Chapter 21 – The Teams that Went Missing
“Over here! I see some clothes in the backyard. We should be able to find some that fit us.” Liu Meng led Lin Lu to a house near the wall. “It’s dark inside, so there shouldn’t be anyone home.” Liu Meng said and immediately hopped over the wall.
Lin Lu followed suit and hopped over the rather low wall with ease. However, she found Liu Meng frozen in place on the other side. Having misjudged the situation, Liu Meng found herself face to face with a man who was in the middle of his bath. The well-defined muscles and the tanned skin of the man gave off an almost metallic feeling as he cleaned himself with a towel.
The man’s first reaction to the two intruders was to cover his lower body with his towel, as he seemed just as shocked as Liu Meng was.
“Han Tianyi?” Lin Lu asked in surprise.
“You know him?” Liu Meng said with a frown. Unlike Lin Lu, she was quite uncomfortable with such a situation.
“Han Tianyi. He’s part of the second squad. I’ve seen his file before. The dagger tattoo he has on his chest proves it.” Lin Lu answered tersely while staring at the naked man in front of her. Embarrassment seemed to be a concept foreign to her.
“What?” Liu Meng finally peeked at the man’s chest and quickly looked away.
“He was a member of the second team that was sent here.” Lin Lu took two steps forward with fiery eyes.
“Who are you? What do you want?” Han Tianyi seemed quite nervous at being accosted by Lin Lu, but was able to muster the courage to question her intentions, although his shaking hands and his bath towel made it seem more ridiculous than anything else.
“My name is Lin Lu. I am the captain of the spec ops division. I’m here to rescue you. Where’s the rest of your squad?” Lin Lu took another step forward.
“Rescue? Team?” Lin Lu’s coming closer made Han Tianyi even more nervous, and he tightened his grip on his towel.
“You…” Lin Lu frowned; she realized that something was wrong.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Coming into here like that… That’s not good manners. You should leave. Your reputation would suffer if people found out about this.” Han Tianyi seemed to have pinched himself with his grip on the towel, but he finally mustered enough courage to stand up to Lin Lu.
“He doesn’t seem to know you. Did you mistake him for someone else? Maybe we can have a talk after letting him dress up.” Liu Meng tried her best to look away, but it proved to be quite the challenge with the towel standing out so much.
Lin Lu frowned. After glancing at Liu Meng, she suddenly jumped forward and launched a brutal kick at Han Tianyi’s sides.
The sudden attack made Han Tianyi go pale. He could tell right away that if he was to receive the blow directly, he would be gravely injured. Completely disregarding his embarrassment, he dropped his towel right away, using his left arm to protect his face, and his right hand to strike at Lin Lu’s knee.
Lin Lu had anticipated the move and abandoned her kick right away. Instead, she swapped her posture immediately and opted for a blow at Han Tianyi’s chest with her left knee. The latter responded by using both of his hands to block the blow. Once again Lin Lu switched her attack by launching a punch at his throat with her fist. It was a technique that was taught to everyone in the army, and it would have been, without a doubt, a fatal blow to Han Tianyi were it allowed to land.
It was at this moment that the muscle memory from years of training from Han Tianyi finally showed. He had not expected the pretty intruder to suddenly attack him in such a violent way, but he still managed to dodge the fatal blow by bending his neck backward.
Han Tianyi finally decided for a counter-attack by trying to wrap his arms around Lin Lu and lock her in place. However, Lin Lu blocked the attempt, wrapped her hand around one of his arms and dove to the left side: this was a special immobilization technique.
Han Tianyi was pulled toward Lin Lu, but he broke the motion by jumping as high as he could, performing a backflip. He pulled Lin Lu’s left hand back and reached out for the back of her neck with his right hand.
‘The standard counter procedure…’ Lin Lu recognized Han Tianyi’s maneuver. She jumped back and gave an elbow strike to Han Tianyi’s right cheek.
This time, Lin Lu’s attack found its target. The strength of the blow made Han Tianyi take a few steps back and release Lin Lu’s arm. Lin Lu, instead of pursuing her attack, also used the opportunity to retreat and put some distance between herself and Han Tianyi.
“Who are you?” Han Tianyi shook away the numbness in his head and stared at Lin Lu angrily. He clenched his fists, and veins popped out of his neck. The muscles on his chest tightened and the hair which grew from his navel down to his crotch seemed more imposing than ever.
“He’s the guy I’m looking for…” Lin Lu said with a cold voice.
“We should leave.” Liu Meng frowned. The scene of a beautiful girl in a tight combat outfit fighting in close-quarters with a naked man was a little too much for her to handle.
* * *
“I think you were right.” Chen Quan suddenly stopped walking and reached out for Eyeglasses’ hand, but the latter dodged his grip and waited quietly for what he had to say.
“I remember going to prison now, but not why I went there…” Chen Quan said with a deep frown as he tried his best to remember.
“Already?” Eyeglasses squinted.
“No, wait… this is even worse. I remember this mission of ours, but…” Chen Quan closed his eyes.
“What is this?” Eyeglasses suddenly took out the half of Chen Quan’s candle that remained.
“This is… the candle that attracts ghosts to prevent them from blowing out the light… But why do I know this?” Chen Quan answered right away when he saw the object, but then he became confused.
“So the memories are gone, but the knowledge is retained?” Eyeglasses mumbled to himself and put the candle back; this was what remained from the candle Chen Quan took out at the campsite, and he had kept it out of curiosity.
“Listen to me. You need to remain calm no matter what happens. Even if you forget everything, just remember to follow me, okay? I don’t think that just forgetting about things will harm you that much, as we saw with You Fang.” Eyeglasses pondered for a little and spoke calmly as he stared at Chen Quan.
“I understand,” Chen Quan complied. His reverence for Eyeglasses grew upon realizing that the latter had not been affected at all.
“Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to ensure your safety as well. My captain wouldn’t allow me to abandon you.” Eyeglasses saw through Chen Quan’s fears.
“Thanks.” Chen Quan nodded and followed Eyeglasses even closer.
* * *
“Do you know a way to break this formation?” Li Yiming looked at the Bai Ze statue and said in a low voice.
“I’ve been created from the will of a domain, but it’s a completely different one. Besides, I’m not a formation specialist, I’m a beast trainer.” Sai Gao could empathize with Li Yiming’s worry for Bai Ze, but could do little to help him.
“Do you at least know what kind of formation this is?” Li Yiming already had his guesses, judging from the fact that Sai Gao could not even leave the city.
“I don’t know. I can sense something that binds the souls of the beasts within me, and through them, I feel the existence of this formation, but nothing more than that.” Sai Gao said with a frown. “Maybe we can ask someone who lives here.”
“Let’s go.” Li Yiming agreed. ‘It does seem that the people in here all know about what’s going on. Otherwise that old man…’
“The formation that protects the city? I’ve heard about it, but a peasant like me wouldn’t know much. Maybe you can ask a teacher?” The first man Sai Gao and Li Yiming stopped, surprisingly, knew a thing or two, but he could not be of any more use.
“Yeah, those that teach in schools. They know a lot.” The man answered with a broad smile.
“Where… can we find a teacher?” Li Yiming asked carefully, afraid to give himself away.
“In a school, of course. There’s one on every street. But I’ve heard that Mr. You Fang from the Northern side is the best at what he does. Maybe you can try asking him?” The man explained patiently, with nothing more than a few glances at Sai Gao for his odd appearance.
“You Fang?” Li Yiming’s eyes widened.