Chapter 25 – Renewed Cooperation
Li Yiming sighed as he shut the door. He could hear the muffled roars of pain from Eyeglasses inside. “Tell me, what happened?” Li Yiming asked as he sat down next to Qing Linglong. The Fang sisters had retreated to the kitchen, since they did not know whether Li Yiming wished to have a private conversation or not. Qing Qiaoqiao had prepared two beds for them after a long night so that Li Yiming could have his conversation undisturbed.
“You didn’t tell him?” Qing Linglong looked at her sister, a little surprised by the question.
“I didn’t have time.” Qiaoqiao had yet to settle down completely. It was a strange thing that despite her sister waking up, she chose to sit next to Li Yiming. Somehow, the latter could give her a feeling of security no one else could.
Qing Linglong was very touched when she heard that Li Yiming had offered his help without even asking what the problem was in the first place. ‘I don’t think that we’re on that level of friendship yet, but… The two people that came with him…’
“We were planning on ambushing a beast, but we bumped into another group of guardians as we were ready to strike.” Regardless of the reason behind Li Yiming’s generosity, answering truthfully was the least Qing Linglong could do.
“Did the other guardians attack you?” Li Yiming remembered what happened at the park in the morning.
“No. In fact, we retreated right after noticing that they were there.” The only thing worth of rejoicing in it all was Qing Linglong’s swift decision for a retreat at that time. If it were not for her
‘Looks like these people are quite cautious. We wouldn’t be in this situation if our ‘team’ was half as careful.’ Fang Shui’er looked at her sister from across the kitchen.
“It’s the beast we were tracking. We thought that it would be intermediate-level at most. But it was the Ya Yu.”
“Ya Yu?” Zeng Qian, let out a cry of surprise from the kitchen when she heard what Qing Linglong said. ‘In the morning, Li Yiming said that he met Bi Fang, and now the Ya Yu also shows up? What’s wrong with this domain? Why do the high-level beasts keep showing up here?’
“The team that attacked before us, the seven of them lasted only an instant against Ya Yu. We thought we were safe, but little did we know that he was aware of our presence and came for us. Grandma stayed to buy us some time…”
“How did you escape then?” Fang Shui’er walked out of the kitchen with the key question in mind. She had to know, since she herself was embroiled in the situation now. She could not believe that Qing Qiaoqiao would be able to save her unconscious sister and injured friend from the Ya Yu all by herself, unless that “Grandma” who stayed to buy some time reached level six.
“I fell unconscious after Grandma died, so I’m not sure what happened.” Qing Linglong turned her head toward her sister. She herself was curious about what had happened, since it was obvious that Li Yiming’s group had only arrived after they had reached safety.
“It was a man, someone who looked very… weird. He jumped out of nowhere and the Ya Yu chased him instead.” Qing Qiaoqiao tried her best to remember what had happened. The emotional shock she had endured from the death of someone who cared for her like a granddaughter, her sister’s injuries and Eyeglasses made it all very hard to recall the details.
“Weird? One person?” Fang Shui’er was unsure whether she could believe Qing Qiaoqiao’s story.
“Yes. A man. He looked very fashionable, and very… beautiful. Like a woman, in fact.” Qing Qiaoqiao remembered the man’s feminine figure and was having trouble to find the right words to describe him.
‘Led the Ya Yu off by himself? Beautiful? Looked like a woman? Fang Shui’er exchanged a glance with her sister and wondered about the possibility of such a person even existing. Even Qing Linglong found it quite hard to believe the words of her sister at first. Only Li Yiming trusted Qing Qiaoqiao’s retelling completely.
“We should be more careful next time. It’s good that you’re well, just that Grandma Wang…”
Qiaoqiao’s eyes reddened and she started sobbing once again. Li Yiming wrapped his arms around her to offer some support. Fang Shui’er and Zeng Qian, who had just been through a similar situation, knew that nothing they could say would help and stayed quiet. At least those who were willing to shed tears for the sake of their companions, like Li Yiming and his friends, were more trustworthy than cold-hearted ones who showed no emotion.
“That man was very dangerous, perhaps even more than the Ya Yu.” The door to the bedroom opened and Eyeglasses appeared at the entrance. He held his broken biotic leg in one hand and moved his newly regenerated arm, which was still dripping wet. His face was still pale as ever, but he also seemed gloomier than before. Usually, even with a vampire’s regenerative abilities, he would not have been able to achieve such a recovery, but the combined power of the glyph and the pill helped him achieve the impossible and regenerate two of his limbs in a short while.
“Even more dangerous than the Ya Yu?” Zeng Qian stood up and closed the curtain: vampires did not like sunlight.
“Yes, he looked at us as if we were helpless prey. I think that he’s above level five, to say the least.”
‘Level five…’ A dead silence befell. Fang Shui’er glanced at Li Yiming. ‘I wonder if he’ll be able to fight someone that strong…’
“So, what’s next?” Zeng Qian looked around and asked, as she would often do so in her job.
“I suggest that we work together for now.” Qing Linglong looked at her sister, who was still in Li Yiming’s arms. Her proposition echoed the worries of those around her; the domain had become more and more dangerous, and it would be unwise to try to survive alone.
“I have no objections.” Li Yiming realized that all eyes were fixated on him and quickly made his stance clear. “But first things first, I need to go look for Liu Meng. She disappeared.”
“Liu Meng disappeared?” Qing Qiaoqiao lifted her head. She had been wondering about where Liu Meng was, and even wondered if it was because of Fang Shui’er that she was gone.
“Well, looking for someone isn’t incompatible with surviving.” Eyeglasses sat down on the opposite side of Li Yiming and put the object he held back into his storage item.
“We need a leader.” Fang Shui’er stared at Qing Linglong. By the looks of things, Qing Linglong was the captain of the team.
“Li Yiming saved my life. I’ll do whatever he tells me,” Eyeglasses said before everyone else.
“I agree that he’s the most appropriate person to lead our team right now.” Fang Shui’er hurried to voice her take.
“I agree.” The approval came from Fang Shui’er and Zeng Qian.
No one sought Qing Qiaoqiao’s opinion, and, of course, no one asked Li Yiming either. Just like that, Li Yiming, a complete newbie, had become the captain of the impromptu team.
“Well then, maybe we should have a look at these things and pick out whatever we need. These are the items from earlier, I didn’t even go through them myself, actually. Take what you need to strengthen yourselves. The stronger we are, the more chances of survival.” Since it would both help the team and help his search for Liu Meng, Li Yiming did not hesitate to share his spoils of “battle” with his new teammates.
“From before?” Qing Linglong seemed surprised. She had noticed the storage items on the table, but did think that it would be appropriate for her to ask.
“We were attacked by another team of guardians. Li Yiming saved us.” Zeng Qian knew enough about Li Yiming now to not be shy. She already knew exactly what she wanted from earlier and picked up a bottle of black, syrupy liquid inside.
“Attacked by another team? Seven people?” Qing Linglong looked at the items in front of her. Bloodshed over personal belongings was not a rare sight in domains, but usually, those who attacked would only do so when they had the utmost confidence. The fact that there were seven items here meant seven opponents. ‘Li Yiming, alone, against an entire team?’
“Yes, a team of seven people.” Fang Shui’er knew the reason behind Qing Linglong’s asking again and explained to her. In fact, even now she still found it hard to believe that someone like Li Yiming, who seemed not to be anything out of the ordinary, could be that strong.
“You killed all of them?” Qing Linglong looked at Li Yiming in disbelief.
“One of them. He let go of the rest.” Zeng Qian said disapprovingly.
“Let go?” Qing Linglong was surprised.
“It’s not easy being a guardian, so why push people to the bitter end? Oh, by the way, do you need this?” Li Yiming answered casually as he took out a chest full of cash. Seeing that no one needed it, he put it into his own bracelet with an undisguised happy smile.
Seeing Li Yiming like that once again surprised those around him. ‘Strong but merciful, prudent but trusting. He gives away the items of value but is happy when he sees a chest full of money? An interesting future certainly awaits us with his being the captain.’ Still, everyone took their turns rummaging through the items for what they needed. Just like Li Yiming said, the stronger they could become, the safer they would be.
“Our next step is to find Liu Meng. I want to find her, alive or dead.” Li Yiming put the items back and pooled everything together. With a favor given first, he felt a lot more comfortable asking his teammates to assist him in his personal quest and thought that there was little chance his request would be refused.
“Finding people is my specialty, but it’s hard for me to work here. This isn’t exactly the best place for me to set up, and I can’t even go outside right now…” Eyeglasses looked at the old couple who were sound asleep in the living room.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. Stay here for the moment and you can join us once night falls.” Qing Linglong gave him an encouraging pat on the shoulder. It was impossible for Eyeglasses to go out during the day, and their current location was unsuitable to his needs.
“I can only control my bugs until a certain distance. I’ll lose them if they go too far,” Zeng Qian explained. She knew what was the most important thing when one worked as a team.
“Do we split up?” Qing Qiaoqiao still leaned her head against Li Yiming. Grandma Wang’s death was a hard blow for her and she really hoped for Liu Meng to not succumb to the same horrific fate.
“We shouldn’t. There are too many unforeseen dangers right now. It would be pointless for us to form a team, only to split up in the end,” Fang Shui’er said.
“Okay then. Our best bet is to drive around while using your bugs to search for her.” Li Yiming stood up and tried his best to hide his worry and nervousness. The longer it took for them to find Liu Meng, the more likely of something bad happening to her.
Zeng Qian nodded. Her eyes suddenly turned pitch-black and started glowing in the darkness of the room. The flesh around her neck rippled from beneath and suddenly, a cloud of insect burst out of her flesh and flew toward the window. The sight terrified Qing Qiaoqiao to the point that she screeched.
“I’m sorry,” Qing Qiaoqiao realized what she had just done and quickly apologized.
“Let’s go.” Zeng Qian’s eyes returned to normal. Her expressionless mask let no emotion through it. Qing Linglong looked at her sister disapprovingly and followed. Fang Shui’er sunk into a mood upon witnessing the scene, while Qing Qiaoqiao tried her best to show how sorry she was.
r.i.p. Grandma Wang :'(