Chapter One :Chapter 1

"Tao Tao, don't blame mom for being heartless. We really have no other option. We only have two rooms at home, with eight people living in them. Now that you have a chance to follow the pioneering team out, having provisions and accommodations, and I even heard about dormitories available. Under such wonderful conditions, just go..."

Su Tao, despite having foreseen this, still felt hurt: "Mom... I possess no special abilities. I haven't walked out of the base camp ever since I was little. Going out with the pioneer army..."

The choice was bleak - either death or disability.

In the twentieth year since the apocalypse began, all major base camps had gradually been established and perfected, where not only food was provided, but survivors could also avoid attacks from the zombie beasts. As a result, crowds of survivors would pour in.

In order to survive, everybody was trying their best to enter a base camp, which led to a dramatic population increase inside the camps and a severe shortage of land.

Su Tao's father, as an engineer involved in the base camp construction from an early stage, was fortunate to get an apartment with two rooms and sixty square meters in size.

Logically speaking, it was perfectly adequate for their family of three.

However, Su Tao's father and mother were a middle-aged married couple, each having their own families before they had Su Tao. Both had children from their previous marriages.

Su Tao's father, Su Yuanhang, out of his love for his two sons from his ex-wife, moved them into his newly allocated apartment.

Upon seeing this, Su Tao's mother, Li Ronglian, felt discontented and invited her daughter, Jiang Jinwei, from her previous marriage to live with them. Jiang Jinwei was Su Tao's half-sister.

Li Ronglian also brought along Jiang Jinwei's husband and her three-year-old daughter.

As a result, a household of eight people squeezed into a sixty square meter apartment.

Su Tao not only did not have her own room, but was also forced to sleep in the narrow bathroom. It was not only dark and damp, but her bunk was right next to the toilet.

Every time Jiang Jinwei came to the bathroom, she would scold Su Tao for being in the way and being a burden.

The more people there were in the family, the more conflicts arose. There was no peace even for a single day.

The government had issued a policy: each household must send an adult laborer to join the pioneer army, otherwise, their housing would be reclaimed.

So, Su Tao found herself being pushed out there.

Tears welled up in Li Ronglian's eyes:

"Tao Tao, I really have no choice, your sister has a child. I can't possibly send her, can I? Your two brothers have stable jobs at the base, providing most of the income for our family. Your dad would definitely disagree..."

Su Tao turned around, stepping into the cramped, dark bathroom. Shutting the door, she blocked out her mother's voice.

She didn't have much attachment to this home - joining the army and even if she did end up disabled, it was better than being abandoned and backstabbed by her dear ones at home.

She didn't have much to pack. Her personal belongings were pitifully scarce, she only took a change of clothes.

At that moment, a cold, mechanical voice suddenly echoed in her mind:

"Energy collection complete. Loading successful."

Su Tao: "?"

What was this? Hallucination?

The voice continued, "Do you agree to bind with the Rent-a-landlord system? Upon successful binding, you will be awarded with a basic one-bedroom apartment for personal use."

Su Tao was bewildered and had trouble understanding the situation. However, her mind seemed to focus on the words "awarded a property."

A house!

She had always dreamed of owning a place of her own.

She does not need to sleep in the bathroom, will not be disturbed by others' clamor, she can live peacefully and be self-sustaining.

Subconsciously, she thought to herself, even if it's an illusion or a daydream, let alone binding to some system, she would agree to fight with zombies up close right now.

【Binding successful, please receive it, host.】

In an instant, a room key appeared in Su Tao's hand, and a transparent panel also appeared in front of her eyes at the same time, presenting a revolving 3D view of a one-bed-one-living room apartment.

Su Tao's eyes widened, as if she were in a dream.

It is really not an imaginary daydream, is it?

【Please arrive at the property location as soon as possible, host, and complete the novice task.】

Su Tao came back to her senses and looked at the room key in her hand, the back of which contained an address.

Upon closer inspection, she found the address somewhat familiar; it seemed to be near the Dongyang Base.

"Bang bang bang"

There was a violent knock on the door from outside, along with Jiang Jinwei's impatient urging:

"Hurry up and pack your things to report, always dilly-dally, take all your things away, whatever you can't carry, throw away, every time you use the bathroom it's a hassle."

Su Tao held back, collected the room key, and opened the door abruptly.

"Are you done packing? If you're done, why are you still standing there? You eat so much but don't seem to move any faster."

With a calm face, Su Tao walked over, and under Jiang Jinwei's dumbfounded gaze, she raised her hand and slapped her.

Now that she had made up her mind to distance herself from this family, she had to take her revenge first before making her exit.

With a resounding "slap," not only did she shatter Su Tao's self-pity, but it also brought about an oddly satisfying sensation.

She had wanted to do this for a long time!

"Su Tao! How dare you hit me!" Jiang Jinwei's voice was almost hoarse with fury. She abandoned the weeping child and lunged at Su Tao, tussling and wrestling with her.

Su Tao didn't say anything, simply striking back with another slap.

"Exactly, I'm hitting you, in this family you are the last person who should call me a freeloader! If mom hadn't favored you and brought your family of three here, you guys would still be wandering and homeless right now!"

Li Ronglian sobbed, "We are sisters... we shouldn't say such things to each other..."

Su Tao as if hearing the funniest joke ever, retaliated: "Starting from today, I have no siblings, no mom or dad! Let's leave it at that. If we meet in the future, let's pretend we are strangers, don't greet me."

After saying this, she ignored Jiang Jinwei's murderous gaze, quickly went back to grab her ID and her only set of clean clothes. Shouldering her bag, she left the house without looking back.

Li Ronglian sobbed uncontrollably, "Is she... cutting ties with us?"

Jiang Jinwei rubbed her red cheek, her voice full of spite: "Let the ungrateful wretch sever ties with us! Let's see how she survives in Dongyang without her father and brothers taking care of her, and with no place to live. In the end, she'll have to come begging to us!"

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