Inside a clean, quiet room. The game pod located in the corner of the room opened to reveal a pale, skinny man.
“I-I did iiiiiit………”
His body felt like it was made of noodles. It was only natural. He was inside that pod for almost five entire days playing that game. He spent five days utilizing the pod’s ‘Gameplay Optimization Mode’ to receive liquified meals and even go to the restroom inside the pod. Gyosu could quite literally feel his joints creaking from lack of use.
“I could have slept in there, but that doesn’t feel like actual rest.”
A person needed to breathe real oxygen. So Gyosu crawled over to the old sofa next to the pod and knocked himself out.
A few hours later.
The sense that woke Gyosu was none other than his sense of smell. His body woke right up the second an alluring, savory scent flowed into the room.
Gyosu followed the scent out of the room and into the main shelter area to find Koduro in the corner of the greenhouse, cooking something.
“Ah, Master! Have you slept well?”
Gyosu ignored Koduro’s greeting and stared at the frypan. The little robot’s arm was shaking around.
On top of the pan that was placed on top of the small campfire was a large, brown, caramelized chunk of meat.
It’s meat. Meat. Not some dry calorie bar, but meat!
Just before he was about to charge forward, Gyosu succeeded in regaining his common sense.
“Is this…. ‘cheap meat?’”
“No way—! Who in their right mind would use ‘cheap meat?’ This is ‘expensive meat.’”
Once he heard Koduro’s reply, Gyosu was then able to take in the wonderful smell without worry.
Even in this terrible environment, there were still animals in the Wasteland, and groups like the Dome or Raptor gave leftover food to pigs to feed them.
Meat that came from those livestock or Wasteland animals, such as rabbits or giant mutated scorpions, was considered normal sources and was called ‘expensive meat.’
Aside from those, when you look up ‘meat’ on the Marketplace and filter it by the lowest price, there is a long list of all kinds of meat that pops up, and most of these meats were sold by the Psycho Gang or scavengers.
These very suspicious meats sold by those bastards were called ‘cheap meat.’ They had never revealed the source, but only an idiot wouldn’t know what it was. Disgusting bastards.
The worst part was that those ‘cheap meats’ had a higher demand than expected and were a steady seller. So you needed to be careful of guys that ate meat in the Wasteland. Expensive meat was expensive and hard to get.
‘Wait. But why is that rare product being cooked in my house right now?’
In Gyosu’s mind, the nightmare that happened when he exited the pod last time started to creep up. He had gone through so much shit because of Koduro’s dumb ass.
‘No. There’s no way. If that really happened, then I’ll disassemble that drone into molecular pieces and feed it to the mutants, then blow up this shelter so it could never see the light again!’
With his heart pounding in his chest, Gyosu asked Koduro with a shaky voice…
“K-Koduro? What’s with the ‘expensive meat,’ though? Did you…. happen to buy something else?”
Koduro shook his drone’s lens sideways as he replied to Gyosu’s question.
“Not in a million years! Do you think I’m some normal idiot robot? I’m an AI that can learn! I’ve already learned from the disaster last time. There’s no way I would do that again. This is a bonus.”
“Bonus..? In the Wasteland?”
“Uhh….. That’s what they said. The items from the marketplace arrived yesterday, and they gave us an extra chunk of meat as a thank you. So don’t worry. This is free. And the Marketplace is under the control of the Dome, so it isn’t some weird meat either.”
“Hmm…. A bonus, you say….”
Gyosu stared at the large piece of steak sitting on a nice plate and the big chunk of meat next to it. Even cutting it into large slices would make about 9 to 10 servings. Looking at its fresh juices, it was most likely pretty expensive. That stingy Marketplace gave this away for free as a bonus..?
Gyosu gleamed—no, he glared—at the steak with a suspicious stare. This is so suspicious that I’m drooling. Very suspicious.
“Is there some motive for this? There’s no way that stingy-ass Marketplace would give us something like this for free.”
“I’m… not sure. Maybe it’s that?”
As Gyosu asked, Koduro used his robot arm to point to the wooden crates neatly stacked in the corner of the shelter.
“That. A shower booth, an air purifier, an automatic turret, and a small substitute shield generator. Just looking at the list, adding a generator would be enough to make an entirely new shelter.”
“The Marketplace must have thought a new group had appeared and purchased all of this new gear and sent this bonus as a peace offering. At least, that’s what I think.”
“Meat used for a peace offering….”
Koduro had a point. You usually find a generator on your own elsewhere, and although there was no protection field, there was a shield and an automatic turret, so there was a means of defense. And if the air purifier blocks the sand from coming in….
‘It’s just like a fort-type shelter.’
Gyosu then realized the Marketplace’s intention. The Marketplace interpreted my purchases as the expansion of a big organization. It’s pretty common for organizations to send a few scouts to set up a fort in a new area. That bonus was probably a silent threat, meaning ‘We will leave you alone as long as you leave the Dome alone.’
As Gyosu cut the steak with a knife, he threw a spoon at Koduro’s drone.
“Ow! Why’d you do that?! I didn’t do anything wrong this time!”
“Hey, you just said I could set up a small shelter with the stuff you bought last time, and you don’t expect me to be pissed?”
“B-But! That had a good intention….!”
“In that sense, Isaac had a good intention too. He did all of that BS because he wanted to save humanity.”
There were still things to think about regarding Isaac. He didn’t look like your average crazy person. It was a problem to think about, but………
‘Let’s eat first.’
As he sliced through the steak with the knife under the table, it smoothly cut through the meat, revealing the pink and juicy insides.
For a moment, the thought, ‘Is it okay for meat to be this pink?’ popped up in his head, but his hand was already pushing the piece of steak toward his mouth.
As soon as he put it in his mouth, he could taste the meat’s fatty flesh and salty juices all the way to the top of his mouth.
And the meat was so soft that it melted away as soon as it hit his teeth, breaking away with a satisfying snap once he chewed. Once it passed through his esophagus, a gasp of satisfaction automatically escaped his throat.
“What do you think—isn’t it amazing? I calculated Master’s biorhythm and woke you up at the best time with the happiest method possible. Are you satisfied?”
Gyosu couldn’t reply because of the steak stuffed in his mouth, but gave him a thumbs up to commend his faithful servant.
As Gyosu ate this luxurious food in his large, clean house that he bought with the money he earned (although it was just a bonus), he felt a bit proud of himself. It kind of felt like treating himself with his first salary.
“You’ve grown, Gyosu Park.”
As he shoved the rest of the steak into his mouth, Gyosu thought that it might be okay to spend money like this sometimes.
The first thing Gyosu did after filling his stomach was open the packages that the Marketplace delivered. He could set up everything else later, but there was one thing that needed to be set up right that instant.
Riiip— Rip, rip! Riiiiip!
Under the wrapping he viciously ripped off was the majestic item Gyosu had been waiting for.
[Kiral Tech. Shower Booth Kit]
A bright yellow logo belonging to Kiral Tech shone on top of thick glass panes.
The kit contained two sealed shower booths that came with one small underground pump and a thick filter panel that went inside the pump. It was the peak of efficiency. Beautiful. He needed to use it right away.
“Y-Yes, sir? Master, are you okay? You seem a bit….”
“What do you mean? I’m perfectly calm, logical, and stable right now. Anyway, I really need to install this pump. Is there a place in this shelter where I can install this?”
“Hmm…. I’m not sure. This shelter is sturdy overall, so I might need to look into it, but there should be a hole near the sewer pipe, so if we do a little bit of digging….”
“Don’t you understand? There is no time for a little bit of digging. I need to use this ‘right now.’ Right. This. Instant.”
After looking around the shelter with wild eyes, Gyosu ran to the greenhouse with a bright expression.
“Wait! There isn’t any room in the greenhouse right now! Where are you going to……?”
“Get out of my way!”
After swatting away the drone buzzing around him, Gyosu stomped down the potato sprouts that were growing in the middle of the garden.
“Nooooo! The potatoes! The calories!”
“Shut up! I need this more for my survival!”
After he placed the pump where he had just leveled the land, the high-end technology from Kairal Tech spurred into action, planting the prepared pipe into the ground.
While the pump was getting ready, Gyosu picked up both shower booths and placed them on the ground. The time he spent waiting felt like an eternity.
“Koduro. Is there a reason why you bought two?”
“That’s…. because there was a discount if you bought two as a set. They said you could combine the two to make it one booth, so I….. I’m sorry!”
“No, good job. Great job.”
Gyosu watched the pump dig into the ground with a solemn expression.
And once he heard the pump click into position, he used the charger in the greenhouse to connect to the shower and finished building the big shower booth.
And that was how the shower booth inside the greenhouse was made.
Gyosu turned the handle and opened the valve.
“Ahhhh….. It’s water….”
Once Gyosu ran into the booth after taking off his clothes, the completely sealed booth started to fill with water.
“Water, it’s water….”
Yeah, I knew. This emotion, this feeling of happiness, was also a part of the ‘possession.’
But those little details didn’t matter to Gyosu right now.
‘Water…. refreshing water…. Heheh, heheheheh…..’
“M-Master? The water’s filling up?”
“Master! Open up! You’ll die! You’ll drown!”
Gyosu ignored Koduro’s pleas and continued to let the shower booth fill up with water. It felt like the fatigue from the last five days of gameplay was all washing away.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
“Ahhhh! Please! Open the damn door, Master!”
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