Chapter 114: Intelligence
On the way to the Ruby Bar, Tang Cuo learnt of the grudge between Lilith and Scarlet.
“Lilith’s real name is actually Xia Li, and Lily or Lilith is her nickname. She originally had a younger brother named Xia Cheng, who’s only one year younger than her.”
Jin Cheng didn’t see Lilith when she first arrived in Yong Ye City, but he did see Xia Cheng. He was a young but very steady boy, who was also clever and talented in combat. When he talked about his elder sister, he always put on a gentle expression, as if she wasn’t his elder sister but a younger sister whom he needed to keep under his care.
He always said to protect his sister so that she wouldn’t lose herself and her happiness in this murderous world. Jin Cheng was still a lone player at the time, but he admired the boy a lot, and they even made a promise to enter a dungeon together.
But before long, he lost contact with Xia Cheng. In Yong Ye City, a person’s disappearance never needed a reason. People came and went, as though they were but passers-by.
Jin Cheng didn’t deliberately go to investigate, because he was also caught up in something, which was the affair behind the scar on his face. By the time he finished taking care of everything and got news from Xia Cheng again, Xia Li had become Lilith. Her temperament was very different from what Xia Cheng used to describe. Since she always wore black clothes, gradually, everyone began to call her ‘Black Lolita’.
Scarlet Sorceress and Black Lolita, two demonesses of Yong Ye City’s Zone A. The hatred between them was as deep as the sea.
The Scarlet Sorceress ranked third on the Red List, one place lower than Rong Yi, but she was actually ten times more terrifying than Rong Yi.
“They met Scarlet for the first time in a dungeon. Strictly speaking, Scarlet’s class is more like a Necromancer, or more specifically, a Lich. If a player wants to kill her, it isn’t enough to kill only her body. You must kill her hidden phylactery1, else she’ll be reborn again and again. She can also resurrect the players who die in the dungeons to become her puppets. Xia Cheng is one of them.”
In that dungeon, Scarlet killed Xia Cheng and resurrected him, which caused Lilith, who had almost collapsed from the pain, to have to kill him again with her own hands.
“According to you, didn’t Scarlet find a loophole in Yong Ye City’s rules? As long as she hides her phylactery in Yong Ye City, no matter how many times she dies in the dungeon, she can be reborn indefinitely. Even if you kill her in Yong Ye City, she’ll only be sent to jail, unless — you destroy her phylogeny.” Tang Cuo said.
“Yes, that’s what we planned from the beginning. In Yong Ye City, she isn’t the only one who follows the route of a Necromancer, but she’s the only one who can be reborn infinitely. [Phylactery] is also legendary-grade equipment. Scarlet relies on this to become invincible. The equipment itself comes from Yong Ye City, while her behaviour conforms to the iron rule of ‘Survival is justice’. Therefore, Yong Ye City can acquiesce in her existence. But she indeed took advantage of a loophole, so when she got into jail, the most severe punishment was imposed — before her case, the underwater prison hadn’t been opened for a long time. Once she’s locked in, we can definitely kill her as long as we manage to seize her phylactery.”
The siege of the city mobilised more than half of the players in Zone A. This cleanup activity led by the top players on the Red List, each of whom possessed immense strength, came down like a raging thunderstorm, and no target was left to escape.
But only a few people knew that the real purpose of this operation was to capture Scarlet.
“What did she do, why did you have to spend so much effort?” Tang Cuo asked.
“At that time, Scarlet had reached the point of killing people for fun. As long as she was in a dungeon, no matter how many people were there at the beginning, only one lucky person would survive in the end, because Scarlet wanted him to live to tell the story to others. The more everyone was afraid of her, the happier she would be.” Jin Cheng said.
Hearing this, Tang Cuo was silent for a moment, then he asked: “Was Lilith the lucky one?”
Jin Cheng didn’t answer, but this was the same as quietly admitting it. After a pause, he said solemnly: “What’s worse, Scarlet got the 2nd Movement.”
The second one.
Tang Cuo’s heart trembled. The 2nd Movement’s authority was only below the 1st Movement, so its power might exceed everyone’s expectations. He couldn’t imagine what impact it would make if Scarlet used it.
“We stood guard for a whole month and finally sent her to jail, and even got some clues about her phylogeny. But when we went to look for it, it was gone.”
To this day, Jin Cheng still used such a cold tone when he talked about this. Combining this with what was happening now, without Tang Cuo asking, he took the initiative to point out his suspicion: “I, Lin Yandong, Rong Yi and Chong Yanzhang were those who knew the clues about her phylogeny at the time.”
Now it seemed that most of the problems lay with Chong Yanzhang, but he was already dead.
Tang Cuo asked again: “Where’s the 2nd Movement?”
Jin Cheng shook his head: “It disappeared with the phylactery. If it’s still in Scarlet’s hands, it would be bad.”
As they were conversing, the two reached the entrance of the Ruby Bar. What was different from before was that this time, K actually sat near the door and waited for them, as if he was expecting them to come.
“Only you? Where’s your disciple?” K looked behind Jin Cheng.
Jin Cheng didn’t want to explain to him yet and walked right into the private room. With the cage being this heavy, it was only thanks to Jin Cheng’s strength and the aid of his special ability that the cage could be moved. He put it on the table with a loud “clang”, which had K rather stunned.
“What did you bring?” K was an intelligence dealer, so very quickly, his sharp eyes could guess that the item was wrapped in an invisibility cloak, but he couldn’t guess that Jin Cheng would answer him that —
“My next of kin.” Jin Cheng lifted the invisibility cloak and moved the cage so that Tang Cuo stayed closest to him.
“Are you f**king kidding me?” K looked left and right; it was only a cat. After finally being able to react following the shock, he realised that there were no animals in Yong Ye City. This made him even more surprised and couldn’t help but reach out to touch it.
A cup flew over and almost smashed the nose he had just pinched.
K dodged to the side: “Do you have to act like that?”
Jin Cheng sat down opposite him: “Yes I do. Withdraw your repulsive gaze at once, Cuo Cuo and I haven’t had dinner yet.” [T/N: ‘Cuo Cuo and I’… Okay man, even I cringe （￣□￣；）.]
“Tsk what. Bring something to eat.”
K really wanted to flip his attitude and switch sides right here, right now. What he opened was a bar, not a restaurant. But then, he hadn’t seen a live cat for many years. It would be immoral to let a poor little cat go hungry, even if inside the cat’s body actually lived the soul of Jin Cheng’s boyfriend. So K reluctantly asked the waiter to prepare a meal.
As for Tang Cuo, after entering the bar, he kept a cold expression and didn’t say a word.
At this moment, he could finally empathise with the cats who always said Earthlings were dumb. If he was really a cat, he wouldn’t even want to meow.
Dismissing the waiter, K sat down and said with a grim expression: “I know what you came for. Lin Yandong suddenly disappeared, but I can only tell you that I haven’t received any news, and I also can’t guarantee —”
Jin Cheng interrupted him: “I’m not here to buy information from you, I’m here to sell information.”
“Sell?” K raised his eyebrows.
“A big fish, so big that you won’t be able to afford the price.” Jin Cheng smiled.
K had been doing business for so many years, and it wasn’t like he had never received information from outside, but seeing Jin Cheng like this, he felt as though he was being blackmailed. He tapped his fingers on the table, pondered for two seconds and finally asked: “How can I trust that you won’t fool me with some random information?”
It’s not like you haven’t done anything like this before.
Jin Cheng knocked on the cage and pointed out the number ‘13’ to him.
As soon as K saw that number, his expression changed. After a few seconds of silence, he said: “What price do you want? Points, or another exchange of information?”
Jin Cheng: “Three pieces of information. One, I want you to honestly tell me whether the dungeon that Lin Yandong and Black Hat entered together was related to the Western Fantasy dungeon that I triggered.”
Hearing Jin Cheng say that, he knew at once that Jin Cheng basically already knew the answer, so it would be meaningless to deny it: “Hidden dungeon [July Rose]. The trigger item of the dungeon was initially found by Black Hat and his companions. You know that many hidden dungeons of Yong Ye City don’t limit the number of participants. Later, Lin Yandong got the news from an unknown source, so he took the initiative to come to Black Hat and said he wanted to join. As for other things, I don’t know.”
‘As for other things, I don’t know’ was K’s mantra. Jin Cheng didn’t believe him, so he asked back: “What about the fortune teller in Zone B?”
K: “Is this the second piece of information?”
in Cheng: “What do you think?”
K rolled his eyes: “She was brought in by Lin Yandong. Don’t ask me about the relationship between them. I’m a great intelligence dealer, but I’m not an omniscient and omnipotent god.”
Jin Cheng accepted this, then he raised two fingers: “The second piece of information, the 2nd Movement.”
K didn’t answer immediately. He picked up the red wine on the table and poured himself a glass, took a sip, then asked slowly: “What makes you think I know about it? If I actually have that information, will I still be here listening to you nagging? Even if Scarlet is standing in front of me now, I won’t give a damn.”
Jin Cheng: “Don’t forget, the news that Scarlet obtained the 2nd Movement came from you. You made a fortune from it.”
K: “It doesn’t mean that I still know where it is now, and why do you never suspect that the 2nd Movement’s owner has changed since a year ago?”
Jin Cheng: “Lin Yandong?”
K shrugged: “Why do you think it’s him?”
“Apart from him, who else in Yong Ye City would get the 2nd Movement yet keep totally quiet about it?”
“What you say makes a lot of sense, but it’s only speculation after all. Scarlet’s phylactery and the 2nd Movement disappeared at the same time, and no one knows who took them away. Of course, I don’t know either.”
At this time, Tang Cuo, who had been silent all this while, finally said: “Chong Yanzhang may know it, and if he knows it, maybe Jiang He also knows it.”
“Huh?” K raised his eyebrows and looked at Tang Cuo with curiosity and surprise in his eyes. “Why would you think of Chong Yanzhang and Jiang He?”
Tang Cuo, a little black cat with no expression on his face, asked back: ” When did Jiang He appear next to Chong Yanzhang?”
K: “Everyone knows it’s a year ago.”
Tang Cuo: “When did Scarlet go to jail?”
Jin Cheng: “Everyone knows it’s a year ago.”
K came to a stop, put down his wine glass, crossed his legs and folded his arms: “Why am I feeling that you two are conspiring together to look down on my IQ?”
Tang Cuo turned his head and looked at Jin Cheng.
Jin Cheng cleared his throat and said: “It’s just speculation after all, and we’re just saying it casually. Chong Yanzhang is dead now, but the black iron cage No. 13 turns up while Lin Yandong suddenly disappears. Don’t you think it’s too much of a coincidence?”
“Whether it’s a coincidence, I have no idea, but I really don’t know where No. 2 movement is. Jiang He got under Chong Yanzhang’s wings really because Chong Yanzhang saved his life, but whether Scarlet and he knew about the movement, I have no way to ascertain. If you want to know, I can check.” K said.
At this time, the waiter knocked on the door and delivered the meal. Jin Cheng saw that the steak was freshly made, and without the slightest hesitation, he asked the waiter to put the steak in front of him, then he picked up the knife and fork to slowly cut off a small piece and fed it to Tang Cuo.
The gap between the cage bars is small and the smallest plate can’t fit in, but even so, do you really have to feed him with a fork?
K watched Jin Cheng’s show of very well-coordinated movements, feeling that his mood of eating the steak was gone. He hoped that Tang Cuo would give Jin Cheng a scratch, but to his surprise, Tang Cuo couldn’t care less and took the meat with his mouth wide open.
Tang Cuo was really hungry, and the meat was delivered to his lips. There was no reason not to eat.
Besides, if he didn’t let Jin Cheng feed him, would he have to really be like a cat, licking a milk bowl with his head down?
“Is it delicious?” Jin Cheng asked.
“.” Tang Cuo was busy chewing the meat and didn’t have time to answer.
It’s delicious. Jin Cheng understood it at once. He dexterously cut the steak into small pieces and put a straw into the juice to make sure Tang Cuo wasn’t thirsty.
K wore an expression that was difficult to describe in words. He didn’t know that Jin Cheng would exude this sort of poise once he fell in love. Seeing his expression, Jin Cheng raised his eyebrows, pulled up the corners of his mouth and put up a mischievous look that basically screamed ‘it’s none of your business.’
Tang Cuo didn’t see the war of facial expressions that was going on between the two and focused on eating. It was just that a cat’s mouthwash is too small, which quickly felt tired and troublesome after chewing only a few pieces of meat.
While Tang Cuo was drinking the juice, Jin Cheng took out a handkerchief and wiped his hands, “Then you go and check. The third piece of information, I want you to tell me about Warden Xiao Tong. Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s about him.”
K rolled his eyes, then smiled: “About him, I do have one piece of information here. But, shouldn’t you tell me first if Scarlet is really out of jail? A black iron cage alone can’t explain anything. And if she’s really at large, Yong Ye City will soon turn into a mess and everyone will know by then. In that case, the information you sell to me will be worth nothing.”
Hearing that, Jin Cheng looked at Tang Cuo and asked casually, as though he was just chit-chatting: “Do you know who I met just now when I went out?”
Tang Cuo: “?”
Jin Cheng: “Extreme Luck Yu Yiyi.”
“Him?” Before Tang Cuo even said anything, K was once again struck dumb. That Yu Yiyi, the one whose luck was so Heaven-defying it felt unscientific?
Jin Cheng: “About ten days ago, the fortune teller in Zone B received three groups of guests. One group was me and Tang Cuo, the next group was two mysterious people, and the remaining one was Yu Yiyi. When I met Yu Yiyi, he said that he learnt the location of Scarlet’s phylogeny from the fortune teller.”
Tang Cuo and K couldn’t help but focus. K even put his hands on the table and leaned forward, for fear that he might miss any word.
Jin Cheng deliberately took advantage of the situation and came to a pause, then he laughed out loud, teasing K until K’s eyes had to roll one exaggerated round with anger: “Now, do you tell me or not?”
“Okay okay okay, I’ll talk.” Jin Cheng gave Tang Cuo another mouthful and said: “Scarlet’s phylactery is hidden in a dungeon.”
K: “A dungeon???”
Jin Cheng: “Isn’t it interesting? She really does have a knack for hiding things. Who would’ve thought that a player’s phylogeny would be hidden in a dungeon? There are tens of thousands of dungeons in Yong Ye City, and some of them might appear once every dozen years. Even if it’s a dungeon that players often encounter, it’s impossible to explore every corner. If you hide it well enough, no one will be able to find it even till the end of time.”
Tang Cuo also thought this method was truly out of the box. It was bold yet careful, not something ordinary people could think of.
“Wait, why did Yu Yiyi tell you this information?” After the shock, K began to have doubts. He started at Jin Cheng, as if he wanted to find traces of lying on the man’s face.
“This is called to toss danger to someone else’s hands.” Tang Cuo said firmly.
“My Cuo Cuo is smart as always. Why do you think Yu Yiyi can always act so smoothly? Of course, he has his own innate luck, but it also depends on his ability to avoid risks.” Jin Cheng said.
Hearing this, K was silent for a moment, and finally made up his mind: “As for Xiao Tong, according to the information I got, he seems to have a problem with his body. Every day he shuts himself in a small black room, and when he comes out, his body is covered in blood and his hands will be torn, as if he did it to himself. The specific details remain unknown, but perhaps because of this, he can’t wait to find a successor. Regarding his successor, you might already know.”
This information came from Zheng Yingying. For an intelligence dealer, every additional word he revealed only caused him more loss, so naturally, he wouldn’t want to reveal more.
Jin Cheng raised his eyebrows: “That’s all?”
K sat back leisurely and crossed his legs: “What else do you want? Is the information you gave me really accurate? In what dungeon is Scarlet’s phylogeny hidden, you know it, don’t you? Don’t you dare to say no, or I’ll kick you out.”
Jin Cheng answered concisely: “A special trigger dungeon, trigger condition: a card-type item, other details are unknown.”
K wanted to ask carefully, but Rong Yi and Leng Miao had finally arrived, so this topic was temporarily cast aside.
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.