The room sank into a dead silence once again as each pondered about their own worries. Li Yiming was very distraught, because he realized for the first time that despite being much more able than an average person, he was still powerless, powerless to help Liu Meng, and powerless against any obstacles the domain might throw in his way. Instead of planning his progress like the other guardians, it seemed like he was always on the passive end. His worries about Liu Meng also made him ponder about the right way to act in the future.
The silence was suddenly broken by Li Yiming’s cellphone’s ringing. Ever since Liu Meng’s disappearance, Li Yiming had been paying more attention to his phone, hoping for a miracle. Zeng Qian looked at Li Yiming’s brick-sized, extra-long battery life phone and wondered what kind of special purpose it served. An unknown number was shown on the caller’s display, but Li Yiming swiped the screen without thinking about it.
“Li Yiming?” A nervous, almost crying voice came out of speakers.
“Qiaoqiao?” Li Yiming recognized her voice. ‘How does she know my number? I don’t remember giving it to her.’ He realized she must probably have gotten it from Eyeglasses.
“Yes! Help, we need help!” Qing Qiaoqiao seemed overjoyed about hearing Li Yiming voice, but it also sounded like she was going to burst into tears.
“What’s wrong?” Li Yiming was a little disappointed by the fact that it was not Liu Meng, but Qing Qiaoqiao’s distress woke him up from his low mood: it seemed like she was in trouble.
“Grandma’s dead, Eyeglasses’s hurt badly and sis isn’t waking up.” Qing Qiaoqiao finally could not hold back the tears. She sobbed loudly as she told the bad news to Li Yiming.
“What? What happened?” Li Yiming jumped up from where he sat before he knew it. His sudden movement knocked over the water carafe. The object fell onto the soft tapestry and wet the floor around it. Although Fang Shui’er was close enough to stop the spill, she did nothing and also stood up in shock. The sound of Li Yiming’s phone was loud enough such that she and Zeng Qian also heard what Qing Qiaoqiao said fairly easily. She remembered her from the restaurant at the start of the domain, but Qing Qiaoqiao had already gone back to her seat by the time she arrived, so she did not know much about her friendship with Li Yiming. ‘By the looks of it, it seems like she’s in trouble. I wouldn’t think that Li Yiming would refuse to help her, but what about us? Do we want to take that risk?’
“My friends are in trouble, I need to go help them.” As Fang Shui’er expected, Li Yiming put the phone back into his pocket and hurried toward the exit.
“Let’s go together. Maybe we can help?” Zeng Qian stepped forward and proposed. She looked at her sister, who seemed hesitant about intervening.
“Thank you.” Li Yiming noticed Fang Shui’er’s indecision and knew the cause of it. He kept silent and walked toward the door. Fang Shui’er read her sister’s intentions when their eyes crossed: ‘How can we expect Li Yiming to help us out if we’re not willing to help him out?’
The three arrived at the address Qing Qiaoqiao provided to them. Zeng Qian stepped off from the driver’s seat with a mingled expression of surprise and amusement: it was the first time that she had driven a vehicle like that. She wanted to offer to have the hotel arrange for a car, but did not dare to run the risk of offending Li Yiming for his eccentricity. Now, more than ever, Li Yiming became someone incomprehensible to Zeng Qian at least.
The person who came to answer the door was an old man whose empty eyes gave away the fact that Qing Qiaoqiao had used her talent on him. Li Yiming pushed the door open and entered inside promptly. The first person he saw was Eyeglasses. He was sitting on the sofa with his face full of sweat and his left hand around his right shoulder. All that remained below his right shoulder was a bloody mess. He had his right leg on the tea table and his left bionic leg was on the ground, broken beyond recognition. Qing Qiaoqiao dove into Li Yiming’s embrace when she saw him and cried her heart out.
“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Li Yiming patted her back gently, but could not find the words to comfort her. He looked at Eyeglasses and was answered with a faint smile.
“Qianqian, help.” Fang Shui’er did not waste her time with words. It seemed like she had been through the same kind of traumatic experience many times before. She glanced around the room and walked toward the bedroom in which Qing Linglong stayed.
Zeng Qian walked up to Eyeglasses, removed the cotton bandages that helped stop the bleeding and examined the gaping wound closely. “Was it bitten off?” She asked.
Eyeglasses answered with a weak nod of the head.
“The flesh around it has already died. It needs to be removed. You’re going to have to endure some pain.” Zeng Qian spoke in an emotionless voice that resembled that of a surgeon about to perform an operation. A razor-sharp dagger appeared in her hand as she looked at Eyeglasses and sought his permission.
Eyeglasses nodded silently again. Zeng Qian began to slice the dead flesh right away. She looked like a butcher preparing his merchandise more than anything, and the occasional drip of blood that flew onto Zeng Qian’s face did not even make her stop for an instant. Li Yiming was barely able to keep watching it all and covered Qing Qiaoqiao’s eyes with his hand so she would not have to witness the bloody scene.
“Your talent is focus manipulation?” Fang Shui’er walked out of the bedroom and glanced at the old couple that was standing still right next to her.
“How’s my sister?” Qing Qiaoqiao’s sobs were cut short and she promptly asked.
“She’s fallen into a coma due to head trauma. It’s not anything difficult to cure. I’ll tell you what to do and she’ll come back to us.” Fang Shui’er said calmly. The air of authority that dominated the emperor’s harem had returned once again. 1
“Qiaoqiao, listen to her.” Li Yiming patted Qing Qiaoqiao’s back once again. He was now thinking about how fortunate it was for the Fang sisters to have come with him; if he was alone in this situation, he would have been as helpless as Qing Qiaoqiao. However, the Fang sisters seemed to be veterans for dealing with scenarios like this.
Qiaoqiao wiped away her tears and followed Fang Shui’er into the room. The weight of the emotional burden was nearly unbearable for someone her age, and the sense of security that Li Yiming’s presence instilled made her obey him without any questions. Li Yiming knelt down right next to Eyeglasses and held his still intact hand to show his support. Zeng Qian was very efficient in her work and had already begun to put a final ointment and bandages over it.
“Ouch, not too hard, please. There’s not that much of me left.” Eyeglasses joked when he saw Li Yiming offer his support. He was very moved by the fact that Li Yiming asked for the address right away when Qing Qiaoqiao sought his help. This was not as simple as an act of convenient sympathy, and it was a rare sight in a domain.
Li Yiming noticed the dejection behind the facade of the jest and held onto Eyeglasses’ hand even more tightly to show his support.
“A few more times and I’ll become a robot.” Eyeglasses smiled bitterly as he looked at his deformed bionic leg. The sadness in his voice was almost contagious.
“Okay, the wound is taken care of. But I could only stop the bleeding, so you should stay still for a while.” Zeng Qian put the cotton cloth back down and wiped away the blood and the sweat on her face.
“Is there anything in here that you can use?” Li Yiming suddenly remembered about the storage items he had obtained earlier in the morning. He took all of them out of his bracelet and put them into Zeng Qian’s hands.
Zeng Qian was surprised. ‘He’s giving them to me just like that? Does this mean that he trusts me, or is this another test of my goodwill?’ Zeng Qian carefully inspected the content of one of the items and split part of her attention to observe Li Yiming’s reaction. However, all she decipher from Li Yiming was an obvious anticipation.
“Ki recovering pill.” Zeng Qian took out a small bottle. Instead of administering it to Eyeglasses, she put it on the table.
Li Yiming opened the bottle and looked at its content without thinking much about it. He saw five chocolate marbles, just like the one he ate. He picked one up and put it into Eyeglasses’ mouth. Zeng Qian, upon seeing that, suddenly realized something. ‘So is this the reason why he has walked this far… Far beyond us? Is this his Dao?’ Zeng Qian quickly searched through the other items. 2
Zeng Qian found two more bottles of recovering pills with two and one pills inside each, thus bringing the sum to eight pills. She also found a level one recovery glyph, and, after taking it for a brief moment to learn how to use it, Li Yiming stuck it onto Eyeglasses’ chest. This made Zeng Qian believe even more in her assertion. Eyeglasses rapidly recovered after being given the medicine, and his pale countenance and heaving chest quickly improved.
“Vampire serum?” Zeng Qian suddenly took out a small bottle when she was nearing the end of her search. The container was about the size of Li Yiming’s thumb, and through its transparent walls Li Yiming could see a crimson liquid that seemed almost alive.
“Is that medicine?” Li Yiming looked at Zeng Qian and saw that she stared at the liquid.
“Once you take the vampiric serum, you’ll join their ranks. The convenient thing is that vampires can regenerate their limbs.” Zeng Qian put the bottle back on the table hesitantly. She had done some research on the substance for being a potential remedy to her own flesh problems, but the detrimental side-effects and the uncertainty of its being an effective cure made her abandon the option.
“Limb regeneration?” Li Yiming’s eyes lit up when he heard Zeng Qian’s words.
“But the side-effects…” Zeng Qian began.
“I know about them,” Eyeglasses interrupted. He also looked at the bottle hesitantly. It was one thing to obtain the ability to regenerate one’s limbs and to stay youthful forever, but unlike a vampiric talent, drinking the serum would mean that one would be infected by the vampiric virus, which was very different from a guardian’s talent. A talent was one’s skill, but to drink the serum was to change one’s being. Otherwise it would be easy to mass-produce guardians by simply offering the serum, and there was no way that Heaven’s Laws could tolerate such a failing. He would be condemned to drinking human blood as his only source of nourishment, and, until he grows to a certain level, he would not even be able to endure the light from the sun.
‘Drink that and I won’t be human anymore…’
“Eyeglasses.” Qing Linglong had emerged from the bedroom with the support of her sister. She was listening into the conversation the entire time and looked at Eyeglasses to listen for his decision.
“Do I have a choice?” Eyeglasses sighed with a frustrated smile. He could at least trade some strength back with his humanity, and strength he would need to survive the future domains. With only half of his limbs still intact, it would be a miracle to survive this one, not to say the next one that would inevitably come. Care for those disabled could not be expected of in a domain.
Li Yiming realized that the consequences of the transformation would be far beyond its apparent benefits and decided to stay quiet. He looked at Qing Linglong to see what she had to say.
“Could you let me transform inside the room? It’s an ugly thing, and I wouldn’t want to scare Qiaoqiao.” Eyeglasses smiled as he usually did and said in a calm voice, but his composure in itself had an incredible sadness to it.
“Are you sure of it? We could…
“I’ve decided. There’s no way you can take care of me forever. I’ll just bring everyone down if I keep on going like this. Please, bring me inside.” Qing Linglong wanted to try once more, but Eyeglasses cut her off with a resolute voice: he seemed to have made his decision.
Li Yiming turned his head toward Qing Linglong again and saw her turn her head away as tears seeped out of her eyes.
Out of the window goes the theory that Li Yiming agrees to cooperate with the village-butchering sisters because he was very worried about Liu Meng. I definitely wouldn’t want to be this guy’s girlfriends, that’s for sure xD.
1. The author is refering to the role Fang Shui’er starred in a TV drama, mentioned in the previous chapters.
2.Here Dao refers to one’s beliefs and values. The author means that every single person who achieves greatness as a guardian must solid faith in what they’re doing and not doubt themselves. (This doesn’t mean that their beliefs make sense, just that they believe firmly in them)
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