Hey, who is it? Who's here?"
Just then, they heard these questions coming from the house behind them in a disoriented voice. Apparently, the man had been startled from his sleep and was still incoherent. He put on his clothes and dragged himself to the door. His footsteps rung out distinctively in the quiet night.
"Who are you? I thought my dad came home," the tall man stood at the entrance of the house. He had to lower his head because of the eaves. When the moonlight lit one side of his face, Lin Sanjiu observed that the man had a slow-witted look. His eyes were far apart and his nose was very flat. She had no idea whether those dull eyes of his were just because he had just woken up.
It seemed very obvious to her that that man was a so-called 'inhuman'. She had already seen that slow-witted appearance like his multiple times in the City of Ants. The only difference was that the inhumans which belonged to the Mother Goddess did not have fathers.
"We're just passing by," Lin Sanjiu answered curtly before turning to leave. "We're leaving now."
The tall man's eyes lit up suddenly, and he rushed toward them abruptly. He seemed to have poor control of his limbs as he stumbled toward them, "Wait! Wait! Don't go!"
"What?" the grand prize looked back.
"My father told me that I can't let anyone leave," When the man stood straight, Lin Sanjiu was only at his shoulders, "Yeah, um, no. My father said that I won't be able to survive if he isn't around. I'm just a dimwit, so my father told me to ask for help if I meet anyone," he uttered simple-mindedly.
He seemed ignorant of the fact that 'dimwit' wasn't a compliment.
"How can we help?" the grand prize asked, cocking his head. He seemed a little curious.
"What's wrong?" Lin Sanjiu asked fretfully.
"I tried to grow some vegetables behind the house, but they all died."
"Where is your father?" Lin Sanjiu wanted to leave as soon as possible. "Where did he go? Why don't you just wait for him to return?"
"He went to look for a God," the dimwit answered. Both Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing were stunned by his subsequent words.
"Our village had never received blessings from any God. Without a god, we can't even have proper meals. People either died or left… My father said that he had to go and look for a god. He said he'd look for a place that was blessed by a God and come back to retrieve me."
The two people listening to him exchanged glances. They saw a similar glimmer in each other's eyes.
"What do you mean by receiving blessings from a God?" Ji Shanqing asked prudently.
"I'm not sure," the dimwit answered truthfully. "I heard people from other places worship their Gods. Their Gods would also visit them often. However, there had never been a God in this village. They said that other Gods don't like to come to this lousy place."
"That's great!" Lin Sanjiu couldn't believe her luck. In this twisted world, a place that other Gods disliked visiting was simply a sanctuary that could only be provided by a stroke of fortune.
"Sis, we've been in the mountains for almost a whole afternoon. There certainly aren't any Gods around," Ji Shanqing whispered in Lin Sanjiu's ear. "Gods appear frequently in this world, but we haven't seen one in a while. I think there is some truth to what the dimwit is saying."
The dimwit blinked his wide-set eyes naively.
"Why don't the Gods come here?" Lin Sanjiu was still worried.
"I don't know," the dimwit sniffled, "Could you give me some food?"
"That's right, it is probably useless to ask him anything that's too complicated," Lin Sanjiu thought to herself. Both Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing considered the situation for some time without saying a word. After a few seconds, Ji Shanqing suddenly asked, "Bring me to your vegetable garden."
When the man turned and left, Ji Shanqing whispered to Lin Sanjiu, "Let's go take a look. We can judge if he's telling the truth."
After all, a patch of dead vegetables was something that they could verify. Eventually, what the tall bloke said was proven. The man's father visibly spent some effort on the garden. Besides staple foods like potatoes and carrots, there were also some coriander and chilies in the garden. His father probably grew that to add some flavoring to his son's meal. Unfortunately, all the vegetables were dead. Blackish-green dead sprouts sprawled across the soil. They had all dried up.
"They're dead," the tall bloke emphasized while sniffling as if he was afraid that they would not believe him, "They're inedible. Do you have any food?"
Lin Sanjiu looked at Ji Shanqing and placed her hand behind her back.
"I have some food here," Lin Sanjiu lightened her tone, "How about this? Let us rest in that house, and I will give you some bread every day."
"What is bread?" the dimwit's widened eyes shifted between the two people in front of him dubiously, "You don't even have any baggage. "
When Lin Sanjiu took her hand out from behind her back, there was already an oily paper bag in her hand. She had bought the bread in her hand when she was in Red Nautilus. The bread was a very popular ration in the Free District of Red Nautilus. The reddish-brown bread was flat and hard and each paper bag had about a dozen slices. To eat it, you had to tear a piece of bread and dip it into wine, milk or water. After mixing, the bread would quickly dissolve into a paste. As it slides down your throat, a delicious cinnamon taste with a salty aftertaste will fill your mouth.
After she demonstrated how to eat the bread, the dimwit wolfed down a large cup of bread paste greedily. After that, the man's attitude towards the two of them improved significantly. He called them good people while he took the initiative to clear out a room for them. He even insisted that they take and use the only hardened and tattered bedsheet he had. Ji Shanqing turned pale and finally stopped him after rejecting him several times.
Even though the village was small, they were pleased to find a small stream behind the village.
Both of them smelled horrendous especially after Puella spat on them. They were also covered in perspiration and frost. As the grand prize could not take off his clothes to bathe, he could only watch enviously as Lin Sanjiu entered the water. The stream was very cold at night, so she shivered and goosebumps covered her skin the moment she stepped into the water.
Once she acclimatized to the water's temperature, she dived into the stream and immediately washed away the dirt, saliva, and sweat on her body.
Ji Shanqing laid on his stomach by the stream. He washed his long hair, his hands, and his face. In the end, he urged Lin Sanjiu to help him. After Lin Sanjiu took off his layers of clothes until he was left with the last piece which was a white garment. After his eyes went black for five minutes, Ji Shanqing woke up and was satisfied to find himself clothed in new clothes.
They had only been in Salvation of God for two days however they had already been through quite a few near-death encounters. Now that she could relax, she suddenly felt all the other needs she had been ignoring because of her stress. Hunger might not affect the grand prize, but Lin Sanjiu was famished. She called for the dimwit that she set up a fire and cooked dinner in front of their run-down house.
After her experience in Meat Elysium, Lin Sanjiu had almost forgotten how food tasted. She could finally use the large sacks of foods she had prepared when she was in Red Nautilus. The tall bloke's face was lit by the light from the flames as he sat by the fire. He watched blankly as Lin Sanjiu took out different sacks one after the other. He had never seen a sack before.
The first sack was filled with walnuts, peanuts, cashew, and various dried fruits. Just looking at the full sack could fill a person with a sense of satisfaction. Lin Sanjiu opened the sack and poured the nut mix into the pot on the fire. Then, she sprinkled some sugar and a little salt. When the cream in the pot started bubbling, a tantalizing, saliva-inducing milky fragrance quickly filled the air.
Ji Shanqing was exceptionally useful when it came to matters about their meals. He took a big box of frozen beef slices— at least what the seller claimed to beef— and seasoned them with various spices and sauce. Lin Sanjiu only planned to eat them with pepper. He roasted the beef over the fire for a while. As the box was specifically made for this purpose. Soon, an appetizing fragrant exuded from the meat on the small rack in the box. The meat was so tender that it bounced between their teeth and filled their mouths with savory meaty juices.
Additionally, Lin Sanjiu also had some instant noodles from an unknown world. Lin Sanjiu could not recognize any word on its packaging. After looking at the photos on the packaging and making some comparisons, they finally took out three bowls of black sauce noodles. When red oil bubbles floated to the top of the thick black pepper sauce, the dimwit almost wanted to cry.
While each of them buried their heads and concentrated on eating without sparing any time to talk, Lin Sanjiu took out three bottles of orange juice. When she bought them, the seller had placed them in an ice pile. She turned the bottles of juice into her cards the moment she held them. When she converted them back to their original form, there were still drops of condensation on the bottle. She could still feel the coolness on the surface of the bottle.
Lin Sanjiu gulped down half a bottle of that cool, refreshing orange juice and wiped her mouth. For a moment, she never felt happier. That night, fed and satisfied, they lay beside the bonfire and slept under the star-speckled sky.