Chapter 260: Chapter 260 -There’s No Turning Back Anymore
Translator: Dragon Boat Translation Editor: Dragon Boat Translation
“Mmm, go to Pang Ge BBQ stall and order a dozen non-spicy beef skewers and a dozen non-spicy lamb skewers for takeout. After that, go to Sheng Ji stall to buy 750g of crayfish. Remember to tell the lady boss to cut away the heads of the crayfish. You must tell that to the lady boss, as she remembers my face from the last time I went there to eat with the Countermeasure Division. If she sees your face she will certainly do a good job cutting the heads of the crayfish away…”
“After that, go to the COCO milk tea shop at Longkou East Road to buy a cup of pudding milk tea. That shop operates 24 hours a day. When you’re done, come back immediately, do you understand?”
The clone nodded, and Ren Suo let him head outside with a peace of mind. He then turned off the lights in the living room to pretend that he was not home.
It was only two days ago when Ren Suo suddenly realized that he actually did not need to go out physically himself.
All that he needed to do was to create the impression that ‘Ren Suo would go out in the wee hours of the morning’. In fact, when he was outside, he would actually not meet or communicate with anyone he knew at all, and he would instead be using his mobile phone.
As such, he decided to send his clone to take a walk outside and buy supper at the same time. The time he saved for himself could be better used to Practice or sleep.
Ren Suo settled down and continued to Practice.
According to the Data Flow, his progress was now at tier 1, 93%, which meant that he was very close to becoming a tier 2 Practitioner.
However, the reality was that his Practice efficiency dropped sharply over the past few days. If [Jade Pendant of the Goddess of River Luo] was not activated, he might not even improve by 1% after Practicing for half a day. Such a speed was completely inconsistent with the progress speed of 3-4% per day in the past.
Moreover, the fatigue he felt when he Practiced was becoming more obvious to him. Before, he felt sore but refreshed after he finished one round of Practice, as if he was ‘rubbing clean the old dirt on his body’. Now, however, he would feel pain in the refreshing soreness, as if he was ‘rubbing off his skin at the same time when he was rubbing clean the old dirt on his body’.
It felt as if the internal breathing current within his body was expanding.
Ren Suo figured that his internal breathing current was filled—in the past, his internal breathing current was like a two-lane road with few cars traveling on it, so his Practice speed was fast; now, however, the ‘road’ in his breathing current was filled with cars, and there was no space to store more Reiki. Any new Reiki he stored acted as a road roller that forcibly turned the two-lane road into a four-lane road, so the progress of his Practice became so slow and even felt slightly painful.
When the effect of [Jade Pendant of the Goddess of River Luo] subsided, Ren Suo also stopped Practicing. He could subtly feel that when [Jade Pendant of the Goddess of River Luo] was triggered, his breathing current would expand at a more efficient rate. It was as if enzymes were added to catalyze the chemical reaction and so he was too lazy to spend additional time increasing the expansion speed of his breathing current.
That was the disadvantage of [Data Flow] that was not life-changing but not insignificant either: He could understand the current state of the target accurately, but he could not predict the future accurately. It was as if he easily completed the first 90 marks’ worth of questions in an examination paper with a total of 100 marks, but when it came to the last 10 marks, he found that the question was much more challenging than the rest.
When the clone returned home with his supper, Ren Suo looked at the time and found that the clone could still exist for a few minutes, so he made him remove his clothes before he disappeared.
“Regardless, the Xuan Nation Countermeasure System would take notice of the existence of the fleeing ghost stall on the fifth day…”
Although the extremely quick response time of the Countermeasure System was completely out of Ren Suo’s expectations, it had little impact on his plan. Even if he met personnel from the Countermeasure Division, he had a reason to explain himself—he was a night owl in the first place.
However, the quick response time of the Countermeasure System, from when the yellow-haired teenager first reported sighting the stall to the start of the night patrol in major cities just five days later, was sufficient to show the great importance they placed on Extraordinaire forces.
Ren Suo wondered if he should ‘warm up the crowd’ first, so he went to search on the intranet and found that there were already relevant discussions:
“Speculations About the Members of the Heavenly Palace”
That discussion thread only emerged after the video “Activation of Reiki Treasures” was uploaded, which was also after Monkey King rocked New York. Such discussions did not only appear in the intranet, but also in other forums. They were generally of such views:
[If there is a Monkey King, wouldn’t it also be normal for there to be an inheritor of The Grand Supreme Elderly Lord? Given that Laozi, the incarnation of The Grand Supreme Elderly Lord, truly existed in the past]
[There would surely be Zhuge Liang/Kongming. How majestic he would be, wearing his silk scarf and holding his fan made of feathers?]
[There might not only be people from the East, since the Seeker is not Oriental either. Who knows, there might even be Merlin or King Arthur?]
[There’s already a nine-tailed fox, would a five-clawed golden dragon be too far-fetched?]
… Indeed, the discussion thread had barely any use as reference material.
As such, Ren Suo decided to contribute some information in the other posts, pretending that he saw the posts ‘coincidentally’ and replied:
[The Seeker herself was not someone with outstanding combat power or intelligence, but one with strong resilience. She sought to improve herself. As such, I think that the Heavenly Palace is not necessarily only made up of people with extraordinary combat powers, who are able to carry out plans flawlessly, or who have mastered destructive capabilities. There should also be members who are skilled at tending to the basic necessities of life or proficient in the four arts, no? They could be people like Daizong, the Magic Traveller, Huang Longshi, the Go Prodigy, or Zhang Fei, the Perfect Artist…]
Ren Suo’s answer was also ‘surface-level’, but it would still be a victory to him when he received a small number of researcher points in time to come.
As he ate his supper, Ren Suo began his sixth night of fleeing ghosts—it was Mexico City this time.
Living up to its name as the city with the fifth-highest [Degree of Concealment], it was the first time that Ren Suo could ‘flee ghosts’ without having to work his brain much—the large majority of customers were true demons, and the number of them was much more than that in Mumbai of Kongque Nation.
Occasionally, a few half-demons would appear, and Ren Suo also fed them ‘garbage’ directly: such customers were simply too arrogant and intractable.
A middle-aged gunman who had killed nine people remarked: [There’s no turning back anymore.] Ren Suo could tell that he really wanted to shoot the female stall owner dead in one shot. However, governed by the rules of the great and noble game, he still had to finish the plate of fried rice in front of him that would give him a taste of ‘his son taking a taxi and leaving the moment he was born, his wife divorcing him and taking away all of his wealth from him, and even the dogs he raised being taken away by people from Xuan Nation and cooked in the soup’.
A handsome middle-aged man who was a ‘nine-timer’ remarked: [There’s no turning back anymore.] He was the first customer who revealed all of his desires in plain sight, so Ren Suo gave him a small amount of [Fear] + [Love] + [Celebration]. Consequently, he seemed to fall into an illusion of being at a certain festival, and he murmured: [Why did all nine of you come at the same time?] He was completely ‘paralyzed’ and was easily beaten and defeated by the female stall owner.
A public toilet ‘spy’ who was part of nine gangs remarked: [There’s no turning back anymore.] He was a young man with afro hair. As he talked about his life story, not a single keyword appeared, cheating Ren Suo of the 2 merit points he spent on the Holy Water. As such, Ren Suo gave him a good beating in the battle to make him understand the meaning of ‘a traitor and spy would have to pay his price one day’.
The sixth night of fleeing ghosts took Ren Suo over ten hours to complete.
Mexico City was actually not difficult to clear, but most of the supplies he acquired from the past five nights were consumed: there were too many battles, and the female stall owner lost a lot of her HP, so consuming the ‘drugs’ was necessary.
Furthermore, the boss of Mexico City was a big drug lord. Notwithstanding his high attack power, he had an extremely high HP and even possessed skills, which was to take drugs. Each time he took a drug, he replenished half of his HP, and that dragged the battle on for a long time.
When Ren Suo battled him for the first time, the boss depleted all of his replenishment items and was killed miserably.
He reflected on the painful failure, and when he attempted the night for the second time after reading the savegame again, he ensured that the female stall owner had a high amount of HP throughout the earlier battles. As such, when he was fighting against the boss, he did not need to waste a turn to replenish his HP. He also did not care about losing HP rapidly during that battle and managed to be one step ahead, killing the boss while he was left with a critically low HP.
It was a night of hearty excitement but also frustration. After he cleared the night, he was also feeling slightly sleepy—he had not slept for two to three days.
That was also why he shut his eyes to take a rest after he sat down at Dong Chengling’s house. It was only when dinner was ready and he opened his eyes that he saw Gu Yueyan sitting on one side of the table.
“Eh? I thought you were going to stay at home and only return when the school semester started,” Ren Suo said in greeting. Then, his eyelids were heavy again—he must have consumed all of the sleeping hours saved up as a ‘cat’ as well.
“Why? Are you not happy to see me?” Gu Yueyan replied as she raised an eyebrow slightly. She questioned, “Are you afraid that I will stop you and Teacher Dong from having your couple time?”
“Yes, indeed,” Ren Suo said.
As he said that, Ren Suo’s head was still swaying from side to side, as if he was nodding.
Gu Yueyan was speechless for a moment and fell silent, then walked to the kitchen to help Dong Chengling.
When all three of them were seated at the table, Dong Chengling also asked the same question as Ren Suo, “Xiao Yan, why didn’t you stay at home until the school semester started? Aren’t you going to spend more time with your family before then?”
Gu Yueyan naturally changed her rhetoric and replied blankly, “There’s no one at home, so I came back.”
Dong Chengling asked, “I remember that your brother is a Countermeasure Practitioner too, isn’t he? Are your parents very busy as well?”
“My father and his wife went to travel,” Gu Yueyan replied.
Ren Suo, who was drinking a bowl of fish soup, finally became more awake when he heard that sentence. The main reason was that she said ‘my father’ followed by ‘his wife’, and not ‘my mother’. It made the gossipmonger Ren Suo feel as if it was a story in a seven o’clock evening family television drama series.
However, Dong Chengling was not dim-witted and did not continue to probe further. Instead, she looked thoughtfully at Gu Yueyan.
She asked, “In that case, are your roommates back yet?”
“No, Xiao Yu also returned home a few days ago,” Gu Yueyan replied. She continued with a smile, “So, I would have the entire Practice space to myself, and I can strive to be promoted to tier 2 before the start of the next semester!”
At that juncture, Ren Suo suddenly stretched his hand out and rubbed Gu Yueyan’s head. She was stunned and could not react in time. It was only when Ren Suo retracted his hand that she questioned angrily, “What are you doing?!”
“Well, you won’t be able to be promoted within a month,” Ren Suo said calmly.
“How would you know?!” Gu Yueyan exclaimed angrily as she fixed her hair.
“If I must give a reason, I deduced that based on your bust, waist, and hip measurements, as well as the shower gel and hair tonic you used…”
“You’re the one who uses hair tonic!” Gu Yueyan retorted.
Dong Chengling stopped them from quarreling, then looked at Gu Yueyan and asked, “If that’s the case, why don’t you live in my house these few days?”
“What?” Gu Yueyan replied.
Dong Chengling rubbed Gu Yueyan’s head very gently and said, “Didn’t I say that you can treat me as your older sister? You will be bored staying alone in your dorm room, no? Why not live with your ‘sister’ before your dorm mates return?”
Dong Chengling smiled again as she said, “However, I am also a very boring person, so I don’t know if you would mind that…”
“I won’t mind!” Gu Yueyan replied immediately. She continued, “However, I’m afraid that I would be too much of a disturbance.”
“As long as you are willing, it would not be a disturbance,” Dong Chengling said.
Gu Yueyan bit her lip, then took a quick and discreet glance at the lethargic Ren Suo. She nodded and agreed, “Well then… Thank you, Teacher.”
Dong Chengling smiled and said, “You should move your stuff over tomorrow then, I will clean the guest room tonight. Here, try this rattan pork stew that I just learned how to cook…”
After dinner, Ren Suo said, “I will do the dishes again tonight, it’s your turn after lunch tomorrow.”
“Mmm,” Gu Yueyan replied. She did not say anything else and left first.
Then, after Ren Suo finished washing the dishes and left Dong Chengling’s house, he met Gu Yueyan again downstairs.
It somehow felt like that had become their secret meeting place.
Ren Suo said first, “I’m very sleepy today, and I can’t be your accompanying treatment Practitioner tonight.” Then he yawned, making what he said extremely believable.
“It’s not about that,” Gu Yueyan said as she took out a book and gave it to Ren Suo. Ren Suo took a look inside and found that it was a photobook.
She continued, “I processed all of the photos we took when we went to Xiang City the previous time. They are all inside the photobook, I thought that I should give you a copy of it.”
“Oh, thank you,” Ren Suo said as he continued looking through the photobook. It was indeed a photobook containing photos of him and Gu Yueyan touring around Xiang City. He said, “I actually have very few printed photos of myself. The photos you took are quite nice though, and I am in every shoot too…”
Suddenly, Gu Yueyan snatched the photobook back. She pulled out the last page before returning it to Ren Suo. Ren Suo was momentarily stunned and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I realized that I look very ugly in one of the pictures, so I shall not give that one to you,” she replied.
Then, Gu Yueyan walked away without looking back.
Ren Suo scratched his head in confusion. He rushed home with the photo book, then quickly finished washing up. Before he went to bed, he looked at the photobook again.
“Mmm, the pictures are actually quite nice. I would be able to send these photos home after photoshopping Gu Yueyan away, to show how my life has been recently.”
As Ren Suo flipped through the photobook, he discovered that there were words written behind the photos.
The words were written in a foreign language that he did not recognize, and they were quite long. There were words written on the back of every photo, and in different languages at that, though none of them were in English or Chinese.
Ren Suo recognized one of them as Arabic. His mind suddenly became clear with bliss, and he checked the translation of ‘I love you’ in Arabic.
It was completely different from the words written on the back of the photo.
“Tcch, don’t they say that words written in foreign languages which the reader can’t understand are essentially words of confession?”
1Although Ren Suo did not have good looks, he thought well.
The next moment, a wave of drowsiness rushed over Ren Suo and he could not bear it anymore. He shoved the photobook in his bookshelf and fell asleep on the bed.
On the other hand, Gu Yueyan was looking at the photo in her hand. It was a photo she took when she was on the raft with Ren Suo, and was also the photo in which they looked the most intimate together due to the effect of the lens.
Turning to the back of the photo, there was a line of words written in neat and beautiful handwriting:
[There’s no turning back anymore.]