Chapter 223 Cause and Effects
“What did I say? Did I say anything? I said nothing, alright? I’m merely pointing out your unhealthy practice! It’s a known fact that you like teasing Gongzi You! Did I say anything wrong? Why would I have any indecent thoughts about her? I was talking about you all this while, alright?”
Fleeting Time threw another punch at Absalom before he could finish his sentence. However, Absalom learned from his lesson, and was able to dodge the blow, “Fool me once, shame on you. Full me twice, shame on me!” said Absalom with a pleased tone.
Fleeting Time raised his eyebrows at Absalom, and his shoulders sagged. It appeared as if he has given up on trying to score another hit on Absalom.
Just as Absalom began to let his guard down, Fleeting Time’s fist connected with Absalom’s face once again. With a loud shriek, Absalom clutched at his face.
“What the heck are you doing? Fleeting Time, I’m going to beat the shit out of you!” roared Absalom as he glared at Fleeting Time. It was apparent that he was angered by Fleeting Time’s action.
“Ah, it’s nothing. I just want to remind you that I don’t like the words ‘Gongzi You’ coming out of your mouth.” Fleeting Time chuckled. He was indeed in a very good mood. Ignoring Absalom’s protest and the inquisitive gazes of his guild members, Fleeting Time casually walked away, whistling as he went.
“I did not say anything…” Absalom was filled with grief. I really did not say anything! Why did I get hit twice by Fleeting Time? Even with a 70% pain reduction in Fate, being on the receiving end of two punches from Fleeting Time was still a very painful experience, “You’re the one who have been teasing Gongzi You, so why am I taking a beating for that?”
Without warning, Fleeting Time stopped right on his tracks, and turned around to face Absalom with a smirk on his face. Absalom immediately turned his head to another direction, and began whistling a song that was out of tune.
Fleeting Time raised an eyebrow, satisfied by the fact that his intimidation of Absalom was a success, and continued his way to the guild hall.
Silent Hymn, the vice leader of Genesis, who has been observing the interaction between Absalom and Fleeting Time said with a sigh, “Absalom, why are you so terrified of Fleeting Time? If I’m not mistaken… You seem to be the Top 1 Sorcerer in the Western Continent. Don’t you think that you’re not living up to your name?”
Absalom glared at Silent Hymn, “Oh yeah? Why don’t you try picking a fight with that jinx, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Silent Hymn visibly gulped when he was reminded of his crushing defeat against Fleeting Time and shook his head, “I said nothing.”
Humans are always interested in even the tiniest bit of gossip. Some loved to gossip a lot, while others preferred only slightly less gossip. Absalom was exactly the type of man to immerse himself in the art of gossipping, while Silent Hymn was a the person who gossip slightly less than Absalom.
Of course, he would never miss an opportunity to obtain information from Absalom who was a literal gossipping hub, “Oh, by the way, I saw what was going in in the World Channel. Did Fleeting Time really lost to Gongzi You?”
“Well, According to the guys in the World Channel, Fleeting Time’s party did lost the battle, but the fight between Fleeting Time and Gongzi You as inconclusive.” Absalom immediately seized the rare opportunity to have a gossip about Fleeting Time.
Thus, the leader and vice leader of the largest guild of the Western Continent, Absalom and Silent Hymn began a long conversation in the guild encampment main square.
“Achoo!” Ye Ci let out a loud sneeze. For some reason, her ears burning with a bright shade of red after leaving the Golan Arena. With her exhaustion after her encounter with Fleeting Time, Ye Ci made the decision to head to the town hall and log out of the game.
She received a message from Green Hill’s Moon before she could enter the town hall.
“You have news for me?” Ye Ci immediately got straight to the point.
“I’ll be waiting for you in my private room in the Red Lake City town hall. I’m sure you know the way.” Ye Ci sighed. It seemed that she was not able to go offline after all. In truth, Ye Ci had conflicted feelings about the news. She needed the information to prepare for her next move, but it would also mean that her comfortable life in Fate would be ending soon.
This was why Ye Ci was conflicted.
As a prominent figure in Red Lake City, Ye Ci’s room was lavishly decorated.The jewel-embedded goblet on her table, the are and expensive wine in her cabinet, and all the extravagant furniture were all telltale signs of her position in Red Lake City.
The first thing that came into Green Hill’s Moon’s eyes was Ye Ci sitting on a elegantly made chair and staring out the window. It was a rare sight to see her in such a serene state. Based on his knowledge and memory of Ye Ci, she was a violent and calculative person. It was the first time he saw her to be so serene.
Everybody has two sides. Just like how all things under the sun will cast their own shadows, the cold and calculative Gongzi You had her own soft side.
Ye Ci turned around slowly when she heard Green Hill’s Moon’s movements, “Sit. You can eat and drink anything you want.”
Green Hill’s Moon raised his eyebrows and smiled at Ye Ci, “What? You don’t seem to welcome me.”
“Exactly. You’re reminding me of how poor I am lately. You’re reminding me of how money can make even the Devil himself work for you. But I… Am a poverty-stricken peasant at the moment.” said Ye Ci with a smirk as she lifted one of the bottle of wine from a table and poured its content into a goblet on the seat opposite to hers.
The amber colored win glistened under the light. It was brilliant and dazzling.
Green Hill’s Moon was not at all courteous with Ye Ci. He immediately took his seat, and lifted the goblet. He swayed the goblet from side to side, savoring the aroma of the expensive win, “How much do you think this wine cost?”
“I can tell you that it’s not something that I can afford.” said ye Ci with a smile.
Green Hill’s Moon pursed his lips and silently gulped down the wine.
Ye Ci smiled at Green Hill’s Moon, “You acted as if you’re well-versed in the art of wine tasting with your action, just to gulp it all down anyways. It’s just…” she did not continue her sentence, but Green Hill’s Moon understood the meaning behind her words.
“So what?” Green Hill’s Moon laughed, “As long as you’re happy, all is well. Why do I have to put up airs just for show? How troublesome would that be.”
His words were like music to Ye Ci’s ears. Maybe… I’m just one of those callous people.
“Alright, let’s get to business, shall we?” Green Hill’s Moon narrowed his eyes, “Gleaming Sunshine and Thousand Sunsets have acting strangely these days.”
“They’ve been acting strangely?”
“Yup. Their behaviors were very strange.” Green Hill’s Moon nodded, “Although I’m not interested in a small fry like Gleaming Sunshine, I still did a thorough investigation on her upon your request.” he continued after a slight after staring intently at Ye CI, “And that includes her real life.”
Despite Green Hill’s Moon’s gaze, Ye Ci remained as serene as she was when he first walked into the room. It was as if she was a lifeless wax figurine that betrayed no emotion. She did not even flinch when Gleaming Sunshine’s real life identity was mentioned.
Green Hill’s Moon was impressed.
She knew that an investigation into the private life of Gleaming Sunshine would definitely lead to her identity in real life. She knew the consequences of having her real identity exposed. However, even with that knowledge in mind, she was able to remain calm.
“Gongzi You, certainly you know that if I’ve investigated the private life of Gleaming Sunshine…” said Green Hill’s Moon with a gentle tone after a slight pause, “It means that I know who you are in real life.”
Ye Ci stared at Green Hill’s Moon. She could not tell what was going on in the man’s mind, but if she remembered correctly, Green Hill’s Moon was a very trustworthy person even if he was a businessman. She was not afraid of being exposed by Green Hill’s Moon.
“So what?” said Ye Ci with a slight smile.
That’s right. So what if he knew?
Green Hill’s Moon was stunned into silence. “What? You’re not surprised?” he asked after a long moment of silence.
“Why should I?” Ye Ci paid no heed to Green Hill’s Moon’s words, “I knew that a day like this would come the first time I met you. Since I chose to trust you, I might as continue with that trust.”
Green Hill’s Moon found a whole new level of respect for Ye Ci. She exactly the opposite of what he expected her to be after acquiring her data in real life.
“What? Is the real me that much of a disappointment?”
After studying Ye Ci’s intently and making sure that her calmness was indeed genuine, Green Hill’s Moon sighed and spoke with a grimace, “It’s not that. But…”
“But your appearance in real life doesn’t really fit your personality in game.”
“What do you mean?” Ye Ci raised her eyebrows, “Did you investigate the wrong person or something?”
“Are you doubting my professionalism?” Green Hill’s Moon shook his head with a smile, “Are you really 19 years old?”
“Why is that?” Ye Ci smiled at Green Hill’s Moon, “Do I not look like a 19 years old to you?”
Green Hill’s Moon shook his head, “Nope, not at all. You were so shrewd and ruthless that you gave me the impression that you’re at least 29 years old. I did not expect you to be a 19 years old.”
Ye Ci laughed out loud as she stared at Green Hill’s Moon. Well, aren’t I 29 already? If I add my current age to my age in my last life, I’ll be way older than 30 years old.
“I’m sure you’re not here to talk to me about my age.” she attempted to change the topic.
“No, I’m not. Let’s just talk about Gleaming Sunshine, shall we?” Green Hill’s Moon could tell that Ye Ci was not interested in a discussion about her age as well, “Dong Yin was not the only person behind that incident that caused your injury.”
“So He Xiao was involved as well?”
Ye Ci furrowed her eyebrows, and sighed after a moment of thought, “Green Hill’s Moon, there’s something that I don’t quite understand here.”
“What is it?”
“My relationship with Thousand Sunsets is bad, but we’re not exactly going at each other’s throat as well. Why would he intervene in Dong Yin’s stead? Was it because she’s his girlfriend?” Ye Ci shook her head, “Based on what I know about Thousand Sunsets, he’ll never sacrifice his benefit for a woman. Even if I’ve been ignoring him in-game, as long as open conflict does not break out between us, there’s still a chance that we can work together. So why did he do such a thing?”
“Have you heard of the saying ‘to choose the lesser of both evils’?”, Green Hill’s Moon responded with a question of his own.
“Of course I’ve heard of it, but what does it have to do with this?”
“Because you’re the lesser evil.”
“Oh?” Ye Ci narrowed her eyes. Her interest was piqued by Green Hill’s Moon’s statement.
“Do you remember the weird thing going on between Thousand Sunsets and Gleaming Sunshine that I was talking about?”
“What do you think caused that?” Green Hill’s Moon was like a gentle guide, leading Ye Ci closer and closer to the answer she sought.
What could it be? Ye Ci lowered her head in thought. The answer was a simple one, “There can only be two problems between Thousand Sunsets and Dong Yin, which are Dong Yin’s feelings for Thousand Sunsets, and money.”
“Now I see why Dong Yin wanted to get rid of you. You’re such a perceptive person.”
“I just know her well enough.”
Green Hill’s Moon’s next words came as a shock to Ye Ci, “They broke up.”
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned before finally pursing her lips, “Well, I guess that’s something that should be expected.”
“Indeed. But I’m sure you’ll never expect what led to their break up.” Green Hill’s Moon poured himself a generous amount of wine. He has been speaking a lot, and decided to reward himself with such a fine wine, “The ending of this story is quite common, but the process is rather melodramatic.”
“You’re very good at keeping people in suspense. Even I am now interested in this method. You do know that I’m usually not interested in gossips like this.”
“You’re only interested because this has something to do with you.” Green Hill’s Moon was a well-verse in word games.
Ye Ci was apparently not impressed by his play of words, “Is this even meaningful?” and she furrowed her eyebrows.
“Alright, let’s get back to the point,” Green Hill’s Moon chuckled, “I’m sure you know that Thousand Sunsets lost his competition with Unbridled Willow. Steel-Blooded Battle Spear was divided into Bloody Steel and Battle Spear, and its former vice leader is now the vice leader of Unbridled Willow’s Battle Spear.”
Ye Ci drummed her fingers against the armrest of her chair impatiently as she stared at Green Hill’s Moon.
“And I’ve told you that the Old Master will not give up on Thousand Sunsets just yet. Even if he’s not as talented as Unbridled Willow, that man was still a person who has been groomed by the Old Master for years. He has more connections than the fledgeling Unbridled Willow. This has become a long term contest, and the victor will become the heir to the Old Master’s throne.” said Green Hill’s Moon with a smile, “The Old Master gave them a sum of money each. An equal sum of money.”
“Why do I feel like I’m watching a shitty soap opera?” Ye Ci let out a yawn. A normal citizen like her will never experience something like that in her life.
“You said something similar when we first met. Remember what I told you before? Art was something that transcended from our experience in life, but life can be a thousand times more melodramatic that art.”
Ye Ci sighed. She seemed to have this conversation with Green Hill’s Moon before. Although she was not interested in the affairs of the wealthy, she was still forced to listen to the rest of the story as it could bring a huge impact to her life, “And what happened next?”
“Oh?” Green Hill’s Moon chuckled as he poured himself more wine, “I did say that Thousand Sunsets’ advantage lies in his many connections, and that it’s not something Unbridled Willow could hope to match, am I right?” he continued before Ye Ci could respond to his question, “Being new to the scene might not be a bad thing at all to Unbridled Willows. In fact, it could even be one of his advantages.”
“Why is that?”
“Because he has less connections than Thousand Sunsets.”
“Didn’t you say that it’s a disadvantage for him?” Ye Ci was confused by the words of Green Hill’s Moon. Just what the hell is he on about?
“There’s always two sides to a coin. Everything has its pros and cons. Don’t you think that you should look at things from multiple perspectives?” said Green Hill’s Moon with a laugh.
Ye Ci chuckled along with Green Hill’s Moon. Was that even funny at all?
“Just think about it. Thousand Sunsets would have to spend a lot of money in maintaining his connections or his past efforts will be wasted. However, Unbridled Willow has no such worry.”
Ye Ci immediately understood the meaning behind his words, “So you’re telling me that the money given to those two by the Old Master was not enough for Thousand Sunsets to maintain his relationship with his allies, but can be considered as a huge sum of money to Unbridled Willow?”
“Exactly.” Green Hill’s Moon was impressed by Ye Ci’s deduction, “You’ve said it yourself. Thousand Sunsets will not sacrifice his future for a mere woman. You can say that he’s someone who is willing to betray anyone and everyone for the sake of his future. He has a trump card hidden up his sleeves that could help him to secure more funds to defeat Unbridled Willow.”
“That trump card you’re talking about can’t be Dong Yin, right?”
“How can it be her? Dong Yin’s family lost everything in that contest between Unbridled Willow and Thousand Sunsets.” Green Hill’s Moon continued with a malicious grin, “If a woman marry a rich man, she would be known as a gold digger. So what do we call a man who marries a rich woman? That’s right, a kept man.”
Ye Ci knew that she was very close to the truth, but her expression remain unchanged, “Thousand Sunsets is not a poor man. Even if he marries a rich woman, they’re equally matched.”
“Well, you’re not wrong about that. In short, Thousand Sunsets’ trump card is his status as an unmarried man. It’s an undeniable fact that Thousand Sunsets possess the quality of a Prince Charming to a lot of ladies out there,” Green Hill’s Moon chuckled, “Would you like to guess who will he be marrying?”
“How would I know?”
“Let me give you a hint: You know that person.”
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. Thousand Sunsets is going to marry somebody that I know? If it’s not Dong Yin, who could it be? It can’t be one of those people in Upwards Ho!, can it? Ye Ci shook her head, what am I thinking? Why would I even think about members of Upwards Ho!? A name immediately surfaced in her mind, “Could it be Peacock Blue?”
“Heh, Gongzi You, has anybody told you before that you make a good detective?”
“So it is her.” Ye Ci was still harboring some lingering doubts, “Didn’t expect her family to be that rich.” Peacock Blue did not strike her as a person who was from such a background. Then again, only a pampered girl from a wealthy family would display such a princess-like attitude.
“Of course she’s wealthy. Her family is friends with the Old Master. Even if Thousand Sunsets might not like Peacock Blue, she’s the only daughter in her entire family. Marrying her will be like marrying a mountain of gold.” said Green Hill’s Moon matter-of-factly.
Ye Ci could feel the sorrow of the wealthy. Even their marriage was filled scheming and plots. Although Ye Ci did not see herself as a benevolent individual, she still saw marriage as something that was sacred. To her, a marriage must not be built upon benefit and schemes.
“Will Dong Yin even agree to that?” Ye Ci rubbed her temples softly. Based on Ye Ci’s understanding of Dong Yin, she could tell that despite her despicable character, Dong Yin’s feelings for Thousand Sunsets was genuine. She could see the affection in Dong Yin’s eyes for Thousand Sunsets.
“Thousand Sunsets was not quite sincere in his relationship with Dong Yin as well. If I’m not mistaken, he became a couple with her because she was a good friend of yours, and he wanted to secure your allegiance through your relationship with Dong Yin.” said Green Hill’s Moon with a laugh, “If he was given the opportunity to date you, he might not even end up as Dong Yin’s boyfriend.”
Ye Ci was not offended at all by Green Hill’s Moon’s sarcasm. She knew that it was the truth. Thousand Sunsets was a person like that. It was entirely possible for him to do something like that.
“So, with a better option at hand, he would of course abandon his relationship with Dong Yin,” Green Hill’s Moon sighed, “That poor girl. She ended up like this because of her feelings for Thousand Sunsets. She tried in vain to salvage the relationship with Thousand Sunsets. At that point of time, you had a fall out with Dong Yin due to unknown reasons.”
Ye Ci let out a sigh. What a coincidence. Something that appeared so trivial at that time turned out to be quite a huge mess.
“Dong Yin knew that her relationship with Thousand Sunsets was doomed. She made two requests as conditions for their break up. She wanted the money her family invested in Steel-Blooded Battle Spear to be returned to her. This request was immediately granted by Peacock Blue. She loved Thousand Sunsets, but the presence of Dong Yin was a huge deterrent to her. This was why Peacock Blue immediately agreed to her request. As for the second request…” Green Hill’s Moon stopped mid sentence, and stared at Ye Ci.
And Ye Ci, who has figured everything out at this point, let out a sigh and continued his sentence for him, “And the second request was for them to teach me a lesson, and I right?”
“You are smart.”
“I’m retarded if I’m not able to figure it out at this point.” Ye Ci rolled her eyes.
“And this is why Thousand Sunsets is willing to go after you for Dong Yin. Even if you’re somewhat useful in his development in the game, money is an even more urgent matter for him. Compared to Peacock Blue, you’re way less useful. Besides, he was able to cover up his tracks well. I had to go to great lengths to dig information regarding his involvement in this up. You’ll never be able to get this piece of information if you hired somebody else.” Green Hill’s Moon shrugged. He has told Ye Ci everything he knew.
“You must be very angry right now.” said Green Hill’s Moon as he studied Ye Ci’s face.
“Nope.” Ye Ci understood the meaning behind his words, “Truth to be told, I already had a rough idea the day I was beaten up, but I was not entirely sure. At this point, it doesn’t really matter anymore.”
“You’re going to take revenge on them.”
Green Hill’s Moon responded with a statement instead of a question. As a professional in his field, he was confident in his skill in reading people.
His statement with met with silence from Ye Ci.
“I have to say this as a friend. You’re powerless against Thousand Sunsets in real life. Even Dong Yin is more than a match for you. If you want revenge, you might want to be too wreckless.” said Green Hill’s Moon with sincerity in his tone.
“I know. I’m not an idiot. I am well aware of my limits.” Ye Ci nodded.
Green Hill’s Moon nodded, and breathed a sigh of relief, “Thanks for the wine. I have something else that I need to settle. I’ll be on my way.”
“Help yourself out.” said Ye Ci calmly as she resumed staring out of the window. It was strange. She was still calm even after the revelation. It was like the calm before the storm.
Green Hill’s Moon turned around with a sudden movement just as he reached the entrance, “By the way, have you heard of Golden Age?”
“That guild known as the locust of the gaming world?” Ye Ci raised her eyebrows.
“Yup. That’s them. They are being hired by a rival of the Glory Corporation to bring Fate down.” said Green Hill’s Moon with a hint of sadness, “This game might not last that long.”
Ye Ci laughed at his words, “Why are you so sad? We can’t tell what will happen in the future until we get to that point in time anyways. There’s no need to worry about it.”
However, Ye Ci’s words did little to console Green Hill’s Moon, “I hope so.” he said with a grimace.
With that, he left pushed the doors open, and left the room. Ye Ci continued to gaze out of the window at the beautiful scenery. Noone in the game knew of the storm that was about to sweep across Fate in the near future.
After a long period of time, Ye Ci sent Bai Mo a message.
“I’m tired. I’ll be going offline now.”
“What happened?” Bai Mo was in the process of clearing a dungeon when he received the message from Ye Ci. Despite his role as the main tank, he would always respond to messages from Ye Ci.
“It’s nothing, I’m just tired.” Ye Ci closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. She needed time to think. To think of a way to survive in the coming storm.
“Heh,are you tired after being teased by Fleeting Time?” said Bai Mo with a smirk.
“What are you talking about?”
“Haven’t you heard? That thing’s been going on in the World Channel for almost an hour now!” even when he was the main tank in the dungeon, Bai Mo was still attentive to the gossip going on in the World Chat.
Ye Ci immediately stole a glance at the World Channel. The players were still telling stories about the romance between and Fleeting Time, and tales of their enduring and everlasting love.
Just what the hell is this? Do they have to much time in their hands? Ye Ci ground her teeth in annoyance. She was reminded of the words said to her by Fleeting Time when he left the arena. Rage exploded within Ye Ci like a bomb with its fuse lit. She stood up and flailed her fist in the air wildly at the imaginary Fleeting Time who was smirking at her.
As Ye Ci sat back down on her chair, she received a message from Bai Mo, “How was it? You’ve been punching and cursing at the air aren’t you?”
An astonished Ye Ci looked all around her. Did Bai Mo install cameras in my room? How did he know what I was doing?
“You don’t have to look around. I know because I’m your brother. I know you every well.” Bai Mo was pleased with himself.
Ye Ci was not amused. She raised her eyebrows and snorted, “Oh, I have a news for you.”
“What is it?”
“I had a conversation with Green Hill’s Moon not a few moments ago.” said Ye Ci in a calm voice as she stared out of the window.