Survivorship Bias Chapter 5
Are you really that kind?
Apart from the absence of electronics, everything was complete here.
The whole area retained the classicality of the previous century. However, the underground stronghold was perennially insulated from the sun, and the air smelled wet with decay, like a coffin trapping the dying people inside. The dark crimson patterns on the beige wallpaper resembled dried blood stains, waiting for death and sacrifice in the dust-filled room for many years.
In a daze, An Wujiu stared at the desk. An old clock hung on the wall behind the red solid wood table. The upper part was a quartz clock covered with glass, while the lower portion was a wooden box with two doors. Only this time, the two small doors remained securely shut.
It was now 9:31 a.m.
“Found it. Water and food.”
The storage cabinets stored the necessary survival resources, but half of them were labeled [capitalist]. Ueno Taisei reached out and tried to get them, but he couldn’t pick them up until Yang Ming came and took them out.
The so-called survival resources were only the simplest bread, bottled water, anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, and gauze bandages. There didn’t seem to be much weight in these items, and most of them belonged to the capitalist Yang Ming. The other people’s food consisted of only seven loaves the size of an adult man’s palm and seven water bottles.
Old Yu sighed. “A loaf of bread can last for five days in reality, but the Altar must have adjusted the parameters.”
Liu Chengwei picked up two loaves of bread and two bottles of water in one hand and wanted to leave, but Zhong Yirou intercepted him. “What are you doing, grabbing things so quickly?”
“First come, first serve,” quibbled Liu Chengwei.
Wu You let out a sigh. “Why didn’t you say it’s based on survival value?”
Liu Chengwei grew immediately annoyed. “I’m worthless in survival value, while your life is valuable? Come on, come and snatch it from me. See who can rob me.”
Ueno immediately grabbed Wu You, “Little brother, don’t say such things…”
“What did I say?” Wu You frowned and broke away from Ueno Taisei’s hand. “You’re with them, don’t think I didn’t hear you two talking together.”
“Don’t quarrel.” Old Yu also began to smooth things out. “This is just the beginning. Everyone, save your energy and stay calm.”
The more he repeated it, the more people argued. An Wujiu took a deep breath and noticed Shen Ti, who had been sitting on the carpet in the distance, suddenly moved up to them and sat upright. Shen Ti would gently applaud whenever there was an argument, stunning the onlooker An Wujiu.
“You think it’s great that your survival value is higher?” Liu Chengwei sneered at Wu You. “If the person you secretly love dies and the person you curse is alive, then you won’t know where you’ll rank. Playing dumb here. While Laozi was struggling in the repechage, you were still crying for your mommy.”
As soon as he finished speaking, it was as if he had flipped a switch. Wu You flung himself forward and punched Liu Chengwei. If it weren’t for Zhong Yirou’s quick reaction, the two would have had a terrible fight.
Sitting there motionless, listening to Liu Chengwei, An Wujiu suddenly called something to mind.
That is to say, the “four bottom-ranking people who can survive to the end” that the divine voice didn’t mention may not necessarily die.
They still had a chance to enter the repechage so long as they didn’t die in the game.
Several other people couldn’t hold on, and Liu Chengwei’s fist fell upon Wu You as he shouted, “Come on, duel right now!”
“I have a suggestion.” An Wujiu hurriedly opened his mouth. Fearing that others might not hear him, he deliberately raised his voice.
Everyone settled down and turned to face An Wujiu, who spoke. He clutched the upper portion of his damaged wrist. His face stayed the same, but his speaking remained sluggish and distinctive from the other people.
“The half that belongs to the capitalist role… is left to Yang Ming to handle, and the leftover half is divided equally among everyone, so at least nobody starves to death before the end of the game.”
This proposal was not unexpected and even wandered silently in everyone’s minds, but they all doubted whether this rule would be fulfilled as promised.
Wu You replied, “You mean… we’ll share it equally, and we won’t fight? But there’ll be a settlement at the end, and it will always have losers.
An Wujiu sat back on the sofa and said slowly, “Right. But the rules announced a while ago clearly said that those who died during the game would also be brain-dead in reality, right?”
He looked at everyone. His dark pupils reflected the warm yellow lights in the bunker, and he struggled to speak, yet every word was sincere. “But the voice didn’t explicitly say what would happen to the last four people in the final settlement. They may enter a repechage game.”
“But.” Wu You had gotten punched. His cheekbone was red, and his expression was stubborn. “A loaf of bread won’t last to the end.”
“I think so too, but at least it can last for a few days,” An Wujiu said, “This is not a zero-sum game, and there is no inevitability of life and death. It is also a victory to survive one day. And one day, there’s a possibility that we’ll discuss other survival strategies. If we work together, perhaps we’ll all be able to exit in one piece.”
After hearing this, the others fell silent.
“I think it’s fairly right.” Zhong Yirou smiled. “Death is the worst thing to happen here, right? There’s no chance of resurrection.”
When everyone began considering An Wujiu’s peaceful division, Yang Ming stood up and slowly walked towards An Wujiu. “You’re so great at acting.”
“Every time you pretend to be beneficial for everyone, gain trust by helping others, and then incite and sway everyone.”
An Wujiu looked up at him but said nothing.
The two faced each other like this for a while. Finally, Yang Ming turned around, summoned his panel, and clicked on it with his finger.
“I accept equal division.”
He smiled open-mindedly. “Besides, I must give one-third of my resources to everyone.” He canceled the labels of these resources, and they became accessible public resources.
Wu You, who was always silent, was the first to ask, “Would you be so kind?”
“Yeah.” Zhong Yirou laughed. “One-third of the half, one-sixth of the entire resources, is more than enough for one person. If this is the case, as we said before, perhaps we’ll make it to the end.”
In reality, it also implied that the rest couldn’t survive until the end if Yang Ming didn’t give it.
Yang Ming’s supplies were their life-saving straw, and An Wujiu was fully aware of this. He just hoped everyone could maintain a united attitude, so persuasion or defeating Yang Ming was possible.
After all, the materials here were enough for everyone to survive. If someone died because of a lack of supplies, it would be a death in vain.
“I said I’ll give it, but I have one condition.”
“These things can only be divided equally among the six of you.” Yang Ming raised the corners of his mouth. “An Wujiu can’t take any.”
It was an unequivocal decision. As long as the people agreed, they could acquire additional resources and a more stable situation, as opposed to the previous even distribution method.
Instead of coercing with power and forcing everyone to obey him, Yang Ming took the initiative to cede part of his own resources as a bargaining chip in this solitary gamble.
With the exception of An Wujiu, everyone would win.
“I agree! Who could say no to such a good deal?!” Liu Chengwei was the first person to make a statement. He didn’t think too deeply before proceeding to count all resources.
“I agree with what Mr. Yang said.” Ueno Taisei also raised his hand weakly, but he couldn’t hide the smile on his face.
They completely forgot the previous peaceful strategy and compassion of An Wujiu, only excited to obtain extra gifts.
Yang Ming returned these supplies to the panel and unexpectedly showed complete tolerance for Liu Chengwei’s recklessness. “Wait.” He looked at the others. “I’ll give each of you these supplies twice. Don’t worry. I will give it when I say so.”
He squatted down and grabbed the bread on the ground. “Even if you people don’t duel, you won’t be able to eat the last of the provisions, and there will be less water. What I’ll give you at that time are life-saving rations.”
“I repeat, no one is allowed to help An Wujiu, understand?”
Liu Chengwei responded with a flattering smile and said, “I know. I’ll start with the unlabeled ones.” He began dividing on his own. The others did not directly agree with Yang Ming’s coercion and inducement, but no one spoke out against it. Even Old Yu, who would initially refute Yang Ming’s words, chose silence in the face of the survival battle and his own disadvantages.
An Wujiu sat on the sofa three or four meters away, quietly watching the other people portion their lives. He had no regrets, however. If given another chance, An Wujiu would also put forward suggestions for everyone to strive to survive.
Feeling that someone was staring at him, An Wujiu followed his intuition and looked over.
It was the mechanical Avalokitesvara again.
He leaned against the wall, his head cocked, and his gaze never leaving An Wujiu as if he were a test subject that needed observation. The man was like a ghost, silent yet always following him.
Liu Chengwei and Ueno handed the distributed supplies to the remaining few. Wu You and Zhong Yirou glanced at An Wujiu, but Yang Ming soon discovered them.
“I put forward such a small condition. I hope everyone can follow it and not go against my good intentions.”
Yang Ming walked to An Wujiu’s side, bent down, and smiled at him.
“Want food? Duel, bah.”
An Wujiu’s face was expressionless, his eyes clear.
“You are… scared of me?”
Even the way he asked seemed extremely simple, his talking speed was still sluggish, and his sentences were oddly constructed and not eloquent, but Yang Ming seemed to have been stabbed by something and grabbed him by the collar. “An Wujiu, I warn you, don’t fucking look at me like that! Don’t think you can still control everyone like before. I can let you die if I want you to die now.”
An Wujiu’s face didn’t change. He just closed his eyes in consent.
This appearance irritated Yang Ming even more, and he was about to get angered when he heard a “buh—” sound from behind him, followed by a small and hard object striking his head from behind.
Yang Ming immediately released An Wujiu and turned around. An Wujiu adjusted his collar and looked up to see Shen Ti not far away, carrying a bottle of champagne he had obtained from somewhere. The corkless wine kept pouring out and dripping onto the floor.
“Ah.” Shen Ti made a slightly surprised and bewildered sound, covering his mouth underneath the mask with his black-gloved hand.
But the next second, he covered his mouth and bent down to laugh, laughing incessantly. Yang Ming had nothing to say because of his neurotic appearance.
Shen Tiao’s mask made a snapping sound as he laughed. He raised his hand to remove the lower part and drank a mouthful of freshly opened champagne, a gesture of enjoyment.
But the enjoyment didn’t last long. Shen Ti choked and coughed. His lips were tight, and he was visibly disgusted.
An Wujiu sat on the spot and suddenly began giggling like a child.
“Lunatic.” Despite Yang Ming’s disdain for An Wujiu, Shen Ti was present. Yang Ming didn’t know the other’s strength and couldn’t guess Shen Ti’s faction. Additionally, Shen Ti was the individual on the field with the most health. Yang Ming knew that if Shen Ti became furious, Yang Ming would attract trouble, so he just pulled on his wet suit jacket and walked away with a frown.
Not long after, Shen Ti also left, humming an unknown tune.
As Yang Ming anticipated, An Wujiu did not ultimately get water and food. He walked to the front of the storage cabinet where the supplies were stored and squatted, only to discover a small amount of gauze and bandages remaining. Crouched at the cabinet door, he barely wrapped his wrists with the remains.
Looking at this shocking injury, An Wujiu felt slightly puzzled about his abnormal pain tolerance. Although it wasn’t that painful, he snapped off the bandage and held his right arm over his chest.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say he was in the worst situation.
He was the only one of the eight who lacked both water and food. It was absolutely impossible to hold out until the end of the game. If he opted to fight, he only had three miserable health bars, and the only two with lower force values were Zhong Yirou at one and Yang Ming at two. Given Yang Ming’s level of dread towards him, unfortunately, it seems once a person duels with him, Yang Ming will intervene with the purpose of killing him.
Time passed by gradually. An Wujiu leaned on the sofa and gazed at the decorative designs on the ceiling in silence.
What had been fostered in the dark and confined space was breaking through the ground and beginning to stir.
After distributing the supplies, the people in the room lost their motivation to communicate. They scattered in every corner of the bunker, guarding the resources they had just obtained.
As a result of the red and black lines, it was difficult for the people trapped in the confined underground space to communicate confidentially. Trust had become a scarce thing. No one knew whether the person standing beside them was secretly cursing them, wishing they would die immediately.
It was almost 10:30 when Ueno and Liu Chengwei returned and stepped in front of An Wujiu. An Wuju sat upright, lifted his eyes, and looked at them despite not knowing their purpose.
“I…” Ueno’s face was concerned. He broke off more than half of the bread and handed it to An Wujiu.
An Wujiu looked at him calmly and did not immediately take it.
Just recently, he didn’t hesitate to join Yang Ming’s team, promising to provide no escape for An Wujiu, yet now he has arrived to send charcoal in snowy weather.
“I think what you just said is true. It’s not a zero-sum game here.” Ueno’s expression became a little uneasy when he noticed An Wujiu didn’t accept it. While bringing the bread closer, he licked his lips. “You can take it. Although it’s not much, it can last for a day or two.”
An Wujiu looked down at the bread with the label [Ueno Taisei] in his hand, looked up at him again, and said nothing.
Liu Chengwei grew impatient and shouted at him, “Take it if you want it. So slow.” Then he grabbed the bread from Ueno’s hand and threw it into An Wujiu’s arms.
But it wasn’t known if it was because of poor accuracy or deliberately, the bread struck An Wujiu’s face.
The author has something to say:
Shen Ti: Oops, how did I just hit him? Let’s apologize first with a tea-like “ah.” Today, I was also attracted to my future wife, who can remain calm in the face of events.
- 复活赛 could also mean resurrection game which fits the religious theme, but I decided on its other translation, repechage, as it’s closer to how the novel’s game works