Nothing much happened on the China server during the next few days.
Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls continued to grab every Resource Bag they could find to duplicate the Dragonscale Beasts and train the Dragonlight Archers. Enemy guilds like Candle Dragon and even friendly guilds like Snowy Cathaya, Blazing Hot Lips and Purple Lily protested our actions because we had—and still were—screwed up their plans to upgrade their territory completely, but we didn’t listen as a matter of course.
Meanwhile, Warsky Alliance embarked on an intense grinding trip to get their levels as high as possible before the WEL internationals, visiting every leveling ground and boss zone they could realistically tackle and clearing them out. Warsky even scanded "Let’s surpass Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls’ average level before the WEL internationals!", but we all knew that that was impossible to achieve. Our average Level was 178, while theirs was 175. There was no way they could bridge that gap no matter what.
Six days passed by in the blink of an eye, and before we knew it, it was the night before the WEL internationals. The flight to Los Angeles was tonight, so today’s lunch was the last lunch we would be having in Suzhou in a while. Our team manager, Rose, was eating lunch with us. In fact, we had been acting together so frequently as of late that I wondered if she should’ve just stayed the night in the apartment. It probably would’ve been more convenient for her.
"How’s the guild doing recently?"
He Yi looked at me while raising her chopsticks, "I was busy attending a meeting at Shandong for the past two days. Nothing big happened during this time, right?"
"Nope!" Murong Mingyue replied while eating from her rice bowl. "We almost battled Warsky Alliance at Cyan Tiger Forest, but that’s it!"
"Oh? What happened exactly?" He Yi asked with a smile.
Beiming Xue replied, "Yu Tong’s party encountered a boss while they were grinding in Cyan Tiger Forest. However, two Warsky Alliance assassins ambushed and killed them in the middle of the boss battle, stealing all the boss experience and equipment. So, big bro and Chaos Moon surrounded and trapped the one thousand or so Warsky Alliance guild members who were grinding inside the forest. Those idiots could’ve teleported back to the city, but they just had to taunt big bro and say something like, ‘our boss and Lin Bing Dou Zhe is coming to save us!’. So, big bro killed them all…"
He Yi’s eyes widened. "OMG. What did Warsky say?"
Lian Xin replied, "Warsky nearly burst a blood vessel, but knowing that his people were in the wrong he simply requested us to return them the equipment we looted off the dead bodies. Everyone who was killed by Sister Chaos Moon lost half of their equipped items, or more! It was terrible…"
He Yi grinned. "And then?"
Murong Mingyue pointed at me with her lips. "Why are you asking something you already know? Do you think Lu Chen’s the kind of person who’ll spit out the food in his mouth?"
I replied while chewing at a chicken drumstick, "Duh! Not only did Yu Tong and her four mages lose a level, Yu Tong even dropped her main weapon! I could never show my face in Black Coast again if I had chosen to ignore their tears, could I? Also, Warsky City is a million miles away from Cyan Tiger Forest, but they choose to grind right next to Dark Moon City? It’s obvious that Warsky had sent them over to fuck with us! We wouldn’t be Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls if we didn’t punch back, am I right?"
Lian Xin balled her fists and echoed my sentiment. "I agree with big brother Lu Chen. We’ll never concede a single step to our enemies! Warsky loves calling us all his friends, but he had never stopped coveting our Dark Moon City, that pretentious bastard. I’m sure Warsky Alliance will attack us and rob us of Dark Moon City the second he finds the chance!"
Sitting next to her, Rose giggled behind her palm. "Well, it is the one and only Rank 10 Undead Castle in the entire world, and it has a skill that duplicates mounts and another that trains mounted archers. Who doesn’t want Dark Moon City right now? We’re lucky that Lin Yixin is Lu Chen’s half-girlfriend, or I bet that Snowy Cathaya would be the first guild to attack Dark Moon City! Do you believe me?"
I considered Lin Yixin’s personality for a second before nodding without hesitation. "Absolutely!"
He Yi burst into a giggle. "I dare you to repeat that in front of Lin Yixin!"
When the laughter ceased, I said, "At any rate, we have nothing to worry about. The five of us may have to travel to the USA and participate in the WEL internationals, but Chaos Moon, Gui Guzi, High Fighting Spirits and everyone else are still at Dark Moon City. If anything, I welcome Warsky Alliance to try our 4000+ Dragonlight Cavalrymen and 1000 Dragonlight Archers!"
Rose chuckled in agreement. "I agree. I don’t think Warsky will act carelessly as long as the Dragonlight Cavalry is around to protect Dark Moon City. By the way, I’m finding myself liking your guild more and more, so… is it okay if I join Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls? We’ll be a real family if you say yes…"
He Yi chirped happily, "Of course it’s okay! We’re ecstatic to have you, Rose! I’ll pair you up with Beiming so she can get you up to speed as soon as possible. These days, it’s almost like you’re a noob if you aren’t Level 180 and seventh-promotion already…"
When it was late afternoon, we traveled to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Most of the participants including those who were competing in the friendly match—Stranger of Three Lifetimes, Luo River God of the Capital, Li Chengfeng, Warsky and Farewell Song—had already arrived. We sat together in the waiting hall and spent some time chatting to one another.
When Warsky saw me, he walked up to me and pointed me in the nose, "Don’t you think you went a little overboard, Lu Chen? Every single one of the 2347 items you took is very important to my brothers and sisters. They already lost a level, I can’t imagine how I’m going to convince them to accept this if I can’t give them back their equipment. Be reasonable, dude."
I shrugged. "I already distributed the loot to the real victims, Yu Tong’s party. For all I know they might’ve traded the equipment to other players, or sold them for gold already, so how am I supposed to retrieve them for you? And even if I could, what kind of vice leader would I be to do that to them? Surely you, a guild leader, knows this better than I do?"
Warsky gritted his teeth, but Farewell Song talked him down while keeping a firm grip on his shoulder, "Calm down, Warsky. It’s not like we can force Lu Chen to return the goods if he doesn’t want to…"
Warsky pointed at me again. "Hmph! You’re a goddamned gangster, Lu Chen…"
I looked at Beiming Xue and exclaimed in mock surprise, "Aiyo, you chose a real pretty mini skirt today, Beiming…"
Lin Yixin: "Hmph! Both of you are goddamned gangsters…"
It wasn’t long before all 5 teams—25 players in total—had arrived. The group leader was a beautiful lady from the VR department. After she spoke with the club team managers for a bit, it was decided that we would eat at the airport’s restaurant and wait until our flight at 8 pm. We came too early, but that was just how it was with flights.
Bored, Beiming Xue, He Yi, Lin Yixin and Murong Mingyue played dou dizhu to pass the time while Li Chengfeng, Luo River God of the Capital and Warsky watched from the sidelines. I myself bought a Ray magazine and feasted my eyes upon the photos of beautiful mature women and cute girls.
Stranger of Three Lifetimes sat beside me and leaned over to check out what I was reading. She immediately burst into a giggle when she saw the contents. "Pervert…"
She spent a moment to stretch her back before crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Lu Chen, there’s only seven days left until our agreed time. It’s time for you to give back my mages and my Yu Tong!"
I replied, "Sure. But as you can see, the waters are rather murky as of late, and that Warsky wouldn’t stop salivating at my Dark Moon City. If you take back your mages now, it’ll be like stabbing us in the back, ya know? I don’t mind if you choose not to help us during our time of need, but stabbing us in the back? Where is your conscience, girl? In fact, why don’t we extend our contract for another month? Surely you can spare the manpower!"
Stranger of Three Lifetimes glared at me. "What the fuck, do you think you’re Liu Bei or something? You think you can just borrow Jinzhou and never return it? No way! They’re all my flesh and blood…"
I thought for a moment before answering, "Fine, we’ll speak again when we hit the deadline. Right now, I need them for as long as you can lend them to me…"
"Mn." Stranger of Three Lifetimes nodded lightly.
It was at this moment we heard some noise at the inspection area. Curious, I put down the magazine, straightened my clothes a little and walked over to see what the commotion was about. Stranger of Three Lifetimes seemed a bit ill for some reason, but she followed me after letting out a cough.
There was a group of people standing around the inspection area. When we got closer, we saw a 50-year-old man in plain clothes sitting on the floor and holding a bag of black substance. The plastic was damaged, so some of its contents had spilled.
The dazed old man looked around helplessly as he spoke in a thick dialect, "It’s medicine, it’s not that… that… something you said…"
However, the foreigner employee couldn’t understand what he was saying. He simply picked up the medicine bag and almost shouted at the old man, "What’s this? Tell me! What’s this thing!?"
The old man couldn’t understand him either, but he hurriedly put his hand around the spilled medicine on the ground and said, "Don’t, don’t step on them…"
The foreigner let out an angry shout, tossed the medicine bag on the ground and crushed it beneath his boots.
It was at this moment Stranger of Three Lifetimes finally squeezed her way in and saw the old man kneeling on the ground. She immediately burst into tears while muttering in shock, "Dad…"
"What?" I exclaimed in shock.
Stranger of Three Lifetimes ran toward the old man like crazy and put her arms around him protectively. She cried loudly at the inspection personnel around her, "Get lost, get lost! This is medicine, Chinese medicine for treating asthma, you bastards!"
I hurriedly ran toward them and blocked in front of Stranger of Three Lifetimes, but that foreigner actually tried to hit me! I blocked his attack and shouted at him in English, "It’s Chinese medicine! Chinese medicine!"
This time the message got through, and the foreigner paused with a shocked expression on his face. Another female employee walked over, gave the contents of the medicine bag a sniff and nodded.
At this point, Stranger of Three Lifetimes was crying like a baby. While she supported her father to her feet, I bent down to pick up the spilled medicine while explaining things to the surrounding employees.
The truth was revealed after a short while. As it turned out Stranger of Three Lifetimes had asthma, and her father came all the way to the airport because he thought that she had forgotten to bring her medicine. However, the airport inspection personnel thought that he was carrying illegal drugs, and the misunderstanding kept growing until we finally showed up.
Stranger of Three Lifetimes ate dinner with her father before stuffing a lot of cash into his wallet and sending him home in a taxi. When she saw the reluctant, loving look in her father’s eyes before he departed, she broke into tears once more.
Back in the waiting hall, I sat next to Stranger of Three Lifetimes while she cried for a very long time. I accompanied her in companionable silence.
A long time later, she looked up and said in a quivering voice, "He’s an honest man. He spent his whole life caring for the people around him, but never for himself."
I nodded. "Mn. Why don’t you tell me about him?"
She replied through her sobbing, "When I was still very, very young, dad told me he’s going to teach me an important life skill that’ll make sure that I never go hungry. After that, he taught me how to eat rice…"
Stranger of Three Lifetimes burst out in laughter at her own joke, but it wasn’t long before it turned into sobs once more. "During high school, I fell in and out of a relationship and felt really bad at the time. He gave me 3000 RMB and told me to buy whatever I want to make me feel better. It’s only until later that I learn that he gave three months of his income. I…"
"The first day I attended university, he walked me all the way to my hostel and watched me as I went up the stairs. I know that he misses me dearly and doesn’t really want to live away from me. That spring, he took a train from Wuhan all the way to Hangzhou just to bring me a bag of freshly picked cherries. He said it’s because it’s my favorite fruit. I…"
She spoke and cried and spoke and cried, "Dad once said that I should probably get married when the cherry tree in our courtyard is as tall as he was. The cherry tree is really tall, but my dad has grown older and shorter. I…!"
Finally, she put her head-on my shoulder weakly before muttering, "I can never repay my dad’s love for me."Previous Chapter Next Chapter