Chapter 2: A Major Problem
The majority of the city remained asleep in darkness, allowing for the neon street lights to embellish the city. The glowing haze of the city scattered towards the sky, reflecting a pattern of mist that overflowed with ominousness.
The massive earthquakes had yet to stop. Luckily the crows were experts at sleeping quietly on the tree tops, maintaining the proper quiet mornings.
On top of a large tree near a high-rise apartment, Ink reacted and opened its eyes. It watched Luo Nan run by beneath the tree, then it closed its eyes and dozed off again.
In the giant metropolis that is the City of Xia, magnetic rails passed between skyscrapers and skyscrapers. Overhead walkways, green promenades, and moving walkways were linked coming and going. It was like being under the leafy spiraling vines of a dense forest.
Luo Nan was like a tiny little bug that breathed in and swallowed the early morning dew. He trekked forward step by step in this forest.
His lips were slightly closed. His throat, oral cavity, and nasal cavity were vibrating fully to create a sound. It sounded like the buzzing of the vibrating wings of a bug.
Actually, Luo Nan was reciting the words “My heart’s a prison, my heart’s a furnace; my heart calls for a lense, my heart calls for the nation” over and over. He was only able to produce this bizarre sound by linking the mere syllables, omitting the commas, and mixing it all with his breathing.
Occasionally there were other people who had woken up for a morning run. They would slip past his body, be puzzled from hearing his sound, and turn around to size him up. He concentrated on going forward all this time, maintaining his speed and tempo at a relatively smooth pace.
After continuing to exercise for an hour, Luo Nan turned and stepped onto a moving walkway to cross the wide space between two skyscrapers. This was his pre-scheduled rest stop. Though he paused his exercise, he still continued to chant without end.
His breathing could still be considered smooth. The long period of time he spent creating that resonating sound resulted in an oxygen starved symptom; his inner skull was swelling faintly. But the counteracting spreading drug that was gradually accumulating in his system had yet to be effective.
The drug he had injected before he left his home just started to exhibit its effects one by one with its composition of psychotropics.
In reality, any ordinary person, even drug addicts of many years, would instantaneously have their nervous system in disorder and die within the shortest time frame upon intravenous injection of this dosage, which was composed of high purity psychotropics.
However, Luo Nan underwent constant adjustment of doses and composition to tolerate it, gradually injecting nearly two-thousand doses over the course of five-or-so years. Luo Nan’s outer appearance was exactly no different from an ordinary person. Inside, the structure of his nervous system had already displayed subtle and deep changes.
He was still alive. Furthermore, he could feel the serious changes to his body.
A composition exceeding twenty different types of psychotropics broke through the membrane of his blood-brain barrier. The psychotropics, like over twenty incorporeal blades, aimed against different neuron targets and began to sculpt and modify the neurons.
This kind of “sculpting” was bound to be rough and intense.
The brain itself cannot feel pain. But under the influence of the drug, dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamic acid, neurotensin, and dozens of hundreds of other neurotransmitters were released by the brain like a tide of information. They acted on every layer of skin, every internal organ, and every nook and corner by means of neurotransmission.
How indescribable was this type of feeling? Luo Nan also did not wish to describe it. All he could say was that it was much better than his very first appearance when his body had spasmed uncontrollably, when he had incontinence, and when he even had lung failure.
Obviously, he would have to pay the price to have thousands of generations of change on the basic structure of his human body within a short handful of years.
Luo Nan’s mind had long since been calm.
He closed his eyes and increased his concentration on his chanting and breathing.
Luo Nan’s grandfather had passed this chanting and breathing technique to him. Nominally, this technique was an “aid” to his drug sculpting. Afterall, how could a human’s willpower control the changes that go on the cellular level?
So Luo Nan continued to believe that the primary function of this technique was to maintain a concentrated mental state and activate the energy of his blood. Furthermore, it was a visualization technique that slanted towards the mystic arts.
Luo Nan’s eyes were closed as he matched the “Twenty Word Chant” with the diagram. The tetrahedron, the inscribed sphere, and circumscribed sphere appeared clearly in his mind, revolving in the center. Each layer rotated before his very eyes.
Luo Nan opened his eyes approximately ten seconds later, taking a long breath.
The visualized diagram revolved smoothly. Everything was going well.
Luo Nan had traveled only half the distance on the moving walkway before he relaxed his consciousness. He sized up the city in this early morning. The nightclub street of the City Xia was not too far away.
Many people say that the life of the City Xia doesn’t completely awaken until midnight. The lingering aftertaste could be felt in the early morning. The sunny day, however, was just the period when the machinery was recharging. Under each lamp in this enormous and crowded metropolis, people were all set free to this playground of pleasure. The most flourishing nightclub area was a particular example of this.
There were guys and girls under the neon lights right at this moment. They stumbled and staggered out from the nightclubs with messy clothes. Some people up front were a bit slow, and the back ones crashed into the front, like cars. Sounds of people falling and rolling into a blob could be heard. It was like a wiggling fat warm that couldn’t crawl its way up no matter how it tried.
They didn’t get angry. They just stayed there pushing and pulling against one another, laughing and giggling. Clearly, they had been partying all night long, exhausting all of their energy. Only the excess secreted dopamine continued to transmit between neurons.
They engaged in wanton indulgence in this manner. It was as if they were saying: Look! This is how the youth ought to live their life!
Amidst the chaos, a luxurious flying car descended in autonomous mode, slid across the street, and parked to the side. Typical vertical doors opened elegantly.
At last, there was a rather tall man who was able to struggle free and climb up from the squirming body of humans. He seemed to have kissed every woman in his surroundings within this time frame. While his companions were laughing and cursing, he grabbed the long leg of a nearby young woman and headed to the car half dragging half carrying her.
The face of this man just happened to be illuminated clearly and distinctly by the bright neon lamps of the nightclub street. As it turned out, Luo Nan recognized this person.
“Oh! it’s him…… I bet he would make a good subject.”
Luo Nan’s heart stirred and he observed the group of guys and girls more seriously. Thirty seconds later, he brought out the never-leaving-his-side loose-leaf notebook and he drew out an approximate sketch of the area at high speeds on a page of the flexible e-ink screen using a digital pen.
The moving-walkway had transported Luo Nan for 75 seconds. He had several dozen seconds remaining, excluding the time that was consumed before. The lines had formed a crisscross mess of a sketch under Luo Nan’s pen in this time frame. He lacked all intention of continuing, so he waited for the moving-walkway to bring him to its end. Then he put away his pen, swept his gaze downward, and directly left.
When he had turned his head he actually saw that man who had triggered the idea of drawing. Somehow the man had actually noticed his existence. The man just happened to raise his head to look blankly at him.
The gazes of these two people intertwined and crossed through the void. Luo Nan was unperturbed; he continued chanting those unbroken syllables, which formed the sound of the vibrating wings of an insect, and he proceeded with his running exercise.
The few distant noises that permeated over were naturally filtered out and discarded.
Xie Junping felt that he was about to go crazy.
His throat tearing cries didn’t bring about any sort of effect. The figure on the moving-walkway still left without looking back.
To the side, his party friends and friends with benefits were still giggling and laughing under the stimulating effects of chemical compounds. Juicy-Long-Legs of a moment ago, who was by every means pleasing to the eye, wrapped herself around his waist and giggled. She fumbled around trying to undo his belt.
Xie Junping really went crazy now.
He pushed away Juicy-Long-Legs by force. He rammed his way into the car and locked the car door without regards to the shouts of the crowd of trash outside. At this moment his HoloFilm contact lenses, produced by the Quantum Corporation, were performing simple analysis on the data it had collected just now, mapping the result on his retina.
The “photo snatcher” on the overhead walkway appeared as an instantaneous photoshoot picture, revealing a fuzzy tilted face. Circled in red on the sports clothes was the Acumen College’s crest, a plum blossom and bamboo pattern.
Shortly later the AI of his “Phantom” car also analyzed the data recorded automatically from its surrounding environment as part of its security system. Passes of analysis were sent back.
This was much clearer than the picture that was taken in urgency. Luck had nothing to do with this result.
When Xie Junping saw the hooded “photo snatcher” drawing and writing in a notebook in its hands, he smashed down on the steering wheel with a fist.
The flying car honked, causing the fool who was rapping against his window to fall backward in shock. Before the fool’s butt could hit the ground, the flying car had started up in a flash and took off with a whistle.
He was seen! He was seen!
Xie Junping smacked his own head ruthlessly. If this was a different time period, it wouldn’t be a problem no matter what problems arise in the private life of a well-connected son of a wealthy family. But nowadays the situation was different.
He should be in the bordering city Mangzhong as he was responsible for a disaster-relief humanitarian aid operation, according to his society. True, last night he was really at Mangzhong. But he had snuck out of his team for the sake of joining this crazy party. He had snuck out and drove his car for several hundred kilometers to rush back to Xia City. His original plan was to return immediately back when the party ended. But who could have expected that he would be caught red-handed by a student from his school?
Right now he was striving for the senior medal of the Honor Society. And he wanted to try going one step further in the Student Council. It was the key period of time for him to establish a position in the circle; aka he was going for the “general election.”
Lying, destroying trust, and hypocrisy would all admittedly be necessary qualities asked of a standard politician. But if the politician were to be exposed, then it would simply be fatal. A fatal stupidity!
What’s more was the continuous earthquakes happening in Xia City at the present. The populous was in a state of alarm. Everyone’s mental tolerance was on the decline. Things that wouldn’t be a problem normally would become problems now. The small problems in the past would become major problems today!
Yep. Major problems would appear!
The car’s telephone rang. The one calling was the party friend from just then. Xie Junping had walked away too hastily; he had neglected to handle many things. He picked up at once, and the indistinct and fuzzy voice of Lian Yu scolded through foremost:
“Xie Junping. You bastard!”
A strange laughter was coming from his party friend as background noise.
Xie Junping closed his eyes. Yep. He had actually forgotten about….. Lian Yu. She was the slut who wanted to undo his belt just then. Actually, she already had a master; her real boyfriend was also a member of the same Honor Society!
“Give me control!”
Xie Junping pounded the steering wheel heavily again. His strength was strong enough for the car’s AI to give him a warning. But after he vented this time, he finally recovered somewhat of a clear head from his hangover and confusion.
Calm! Need to be calm! As long as the evidence wasn’t immediately uploaded to the internet, exposing him, there would always be a chance to retrieve the evidence.
He strived to keep his manner of speaking calmly as he spoke in a low voice: “Lian Yu. Go wash up. I have something I need to talk to you about……”
Lian Yu spoke still drunk: “Xie Junping, you son of a……”
“Go wash up! NOW!” Xie Junping roared loudly. He shattered the car’s phone call in hate.
The rage of the emperor leaves a million corpses; the rage of a warrior leaves blood flowing for five paces!
However, the other side merely hung up the phone. Xie Junping could only rage as an ordinary person and slam his head towards the ground…...
His head slammed against the steering wheel. Xie Junping forced himself to calm down. Actually, he knew himself quite well. He knew that he was pretty much an ordinary person. His intelligence and abilities were so so. He was at most able to have some level of social connections because of precisely his family background network working behind the scenes.
But he was able to reach this expert cloud-reaching stage at Acumen College. How was he able to make it here to this very day? He acted as a quality boss. He took professional matters and gave them over to professionals to handle, offering them appropriate remuneration….. He relied on professionals!
Xie Junping slammed against the steering wheel again. He was entwined damned complicatedly with this woman Lian Yu. Aside from playing around with men, what sort of professional achievements had she displayed?
His thought process cleared up quickly. He immediately threw Lian Yu into the back of his mind and dialed a different number. The idle ring back tone was a tender female voice:
“Hello. Hidden Indigo’s Business Office is at your service. Our working hours are weekdays before 9:00 and after 17:00; As for holidays and vacations, the cost of services will be calculated as overtime. You are hereby informed. Thank-you for your cooperation.”
Xie Junping rolled his eyes.
A short time later, the pre-recorded voice changed completely to the sound of a completely different clear, bright, and energetic voice: “Long time no see. Hello, sucker.”
Xie Junping was overpowered by this name-calling in an instant. He wanted to refute her but lacked the confidence. All he could do was speak through gritted teeth: “This must be Yingying. Good morning. Boss Wu’s not there?”
“Eh? You really want to see the boss?”
“...... No no no. Having you is fine. Having you is fine!” Xie Junping slapped his head ruthlessly. Today he really drank himself retarded to be angry with this crazy lass!
“That’s right~ Any matter you tell me would be the same as telling the boss. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who it is, you’re still going to be ripped-off! Hehe!”
Xie Junping wanted to eat the car’s computer. But now was not the time to be bothered. He could only go straight to the point: “Today I brought some trouble upon myself. I need your help to handle this.”
He described what had happened earlier with the greatest speed. At the same time, he sent over the recording he had snatched to provide them with further analysis.
Ying Ying soon replied: “A photo snatcher? Should I admire your empty skull for a moment?”
“It’s not a snatched photo?”
“The one standing on the moving-walkway. Wasn’t he waiting for you to come out of the night club, and then he took a picture?”
“Hic!......” Xie Junping’s voice was jammed instantly.
Even though he was criticized very harshly, there was no need to doubt the professionalism of Hidden Blue. Approximately half a minute later, Ying Ying sent over a set of geographic coordinates.
“We should first perform a verification regardless of anything else. Without taking complicated factors in consideration, if this person was merely passing by, he should be the type that does early morning runs. Also since today’s not a holiday the end of his run should be at Acumen College. Go here to wait and see.”
Xie Junping felt that the logic was sound. He immediately turned the flying car and entered into another magnetic rail to increase his speed. He drove the car and arrived at the destination indicated by Ying Ying approximately five minutes later. This was a pedestrian overpass located in the high-tech R&D district. It was a very good area. It was also one of the main nodes that lead to the college. Early morning jogger enthusiasts found it hard to refuse this route.
The flying car parked at the northernmost end of the bridge. What followed was waiting. Xie Junping found it hard to be at ease and not be fretful. A formatted chart appeared on his retina at the moment. This was the profile of an individual pulled from Acumen College’s database.
The electronic image displayed a youngster who appeared very calm and reserved. He could be considered handsome with that smile-lacking face.