Chapter 21: Ruby Bar
In the same East Cross Street, in the same room with the broken window that belonged to Tang Cuo, Chi Yan, a true warrior, faced the exact same situation as Wen Xiaoming.
This one should be called [Two Butchers and A Green Dinosaur Soon To Be Slaughtered].
“Tang ge, hear me out first ―” Chi Yan also pretended to be all adorable and blinked his eyes, trying to get the boss’ pity. But Tang Cuo cut him off without mercy.
“Did I ask you to speak?”
Chi Yan withdrew himself in grievance, but Tang Cuo’s face remained black.
Just now on East Cross Street, after Jin Cheng showed his power, no one dared to make another move. The old players ran away one after another, and the new players were so excited that they almost kneeled down before Jin Cheng and Tang Cuo
Fortunately, the two of them reacted quickly and escaped into the building, not forgetting to drag Chi Yan along.
After a long moment, Tang Cuo’s anger finally went down a little: “Speak.”
Chii Yan quickly explained: “I was cheated by them! I came to Zone F to look for you 2 days ago but couldn’t locate you. Then I heard about this Kitchen Knife Gang, and they claimed that you are their boss, so I joined!”
Tang Cuo heard the words ‘Kitchen Knife Gang’ and was angry again. Jin Cheng stopped him with a smile, then raised his chin and signaled: “You just continue.”
Chi Yan: “Oh, actually, everyone just doesn’t want to be exploited by the old players. If someone takes the lead in resisting, people will respond. And we even have weapons, supermarket knives are really easy to use!”
Tang Cuo’s cleaver truly led everyone onto the path of enlightenment. Under the premise that new players generally had no weapons at hand, although a kitchen knife from the supermarket didn’t have much added value, a knife was a knife regardless!
“We also bought a lot of pepper powder, chili powder, water guns, fishing rods and all kinds of things. We’ve fought with them many times these past few days. Although we end up losing most of the time, we have new people coming every day!” Saying that, Chi Yan even became proud: “Moreover, today we even have Tang ge and you taking the lead, brilliant!”
Brilliant your head.
Tang Cuo didn’t expect that there would be new players who established a gang under his name. Forming gangs wasn’t too bad, but they also took up such a vulgar name! And this Chi Yan was so young, yet he dared to go up there and raise his arms around, totally not afraid of getting hurt.
Jin Cheng was very interested in Chi Yan and asked: “Looking at the few words you shouted just now, you seemed quite skilled. What did you do before?”
Chi Yan scratched his head in embarrassment and blushed: “Well, I created guilds in online games, and I also liked to participate in group activities in school. Just now, I got too excited and rambled a few words.”
Tang Cuo actually didn’t think he just randomly went up and shouted a few words, because those words clearly hit the spot and made people’s hearts move. If this wasn’t some sort of talent, then it would be at least an excellent trickery skill.
“You’re not part of Zone F?” Tang Cuo asked.
“I was assigned to Zone E.” Chi Yan nodded. “There are not many new players in Zone E, I didn’t see anyone I knew. I was a little scared, so I came to look for you. By the way, ge, are you a new player? That attack you did with just one hand was very powerful, it’s awesome!”
As he let out the second half of the sentence, Chi Yan turned to Jin Cheng.
Jin Cheng showed a very kind expression: “I’m Jin Cheng and I‘m not a new player, I just happen to know your Tang ge.”
Hearing that, Chi Yan wanted to call him Jin ge, but ‘Jin ge’ sounded a bit like ‘Guo Jing’1, so he simply called him Cheng ge. Cheng ge was a good man; he not only allowed Chi Yan to remain here, but also gave him the room next door to stay in.
However, just a moment later, Jin Cheng’s impression in Chi Yan’s heart immediately changed to be like Tang Cuo’s.
“By the way, have you seen the little girl?” Chi Yan’s face became stern and he frowned, looking a bit more like a real adult: “I looked in Zone E and then Zone F, but couldn’t find her. She’s so small yet very noticeable, in a place like this Yong Ye City, I’m afraid something bad will happen to her.”
Tang Cuo also remembered the bald girl. She couldn’t run away from cancer, and now couldn’t escape from Yong Ye City. It had been five days now and no one could tell what might happen to her.
Jin Cheng asked: “What kind of person is she?”
Chi Yan hurriedly described everything he knew. Jin Cheng thought about it for a bit and said: “In the rating system of Yong Ye City, your rating represents your survivability and your score represents your achievements. High survivability doesn’t mean good achievements, and those two values are also not equal. Although you need points to level up from Zone A to Zone F, the core value is actually your rating. If the girl you are talking about really died of cancer and she’s that young, her survivability won’t be very high, and she most likely will be sent to Zone F.”
What Jin Cheng said was basically the same as Tang Cuo’s speculation. He himself was classified into Zone F due to his negative debuff and also specifically due to Mr. Crow’s bias, similar to how Jin Cheng was punished back to Zone F.
Chi Yan was puzzled: “But if she’s in Zone F, why hasn’t there been any news for several days? She won’t hide in the room all the time, she has to eat too!”
“Maybe she’s already dead.” Jin Cheng said very lightly.
Chi Yan was speechless, and he couldn’t help but cast his eyes on Tang Cuo.
Tang Cuo thoughtfully asked: “What is the difference between dying in Yong Ye City and dying in the dungeon?”
This is what Jin Cheng liked the most about Tang Cuo: he was very smart, and he always hit the right points with his questions. “There are seven major zones in Yong Ye City, yet the players only stay in Zone A to F. Guess what is the remaining one?”
Chi Yan shook his head obediently.
Jin Cheng: “It’s a prison. When you first entered the game, you probably heard this from the system: ‘The first rule of Yong Ye City: Survival is justice.’ All players who die in Yong Ye City violate this law of justice. You will be punished if you don’t have the ability or the courage to survive.”
“Then what happens to those who kill others? What about murderers?” Chi Yan’s eyes widened. “Being killed is wrong, yet killing is okay?”
Jin Cheng stretched his hands with a smile on his lips: “This is Yong Ye City.”
Chi Yan was so shocked he couldn’t speak. For a lively teenager like him, such a fact wasn’t easy to accept. And if that little girl was thrown into prison, it would be even harder to accept.
“Then can I go to the prison to find her?” He asked hurriedly.
“The warden in Zone G is a man so twisted that even I don’t dare to provoke. If you think you are living too long a life, you can try picking at him.”
Hearing what Jin Cheng said, Chi Yan inevitably felt like giving up half way. But Chi Yan thought of that little girl again and felt unjust. Luckily, it was only a guess that she was put in prison, and Chi Yan felt that he might still search around for her.
The three of them then went back to the topic of the Kitchen Knife Gang. Tang Cuo absolutely didn’t want to be the representative of this useless gang, but Jin Cheng had different opinions.
“It’s good to have such a power, but the name needs to be changed.” Jin Cheng got a little excited and taught Chi Yan some tricks, to which Chi Yan listened with great enthusiasm and nodded repeatedly.
Tang Cuo didn’t participate in the whole discussion. After Chi Yan inherited Jin Cheng’s trade secret and was chased out by Jin Cheng, he finally opened his mouth: “Why do you keep him here?”
Jin Cheng stood by the window and watched as Chi Yan once again blended into the crowd of newcomers, saying: “You and I are too eye-catching in Zone F. We need an even more eye-catching presence.”
Tang Cuo’s eyebrows furrowed: “You are the only one who is eye-catching .”
“That’s not right.” Jin Cheng chuckled lightly. He leaned on the window frame and turned around: “It wasn’t me who used a kitchen knife to slash people in the first place.”
“It’s a cleaver.”
“Aren’t they all kitchen utensils?”
Tang Cuo ignored him.
A grim expression came back to Jin Cheng’s face: “One thing I didn’t lie to you is that my enemies are indeed aplenty. Although people from high-level zones rarely go to low-level zones, it isn’t possible to hide the news that I’ve moved here, not to mention they all saw me attack just now. To be on the safe side, we have to find two fixed teammates, otherwise it will get more dangerous as we level up.”
Tang Cuo thought about it and understood what he meant. People in different zones couldn’t do missions together, but it didn’t mean that Jin Cheng’s enemies couldn’t mess with them in the game dungeons. They could buy others to do that for them.
In theory, as long as the enemies kept a close eye and followed the two of them closely when they took up the missions, the enemies might also be sent to the same dungeon.
“But why must I be with you?” Tang Cuo asked sincerely.
“Because you still owe me money.” Jin Cheng also answered him sincerely.
Tang Cuo’s expression went icy cold in a split second and he turned around to head back to his bed. Jin Cheng watched him take out the items from the supermarket bags and put the cleaver under the pillow before saying: “Are you planning to murder your instructor in the middle of the night?”
Tang Cuo turned around: “I’m even more curious about why you will still be here in the middle of the night.”
Jin Cheng spread his hands: “Because I gave the room next door to Chi Yan.”
Tang Cuo: “Does it have anything to do with me?”
Jin Cheng: “I say yes.”
Tang Cuo wanted to fight him.
But forget it, I won’t win against him.
The 18-year-old Tang Cuo used to attack recklessly and ended up beaten to a pulp by the instructor, but the 24-year-old Tang Cuo had learnt to calculate carefully before making any move ― such as, waiting until late night to attack him in his sleep.
Jin Cheng narrowed his eyes as his intuition told him that Tang Cuo must be thinking about something evil, just like when he was in the army. Da Li always teased Jin Cheng that sooner or later he would be overthrown by a new recruit, but Jin Cheng didn’t care.
He felt that Tang Cuo was like a little tiger that would soon become the king of all animals. Others teased cats while he teased a tiger, how cool.
However, Jin Cheng didn’t stay in Tang Cuo’s room in the end, for he might be bitten by the tiger but there was no place to get a vaccine. He didn’t tell Tang Cuo where he was heading and simply walked out of the room, went downstairs and left East Cross Street.
Tang Cuo stood by the window and watched him with thoughtful eyes.
Half an hour later, in Ruby Bar in Zone F.
“Ting ting.” As the wind chime sounded, Jin Cheng pushed open the door and walked in, then greeted the waiter at the door as casually as always: “A glass of brandy. Is your boss there?”
The waiter wore a spotless Western uniform and replied politely: “Yes, sir, in Room No. 19.”
Jin Cheng nodded and went straight to Room No. 19.
This bar was different from other drinking places. It had a typical Baroque style2, looking luxurious and exaggerated while giving off the smell of money in every corner. Corresponding to this luxury was the expensive prices on the menu: even a glass of ordinary beer would cost a quarter of a point.
There were hardly any guests in the bar.
Jin Cheng waited for a while in Room No. 19. As the door opened, a man with long hair and dressed in clothes as luxurious as the interior design walked in. With sharp raised eyes, his facial features gave off a peculiar feeling, and he wore a unique purple suit that instantly put him under the spotlight everywhere he stepped.
“Just the day before yesterday, I made a bet with Black Hat on what you are doing since you’ve been quiet recently. Turns out you were punished back to Zone F again?” He casually pushed a glass of liquor in front of Jin Cheng, a ruby ring as red as blood shining on his thumb.
“Why do you people spill so much nonsense all day long? You weren’t mute in your previous lives.” Jin Cheng took the drink and took a sip, his tone sarcastic and cold.
The other man didn’t care either and leaned back against the sofa lazily: “Just say it, why are you looking for me? It’s not like you grow some interest in Zone F?”
“Why can’t I? I want information about some existing players in Zone F and their missions, focusing on these two people: An Ning and Chi Yan. The more comprehensive the better.”
“Is something wrong with your head?”
“You just need to tell me if you have it or not.”
“Of course I have the information, Ruby Bar never fails to live up to its name. But I want to know why. The last time you were punished to Zone F, you left after just a week. What do you want so much information for?”
Jin Cheng shook the glass and asked: “Considering the information I can give you, what is the price you are charging me?”
The other man smiled: “I’ll give you a 20% discount.”
“Are you the businessman or am I the businessman? Your price is more ruthless than me.”
“Don’t you know that Suzhou people always cut to half the price?”
“Aren’t you from Beijing?”
“Oh, my disciple is here, he’s from Suzhou.”
“Do you think I don’t dare to throw you out?”
Jin Cheng almost made the other man laugh. What kind of bargaining was this? But Jin Cheng’s words revealed an important piece of information. He wondered how much truth lied in it when Jin Cheng mentioned ‘disciple’. In the end, he readily said: “I’ll give you half the price, 200 points.”
Jin Cheng put down the glass: “Deal.”
“As long as it’s in my territory, I will properly greet this ‘disciple’ of yours when I see him in the future. But you have to tell me who this ‘disciple’ is.”
“You will know very soon.”
“Will you die if you don’t protect him? Are you an old hen?”
“It doesn’t concern you.”
Jin Cheng tilted his head backwards and drank the last sip of the wine, put down the glass and decisively left. He came casually and left equally casually, and anyone who saw him could only be angered but unable to say anything.
Halfway through, he turned his head back and let out some last cautionary words: “Remember to send those things to East Cross Street.”
The answer was a glass flying his way. Jin Cheng tilted his head to one side to avoid it and “Dang”, the glass hit the pillar. Just like that, several hundred thousands RMB was gone.
Jin Cheng shrugged. It wasn’t his money anyway, so he didn’t feel distressed at all.
Leaving Ruby Bar, he returned to East Cross Street.
The people on the street had dispersed and most of the houses facing the street had their windows closed. Occasionally, a few people poked their heads out to take a look, but quickly retreated. But if one looked closely, he would find several pairs of eyes hidden in the dark corners, spying on everything in secret.
These eyes were a result of Chi Yan learning and applying Jin Cheng’s tricks. After all, the so-called Kitchen Knife Gang was just a bunch of loose screws that were forcefully gathered, still far from being a real foothold. It was surprising enough that they could hold off East Cross Street.
As for some other spying eyes, they came from places much further away.
The latest news of East Cross Street spread out steadily through the night, some of which descending into nothingness, some of which rippling out like waves.
In a duplex apartment near the central area of Zone F, a man fell down from the hammock. He asked while clutching his butt: “What did you just say?”
“It’s a man with a scar on his face.”
“Handsome or ugly?”
The man cursed in a low voice, pacing back and forth in the room. After a while, he bit his lips and said: “Just let the others continue spying, don’t provoke him before we’re ready. Tell An Ning’s group to prepare for the next missions, they need to level up to Zone E.”
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”.