48 Hours a Day
Chapter 463 - Changes
Upon returning to Beijing, the three went their separate ways for the time being. Zhang Heng was pretty lucky—there had been no roll call on that one day he missed class, and once he arrived at the campus, he headed straight for the showers.
It was around three in the afternoon, so the public bath was barely occupied. Zhang Heng stood under the shower, letting the water wash away the residual black blood on his body. Though his body had recovered, it was still better to be safe than sorry since the blood belonged to one of the four horsemen.
Zhang Heng lathered himself up with a grand amount of soap, then rinsed himself with warm water. He repeated the whole process twice for good measure.
He looked at his right arm—the needle mark had disappeared, only less than five hours since he pulled it out.
Zhang Heng did not tell Fan Meinan and Han Lu the entire truth-after surviving that deadly plague, he experienced… changes, to put it simply, especially during the few seconds when he stopped breathing.
He did not entirely lose consciousness, and during that time, he witnessed something so bizarre it couldn’t even put it into words.
After he opened his eyes, other than his body’s self-healing property becoming stronger than the ordinary person, he did not sense any other differences. His strength, agility, and reflexes were the same as before, and other than taking advantage of a sneak attack, he was able to kill the horseman mainly because the latter underestimated him.
The horseman did not expect Zhang Heng to rip his heart out like that, which explained the trace of anger and confusion in his eyes.
Zhang Heng had no way of knowing what happened to himself or what was happening. Thankfully, his new self-healing ability wasn’t nearly as exaggerated as the horseman; not noticeable unless one paid close attention. As for any other hidden changes, Zhang Heng would need to keep an eye out for the time being.
After his shower, he set aside the worries about his body, put on a pair of slippers, and went to the market to buy a bottle of black tea. During checkout, however, he realized that he had left his campus card in the public shower. With furrowed eyebrows, he reached into his pocket for his mobile phone, but then, a hand with a campus card reached out from behind him to pay for the drink.
Zhang Heng turned around and found himself standing face to face with Shen Xixi.
She smiled at him. “It’s on me.”
“Thank you.” Since a bottle of tea wasn’t that expensive, Zhang Heng didn’t refuse the offer.
“How have you been?” Shen Xixi asked.
“About the same-attending classes, playing games, and reading books in the library.” Zhang Heng twisted open the cap of the bottle and took a sip.
“Really? But I didn’t see you during Computer Essentials class.”
“Hey, I’m not implying anything. It’s just that… I heard from Xiao Xiao that you happened to pick the same elective as I did.”
“Oh, something was going on with my mother’s friend, and I couldn’t make it,” answered Zhang Heng.
“Your mother’s friend… Han Lu?” Shen Xixi raised an eyebrow.
“How did you know?”
“What you should have asked is who doesn’t know? Your two roommates have been telling everyone that you know Han Lu… they might as well have printed flyers for it.”
“Okay, okay… I’m just kidding. It was Xiao Xiao. She probably heard it from Wei Jiangyang,” Shen Xixi said. “Well, I gotta go. I have a class in the evening, and I’ve got assignments waiting for me. I need to head to the library.”
She took out her phone as she got up. “Oh, by the way, a few friends and I set up a WeChat group for dealing with… that kinda stuff we faced before. You can recommend it to anyone who needs help. If they are facing any difficulties whatsoever, they can always leave us a message. When our people see it, they will offer advice, or even help if necessary.”
Zhang Heng received the QR code Shen Xixi sent. When he scanned it, it led him to a WeChat group called Stranger Things. God knew if the player forums had inspired Shen Xixi, but it was evident that she was moving farther and farther along the path she carved for herself.
Whether it was the Anti-Alien-Invasion welfare organization or the WeChat group, her desire to help ordinary people hadn’t changed since the beginning. And according to Fan Meinan, more and more players have agreed to join her, and they have even attracted the attention of several local guilds, which had also added to her workload. This meant that for Shen Xixi, getting some time to study quietly in the library was becoming a rarity. She even considered taking a break from school.
Zhang Heng signed up for a WeChat account with the phone that Ding Si had bounded to his bank card and left a message in Stranger Things. – I have a friend who received an extraordinary picture. What should we do?
In less than two minutes, he received a reply.
-What kind of picture?
When Zhang Heng briefly described the picture that Han Lu received, the other party suddenly sounded anxious. They replied in mere seconds.
– From now on, please do not allow her to close her eyes. Where is your friend?
Zhang Heng began to type something, but a thought crossed his mind, and he scrapped it. He put his phone back into his pocket. From the way the person reacted, it was apparent that nobody had any ideas on how to solve it.
Zhang Heng was only giving it a try, though. The Dreamland of Death was recognized among the players as an incomprehensible killer. Even after the three significant guilds invested enormous amounts of manpower and material into investigating it, they had yet to develop any concrete solutions. Other people aside, if Shen Xixi had found a solution, she would have published it on the internet as soon as possible to keep more people from being harmed.
At present, the most reliable solution was to find the lady in shades. But Fan Meinan still had not contacted him yet. Obviously, she hadn’t yet heard anything about it.
Zhang Heng failed to think of a better solution, and all he could do now was to keep waiting.
What he did not expect was that the wait would last as long as two days.
It had been three days since Han Lu last slept. Eighty hours without any sleep was causing her to feel increasingly anxious and depressed.
Han Lu was mentally more substantial than most people, but even so, her patience was running out, and the endless doses of caffeine gave her a weary look. She was almost at wits’ end.
When Zhang Heng arrived at her place after class, she threw a tantrum, throwing things around the house because the housekeeper was ‘too noisy’ while preparing food. Han Lu’s eyes were bloodshot, and the moment she saw Zhang Heng, she collapsed on the sofa as if she had lost every ounce of energy. She slowly rubbed her temples in despair and despondency. Zhang Heng noticed a pile of documents on the coffee table. “Are you still working?”
“What choice do I have?! I have to keep myself busy.” Han Lu smiled bitterly. “Otherwise, it would be just too difficult. I am at the point where I’m willing to exchange half of my assets for one hour of sleep. Just one hour would suffice.”