Chapter 4 – Preparations
A loud sigh was heard from the crowd. You Fang jumped up from the ground, whereas the two spec ops agents were baffled. Eyeglasses smiled bitterly, and Chen Quan stood there with his eyes wide open. What Liu Meng had just performed was a spin that constituted a basic technique for all dance graduates.
‘Wow, that didn’t just look pretty… She’s at least stamina level three. Seems like she’s improved a lot since her awakening. Poor Lin Lu, she incurred the wrath of damsel Liu…’ Li Yiming was also quite surprised by the show Liu Meng put up, and he knew that she was doing it because she was irritated by the way Lin Lu looked at him during her speech.
Lin Lu herself was surprised but not angry, but it quickly grew into excitement and eagerness.
“Alright, let’s have a look at the guns. You’ve never used this before, haven’t you” Li Yiming waved at Liu Meng with a smile, and the latter came back to his sides. She held his hand gently, and pretended as if the sandbag “incident” never happened.
“For girls, it’s usually…” Shen Jianming stood up respectfully when Liu Meng came close. Her display of strength had left him in awe.
“It’s fine, we’ll figure it out ourselves.” Li Yiming nodded with a smile, picked up a Walther P99 and led Liu Meng to the targets.
“It’s actually quite simple. You just have to align the barrel with the target, but be careful of the noise, it might scare you a bit.” Li Yiming showed a rather poorly executed demonstration for Liu Meng.
The contempt in Lin Lu’s eyes grew when she saw the completely unprofessional way in which Li Yiming held the firearm.
“Alright, I’m shooting,” Li Yiming gave a mindful warning.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Li Yiming shot five times, lowered his gun, and handed it to Liu Meng.
Lin Lu’s head turned toward the target. ‘Hmm, one hit and four misses. I suppose that even a broken clock is right twice a day.’
“You’ve had good luck, but maybe I should be the one to teach her.” Lin Lu picked up a handgun and approached the two; she could not bear to see the blunder anymore.
Li Yiming moved to the side. ‘Now that I have a closer look, this Lin Lu does have a pretty nice body. Not as good as Liu Meng, but that flat abdomen and thin waist, and that slightly tanned skin. Not bad…’
“The most important thing to keep in mind is your posture. There are a lot of ways to do it, but the problem for us is usually arm strength…” Lin Lu suddenly paused and remembered the punching bag. “Actually, nevermind. The alignment consists of…”
Li Yiming did not bother to importune Lin Lu while she was giving a lesson to Liu Meng, so he walked back toward Eyeglasses, who was busy handling his equipment.
“Who’s this Lin Lu?” Li Yiming scratched his head. He could finally understand why bald people in TV shows would never stop scratching their heads; it was indeed a habit that was easy to fall into.
“I’ve wanted to warn you about her earlier. She’s the cream of the cream of the military. She’s won three hand-to-hand combat tournaments, two survival contests, five shooting contests, and she’s the most recent sharpshooting ace of the army. She’s already a colonel ranked officer in the special ops.” Eyeglasses whispered into Li Yiming’s ear.
“Are you serious?” Li Yiming was astonished. He could finally understand the reason behind her assertive pitch earlier.
“I’m not afraid to say that I can’t win against her in a sniping contest.”
“What? You?” The statement surprised Li Yiming even more, since he had seen what Eyeglasses was capable of.
“Well, unless I use that gun, that is. If we used normal guns, she would be miles above me.” Eyeglasses did not seem to be embarrassed in the slightest.
“She’s… not a guardian, is she?” The thought suddenly came to Li Yiming.
“Wouldn’t think so. A guardian wouldn’t be this eager to show off.”
After Lin Lu finished her brief explanation, Liu Meng checked the safety on her handgun and picked up another one from the table.
‘Wait, she’s thinking about using two guns from the get-go? But that’s just a myth from the movies, you can’t shoot properly due to the recoil…’ Liu Meng’s action took Lin Lu by surprise.
Bang! Bang! Bang! … Bang!
Before Lin Lu could warn Liu Meng, the latter started firing. Aside from a short pause to readjust the firing tempo, she emptied both magazines in one go.
“Well, it’s not that hard.” Liu Meng puckered her lips and put the guns back down on the table. It was, in fact, a rather simple task for someone who could use their senses to lock onto the target.
Lin Lu looked at the target and felt as if a rock had fallen on her chest. ‘Is she trying to mess around with me?’
The bullet holes formed a perfectly symmetrical heart on the target.
“Yiming, how did you put five bullets in the exact same spot?” Liu Meng turned around and scuttled toward Li Yiming.
‘Five hits in the same spot? So he didn’t miss?’ Lin Lu stared at the target when she heard Liu Meng’s question. The hole in the middle was indeed slightly bigger than the ones produced by Liu Meng. A bitter smile appeared on her lips, and Lin Lu finally began to have some real expectations for the team she had at her disposal.
* * *
Stargaze was in her office and tapped on her table.
“Are you looking for me, boss?” A young girl with a flushed face entered the room. She wore thick-rimmed glasses, a sailor’s uniform and had her hair tied into two braids.
“What is… this outfit?” Stargaze asked.
‘I’m just getting ready for a classmate reunion. What do you have for me?” The girl sat down right in front of Stargaze and started to play around with her braids.
“You…” Stargaze smiled. The young girl was Qian Mian, the guardian who could change his or her appearance at will. Even Stargaze, after seven years, could not tell whether Qian Mian was young or old, or a man or a woman.
“How is that girl doing?” Stargaze shook her head and stopped caring about Qian Mian’s appearance.
“Well, she’s settled down. I’ve got two maids to take care of her. But are you sure? She’s been with him for so long…”
“Help her around if you have time. She’s a poor, blind girl after all.” Stargaze did not answer Qian Mian’s question.
“Alright then.” Qian Mian understood what Stargaze wanted to say.
“Also, can you skip on that reunion of yours? I need you to stay here while I go out.”
“Go out? But your condition…” Qian Mian was worried.
“That’s not a big deal. Just pay close attention to the one who has just come down from the iceberg and don’t provoke him. He’s just like a rabid dog right now.” Stargaze once again tried made the mental check inside of her head for anything she might have forgotten. The trip she was about to undertake might be a long one.
“Do you really have to go? Is there anything I can do for you?” Qian Mian was still worried about letting Stargaze go, since the damage she had suffered from Heaven’s Punishment and destroying her own weapon was no laughing matter.
“You won’t be able to help for this.” Stargaze smiled: she could feel that Qian Mian was genuinely worried about her.
“Where are you going?” Qian Mian pressed on.
* * *
Li Huaibei stared into the door of a small hut in a fishing village near the Northern Sea, but hesitated to give it knock.
“You didn’t come all this way just to be my door guard, have you?” A calm voice came from inside the hut.
“I’ve been looking for you everywhere, but now that I’ve found you, I’m afraid.” Li Huaibei suddenly let out a self-derisory smile and sat down right at the entrance.
For a long time, there was nothing but silence.
“I want to know the truth…” Li Huaibei suddenly murmured with his back against the door.
“The truth… I cannot give it to you.” A sigh was heard. “I’ve slept for a thousand year, and I’ve yet to see it.”
“But I don’t know what to do.” Li Huaibei seemed to have understood the cryptic answer that was given to him.
“We’re all capable to achieve illumination and see the truth. Our spirit prefers quietness, and yet our heart unsettles it. Our heart leans toward placidness, and yet our desires stir it. To get rid of one’s desires is to calm one’s heart and to settle down one’s spirit. From there, true peacefulness can be achieved.” The man inside the room recited a paragraph of scripture.
“These are all lies.” Li Huaibei spat out, his whole body trembling with anger.
“Lies… don’t we believe in them?”
* * *
“So, what happened? Did Mr. Kong save you?” After finishing the preparations, Li Yiming led Liu Meng into a resting room, under the strange stare of all present.
“Yes, I woke up yesterday.” Liu Meng rested still in Li Yiming chest, with her eyes closed.
“But I thought Mr. Kong said that he couldn’t save you.” Li Yiming was surprised. ‘I thought that I needed to become a sage…’
“He wanted to let you know that the incident in Hangzhou was unexpected, but you did a really good job. To reward you, he decided to help me wake up.” Liu Meng had a satisfied expression and pushed against Li Yiming’s chin with her head.
“By the way, what happened in Hangzhou? Was it a new domain? Did it have anything to do with Mr. Kong? Also, why are you bald now? What happened to your eyebrows?” Liu Meng suddenly sat up and shot a barrage of questions at Li Yiming.
“Hangzhou…” Li Yiming reminisced and told Liu Meng everything that happened, save for that mysterious glyph within his body.
“Then Xiaoqin…” Li Yiming’s story moved Liu Meng, and she even sobbed for Ji Xiaoqin’s unfortunate end when she heard about it.
“I think it’s a good ending for her. She’s free from all of her burdens now. Oh yeah, I forgot to ask, why are you here…?”
“I wanted to come to you right away, but Mr. Kong gave me a letter and asked me to find someone with it. After that, I just listened to that person’s instructions and he made me come here and wait for you.”
“Who is it?”
“I don’t know. I think it was some big shot in National Security.”
“So Mr. Kong knows that I’m here?”
I’ll try to get another chapter