Chapter 68.1 Savage expansion (1)
Although unable to change the bank account balance, it had other enticing things to say. After considering it for a moment, Lin Zhaohe agreed to its relocation request. The AI was overjoyed and said, “I knew you wanted to change your bank account balance, but you’re still considered a good person.”
Lin Zhaohe said, “You could really be more confident, just remove the ‘considered’ part.”
Therefore, after bidding farewell to Miss Ghost, Lin Zhaohe’s humble home welcomed a new tenant, a kind and gentle little AI named Dou Dou. The above name came from the AI itself, and Lin Zhaohe took no responsibility for it. However, Lin Zhaohe couldn’t help but think that the name Dou Dou sounded like the most common type of teddy bear in the park.
After returning, Zhuang Lao generously gave Lin Zhaohe a few days off.
Lin Zhaohe lay at home, flipping through his old novels, thinking how capable he had been back then to dare write such things. Fortunately, no one had ever read them. If he had more fans, he might have destroyed the world several times over.
He had planned to sleep a little longer, but there was a noisy commotion coming from upstairs, sounding like some sort of renovation. Lin Zhaohe climbed up the stairs and asked what Gu Xuyu was up to, but it was Gu Jueyu who opened the door. He was wearing a pink shirt, with a flirtatious air about him, and apologized, thinking Lin Zhaohe was still away on a business trip. He asked them to keep their voices down.
Lin Zhaohe: “Them? Did you get new visitors at your place?”
Gu Jueyu: “Not visitors, more like new enemies.”
Lin Zhaohe: “What’s happening?”
Gu Jueyu opened the door a bit wider, allowing Lin Zhaohe to see inside the room. After getting a clear view of the living room, Lin Zhaohe’s eyes widened in surprise. “What… is going on here?”
In the modest-sized living room, four men stood, all of them with buzz cuts, dressed in short-sleeved shirts and shorts. They stood upright with their hands behind their backs.
Gu Jueyu said, “They are undergoing military training.” He turned back, and his gentle expression instantly transformed. He spoke coldly, “Why did you stop the tasks I assigned you just now? Who allowed you to pause?” The intensity in his demeanor and tone carried a hint of Gu Xuyu’s presence, Lin Zhaohe noticed.
The four men were already acquainted, and with a hint of resignation, they began performing squats. It was clear that Gu Jueyu had been putting them through their paces for a while, and they had become accustomed to it.
“All you think about is lovey-dovey stuff,” Gu Jueyu sternly remarked. “As cultivators, we should defy the odds and strive to build something great. How can we let ourselves be swayed by love and emotions?”
Lin Zhaohe remained speechless. They couldn’t help but feel as if he had accidentally switched from a soap opera channel to a military channel on TV.
“Where is Gu Xuyu?” Lin Zhaohe couldn’t help but ask.
“He went out to buy groceries,” Gu Jueyu replied. “These days, apart from gaming, the only time he goes out for a stroll is when he goes grocery shopping. He’s like an old man, even more of a homebody than me.”
Just as Gu Jueyu referred to him as an old man, Gu Xuyu returned. He carried a vegetable basket in his left hand and held a dog’s leash in his right hand. As he stepped off the elevator and saw Lin Zhaohe, he nodded slightly in greeting. The dog was quite cute, a small, furry creature. But there was something oddly familiar about its ears. Lin Zhaohe couldn’t help but adjust his own hat, pressing it down.
Lin Zhaohe asked about the dog and learned that Gu Xuyu found it at the market. Gu Xuyu had named it… Dou Dou.
Upon hearing the name, Lin Zhaohe almost choked on their own saliva.
“Why name it Dou Dou?” Lin Zhaohe said with a wry smile.
“I don’t know,” Gu Xuyu replied. “It was the suggestion of the vegetable seller. She said a cheap name is easier to take care of.”
Lin Zhaohe: “……”
The people in the house resumed their military training. Lin Zhaohe cast a sympathetic glance at them, but there were quite a few people deserving of sympathy, including himself. For example, the company’s accountant called him, asking what was going on. The reimbursement claims were becoming increasingly bizarre. While it was understandable that they cut up someone’s yacht before, this time the reimbursement included powdered sheep milk specifically for the dog. They questioned the connection between the dog and the company. Did the company own pets?
Faced with the assertive accountant, Lin Zhaohe tearfully said, “It’s the boss who owns it.”
“Ah? The boss owns it?” the accountant said. “But I’ve never seen the boss bring it here.”
Lin Zhaohe: “It’s possible they’ve arrived, but you wouldn’t recognize them.”
Lin Zhaohe: “You should ask the boss. I can’t explain it clearly either.”
The accountant didn’t dare to ask the boss. After confirming that the dog did indeed belong to the boss, she stopped causing trouble and commented on how caring and fond of animals the boss was. She even suggested that Lin Zhaohe should consider getting a pet too.
Lin Zhaohe wanted to say, “Have you ever considered that I am that little animal?”
As the little animal, Lin Zhaohe now had more important matters to investigate. AI Dou Dou had informed them about the disappearance of the Fusion Zone, and it had piqued his interest. He searched online for information about the disappearance of Fusion Zones and came to a rather disheartening conclusion.
It was true that Fusion Zones could disappear if the core objects within them were destroyed, but such actions were meaningless.
Firstly, the core objects were extremely difficult to identify, and secondly, fusion continued to occur. Even if the previous ones disappeared, new Fusion Zones would continue to emerge. It was similar to the Fusion Zone in “Code G,” where the series “Code G” vanished, only to be replaced by other series. The original forest park underwent some changes as well.
Therefore, people had become accustomed to such phenomena. They went from being numb at the beginning to a state of indifference.
The world was already in a terrible state, and just when you thought it might improve, it became even worse.
During the few days of vacation, Lin Zhaohe enjoyed a comfortable rest at home. However, the news on TV always had a tense atmosphere. At first, Lin Zhaohe didn’t pay much attention, thinking it was another Fusion Zone appearing somewhere. But one day, while eating freshly fried fish bites from Little Red Square, he suddenly recognized a familiar scene in the news. He hesitated and said, “This place… Why does it look so much like the entrance of our company?”
Little Red Square spoke with its loud voice, “It’s not just similar, Brother Lin, it is your company’s entrance.”
Lin Zhaohe: “????”
Little Red Square: “It’s been several days already. I thought you were planning to change jobs, Brother Lin.”
Lin Zhaohe almost burst into tears, thinking about how his expense reimbursement hadn’t arrived yet, so how could he dare to change jobs? After careful inquiry, he learned that the Fusion Zone in Min’an Street had lost control and was expanding at an alarming rate. Within a short span of ten days, the previously low-risk area of the Fusion Zone had become highly dangerous, with an imminent threat of reaching Level S.
The surrounding residents who could run had already fled, leaving behind those who couldn’t escape or were reluctant to leave their homes.
As for people like Lin Zhaohe, who stayed home every day without bothering to keep up with the news, he had no awareness of what was happening. Of course, there might be a few individuals in the same situation.
“What should I do now? The boss didn’t even mention anything to me,” Lin Zhaohe, with tears welling up, approached his colleague Qi Ming and asked, “Is the boss planning to run away too?”
“Run away? Why would he?” Qi Ming questioned, confused. “Isn’t the company operating as usual today?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Still operating? But according to the news, the Fusion Zone is approaching the company’s entrance.”
Qi Ming: “It’s just a Fusion Zone. It’s not the end of the world.”
Lin Zhaohe: “…”
Qi Ming: “Is your vacation ending tomorrow? Remember to come to work on time.”
After finishing the call, leaving Lin Zhaohe sitting there in a daze, he wondered whether it was him or everyone else who was abnormal. Damn it, the Earth wasn’t exploding, so there was definitely no time off.
On the eve of doomsday, Lin Zhaohe decided to go to work as usual.
Upon leaving the apartment, the surrounding environment wasn’t as terrible as expected. The trees seemed denser, and even the air felt fresher than usual. Lin Zhaohe thought, perhaps this was one of the perks of not having to work—feeling refreshed and invigorated…
Upon arriving at the company, the receptionist Xiao Ci was diligently recording visitor information. When Xiao Ci saw Lin Zhaohe and greeted him warmly, “Brother Lin, haven’t seen you in days. Did you go somewhere to make a fortune?”
Lin Zhaohe adjusted his hat and replied, “Where else can I make a fortune? I haven’t received a raise in half a month. I can’t keep up with the inflation rate.”
Xiao Ci burst into laughter and said, “Brother Lin, you’re quite the joker. Who doesn’t know that you have the highest salary in the company?”
Inside the office, Lin Zhaohe saw everyone working in an orderly manner. Zhang Xiaoxiao noticed Lin Zhaohe’s arrival and approached them with a newspaper. “Brother Lin, take a look, the Fusion Zone is expanding again. It looks familiar, doesn’t it?”
Lin Zhaohe patted Zhang Xiaoxiao’s shoulder and said, “Go outside and take a look. Does the picture in this newspaper resemble our company’s entrance?”
Zhang Xiaoxiao: “……” He fell silent for three seconds, tears welling up in his eyes, choking on his words, “I worked so hard to find this job…”
Lin Zhaohe: “Life is full of ups and downs.”
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