Chapter 34 – Li Yiming’s Conjecture
The team quickly arrived at the hotel in which Eyeglasses was staying at. Its size allowed the existence of only two suites, and since Eyeglasses had already reserved one of them, they all had to squeeze into the remaining one, which was made available promptly after Li Yiming dropped a stack of money worth about one hundred thousand onto the counter. None of them wanted to share a room with Eyeglasses, since they did not know what vampires did during the day, and neither were they eager to find out.
“Alright, let’s talk about what happened there.” Li Yiming put Big Beard on the bed and sat back down on the sofa in the living room. Qing Qiaoqiao poured him a glass of water.
“It’s pretty obvious to me. That man has taken control of both Ya Yu and Liu Meng. We want to find her, then we need to look for that man.” Zeng Qian had one hand against the wall of the room. A green gas seeped from between her fingers into the wall; it had become a habit for her to do that.
“It’ll be hard to search for a specific person in such a big city, especially when she’s a guardian. If she conceals herself, it’ll impossible to find her. Remember the group of people we met back at the museum? They were right next to us and Eyeglasses didn’t even notice them.” Qing Linglong took a bottle of beer out of the fridge. She had a sudden craving for it amidst her frustration of having the feeling that she had neglected something important, but could not quite remember what it was exactly.
“I have a question.” Fang Shui’er removed her high-heels and sat down on the sofa. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that man was able to control Ya Yu. That would take an inconceivable amount of focus.”
“Of course, and Liu Meng at the same time? Guardians aren’t normal people. It’s no simple task to control one either,” Qing Qiaoqiao added.
“Well, if we assume that he’s not ridiculously strong, then there’s only one explanation left: he has some kind of talent that’s not focus-based,” Fang Shui’er said.
“Talent? Not focus-based. You mean… beast taming?” Qing Longlong realized that this lead was exactly what she had forgotten about.
“Yes, that’s the only explanation.”
“Remember what he said when he showed up?” Qing Linglong’s confidence in her own guess grew.
“He said, ‘I’m late’. Doesn’t that mean he was there for that beast? But he saw that Li Yiming had already taken care of her, so he left.” Qing Qiaoqiao read her sister’s thoughts like a book.
“His talent has to be beast taming. He’s gathering the beasts to increase his own strength,” Fang Shui’er concluded.
“With that talent, he can borrow the force of Heaven’s Laws and force beasts to fight for him after a contract has been sealed. That would make sense, but what about Liu Meng? She looked like she was in the same state as Ya Yu, is she a beast? I’ve never heard of beast tamers who could control guardians.” Zeng Qian sat right next to her sister, in a rather formal posture that made it seem like she was participating in a political committee.
“What’s Liu Meng’s talent?” Qing Linglong asked.
“Fire.” Li Yiming had his hands stuffed in his pockets. He tried his best to formulate an idea, but could think of nothing due to his own lack of knowledge. The only thing he could do was to wait for something to come out of his teammates.
His answer disappointed his teammates, who at least hoped for something similar such as “beast transformation”, but fire had nothing to do with it. The room sank into a dead silence.
“This is complicated.” Qing Qiaoqiao looked at Li Yiming. She could not understand the change in Li Yiming’s attitude after he came out of the illusion. ‘What did he go through? Why is he so… cold?’
“There’s something else.” Qing Linglong finished her beer and looked at Li Yiming with a serious countenance. “I’m seriously doubting our ability to fight that man even if we find him. If he can control Ya Yu, then surely he’s not that weak himself. With Ya Yu, Liu Meng and perhaps other beasts we don’t know about at this point, can we even take him on in a fight?”
“Well, even if we can’t fight him we should at least search.” Li Yiming suddenly stood up in irritation. He slammed the bedroom’s door shut behind. Qing Linglong was clearly surprised by such an outburst while Qing Qiaoqiao seemed somewhat understand the reason behind it.
“You know, if that man was really as strong as you say he is, why didn’t he attack us?” A sudden thought occurred to Zeng Qian.
All heads were turned toward the bedroom with the same question in mind. ‘Was he afraid of Li Yiming?’
Li Yiming sank into the soft mattress. He knew exactly why he was angry: he was all too familiar with this feeling of helplessness and powerlessness at his own fate. He recalled the night inside the illusion, he thought about all the years Liu Meng spent with that secret buried inside her heart. ‘How, how am I supposed to find you and make up for my own mistake?’
‘I thought you had improved your character by a bit, but here we are once again.’ He heard Bai Ze’s voice in his head.
“You’ve recovered?” Li Yiming got up with excitement. It was just the right moment for the awakening of a know-it-all like Bai Ze.
“I’m still pretty far from that. I just felt a big emotional turbulence, and I was afraid that you were going to do something stupid, so I came out and had a look. “ Bai Ze’s joking tone suggested at a good mood.
“Liu Meng has been influenced.” Li Yiming was a little annoyed by Bai Ze’s nonchalance.
“It’s not influence. She’s been sealed.”
“Sealed, you know what happened to her?”
“Of course, your eyes are mine. More precisely, something else is controlling her.”
“What?” Li Yiming asked.
“Do you know about Bi Fang?” Bai Ze said.
“Bi Fang? You mean that firebird with one leg, blue feathers, and a white beak?” Li Yiming was surprised.
“You’ve seen him?” It was Bai Ze’s turn to be baffled.
“I’ve met him before.” Li Yiming briefly retold her what had happened between Li Huaibei and Bi Fang.
“Then it’s pretty obvious what happened. Bi Fang lost that fight completely, and he knew that he couldn’t escape being chased down by that sage-level guy, so he tried to seal Liu Meng’s consciousness and take control of her body, but he didn’t think that he would fall prey to a beast tamer. In the end, he still became a slave. Also, how did you get to know someone who’s sage-level?” Bai Ze asked.
“Is Liu Meng okay right now?” Li Yiming ignored Bai Ze’s question and asked about the only thing that concerned him.
“I would think that she’s unharmed, at least for now. But if we wait any longer, I wouldn’t be so sure. How did Liu Meng become a guardian by the way?” Bai Ze went off on another tangent. She was even more surprised than Li Yiming when she saw his Heavenly Vein. ‘He was completely powerless only a few days ago, what happened? It would take an incredible amount of Progression Path points to get him to where he is now.’
“I’m not sure. Liu Meng became a guardian after she woke up from her coma in Ning Village. She told me about going on the Stage of Ascension.” Li Yiming was led astray by Bai Ze’s question.
“ I guess there’s nothing wrong with Heaven’s Laws picking those best suited for the task. What about you? How did you become that strong?”
“Do you remember that lightning? I became like that after getting struck by it. I was just going to ask you about it.”
“Lightning?” Bai Ze stopped talking for a moment. She was still caught in a moment of after-scare at how she narrowly escaped certain death. “Now that you mention it, since our fates are tied together, any rewards I receive for braving through Heaven’s Punishment should be extended to you as well. I guess it makes sense that instead of strengthening the abilities you didn’t have in the first place, they were made accessible. So, what’s your plan now? Are you planning on focusing on spell? Did you use all of your points in there?” Bai Ze asked after noticing that “spell” was the only ability exceeding level three.
“You know, that’s exactly what I wanted to ask you.” Li Yiming stretched himself on the bed, a little discouraged. “I used all of my points into spell, but nothing happened. I don’t even know how I got to level four.”
“You used everything?” Bai Ze was surprised.
“Yes, I used all 130 points and nothing happened.”
“Give it another try.” Bai Ze was still incredulous. Li Yiming listened to her and added just a little bit of the points he had just obtained into spell once again.
“This doesn’t make sense. You’ve just activated your Heavenly vein, so how come you can’t improve it with Progression Path points? That would doom you to being stuck at your current level forever.” Bai Ze’s despair was growing; she had thought that after such a long wait, especially after seeing that Li Yiming had improved to level three in all categories, which was way beyond the limits of a normal person and even respectable according to guardian standards, things would be different. However, she only realized now that maybe it would be impossible for him to grow further. If it was really the case, then the future would be bleak for both herself and Li Yiming.
“Maybe it’s because of Heaven’s Laws.” Li Yiming was also concerned by seemingly not having the ability to grow further, especially after seeing all the high-level guardians battle back in Eden.
“That’s probably it. This is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.” Bai Ze calmed down and searched in her mind for something that might be useful.
“But you know, it’s a lot better than before. At least I’m level three in everything now.” Li Yiming noticed Bai Ze’s mood sinking down and smiled optimistically. “Also there’s something else. I think that all of the focus techniques for probing and barriers of any kind are useless against me, even sage-level Boundaries. Isn’t that great?”
“What? Boundaries don’t affect you?” Bai Ze’s voice jumped up an octave. “You better explain this to me properly. This is no small matter.”
“Remember that sage guy, Li Huaibei…” Li Yiming retold Bai Ze of what happened when he saw Li Huaibei fighting Bi Fang.
“Combat Boundary…” Bai Ze seemed to have remembered something, but she hesitated.
“I also bumped into another guardian who admitted that his talent of probing an area with his focus failed to find me. Also, Bai Xi’s illusion barrier, I managed to walk inside without any trouble, and I could even see what was happening inside when I stood outside.” Li Yiming gave Bai Ze another few examples of his “skill” in a rather showing-off tone to make up for his low-mood after the constatation that his Heavenly Vein could not grow normally like the others.
“That is an impressive ability indeed. Used cleverly that is…”
“Oh yeah. Li Huaibei told me that I’m just like Mr. Kong, but due to some limitation imposed by Heaven’s Law, he couldn’t tell me the details.” Li Yiming suddenly remembered what Li Huaibei told him before parting ways.
“What? The same as Mr. Kong? Limitations?” Bai Ze was astonished; a clue about Mr. Kong, the mysterious figure that had preoccupied her mind ever since Ning Village, had finally been obtained.
“So I’m guessing that…”
“Mr. Kong is a bug, just like you!” Bai Ze completed Li Yiming’s conjecture in a voice trembling with excitement.