The crowd had already begun to disperse by the time Li Yiming arrived at the gate. He was a little concerned as he overheard the conversations from the people walking by. ‘There’s no mistake, it was Liu Meng and Lin Lu.’
From what he had heard, two women who were dressed in the same clothes as depicted in ancient scrolls, and who were as beautiful as goddesses had just shown up at the Southern Gate. However, they ran away shortly after, leaving behind an astonished and curious crowd. Those who had seen the two “messengers” thought of themselves as being incredibly lucky, while those who did not regretted it deeply. However, Li Yiming did notice that, despite all the excitement, none seemed to be fanatical as one would expect.
‘I wouldn’t think that their reaction would be so… mild…’ Li Yiming had a hunch on why Liu Meng and Lin Lu ran away instead of entering the city. He was hesitating about whether he should join them or stay to gather more information when something caught his attention.
‘He’s here?’ Li Yiming lowered his head and walked behind a tree to conceal himself. He saw a man with a high nose-bridge, scarlet lips, and eyes that were so beautiful, one would have mistaken him for a woman. He had the same kind of blue hairband as the other residents of the city, but he also wore a robe that left his chest almost bare, exposing his well-built muscles.
‘The man who’s prettier than a woman… this guy, he’s the camouflager from Shangbei! But why is he here?’ Li Yiming was beyond shocked.
* * *
“Do you know what was that ‘messenger’ thing they were talking about?” Liu Meng looked at the forest behind her, still visibly baffled, and removed her hairpin.
Lin Lu shook her head. She had already developed some kind of immunity to strange happenings by now.
“Well, he managed to get in naked, but somehow we attracted more attention when we’re fully dressed. Does that mean that we’ll need to try naked as well?” Liu Meng sighed.
When she and Lin Lu appeared at the gates, the purple belts, golden capes,and silky robes they wore immediately attracted the attention of the people going in and out of the city. It was not just a matter of their outfit, but also of their alluring beauty. A second later, someone shouted “messengers from heavens”, and a crowd started to form around them. The people who came to see them seemed belated, but kept their distance in reverence.
Liu Meng could not understand the reason for the excitement in the first place. She had developed a natural affinity for attention and the spotlight throughout her career, but the triple-layered crowd and the tense atmosphere still made her a little nervous. She only recognized the problem as she saw more and more people come out of the city. ‘Are you kidding me? Did they cheap out on the outfit design for this domain? They’re all wearing the same kind of clothing!’
Liu Meng decided to opt for prudence and chose to retreat to the forest instead of entering the city.
After hearing Liu Meng talking to herself about going into the city naked, Lin Lu obeyed the order faithfully and began removing her clothes.
“Wait. Don’t do that yet. We can wait here for a bit. Yiming must have noticed the commotion here. Maybe he’ll be out with clothes for us in a bit. In the worst case, we can just sneak into the city at night. The walls look short enough for us to do so.” Liu Meng rushed to stop Lin Lu, who had already removed all of her clothing except her bra, and gave the combat outfit she had put away in her storage ring.
“Yes.” Lin Lu put her camouflage vest on once again. The scene at the city’s gates firmed her decision to obey Liu Meng at all cost, at least until she could figure out what exactly was going on.
* * *
“Do I really have to wear this?” Chen Quan moved his arm around and rolled up his pants as much as he could. He had taken the clothes from a group of three men Eyeglasses and him had knocked unconscious, but the blue linen uniform did not fit him very well at all.
“The people inside all wear this.” Eyeglasses was removing a needle from the arm of one his victims. It was a tranquilizer that would ensure that they slept until nightfall.
Eyeglasses could not help but glance at Chen Quan as he put his needle away. ‘With his height, it’s going to be hard to find clothing that fits him. Somehow I think that we’re likely to attract attention even more like this…’
“Can you let me have a look at what’s inside?” Chen Quan was struggling to find a way to wrap the two sides of his collar together.
Eyeglasses shook his head in the frustration and gave his tablet to Chen Quan. It contained a video captured by one of the small insect drones Eyeglasses had deployed earlier.
As Chen Quan scrutinized the video, he decided to simply rip his shirt apart and wrapped a piece of it around his chest. Surprisingly, this makeshift outfit looked a lot better than before.
“We should get going. This should be good enough for now. We’ll think of something else when we’re inside.” Chen Quan lowered his head and looked at himself.
“So first things first, once we’re inside…” Eyeglasses looked at Chen Quan and sighed. ‘Well, I’d have to admit that this rag fits his temperament a lot more…’
“Yes, yes, I get it. I’ll obey all of the orders.” Chen Quan shrugged his shoulders and threw away the plant he had between his teeth.
* * *
Li Yiming trailed the camouflager with prudence through the crowd, until the latter turned into a small alley. As Li Yiming peeked around, he could no longer see his target. Li Yiming extended his senses right away, and jumped back with his sword ready.
“Wanna talk? The moment I saw Liu Meng, I knew you’d show up.” The camouflager appeared behind him.
“Why are you here?” Li Yiming knew that the camouflager must have noticed him and led him to this quiet corner of the city on purpose. ‘I need to be really careful about his talent… this guy isn’t alone.’
The camouflager let out a beautiful smile and sat down on a rock.
“Sit and talk with me. It’s not good for both of us to fight here. You’re Li Yiming, right? My name is Sai Gao.” The camouflager pointed at a rock next to him.
“Sai Gao? But you…” Li Yiming could tell that Sai Gao was not looking for a fight, so he loosened the grip on his sword and walked forward, but he was still wary enough to not sit right next to the camouflager.
“I know what you’re thinking. I’m very curious too. I should have vanished with the domain, but somehow I managed to survive. I don’t know what happened in that domain, but since both Liu Meng and you are still alive, I’d reckon that it has to do with you.”
“Things that happened in the domains are things of the past. I don’t know why you’re able to talk about those things, but I can’t. Tell me, why are you here?” Li Yiming asked with an expressionless face, but guesses were already starting to fly wild inside of his head. ‘If a camouflager is the will of a domain, then he should have vanished along with the fictional Shangbei. What happened…?’
“When I woke up, I found myself in Shangbei with the domain already over. I wandered around for a while, until I received a sign that I should come here.” Sai Gao seemed to be convicted that Li Yiming was the reason behind the abnormal termination of the Shangbei domain and decided to show his sincerity first.
“Sign?” Li Yiming frowned.
“Ya Yu and Bai Xi perished in the battle with Xiang Liu, but I merged with fragments of their soul. You’ve seen the statue at the entrance right?” Sai Gao gestured at the Southern Gate; there was no reason to hide it to
“You mean Teng She? So this really is a domain?” A question slipped out of Li Yiming’s mouth.
“Oh? You mean that you’re not here for the domain?” Sai Gao’s eyes lit up when he caught Li Yiming’s slip-up.
* * *
Stargaze stared into the water of the lake in which Li Yiming swam a few hours ago and caressed the stone lantern right by the road. She seemed to be extremely shocked and nervous. ‘This… How is it possible? What happened to Heaven’s Laws? Who’s behind this?’
Stargaze thoughts had been wandering for a while already, and she had completely lost her composure. ‘Who? Who is it? A domain that has begun to merge with reality… Li Yiming, just who the hell are you?’
1. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but Sai Gao is itself a memeish name on the Japanese term “Saikou (最高)” which means “the best” or “something that cannot be surpassed”.
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