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Translator: BinBin92 Editor: Vermillion
“So… You have been cleaning the room in here all this time?”
Lin Sanjiu repeated the question after she had pressed down the raging emotions that surged in her heart when she finally had reconciled with Ji Shanqing.
On a chair opposite to her, Ji Shanqing was sitting with his leg crossed, fingering the black bowtie and white apron on his body—Heaven knows when he had put on that outfit. He nodded in assent and added, “…And preparing meals.”
“Not so tasty, I would say,” Magus lifted her index finger. “You still have a few more months before I was transferred to the next world. In the meantime, I suggest you read more cooking recipes.”
“What does that mean? Ji Shanqing can’t leave yet?”
Eye-widened, Lin Sanjiu darted her gaze back and fro in between Ji Shanqing and Magus, “Won’t you be affected by the crypt particle when you eat the food? By the way, give me a reason why he cannot leave yet.”
“Reason?” Magus wasn’t J7 so she wouldn’t answer all of her questions. Shrugging her shoulders, she replied matter-of-factly, “He fooled me with a fake visa. I spared his life. It’s normal for him to do something to make up for my loss in exchange.”
“But you’ve promised me you would return him to me.”
Magus replied with a smile, and her eyes were glistening with light, “Yeah, but it’s he who decided to stay and atone for everything he has done. I didn’t force him to stay, though.”
Lin Sanjiu stared at Ji Shanqing.
The grand prize was instantly awash by awkwardness. He leaned nearer to Lin Sanjiu and whispered into her ear, “Sis, I have made a pact to keep myself alive when I fall into her hand. I have to be her servant until she leaves this world. I cannot leave until I have completed all my obligations as mentioned in the agreement.”
“Obligations? What kind of obligation and what kind of agreement was that?”
Lin Sanjiu shoot a gaze at Magus with a face full of questions. The latter just threw her hands up as if she wasn’t the person who’d caused this predicament. Without waiting for Lin Sanjiu to say anything, Magus then said, sounding as if she had run out of patience, “Alright, alright. If you don’t want that little thing to be my servant, you or the sweetheart over there could take over his place. It doesn’t really matter for me.”
Qing Jiuliu was almost choked by his cigarette when Magus suddenly called his name.
Magus lifted her chin. The smile remained fixed on her face, but her tone had made the three of them stiffen, and their hearts tightened, “Okay, it’s time for some proper business. You said the thing Nüwa left in your body is a segment of cells?” Magus asked, sweeping her gaze from one face to another before finally stopping at Lin Sanjiu, “…And you can control the cells now?”
“No, I can control it only under the circumstances where I’m on the verge of death,” Lin Sanjiu stopped at this point and frowned. She was contemplating whether or not she should confess everything to Magus. However, her hesitation was swift, and she began to speak again, “But honestly, I could control it just now was because I had taken advantages over its fear of death and survival instinct. Right now, I have totally no confidence in forcing it out from my body.”
“You’re such an honest kid,” Magus nodded. Then, she smiled. Perhaps something about her had loosened Lin Sanjiu’s defense, she heaved a long sigh of relief, for she had told the truth.
“I have been thinking about the same thing… Nüwa uses her Higher Consciousness to command and suppress segment of cells from ravaging your body. Thus, in the end, I suppose you have to use your Higher Consciousness as well if you wanted to expel that thing out of your body.”
Lin Sanjiu assented with a frown. The problem now was that she couldn’t use her Higher Consciousness. The cells were something from the “neuhume,” and when Lin Sanjiu thought she would one day become a grotesque monster like them in the future, she couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Right now, she was more than willing to pass this hot potato to Magus.
“How am I going to expel it out for you?”
“I guess we have to start from the basic,” Magus nodded her chin at Qing Jiuliu, sending him a signal to lit her a cigarette. “You’ll have to resume your Higher Consciousness developmental pathway.”
“So I need to wake Mrs. Manas up?” It awakened her spirit, and she quickly asked, “Do you know how?”
“There is no ready-made solution,” Magus flicked ashes into an ashtray. The smoke she puffed out entwined around her bright lips as if it was reluctant to leave her mouth. She cast a sidelong glance at the few people and offered them a grin, “But, I can provide all the help you need. I can help you to reestablish the link to your Higher Consciousness developmental pathway, and I can help you to cultivate, train, or even develop your other abilities. After all, you have been a great help to me.”
Shocked, Lin Sanjiu almost couldn’t believe what she had heard. The segment of foreign cells that Nüwa had left in her body had been keeping Mrs. Manas busy all the time, refraining her from properly coaching Lin Sanjiu on how to harness power from her Higher Consciousness; hence her improvement was always so slow. Right now there was somebody of Puppeteer’s and Hei Zeji’s caliber going to teach her all of these. Regardless of her motive, Lin Sanjiu felt she should take up the offer.
“What should I do now, then?” She asked, layering her words with avidity.
“Right now… pick a room that you feel the most comfortable within this edifice.”
Lin Sanjiu didn’t understand her words.
“What? Do you think this is an easy task that could be done within a few days? That freak has her hand in your mind, and she’s ready to strike back whenever she wants. Of course, I will try my best to help you in the fastest way and settle everything before I leave this world.”
As Magus was talking, she was getting on her feet, stepping on the velvet carpet with her slender legs enveloped in pantyhose. She stretched her body sensually and yawned, “…Don’t stare at me like a bunch of fools. It makes me feels like I’m the headmaster of a mentally handicapped children welfare home.”
Every gesture Magus made had that kind of charismatic aura about her. It was precisely that kind of emanation that made people feel bland and pale in comparison whenever they were standing in the same space with her. A lock of glossy gold hair dangled at the side of her face as she curled her lips upward, “I need somebody to sweep away these glass shards… Any volunteers?”
Specifically speaking, this should be Ji Shanqing’s work. However, although the bowtie-and-apron outfit matched him very well, Lin Sanjiu couldn’t steel up herself to allow a six-month-old toddler—her grand prize that had just returned to her not long ago—to work as a janitor. Then, she turned her head aside, only to find that Qing Jiuliu was now hugging his wine bottle in his embrace, fast asleep. He probably had fallen asleep the moment he heard Magus wanted somebody to clean her room.
“You’re a lousy actor,” Lin Sanjiu scolded, but Qing Jiuliu, the proclaimed award-winning actor, remained sleeping.
Sighing, Lin Sanjiu massaged her temples and said, “…I’ll do it.”
As if she had known the outcome all along, Magus gave Lin Sanjiu a knowing grin before she picked up a pair of shoes and walked toward the door. As she was walking, she shouted, “The night is coming. Ask the little one to show you the way to the kitchen to prepare my dinner… Oh, don’t forget that my food needs to be gluten-free.”
Without giving Lin Sanjiu any chance to ask any question, she spun her head around, facing the trio when she arrived at the door, “Oh, there’s one more thing.”
The trio in the room raised their heads concurrently.
“Please get rid of that stupid.”
With that, Magus left the room. It seemed that she was confident that Lin Sanjiu wouldn’t escape with the other two people in the room.
Lin Sanjiu would indeed not escape now. Frowning, she murmured under her breath, “Which stupid is she talking about?”
Suddenly, from the window came an ominous wind. Then, a figure landed on the floor with a loud thud. Frightened, the three of them instinctively leaped backward to increase the distance between them and the shadow.
When the face of the shadow came into view, Lin Sanjiu quickly called her bone whip out from her wrist. At the same time, Ji Shanqing and Qing Jiuliu had taken cover a few steps behind Lin Sanjiu. All of them had vigilant looks on their faces.
As if he had sensed the dense atmosphere in the room, Irezumi slowly got to his feet. His brows were tightly locked at the center of his forehead, and his wounds seemed much more severe than those of Lin Sanjiu. Walking in an unsteady gait, he eyed the room. Then, with a solemn look, he waved his hand, “…Don’t be so tensed up. It’s just a misunderstanding.”
Lin Sanjiu blinked her eyes, but she didn’t move.
“I have met with the other arbiter. He told me that we could actually have female candidates. In other words, everything remains the same—I’m your arbiter, you all are my candidates, and we’re going to continue the trial.”
“Is it Number 46?” The cool-headed and confident face of Number 46 swayed into Lin Sanjiu’s mind. She let out a sigh of relief and retracted the bone whip. Her skin covered the hole where the bone whip emerged, and it looked nothing different from how it usually was.
“Where is that golden-haired woman?” Irezumi glanced around the room. “Is she holding you three hostages? Do you need my help to get rid of her?”
“Do you think you can take on Magus alone?”
Lin Sanjiu was torn between laugh and cry when she had the thought. She said, “That’s not necessary. We’re just taking shelter in here for a while… Don’t worry; this won’t interfere with our next trial.”
Since Irezumi had busted their guise, Qing Jiuliu had reverted to his usual sloven self. Like a sloth, he dawdled to a couch nearby and slouched himself into it. Then, he said, in the same lazy manner, “Ah, this feels so good… Tell us the next trial when you get the news. We have plenty of time to wait.”
Irezumi snorted. Clearly, he still couldn’t come around after being deceived by them. He folded his arms in front of his chest and glanced from one of the three to another with his yellowish serpentine eyes, “…The next trial has come up. I’m here to inform you the details.”
Lin Sanjiu instantly pulled a long face.
“Ugh, I don’t have time for all these trials right now—”
“After the last Consular Officer has died, we’ve asked one of our colleague that’s going back to the Twelve World Centrum to bring the news to the organization. The organization had sent us a new Consular Officer a few days ago.” When he said until this point, an angry look suddenly dawned on his face, “Then you know what? He’s dead! We haven’t even seen him, and he’s dead! Don’t you think it’s weird?”
The moment those words were spoken, Lin Sanjiu suddenly heard that Ji Shanqing gulped.
Slowly, she turned and stared at the grand prize.
…She had almost forgotten something.
Ji Shanqing had been posing as a Consular Officer a few days ago…
“I have no idea why all the Consular Officers have such bad luck… In short, there are two things you guys need to do in the second trial. First is locate a Consular Officer in this world, and second, find the culprit that killed the new Consular Officer. After all, the organization isn’t a pushover. We will pay back in double for those who have offended us.” Irezumi sighed. After that, he glared at the three and warned them, “You guys have done a pretty good job in the first trial, so keep up the pace. We’re going to win this time too. I’m telling you this because the other arbiter has found himself a few more capable candidates.”
If it weren’t for Irezumi, Lin Sanjiu would have buried her face into her palm and sighed.
Qing Jiuliu suddenly saw the light when he looked at the expression on Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing. He put on a fake smile and promised Irezumi that they would try their best effort to make up for what they had done wrong in the previous trial. Perhaps Irezumi was happy with his attitude, he gave some more advice to them and left through the broken window.
The moment he left, Qing Jiuliu turned around to face the two at his back and narrowed his eyes, “…Let me guess. You two again?”
Crestfallen, the tall woman didn’t know what to say. She jabbed at Ji Shanqing and said, “…Explain it yourself.”
“I have nothing to say, but I’m not the murderer.” The grand prize grumbled morosely, “…When I got there, he was already in his death throes on the side of the road, and he looked nothing different from a dead body. I walked forward to see whether I could save him, then I saw the sigil on his wrist. Only then did I realize he was a Consular Officer.”
Ji Shanqing cleared his throat and gave Lin Sanjiu a surreptitious gaze before continuing, “He had nothing left on his body aside from the sigil. I guess somebody had raided him for good before my arrival. I know he couldn’t be rescued anymore… And then I thought about you, sis. In order to leave a clue to you, I decided to use his identity.”
“… What kind of lousy plot is this? If such a plot appears multiple times in a script, that scriptwriter must have lost his touch,” Qing Jiuliu said with tongue in cheek. The alcoholic drink in the bottle dropped by a little bit.
“You know—oh, nevermind, you don’t know,” Ji Shanqing glanced at Qing Jiuliu. He still had no idea what’s the purpose of keeping this kind of person in the team. He shut his mouth and swallowed the words that were on the tip of his tongue back into his stomach.
However, Lin Sanjiu knew what was he going to say. Ji Shanqing was a unique specimen. He could absorb the Evolving Ability of the person he last killed and merge it with his current ability to form a new ability. In other words, when he killed the Consular Officer, he should have attained the ability of that Consular Officer.
Lin Sanjiu sighed inwardly. Ji Shanqing had been so obedient after they had left the Starry Carnival Amusement Park, following her here and there without making any fuss. She had almost forgotten that he had possibly killed many people in the Mirror Maze.
After she had explained to Qing Jiuliu, she turned back to the grand prize and asked, “So, what is your ability now?”
“After [Economic Bubbles] and [Consular Officer] have merged,” blinking his pair of innocent pitch-black eyes, he poured everything out, “…the [Spumous Visa] was formed. I can issue visas like any other Consular Officers, and I don’t doubt that my visa actually works. It’s just they couldn’t last very long… When the time is up, the visa will disappear like bubbles.”
Lin Sanjiu was at lost of what should she say. There’s only one thought in her mind right now, “No wonder Magus would abduct you with her gunny!”
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