After another ten hour trek back to the city, they managed to arrive just before the gates were about to close.
Along the way, Xing Ye collected some smelly pieces of broken copper parts and put them at the top of his sack. When it was time for the sack to be inspected, the city official just gave it a glance and let him through, knowing he only ever collected scraps.
One piece worth of primary ore was around the size of half a fist. Xing Ye’s sack was enough to store almost a hundred and it was much purer than other primary ore. One piece was almost worth ten normal pieces, so they only needed 5-6 pieces to clear their debts. The rest was all theirs!
After entering the city, Randy wanted to continue following them but Xing Ye interrupted him, “We have to go to Old Nect’s to pay him back, it’s not convenient to take you.”
They clearly showed they wanted to draw a line with Randy. Randy didn’t have any excuse to continue following them and left.
When they’ve finally thrown him off, Xing Ye’s group let out a collective sigh of relief.
They didn’t immediately go back to Old Nect’s place. Instead, they went to Xing Ye’s little warehouse to hold a meeting.
Right now, it was already dark and all the shops in the city had already closed their doors. They had to wait until tomorrow if they wanted to spend money.
“Something has to be wrong with that Randy!” Guan Ling said anxiously, “He’s a high level player, so he has to have plenty of points and QR codes. Why didn’t he use anything in the mines? If he did, he could’ve taken that heart, but why did he insist on going with us instead?”
“Not taking the heart was the right choice.” Xing Ye said, “This isn’t like the campus search mission, we can’t just take whatever we see. Right now, we know nothing about the plot so acting rashly might bring about an unfavourable result. The most important thing we need to find is the truth speaking puppet. Since that heart doesn’t seem to have anything to do with them, we shouldn’t add another whole new mystery to our troubles.”
Randy’s decisiveness in choosing to give up on the heart after a few attempts showed he was a cautious and careful player.
“What do we do next?” Guan Ling asked, “I don’t know why, but I feel like the city lord’s son didn’t just lose the game. I’m kind of scared of Randy- what exactly is his aim?”
“Just do what you should be doing.” Xing Ye said, “Focus on investigating the plot, finding the truth speaking puppet, their relationship with Benedict, understand his true final wish, and help him achieve it. We’ll probably run into Randy countless times in this world, so just remember to be wary and avoid promising him anything like the city lord’s son.”
This whole time, there was something the mirror wanted to say but he endured, staring at Xing Ye anxiously. When Randy was brought up, the mirror could no longer stand it and quietly kicked Xing Ye.
A clang sounded, drawing Guan Ling and Cao Qian’s attention. It wasn’t quiet at all.
Xing Ye wanted to protect the mirror, but one lie would need countless others to maintain. Their first lie had already been poked through. Guan Ling and Cao Qian weren’t idiots, so how could they not be suspicious?
“Go ahead and speak.” Xing Ye said, “Don’t ask me about the copper mirror puppet’s identity, I won’t say anything. Just remember he’s a teammate. Even if I die, he mustn’t. That’s all.”
They just had to get through this world. The next one, the mirror should go back to being a good, quiet cosmetic mirror!
After getting approval, the mirror impatiently started to speak. “I think Randy’s a reincarnated player, not a high level player that was sent back!”
Reincarnated? Xing Ye thought back to the word ‘reincarnated’ engraved on the bookshelf in the system space. Were they connected?
The mirror continued, “After obtaining 50,000 points in chaos words, you can become a high level player. However, there are preconditions to challenging the final level, one of which requires you to get at least five books. In other words, you must get five perfect endings in the novice and chaos worlds. Often, high level players would have to return to the chaos worlds to get a perfect ending and obtain the book- those players are called reincarnated players. Every world, reincarnated players are only allowed to use their QR codes and starting abilities three times each. That’s why, unless it’s a critical moment, they have to be cautious and conserve their QR codes.”
Guan Ling suddenly understood, “So even if the players who relied on killing others to get points instead of finding the perfect ending became high-level players, they still need to return to the chaos worlds on hard-mode in order to challenge the final world. Is that karmic reincarnation?”
“Then what about that pocket watch? I don’t think that was a starting ability or a QR code. It didn’t have any limits on its use, so he prefers that over QR codes and starting abilities.”
Cao Qian’s view was the same as Xing Ye’s. She grew very fast.
“If only we knew the city lord son’s real identity so we could see how he’s doing in the real world.” Guan Ling said anxiously.
He still had his conscience, worrying about another player in the real world.
When the pocket watch was brought up, Xing Ye felt himself growing upset. He had an idea, but didn’t dare to believe his own conjecture.
The mirror sensed something wrong with Xing Ye and gripped his hand tightly.
Xing Ye spoke with difficulty, “I need some time alone. It’s not very late right now, so could you guys go back to your own houses?”
Cao Qian and Guan Ling didn’t understand, but considerately returned to their own places to rest.
For safety purposes, Cao Qian decided to stay the night at Old Nect’s with Guan Ling. In any case, they were connected now.
They arranged to meet at the repair shop tomorrow morning before leaving Xing Ye’s little warehouse.
As Xing Ye watched them leave, he could finally no longer support himself, slowly slipping down against the wall.
The mirror walked around him in worry, not understanding why Xing Ye suddenly seemed so weak and emotional. He even directly sent Guan Ling and Cao Qian off, completely different to the usual Xing Ye, where no matter how upset he was, he would still force through it with will power!
He was very worried, but didn’t know whether he should ask or not. It was clear he was at a loss for words.
Xing Ye raised his head, using the moonlight to see his pathetic figure reflected on the mirror’s body.
“Let’s close the door first.” Xing Ye said.
He stood and picked up the wooden drop bar lock, closing the door with the mirror’s help. In the pitch-black room, he curled up into a ball.
The mirror silently accompanied him.
Only after a long time, did Xing Ye slowly start to speak. “Do you still remember my little brother? He was in the same class as you in high school. His name is Xing Shuo.”
“I remember.” The mirror said quietly. He still remembered the bullied youth. After meeting Xing Ye, the mirror’s always regretted never reaching out and giving that youth a helping hand.
Xing Ye clenched his fists and continued, “A few weeks ago, he passed away due to sudden cardiac arrest. He had always been healthy, so I never believed he could’ve died from illness. I did everything to investigate the causes behind his death and finally recalled a QR code I saw on his phone before he died. I drew it out, and that brought me to this game.”
The mirror never thought there could be people who entered the game like that, but now was not the time to be shocked by Xing Ye’s memory. He could only reach out and wrap his arm around the little puppet’s shoulders.
“After I joined the game, I discovered the game wouldn’t kill players. Even if they were turned into a prop like you, their body wouldn’t completely die.”
Xing Ye didn’t continue. The mirror understood what he meant.
After seeing what Randy did today, Xing Ye knew that if his little brother came to a world like this, it was very likely he could’ve been killed by a player or ability like the city lord’s son today. The thought filled his heart with pain.
“You, you don’t know that for sure!” The mirror stammered as he tried to console him, “Maybe…”
He stopped- maybe what? Maybe the city lord’s son didn’t die, and just returned to the mission space defeated? Or maybe Xing Shuo really did pass from a sudden cardiac arrest?
No matter the reason, he died, and death could only bring despair.
“Silly little mirror.”
In the darkness, Xing Ye suddenly murmured.
“Huh?” The mirror was very confused. Why was Xing Ye suddenly talking about him?
Xing Ye didn’t answer, just silently leaning on the mirror.
The cool metal had no temperature and couldn’t warm up Xing Ye’s ice-cold heart, but leaning on his body seemed to give him strength.
It wasn’t the possibility of Xing Shuo’s death. It was also the pocket watch he saw today.
Randy’s behavior showed that it wasn’t a starting ability or a special QR code. If that’s so, what kind of prop would that pocket watch be?
Cao Qian and Guan Ling didn’t know the mirror’s true identity and naturally couldn’t guess it, but Xing Ye was different.
Apart from QR code and starting abilities, there was another way to get a prop- the prop following fate players would transform into!
Xing Ye had thought countless times, what would’ve happened to the mirror if he was destroyed in the game world? For example, in the first magic mirror world, what if Xing Ye failed the mission and they both ended up in the queen’s hands? Claire would’ve just died and he would’ve lost half his points, then immediately go into the next novice world, but what about the mirror?
He no longer had points and was only considered a prop by the system. If the prop was destroyed, would his soul disappear? What would’ve happened to the mirror’s body in the real world?