Chapter 20 – Finding Bai Ze
“It is it…’ Li Yiming looked at the golden wok at the entrance to the city. It was the exact same one Mr. Kong used to create his army back in Eden. ‘Why is it here…? Are these people behind this domain?’ He remembered the group of people that fought alongside Mr. Kong.
What perplexed Li Yiming even more was that he could feel something within that golden wok calling out to him.
“From what I’ve heard, these three statues are supposed to be guarding the city. As for this wok, it’s some kind of divine item that brings good fortune,” Sai Go said as he stared at the giant golden object.
“Is this some kind of guardian equipment?” Li Yiming asked.
“It should be. I’ve tried to have a look at it before, but something blocked me off before I could climb onto that pedestal. I didn’t really dare to try again,” Sai Gao said.
“Three beasts that guard the city… an object of fortune…” Li Yiming mumbled.
“Hey young man, I’d have to correct you on that. You can’t just forget about the guardian of the East just because she’s not as mighty as the three others. That’s very disrespectful!” A old man who walked by overheard Li Yiming and lectured him.
“What? Are you talking about this wok?” Li Yiming was taken aback by the voice of the old man at first, but tried asking for more information upon seeing that the latter did not seem to suspect him.
“That wok is an artifact, not a guardian of our city. I’m talking about that Bai Ze statue outside of the city. You…” The old man said disappointingly.
“The Bai Ze statue outside of the city? You mean that there’s another statue?” Sai Gao was baffled.
“Have you never gone out of the city before? Haven’t the elders at home taught you about the four mythical beasts that guard our city? Teng She, Lei Ying, Xuan Gui, Bai Ze… I’d think that even a three-year-old would know about this.” Sai Gao’s question seemed to have angered the old man, whose chest heaved violently as he talked back.
Li Yiming exchanged a glance with Sai Gao and ran straight for the gate, leaving the old man behind. Sai Gao was aghast at the old man’s revelation. ‘Impossible! I checked the gates many times, but how… Bai Ze? If she was there, I would’ve felt it for sure.’
“Where did these two come from… such impertinence…” The old man was quivering in anger at seeing two youngsters showing such “disrespect”.
Li Yiming noticed the Bai Ze statue right away as he walked out of the city. Unlike the Teng She statue at the Southern gate, who was about a hundred meter tall, this one was only about three meters tall. Bai Ze stood there with her wings extended, just like when she was about to face Heaven’s Punishment.
Li Yiming walked up and put his hand on Bai Ze’s front paw. ‘There’s no mistake. This feeling of family… It’s her. Li Yiming called out her name repeatedly but to no avail.
Li Yiming tried his hardest to compose himself once again and went back into the city.
“I swear this statue was not here before…” Sai Gao said firmly.
“Is she… your summon?” Sai Gao asked hesitantly — he had seen Bai Ze in the Shangbei domain.
“Yes. She vanished not long ago.” Li Yiming nodded and mulled over what the old man told him in his head.
“She must have been sealed by the powers of the formation.” Sai Gao looked at the statue.
“But that old man said that she’s been here for a long time…” Li Yiming hesitated.
“This confuses me as well. I’ve been here for a while, and from what I’ve seen there were only three beast guardians.”
Li Yiming raised his head at the sky. ‘I don’t know what’s happening here, but if they want to use Bai Ze as a pawn in this formation, then I won’t play by the rules either.’
* * *
“Mr. You Fang?” Eyeglasses stood at the entrance of the classroom and called out.
“What is it?” You Fang turned around with a frown, seemingly unhappy at his class being interrupted, but he still saluted Eyeglasses and Chen Quan, and approached them.
“You don’t know us?” Chen Quan leaned against a wall with a straw between his teeth.
“You are…” You Fang frowned once again. He thought that if this odd, ill-mannered man used to be his student, he would surely have remembered him.
“So you’ve really forgotten.” Chen Quan and Eyeglasses exchanged a glance, astonished at their finding.
“I’m sorry, I really can’t remember. Who are…”
“Oh, we’re just here to ask if you accepted new students. I have a relative who’s looking for a teacher.” Eyeglasses dragged Chen Quan back and concocted an excuse that would not arouse any suspicions.
“Where do you live? I thought every district had its own school?”
“Yes, but we’ve heard good things about your classes, so…” Eyeglasses said.
“As long as the age is right, I’ll accept any student.” You Fang gave a terse answer, seemingly a little disgusted by Chen Quan’s appearance.
“Alright then. Thank you very much.” Eyeglasses nodded and left the classroom.
“Hey, I don’t think that old scammer’s faking it, is he?” Chen Quan looked back, a little perplexed.
“From now on, I want you to try to remember something from your past every once in a while. If you find yourself unable to, tell me right away,” Eyeglasses said with a severe countenance.
“Are you telling me that…” Chen Quan’s eyes widened.
* * *
“It’s time to climb the walls.” Liu Meng and Lin Lu, back to wearing their combat outfit, made their way toward the walls of Lianyun with caution. They followed the lanterns until they reached the base of the city’s walls.
“Can you climb this?” Liu Meng looked up. Although the wall was about twenty meters talls, the many edges of the stone bricks used for building it meant that the ascent should not be too difficult of a task for Lin Lu.
“Yes.” Lin Lu nodded, looked around to make sure that no one was around, and started her climb. She moved up the wall like a lizard, and it did not take very long before she reached the top of the wall with her hands. With one last effort, she pulled herself up. Rock-climbing was part of basic training for a top agent like Lin Lu, and she had the confidence to a world-class climber. Lin Lu reached out for the rope on her back as she made ready to pull Liu Meng up.
“Alright, we should head down.” Liu Meng’s voice came from behind.
“You!” Lin Lu froze. She jumped back and saw Liu Meng crouching down, looking for a spot to land. It seemed like she had been on top of the wall for a while already.
Lin Lu looked at the spot where she had expected to find Liu Meng and took a deep breath as she remembered her deal with Li Yiming. ‘These people… where did National Security even find them?’
“I’ll go first. You should hurry too.” Liu Meng did not even pay attention to Lin Lu’s reaction; the storage rings had already been completely exposed, so it no longer mattered that Lin Lu saw more than she should have. After a quick order, she leaped down the wall directly.
‘Really?’ Lin Lu was baffled when she saw Liu Meng jump down without hesitation from twenty meters high.
* * *
Shen Jianming was busy finishing off the rice in his bowl, but between mouthfuls he would glance at Xu Yurong, who sat facing him.
“Hurry up and eat! What are you doing, staring at my sister like that?” Li Rong knocked at Shen Jianming’s bowl with her chopsticks, but she seemed more amused than angry.
“Li Rong!” Xu Yurong turned away in shyness at her little sister’s teasing, her face as red as an apple.
“Yes, yes.” Shen Jianming smiled. ‘They treated me like family even though I was a complete stranger. I’ll try my best to protect them from now on. Ah… it’s a good thing to have transmigrated, I wouldn’t have dared to hope for such a tranquil life in the past… The past…?’
Shen Jianming looked at his combat outfit, which had been neatly folded into a pile, and started to become confused.
* * *
Li Huaibei stood at the top of a giant tree in the forest. His right hand trembled as he gazed at the imposing city walls and the turtle statue in front of the gate. He had been through hundreds of domains since he had become a guardian, but this was only the second time he had this kind of feeling as he entered one.
Li Huaibei clenched his fist as he took out a shred of a yellow scarf. ‘I’ve found it.’