Chapter 216 We’re Moving
They moved into the new house without taking anything from their old.
When Ye Ci discovered Zuo Xiaolan had packed their belongings, she immediately stopped her mother, “Mom, put everything back. We’re not bringing any of them with us.”
“Huh? Why?” Zuo Xiaolan was confused.
Bai Mo had woken up. He shook his head in disapproval when he noticed that Zuo Xiaolan had already packed their belongings, “Aunty, we can’t bring these things along with us. We don’t know about the people out there, and I think they know by now that we take a walk everyday, which means that they probably won’t follow us during this small time window. This is the best chance for us to slip away. If you take so many things with you, it’s like telling them that we’re planning to run away. Wouldn’t that invite trouble for us?”
“B-but… These things cost quite a lot…” despite Ye Ci’s and Bai Mo’s words, Zuo Xiaolan was still reluctant to part with her belongings.
“Mom, just bring whatever jewelry you have and your bank account book along. We’re leaving the rest here.”
“We’re not even going to take a change of clothes with us?” Zuo Xiaolan caressed the luggage that she took time to pack up, and eyed her daughter carefully. She was still slightly unwilling to part with her belongings.
“I mean ‘everything’, mom. Do you not know what ‘everything’ means?” Ye Ci narrowed her eyes. By the time, Ye Nantian has returned home with breakfast, “Come, breakfast is here!” said Ye Nantian as he spotted everybody else. .
“Dad, help mom out and put whatever she packed back to their initial places. Remember, we have to act normal when we leave home. Bring nothing with you, and wear your usual clothes. We’re going to move out of here.” said Ye Ci as she took the packed food from her father, wheeled herself into her room, and proceeded to unplug her game card from the gaming cabin. For her, the card was the only thing that she could not afford to let go.
As expected, Ye Nantian had his own way of dealing with Zuo Xiaolan. When Ye Ci finished her breakfast, Bai Mo was already helping the couple to put everything back to where it had been originally.
It took them half an hour to finish up. When Ye Nantian, Zuo Xiaolan, and Bai Mo gathered to eat their breakfast, sweat was pouring down from their foreheads. Tears flowed out of Zuo Xiaolan’s eyes as she ate her breakfast in silence.
“Why are you crying?” Ye Nantian sighed, “Moving to a new home is a good thing.”
“I know, but we’ve been living here for so many years now. To think that I can’t bring anything along with me… It’s like losing part of myself. I’m devastated.” sobbed Zuo Xiaolan. She knew that her daughter’s words were true, but she had feelings for this house. She could see hints and traces of Ye Ci growing up in every corner of this house, and the happy days she spent with her family. However, she was forced to leave all the fond memories behind.
Ye Ci could understand the feelings of her mother She sighed, and wheeled herself next to her, speaking in a soothing tone, “Mom, don’t be sad. It’s just a temporary measure. We’ll be back when everything’s over, and you can bring anything you want along. If you want to live here, we can move back here as well”
Zuo Xiaolan sniffed and patted Ye Ci’s shoulder with a smile, “I know, honey. I just hate to part with this house. Don’t worry, I’ll be able to handle myself when we leave.”
After finishing breakfast and making sure that Zuo Xiaolan had calmed down her emotions, the family of four left home. Zuo Xiaolan was the last to step out of the house. Her hand was trembling when she shut the door, and even inserting the key into the keyhole proved to be a challenge for her. After taking a deep breath, Zuo Xiaolan was finally able to successfully lock the door.
As usual, the family greeted their neighbours warmly.
As usual, the family headed for the park near their housing area with Ye Ci in a wheelchair.
Once they were in the park, the family left through one of the side exits and immediately called a taxi, heading straight for their new home.
The house owner handed his keys to Ye Ci at the previously agreed time, and the deal was sealed. Ye Ci immediately instructed her father to hire a locksmith to change the locks after the previous owner left. She then switched her phone off, and inserted a new SIM card.
Ye Ci was finally able to feel somewhat relieved when everything had been settled. Zuo Xiaolan sat on the couch, suspiciously eyeing her new surroundings. She felt like a stranger in her new home. Of course, Ye Ci understood that it would take quite some time for her mother to get used to her new environment. She did not attempt to console her mother, as she knew that it would have an adverse effect on Zuo Xiaolan. The best way was to allow her mother to slowly adapt to the situation.
As Ye Ci was busy with settling down in the family’s new home, Bai Mo headed to Fate’s Customer Service Center in their city and ordered five gaming cabins. As the residents of the housing area were all new tenants, they did not know each other well. With gaming cabins being a necessity in every household, Bai Mo’s action of purchasing five gaming cabins did not arouse any suspicions from his neighbours.
Zuo Xiaolan and Ye Nantian were very busy as well. Even when the furniture and electrical appliances were already provided, the house was still rather empty. The old couple headed straight for the supermarket nearby, purchasing various items ranging from their daily necessities, to clothes, shoes, food, and some home decoration.
When Ye Ci and Bai Mo climbed into their gaming cabins, the couple was still busy with decorating their new home.
It had been and entire month since the two of them logged into the game. Although Bai Mo entrusted the guild to Timely Rain, Let Go Of That Girl, Little Icy Cold Hands, and Pickled Pepper, during that one month, the prestige of the guild suffered a blow when its guild leader and vice leader went missing. Some of the newer members had even chose to leave the guild. Fortunately for ‘Upwards Ho!’, the loyalty of its core members remained unperturbed.
The entire guild was overjoyed when Bai Mo and Ye Ci finally logged into the game.
“Uwahh! I must be dreaming! Did I just see two missing people logging into the game? Is this a sign from the Gods?” shouted Fruit Jelly, was the first one to notice the presence of the duo, into the Guild Channel.
Her shouts attracted the attention of the rest of the guild members. They set aside their tasks, and started a lively conversation with Ye Ci and Bai Mo. Some of them made fun of their leaders, while others made attempts at teasing the duo. Despite that, their concern for the wellbeing of Ye Ci and Bai Mo was obvious.
“Hmm… How curious for the Leader and Vice Leader to disappear at the same time. Where have you been? Did you guys… Did that?”
“Yup! Did you guys elope or something?”
“They were gone for an entire month without prior notice! They must’ve gone for their honeymoon!”
“I agree with you! I strongly agree with you!”
“Gongzi, do you know that the Eastern Continent was quiet when you were gone? Do you know that you’re the greatest source of our gossip?”
“Of course.” a smile lit up Ye Ci’s face, she could feel the genuine concern her friends held for her, “I’m sure the lot of you assumed that I had died when I was gone.”
“Bah! How could you say something like that? I’m amazed by your ability to shoot your mouth off…”
Just then, Ye Ci received a private message from Liu Chang.
“I tried calling you yesterday, you got a new number.”
“Yup. I changed my number yesterday.” Ye Ci told Liu Chang the truth. She was the only person outside her family who knew about the incident. She would never lie to Liu Chang.
“How’s your leg?” Liu Chang sighed, “Why won’t you allow me to pay you a visit after you’re discharged?”
After a moment of thought, Ye Ci decided not to tell Liu Chang about the people lurking around her house. Instead, she responded with a question of her own, “Liu Chang, have you tried contacting Dong Yin recently?”
“Not at all. Well, I haven’t cut ties with her like what I did with Yi Cang, so she would give me a call once in a while. She has been pestering me with calls recently,” Liu Chang was confused by Ye Ci’s sudden question, “Why are you asking such a question? Do you have some business with her?”
“Nope, not at all,” Ye Ci narrowed her eyes after listening to Liu Chang’s words, “She’s been contacting you very frequently these few days?” asked Ye Ci after a slight pause.
“Yup. I have no idea what she’s up to. She’s been trying to have smalltalk with me, and was indirectly asking about you.”
“Have you told her anything?”
“Of course not! Why would I tell her anything about you? I have nothing to say to her.” Liu Chang had been disgusted with Dong Yin since their dinner that night. Although she did not sever all ties with Dong in, she no longer saw the girl as a friend.
A sudden thought flashed across Liu Chang’s mind, “Ah! There’s something I have to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“She mentioned something about you that day. She told me that you’re hospitalized. I was curious! How would she know about something like this. When I tried asking about it, she panicked, and hung up on me.” Liu Chang was confused about Dong Yin’s strange behavior on that day.
However, Ye Ci did not share the same sentiment. A thought immediately formed in Ye Ci’s mind the moment she heard Liu Chang’s words. She was not entirely sure, but she had a hunch that Dong Yin was the culprit behind the entire incident.
“Liu Chang, it’s best if you don’t come looking for me these days.” said Ye Ci.
“But why?” Liu Chang was genuinely confused. She believed that Ye Ci would be bored out of her mind due to her injury. That was why she wanted to pay her friend a visit and keep her company. But why did Ye Ci keep turning me away?
“Liu Chang, I’ll talk to you about this in the future, but it would be the best if you don’t ask about it now. If I’m truly a friend of yours, don’t come to my house, or we’ll both get into trouble.” Ye Ci continued after a short moment of thought, “also, avoid all contacts with Dong Yin and Yi Cang in game and in real life. Tell your parents about this as well.”
“Little Ci, just what the hell happened?” Liu Chang felt uneasy the moment she heard Ye Ci’s words. She started pestering Ye Ci with questions in an attempt to seek for answers.
“I assure you that I will not cause you any harm, and I guarantee that the truth will definitely scare you. So please… Don’t ask any questions, and don’t come looking for me.” said Ye Ci in a serious tone. She knew that Liu Chang would be able to understand the gravity of the situation.
As expected, Ye Ci knew Liu Chang well. Despite her unease, Liu Chang gave up on her questioning. “Little Ci, you’ve always been like this since young. You’re always shouldering everything yourself. I know it’s for my own good, but I’m still worried for you.”
Ye Ci could detect the hints of dejection in Liu Chang’s words. She could not help but think to herself, am I really too independent at times? Before she could utter a single response, Liu Chang spoke up, “Little Ci, you don’t have to say anything, because I know what you’re going to tell me. Just listen to me.”
“You must’ve had your own thoughts about this, and I know that you’re suspecting Dong Yin as the culprit. I don’t want to speak to you in Dong Yin’s stead, but there’s something I really have to tell you. You don’t have to do waste your breath on people who are no longer relevant. It’s not worth it. What happened between us and Dong Yin and Yi Cang can never be fixed. Just let it go. If this continues, I’m afraid that you’ll be the one that’s hurt…”
Ye Ci could feel a hint of sadness in her heart. Liu Chang was just too kind of a person. She was unable to bring herself to tell Liu Chang that this was not how she preferred to deal with things. After a moment of hesitation, Ye Ci spoke with a smile, “I won’t involve myself in any affairs regarding Dong Yin and Yi Cang, and you should stay away from them as well. I want nothing to do with them ever again.”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that.”
Despite her words, Ye Ci could not resist to urge to give Liu Chang another reminder, “Remember what I told you just now, and be careful.”
“I know. The parents of Dong Yin and Yi Cang are of the same lot. They…” Liu Chang sighed, “My family means nothing to them. We’re useless in their eyes. My parents had cut ties with them anyways. So you don’t have to worry.”
Ye Ci’s heart was surging in vast anger after her conversation with Liu Chang. She was sure that Dong Yin and Yi Cang were involved in this incident. But what about Thousand Sunsets? How much is he involved in this?
She could easily take on Dong Yin, but what about Thousand Sunsets? He was not a person she could deal with. Besides, Upwards Ho! was in no state to go up against Bloody Steel. It was a very distressing feeling. After taking in a deep breath, Ye Ci contacted Green Hill’s Moon.
Green Hill’s Moon was surprised to receive a message from Ye Ci, “Uwahh! Gongzi, you’re just like a ghost! When did you come online?”
“I just did.”
“Where have you been the past month? Do you know that the entire Eastern Continent.. No, the entire Fate community were talking about you? People were saying that you’ve quit the game. Hell, even I stated to believe that you had left the game for good! You seriously shocked me, when you basically appeared out of thin air just now!” even if he was startled by Ye Ci’s sudden appearance, Green Hill’s Moon was glad to see her return. Gongzi You was one of his biggest customers, and also a friend that he trusted. He did not want to see her leaving the game just like that. Besides, if a professional player like Gongzi You quit Fate, it would be hard for her to find another game that had such a huge potential.
“Something happened in real life.” Ye Ci offered him a vague reply.
“I hope it’s nothing serious.” Green Hill’s Moon was an intelligent man. Despite the vague answer he received from Ye Ci, he knew that Ye Ci ran into big trouble.
“Yup.” Ye Ci narrowed her eyes, and got straight to the point, “I’m contacting you today because I need you to investigate something for me.”
“No problem. Tell me who you want me to investigate and what you want to know about them, and I’ll get it done in no time!” Green Hill’s moon had become a famous know-it-all in the game. This earned him a lot of customers among the players. However, he would always give priority to Ye Ci’s requests.
“But… I have a favor to ask…” Ye Ci was slightly embarrassed. She had always been paying Green Hill’s Moon up front when she asked for his services. However, her savings were all spent on purchasing the two houses. With her one month absence from the game, Ye Ci had no income at all other than the monthly salary she received from the guild. Green Hill’s Moon might not even be willing to work for her without the payment.
“What is it?”
“I’m sort of broke now….”
Green Hill’s Moon cut Ye Ci off with a smile before she could finish her sentence, “Gongzi, money is not an issue between us. Just tell me what you need. As for the money… Well, you can pay me later when the situation becomes better for you. Since you’re in a pinch, we won’t talk about money.”
A sliver of warmth crept into Ye Ci’s heart. Green Hill’s Moon would never say something like this in her past life. Then again, the Ye Ci of back then would never be forced to make such a desperate request. She let out a sigh of relief, “Thank you.” said Ye Ci. For the first time, there was some hint of warmth in her voice.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to be so courteous with me.” Green Hill’s Moon shook his head with a smile, “We’re friends. And we don’t talk about money as friends”.
These simple words were able to send ripples through Ye Ci’s heart. Those words were so warm, and so beautiful at the same time. It was something that Ye Ci could not even hope for in her past life. In her current life, however, it became a reality. It all felt surreal to Ye Ci. She stood under the glaring sun in Red Lake City. The sun, shining down on her hand, illuminating every single details of her palm, as well as all the worries in her heart.
“Gongzi?” Green Hill’s Moon was worried after Ye Ci’s long silence.
“Uhh?” replied Ye Ci after snapping out of her daze.
“Ahh… You’ve been quiet for quite a while. I thought that I said something wrong.”
“So who and what do you want me to investigate?”
“I want to know what Leftie and Gleaming Sunshine have been up to. In fact, I want to know about Gleaming Sunshine in particular. Help me find out everything about her. Especially…” Ye Ci continued after a slight pause, “The thing between her and Thousand Sunsets.”
Green Hill’s Moon did not even have to ask for a reason, as it was none of his concern. Despite that, he had some guesses of his own. There was only one reason why Gongzi You would want to ask about those two the moment she came online: Gleaming Sunshine and Leftie had something to do with Gongzi You’s disappearance. Thousand Sunsets must have played a part in this as well.
A person like Thousand Sunsets was involved…
Green Hill’s Moon felt the need to give Ye Ci a warning as her friend.
“Gongzi, as a private detective, it’s not in my place to say anything about this. But as a friend, allow me to offer a word of advice.”
“What is it?”
“Thousand Sunsets is not someone normal players like us can mess with. Even if you’re a god-tier player, you still can’t go up against them in real life.” Green Hill’s Moon knew that his words were harsh, but it was something that he must tell Gongzi You or she might get into trouble.
Ye Ci could feel warmth seeping into her heart, “I’ll be careful. I won’t go overboard and get myself into trouble.” she replied with a nod.
Green Hill’s Moon was still worried even with Ye Ci’s promise, “I’ll help you with anything as long as it’s within my power.” he sighed, and continued after a slight pause, “By the way, Wandering Cloud had a falling out with NightAndDay. Quite a number of people know about the affair between NightAndDay’s fiance and Wandering Cloud. It’s still not in the open yet, but Wandering Cloud was kicked out of Tang Dynasty by NightAndDay. He’s lashing out at everyone like a mad dog, be careful.”
NightAndDay has kicked Wandering Cloud out of Tang Dynasty? Ye Ci was surprised when she received the news. Although such an incident was within her expectations, it happened way too soon. She did not expect something like this to happen during her one month of absence. The affairs of life are indeed unpredictable.
“Alright, I’ll keep an eye out.”
After a moment of thought, Green Hill’s Moon directed a question at Ye Ci, “By the way, there’s something that I don’t understand. Did you know about the relationship between Wandering Cloud and Into The Sunset before this?”
“Hehe…” Ye Ci’s chuckle was the only response that Green Hill’s Moon received, “Alright, I’ve just gotten online. There are things that I have to sort out. I’ll get in contact when I have them settled.” said Ye Ci and she immediately ended the conversation. After all, one must be careful when talking with somebody as intelligent as Green Hill’s Moon, or one might unintentionally divulge secrets that should remain hidden. Not that she did not put her trust in Green Hill’s Moon, , but she was a person keeping many secrets. The more of them were uncovered and therefore known by others, the more insecure Ye Ci would feel.
Ye Ci was finally relieved when she commissioned the job to Green Hill’s Moon. The only thing she could do now was wait.
There was quite a number of changes in the game during the one month of absence by Ye Ci and Bai Mo. The average level of players were already at lvl 40, which meant that Fleeting Time would naturally have a higher level than Ye Ci. The most important thing for her these days was to level up. Other than that, most of the major guilds had finally cleared the Castle Ruins at Normal difficulty, the main force of Upwards Ho! was already exploring the Expert difficulty Castle Ruins. They had defeated the fourth BOSS, and were making preparations to challenge the fifth BOSS.
Wolf Pack’s progress was significantly faster than Upwards Ho!. They had more members at their disposal, which meant that they could send in more parties while retaining a large number of reserves. This helped a lot in speeding up their dungeon clearing progress. The Expert difficulty dungeon was way harder than its Normal difficulty counterpart, and put a party’s teamwork as well as the skills of each individual members to the test. As long as a party was able to show good teamwork, the dungeon could be cleared in no time.
Because of that, Wolf Pack was able to secure the First Clear of the Expert difficulty Castle Ruins. Despite suffering a blow to their morale, the members of Upwards Ho! did not let their dismay show. They grit their teeth, and swore that they would once again achieve glory in the later dungeons.
The most important mission for Ye Ci and Bai Mo during their first day of returning to the game was to lead Upwards Ho! in clearing the Expert difficulty Castle Ruins, securing the last spot of the First Five in the process.
The members of Upwards Ho! were making preparations for the dungeon. They enchanted their equipment, prepared all sorts of potions and consumables, refined their equipment and cast high level gems into their weapons. They have been waiting for this, and they were determined to succeed.
Ye Ci headed to the Mausoleum of Blades before entering the dungeon. Other than her busy schedule of leveling up and clearing dungeons, something else required Ye Ci’s attention. It was none other than her Epic-tier quest. Had Bella finally remembered something about that badge when Ye Ci was gone for a month?
Yes, she did.
After the duration of an entire month, Bella had finally managed to recall details about the badge. Ye Ci was greeted warmly by Bella when she visited the NPC, “My dear friend, I’ve been waiting for you! Did something happened to you? Why did you not come looking for me all this while? I thought that you’ve forgotten about me.”
“I’m sorry Bella. I got caught up in something. Sorry to make you worry.” Ye Ci smiled apologetically at Bella. Fortunately for Ye Ci, her prestige with the Doran Thieves Guild was already past the Intimate level. Bella was not displeased when she spoke to Ye Ci.
Bella waved her hand dismissively when Ye Ci apologized, and started explaining the use of the badge. It was a very precious treasure owned by Andrei. The badge was given from the late king of the continent to Andrei for his services as one of the most accomplished generals in the Imperial Army. When the late king passed away, Andrei was framed by corrupt officials who were jealous of his position. He was prosecuted under the administration of the current king, and ended up as the leader of one of the Doran Thieves Guild’s branches. The badge signified Andrei’s former glory, and was also the key to his personal treasure vault.
Unfortunately, the vault was infested with the spirits of the dead after Bella’s death.
Andrei’s handed the badge to Ye Ci so that she could obtain the weapon that he once used as a general from the vault that was guarded by Bella.
“So, where do I go to retrieve that weapon?” Ye Ci was not a newbie. She remained calm despite hearing the words “treasure vault”. She knew that the treasures in the so-called “treasure vault” in Fate were just for show. Players would not be able to obtain the glittering piles of gold and gems in the vault. There were only some limited items that players could obtain from a treasure vault. Stumbling upon a treasure vault would not guarantee immeasurable wealth as many would imagine.
“What? You want to head to that place?” Bella was surprised to hear Ye Ci’s words.
“Yes.” Ye Ci nodded.
“But that place is crawling with the Undead. It’s very dangerous.” Bella sighed, “I was able to exorcise the spirits of the dead when I was alive, but I lost this power after dying.. I can only tell you the location of the treasure vault, but there’s really nothing I can do to help you. Are you sure you still want to head into the vault?”
“Of course.” Ye Ci nodded. She was initially reluctant to venture into such a dangerous area. However, the completion of this quest would grant her the reward for the second stage of her Epic-tier quest. If she did not take her chances, how would she be able to reap the rewards? Besides, the concern that NPCs showed to players was not even genuine. It was something that was already programmed into their being by Fate’s developers.
“Well, since you insist, there’s nothing I can say. I’ll bring you there.” said Bella as her semi-transparent body floated through t Ye Ci to uncover a hidden cavity at the face of the cliff. Yes, she floated through Ye Ci. That was one of the perks of being a ghost.
Ye Ci followed closely behind Bella, braving her nonstop blabbering for half an hour before they finally arrived at the entrance of Andrei’s treasure vault. “F*ck this shit!”, thought Ye Ci to herself as she opened the map. They had merely passed through a small mountain and then through a cave. It was a major waste of time. If Ye Ci was able to scale the mountain, and jump down from the other side while casting Featherfall, it would only take her 5 minutes to land. Bella’s route took half an hour…
As it turned out, NPCs were only good at dragging down the intelligence level of players while wasting their time. Ye Ci was about to head into the Expert difficulty dungeon soon. There was no time to waste.
“Alright, here we are!” Bella finally stopped in front of a huge, black rock, “The entrance to the vault is just behind this rock. I’m sure that the place is infested with the Undead by now.”
The position of the rock was well-hidden. When Ye Ci observed the rock with her naked eye, it was impossible to tell that there was a treasure trove hidden behind the rock.
Bella continued her speech after receiving no response from Ye Ci, “You can begin preparations for entering the vault. Let me know when you’re ready.”
With that, Bella remained silent. When Ye Ci attempted to initiate a conversation with the NPC, Bella would only respond with the same dialogue, “This journey will be a dangerous one, are you sure that you’re ready?” with only two options, which was “I’m ready!” and “I don’t think that I’m quite ready yet.”
Ye Ci was about to select the option that would send her right into the treasure vault. However, after a moment of hesitation, she decided against such an action. After all, Upwards Ho! would soon begin the process of clearing the Expert difficulty dungeon. Just when Ye Ci was pondering about such an issue, she received a message from Bai Mo, “Where are you? We’re heading into the dungeon soon. Hurry up!”
“Alright, I’ll be there shortly.”
For Ye Ci, the benefits of her guild outweighed her personal interests. That was why she decided to set the quest aside and headed back to Red Lake City, as only God knows how long she would take to complete the quest.
Perhaps due to her one month of absence, Ye Ci was not able to work well with the team. She was the only one who made several mistakes in a party that displayed near-perfect teamwork. Although her mistakes did not affect the overall performance of the party, it still caused some uproar among the players.
When Overflowing Ink called for a break before the final BOSS, Bai Mo sat beside Ye Ci and stared at her, “What is it? Your performance today is rather… Lacking.”