Chapter 31: Twelve Movements of The Symphony
Jin Cheng, an elite player who had been in Yong Ye for three years, was no stranger to hidden missions. However, this was the first time he encountered a serial mission.
“Hidden missions are usually one-off missions.” Jin Cheng said as he played with the ring. “’Kingdom Hidden in The Moonlight’ and ‘Lancelot the most popular bard in the whole continent’ make it sound like an independent and complete world, but I’ve never heard of such content. Perhaps no one has encountered this mission before, or the last time it was triggered is very long ago.”
Tang Cuo: “How do I repair it?”
Jin Cheng tilted his head and thought for a while: “Let me give it to Wen Xiaoming first. if he can’t do it, then we’ll go look for Black Hat. Getting this kind of serial hidden mission is more difficult than winning the lottery, so it’ll be a shame to just leave it.”
The most important thing was that rewards from hidden missions were extremely diverse. Even if you only earned one reward, it might be the best item that you would never find in ordinary dungeons, such as Jin Cheng’s bow. Although they could still enter the dungeon without repairing the ring, this ring was after all the key item that triggered the mission. If the key item was faulty, the dungeon might not be easy to deal with.
Jin Cheng took the ring and said: “Just use the revolver for now, until you find a suitable weapon.”
Tang Cuo nodded and suddenly thought of something: “Our dungeon earlier only had a difficulty of Medium. Did Mr. Crow not come to make trouble?”
Jin Cheng also found it strange, but Mr. Crow’s way of thinking wasn’t something players like them could easily peek at. There were no rules for him to appear or not to appear.
The two ended their conversation and Tang Cuo didn’t ask Jin Cheng about his rewards as usual. Tang Cuo rested in his room while Jin Cheng went to talk to Wen Xiaoming.
Although the dungeon [Conquering Demon City] passed by quickly, it consumed too much energy. After those few hours of non-stop fighting, Tang Cuo could feel his low blood sugar condition kicking in again.
After pulling himself through a quick shower, Tang Cuo fell asleep on his bed without even drying his hair. This time, he could sleep for eight and a half hours.
Eight and a half hours later, East Cross Street was surprisingly quiet. For a moment, Tang Cuo couldn’t get used to this quietness, then he heard someone knocking on the door. Chi Yan walked in to give him a bowl of hot and sour noodles.
“Cheng ge said that you should almost wake up by now, so he asked me to come find you.” Chi Yan had finally taken off his green dinosaur pajamas and put on pear-green casual clothes. He seemed to have an unusual obsession with green.
“Where is he?”
“In the central area.”
Without Tang Cuo having to ask, Chi Yan told him what happened in the ten or so hours after they entered the dungeon. “Someone in An Ning jie1’s group broke into the prison. The person called Cheng Ke asked them to continue to move up to Zone E as planned. Once Meng Yufei dies, there’s no need for them to stay here. Zone F has become chaotic since they left.”
The situation had turned out just like Jin Cheng predicted, but this time the mess was bigger than when the conflict between the old and new players of East Cross Street took place.
Chi Yan stuttered: “Their fight is particularly harsh and could send dozens of people to jail at once. A lot of people were injured and the fight is still going on now. Compared to them, our fights at East Cross Street are just children spitting saliva at each other.”
What happened in just a dozen hours was equivalent to a shocking re-education for both Chi Yan and the new players at East Cross Street. Those who had claimed to seek revenge on the old players must have realised that the fight was no longer a child’s play and wished that they could back down as fast as possible.
Chi Yan had experienced The Wheel of Fortune, watched the turmoil in Zone F and was educated by Jin Cheng on the non-existence of laws and order in Yong Ye City. His previous world view was collapsing. However, the young man’s melancholy went away just as quickly as it came, and he turned around to tell Tang Cuo about An Ning.
“An Ning jie said now that she’s in Zone E, she will accompany me to the dungeons. The first dungeon is more difficult to clear.”
You are really a social butterfly, no?
Tang Cuo looked at the alarm clock and the never-changing night outside, but at least for now he didn’t want to care about what time it was. He wiped his mouth and asked: “Is there something going on in the central area?”
Chi Yan shook his head honestly: “I don’t know.”
Tang Cuo stopped asking, cleared the box of hot and sour noodles and prepared to head out with Chi Yan. When they were about to leave, the doorbell suddenly rang.
“Sir, you have an express delivery package, please come to check and take it.”
An express delivery package?
Chi Yan got excited even before Tang Cuo could react: “Express delivery! Ge, someone burnt something for you. My parents burnt this set of clothes for me, I just went to get it this morning. What do you think, does it look good? Look at the shoes on my feet, they’re Nike Air Jordan limited edition!”
What Chi Yan didn’t say was that when he went to get the package today, he cried like a baby when he saw the pile of items.
Only then did he truly feel that he was dead. He was separated from his parents forever, and he could never imagine what his parents felt when they burnt these things for him.
Tang Cuo then remembered that Yong Ye City had such a thing. The express delivery shop was likely located in the central area. Considering the time, he and Chi Yan had been dead for almost seven days.
He didn’t say anything.
Chi Yan only thought Tang Cuo was sad so he shut up, but in fact Tang Cuo was just thinking about who was burning things to him. He thought for a long time but couldn’t figure.
To get from East Cross Street to the central area, it was necessary to walk through Cheng Ke’s territory. But that area was now extremely unstable so Chi Yan proposed to take a detour.
Chi Yan was the type who carried his emotions to the extreme. He was always passionate in heated moments, so it was no wonder that he would be shaking in his boots during these uncertain times.
When they arrived at the central area, Tang Cuo didn’t rush to find Jin Cheng, rather, he walked slowly to the express delivery shop. This delivery point of Yong Ye City was a reputable shop decorated in Chinese style, and a large plaque at the door said ― Yong Ye Logistics.
There was also a line of English squiggling below: Paradise Express.
Inside the shop, the layout gave a pleasant, down-to-earth feel.
The 40-square-meter shop was like a large warehouse, its shelves filled with all sorts of items, from electronic products to fruits and foods. There was even a row of luxury sports cars from Maserati, Rolls Royce to Lamborghini. But the most conspicuous thing was money. Stacks of banknotes and mountains of gold bars were plainly piled up on the shelves without even any safes or security measures in sight, truly catching everyone’s eyes the moment they stepped in.
“Are you here to pick up your package?” The staff was an old man in his 70s or 80s, who appeared from behind the counter with an enamel tea cup in his hand, his eyes cloudy and white like those of a ghost.
Tang Cuo asked: “How do I get it?”
The old man: “We need your Player No. and 1 point for the courier fee.”
Tang Cuo turned around and wanted to leave but Chi Yan stopped him: “Ge, ge, where are you going?”
Tang Cuo: “I have no parents.”
Chi Yan: “…”
Tang Cuo: “And no siblings either.”
Chi Yan: “…”
Tang Cuo: “And not many friends.”
Chi Yan: “…”
Tang Cuo: “Maybe my enemies sent me a package of bombs.”
Chi Yan: “Ge, stop it! I will give you this point, okay? It’s really okay!”
Of course Tang Cuo wouldn’t let Chi Yan give him 1 point. He just felt that he should properly express his discontent with the courier fee. It was already 2019, express delivery should be paid by the sender, not the receiver!
People were already dead and they still had to pay courier fee. This damn shop surely would go out of business soon.
After his small fuss, the old man finally handed Tang Cuo a paper folder.
Tang Cuo looked at the thin folder then at the piles of money and gold bars on the shelves, wanting to rob his point back. But eventually he didn’t do that because there was Chi Yan right next to him. He shouldn’t teach kids bad things.
He opened the file to find a letter written on a piece of pink paper, and a white daisy fell out. There were only two words in the letter ― “Thank you.”
Tang Cuo was stunned for a few seconds, then he calmly put it back.
Chi Yan scratched his head with curiosity but he didn’t lean over to look at it. He was actually dying to know the content but desperately held back the urge, and Tang Cuo also had no intention to release him from his suffering. He stuffed the file into his pocket and walked away.
Jin Cheng was in an izakaya in the central area, where they also served Lanzhou noodles. It was a not-so-authentic izakaya serving not-so-authentic Lanzhou noodles, so not many people patronised the place.
When Tang Cuo opened the curtain and walked in, Jin Cheng was making fun of the boss. Even with a few fine lines around her eyes, the lady boss was a beautiful woman, her hair neatly tied up with a Chinese hairpin. She had makeup on but her hands were spotlessly clean and her nails were neatly trimmed.
Jin Cheng was sitting in front of the bar and the lady boss was pouring him some wine from behind the bar. They must have been conversing and the lady was glancing sideways at Jin Cheng. Just then, she realised that a guest was coming in and she greeted him with a smile: “An unfamiliar face. Xiao ge2, do you want a drink?”
Tang Cuo: “I’m looking for someone.”
Jin Cheng turned around and saw his expressionless face: “Who annoyed you again?”
Tang Cuo didn’t answer and sat down in front of the bar, two seats away from Jin Cheng. Chi Yan scratched his head and decided that he didn’t have the nerve to sit between the two big brothers, so he greeted Jin Cheng and sat next to Tang Cuo.
The lady boss came to a realisation and lifted her chin at Jin Cheng, asking him in a teasing tone: “Is this the person you were talking about?”
“He sure is.” And he’s mad at something again.
Jin Cheng couldn’t help laughing when he looked at the two empty seats that separated them.
Tang Cuo was quite calm. He had just eaten hot and sour noodles and wasn’t very hungry now, so he ordered only a serving of tempura and plum wine. Meanwhile, Chi Yan wanted to eat this and also eat that. He looked through the menu with excitement and finally ordered a portion of Lanzhou noodles.
He wanted to drink, but the lady boss refused.
“Kids shouldn’t learn from the bad habits of grown men. Jiejie will treat you to a sour plum drink.”
Chi Yan was also easy to please, so a cup of sour plum drink could totally make him forget about the wine. As he sipped on the cup, his eyes glanced back and forth on Tang Cuo then Jin Cheng. He felt that something didn’t seem right with the atmosphere, but he couldn’t tell what exactly wasn’t right.
Jin Cheng leaned on his chin and looked at them: “Did anything happen on the way here?”
Tang Cuo: “?”
“Some people can’t help it anymore.” Jin Cheng said lightly. “I saw some shadows lurking among those fights in Zone F.”
“You saw people who came down from high-ranking zones?” Tang Cuo asked.
“No, I saw equipment.”
“You mean, among the people who are fighting, someone has equipment that exceeds the usual standard of Zone F?”
“Bingo.” Jin Cheng snapped his fingers. He wondered, what is Tang Cuo irritated about? Jin Cheng loved taking him along because he never needed to explain much.
Jin Cheng liked to lecture, but he always scorned people for not being smart enough, then he himself had a bad temper and was always impatient.
He poured himself another glass of wine and said while fiddling with the peanuts in the plate: “Suddenly some new faces appeared in Zone F, carrying powerful equipment with them and destroying the structure of the whole place. East Cross Street is still standing strong for now, but if the power reshuffle happens faster than expected, we won’t stand a chance to fight back.”
Tang Cuo didn’t understand.
Although Jin Cheng was the type who could easily offend people, he was popular and wouldn’t make enemies everywhere. Looking at the current situation, it seemed as though those people were here to fight with Jin Cheng, so much so that they wouldn’t care how it would bring Zone F to a collapse.
Jin Cheng looked at Tang Cuo’s furrowing brows and smiled: “Remember that song?”
The moment he heard the word ‘song’, Chi Yan instantly reacted as though on a conditioned reflex: “That song about crow and sheeps?”
“Yeah.” Jin Cheng glanced at the other guests in the izakaya and continued: “Yong Ye City has a very special item called the [Twelve Movements]. They contain the scores of the [Song of God, Lambs and Crow]. Each movement is just a thin piece of paper with no other uses, except one thing ― it can make rules. “
What does it mean to make rules? Chi Yan thought deeply about it, his eyes widened.
Tang Cuo immediately asked: “Do you have them?”
Jin Cheng raised a finger: “There are twelve movements in total. I have one of them.”
No wonder so many people wanted to fight against Jin Cheng. Tang Cuo now understood everything.
When Jin Cheng was in Zone A, he had his own teammates, and all he played were high-level dungeons. His team was powerful so those people held back the urge to do anything rash. But once Jin Cheng fell back to Zone F, they had many opportunities to take him down.
Anything could be possible: they could try to contain him within Zone F or strike him inside the dungeon. However, people from different zones of Yong Ye City couldn’t do missions together; in addition, players in high-ranking zones could go to the low-ranking zones but the reverse wouldn’t happen without authorisation. This ascertained that even if Jin Cheng was enraged, he wouldn’t be able to track them down for a while.
The [Twelve Movements] were a huge temptation. Even if you couldn’t get it, you also wouldn’t let others get it.
Tang Cuo suddenly thought of another issue: “Yong Ye City has existed for so long, hasn’t anyone else gotten the movement?”
When his words fell, not only Chi Yan but other guests in the izakaya also pricked up their ears. The lady boss seemed to have known about it since a long time ago, and she continued to fry the tempura nonchalantly.
“Of course there is, but once the movement holder starts serving his karma or reincarnates, the rule established by that movement will be broken. The movement will also reappear in the dungeon.”
No one knew how long Yong Ye City had existed or how many times the [Twelve Movements] had appeared. In the vague records left behind by the earlier residents, some used the movement to bring light, while some shed darkness and some even attempted to overthrow Yong Ye City.
The way Jin Cheng saw it, the [Twelve Movements] were like small toys that the gods from above just randomly threw down here.
“Currently there are only three known movements. One is used up, one is in the hands of Black Hat, and the last one is with me.”
Tang Cuo asked: “Why don’t you use it?”
Jin Cheng pushed the plate with peanuts to Tang Cuo: “Because the time has not arrived.”
Hearing this, Tang Cuo looked at the plate. The plump peanuts were arranged to look like a smiley face, and the most impressive thing was that their red skins had all been peeled off.
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”.