Chapter 10 - Difficulty at Every Step
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Li Yiming pulled up the collar of his jacket as he walked into a residential neighborhood in the old city, a place that gave him a better sense of security.
He regretted not taking some money from the pile Pan Junwei had left. Without any cash, bank card, or ID card, getting anywhere was a tremendous challenge. After peeking at the surveillance camera attached to the power pole above his head, he walked out of the small alley.
Li Yiming had wandered around the coffee shop for a while after the incident. It was a bitter pill to see Liu Meng and his friends siding with the police, since it meant that he could not go to them for help, at least until he figured out how to break the influence of Heart Trial Punishment. In addition, seeing Eyeglasses also reminded him that in a big city where surveillance is omnipresent, he would need to tread carefully and remain elusive.
‘I need to get out of this city…’ Li Yiming grew more anxious as he considered his options.
“Hey cutie, want to play?” Li Yiming’s thoughts were interrupted by a voice from behind. He turned around and found a slightly plump woman with heavy make-up smiling at him. She wore a low-cut dress, along with poor quality stockings, and the visible fatigue on her visage made Li Yiming pity her.
Li Yiming then noticed the giant neon sign right above her head: “Sauna center: massages, hair washing, and more!”
‘This might be the only place where I can spend a night without an ID card…’ Li Yiming gulped down a mouthful of saliva. The man who was bravely defying the Heavens just a few days ago was now forced to spend the night in an illegal brothel.
‘Seriously…’ Li Yiming was beginning to appreciate the “real” consequences of defying Heaven’s Laws.
“Come on, cutie, come relax a bit!” The woman quickly insisted when she saw Li Yiming consider her offer. It was a treat for her to be able to have a client who was as handsome as Li Yiming.
Li Yiming let out a long sigh and nodded politely, but still ended up turning around.
‘Shit, a drone…’ Li Yiming had barely taken a few steps before noticing the aircraft above him and turned back. The woman, who saw Li Yiming come back, smiled happily as she opened the door for him.
“Come have a look at this.” In an office building on the other side of the city, Eyeglasses frowned as he looked at his screen.
“Did you find anything?” Qing Linglong walked up with a glass of red wine.
“I’ve captured this a few moments ago. Seventy-two percent match.” Eyeglasses pointed at a picture of Li Yiming walking into the “sauna center”.
“That’s not him.” Liu Meng snorted as she saw the neon sign on top of the entrance.
“Let’s keep searching then.” Qing Linglong did not question Liu Meng’s judgment.
Eyeglasses shrugged his shoulders and continued filtering through the surveillance footage.
“Alright, cutie, my boss isn’t there today, so I’ll only give you fifty percent off for the entire course.” As soon as Li Yiming stepped into the room, the woman approached him aggressively, and he reactively ran to a corner.
“Oh? Are you shy?’ Her face lit up with joy and she flushed.
“Can we talk…” Li Yiming now regretted his decision of entering the place to escape surveillance.
“Talk? Haha, you’re funny. Alright then, what do you want to talk about?” Li Yiming’s embarrassed look once again made her smile. She put her arms on the counter, further putting her chest on display for Li Yiming to see.
“Uh… I don’t have any money...“ Li Yiming could not think of anything else to deter her.
“What?” The woman laughed.
“I’ve told you that I’m only taking half price…” The woman stuck out her tongue slowly and licked her lips. Li Yiming shuddered in horror.
“I really don’t have money. Someone stole everything I had…” Li Yiming pulled out both of his pockets to show that he was not lying.
“Why are you here then?” The woman finally showed a displeased look.
“I’m here to borrow some money…” Li Yiming said without thinking.
“Borrow money?” The woman was baffled. ‘Is he some kind of gang member here for protection fees?’
“Yes.” Li Yiming nodded.
“Is this supposed to be a joke?” The woman’s expression suddenly turned cold as she wrapped her arms around her chest, bringing them further up and making Li Yiming look away.
“Someone stole my money… I lost my cell phone too. I was walking by this place, and you seemed like a nice person so… I’ll pay you back a hundredfold… No, a thousandfold…” Li Yiming had given up all of his pride at this point.
“Do I look like a nice person to you?” The woman asked.
“Well, you don’t look like a bad person…” Li Yiming examined the woman and could find nothing but lust in all honesty.
“Well, I didn’t get any clients today, so this is all I have. Leave.” She pulled out a hundred yuan bill from the folds of her underwear and threw it toward Li Yiming. She then turned around to hide her dejection.
She knew that if it was not due to circumstances, Li Yiming would never have chosen to beg her for money. This pained her, as it reminded her of the painful decision she had made a long time ago to enter the industry, which resulted in her present state.
Li Yiming picked up the still warm bill and sighed as he could feel the turbulent emotions of the woman who was kind enough to help him. He wanted to put down the bill, but finally clenched it tightly and vowed to come back and repay the favor one day. He looked up at the sky and walked out when he found it to be clear of drones.
“Is that you? Mr. Li?” Another voice came from behind. Li Yiming turned around and found a young woman with a well-proportioned body wearing a hat and sunglasses this time.
“You are…” Li Yiming looked around and found no one else. He scrutinized the young woman. ‘Gym clothing, running shoes, snacks and drinks… She’s just come back from the supermarket.’
“It’s me… Why… why are you here?” The young woman removed her sunglasses and mask as she looked at the giant neon sign behind Li Yiming.
“Shao Xian?” Li Yiming said with a voice full of surprise.
“I…” Shao Xian was happy at being recognized until she noticed the building behind Li Yiming.
“I’m… I’m just walking by…” Li Yiming could not find a better explanation.
“What a coincidence then!” Shao Xian could feel Li Yiming’s embarrassment.
“Yes, what a coincidence!” Li Yiming sighed.
“So, can we go out for a meal together?” Shao Xian mustered up the courage to ask. She did not quite know why, but she thought that she should thank Li Yiming.
“Yes, just eating together.” Shao Xian nodded.
“Sure…” Li Yiming nodded as he felt his stomach stir. The last full meal he had was on the Pandaria with Chen Quan.
“Really?” Shao Xian’s eyes lit up.
“Yes, I am hungry…” Li Yiming put the bill he had just received into his pocket.
Li Yiming and Shao Xian sat down at a table on the street with a few plates of food on the table between them. Shao Xian pointed at the poorly cooked meal and asked, “Are you sure that you’re okay with this?”
“It’s good enough,” Li Yiming answered honestly.
The two sank into another long silence as Li Yiming gulped down the meal without looking at Shao Xian. She wanted to take Li Yiming to a more upscale location, but Li Yiming refused, knowing that such places were filled with surveillance cameras.
“Thank you for the three million.” Shao Xian suddenly raised her head.
“It was a favor for someone else. You should thank Fang Shui’er,” Li Yiming said while keeping his eyes on his plate.
‘Right…’ Li Yiming’s words saddened Shao Xian, and she started to wonder why she could not seem to remember her first encounter with Li Yiming and everything else that happened after aboard the cruise ship.