Book 3 Chapter 43 - To Hell Together
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
“What’s your take on this?” Li Yiming asked as he met up with his teammates in the parking lot beneath the TV station building.
“It’s some kind infectious disease. Look.” Eyeglasses handed his tablet to Li Yiming. A gruesome scene was shown on screen. Whether it was on the sidewalks, in the stores, or in the security room, not a single person was left standing. The people who were on the ground were already dead, and thick fluids were seeping out of the corpses. Li Yiming could almost smell the pungent odor despite it being only a video feed.
“When did this start?” Li Yiming tried his best to contain his repulsion and asked.
“Just now. It’s been less than 10 minutes since I found the first victim. It was in the neighborhood that you were driving into when we called you. It’s rapidly spreading. I’d think that there are more than 5000 victims by now, and the rate of infection is only increasing. “ Qing Linglong glanced at Liu Meng and spoke as she looked at another tablet Eyeglasses gave her.
“Could this be the work of a beast?” Li Yiming asked.
“There’s no way that it’s a normal virus.” Qing Qiaoqiao’s head popped out of the car. She scrutinized Liu Meng and tried to find a change between now and before she left with Li Yiming.
“I wouldn’t think that this is a beast either. The beasts’ only natural enemies are guardians. They wouldn’t do anything to the normal people inside this domain. If the rules within the domain itself were disturbed, it would be bad for guardians and beasts alike,” Qing Linglong explained.
“So we can be sure that’s it’s not the work of a camouflager either?” Li Yiming asked; he had a bad feeling and an ever more terrible hypothesis.
Both Qing Linglong and Eyeglasses nodded with grave countenances.
“Zeng Qian?” The last possible person occurred to Li Yiming.
“It would be the only explanation that would make sense.” Qing Linglong had already discussed the matter with Eyeglasses on their way here.
“What? You’re saying that Zeng Qian is behind all of this?” Liu Meng paled when she thought of the massacre in Ning Village, which was also orchestrated by Zeng Qian.
“Li Yiming killed her lover, and she wants revenge for that. But she’s too weak to fight Li Yiming directly, so…”
“Surely that’s no reason to just kill everyone in the domain? I understand that the people in here are all fake, but… Is she doing that just to vent out her anger?” Liu Meng interrupted Qing Linglong before she could finish. Being as kind-hearted as she was, she had difficulty accepting the implications of Qing Linglong’s guess.
“She’s trying to disrupt the domain. Consequences will come, and their magnitude will be proportional to the havoc she wreaks.” Eyeglasses forced himself to complete his explanation despite an overwhelming feeling of dread. He knew just how much damage Zeng Qian’s talent could cause in a big city such as this fictional Shangbei.
“She’s not thinking about…” Liu Meng found the answer to her question in her friends’ eyes.
“Is she crazy?” Li Yiming smashed a lamp post nearby. The post fell to the ground and the light bulb protector shattered into a thousand pieces.
“I tried looking for her, but I couldn’t find her. Also, it’s going to be hard since she doesn’t even need to release the virus herself.” Eyeglasses looked at the debris that resulted from Li Yiming’s rage; he could somewhat understand his fury.
“Do we have a way to stop the disease from spreading?” Liu Meng glanced at the surveillance feed shown on Qing Linglong’s tablet. It was hard to keep one eyes’ fixated onto the screen.
“Unless we find Zeng Qian, there’s no other way.” Qing Linglong looked at Li Yiming. It was hard for her to say who is right and who is wrong in all of this.
“Officer Wang?” Li Yiming took out his phone and dialed a number.
“Agent Li?” A drowsy voice came. It was the officer who came to arrest Li Yiming at the hotel earlier.
“It’s me. Listen to me. My mission was a failure. The virus has been leaked, and it’s spreading.” Li Yiming tried his best to explain the emergency of the situation as concisely as possible.
“Wait, what? Mission? Virus?” Officer Wang sounded like he was still asleep and did not understand the meaning behind Li Yiming’s words.
“Yes, remember the case I told you about earlier? I’m working on tracking down a deadly virus, but I failed my mission. The virus is spreading and already caused at least 5000 deaths.”
“What? In Shangbei?” Officer Wang’s professional mannerism kicked in and he woke up instantly.
“Yes, in the Fuyuan neighborhood. It’s spreading out as we speak, and much faster than I’d hope. Listen, there’s no cure for this virus. Those who are exposed will rot to their bones almost instantly. You need to contact your superiors and plan a city-wide emergency evacuation.”
“Emergency evacuation? That’s impossible! Do you know what kind of consequences that would bring? Shangbei is one of the world’s financial centers! Even if we could, it would require many procedures and approvals. Is it really bad as you say it is?” Officer Wang questioned Li Yiming’s assertion. ‘Even back for the SARS epidemic, it was only a quarantine…’ 
“Then you should run. Bring your family along with you.” Li Yiming hung up the call in frustration. He put his cell phone back into his storage space. ‘Well, at least I tried. That is the only thing I can think of right now.’
“Eyeglasses, continue the search for Zeng Qian. Actually, include both Fang Shui’er and Big Beard in your search as well. Tell me if you find anything. Linglong, can you find a shelter to protect us from the virus? Liu Meng, stay with the others, okay?” Li Yiming put one of Eyeglasses’ transmitter into his ear and made his order.
“You’re going alone?” Liu Meng was the first to understand Li Yiming’s intent.
“This happened because of me. I have to do this.” Li Yiming put his hands on Liu Meng’s shoulders and implored her.
“No way. We’re going together,” Liu Meng insisted.
“Liu Meng is right. We move as a team. We should do this together. We already let you face Bai Xi alone, we won’t repeat the mistake again.” Eyeglasses supported Liu Meng’s request.
Li Yiming looked back at Eyaglasses with gratitude and then shifted his attention to Qing Linglong, who seemed to be hesitating. “It’s going to be dawn soon,” Li Yiming said slowly. He could feel Eyeglasses’ sincerity and understood Qing Linglong’s hesitation.
Eyeglasses turned his head toward the sky, in apparent irritation at his physical limitations; the sky was starting to whiten, and the light from the moon and the stars had already become nearly imperceptible.
“I don’t care. I’ll stay with you no matter what.” Liu Meng’s snatched a corner of Li Yiming’s shirt and firmly maintained her demand.
“I just found you. I can’t let you face off against danger and risk losing you again.” Li Yiming whispered gently into Liu Meng’s ears. He moved his hand slowly from Liu Meng’s shoulder to her face. He slid his fingers across the smooth skin on Liu Meng’s cheeks.
“I can’t risk losing you either!” Liu Meng burst out. Her eyes were watered with tears.
“I don’t think that the virus has much of an impact on us at all, does it?” Qing Qiaoqiao had come off of the car and sank into a low mood when she witnessed the embrace between Li Yiming and Liu Meng. She also did not want Li Yiming to risk his life again.
“The scary thing isn’t the virus. It’s the punishment from the rules that will come along with it.” Qing Linglong explained to her sister; this was her main worry and the reason behind Li Yiming’s decision to go alone.
“I’ll go have a look alone. If it’s too dangerous, I’ll just run away, okay? It would actually be easier for me that way.” Li Yiming tried to convince Liu Meng with his best-fabricated excuse. It was the first time he had ever spoken like that to Liu Meng.
“Why are you even going then? There are only eight days left. How about we just find a spot to hide for eight days, and then the domain will be over. On top of it, we’re in a domain… These people are all fake,” Qing Linglong proposed her plan. It was characterized by her usual conservatism and risk-averse considerations. The painful disagreement between Li Yiming and Liu Meng reminded her of a scene from her own past she thought she had forgotten.
“You don’t understand. They’re all the same to me,” Li Yiming said calmly. He suddenly flattened his hand and chopped the back of Liu Meng’s neck. Liu Meng fell into Li Yiming’s arm, her eyes still open with disbelief. “Promise me to take good care of her.” Li Yiming stared into Qing Linglong’s eyes as he handed Liu Meng over to her. 
“Alright.” Qing Linglong agreed to Li Yiming’s request, but she was lost her own thoughts. ‘They… They’re the same.’
* * *
“It’s Qianqian. What is she trying to do?” Fang Shui’er stood at a street corner that should have been lively and busy at this time, but is instead filled with the acrid smell of rotting corpses.
“She’s crazy…” Big Beard was right beside her. His grim countenance suggested at his firm resolution to stop what happening at all cost.
“Why…” Fang Shui’er’s body trembled. She was overwhelmed by the suddenness the horrifying plague that befell the city.
“She wants revenge, and she’ll make all of us die for it.” Big Beard sprung into action. He broke the window of an Audi parked nearby with a clean punch and jumped into the driver’s seat.
After putting his hand on the central control panel and a brief flash of light, the car’s engine started on its own.
“Where are you going?” Fang Shui’er looked at Big Beard helplessly.
“I’ll go find her and kill her.” Big Beard spat out. He stepped down on the gas pedal and the car darted toward the epicenter of the epidemic with a shrill screech of the tires, leaving behind a trail of white smoke.
“Qianqian…” Fang Shui’er’s gaze trailed the car. She took a deep breath and jumped onto the roof of a building nearby with superhuman speed, the light on her armor shining brighter than ever.
* * *
“Who's behind this? What’s going on, this is crazy…” In an office building nearby, three silhouettes cast down looks of horror at what was happening outside of the French casement; it was the group of three that had just left deputy-director Ye’s mansion.
“This domain was supposed to be a simple trial. Why so many complications? Duan Mu, did you find anything?” The young man wiped away the cold sweat from his forehead and looked at the old man right next to him.
“Nothing. I’m not sensing any guardians or beasts.” The old man called Duan Mu had his fingers on his temples and tried his best to search the surroundings with his focus technique.
“It looks like something big is about to happen…” The young woman wrapped a towel around her body, but she was still trembling violently.
“Do you think that this has to do with Li Huaibei?” The young man tapped the window pane lightly while he pondered. He remembered the rumors about Eden.
“This domain has been one catastrophe after another. The high-level beasts that Duan Mu found earlier were dangerous enough, and I don’t even want to get started on Li Huaibei. Also, what’s wrong with this Li Yiming? Where did this guy come out of?” The woman sat down on the office desk and put her long, slender legs on the chair, without minding what her two other friends would see if they turned their heads around.
“I don’t know if this has to do with Li Huaibei, but I would think that it has something to do with Li Yiming.” Duan Mu opened his eyes slowly. The air of intelligent composure he had was completely different from what Li Yiming had seen before.
“This Li Yiming… he came out of nowhere. I’ve never even heard his name before. That doesn’t make much sense for someone with that level of strength. Also, he was able to avoid my technique.” Duan Mu seemed very wary of Li Yiming.
“I hope that the others are okay. The virus is spreading so quickly, they…”
“Your friends have left this world peacefully.” A voice was suddenly heard. The door to the office flew open, and three human heads were hurled onto the tapestry with a thud.
“Who is it?” The trio yelled in surprise. The female vampire rolled over and jumped toward a corner while his boyfriend crouched down. The male vampire’s canine teeth grew longer all of a sudden, and his fingernails gained a dangerous, metallic glint. Duan Mu used his talent to create a focus barrier in front of him, but he was still in a state of shock that someone else had managed to avoid his technique. ‘I probed all around us, and I couldn’t tell that these people were coming? Did something happen to my talent? I’ve hidden our friends 50 meters beneath the ground! How did they...’
The trio stared at the entrance. Three figures that mirrored the trio inside the room walked in: a young man and a young woman, both very physically attractive, and an old man with shaggy clothes.
“You killed our friends?” The young female vampire roared angrily.
The young man at the entrance—the camouflager, answered her question with a movement of his fist. It was as if he was throwing an invisible punch at her from the distance. The female vampire’s body blew up like a balloon and ruptured in an explosion of blood and flesh.
“Reina?” The male vampire cried out in horror. He was about to leap at his enemies, but Ya Yu appeared in front of him in the blink of an eye. Before he could react to it, Ya Yu had already pierced through his chest and snatched his still-beating heart.
“I didn’t want to kill you, but I am very angry right now. Guardians… you have destroyed my home.” The camouflager’s eyes were lit up with rage and fury.
“You… you…” Duan Mu stammered as he looked at Ya Yu’s bloodied hand. His focus barrier vanished slowly; he had already given up.
“Your talent is the focus radar?” The camouflager stood at the door and caressed the woman beside him.
“Yes.” Duan Mu answered obediently. His stomach turned from seeing Ya Yu bring the human heart to his mouth.
“Help me search for someone and I’ll spare your life.” The camouflager turned around and started walking toward the door, not even waiting for a response from Duan Mu.
“Tell me how you escaped my sensory abilities.” Duan Mu let out a sigh of relief. But he could not stop himself from his curiosity about the second defeat he had suffered from the object of his pride in such a short while.
“You’re not the only one blessed with extraordinary focus.” The woman, who had been standing quietly behind the camouflager until now, answered Duan Mu. She licked her lips with her tongue as she said these words. Her irises scintillated with silver light.
I'm imagining the scene between Li Yiming and Liu Meng, and somehow the scene about Vegeta at the end of his fight against fat Majin Buu always comes to mind. Ah, maybe I'm old now.
- The SARS-coronavirus outbreak in 2003 was one that provoked one of the most serious responses from the Chinese government in my memory. A dreadful combo of severe acute respiratory symptoms and aerosol transmission… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SARS_coronavirus#Symptoms
- Just wanted to clarify that it is assumed that Liu Meng is knocked unconscious. Also for those interested, this is a pretty interesting debate about knocking someone unconscious. https://www.quora.com/Is-it-really-possible-to-knock-someone-unconscious-by-chopping-them-on-the-back-of-their-neck