Chapter 1 – New Team
Inside a hotel suite, the survivors from the Shangbei domain gathered around a table. All seemed happy and were still in disbelief at their good luck. Qing Qiaoqiao was the only person who was not so relieved. She did not believe Li Yiming’s explanation about Liu Meng’s absence and instead judged it to be a pretense aimed at lessening the psychological burdens of those that did survive. The more she looked at Li Yiming,
“Eyeglasses!?” Qing Linglong yelled out in horror; the vampiric virus was not something that was cured by at the end of a domain.
“Look at this!” Eyeglasses played around with a black rock that hung from his neck. It was made of an unknown material, and the craftsmanship was rather crude. This was Eyeglasses’ reward: an adaptive guardian equipment.
“Shadowless Pearl?” Li Yiming knew exactly what the object was; the vampiric couple had told him about it. He was happy that Eyeglasses had found just the right item right away.
“Yes. Ah, it feels good to be under the sun again.” Eyeglasses took a deep breath and sat down next to the window. Being bathed in the warmth of the sun seemed to bring great comfort to Eyeglasses’, at least judging by the expression on his pale visage. However, Li Yiming noticed that the rays of light did not produce a shadow beneath Eyeglasses.
“What is done is done. We should make plans for the future now.” Qing Linglong was planning ahead, as it was in her habit to do so.
“I want to rest.” Big Beard took out a can of beer from the fridge, opened it by biting, and took a long sip.
“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.” Qing Linglong stared directly into his eyes.
“I know what you mean. Just give me some time to think.” Big Beard took another sip.
“Can you find anyone better than Li Yiming?” Qing Linglong pressed on, determined to get an answer from Big Beard.
‘Li Yiming…’ Big Beard squinted as he pondered Qing Linglong’s proposal. He looked at Li Yiming and tried to remember what happened in the domain, but his memories were cut off the moment he fell unconscious. What happened at the end of the Shangbei domain, he did not know, but one thing was for sure; Li Yiming was the last man standing, and Liu Meng was gone. ‘He said that Liu Meng was gone for convalescence, but is that true? Regardless, the sage level Xiang Liu was slain, there’s no doubt about that from what Heaven’s Laws told me.’
“I agree too. We can make better use of our strengths as a team. I have a feeling that we’ll be able to do great things.” Eyeglasses also had his eyes fixated on Li Yiming. “Li Yiming, you don’t belong to a permanent team, do you?
“A permanent team?” Li Yiming snapped out of his reflections. He had been thinking about the seemingly cryptic exchanges between Qing Linglong and Big Beard.
“So you don’t have one? Great. Let’s make a team, and you’ll be the captain, okay?” Qing Linglong said with a grin.
“How is it any different from what we did before?” Li Yiming asked.
“Of course. Permanent teams are recognized by Heaven’s Laws. So in the future, whether it’s a domain or anything else, we’ll be treated as a single unit. That’s a big difference from impromptu teams. Most guardians would usually join such a team to maximize mutual self-interest,” Eyeglasses explained.
“I used to be part of a team before, but after Qiaoqiao’s awakening, I was told that the team wouldn’t welcome newcomers, so I chose to leave them,” Qing Linglong added and looked at Big Beard. On paper at least, to pool their power together and to work together for a common goal was a plan with no losses and only gains.
“I’m okay with it if you’re all okay with it.” Li Yiming nodded. ‘It’s way too hard to survive alone in a domain. I can tell first-hand how important it is to have a team to rely on.’
“What about you?” Qing Linglong looked at Big Beard, who had already finished two beers and was working on his third one.
“I accept.” Big Beard put his beer can down. He threw an intense gaze at Li Yiming.
“I’m not actually insisting on being the team captain. I think that Big Beard could do it, since he was the captain of his own team before.” Li Yiming caught the message.
“No, the captain has to be you. You’re someone who’s worth my trust. I was just hesitating because I missed the people from the old team. We’ve been together for quite many years after all,” Big Beard sighed.
“If everything is settled, then we shouldn’t delay any further. For now, the first thing on the agenda is a vacation to relax for a while,” Qing Linglong said with a broad smile.
“How does that… work?” Li Yiming hesitated; he was afraid that it might betray his lack of experience.
“It’s simple. All you need is a team token from the Stage of Ascension. Then, we’ll send the request to join the team. As long as there are more than four members, the team official status is recognized by Heaven’s Laws,” Eyeglasses said. He seemed to be the expert on the appropriate procedures to undertake.
“The Stage of Ascension?” Li Yiming was dumbfounded.
“What is it?” Qing Linglong noticed Li Yiming’s awkwardness.
“Do I really need to go to the Stage of Ascension?” Li Yiming hesitantly asked. He was already trying his best to come up with an excuse.
“Of course, the exchange system is only available from the Stage.” Eyeglasses was surprised by such a strange question.
“Uh… Well for personal reasons, I can’t really go to the Stage of Ascension.” With the little time he had, Li Yiming failed to find a better explanation.
‘Personal reasons?’ Li Yiming’s friends wondered what the exact reason could be, but they all refrained from asking him further, since secrecy was a natural thing amongst guardians.
“Uh…” Qing Linglong hesitated.
“How about you just join my team? I’m the only member in the team now. I’ll transfer the captain status to you. It’ll cost a few life marks, but it’s no big deal.” Big Beard suddenly took out a tablet and gave it to Li Yiming.
Li Yiming reached out for the object instinctively when Big Beard handed it over, but he was very surprised. ‘This is a team token? A tablet?’
He probed the tablet with his focus, and soon, an avalanche of information flurried into his mind. ‘Team information, member information, domain completion log, exchange sheet…’
“Just join the team first, then I’ll give you the leader privilege.” Big Beard took the tablet back and started using it.
‘Big Beard has invited you to join his team, do you accept?’ A voice was suddenly heard inside of Li Yiming’s head. It was just like one of Heaven’s Laws’ notifications when he completed a domain.
‘Yes.’ Li Yiming accepted without hesitation.
‘You have successfully joined Team Big Beard. You are now an official member of Team Big Beard.’
‘Qing Linglong has joined the team.’
‘Qing Qiaoqiao has joined the team.’
‘Yin Mao has joined the team.’
The notifications came one by one. Li Yiming listened to the notifications carefully, but he raised his eyebrow when he heard the last name. “Who the hell is Yin Mao? What a weird name.” 1
Qing Linglong had a smile that faded away after a moment. Qing Qiaoqiao, however, was laughing loudly. Big Beard frowned in surprise, while Eyeglasses turned his head away, visibly not in his best mood. ‘Wait, so Eyeglasses… No wonder he didn’t want to tell me his name. What did his parents think when they gave him this name? Oh, I can already seen pain and tears in his childhood…’
“Okay, I’ll give you the leader position.” Big Beard repressed his smile, but the twitching on his face betrayed his amusement.
‘Wang Meng is giving you the captain’s position. Do you accept?’
“Are you sure?” Li Yiming took a deep breath and looked at Big Beard.
“Of course.” Big Beard waved his hand.
‘You are now the new captain of team Big Beard. Please select a new name for the team.’
‘A new name?’ Li Yiming was surprised by the notification.
“I don’t really know what name to take.” Li Yiming knew that thinking of a clever name was one of the things he was the worst at.
“It’s okay. Just pick whatever you want. It doesn’t matter,” Big Beard answered Li Yiming with a big smile. It seemed like giving away the captain’s position also meant removing an imposing psychological burden.
“No! We need a good name for the team!” Qing Qiaoqiao yelled. It was her first team, so she was boiling with enthusiasm.
“Yiming. Dissonance. How about that?” Qing Linglong came up with a clever idea. 2
“A dissonance in Heaven’s Laws? A nice name. I agree with that.” Eyeglasses gave his approval.
“I don’t really care. You’re the captain, you decide.” Big Beard’s attitude was made abundantly clear by the way the team was named previously.
“This is it! That’s a good name. Li Yiming, Dissonance.” Qing Qiaoqiao’s eyes glittered with excitement.
‘Team name changed: Dissonance. 10 life marks deducted from the team’s captain’
‘What? It costs life marks to change a name? Wow, this is a mechanic taken straight out of a poorly-made MMORPG.’ Li Yiming was unimpressed; after all, a low-level domain usually only yielded thirty life marks.
“Alright, if this is the first time you’ve joined a team, then you’ll need some time to play around with the functions in the tablet. Contact me through the team channel for the next domain. I’ll leave for now. Don’t want to stay a minute more in Shangbei. See you!” Big Beard waved his hand and walked toward the exit.
“Have fun.” Qing Linglong stood up to see Big Beard off.
Li Yiming nodded without really paying attention to what Big Beard said. He had already become fully engrossed by what was shown on the tablet.
“Well, Qiaoqiao and I are going to the salon. Damn that poisonous fog, I think it added a few wrinkles onto my face.” Qing Linglong said after taking out a pocket-mirror and checking herself closely. She led Qing Qiaoqiao out of the room.
“I’ll also go relax a bit. I want to see if I’ve lost the ability to… Well, you know, after receiving the virus. Are you coming?” Once the Qing sisters were gone, Eyeglasses took on a lewd smile and looked at Li Yiming. 3
“That’s fine. I’ll stay here and have a look at this.” Li Yiming waved his hand. Eyeglasses, as if he had been expecting a refusal, shrugged his shoulder and left while humming a merry tone.
Li Yiming. Location: Shangbei
Wang Meng. Location: Shangbei
Qing Linglong. Location: Shangbei
Qing Qiaoqiao. Location: Shangbei
Yin Mao. Location: Shangbei’
Only the current locations of the team members were shown. The limited information was most likely to grant some privacy to each member of the team. Li Yiming walked into his room and settled down comfortably on the bed before continuing his exploration.
‘Hmm, there aren’t a lot of functions. It seems like whatever this ‘team’ thing is, it’s not that different from a guild in an online game. The information is shared and so is the loot, so that guarantees sincerity between team members. Also, only a single team invitation is needed instead of multiple individual invitations for entering a domain. Does that mean that I’ll be the one to decide which domain we participate in?’
‘Team exchange?’ Li Yiming suddenly noticed something. He touched the button with a hand that was shivering a little from excitement. ‘A shopping website?’
The start of a new adventure! Also, what happened to Fang Shui’er in Shangbei…? Did she just hide somewhere? 0.0
1. Note, Yin Mao in Chinese is a homophone for “pubic hair”, so you can imagine why LYM would find the name weird. This is something that is much more likely to happen in Chinese, since the way Chinese characters are pronounced (usually 1 sound per character) makes it such that most words are usually only 1-2 syllables long. Names are usually 2-3 characters long, so it happens that a name has the same pronunciation as a common noun.
2. Yiming is a homophone for “dissonance”. See above note for why this is likely.
3. In case this was too subtle, Eyeglasses is suggesting at going to a club or perhaps ever soliciting the service of a prostitute. Not sure how this fits Eyeglasses’ personality, or why he thinks it’s a good idea to invite Li Yiming along…