Chapter 15: New Companions

Bzzzz—–Boom!

Rows after rows of treelike plants fell to the ground with a loud bang as our logging machines tore through their trunks. On the other hand, the shrubs and vines were cleared by hand with our harvesting tools.

Bit by bit, the forested area was transformed into level ground. After the plant life were cleared out, it was time for the terraforming machines to do their magic. With a giant metal hammer in hand, the machines pounded the uneven ground into submission.

At the edges of this work zone were the uniformed personnel. The soldiers formed a one man deep defensive perimeter and vigilantly guarded against any potential intruder.

Soon, the wild scenery of the jungle was replaced by a conspicuous man-made passage.

As for us, a foreman-like soldier was assigned to supervise us. We were to separate the stone rubble from the wood and then process the stone into a smaller size stipulated by the expedition.

These small stones were then carted to the flattened road to be reintroduced as paving for a stone road.

Another team would then fill in the gaps between the stones with a molten material that seemed to resemble asphalt but did not possess its signature smell or color.

It was in this manner that our expedition slowly paved the way into the distance.

For the majority of the day, I was preoccupied with smashing and moving the rocks. It was menial physical labor, without a shred of skill required. Naturally, this was also one of the lowest paying jobs.

I bet if I could operate those giant machinery, my pay would rise as well. Kinda reminds me of the rules in a modern construction company.

However, the machines in question were far from modern. They looked like those antiques from the 19th century; bulky and dangerous. I wouldn’t be surprised if one them blew up right now.

Meh, I’ll think about it when the time comes. There’s no point in rushing it.

Amidst the usual sounds of people lazing off or boasting about their past accomplishments, night fell.

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After a long day of work, my clothes were drenched in sweat. However, work wasn’t the reason why my clothes were drenched. Instead, the scorching sun was the main culprit.

As expected, even such a strenuous day of work barely took a toll on my stamina.

Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that such work was hardly strenuous at all. The rocks were so light, I couldn’t differentiate between the weights of the different rocks.

This was definitely one of those unintended “side-effects” of that ability wish. That anti-death wish must’ve strengthened my body in order to achieve that goal; resulting in an increase in my strength and endurance. Yup, that must be it.

Thankfully, the sun saw fit to bless me with its scorching radiance as I labored. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have even broken a sweat and that would’ve made me look terribly out of place among this group of sweaty men.

I sure hope there’s no restrictions on bathing later in the night…

Well, I can worry about that later. Time to get some food; I’m famished after all that bustling around.

Within this relatively wide open space, stood the large tents meant for the laborers. Beside these 10 gigantic tents were a neighborhood of densely packed, smaller tents.

We lined up in front of the large tent as the soldier who led us gave us a number plate and our contracts.

Soldier: Look carefully at your work plates. Make sure to memorise the numbers on not just your own, but of those sitting in the same table as you. They will be your teammates from now on. In the future, there will be jobs that require only a small number of people to accomplish so we decided to split everyone into teams.

Soldier: Those who did not receive a work plate and contract have failed today’s trial period. Your work attitude has been judged to be unsatisfactory so we have decided not to hire you.

At this, several of the laborers who lazed around during the day hung their heads in shame, all of them visibly upset.

As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. At least your trip back will be much easier with the road being done and all.

Hmm…this entire hiring process was surprisingly detailed and long.

We had to go through an oral examination then a test of strength before they even registered our personal details. Then there was that checkpoint…

After all that hassle, there was even a trial period of one day before they distributed the contracts. The amount of thought that went into weeding out these bad apples was a clear indicator of an advanced civilization.

As I thought about it, the time came for me to receive my work plate and contract as well.

The work plate had three number-looking symbols on it and there was a space between the first and second number.

As for the contract, I have no clue…

Soldier: Your tent number is 7 and your table number is 48. Now stop standing there and start moving.

Di Qi Ju: Oh, oh…

So the three numbers were 7, 4 and 8? Right, got that saved. But why does it sound so inauspicious…? [1]

As I lifted the flaps of my allotted tent, the sight of a packed dining hall greeted me. At the side of the door was the serving counters where the chefs were busy ladling food onto lunch boxes and stacking them on the side.

I grabbed my lunch box and headed off in search of table 48.

Each of these tables had 5 people sitting around them and from the looks of it, it was fixed seating. With 48 tables, that was 240 people. With 7 tents, that was a total of at least 1680 people.

With that in mind, the laborer count exceeded 2000 handily; it was definitely a lot more than I had anticipated when we set off.

As I arrived at table 48, I saw my four tablemates already seated around it.

I guess it counts as sitting around the table.. Three of my tablemates were squeezed together on one side of the table staring at the last member of the four. It was the hulking seasonal wolf, Mo Chuan, whom I had met earlier. He was sitting alone, directly opposite the other three members; slowly savoring his dinner. The other three silently stared at him as he did so.

As they spotted me approaching with my work plate in hand, their gazes turned from the wolf onto me.

??: Yo——With you here, our group is finally fully accounted for.

The one who addressed me was the oldest among the three musketeers. He was roughly thirty years of age and sported a long head of brown hair that fell to his shoulders with a center parting.

He wore a loose frock and had the aura of street performer. Among these laborers, he stood out like a sore thumb.

??: Praise be Westrealm, this meeting must’ve been ordained by God.

??: From the first moment I laid eyes on you, I could tell we have the same goals. I hope we will be able to get along well in the coming days.

??: First some self-introductions, My name is One’day High, 28 years old.

One’day High:——-That’s right! After hearing my name you should’ve understood…I’m from the famous country of Numbers!

Di Qi Ju:…

No way, other than “unique” there’s no other descriptive word that comes to mind. And, I certainly did not understand anything.

??: Ahah, I get it. That’s the only country where the surnames contain a number.

The one who followed up with One’day High’s comment was a youth who had a slightly yellowish head of brown hair. He sported an extremely short hairstyle reminiscent of a buzzcut.

With his plain short sleeved shirt and pants, this man was the only one in this room, except for Mo Chuan, who resembled a classical laborer.

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??: My name is Lee Sole’shot, my specialties are bearing hardships and archery.

Di Qi Ju:……

The surname Lee got me excited for a while, but that name… His parents must have suffered from the later stages of naming cancer…

One’day High: Mhm. Little Lee, once I heard your name, I immediately understood; we are truly the birds of a feather!

Lee Sole’shot: That’s right. Once I laid my eyes on you, I immediately understood as well.

…I didn’t understand anything. Exactly what wavelength were you two operating on?

One’day High: —–A man’s romance is all about being a pervert!

Lee Sole’shot: —–A man’s romance is all about ‘shooting’!

The two simultaneously shouted.

Di Qi Ju:…

Ahah, was this the “same goals” you were referring to earlier?

One’day High: Next is…this little brother, how should we address you?

Next to the duo was a third guy with a black head of hair. He wore a ragged set of clothes which resembled a patchwork of cloth stitched together without any thought behind it.

The modern term for a man dressed like him would probably be hobo or wandering swordsman.

??: My name is Halfmoon Leak’age, 20 years old.

A concise self-introduction. He seemed to be an introvert when compared to the other two.

But that name…I shouldn’t make fun of it…

After all, I’m still new to this alternate world. It’s inappropriate of me to criticise another’s cultural norms.

That’s right. They were merely victims of their culture’s strange naming sense!

One’day High: Our youngest friend over there, how should we address you?

Di Qi Ju: Ah? Oh…

The spotlight finally turned on me. I quickly swallowed the food in my mouth as I prepared to take the stage.

The taste was pretty good.

I raised my head and…what’s going on… My eyes met with One’day High’s kind and loving gaze as I did so. S***, if that gaze was any more dangerous I would’ve definitely labelled you as a sex offender or a pervert. Or both.

Di Qi Ju: My name is Di Qi Ju, 16 years old.

One’day High: What!? You’re from my hometown as well?? Ah—-who would’ve guessed that I would meet someone from my hometown, and he’s even in the same group as me!

Di Qi Ju: Who’s from your hometown!? And stop touching my head!

One’day High: Ah? You aren’t? It’s been a long time since I’ve met someone with a number in his surname so I just…

One’day High: So…Little Ju, what’s your story? It’s pretty rare to see someone so young taking up such strenuous work.

Di Qi Ju: There’s nothing special about my story. My family’s poor so I have to get a job.

I chose not to elaborate too much on my backstory and glossed over the details.

One’day High: Ah, such a tragedy. Don’t worry. Big brother High will make sure to look after his fellow countrymen!

Di Qi Ju: It sounds more like you are trying to bully me. And I just said I’m not your countryman!

Lee Sole’shot: Don’t worry Little Ju. I’m already used to newbies and young people getting bullied.

Lee Sole’shot: If you find that life here is too hard, just remember, there’s someone worse off than you.

Di Qi Ju: Your method of comforting people is pretty unique!

Halfmoon Leak’age:…I won’t bully others nor I will allow them to bully me.

Di Qi Ju: Oh, well thanks I guess…

One’day High: The only problem is…will that fellow over there bully others.

Mo Chuan:……

Mo Chuan had just finished his dinner and lowered his spoon onto the lunch box with a clink, startling One’day High and Lee Sole’shot.

He then proceeded to wipe his mouth and clean his fangs with his claws before—-

Mo Chuan: Mo Chuan, 16 years old.

Lee Sole’shot:……

One’day High:……Ah, you look pretty young…

Halfmoon Leak’age: For a seasonal wolf, his face would definitely be counted as young.

Halfmoon Leak’age: Furthermore, his body isn’t covered in fur which means he is still in his stable period. What are you guys afraid of?

Lee Sole’shot: Ah…so that’s how it is.

One’day High: Then why were you terrified to speak at the start?

Halfmoon Leak’age: This is the first time I’ve seen a seasonal wolf working under humans so I was just surprised.

Mo Chuan seemed to have ignored this conversation as he packed up his utensils. He then threw me a glance.

Mo Chuan : Ju do you want to go for a stroll?

Di Qi Ju: Ah? Oh, sure.

I hastily finished my food and returned my utensils before leaving with Mo Chuan. Behind me, the three musketeers stared slack jawed as the both of us left the tent shoulder to shoulder.

Well, who cares about them. Compared to those three, being with Mo Chuan is way better.

As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

Naturally, I was talking about personalities.

……

……

One’day High: That kid…sure is something else.

Halfmoon Leak’age: He’s just a baby calf who doesn’t recognize danger when he sees it. He probably doesn’t know about a seasonal wolf’s true nature.

Lee Sole’shot: Speaking of which, is there any more work for tonight?

One’day High: Nope. By the way, those money-grubbing vultures should’ve caught up to the expedition by now.

Lee Sole’shot: If that’s the case, there’s only one answer!

One’day High: That’s right, time to go on a night excursion!!

Halfmoon Leak’age: I’m done eating. You guys can have fun by yourself, I’ll just—-

One’day High: Of course we should go together!!

Halfmoon Leak’age: Hey, I just said…

Lee Sole’shot: Exactly! The more the merrier!!

Halfmoon Leak’age:……

Footnotes:

[1] – 去死吧 (qu si ba) sounds very similar to 七四八(qi si ba) in chinese. The former means go and die while the latter means 7, 4, 8.

Note about Di Qi Ju’s name: His name is 第七剧 in chinese, 七(Qi) in chinese means seven so his name translates to “Seventh Drama or No.7 Drama, etc.

Credits:

Special thanks to 7STARDARK BLADE! The first ever patron of Catato Patch Translations.


Cultivation Novel, 7x chapters per week. Book Mark Now!!

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