Book 1 Chapter 7 – Plan Concoction
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Li Yiming collected his thoughts, along with all the information he just received. ‘Wills… Domains… Guardians… Camouflagers… Talents… Life Marks…
‘To be is to possess a soul, and to possess a soul is to have a will. Some wills disappear naturally, and some don’t. The ones that linger around will eventually form a virtual world called a Secret Domain, and, if left for long enough, these domains will merge with our world and influence it. To prevent this from happening, the Heavenly Laws that govern our world has selected a group of people and made them into Guardians. Guardians have extraordinary abilities called Talents, and they are responsible for erasing any domains that may appear. The more domains they are able to erase, the more Life Marks they are rewarded and the stronger they become. On the other hand, if they do not carry out the task properly, not only will they fail to become stronger, they will…die…’
‘Finally, Camouflagers are the beings created by a domain to protect itself and to fight back against the guardians. They have the same kind of powers.’
‘What the heck is going on?’ Li Yiming’s tumultuous thoughts echoed within his own heart. He remembered the flames from the explosion earlier and turned his head to look at the blood stains on Grandma Wang’s garment. ‘…I knew they were doing something big, but this big?’
“What should we do now?” Qing Qiaoqiao asked, somewhat dispirited.
“We must see through the end of this domain. The price to pay for failure is too great… but with the camouflager, the rules should have changed. Shit, why is there a camouflager in a low level domain?” Eyeglasses’s voice sounded in the earphone.
“I’ve never heard of camouflagers in low-level domains, not even in intermediate ones.” Grandma Wang remarked in a frustrated voice.
‘There are three levels? Low, intermediate, high?’ Li Yiming rubbed his hands: this was no moment for him to interject.
“My apologies, if it weren’t for me…” Qing Linglong apologized dispiritedly. After all, she was the proposer for this domain.”
“This isn’t your fault, taking care of domains is the natural duty of guardians. This was just an accident,” interrupted Grandma Wang with a hand gesture. “Let’s think about what we should do now.”
“It’s unfortunate that we are isolated from the outer world. Otherwise we would be able to ask other people about the reason behind such a big change.” Eyeglasses’s did not sound very happy either.
‘Wait… Could it be because of me?’ Li Yiming’s heart skipped a beat.
“There’s no use in complaining now. The moment we walked into that teahouse with the invitation, our fates have been sealed together. If we try to back off now, Heavenly Law’s will have no pity in wiping us out.” Grandma Wang seemed to have read on Eyeglasses’s intimation.
‘No way out? Wiping us out?’ Li Yiming, who, just now, was thinking about finding a way to leave the place, sat straight at once.
“The only way to erase this domain is to follow its rules and finish the mission. From the information we’ve already gathered, the collapse of Highway 208, for which undeniable responsibility lies with the Yunlong Construction Group, should be the key. We need to collect enough evidence to put the people in Yunlong behind bars. This should be enough for to complete the domain’s mission, since it was a low-level domain in the first place. The highest person we would need to pull down is probably the chairman, Guo Tai, and not to his father who is retired in the capital.” Qing Linglong held the wheel and spoke out her thoughts with a pensive look. “But with a camouflager, and the first target of our mission dead…. The rules of this domain must have changed…”
“How did you handle it the last time you encountered a camouflager?” Qiaoqiao tried to bring some ideas out of the group, but her question was met with embarrassment from all sides.
“I’ve never met a camouflager…”
Eyeglasses, Grandma Wang and Qing Linglong said one after another. Then, after a brief pause, they looked in unison toward Li Yiming. ‘He didn’t say anything yet, unless this mysterious young man…’
“I haven’t either,” said Li Yiming as soon as he noticed their attention.
The three turned their heads back, disappointed.
“Well then, if no one here has ever met one, then how can you be so sure that whoever Grandma Wang saw was actually a camouflager?” Qiaoqiao indeed has a sharp mind, and her question brought some hope to Li Yiming.
“There’s no mistaking it. There’s no way a normal person would know something like Thunder Palm. As for other guardians, they wouldn’t try to damage the rules of a domain, that would only lead to everyone’s demise.” Grandma Wang twisted her right wrist; it seemed like the drug had extraordinary effects. It was probably some kind of item only guardians would be able to get their hands on.
“I’ve seen a post once about camouflagers on an online forum ran by guardians,” said Eyeglasses, with serious self-doubt in his voice.
“Yes, but it was a cursory post and lacked details. After all, you guys all know that whatever happens in a domain cannot be talked about.”
“It mentioned two ways to deal with camouflagers when you meet one inside a secret domain.”
“Oh?” Everyone’s attention was aroused.
“The first one is to kill the camouflager. The rules will then be restored.”
Grandma squinted as she reminisced her encounter with the camouflager, and weighed out the risks.
“The second way is to circumvent the camouflager, and forcefully terminate the domain despite its existence. It goes without saying that when the domain is erased, the camouflagers disappear along with it.”
“Forceful termination… Does it mean that we ought to proceed as if the rules never changed? But the camouflager will no doubt be there to foil our efforts… Killing the camouflager… Either way, a confrontation is inevitable… Grandma Wang, you’ve exchanged a few blows with him, how strong is he?” Linglong seemed to have gained back her composure, and along with it, her usual quick wits.
“I wasn’t exactly prepared for it, so you could say that it was an ambush. But his strength is unquestionable, I wouldn’t be able to handle him alone.”
“If not one on one, then how about five on one?”
“We can try.” Grandma Wang thought about it and nodded.
“As for going around him… This domain should have been created by the enmity of the people against the businessmen and their illegal practices… These emotions have accumulated into a will. Therefore, if we can find a way to dispel it, it should mean the end of this domain… But how…?”
“We need to find a way to get them all.” Qiaoqiao said with a swing of her fist.
“Get them with what? Guns?” answered Eyeglasses lethargically. “The only evidence we have right now points to Wang Jianjun, but he just got killed. There’s no way we can succeed if we aim for Guo Tai right now, and don’t forget his father in the capital.”
“Most importantly, how much time do we have left?” Li Yiming scrutinized at the others carefully as he asked, afraid that it might give his true identity away.
“Two days…” sighed Linglong. “If we had more time, it wouldn’t be hard at all to gather information at our own pace and take down someone like Guo Tai.”
“In low-level domains, since the mission itself is simple, we usually don’t get more than seventy-two hours to finish it. After three days, the domain will start to merge with the outside world, and who knows what kind of complications would arise.”
‘Well, I guess that’s a fair time limit. After all, sending a group of people with superpowers after a simple corrupt businessman, I’d be surprised if it took more than one day. If it weren’t for this camouflager, we’d be done with it already.’ thought Li Yiming. He collected his thoughts together and dared a proposal. “Two days… Then our only option is Guo Tai.”
“How are we going to do it? We don’t have enough evidence.” Eyeglasses sounded a little irritated: Li Yiming completely ignored what he said just earlier.
“What if he confesses?”
“We wouldn’t need any evidence then. Why would he even do that?”
“Because he’d die otherwise,” said Li Yiming cruelly, without forgetting to repeat in his head, ‘This is not the real world, this is fake, this is virtual.’
“You want to kill him?” Qing Linglong said with some alarm. “There’s no way the rules would allow you to kill him. Even if you did it, it would only make matters worse.”
“Oh, we’re not going to kill him, the camouflager will,” said Li Yiming with a squint that made him look like a movie antagonist.
“Yes, let the camouflager go after him, just like with Wang Jianjun.” Li Yiming took off his sunglasses and massaged on the sores of his nose bridge from its weight. “Guo Tai is a businessman, even if he goes to prison, he’ll be able to regain what he lost with his connections and the power of his family. Against the threat of death… If he has managed to climb to where he is today, he’ll know what to do.”
“Who are we to make the camouflager go and try to kill him? What if he actually succeeds.” Eyeglasses was still a little hesitant.
“We’ll go tell Guo Tai ourselves, and offer our protection.” Li Yiming raised his head to look at Linglong. “We’ll build a story for the camouflager. He’ll be a internationally famous gun-for-hire who has a reason to kill Guo Tai. We’ll use Wang Jianjun’s death as our proof to convince him. Then, we’ll convince him to turn himself in. The camouflager is fated to fight against us, so, if we’re with Guo Tai, his target, he’ll inevitably come to us.”
“If the camouflager comes, we can try to kill him. If we fail, then we can use the camouflager to force Guo Tai to give himself up.” Qing Linglong sank into a deep pondering.
* * *
At 1:20 AM on August 16th, the doorbell of building 15 in Century Garden, a luxurious residential district in Hanzhou, was rung by three people dressed in black suits and sunglasses, looking like stereotypical spy agents.
The butler at the Guo Mansion came to the door with half-opened eye-lids. Before he could say anything, he saw a little booklet with a golden national emblem.
“Ministry of State Security. Here for your boss. Now.” Eyeglasses said in a cool, authoritative voice while brandishing his booklet.
“State Security?” The butler was a little perplexed, but these two words woke him up enough.
“If I were you, I’d turn around at this moment, and call your boss down. Maybe you’d be able to live a quieter life if you do so.” Eyeglasses put his booklet back and leaned forward, almost touching the butler’s nose with his own.
“Uh…. Please wait…” The butler seemed completely intimidated by Eyeglasses. He turned around without even remembering to close the door.
Eyeglasses did not mind him and simply walked into the building. Qing Linglong nodded at Grandma Wang and followed suit. They arrived at a simple decorated living room, with barely anything inside of it, which was quite unexpected, given Guo Xiang’s usual frivolity. Qing Linglong sat down right next to Eyeglasses and whispered to him, “Are you sure that our IDs will do? This guy’s old man is in a hospital in the capital right now…”
“Don’t worry about it, the domain is isolated from the real world. Even if he tried contacting his father, he’d only get in touch with a fake one the domain created. Who would he be then to accuse us of forgery?”