Chapter 981: Second Level
Zhang Heng did not leave immediately after obtaining the location and time of the transaction and declined the transportation and lounge Mr. G provided. Instead, he found himself a small hotel to complete his transformation.
When he left the hotel, his appearance had changed considerably. He had turned into this shaggy busker with a bowler hat and a huge guitar case on his back.
He put the metal bottle and the game items he might need later inside the huge guitar case, but he could not carry his Pestilence Bone Bow and Paris Arrow due to its limitations. Other than that, Zhang Heng also rented a pug from a pet shop to follow him around.
Now, he looked exactly like the vagrant singer at squares and stations. The most amazing part was that not only had his appearance changed, but he had also undergone a massive temperament adjustment.
Zhang Heng learned his makeup skill from the Deductive Reasoning quest, which improved dramatically after he combined it with the assassin and camouflage skill he learned from the Roman dungeon. Although he did not increase the skill to Lv3, his current transformation was almost flawless.
After that, Zhang Heng and the dog quietly blended into the crowd.
Zhang Heng arrived at the second level at 5:42 pm.
There was still an hour and three minutes before the trade was slated to take place.
The location was somewhat different from what he imagined. When he arrived at the central shuttle station on the second level, he realized that the place was nothing out of the ordinary. There was no increase in the number of security guards at the station, and they didn’t check the passengers as well. Instead, most of the guards strolled lazily in the waiting hall, chatting about last night’s drinking game last night and eyeballed attractive female passengers that passed by them.
Although Mr. G repeatedly emphasized the strength of the emergency response team before Zhang Heng departed, there were only ten of them. Moreover, without knowing the transaction details, it was impossible for them to spot Zhang Heng. Hence, they would need the assistance of peripheral personnel.
With Shengtang Morgan’s power in New Shanghai 0297, the city’s armed forces could be quickly mobilized with the help of the government agencies. The armed forces were also the most powerful force in the entire second level. However, what surprised Zhang Heng was that the zero emergency response team didn’t make use of them.
This might not necessarily come as good news considering they might have other means to identify the courier. It also appeared that they had a lot of confidence in their means.
If Mr. G was the uncrowned king of the first level, Zhang Heng’s opponent this time owned the entire New Shanghai 0297. So, not only did they have the trump card up their sleeve, but they also had unlimited resources courtesy of Shengtang Morgan.
This was why Zhang Heng had to be extremely cautious.
As soon as he exited the station, he turned off his bracelet and put on a signal jammer on it. He had asked Miss F about the feasibility of removing the tracking device without going through the surgery but by using a signal jammer instead. Unfortunately, according to Miss F, an awakened clone had thought of this method before. So, the manufacturer included a self-fusion function in the tracking device.
Once the transmission signal was blocked for more than eight hours, the tracking device would automatically melt down, causing severe and irreversible damage to the cerebral cortex. Therefore, Zhang Heng’s idea of blocking the tracking device’s signal was no longer viable.
But the good news was that the signal blocker could indeed make him untraceable for a short amount of time. Thus, eight hours should be more than enough to complete the transaction and return to the first level.
Zhang Heng had checked out the location of the Singularity Bar when he was on the shuttle. It was quite a distance from the station, but Zhang Heng didn’t choose to take a taxi there. That was because it did not match his current identity as a street performer. Fortunately, there was plenty of time left, so he decided to walk to his destination with his pug. And at the same time, he could also find out if he was being followed.
This was the peak time for the people to get off work; hence many people were walking around. The streets bustled with activity.
The second level was probably the most overlooked level in the entire New Shanghai 0297. The elite white-collar employees on the third level were nowhere to be seen, and it wasn’t as luxurious and mysterious as the fourth and fifth either. Public security here, however, wasn’t as bad as the first level.
Most residents living on the second level were blue-collars. In 2077, very few blue-collars engaged in repetitive manual labor. Most of them were technicians, each possessing a specific set of skills that would help them excel in their workstations. However, once they left the companies, it would be hard for them to survive in society.
Just like this high division of labor in production, each individual was a trivial cog. Only when combined would they be transformed into a highly efficient machine. Hard work and compliance were probably the second-level residents’ most notable trademarks.
Xu Qian also lived at the second level for a while when she started to work as a streamer. According to her, this was an incredibly dull place. The people here did not understand the value of entertainment. All they knew was work, which made them no different than robots.
However, this was clearly an inaccurate statement. Once its residents got off work, the second level roared to life. Crowds in work attire fervently discussed their next destination to relax after work. Many fancied dining at the first level because the food there was cheaper. Second-level residents also made it a point to know the prices at different places, enabling them to find the most cost-effective route for their strained pockets. Such was an essential skill for all second-level residents.
There was an old saying in New Shanghai 0297: If you want to know which store sells the lowest-priced, highest-quality items, just look for a second-level resident.
Other than the young guns who were eager for dinner, singing, and playing games together, many married middle-aged individuals traversed the streets as well. Seemingly more mature and stable, most of them would rush home after work. Some even bought small gifts for their daughters and sons.
After walking for some distance, Zhang Heng did not see anyone following him. As for the emergency response team, he spotted not a single one. The latter seemed completely unaware that the courier had reached the second level. However, Zhang Heng never thought this was all his enemy was capable of.
Earlier, when he accompanied Old Man Geng to meet with Mr. G, mobsters ambushed him shortly after leaving the cinema. And they were at Mr. G’s turf. With the level of intelligence displayed by the other party, it would make no sense that they knew nothing about the deal.
Since he did not know the enemies’ plan, Zhang Heng had no other option but to follow the plan and head to the rendezvous point.