Chapter 32: The Stormy Ride
The guests of the izakaya left one after another, leaving only Tang Cuo, Jin Cheng and Chi Yan behind.
The lady boss served Tang Cuo his tempura and glared at Jin Cheng: “You see, you drove all my guests away.”
Jin Cheng shrugged: “Maybe they think your cooking isn’t good.”
“Price of food has gone up today, I’ll charge you double.”
Jin Cheng eventually had to pay the price for his big mouth. If he dared to say “No”, the lady boss’ sushi knife might slam down his head.
It was the first time Chi Yan saw the big boss being subdued by someone, and he found it very novel. As they got out of the izakaya, he couldn’t wait to ask Jin Cheng about her. Jin Cheng glanced at him: “You won’t have a chance.”
“I didn’t mean it that way!”
Jin Cheng had no choice but to spread some gossip, because he felt that if he didn’t tell them, they wouldn’t believe his innocence. And really, why is this little bastard Tang Cuo looking at me like that? [T/N: Okay, does anyone smell vinegar in the air?]
“The lady boss used to be Black Hat’s lover but they broke up, so don’t mention it in front of her. You’ll need a long life if you want to engage in the gossip of Yong Ye City.”
Chi Yan touched his neck, feeling if it weren’t for him knowing these two bosses, he would never hear of such exquisite gossip. Moreover, after observing the past few days, he deeply felt that he was too weak, like a low-level nobody that kept bouncing around aimlessly. Such a character would be done for sooner or later in online games, let alone in Yong Ye City.
As he was lamenting to himself, Jin Cheng decided: “You go back to East Cross Street first. Tell everyone that if they want to survive, don’t come out.”
Chi Yan: “Huh?”
Jin Cheng: “You lot are too weak.”
Chi Yan: “Waaa.”
Chi Yan sobbed like a precious little baby, and his green costume made the scene even more intriguing to the eyes. But he was an obedient kid, so he headed back without further nonsense.
Tang Cuo waited for him to leave before asking Jin Cheng: “Just now, did you not purposely talk about the [Twelve Movements] in front of other guests?”
Jin Cheng: “The [Twelve Movements] are not a secret among high-level players, they should already know. But to talk about that in front of ordinary players will be a bit difficult.”
Tang Cuo: “Do you want to use it in Zone F?”
Jin Cheng: “I really can’t hide anything from you.”
Tang Cuo: “I’m flattered.”
Jin Cheng put his hands in his overalls pockets and walked towards Zone F leisurely, his expression seemingly sloppy but hiding a rare shade of seriousness when looked closely. “The one I have is the 11th movement. The bigger the number, the less effective it is and the smaller the area that the rules can cover. The legendary 1st movement is called the Golden Movement, which is said to be able to affect the entire Yong Ye City, but no one has seen it until now.”
As Tang Cuo listened, he couldn’t help thinking that Jin Cheng being punished back to Zone F might be his intention all this while.
Ahead of them was the area where Cheng Ke used to rule over, and it was now the most chaotic place in Zone F. This time, Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng didn’t make any detours. They just walked freely, their aura from head to toes screaming ― ‘too cool for this place’.
Who wouldn’t notice them?
Of course everyone noticed.
“The [Twelve Movements] are dangerous things, so you have to follow me closely. If I die, you can pick them up again.” Jin Cheng said.
“Won’t they then try to kill me?” Tang Cuo said.
“Then we can die together.”
The two of them slowly walked and chatted before stopping at the tram station on the roadside. They just looked and didn’t do anything. No one knew how many pairs of eyes were secretly staring at them, while in front, the two groups that were about to jump at each other suddenly came to a cease because of Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng’s arrival, their faces overwhelmed with embarrassment.
Jin Cheng grumbled: “Why did they stop?”
Tang Cuo: “You scared them.”
They settled down in the station, Jin Cheng sitting down crossed-leg while Tang Cuo studying the fare. The public transportation system of Yong Ye City was surely interesting: There was everything from bicycles to trams and magical trains, but he barely ever saw them passing by and the fares were exorbitant.
He suddenly recalled the luxury sports cars inside the express delivery shop, wondering if they could be used here.
The people in front eventually didn’t fight, so the whole street where Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng stopped became spookily peaceful. The two waited for a while and an old Shanghai-style tram arrived amid a “ding dong” sound.
The tram driver was a small man with a crew cut and clad in a uniform. He was taken aback upon seeing them, as though he didn’t expect that there would be people riding the tram at this time.
“How much does it cost to go to East Cross Street?”
“200,000 RMB, or a quarter point.”
It was so ridiculous that Tang Cuo couldn’t even bother replying to him, but Jin Cheng the rich man simply paid for two people and walked into the tram.
But just as he walked past the door, a sudden attack came from the sky. Jin Cheng swiftly dodged to one side, then leaned against the carriage and looked up in a certain direction.
Tang Cuo’s eyes narrowed slightly: “Sniper rifle.”
“Go.” Jin Cheng grabbed Tang Cuo’s arm and the two quickly hid in the carriage. He glanced at the tram driver through the corner of his eye and said coldly: “Drive.”
Only then did the driver react. He even seemed a little excited, probably because this was the first time he encountered such a scene after so many years driving a tram.
“Ding dong, ding dong ―” The tram started moving again.
Tang Cuo pulled the window down and the evening breeze came in slowly, seemingly carrying with it a bloody stench. The cobblestone street was quiet as the street lamps stretched out the shadow of the tram, making it look like a monster of an enormous length.
“Bang!” The second shot came in through the open window, cutting open the seat in front. Tang Cuo looked at the scorched part and guessed that there must be some kind of power attached to the bullet.
Just like Jin Cheng’s arrow.
“Do you see where he is?” Jin Cheng asked.
“He’s changed position.” Tang Cuo had done sniper training with Jin Cheng before, where Jin Cheng was the sniper and he was the observer. At this moment, he didn’t have a telescope in hands, but Jin Cheng was already picking up the bow.
A bow actually could function a bit like a sniper rifle, or a missile.
“Can you do homing shots1?”
“Homing arrows are expensive.”
He meant that it would be a waste to use them here.
Tang Cuo just meant to ask casually. At this point, the sniper hiding in the dark fired a third shot, but of course he missed them all the same. Jin Cheng wasn’t very amused: “Think you can kill me with just one sniper? Who is this dumb-ass bastard?”
Jin Cheng walked from the front to the rear of the carriage and looked around to find a gramophone behind the last seat. With great delight, he put down the stylus, allowing a pleasant singing voice to flow out as the disc slowly rotated.
“The southern wind blowing is so cool and refreshing,2
The nightingale chirps and sings,
Under the moonlight all the flowers fall asleep,
There is only the night jasmine,
Revealing its sweet fragrance…”
It was ‘Night Jasmine’ by Teresa Teng.
Tang Cuo glanced at him ― Is something wrong with your head?
Jin Cheng raised his eyebrows — Doesn’t this feel good?
Tang Cuo didn’t want to talk to him, rather, he wanted to get out of the tram. What wrong had he done to be hunted down along with Jin Cheng on the background music of ‘Night Jasmine’? Before the song was even halfway through, an attack with a long tail like a comet flew towards the train, its light dazzlingly bright.
Jin Cheng’s eyes gleamed slightly with the reflection of the comet. Hooking both hands on the tram window, he rolled over and got on the roof, meanwhile mounting an arrow and raising his bow at a blinding speed.
“Bang!” The metal arrow hit the comet before it arrived, blowing the blazing light into a menacing wave that quickly rippled through the air, shaking up the entire tram.
Tang Cuo poked his head out of the carriage to watch the starlight exploding like a brilliant firework.
“Night jasmine, I sing this song for you,
Night jasmine, you are always on my mind.
Ah, I sing this song for you,
You are always on my mind.
La la la la…”
The driver was probably a fan of Teresa Teng, so he had her records in the tram and even sang along while racing against the attackers. Tang Cuo, on the other hand, was like a poor fella who got on the wrong ride by mistake, and had absolutely no heart to enjoy the song.
“Sit tight, there’s a turn ahead.” The driver promptly reminded them as he slammed the steering wheel zealously. The tram made a sharp 90° turn, the “ding dong ding dong” bells clanging against the air like stormy waves hitting the shore.
Tang Cuo still hadn’t figured out the operating principle of this tram until now. It looked like a tram, but it had no tracks.
Tang Cuo took out the revolver, raised his hand and shot twice at the opposite side of the street, hitting a man who was about to escape from the dark alley. He fell to the ground, both hands clutching his bleeding stomach.
The moment one fell down, one whole gang burst out.
Tang Cuo swiftly retreated, then he picked up a mop inside the tram and poked at the roof of the carriage: “Hurry up.”
Jin Cheng opened the sunroof: “Tell me, what is it that you have against me?”
“Give me some of those bombs.”
“You really aren’t cute, are you?”
Tang Cuo raised his hand higher to poke Jin Cheng and he finally threw down a few Pokeballs. These magical balls looked very similar to Wen Xiaoming’s Smoke Eggs. Tang Cuo studied them carefully and, as expected, he saw ‘Powered by 10086’ at the bottom.
“It’s called a Blast Egg, not a Smoke Egg. You can use them.” Jin Cheng said. He took them from Wen Xiaoming when he handed over Tang Cuo’s ring.
What the hell is this naming style?
Tang Cuo flung his hand over the window, his face unflinched. It was, of course, a Blast Egg that he threw. The egg landed into the crowd, opened up like a Pokeball and spewed white smoke. The next second, “Kaboom―”
The deafening explosion threw those men off their backs.
Okay, Tang Cuo now accepted the name ‘Blast Egg’. He tried once and confirmed that these Blast Eggs could also be placed in the Inventory Bar. It should be one of the more successful weapons developed by Wen Xiaoming.
The tram ran all the way along the music as the Blast Eggs continued to explode on both sides of the road, even emitting smoke of different colours. One after another, white, red, yellow and green puffs of smoke were blooming like flowers.
Tang Cuo didn’t know that Wen Xiaoming had such an artistic inclination.
All of a sudden, the tram shook up violently, and the shaking quickly intensified.
Tang Cuo frowned and strode to the back of the carriage to look out of the window. The long cobblestone street suddenly started to crack in the middle, as if something was about to break through the ground.
He didn’t know what that was, but Jin Cheng knew. The corner of Jin Cheng’s mouth tugged up into a mocking sneer as he raised his bow: “All puppeteers use this, are you worried that I can’t tell who you are?”
At the same time, in the game hall at the central area, many people were talking loudly.
“Sure enough, it’s a big fight!”
“Can they really win this time?”
“The opponent is No.1 on the Blacklist, even people in Zone A are not his match. He might have fallen back to Zone F, but he is very strong all the same…”
“Damn it’s so exciting, I just ran into people coming from Zone F. They said the whole street exploded!”
As they talked, the topic again fell back to the [Twelve Movements].
“Are those [Twelve Movements] really so awesome?”
“Yong Ye City’s supreme movements are the same thing as the Declaration of Independence! Don’t underestimate that piece of paper. I heard that about a hundred years ago, someone obtained both the 3rd and the 5th movement. With two movements in the hands of the same person, the whole Yong Ye City almost became hell!”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Isn’t Yong Ye City already hell? What’s the difference? “
Immediately, someone smirked: “Yong Ye City is nothing. If it’s a dungeon, you might still have a way to survive. But in the hands of that person, it’s no longer about whether you can survive or not. I heard that back then, from Zone F to Zone C, all missions became forced missions without even any rest in between. You couldn’t see people walking on the street because they were all inside the dungeons, and very few came back alive.”
As these words fell, some were frightened while some remained skeptical. Yong Ye City would never show anyone its history, and very few written records had ever been handed down. No one knew if what this person said was true.
Wearing a hat and disguise clothes, Wen Xiaoming walked through the crowd with a lollipop in his mouth, nibbling on it while watching the happenings around him.
The boss had actually gotten hold of the movement more than six months ago and deliberately concealed it, but it seemed he exposed it in the end. The current situation wasn’t favourable, making it difficult to weigh the pros and cons. Wen Xiaoming wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of such complicated things. He actually thought about asking the boss to just sell the movement to Black Hat, but the boss didn’t agree.
“Crunch crunch.” The lollipop was chewed to pieces as Wen Xiaoming sat down at a secluded corner. With a candy stick in his mouth, he took out a palm-sized gadget that resembled a portable Whac-A-Mole device and started to play with it.
After a while, Tang Cuo’s name also got called out in the game hall.
K27216, Tang Cuo, was 3rd from the bottom on Mr. Crow’s Blacklist. Thanks to the dungeon [On A Snowy Night, He Returns], he was finally not at the very end anymore.
“F**k! Are the newcomers so strong nowadays?”
“You don’t know who’s behind him? I heard rumours from Ruby Bar that this K27216 is No. 1’s disciple…”
“Can’t they just go to Zone A? Now I don’t dare to go back to Zone F!”
“Everything exploded, exploded, then exploded again!”
In the blink of an eye, a few people rushed in from outside, one of them yelling even before he could catch his breath: “They even knocked off Mr. Crow’s bronze statue!”
The entire hall felt a gush of cold air choking their throats as the sounds of “F**k” echoed endlessly in their eardrums.
Zone F was indeed exceptionally lively.
Mr. Crow appeared out of nowhere and stomped on a smashed bronze statue, the feathers on his head almost falling off with anger: “You goddamn disgusting, ignorant players! I’m mad! I’m mad!! I’m mad!!!”
The speeding tram was already halfway back to East Cross Street.
It was a giant puppet python that emerged from the ground just now, while its owner was hiding in the dark and impossible to find. There were several special combat classes in Yong Ye City, and puppeteer was one of them. The puppeteers themselves were not strong and not noticeable once standing in the crowd, but their puppet controlling skill was never to be underestimated.
Puppets were built from materials commonly obtained inside the dungeon, but such materials were extremely difficult to come by. Therefore, most puppeteers died before they could fully grow, but if this one-in-a-thousand puppeteer could succeed, he must be very powerful.
Jin Cheng shot seven arrows at the python in a row, completely incapacitating the creature. The python lost its ability to move and its body smashed heavily on the buildings, breaking the bronze statue of Mr. Crow at the same time.
Mr. Crow could only blame his own stinky beauty. Of all places, who asked him to put a statue at the crossroads?
The beautiful singing was still floating in the air.
Half of the tram’s roof had been destroyed yet the tram continued to run like a moving heap of metal scraps, creating such an intriguing scene. Tang Cuo clenched the gun and leaned against the carriage wall that was still intact, his hand wiping off a trace of blood on his face.
Jin Cheng jumped down from the roof and patted the tram diver on the shoulder: “Brother, let’s take a detour.”
The driver turned around and said: “A detour will cost extra, one point per 1.5 kilometer.”
What a rip-off. You surely are a civil servant of Yong Ye City, huh?
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”.