Translated by Kris Xian, translation checked by Kensi, and edited by Bluburry.
The scream came from a male Internet celebrity who had been staying up all night. He was named Jack, and his real name was Ma Jie.
Because it didn’t sound refined, Ma Jie never introduced himself as such and only used his English name.
His family was not well-off and his father was seriously ill, so he had to support his younger siblings’ education. Initially, he was a straight man, but he had found out that gay people were more popular with Internet users and brands,1Brands pertain to companies. They usually find famous people to be their spokesperson or ambassador. Therefore, he also set-up a gay persona. After a few years of hard work, his deposits finally had a six-digit figure starting with 1.
Ma Jie didn’t have the money to buy the ferry ticket, but he had won the lottery.
Unsurprisingly his superficial brothers were envious as the Mermaid Clubhouse was a famous upscale club.
Jack had seen the prosperity of the big city and was reluctant to return to the small county. Not to mention the Mermaid Clubhouse had a high-end atmosphere that completely entranced him.
Nowadays, this Internet celebrity was busy thinking about how to catch a blind rich woman like the male protagonist in “Titanic” had.
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Rv’p fwpv vbyv Yy Kkl eked’v lmrlnv vbyv sdl eyu bl oswze pll y xsdpvla vbaswtb vbkp tzypp.
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Rv oyp qya xsal vlaakqukdt vbyd bl bye kxytkdle.
Mbl yrrlyaydnl sq vbl ekptwpvkdt qkpb blye yde elqsaxle cseu xyel bkp obszl cseu psqvld, yde kv oyp y zsdt vkxl clqsal Yy Kkl piwllgle swv y casjld pnalyx qasx bkp vbasyv.
The scream scared off the Osta under the glass and attracted the staff of the Mermaid Clubhouse.
Ma Jie cried and screamed, clamoring to change rooms, saying there was a monster at the bottom of the sea. Nevertheless, the staff reassured him repeatedly that it was just an illusion.
“I apologize, Sir. We don’t think you’re in a very stable mental state,” a security guard seriously said, “If you keep insisting this, we’ll have to send you back to S City for the sake of the other members’ comfort.”
Ma Jie cried, his tears streaming down his face like a weeping beauty. Nonetheless, the security guards were unmoved. They had already seen more mermaids than the number of sponsors Jack had ever received. Ma Jie, who looked handsome, could only be considered as someone in the middle tier here in terms of beauty.
For the sake of his ambition, Ma Jie had to tearfully promise that he would not fall for the illusion again and that he would no longer argue about changing rooms.
The security guards left feeling satisfied.
If Ma Jie had a detector, he would have probably been shocked to find that his mutation degree had risen from 0 to 7 in just one night.
Mermaid Clubhouse, 7th floor.
Gold and silver plated things could be seen everywhere, with only gold leaf being the cheapest decoration here as an accent to the Hetian jade floor.
The ten Golden-tailed members who had feather masks covering their faces sat at the table.
Because of the fancy masks, the faces of these golden-tailed members could not be seen.
However, there was no doubt that everyone was a “big shot.” The combined wealth of these ten people may account for three percent of the world.
To become a Golden-tailed member, in addition to the invitation letter, a payment of a $50 million membership fee was also required.
Some of them had even had “transplant” operations. However, they probably relied more on their bodyguards than their own ability.
Fresh meat dishes were served by the waiter. The food here was countless times better than what the guests at the bottom ate.
“Welcome to the Mermaid Clubhouse. You must have known the content of our 15-day game from the invitation letter. Give it a try. These are the fresh ingredients I bought from the Slaughterhouse at a high price.”
At the head seat of the long table, a handsome man smiled. He had dark blue eyes, slightly long hair, and deep-sculpted features like someone who was mixed-race.
Slaughterhouse was also among the top 10 polluted areas in the Enlightened Forum.
It was a meat processing plant located on the outskirts of X City, but no one had ever seen it, let alone knew its exact location.
Reportedly, when an order was sent to X City’s post office, a Butcher would come and deliver the meat door-to-door on demand.
It’s just that the Butchers charged depending upon their will.
Often, customers who could not afford to pay were forced to mortgage a part of their body to a Butcher, sometimes an eye, tongue, or a hand.
“Thanks to your grace, I’ve had a chance to eat pork from Slaughterhouse which I never had before.”
An elegant lady spoke unhurriedly.
“It’s the highest honor of our Clubhouse to have your appreciation,” the man replied.
At the dinner table, the only man without a mask was the founder of the Mermaid Clubhouse.
No one knew his real identity, therefore, everyone here called him “Boss.”
The old gentleman with number 03 said, “30 years ago, you looked like this. I’ve now gotten old, yet you still look so young…”
The boss smiled and replied, “After all, I have been injecting the mermaid gene with anti-aging properties. I can also give it to you if you want.”
The old gentleman shook his head, “I don’t dare ask for your things. Without paying a thousand percent, it’s never possible to make a deal with you. I can’t afford to pay for the price of an eternal life.”
His words made the lady who was originally eager to inquire suddenly calm down.
The boss smiled and didn’t refute it. He spread his arms and an intoxicating smile appeared on his face, “We are gathered here today to celebrate the annual beauty contest once again.”
The lights in the hall went out in an instant. Behind him, 20 large screens lit up.
“This time, the Clubhouse staff found a total of 20 Preparatory mermaids. Disregarding their names, the contestants behind me are numbered 01 to 20 sequentially.”
In the corner of each screen, different Arabic numerals appeared.
“Those stupid Meatfish will definitely remind us how lovely our Mermaids are.” The boss smiled, “Unfortunately, as is customary, we never put surveillance in the Mermaid’s bedroom despite how much I want to know how they behave… We better watch the promotional clips that were shot along the way.”
“Let’s all look forward to who will get the most votes from the judges and become the most expensive golden-tailed Mermaid!”
As he finished speaking, different images appeared on the screen, all sneak peeks from various angles of the cruise ship. These were all recorded using high-definition surveillance from the same ship they came from.
There were 20 beautiful faces, both male and female, but the one that caught everyone’s attention the most was undoubtedly the young man with the number “6.”
He stood on the deck as his hair was blown by the wind. He had an expressionless face, but he was more perfect compared to even an evolved Mermaid.
A young man pointed to Lu Yan’s face and said, “On the cruise ship that came, I saw him. I hope that on the last day of the auction, everyone can give me a face.”2In this context, “face” (面子) pertains to reputation or honor. He’s implying that, during the auction, the others should give him leeway and allow him to get Lu Yan as respect or honor to his standing.
[Every year, the Mermaid Clubhouse selects a number of lucky tourists, ranging from 10 to 30, from all over the country. Afterwards, in July, they are called to Mermaid Island in different ways.]
[These lucky tourists are the Preparatory Mermaids of the Mermaid Clubhouse. The 15-day journey is a pleasant holiday for others, but for them, it’s a desperate nightmare.]
The System slowly introduced the background.
[Those Golden-tailed guests, who’re streetlight capitalists wearing masks, will be on the highest floor to watch the distortion of Preparatory Mermaids through monitoring.]
[There was a bit of an accident this year. Your ferry ticket originally belonged to a landlord’s daughter. However, this landlord secretly opened his daughter’s parcel and sold the ticket.]
[In other words, you’re being treated as a Preparatory Mermaid.]
[There is no surveillance in the room, but this Mermaid Island is full of one.] The System continued to say, [Maybe the only thing you can be thankful for is that in this country, the growth of Enlighteneds is slow, therefore, your combat strength can already be ranked in the top ten among the Enlightened in this entire island.]
Except for some abnormal situations caused by pollution sources, Lu Yan’s mobile phone could be located at any time; he didn’t have to worry about having no Internet.
At this time, Lu Yan turned on his phone, and the signal status displayed on it was “No Service.”
He was already aware that every time he needed to call the PDC, the mobile phone was always 100% without signal.
Lu Yan pressed the glass. His palm touched the Osta’s webbings from across the transparent floor.
The Osta had been treated as a monster too many times. He was already desperate, but Lu Yan’s unusual reaction made him involuntarily excited.
He opened his mouth wide, trying to speak, but because of the absence of vocal structures, his fish lips could only open and close feebly beneath the water surface.
The System listened carefully for a while and replied, [He hasn’t communicated with people for a long time, and now his language ability has regressed to the point where he can only produce some babbling. It may be better if you can encounter some Meatfish that didn’t have a high degree of distortion.]
“What is the ability of these Enlightened who turned into Osta?” Lu Yan asked.
A slight smile could be traced in the System’s tone, [Guess where the First Research Institute finds so many voluntarily given abilities?]
[How come the Mermaid Clubhouse has not been discovered by other Enlightened organizations for so many years?]
Lu Yan’s lips pursed, and his expression became colder.
He inserted the knife into the gap in the transparent glass.
If it was done by an ordinary person with an ordinary knife, it was naturally impossible to do so.
However, his knife was a psionic weapon. He was also a D-Level Enlightened. It wasn’t a problem to pry open the tempered glass.
Seeing the dagger, the Osta thought it was aimed towards him and subconsciously blocked his head with his arms.
The light bulb above his head fell down, clearly reflecting his abnormally ugly face.
He slowly opened his eyes after realizing that Lu Yan didn’t make any extra moves.
Lu Yan asked, “Can you still understand me? Give me your hand.”
He sounded like he was back in his days as an intern at the hospital.
At that time, Lu Yan was on duty in the pediatrics department and used that tone when speaking to children who were a few years old. He always had a strong ability to imitate others.
Lu Yan was not only liked by wild animals but also liked by wild children.
The Osta hesitated for a moment and then held out a wet hand.
The hand had no skin and was covered in scales, with some vaguely visible muscle tissue.
Thin white threads protruded from Lu Yan’s sleeves and their ends attached to the Osta’s head.
The Osta’s pollution degree was high, but because his own spiritual threshold was too low, the Kingfish swallowed it for a long time. Lu Yan’s mutation degree only went up by 0.01.
On the contrary, the eyes of this Osta obviously grew more intelligent.
The Kingfish took the initiative to retract its white tentacles. It was impossible to reduce the Osta’s pollution degree to 0.
The Osta looked at Lu Yan, still with that terrifying fish face, as his mouth opened and closed.
[He said, it’s dangerous here. He wants you to leave Mermaid Island before you become completely distorted. He and the other Ostae can send you out.]
Lu Yan asked, “What will happen after I go out?”
[Once the streetlight capitalists3In Chinese internet slang, it means capitalists who will do anything to save themselves as they are afraid of the wrath of the people. This term refers to how in the past, capitalists have gotten hanged on streetlights by workers in France (à la laterne) and are therefore afraid of streetlights which represent the people turning on them. find out that there is a contestant missing, in order to save himself, he would activate an emergency plan and escape from Mermaid Island overnight with his assets and beautiful Mermaids. If he can’t stay in the country, he can go abroad at ease. The wealth he has accumulated can allow an ordinary white-collared employee to work from prehistoric civilization to human extinction. He could totally open a new clubhouse by then.]
[This Mermaid Island is built on an active volcanic crater. That streetlight capitalist can let the volcano erupt and flood the island at any time.]
[At that time, all the crimes he committed will sink to the bottom of the sea along with the island, and no one will ever know about it, leaving behind a white expanse of land that was so clean and free of traces.]
Lu Yan did not reply for a long time, but lowered his eyes, as if he was thinking about something.
The System couldn’t help but ask, [What are you thinking about?]
Lu Yan replied in a low voice, “Thinking about that streetlight capitalist and what color of streetlight he likes.”
Translator’s Note:As an intern myself in the healthcare setting, I most of the time use the tone Lu Yan described. It’s called “active friendly voice,” especially used for children. However, there are also adult patients whom we act coquettish with just to sustain their attention (because they have an impairment in that area). What’s dignity? Can that heal patients? Hahaha.
PS. No one can be Lu Yan’s hansomeness.