Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Cheng Cheng was absent from school for two days. Word was that he was sent to the emergency ward in an ambulance. The doctor’s final diagnosis was ‘drowning’. The strange thing was that Cheng Cheng claimed that he had been lying in bed in the hotel room and had no contact with any water at all.
What was worse than his physical condition, however, was his mental state. He appeared to be suffering from severe psychological trauma and was advised by the doctor to seek psychiatric help after his treatment. As a result, his parents spent a large sum of money to hire a world-famous expert, and after two sessions, he was finally stabilized.
He was finally able to return to school a month later. A few close acquaintances even arranged a welcome-back reception in his honor. They were going to invite his side-girl, but Cheng Cheng was too terrified after everything that had taken place that night. Although they had proven that he did not have any sexual contact with the girl who was in the shower, Cheng Cheng would rather have a small-time model come over than anyone from that day.
That night, after a couple of beers and the company’s admiration, Cheng Cheng’s mood improved considerably and was willing to practice what the expert said, which turned out to be convincing himself that that was just a bad dream.
Upon his return to university, he decided to restore his former glory and figure out a way to win Shen Xixi over. Humans were like that. They thought the harder it is to achieve something, the more valuable it must be.
In the beginning, during the welcoming party, he thought that she was good looking singe, and had wanted to woo her just for the fun of it. But Shen Xixi would have none of it. She did not even give him a chance, which only made him even more obstinate in going after her.
This matter quickly plagued him. As he was humping the small-time model, Cheng Cheng covered the poor girl’s face with a pillow cover and imagined that she was Shen Xixi. This got him even more excited than usual.
He kept at it for another three minutes before laying down, whereupon a rush of exhaustion flooded his head, and the tired Cheng Cheng closed his eyes and fell asleep immediately. He was jolted awake in the middle of the night and he felt something resting on his face.
When he opened his eyes, he saw the Bride of Chucky’s face resting against him! Goosebumps sprouted all over his terrified body!
His screams not only waken the model sleeping next to him, but had also startled the guests in the rooms downstairs. Cheng Cheng did not even bother to dress properly and left the room running and screaming for his life in his underwear!
Alas, misery loves company. He was only a short distance away from the hotel when a minivan suddenly screeched to a halt in front of him! The door opened and the tattooed youth grinned at him from the inside. “Brother Cheng, your little pug has come to bring you home!”
Then, the passengers inside the van dragged the horrified Cheng Cheng into the vehicle!
Following this, a 15-minute video of Cheng Cheng in a dog collar barking and scoffing down dog treats appeared on the university forum. Although it was quickly taken down by the school authorities, it had already left its severe, unerasable mark. The whole school was in a frenzy!
Cheng Cheng’s reputation was already on eggshells. Pretended indignance from the varmints in the student union aside, the reactions were mostly schadenfreude1 from the common folk.
A week later, Cheng Cheng’s parents came to the school and after applying leave for their son, left in a hurry. A rumor quickly spread around that they had sent their son overseas for treatment.
Everything that happened after that no longer concerned Zhang Heng. In fact, after he had taken the time out to leave a warning for Cheng Cheng, he continued with his busy schedule. He simply threw in the doll in-passing to keep Cheng Cheng busy from his boredom! Zhang Heng never in the slightest expected that the outcome would be so severe.
Later on, Zhang Heng did go back, intentionally this time, to stick the haunted doll’s face in the dark hotel room. The situation was undeniably quite scary. Cheng Cheng had already been frightened once before, and in his extremely fragile state, all it would take was one more scare and a complete mental breakdown would be no surprise. As for Wu Fan’s appearance after that, Zhang Heng knew nothing of that.
In short, this matter was considered closed. Zhang Heng did not actually spend much time and energy on Cheng Cheng. The harassment was done out of convenience. During this period, he had employed a new plan of action—attend classes and prepare for the next round of games.
The results of his workout were a little more evident now. He was not seeking to have one of those muscular bodies, being more concerned about being pliable than being strong. He had now passed a beginner’s level in rock climbing as well.
The second game was drawing near. In theory, he could actually wait until the last day to join the game but Zhang Heng did not want to cut it too close. What if he fell sick or sprained his ankle? That was a fun thought.
So, 5 days before the end of November, Zhang Heng returned to the Sex and the City bar.
This time, he did not need to flash the number on his arm for the two burly men guarding the steps to let him pass.
Zhang Heng thanked the gentlemen and pushed the metal door open. The lounge was no different from the last time he visited, except the music had changed to jazz.
The bartender looked to be in a pretty good mood. She was mixing some strange drink when she spotted Zhang Heng and greeted him, “How has this month been? What would you like to drink?”
“Not bad. I won’t be having any drinks.”
Then as reading his mind, she pushed the freshly-made masterpiece in front of him. “You don’t think it’s this lemon water that you passed out the last time, do you? Even if you did nothing, you would still enter the game the same way.”
“Last time, you said the time was fixed only for the first game. I have the freedom to choose after that, right?”
The bartender pointed at something nearby. “Do you see that booth? Each one of them has an alarm clock. Take a seat at one of them and adjust the time to your liking. When it’s time, the game will start.”
“Thank you. But I won’t need the booze. The game starts soon, so it’s better for me to stay sober!”
“This is not a cocktail, just a mix of fruit juices.” The bartender raised a brow at him; her patience obviously pushed a notch further.
Zhang Heng had the good sense to pick up the glass filled with the unknown liquid. From its appearance, this thing perfectly replicated Maid café’s style. In all honesty, it looked suspicious. Speaking of which, Zhang Heng had visited that coffee shop a couple of times before, but the bartender lady acted as if she did not know him, sticking to that cold, indifferent front.
“Oh, right! You’ve also mentioned last time that the wooden box made of Tulewood that could isolate supernatural powers is sold here. How much is it?” Zhang Heng tasted the drink in his hand. It had a peculiar taste to it, a little like durian and a little like mango. There was probably soursop and avocado in there. It was as strange a mix as it could get. So, Zhang Heng resolved to changing the subject, slowly and stealthily put the drink back down.
From all the previous information he had gathered, there were two precious things in the game. The first one was a very realistic atmosphere and settings that allowed people to gain a lot of experience and skills in a short few hours. The second was the so-called game items.
Needless to say, having a supernatural item that continued to have effects in the real world was very advantageous! The lucky rabbit’s foot had been with Zhang Heng for more than a month now. He even found money on the road twice now, although only 2 yuan. The rabbit’s foot was E-class, indicative that there were also other classes—A, B, C, and D—above it.
But because the game items’ effects were unidentifiable, carrying them around uninformed would be very dangerous. It was possible for him to have such good luck all the time, so he needed a better way to contain it.
The last time, after the bartender told him about the Tule tree, he went back and looked it up on Baidu and discovered that this tree only grew in Mexico’s Oaxaca state, revered dearly by the locals. It was practically impossible to take a piece from the tree to make a box.
That being the case, he had no other choice but to buy it from the bartender. It felt a bit like he was forced to do it even though he knew the outcome was bad.