Chapter 10 – Li Huaibei’s Surprise
Li Yiming remained sleepless on his bed, staring at the window until the darkness outside gradually turned into dawn, still thinking about his encounter with Fu Bo earlier.
“He’s probably a guardian, but he hasn’t realized it yet.” Bai Ze knelt down right beside his bed with a cup of milk made from powder.
“I’ve thought about that, but don’t all guardians have to climb the Stage of Ascension during their awakening? So how is it possible that he isn’t aware of his own identity? Also, his situation about everyone forgetting him, is that the same technique as Mr. Kong?” Li Yiming asked.
“No. In a Dream only makes you forget about the person’s appearance, but you’ll remember once you meet that person again. This Fu Bo… he has something else. From Another Life.” Bai Ze sipped the milk and licked her lips with a grave countenance.
“From Another Life…?” Li Yiming recalled the details of his conversation with Fu Bo. “What is it exactly?”
“A passive talent, I guess. It’s the same thing as your Thunder Immunity, or Thunder Purity.”
“Is that common?” Li Yiming suddenly thought about the four people he knew who each had a passive talent.
“Definitely not. Passive talents are extremely rare. You’d be struggling to find one person in ten thousand.” Bai Ze rolled her eyes. ‘Speaking of which, am I getting something wrong here? Passive talents everywhere?’
“So I can still remember him because I’m a bug in the system, right?” Li Yiming was pleased when he heard “one in ten thousand”.
“Most likely. That’s probably why he sees you as such a valuable friend. If you really want to get to the bottom of Mr. Kong’s case, you should work on this lead. Also, have you noticed? When we entered the room, the domain disappeared.”
‘A guardian who is unaware of his own identity… A small, chaotic domain… A poor young kid tortured by solitude… Can I trust what I see? Or is he making all of this up? What about Qing He? Mr. Kong… What kind of mission is this?’ Li Yiming put his chin on his hands and stared at the wooden floor as if he wanted to pierce through it and see the young man on the other side.
* * *
In a small coastal city in the South, Li Huaibei had been sitting at his work desk for a while already. His attention was focused on a web novel being shown on the monitor in front of him. He had been reading it for nine consecutive days and nights already. He scrutinized each character, and even punctuation mark attentively, not letting a single bit of information escape his eyes.
It was a new book, and although it had been finished recently, it had barely five hundred views, which was a rather pitiful result. It unpopular to the point that Li Huaibei could not even find it in one of the website that routinely uploaded pirated content.
With a final scroll of the mouse wheel, Li Huaibei reached the end of the novel. He closed his eyes slowly and tried to compose himself. He touched his forehead and gazed at the drops of sweat on his fingertips. ‘Sweat… I haven’t felt like this is in a long time…’
Li Huaibei knew that his cold sweat was not due to exhaustion from being awake for nine days, but rather to the shock and fear he received from the novel he had just finished.
Nine days ago, Li Huaibei was having a drink in a bar and remembering old times, as it had become an old habit of his, when he ran into a young couple who looked like nothing out of the ordinary.
“Hey, honey, let me tell you a secret.”
“What is it?”
“I can hold a cell phone with my chest now.” The woman craned her neck and whispered into her partner’s ear.
“Really?” The man threw a surprised glance at his girlfriend’s green shirt. ‘Sizable to say the least, but I don’t think she would be able to hold a cellphone between them.’
“Well, too bad if you don’t believe me.” The woman pursed her lips and turned her head to the side.
“No, I believe you. Show me then.” The man’s curiosity was piqued.
“Come on, show it to me.” The man wanted to know the answer, his interest having been aroused.
“N~o~” The woman produced a soft moan and dodged away, pretending to be playing her cell phone.
“Babe, how about just once?” The man insisted. He seemed like a wolf who had found a long-sought prey.
“Really?” The woman raised her head and looked back at her boyfriend shyly.
The man nodded as vigorously as he could.
The woman made sure no one was looking in her direction by looking around and finally put her cellphone between her breasts. She then raised her head and looked back at her boyfriend.
“Good luck,” the man said with a suggestive smile.
The moment the woman released her hands, under the ear gaze of her boyfriend, the cell phone fell toward the ground and crashed with a thud.
“Hey, look at this, the cell phone is broken! It’s all your fault! I told you that I didn’t want to try it, and you insisted! What am I supposed to do now?” The woman suddenly complained to her boyfriend, as if it was entirely his fault.
“I…” The man was speechless. He looked at the cellphone; it had slid a fair distance on the floor, and the screen was visibly cracked.
“I don’t care, you need to buy a 6S for me. I want the rose gold one.” The woman pursed her lips and turned away, not minding her half-broken phone.
Li Huabei laughed at that point; the world was a stage, and everyone had their own scripts to play and their own lines to say. He glanced at the cellphone on the ground. The screen had just lit up from a notification, and it was not hard for him to read what was written on the screen. ‘A novel-reading application? She must have been reading.’
Li Huaibei continued to swirl his drink, but his smile froze a second later. ‘The content on the novel… I’m forgetting about it…? I can only remember half of it now, and the rest is fading away from my mind!’
Li Huaibei tried as hard as he could, but he still found himself unable to remember more than half of what he just read. Even with his enhanced faculties, he could only preserve only a fragment of the text in his memory, and the rest was simply gone.
“May I have a look at that cell phone?” Li Huaibei took a deep breath, approached the young couple, and asked politely.
“What is it? Are you a cell phone repairer?” The woman seemed to be alarmed by Li Huaibei’s appearance. It would be quite the hindrance to her plans if someone were to offer to repair her old cell phone now.
“You seem to be thinking about buying a new phone. How about you sell this old one to me?” Li Huaibei asked.
“Oh, you recycle electronics? How much are you going to pay?” The man knew that he had fallen into his girlfriend’s trap, but at that point, there was nothing he could do except laugh it off as a way to add some fun into the relationship. However, if the man in front of him was willing to buy the old phone, then he would at least be able to cut his losses.
“I’ll need to have a look at it first.” Li Huaibei smiled back with his usual mannerism. A simple probing with his senses indicated that the two in front of him were definitely not guardians.
The man did not hesitate and gave the broken phone to Li Huaibei right away. Li Huaibei pretended to look at the broken screen, but he was actually using his focus to penetrate into the phone and inspects the inside of it.
‘Nothing wrong there…’ Li Huaibei tapped at the screen and the window from earlier appeared. ‘A novel-reading application. It’s the start of a book. I remember the second half, but the beginning… It’s as if I’ve never read it!’ Li Yiming opened a chapter and read through it quickly. He closed his eyes, and he could feel the content of the chapter fading away inside of his mind.
‘It’s the text…’
Li Huaibei took out a stack of bills, pulled out a single one and put his wine cup over it. He left the rest together with the broken cell phone on the table in front of the young couple.
“Thanks.” Li Huaibei saluted them and left for the street.
“What?” The man was perplexed. He looked at Li Huaibei and then at the stack of banknotes. It was obvious that the bills were taken freshly out of the bank, as seen from the paper band that held them together. However, it was clear from the thickness that there had to be one hundred bills in the stack, which meant that aside from the one bill Li Huaibei used to pay for his drink, there was nine thousand nine hundred yuan left.
The woman stayed silent. She was still entirely captivated by Li Huaibei’s air of elegance and handsomeness, and especially the carelessness he showed when he pulled out such a big sum of money from his pocket.
Li Huaibei did not even give a moment of attention to the mesmerized gaze that trailed him. He was solely focused on remembering the very brief title of the book he had just read.
“Adventure to the East.”
* * *
Just like Li Huaibei, Ji Xiaoqin had been sleepness the entire night. The conviction she had built up from meeting the Guo family members had been shaken by meeting with Li Yiming once again. The silhouette which lingered in her mind for so long became defined. She could see his tall figure, his warm and shy smile, and hear his voice whisper to her gently, just like in her dreams.
‘He’s back. His eyes are brighter than I remember… There’s a light that shines within them, just like the stars in the sky. He’s back…’ Ji Xiaoqin could feel herself in Li Yiming’s warm embrace when she closed her eyes. His familiar scent, his muscular arms, his steady heartbeat, his hand gently caressing her. This fantasy was a sweet wine that enticed her and inebriated her, and she savored its aroma with her heart and her soul.
The doorbell rang once again. Ji Xiaoqin shuddered, and she rushed to the door in a hurry, without even putting her slippers on.
When she pulled the door open, she was greeted by a beautiful woman, dressed in a robe decorated with black laces. The crystal high-heels she wore conferred to her figure a charming svelteness. Her long hair was tied up, revealing naturally alluring features that showed that she had been born into and lived a life of luxury.
Ah… Greed, aren’t you a beautifully human thing. Also get memed on Shakespeare lel.