He Zhou was insanely jealous of Qin He.
He was jealous that Qin He met Qiu Yanzhi earlier than he did.
He was jealous that Qin He was a real person.
He was jealous that Qin He had been genuinely liked by Qiu Yanzhi.
He was clearly jealous to the point of insanity.
But when he went up to kiss Qiu Yanzhi, his movements were as careful as can be, like he was handling something precious.
He kissed Qiu Yanzhi’s mouth, then he couldn’t resist kissing his eyes. But after kissing his eyes, he couldn’t resist kissing his nose.
This went on until the person in his arms grew itchy. He Zhou stopped once Qiu Yanzhi frowned a bit and nuzzled his collarbone.
He Zhou wanted to carry Qiu Yanzhi to the bathroom to clean up, but the sight of his right leg made his eyes darken.
He painfully closed his eyes.
And held the person in his arms a bit tighter.
He Zhou hasn’t been to his company in some time recently, so his workload was piling up.
Even though most of the tasks could be finished online, there were still some that had to be handled in person.
When He Zhou said he was going to the company, Qiu Yanzhi was a little worried. "Maybe you should rest some more…”
He Zhou shook his head and smiled. "Qiu Yanzhi, I have to learn how to adapt eventually.”
So Qiu Yanzhi could only let him go. However, he asked to accompany He Zhou.
And He Zhou agreed.
Every employee at the company already found out through their own sources that President He might never be able to stand again.
When He Zhou appeared at the company in a wheelchair, every employee greeted him politely with their heads bowed, as if nothing was just as it had been before.
However, when He Zhou turned around, those same people secretly glanced at him with a mixture of sympathy and pity in their eyes.
He Zhou's expression was completely blank.
But Qiu Yanzhi clearly saw how his fingers gripped the armrests of the wheelchair so tightly that they became pale.
Qiu Yanzhi followed He Zhou to the company the next day as well. He Zhou refused to let him come on the third day.
Qiu Yanzhi asked him why.
He Zhou twirled a strand of Qiu Yanzhi’s soft, dark hair around his fingers. He said with a gentle smile, “Qiu Yanzhi, your life can't revolve around me all the time."
Qiu Yanzhi pursed his lips. He never went to the company with He Zhou again.
…He seemed unable to refuse any of He Zhou’s requests at this point.
The only thing he could say was, "Then you have to take bodyguards with you wherever you go."
He Zhou: “You as well.”
Actually, there wasn’t much else for Qiu Yanzhi to do. His only task at the moment was to find that ‘Tongfang’.
However, there was a complete lack of new leads.
That ‘Tongfang’ hasn't sent him any more messages.
The list of people who used to go by ‘Tongfang’ was difficult to compile. The results weren’t out yet.
Qiu Yanzhi continuously asked other to look into the phone number from which ‘Tongfang’ had sent him those text messages and even called him. Yet the only information that came of it was that the caller was somewhere in this city.
Qiu Yanzhi continued to sift through all the information he could find on people called ‘Tongfang’, but it was like looking for the needle in a haystack. Nothing came of it.
On the contrary, it was Zhang Yuxuan who frantically called him first.
He said that Liu Cheng had disappeared.
Liu Cheng had clearly agreed to go shopping with him, but he never came.
Zhang Yuxuan thought Liu Cheng had just forgot, but no one picked up when he called. It was only when he rushed to the house Liu Cheng rented afterwards that he realized something was wrong.
Someone had pried open Liu Cheng’s front door. There were also blood smeared across the floor.
Zhang Yuxuan sounded like a trembling mess. He said that he just called the police and asked his father for help, but he still couldn’t calm down. In a teary voice, he asked Qiu Yanzhi what if something had happened to Liu Cheng. Was he kidnapped by an enemy and killed? He asked why such a thing would happen to a person as good as Liu Cheng.
Qiu Yanzhi's heart sank like a rock. While he reassured Zhang Yuxuan on the surface, he suspected that something more nefarious was at play. Tongfang may even have a hand in this.
After the call ended, Qiu Yanzhi once again commissioned the investigation team to look for Liu Cheng.
Then he called He Zhou and told him about this development.
He Zhou was at the company at the moment. After listening to Qiu Yanzhi’s summary, he said, “Wait for me. I’ll come home straight away.”
Qiu Yanzhi’s first thought was to use an Instant Transport Card to bring He Zhou home. But before he could say anything, he remembered that the user of the card had to be within 50 meters when using it.
Then Qiu Yanzhi thought about how the investigation team would need some time to look into Liu Cheng. Thus he said to He Zhou, "Then I'll wait for you."
However, Qiu Yanzhi was surprised to get the CCTV footage from the time of the incident from the investigation team just 15 minutes later.
Two hooded thugs, brimming with either arrogance or stupidity, brazenly pried off Liu Cheng’s lock in broad daylight. Disregarding his struggles, they dragged him out the door.
His neighbours heard the screams, but no one dared to come outside
The security camera was the only silent witness.
The next part of the footage made Qiu Yanzhi’s heart skip a beat.
He saw those two strong thugs drag Liu Cheng to the foot of his building.
There, they opened the lid of a trash can and stuffed Liu Cheng inside.
Liu Cheng struggled inside for five minutes.
Then the trash can grew still.
Those two glanced at their watches before opening the lid again.
It was empty inside. Although their hoods were up, the muscles near their mouths that were still visible seemed to move like they were smirking.
Qiu Yanzhi felt like he had been doused from head to toe in cold water.
He just knew that trash cans could make garbage disappear within five minutes.
Never did he think that this bug could be used on NPCs.
So who exactly discovered this bug and had to kill Liu Cheng no matter what?
This footage was all the investigation team could give him. They even apologized, saying that they suspected this footage had been tampered with.
But Qiu Yanzhi knew that this footage showed exactly what had gone down.
His scalp grew numb.
Yet a second later, he jolted like he had been electrocuted.
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly thought about the two drivers that went missing in the first and second round.
They disappeared so cleanly that even their corpses were nowhere to be found.
Before, Qiu Yanzhi thought that person had used Troublesome Character Disappearance Cards.
However, now that he thought about it, Troublesome Character Disappearance Cards cost $10,818.
Stuffing people in trash cans, on the other hand, was free.
This also corroborated one of his suspicions.
...That person was broke.
That person had never used any premium cards. The sudden disappearance of that gunman in the shooting range was probably due to an Instant Transport Card, which had a chance to be drawn from the free card pool every two days.
Additionally, it was because that person didn’t have access to premium cards that he hired proxies like the gunman and sniper, installed security cameras and sent threatening messages. That was why he used all sorts of underhanded methods. He wanted to mislead Qiu Yanzhi into believing he was some powerful figure.
So if this incident was indeed caused by that person…
He usually hid his traces so well. Why did he take out Liu Cheng so brazenly this time?
It was almost like he no longer cared about the consequences of his actions.
Even if Qiu Yanzhi kept reassuring himself, saying that he’d be fine because he had so many more premium cards at his disposal, the sense of unease he felt only grew.
Then, at that very moment--
He received another email from the investigation team regarding the list of people who used to go by ‘Tongfang’.
When Qiu Yanzhi opened the document, his eyes immediately picked a familiar name in the densely populated table.
Former name: Ye Tongfang.
A tremor ran through the hand Qiu Yanzhi held the phone with.
Following the sudden realization, he frantically opened the control panel and took out Liu Cheng’s Memory Search Card that he had drawn in the last round.
All the cards in this world persisted across resets.
Thus, the three memories he once watched were still stored on this Memory Card.
Qiu Yanzhi immediately pulled up the third memory.
The one where he saw Ye Hongyuan strangling Liu Cheng.
Upon watching it once more, he noticed a detail he had missed.
An object rested on the floor by Liu Cheng’s feet.
It was black and resembled a smartphone, but there was something off about it.
Since this was a fully immersive memory clip, Qiu Yanzhi headed straight over and crouched down to take a closer look at that ‘phone’.
On the screen of this phone--
Was the control panel he was oh so familiar with.
Qiu Yanzhi froze in place.
But the memory clip played on.
Jing Zeyu came over.
Ye Hongyuan let go of Liu Cheng’s neck and smoothly kicked the ‘phone’ under the table.
His tone was grim. “Liu Cheng, apologise to my wife."
It turned out that Ye Hongyuan didn’t choke Liu Cheng because of Jing Zeyu; he did it because Liu Cheng saw his physical control device.
It turned out that Ye Hongyuan had asked Liu Cheng to apologize to Jing Zeyu to cover things up and make sure Jing Zeyu didn’t notice anything strange.
It turned out that the reason Liu Cheng was bugged in the last round and immune to the effects of the Reset Card was because he accidentally came into contact with the physical control device.
...It turned out that the player who threatened and intimidated him, the one he referred to as Bug #3, was Ye Hongyuan.
Qiu Yanzhi immediately scrambled to call He Zhou once he exited the memories. He had to ask where he was and when he was coming back.
But to his surprise, before he could dial He Zhou’s number, the man’s bodyguard called him first.
"M-Mr. Qiu...Mr. He, Mr. He just disappeared!"
Qiu Yanzhi’s palms were sweating, but he forced himself to calmly ask, “What do you mean he disappeared?”
The bodyguard sounded frantic like he had just seen a ghost. “We don’t know what happened either! We’ve never left Mr. He’s side, but he suddenly vanished when he was about to get in the car! I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but everyone else saw it too! He really vanished into thin air, I swear!”
--Instant Transport Card.
As long as the user is within 50 meters of the card, it can take effect.
Regardless if the target is a player, a NPC or an object.
Ye Hongyuan must’ve snuck within 50 meters of He Zhou and spirited him away with an Instant Transport Card.
Qiu Yanzhi stood numbly in place. He had goosebumps everywhere and all his hair was standing on end. The terror and anxiety of losing He Zhou soon almost overwhelmed him.
He looked down. With tightly gritted teeth, he almost mechanically dialed the number of that Bug #3.
The other party hung up on him.
Qiu Yanzhi repeatedly dialed that number until his fingers were stiff and numb.
Only then did that person leisurely pick up. His voice was still distorted by a voice changer to sound raspy and sinister. “Well aren’t you an impatient one.”
With gritted teeth, Qiu Yanzhi spat out his words one by one, “Ye Hongyuan, what did you do to He Zhou?!”
The other party was quiet for a moment before suddenly speaking, “What did you just say?”
Qiu Yanzhi sneered. “Or should I call you Ye Tongfang?”
Another silence ensued. Suddenly, there was laughter. After turning off the voice changer, Ye Hongyuan’s voice could be heard. He spoke in a sickening, unhurried tone, “You found out quite fast, but you were still a step too slow.”
Qiu Yanzhi: "Spit it out. Where do you want me to go this time?”
Ye Hongyuan laughed. “The usual place, of course. Shengming Building on Zhonglin Road, first floor. I’ll wait twenty minutes for you.”
Qiu Yanzhi took out an Instant Transport Card, but he hesitated before using it. He went over to the drawer, retrieved a handgun and tucked it in his inner pocket after loading it with bullets.
Now that he was ready, Qiu Yanzhi entered his destination into the Instant Transport Card.
In the blink of an eye, he arrived at the first floor of the Shengming Building on Zhonglin Road.
The place was almost exactly like the last time he was here, except there was no extravagant elevator anymore.
Someone had used chalk to scribble markings on the dirty floor. Following the maze-like path they indicated, Qiu Yanzhi arrived at a purposely renovated room.
As soon as he entered, the door automatically closed with a clack.
In front of him was a familiar scene with a familiar camera.
Only this time, he couldn’t see He Zhou.
"Where’s He Zhou?" Qiu Yanzhi asked coldly.
A moment later--
The projector was remotely turned on.
A huge image appeared on the wall before Qiu Yanzhi.
His breath caught in his throat.