Chapter 487 Thunderflame

GOR Chapter 487 Thunderflame

After returning to Zero City, Chen Xiaolian sat on the beach at the Sea of Love. Thanks to the artificial beach and waves, the Sea of Love appeared brimming with an atmosphere of passion.

This time, Chen Xiaolian could feel that the number of people in the Sea of Love was much higher than before.

The one following Chen Xiaolian was a young man from Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild. He had a very strict and steady appearance – the way his eyes gazed around gave Chen Xiaolian the impression that he was somewhat similar to the man in black serving Qiao Yifeng.

The young man introduced himself as Guan Shan. He had been very polite toward Chen Xiaolian. In fact, he was polite to the point of being respectful. In the beginning, Chen Xiaolian had felt puzzled. However, after thinking about it, he understood – this young man known as Guan Shan had probably watched what happened during Blood Verdict.

A few hours ago, Guan Shan had come knocking. After that, he brought Chen Xiaolian into Zero City.

To Chen Xiaolian’s surprise, Bluesea did not ask Chen Xiaolian to go to Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild’s hive like headquarters. Instead, he had arranged to meet up in the Sea of Love.

There were people everywhere on the beach. If Chen Xiaolian did not know that this was Zero City, he might mistake this place for some tropical tourist country in Southeast Asia, Miami or South America.

“Yesterday was the opening day of Zero City.” Guan Shan saw the puzzled look on Chen Xiaolian’s face and he volunteered the answer.

Chen Xiaolian froze for a moment.

Opening day?

He involuntarily let out a wry smile.

The last time Zero City had opened its doors, he had entered. Back then, he accidentally stumbled into the Tokyo instance dungeon.

This time, no one in his guild noted this information circulating within the Awakened circle. It was probably due to Qiao Qiao’s death. Their morale had fallen and they were unable to concern themselves with this big event.

“Opening day…” Chen Xiaolian looked at the beach before turning to inspect the street behind him. He found that there were more Sentinel mechs on patrol.

He then sat beneath a patio umbrella and placed a cup of iced drink beside him. He did not know what this drink was called, only that drinking it gave him a rich fruity taste. There were also dashes of sweet and sour in it.

At that moment, Chen Xiaolian appeared no different from the other Awakened ones on the beach. He wore a Hawaiian-styled floral shirt, beach shoes and shorts.

Moreover, before entering Zero City, Guan Shan had given him a prop. It was a [B] class appearance altering prop: An ordinary pair of glasses.

After wearing it, it would alter up to 20 per cent of the wearer’s appearance. The alteration included the wearer’s face, hair and body shape.

At present, Chen Xiaolian looked like an average Asian. However, his hair was slightly curly and his stature had grown more robust.

The explanation Guan Shan gave for using this form-changing prop was: If you do not want to bring any attention to yourself after entering Zero City, you had better wear this prop.

Chen Xiaolian understood what he meant. Due to what happened during Blood Verdict, he was now infamous in Zero City.

He sat on the beach for about 20 minutes. Guan Shan was a very sensible fellow. He silently accompanied Chen Xiaolian, who quietly observed the people moving around the beach. He observed the varying skin colours of the people there. The Awakened ones from every corner of the world, men and women were all playing here.

Within the absolute safety of Zero City, there was no need to consider the dangers brought by instance dungeons. Additionally, the resident guilds of Zero City had forbidden any battle from occurring here. Violators would be severely punished.

Thus, this became a rare moment for these Awakened ones to put aside their vigil. The entire beach appeared very lively.

Chen Xiaolian quietly observed all of them, his mind working on a question – why is Bluesea looking for him?

Moreover, the answer appeared obvious.

As Chen Xiaolian was in a daze, Guan Shan, who was beside him, suddenly stood up.

Chen Xiaolian turned and saw that an unfamiliar middle-aged man had, at an unknown time, appeared behind him.

Although the middle-aged man looked unfamiliar, Chen Xiaolian was quick to notice that this fellow was also wearing the same pair of glasses as him. Looking at Guan Shan’s show of respect to this man, his heart skipped a beat and he said, “Bluesea?”

“It has been a while.” Nothing was done to camouflage Bluesea’s voice and Chen Xiaolian was able to recognize it.

Chen Xiaolian stood up to shake Bluesea’s hand and the two of them proceeded to sit down on the beach chairs.

Guan Shan quickly retreated tens of metres away.

This place that Bluesea had arranged was neither too far nor too close to the sea. While it was close enough for them to observe the frolicking crowd, it was far enough that no one would come bother them.

“How do you feel?” Bluesea was gazing at the crowd and there was an air of greeting in his voice.

“They appear very happy.” Chen Xiaolian sighed.

“Indeed,” Bluesea answered sincerely. “Within this circle, every Awakened leads stressful lives. They would have to endure mental stress, trials and struggles for their lives almost every moment. Zero City’s opening day was the equivalent of an absolutely safe sanctuary. The few days when Zero City is open are the times of celebration for Awakened ones all across the world.

Chen Xiaolian was silent for a moment. He took a sip and turned to look at Bluesea. “Why did you ask to meet up here and not at the hive building?”

“Because I wanted to be careful.” Bluesea’s tone was that of tranquillity. However, he looked straight into Chen Xiaolian’s eyes and said, “This discussion between us is for the sake of getting a clear picture of something. Before determining what the effects of this something are, I do not wish others to know that we have met.”

Chen Xiaolian raised an eyebrow. “You mean… … Qiao Yifeng?”

“Yes, Qiao Yifeng.”

Since both sides had decided to be frank, Bluesea chose not to beat around the bush. “I had already found an abnormal situation.”

“Mm.” Chen Xiaolian nodded his head.

“Qiao Yifeng was a founding member of this guild, thus I have always paid attention to his protective detail. Once something abnormal happens around him, I would receive a report about it immediately.”

Chen Xiaolian gave a light nod.

“Now, I believe there is no need to beat around the bush.” Bluesea paused for a moment before saying, “Qiao Qiao, did something happen?”

“You found out?” Chen Xiaolian knitted his brows.

“Yes.” Bluesea nodded his head. “We found out.”

Chen Xiaolian was silent.

“Chen Xiaolian.” Bluesea spoke in a more patient tone and said slowly, “Before we begin this discussion, I want you to understand something.”

“What is it?”

“The relationship between us should be a very close one.” Bluesea slowly said. “You helped us survive the calamitous trial known as Blood Verdict, something that is akin to a trial of life and death. You helped us there. That was a very huge favour you did for us. Additionally, there is the relationship between you and Skyblade. You helped us find Skyblade… … even though he ended up not being here in the end…

“Even so, in these regards, I, and the whole of Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild owes you a great deal.

“There should be a very close relationship between us.

“I hope you can understand that so that you can feel less burdened during our conversation.”

Chen Xiaolian raised his head and looked at Bluesea.

“For now, today’s conversation will remain between you and me,” said Bluesea coolly. “Besides Guan Shan, no one else knows about this meeting. Additionally, the ones who know about this change with Qiao Qiao… … as of now, there are no more than three people within Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild who knows about it. I had made the proper arrangements.”

“You are a very cautious person.” Chen Xiaolian revealed a wry smile.

“When something strange happens, it is best to figure out what is going on instead of making a huge ruckus out of it. This is what I have learned after all these years.”

“That is a very good habit.” Chen Xiaolian was unable to stop himself from uttering praise for that.

Bluesea smiled. There was gentleness in his eyes. “So, can we talk openly now?”

“… … …” Chen Xiaolian looked at Bluesea. “What do you think happened to Qiao Qiao?”

“I think Qiao Qiao is probably not in this world anymore,” said Bluesea after some consideration.

Chen Xiaolian’s eyes flickered.

He had noticed that Bluesea did not use the word “die”. Instead, he had said “not in this world”.

There was no question about it. In Qiao Qiao’s case, the latter description was more… … accurate. The implications behind those words were also more profound.

“In the last instance dungeon, the one we just participated in,” said Chen Xiaolian in a hushed tone. “Qiao Qiao sacrificed herself.”

Bluesea raised his eyebrows.

Although he had already speculated that this was the case, hearing it out from Chen Xiaolian’s mouth elicited a reaction from Bluesea’s heart.

He frowned as he gazed at Chen Xiaolian. “Forgive me for saying this… … you do not appear as sad as I thought you would be.”

Chen Xiaolian inhaled deeply in a slightly frustrated manner. “… … this question, I do not want to answer it.”

Bluesea quietly observed Chen Xiaolian for a few seconds. As Chen Xiaolian was expecting Bluesea to question him further, this wise leader from Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild suddenly adopted a different tone and spoke up.  He did not ask anything, but simply told him something.

The things he talked about sounded peculiar for this moment.

“Brother Qiao is my good bro. To be more accurate, the four of us have always been the best of friends.” Bluesea’s tone seemed to contain a trace of nostalgia.

“Brother Qiao has two daughters. We had known about this a long time ago. Qiao Qiao is Brother Qiao’s daughter. So is Yu Jiajia.

“In his younger days, Brother Qiao went through a phase of recklessness – even after becoming an Awakened, he did not cease his reckless streak.

“Additionally, I believe you should be able to deduce that he was quite the Casanova in his younger days.”

Chen Xiaolian hesitated for a moment before nodding.

Qiao Yifeng’s visage and temperament were the cream of the crop among men. For him to be a Casanova in his younger days was not that hard to understand.

“As Awakened ones, our days were spent with anxiety. I believe you can understand this. Every instance dungeon is a trial of life and death. It is the equivalent of walking across a steel rope or licking the edge of a blade. The amount of stress everyone faced was humongous.

“So, every time an instance dungeon ended, everyone would take advantage of the time in between to vent like crazy.”

Chen Xiaolian expressed his understanding for such actions.

In his own guild, the brothers Lun Tai and Bei Tai were the typical example of this.

After an instance dungeon ended, the two brothers would leave for a while. They would go out and have fun and vent their stress away. After the Tokyo instance dungeon ended, they flew to Las Vegas and led days of intoxication where nothing else mattered.

This scene was very common within the Awakened circle.

“Yu Jiajia was an accident that Qiao Yifeng left back then,” Bluesea slowly said.

Chen Xiaolian remained quiet.

“Qiao Yifeng’s wife died early, leaving Qiao Qiao alone. How should I put it… … all I can say is, Qiao Yifeng felt very guilty toward his wife. Thus, he decided never to remarry again. He channelled his guilt into his devotion toward Qiao Qiao. I can only say that Yu Jiajia’s appearance was something unexpected.

“In the beginning, when he found out that one of his pleasure-seeking escapades resulted in an illegitimate daughter, he was very shocked.

“I can tell you that Qiao Yifeng did not really love Yu Jiajia’s mother. It was just one of his escapades.

“I personally have no comment on this behaviour.

“Later on, after Qiao Yifeng found out about his illegitimate daughter, he decided to take responsibility for her.

“Thus, Yu Jiajia was taken care of in secret in Hangzhou City.”

“What about Yu Jiajia’s mother?” Chen Xiaolian asked curiously.

“She took some money and left. She disappeared – on her own,” Bluesea said coolly. “Truth was, she too, did not want the girl. Back then, she was still very young. The only reason she chose to give birth to the baby was so she could get some money from Brother Qiao.”

Chen Xiaolian did not comment – something like this was quite common in this world.

“As Awakened ones, we are practically Supermen in the eyes of ordinary humans. We could easily gain wealth and status that the common people could only dream of. Thus, we have been taking very good care of Yu Jiajia since.

“Later on however, Qiao Yifeng accidentally got himself killed in an instance dungeon and was refreshed to become an ordinary human.

“The three of us founding members then made a decision – to awaken his memories and let him stay as part of the guild. In hindsight, this decision of ours was quite a selfish one.

“Since he had already died, why not just allow him to stay away from all these. However, we chose to wake him up. Personally speaking, I have always felt remorseful toward Brother Qiao for what we did.

“Brother Qiao became Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild’s financial representative in the secular world and we initiated the ‘retirement’ program. That way, our comrade-in-arms who had fought alongside us can – after getting killed in battle – not lead a destitute life.

“We were unable to accept it, to have our comrade-in-arms who had once been heroic figures be refreshed into ordinary humans only to lead a life of hardship in the secular world.

“Thus, we began the ‘retirement’ program. After Qiao Yifeng returned into our fold, he assumed responsibility for the program.

“For a resident guild of Zero City, we possess sufficient power to carve out a humongous and wealthy company in the secular world.”

“I understand.” Chen Xiaolian nodded.

“Truth be told, we, never liked Yu Jiajia.”

These abrupt words coming from Bluesea’s mouth shocked Chen Xiaolian.

He cast a puzzled look at Bluesea.

“Because, Qiao Yifeng’s wife… is Thunderflame’s sister,” said Bluesea coolly. However, Chen Xiaolian was stunned.

This… this is a new development!

“Let me put it this way. That Thunderflame has a fiery temperament. Back then, when Yu Jiajia appeared, Brother Qiao’s wife had already passed away for some time. Thus, Thunderflame chose to tolerate Qiao Yifeng’s actions. Although there were some hints of dissatisfaction in Thunderflame’s heart… … Brother Qiao was still our bro. Furthermore, he did not commit those pleasure-seeking escapades during his marriage. We could not possibly ask our bro to use his hand all the time when he was still single. Besides, in this Awakened circle, having their pleasure-seeking escapades affect certain private aspects of their lives is a common thing. Thus, we decided to simply close one eye toward this issue.”

“We old-timers have always kept an eye on Qiao Qiao as she grew up. We did our best not to trouble her and would never bring her into Zero City… after Brother Qiao died, we brought him back. However, we also redoubled our efforts to keep Qiao Qiao away from our world.

“I think you can understand. Due to Thunderflame being here, all of us loved Qiao Qiao, treating her like a princess. However, in Yu Jiajia’s case… … she had been brought up in Hangzhou by Qiao Yifeng. She did not even get his name.”

“I do not know what to say.” Chen Xiaolian revealed a wry smile.

“You do not need to say anything. After all, there is not much relation between you and the things that happened before.” Bluesea sighed. “But now, the relationship between you and this is big.”

Chen Xiaolian frowned.

“Qiao Qiao is dead and Qiao Yifeng’s memories were clearly modified by the system. I had already investigated this and found that all ordinary humans on the outside world are unable to recall Qiao Qiao’s existence… .. in other words, all traces of her in the secular world had been completely erased. Qiao Yifeng too, no longer have any memories of her… … for you, this might not be a bad thing. After all, you can avoid facing a father who is furious over the loss of his daughter.

“The problem is… … in addition to Qiao Yifeng, there is someone else who cares a lot about Qiao Qiao’s life or death. This person is…”

“Thunderflame?” asked Chen Xiaolian with a frown.

Thunderflame, Chen Xiaolian had long since felt curious about this person.

Four figures had founded Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild.

Naturally, Skyblade was the ‘Blade’. Qiao Yifeng was the ‘Mountain’ while Bluesea was the ‘Sea’.

Chen Xiaolian had met these three fellows before.

However, Thunderflame, who was one of the four founding pillars of Blade Mountain Flame Sea Guild, had never revealed his face.

Even during the critical moment when the guild was undergoing Blood Verdict, something that would determine the life and death of the guild…

This fellow chose not to appear. It was as though he was invisible.

Back then, for the sake of the guild, Bluesea decided to sacrifice himself and stepped into the competition arena fully intending on dying in combat. Even so, Thunderflame did not appear.

Chen Xiaolian had felt curious about this. However, this was the private matter of someone else’s guild. Thus, it felt wrong to ask about it.

“Why are you telling me about Thunderflame now?” Chen Xiaolian looked at Bluesea.

“The reason Qiao Qiao died and why she utterly disappeared… there is no way Qiao Yifeng would ask you about those things. Although I am very curious as well, as long as you refuse to tell me, there is no reason for me to trouble you about it. Despite how important it appears, considering the favour you did for us, I will definitely not trouble you about it.”

“However, someone will never let you go.

“This person is Thunderflame.”

“Oh?” Chen Xiaolian smiled bitterly. “Thunderflame… … will not let me go?”

“Thunderflame’s temper… … I know it all too well. There is a saying: A person’s birth name could be a mistake, but never that person’s nickname. With a nickname like Thunderflame, I believe there is no need for me to explain what kind of temper this person has.

“My understanding of Thunderflame’s temperament can be summed up with these words.”

Bluesea suddenly spoke at a much slower rate. “Heart of a raging fire, emotionally volatile, obstinate, reckless, arrogant and overbearing.”

Chen Xiaolian frowned. “You think Thunderflame will come after me?”

“That would certainly happen once Thunderflame finds out that Qiao Qiao has disappeared.”

Chen Xiaolian said nothing.

Bluesea sighed. “You might think that I am trying to scare you. However, Thunderflames has always acted irrationally. Once that person finds out that Qiao Qiao is dead, you will be targeted. Then, Thunderflame will interrogated you to find out what happened… … additionally, it might not be farfetched to say that you might die.”

“Thunderflame will kill me?”

“Yes,” Bluesea said softly. “You are Qiao Qiao’s boyfriend. Since Qiao Qiao died when she was with you, the responsibility falls on you.”

Chen Xiaolian was silent. However, he nodded his head. “I accept. I should receive punishment regarding this matter.”

“That won’t be the end of it.” Bluesea frowned and continued, “Killing you alone won’t be enough. That Thunderflame would probably kill off the other members of your guild who managed to survive the instance dungeon as well. It is not as though this had never happened.

“Getting furious at bystanders has always been the biggest flaw in Thunderflame’s character.”

Hearing that, Chen Xiaolian appeared discontented. “Qiao Qiao is my woman. I did not protect her properly. If anyone should die, it should be me. What does this have to do with the other members? What responsibility do they have? How can Thunderflame be so unreasonable?!”

Bluesea’s face turned somewhat peculiar. “Unreasonable… … that is normal. In this world, we men would often find women’s actions to be unreasonable.”

“Women… … wait a second!” Chen Xiaolian abruptly stared with widened eyes. “Woman? You mean to say… … Thunderflame? A woman?!”

[TL: The word he is gender neutral in Chinese… … .]

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