Chapter 341 Not So Happy Today
Even though Zhang Heng removed the Leviathan’s eggs from Peng Jiating’s body, he still couldn’t change the way she viewed the world. Peng Jiating’s grim demeanor was the result of years of neglect and serious family issues. All Zhang Heng could do was remind her father to be attentive to any changes on Peng Jiating and hope that it wasn’t too late.
According to the uncle in beach shorts, the accidents that had happened around Tian Tian were brought on by Leviathan’s eggs. The more unfortunate she became, the more pleasure Peng Jiating would obtain, all working to smoothen out the hatching process. While Peng Jiating destroyed the target of her jealousy, she was unconsciously destroying herself.
Now that the eggs were removed, Tian Tian’s misfortunes would also finally stop.
On his way back, Zhang Heng made a stop outside Tian Tian’s window and placed the Yasimba tribe’s guardian amulet on the window sill, thereby returning it to its rightful owner. Now that the issue was resolved, Zhang Heng made himself a cup of coffee and went out to take pictures of the city’s night scene. Twenty-four hours later, he checked out of the hotel and returned home. As he gently pushed the door open, he was greeted by the sight of his grandfather sitting at the table.
Grandpa put down the newspaper in his hand and looked at him from behind the lens.
“I’m sorry,” Zhang Heng whispered. “Are they asleep?”
“No, I’m still waiting for that orange ice cream of yours,” Zhang Heng’s mother yawned as she walked out of the bedroom, her husband right next to her. “You said that you’d be back before twelve. You could have at least given us a call to tell us… So, you’d better have been out on a date, or I don’t know how to cover for you.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think it would take that long.”
Stopping time was indeed a very useful ability. The more it was used, the more it could be felt. Imagine watching the entire world stopping in its tracks, and you’d have all the time you to train, study, observe, and think. It was certainly a good feeling, albeit, not an omnipotent one.
Take right now, for example. When time stopped, Zhang Heng actually returned home once, made coffee, and grabbed his camera. He saw his grandfather at the table and noticed his parents were breathing heavily in their bedroom, clearly not asleep.
So, he knew what was about to happen when he came back for real, but he could not change the outcome. In fact, he even had to feign ignorance and pretend he was clueless. But no matter what, knowing that someone in the world still cared for you was very reassuring. Especially after seeing Peng Jiating’s family situation, Zhang Heng felt grateful to have had a very different childhood experience.
Even though his parents left when he was still very little, they would always come back to spend a few months at home, doing nothing but staying by his side. They’d be telling him those fairy tales and legends or dragging him along to the movies for some boring horror flick. They would mindlessly laugh at the poor videography, chaotic script, and terrible props.
And whenever they were away, Zhang Heng’s grandfather would faithfully fulfill his duties as a guardian, playing two roles at the same time. He was a better parent than them on his own right, and compared to his peers; Zhang Heng was never neglected or unloved as a child.
So, when he was all grown up, other than preferring to be on his own, Zhang Heng didn’t possess any other obvious flaw in his character.
Now that the accidents surrounding Tian Tian’s family were resolved entirely, Zhang Heng’s life returned to its previous peaceful state. Except for the extra twenty-four hours each day, this year’s New Year celebration was no different from the usual affair.
On the evening of New Year’s Eve, the family gathered at the table to wrap dumplings. In addition to the four main dishes prepared by grandpa, Father Zhang contributed a baked lobster with cheese and a plate of vegetable salad. Zhang Heng also whipped up two specialty dishes that he had just learned.
In the end, his unique Caribbean-style grilled jerk chicken won the best dish award of the night. Undoubtedly, both the judge and award presenter were Mrs. Zhang.
As they watched the Spring Festival Gala on the couch, Zhang Heng received quite a few New Year’s greetings. Apart from his three dorm mates, Shen Xixi also sent him a text. Although comprising only a few simple words, it was clear that the message wasn’t the regular forwarded affair. Hayase Asuka, far away in Tokyo, had also sent her blessings attached with two photos of her bathing in a hot spring.
After the Meiji Restoration, Japan abolished the Lunar calendar and switched to the Gregorian one, thus causing many feudal customs to disappear. Except for a few remote places, no one really celebrated Lunar New Year. Hayase Asuka, on the other hand, had apparently studied the situation in China and sent the greetings at eight in the evening.
Those were the initial greetings. It wasn’t long before a barrage of messages from other friends and classmates, even various websites that he had renewed his membership with, started bombarding his phone. Through the continuous bombardment of greetings, Zhang Heng suddenly noticed that there was no activity at all from the most active person with the Aqua profile picture.
Zhang Heng clicked on the conversation. Their last text was two days ago. Why Do You Always Look Unhappy (#’O’) had mysteriously told him that she’d gone alone to fish at a river, and had finally caught a grouper. Five minutes later, she sent a picture of a toy grouper hanging from a fish hook.
That was the last time he heard from her. There was nothing after that.
Since he had already opened the conversation, Zhang Heng sent her a New Year’s greeting. About ten minutes later, she replied to him.
— Not very happy today.
— Can you come somewhere with me? It won’t take long. I just can’t go back alone. Zhang Heng could sense that Why Do You Always Look Unhappy (#’O’) wasn’t very happy today and did not press her for details. He simply answered with, “Alright, how do I find you?”
– Have you heard of a way to log into the game without using game points? Word is, you’ll need a place where nobody can disturb you, then find something that connects to the internet; a computer, laptop, or tablet, for instance. If you don’t have any of that, a mobile phone will suffice. The game committee will then send you an email.
— So? I’ve used up my game quota for this month.
Zhang Heng typed.
— It’s okay. I will forge a similar email that can bring you to a very special quest. Don’t worry; this quest won’t use up your points quota. There’s no login limit, and there is no danger to this game. As I said, it’s very special. I can even enter games even though I’m banned. Plus, it won’t take up too much of your time. In fact, I am not playing to move to the next level or anything, I just want to… take a look inside. I usually go by myself, but I don’t know if I can do it tonight.