GOR Chapter 417 The Man Who Gave Skyblade The Painting
The door closed up.
Chen Xiaolian regarded the furniture within the room that he had been to twice. He felt strange inside.
If that bloody Fatty had not blackmailed him that night, if he had not picked up the ancient painting in this room…
Chen Xiaolian headed into the kitchen and found himself a cup, opened the water faucet and filled the cup with water. Slowly, he gulped down the cup of water. Then, he walked into the living room and sat down on the sofa.
“Out with it then. What will we be talking about?”
Skyblade did not answer immediately. Instead, he asked, “Can you tell me, how did you become… what I mean is, this non-Awakened identity of yours, what exactly is it?”
Chen Xiaolian did not answer.
“Fine.” Skyblade continued in a dejected tone. “Maybe I am prying too deep with that question. Or maybe this is your biggest secret. I did not mean to pry, but… … I just want to satisfy the curiosity in my heart.”
Chen Xiaolian maintained his silence.
Skyblade continued talking by himself.
“… … back in the day, I was high-spirited as I led my brothers with me, successfully conquering instance dungeons again and again until we made our way into Zero City. Our strength gradually grew – no, it would be more accurate to say I was the one who grew stronger. For the sake of the guild’s development, I challenged the resident guilds of Zero City. After a series of trials and tribulations, we managed to obtain the acknowledgement from the other resident guilds, thereby allowing Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild to gain the permanent residence status in Zero City.
“Back then, I was very excited. I thought that I had acquired for myself, or rather, acquired for my fellow comrades in the guild a place of safety and security for the long term. To the me back then, Zero City was unquestionably the safest place within this game world.”
Hearing that, Chen Xiaolian gave a harrumph. “You mean, a refuge?”
“That is correct, a refuge, a… … … paradise.”
“And?” Chen Xiaolian asked without showing any change in his expression.
“And… naturally, I was wrong.”
Chen Xiaolian noted that Skyblade had used the word ‘naturally’.
He had spoken those words with a very firm tone!
“In the beginning, all was well within Zero City and everything was as I had desired. This was a very safe place. Although there are still conflicts here, it is at least something that we can control. At least we have our freedom – or so it seems.
“However, it did not take long for me to gradually turn unhappy.
“This refuge that we are in, is it not a cage?
“This place is safe while the outside world is dangerous. As long as we stay inside and not go out, we will be fine – not go out! Is there any difference between that and going to prison?
“Additionally, there is something else. In the outside world, we are constrained by the control of the main system.
“But in here, we are subjected to the constraint of Zero City’s system!
“Freedom? At the very least, I did not get to enjoy much of that within Zero City.”
Chen Xiaolian did not say anything and just listened carefully.
He had a keen feeling that this was an opportunity, an opportunity to understand Zero City.
These words had come from the mouth of a top [S] class expert from Zero City, a Guild Leader of a resident guild of Zero City.
“… … … if Zero City is supposed to be safe, a refuge, then the first question I have to ask is… how was Zero City founded in the first place?”
Chen Xiaolian deliberately let out a smile. “How?”
Skyblade sighed and said, “No one could be certain about it.”
After a pause, he continued, “Be it those within Zero City, even those on the Board of Patriarchs, every one of them said the same thing… … … the same thing, but ambiguous.
“Everyone agreed that some time long ago, a group of powerful Awakened ones, for the sake of evading the constraints of the main program, went through a difficult and dangerous trial to create this paradise known as Zero City… an unprecedented accomplishment.
“However, who exactly were these founders… … … we do not know.
“Where did those founders go and why did they not stay inside Zero City – we have no answers for that either!”
Chen Xiaolian was silent.
He might know more regarding this matter compared to Skyblade.
Suddenly, Skyblade threw a question at Chen Xiaolian, “Have you ever moved to a new home before?”
“Moving house,” Skyblade reiterated. “Say you were staying in a house. Then, you chose to move away, moving into a new house.”
“Er… … why are you asking this question?”
Skyblade chuckled before continuing, “Moving house can be quite an interesting thing. Think about it in detail. You already have a house, but you would choose to leave that house for another… … if so, that would prove that there was a problem.”
“The house is not good enough.”
Chen Xiaolian was rendered speechless.
“Consider Zero City to be a house… … why did the first batch of owners here choose to leave? Did they move? If that is the case, wouldn’t that mean that the first batch of owners consider this house… … … lacking?
“Perhaps they found a better house? A better refuge? A better paradise?
“Otherwise, why would they leave?
“Was this house lacking? Unsafe?”
Chen Xiaolian thought about it. “This thought process is quite interesting. However… … maybe they did not move… maybe, they died?”
Skyblade laughed. “Died? Very well. If that is the case, there are even more questions… … how did they die? How is it that none of those who later come to reside within Zero City could explain this matter? It would appear that everyone is in the dark about this matter.
“Additionally… since Zero City is supposed to be a refuge, why would those within a refuge die?
“If the people within Zero City ended up dying … … … doesn’t that imply that this refuge is simply not safe?”
Those words rendered Chen Xiaolian silent once more.
“Have you participated in a battlefield? A real battlefield?” Skyblade asked indifferently.
“There was an instance dungeon where I participated in a battlefield… … with cold weapons.”
“I had participated in a real battlefield before. Not those from instance dungeons, but the real deal. Before I became an Awakened, I was a soldier.” Skyblade harrumphed and slowly said in a grim tone, “I had this experience in the battlefield. We will personally dig out a hole and make our own refuge, a defensive bunker…
“Would I give up the defensive bunker that I had personally made in the heat of battle?
“Of course not!
“Unless… … the bunker is already in danger! Unless I already know that the bunker would not be able to protect me from the enemy fire!
“When that happens, I will leave it!
“Thus… I think that those founders of Zero City… … … maybe, they had the same idea.”
Chen Xiaolian was very surprised!
He was so surprised that he found himself at a loss for words!
Skyblade did not know of the story of Mr San and his companions.
However, merely through some logical deductions, he was able reach a near accurate speculation of what Mr San had said about Zero City!
This was very close to what Mr San had said!
Zero City… … was not safe!
“So, you… … decided to do something about it?” Chen Xiaolian asked.
“Yes. I had considered so much and worked so hard to let my comrades enter Zero City and obtain the permanent residence status… … I don’t ***** care about the honour and glory of a resident guild of Zero City…
“What I care about is finding a way, a path toward safety for me, my children and my comrades!
“For a future! One where there is no need to fear and panic about when we might die!
“In the beginning, I thought that Zero City is what I was looking for.
“However, I gradually found that Zero City is unable to serve this purpose.
“So, I started looking anew.
“I thought to myself, where did the founders of Zero City went? Perhaps… … the answer lies with them.”
Chen Xiaolian sighed. “You… … found the painting?”
Skyblade was silent for a moment before admitting, “Yes, I found the painting.”
Chen Xiaolian continued asking, “Where did you find that painting?”
Skyblade gave a bitter reply. “In an instance dungeon. I encountered a very powerful opponent, one that I could not defeat despite using all my power.”
“That fellow should have had the chance to kill me – I know this sounds depressing. However, that was what happened.
“Back then, I was already an [S] class expert. And yet, I was still no match for him.
“At the very least, I was unable to beat him.
“Back then, it had seemed like we were evenly matched. However, I had a strange feeling. He could have killed me, but simply chose not to.
“Later on, when I was almost exhausted, he suddenly ceased his attacks and asked me a question.
“I could still remember it clearly. Back then, he had asked me: If you die here now, would you feel sorry?”
Chen Xiaolian was stunned.
There was a very puzzled expression on his face.
What kind of question is that supposed to be?
“Was the opponent… … a Player?” asked Chen Xiaolian.
“Why makes you say that?”
“Because… the most powerful Awakened ones are all here in Zero City. For someone to be stronger than you, I believe that can only be someone from the Player’s side.” Chen Xiaolian made a very apt deduction.
Skyblade was silent for a moment. Then, he gave a rather peculiar answer.
“Maybe… … however, I cannot be certain.”
Chen Xiaolian was stunned once more. After a while, he asked, “What happened afterward?”
“After he asked me that question, I answered: The one thing I regret is my inability to find a safe place for my fellow comrades.
“Hearing that, he continued to ask me: You hail from Zero City. Do you think that Zero City is not safe enough?”
Chen Xiaolian’s eyes lit up. “What was your answer?”
“I replied: It’s a cage like place. Safe my ass!”
“And then… …” Skyblade’s tone wavered as he continued in a hushed tone. “Later, he allowed me to leave. He also gave me something.”
“That is right. It is the painting.” There were hints of frustration and confusion in Skyblade’s voice. “He told me: Among all those from Zero City that I’ve met before, you are the only one whose brains have not gone to waste.
“After that, he gave me that painting and asked me: Do you want to find a truly safe place?”
“I asked him: Is it better than Zero City?”
“He said he doesn’t know. However, one thing is certain. It would at least be closer to the truth than Zero City.”
Chen Xiaolian’s pupils contracted as his chest heaved up and down. “You accepted the painting?”
“Of course. Back then, I was already exhausted. If I did not agree to his conditions, I would most likely lose my life. Why would I not accept it? However, after letting me leave, he said something else: That painting is just a clue to help you find the other clue. The other clue is… … … an umbrella (sǎn).
“If I can find that umbrella, I might get closer to the truth.”
Chen Xiaolian held back the pounding in his heart and asked in a heavy tone, “That… … the one who gave you that painting, who is it?”
“... … …” Skyblade paused for another few seconds. “I don’t know who he is.”
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