The Ultimate Evolution - Chapter 1286
Chapter 1286: High-End Goods on the Black Market.
Translator: Sean88888 Editor: Elkassar1
All the buildings that made up the slums were standard low-cost housing, which was the kind of building that maximised the use of land area. They naturally did not take into account natural illumination, air quality, view and so on. The building designers had only one concept in mind, and that was the concept which their superiors had repeatedly emphasised:
“I have only one freaking requirement for your design: just stuff as many residents as possible into each building! Stuff, stuff, stuff!! Stuff it so full that there won’t be room for a stamp. Who cares about art, aesthetic or comfort! Even if you build the houses into presidential suites, the poor-ass people who’ll live here won’t be able to pay an extra penny!!”
230 different designs were proposed at the time, and the final winner was an unknown designer. It was said that he had referred to the architectural layout of a certain overpopulated city in the Old Earth era…
It was for that reason that all residential housing in the Northern District had the same design. The buildings in the Northern District were similar to chicken cages in chicken farms. The developers only wished to accommodate as many chickens per unit area as possible. The building materials used were all black in colour for the purpose of durability and practicality. Therefore, there’s another nickname for the Northern District — the Black Chicken Cage.
The giant conveyor belt did not reach the Northern District, because the construction cost of the device was not low (reminder: the main streets of Alps Base 7 have giant conveyor belts that can transport people around). When Sheyan and Old Charlie came down from the street conveyor belt, what they saw in front of them was a very chaotic and noisy area. The place was almost as busy as a wet market, and various people were talking to each other while wearing hypocritical smiles on their faces. The content of their conversations were sometimes really ridiculous. For example, Sheyan overheard someone ask, “How much for two eggs?”
Okay, this question may sound pretty normal, but the answer did not make sense at all. The other guy replied:
Old Charlie later “translated” for Sheyan that the so-called “eggs” were referring to grenades, while the ears were referring to a kind of local baked bread that were somewhat shaped like an ear. Such a strange way of conversing reminded Sheyan of bandits who used passwords and codenames when they conversed.
As Old Charlie led Sheyan deeper into the slum area, Sheyan realised that it would be very easy to get lost in this place because of the uniformity of the buildings. All the buildings looked the same. Of course, there were also crowded streets filled with countless people that had all kinds of different skin colours.
Numerous gazes followed after them, eyes filled with questions, envy, doubt, disgust, anger… Sheyan could sense that most of these gazes were directed at his unfamiliar face. It was fortunate that he had changed his clothes before he came, or this feeling of being the centre of attention would have been even stronger.
But Sheyan maintained his calm and ignored the gazes, while Old Charlie just huddled silently behind his coat and hat without batting an eyelid. As they moved along, Old Charlie also broke the fingers of two little pickpockets that looked no older than ten.
Soon, Sheyan finally saw a different kind of building, but the differences were still limited. It was just, in short, an unfinished building that had been abandoned. To get in, Sheyan and Old Charlie had to pay 30 Imperial currencies, which were almost equal to the purchasing power of USD $40.
After entering the building, Old Charlie finally broke his silence.
“This is the best place for you to experience the city, master. Someone will bring us some food soon. After the meal, there’ll be a black market auction today, and when the auction concludes, it’ll almost be time to go back.”
Sheyan nodded and smiled. “An auction? Let me check if I have enough money with me. The richest people are often born from the poorest slums.”
Sheyan’s remark was not groundless. There is a strange yet commonly-seen phenomenon where well-educated people would often work for less-educated people. Steve Jobs, for example, was an abandoned baby. He stayed in an orphanage in the slums before he was adopted. Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand and former owner of Premier League team Manchester City, was born in an ordinary merchant family.
Therefore, you must never look down on the underground black markets in the slums.
Sheyan and Old Charlie were led inside while they conversed. Only after he entered the building did Sheyan realise that the unfinished building was only a facade on the outside. The interior was decorated into a fairly decent-looking little theatre. The box seats at the top even provided a view of the street outside. Although there was nothing really worth watching on the street, looking down on the numb crowd outside from a high position did give a feeling of power.
There were currently not that many people in the boxes yet. Before long, a few people brought them food. The first dish was a steaming hot tray of pastries. Although they tasted fresh and smelled nice, the texture was pretty rough.
The pastries were made from cassava (TL: It’s like sweet potato). The cassavas were ground into paste, mixed, stirred, left to ferment, and finally divided into smaller pieces and steamed. They were neither hard nor soft and were served with a kind of dipping gravy called nyama. The gravy had chicken and beef in it, but could also be cooked with other types of meat.
Old Charlie advised Sheyan not to dip the pastries in the gravy. With the expansion of the population, there would inevitably be a shortage of food and other daily necessities, so the meat used for the gravy was probably rat meat. Sheyan actually did not mind as long as he would not find any rat fur or rat innards in the gravy.
The fruit that was served next also felt pretty novel to Sheyan. It was about the size of a grapefruit. Before it was served, the top was cut off, and a few drops of soy sauce were actually dripped inside. The flesh of the fruit could then be scooped out with a spoon. It was especially crisp and refreshing. The soy sauce and the fruit combined into a very unique taste.
Finally, they were each served a glass of brownish-red wine called Hanishi.
According to Old Charlie, in the northern area of the eighth planet of the Andromeda Galaxy, the strange climate there bred a kind of tree called the Hanishi tree. The Hanishi fruits produced by those trees were a unique kind of fruit that tasted sour and astringent. Every spring and early summer, people on the planet would collect the Hanishi fruits and extract their pulp. The pulp would then undergo a sweetening and fermentation process, and wine would be extracted from it.
The extracted Hanishi wine would be stored in oak barrels for 2 years to let it age. Finally, the aged wine would be blended with fresh cream to make this smooth tasting wine with a unique flavour.
The sip Sheyan took tasted sweet and rich. First, the tip of his tongue tasted the sweetness of the cream, then the taste buds on both sides of his tongue perceived a faint bitterness similar to coffee. When the wine reached his throat, he felt a passionate heat.
Nearly three-quarters of the seats had been filled while Sheyan was dining. An overweight man with curly moustache walked to the centre of the theatre and took off his hat.
“Gentlemen, we have just received news that an important person is visiting this sinful base that is full of opportunity, so we expect that public order control will soon be imposed. Therefore, we will no longer wait. We shall start this auction ahead of time.”
After a dull thud of the hammer, the first to come on stage were three women — three naked women. Although Sheyan was an adult male, he had higher standards now because he had Zi as a reference. Therefore, he was not interested in these vulgar practices. He naturally passed on them.
The following auction lots were nothing more than drugs, weapons, and other forbidden items. They made Sheyan yawn. Fortunately, some specialty products smuggled from other planets started appearing in the auction not long after that. To Sheyan’s surprise, he even found an unknown mysterious item among these auction lots, and it was actually high-end stuff that could be sold for 5 achievement points!
The unknown mysterious item came from the eighth planet on the Centaurus constellation. The air was so dense on the planet that moving in the air was no different to the lifeforms there from moving in the water. There was a certain creature with few natural enemies on that planet called the elephant whale.
The unknown mysterious item came about when another parallel dimension overlapped with the primary plane, and the entry point happened to be on this planet. An elephant whale was hit by a dimensional rift derived from the phenomenon and, of course, died immediately, but for some reason, one of its huge teeth survived the terrible turbulence. That became the unknown mysterious item.
In terms of economic value, it was naturally worthless, but this trash in other people’s eyes was an invaluable treasure to Sheyan. Fortunately, not many people competed with Sheyan for the item, so he easily got his hands on it.
When Sheyan saw the next auction lot, he did not know whether he should laugh or cry. And yet, the bidders were making very generous bids for it!
The auction lot in question was an edited video clip! It was none other than a video of the contestants’ experiences on planet Uplos taken from Old Charlie’s eye. However, the battle scenes had all been cut, probably to avoid scaring off potential investors. The emphasis of the video was on the rich mineral deposits, and of course, the natural environment on Uplos.
This video was sold for an astronomical price in the end. Its appearance here also proved that the boss behind this place was not simple, since he could even acquire this kind of thing.
After some time, the auction was finally reaching its conclusion. When the finale was brought out, it gave everyone a shock. It was a solo-sized mech suit, and it was even a military model! Although it was stated that it could only provide seven times of enhancement, it seemed to be in brand new condition, and all its weapons were still intact. It was definitely not the economical version!
It was obviously a hot commodity. Nine out of ten people present at the auction wanted this thing. Who would hate having too much power? But right when the crowd was getting restless, a hoarse voice pierced through the noise in the theatre.
“This thing is mine. Bring it to me.”