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Chapter 58: The City Lord

Translator’s Note: From now on, melee worlds (aka worlds 2 and 3) will now be called chaos worlds to better fit what it means.

Since when did his little brother, Xing Shuo, slowly start to turn into numbers and data to Xing Ye?

Xing Ye thought he understood and spoiled his little brother, but in fact, all he knew about him relied entirely on data.

Xing Shuo got the top score in the entire city during college exams. He remembered the year and month he went to university, the university he went to, every exam’s results, his performance on every course, his performance when he went abroad for an exchange study, the papers he wrote during his graduate studies- every number, Xing Ye knew by heart. On his birthday and holidays, he never forgot to ask his assistant to send Xing Shuo a gift.

Xing Ye always thought he cared about his little brother.

However, his care doesn’t seem to be much different from how he would treat his company’s clients.

Xing Ye fell silent for a moment before deciding to change the topic. He looked at Guan Ling, “Your abilities are very useful, so we’ll accept you as a temporary teammate. As temporary teammates, I’ll give you a word of warning: Don’t believe in the familial love the system gives you.”

Guan Ling grew nervous. Old Nect was his only family member. “You mean, Old Nect might be a player?”

“You can’t have your own ideas if you aren’t a player?” Xing Ye asked back. “You have to remember, you and Old Nect’s familial love was assigned by Benedict. He created two completely different puppets and told them, you two are father and son, and should love each other. However, he also gave them human nature. There always might be misunderstandings between normal fathers and sons. How does Old Nect treat you? Would puppets be willing to recognize a family relationship forced upon them by somebody else without any blood ties?”

Guan Ling pondered.

Xing Ye spoke to both of them, “A principle of mine is to always think daringly and confirm cautiously. When analyzing things, you have to do your utmost to think of the possibilities from every viewpoint. However, you can’t trust any of them easily. Eliminate the impossible hypotheses as you gradually find more clues, got it?”

Guan Ling was filled with respect.

He had a father puppet, so he didn’t stay the night at Xing Ye’s. The three agreed on the plan tomorrow before Guan Ling left Xing Ye’s little warehouse to return home.

With Linda’s cover, Cao Qian didn’t have to return home these days. Furthermore, according to Xing Ye’s analysis, there shouldn’t be any players with high attack power around a player as leisurely as Linda. After all, she was lucky.

Cao Qian glanced at the little mirror peacefully leaning on the wall and was filled with doubts.

She believed Guan Ling was also suspicious and didn’t quite believe that excuse about the mirror being foolish. Xing Ye trusted the mirror very much, even more than them.

Xing Ye also knew Guan Ling and Cao Qian wouldn’t believe it. Fortunately, the little mirror could switch bodies in this world and wasn’t confined to one object. This way, he was much safer.

This was also one of the reasons why Xing Ye let the mirror move as he wished.

Fortunately, Cao Qian wouldn’t make any irresponsible remarks, so he could just leave it unexplained for now.

Puppets didn’t need to sleep, but humans needed to rest their minds. The three leaned on the wall, relaxing with their eyes closed. Cao Qian suddenly asked, “The last world, we only had 200 points but we still managed to run into opponents like Di Kuang. This world, we have more than 10,000 points combined. What kind of people will we meet?”

“I don’t know.” Xing Ye said.

Right now, they’ve only met one unfamiliar player, Linda. Xing Ye originally didn’t understand Linda’s thought process, but after calming down and thinking, he found that Linda’s thought process was actually one many ordinary people would choose.

The game was only once a week, and following players often had it easy in the game world. As long as they passed the novice world, they could treat the chaos worlds as holographic games. Just passively playing was also a way of life. In the real world too, there were many players who just played games for fun, not to get better.

But would the system really let following fate players do that? After all, following fate players were like the system’s chess pieces. Players who finished all the missions like the little mirror would all be destroyed under the system’s arrangements, so could Linda really muddle through peacefully forever?

Xing Ye always thought there was a problem.

He told Cao Qian about Linda. Cao Qian didn’t understand, but she had also seen players like Linda.

“If I had chosen the blessed by fate camp, I probably would’ve just spent my days peacefully too.” Cao Qian pondered before shaking her head, “Actually no, I wouldn’t be willing to lose. Even if it’s just something like a mobile game, I have to win at least once.

“Why did you choose the opposing fate camp?” Xing Ye asked.

“I think all opposing fate players pretty much have the same reason. We all refuse to accept fate.” Cao Qian said.

Xing Ye understood her way of thinking. He was the same.

From start to finish, the little mirror sat beside him without moving. Xing Ye was worried that he would feel lonely.

He clearly had a body, but still had to act dumb. Xing Ye could’ve just killed a following fate player for the little mirror to stand in as, but the little mirror insisted on protecting Xing Ye’s bottom line to never take the initiative to harm somebody else.

He was truly a kind mirror.

Xing Ye reached out, taking advantage of the dark to hold the mirror’s rusty finger.

No matter how finely the puppet was made, their sense of touch would always be sluggish. Right now, there wasn’t any of the other’s temperature in their hands. It was just two pieces of metal together.

But the mirror suddenly felt his heart turn warm.

Just like that, they quietly passed the night. When the sky turned bright the next day, Guan Ling knocked on the door. They would head first thing to the city gates to wait for it to open.

The city officials usually don’t check the items exiting the city, but would for the items entering the city. It was mostly to check whether anyone was taking more primary ore than they should from the mines. Reportedly, they also checked you when you left the mines.

Xing Ye and his group still didn’t understand what primary ore was, why it was used as currency, and why there was a limit on the amount you could mine.

When they could finally leave the city, they followed the map in the direction of the river. Since Xing Ye always went around collecting scraps, nobody took a second glance when they saw Xing Ye walking along the river.

Apart from them, there were also a few people bathing in the river. There’s specialized rust removing stores inside the city, but they all cost money, so many puppets who loved cleanliness but didn’t have the money would go outside the city to bathe. However, if you didn’t dry off quickly, it would be easy for your parts to grow rusty. That was the situation with Xing Ye’s body.

Puppet City didn’t support this way of getting clean, but they couldn’t control the residents.

“If puppets can only get one piece of primary ore from the mines a day, why is there still a wealth disparity in the city?” Guan Ling didn’t understand.

“If there’s trade, there’ll be differences.” Xing Ye said, “Some puppets who can only spend and not make money would naturally be left with mining as their only option. Puppets like Old Nect don’t have to mine, but they can still make a lot of primary ore. That’s why I’m very suspicious about why he wants us to go to the illegal mine. Is it really just for primary ore? Did he tell you anything unusual yesterday?”

Guan Ling shook his head, “He just told me to describe the mine to him in detail when I got back.”

“So it’s actually like that. It looks like we have to be careful, the illegal mine’s definitely very dangerous.” Xing Ye said.

So it’s actually like that? What determined the mine would be dangerous? It’s the same information, but how did Xing Ye get that conclusion while he didn’t understand at all?!

Did he gamble all his brains away? No wonder his ability was Lose the Family Fortune.

Xing Ye internally sighed and explained for him, “Old Nect isn’t lacking money. He never sent us there to mine. He just wants you to tell him about what you see in the mine, which means Old Nect’s true aim is to just see the mine to see if there’s any item or clues here. But then, why wouldn’t he just go himself?”

“Isn’t it because you can bring back more primary ore? The city officials won’t check your bag of scraps in detail.” Guan Ling said.

Cao Qian: “...”

Xing Ye explained, “Puppets in Puppet City can lie. From the start, I’ve been saying Old Nect doesn’t lack money. He doesn’t want to train you, and his goal obviously isn’t primary ore, it’s the mine itself.”

“Oh, so it’s like that.” Guan Ling finally understood. He scratched his head, “Did my brain get rusted? Why couldn’t I think of that?”

“You just have to practice more.” Xing Ye said helplessly.

The four followed the river. After walking for around an hour, the amount of people by the river grew fewer and fewer. After all, people who just wanted to bathe had no reason to go so far out. Now, there were just two people behind them.

Xing Ye grew more cautious. After another half hour, the two were still behind them. Xing Ye stopped and turned to face them.

Cao Qian prepared to fight. The mirror stood behind Xing Ye, using his big body to put up a bluff.

Guan Ling ducked behind Cao Qian. He was a support, his job was to protect himself, not charge through the front lines.

In the last world, Xing Ye also guessed Guan Ling might’ve been the one with restorative abilities, so he had Cao Qian kick him downstairs as soon as possible. In a team fight, it was always best to eliminate the support as soon as possible.

Out of the two puppets, one was just as poor and tattered as Xing Ye, while the other was clearly rich based on their clothes.

“Don’t be so guarded,” The tattered puppet said, “It’s unlikely for anyone but players to be walking this far out. I’ll introduce myself: I’m an opposing fate player. You can call me Randy, that’s this body’s name.”

The wealthy newer iron model puppet didn’t seem close to the tattered puppet, but they also weren’t hostile. The two just kept a safe distance, seeming to have reached a tacit agreement.

“I’m the city lord’s son.” The wealthy iron puppet said, “A following fate player. I got information about the mine from Randy and agreed to explore the mine with him.”

The city lord’s son? Linda’s pursuer? He was somebody with great power in the city.

Randy spoke, “Don’t be so hostile, it’s not like this is a PvP world. Our positions aren’t opposing, right? We can all work together to do the mission.

PvP world? The three all looked at each other. None of them had experienced that kind of world yet.

The little mirror actually had, but he couldn’t talk right now.

“It looks like you guys are new players,” Randy was very calm, “I won’t hide it from you, the goal of these chaos worlds is to decrypt the plot. Almost all the high level worlds are PvP worlds. Even if you become a high level player, if you have less than 50,000 points, you can choose to return to chaos worlds. I’m not interested in killing other players to get points. Wasting special QR codes is a huge loss for future worlds. It’s better to save and prepare a stash so PvP worlds go smoothly.”

Xing Ye previously analyzed that high level players should’ve already decoded how to get the most points by decrypting the chaos world plotlines, but didn’t think he would run into one already.

It was actually just as he said. In the last world, there were seven players. Cao Qian and Wu Yu had very few points. Even if Xing Ye relied on his own strength to kill the other six players, he would only win 4200 points, but the amount of points he would’ve gained by unlocking the true ending was much more than that.

The true goal of these chaos words weren’t to pit the players against each other, but to accumulate points and QR codes to prepare for the PvPs in high level worlds.

The city lord’s son spoke, “I also learned this from Randy. There’s many side quests and hidden endings in chaos worlds. Completing those missions would grant us far more points than killing other players. Since it’s like that, we don’t need to fight one another. It’d be better to cooperate. Naturally, getting points would depend on your own ability.”

Their words were very reasonable. This was the right way to win chaos worlds.

They temporarily set aside their hostility, but didn’t let down their guard.

Randy spoke, “I know you guys don’t trust me. How about this, I’ll walk in front and you guys can stay in the back. That’s better, right?”

Leaving his own back open to other players meant Randy was very confident in his own strength. So this was a high level player?

Cao Qian and Guan Ling both looked at Xing Ye, who warned them to stay on alert.

The three of them gave their own simple introductions. When it was the mirror’s turn, Xing Ye was a bit worried on how to introduce the mirror.

The worry was probably messing with his brain. He wanted to protect the mirror, he didn’t want him to get hurt.

“He’s a following fate player, a copper mirror puppet.” Xing Ye finally gave them that simple introduction.

“A following fate player? Ah.” Randy glanced at the mirror with an indecipherable smile.

His eyes seemed to be saying I already know everything, you don’t need to try tricking me.

This made the mirror very nervous and he couldn’t help but grab Xing Ye’s arm.

The mirror was really starting to regret changing his body. If he was just a little mirror, he could hide inside Xing Ye’s little puppet and wouldn’t have to face so many people’s judging stares.

“Don’t be afraid.” Xing Ye softly comforted him.

The mirror thought of how smart Xing Ye was and felt a little calmer.

It was still very far from the illegal mines. They exchanged intelligence as they walked. Xing Ye’s side didn’t have much information. He hid how he picked up the copper mirror puppet from the river and just told them about Old Nect’s eccentricities.

Randy said, “I’m a shore store apprentice. I don’t know why the original signed a contract with the boss, but I don’t have freedom. Yesterday, I ran into the city lord’s son while polishing shoes. I traded information about high level worlds and in exchange, he used five pieces of primary ore to help redeem me.”

From this, it looks like Xing Ye’s luck was better than Randy’s. Although he was disabled at the start, at least he had his freedom and even got a little warehouse. He just owed a lot of debt.

Cao Qian had a family, but she was a matchstick puppet that could combust at any time.

It was hard to say which of the three following fate players were more miserable, but the difference was even starker as they walked beside the two following fate players.

The city lord’s son continued where Randy left off. “After I took him back to my house, I eavesdropped on a conversation between the city lord and his subordinate. I discovered that he’s looking for Benedict’s whereabouts and wanted him killed as soon as he was found.”

“He wanted to kill his own creator?” Guan Ling didn’t understand.

Randy explained, “If you were a toy and gained consciousness, how would you feel knowing your creator has the right to do anything he wants to you? You might also choose to kill your owner to get your freedom.”

The city lord’s son continued, “The city lord dispatched a lot of people earlier to look for Benedict. They found a trace of his whereabouts in this mine, so they dispatched a group of people to guard outside the mines while the rest entered with heavy weapons. The group guarding the entrance waited for three days, but nobody returned, so they reported back to the city lord. By a lucky coincidence, I managed to catch that conversation.”

He really deserved to be a following fate player, getting such important clues so easily.

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