“So it’s actually like that.” Xing Ye understood after hearing Old Nect’s words, “Then did Master Benedict ever make a puppet for his son?”
“That, I’m not sure about.” Old Nect shook his head, “After that, Master Benedict locked himself up in his workroom and didn’t let me touch the puppets he created anymore. I don’t know if he’s created any new puppets after he left either.”
Xing Ye said, “Okay, I understand. I still have one last question: is there anything I can do to help?”
“Huh? You want to help me? Your debt’s already been cleared.” Old Nect didn’t understand.
“Although I already paid you back, I still feel very grateful towards all the care you’ve shown me throughout the years, so I want to help you. Furthermore, you know I want to switch to a newer body. If we find Master Benedict, I’ll have hope, so I would like to aid you in your goal. After all, you and Master are very close, so maybe you could ask him to help me.”
Old Nect accepted his reasoning. He knew how selfish puppets in the city were, so Xing Ye’s motive set him at ease.
Xing Ye added, “But first, let me say this. We were only able to escape this time because of the private soldiers the city lord dispatched. Otherwise, with our strength, we’ll definitely die if we meet the new mechanical puppets.”
“You guys didn’t see Master Benedict? Then how did her body get remodeled?” Old Nect pointed at Cao Qian and asked.
Cao Qian said, “Nobody remodeled it for me, I’m just naturally fast and strong.”
Old Nect: “...”
Who would believe that!
Cao Qian saw Old Nect didn’t believe her and let him inspect her body. Old Nect wanted to study Benedict’s technique and examined Cao Qian carefully, but couldn’t find anything. It looked exactly the same as when he welded the iron on her body a few days ago.
The fruitless search left Old Nect bewildered, “I have something here that you can try taking. It might be useful against the mechanical puppets. After you guys enter the gave, you can try using it to interrupt the mechanical puppet’s signals, which might make them stop attacking.”
He gave Xing Ye the remote control, who accepted it and asked, “If we find Master Benedict, what should we do?”
Old Nect froze, as if he had run out of engine oil. It was only after a long time that he answered, “Just say, no matter what Master wants to do, our city will do all that we can to support Master.”
Xing Ye’s lips drew back, dropping his chin into a smile.
“Alright, we’ll prepare tonight and top up our oil to leave tomorrow.” Xing Ye said, “Uncle Nect, can you help us check if we have enough life energy?”
Old Nect still needed to use Xing Ye and the rest, so it was only natural he wouldn’t refuse. He topped up Xing Ye and Cao Qian’s fuel. When Old Nect wanted to check the mirror, the mirror just waved him away, indicating he had just topped up his oil.
Old Nect had only just realized the mirror was leaning flat on the wall like a piece of background decoration. He was startled for a moment, “I never saw a puppet like you in the city before. Your body’s completely made of metal. There’s iron puppets in the city, but they usually still have some wooden parts on them.”
“He’s a friend I met outside the city. He didn’t stay in the city before, so that’s probably why you never saw him.” Xing Ye hid the mirror behind him, using his one meter tall body to protect the two meter tall mirror.
“Is that so?” Old Nect also smiled, his expression much more fluid than Xing Ye’s.
After smiling, Old Nect suddenly said, “Oh right, you guys got your primary ore from the illegal mine, so it won’t be convenient using it in the city. I need high purity primary ore like this to top up energy stores and it’ll be fine as long as I make sure the customers don’t see it. How about this, I’ll trade normal primary ore for yours, so you can go and pay back your debts and top up your engine oil.”
“Okay, thank you, Uncle Nect.”
Xing Ye gave Old Nect the sack. He looked through it before counting out a thousand pieces of primary ore for him as well as a cart and suitcase for him to carry the primary ore in.
Xing Ye had gone from dirt poor to rich all at once.
After leaving Old Nect’s, Xing Ye first placed some of the primary ore in Guan Ling’s stomach and locked the rest of it in his little warehouse.
“When we pay back our debts and buy things, say it’s all your money.” Xing Ye said, “Act like a foolish spendthrift that got tricked by me. This way, nobody will question where my primary ore came from and we wouldn’t seem suspicious.”
Guan Ling was Old Nect’s son and naturally wouldn’t lack money. A foolish spendthrift was also very much in line with his character.
Xing Ye first paid back his debt at the engine oil store before getting the best quality engine oil for him and the mirror. Cao Qian also tagged along, living it up.
Next, they went to get their springs tightened before going to buy clothes. Like that, the afternoon passed by. Xing Ye and the mirror went from looking like stragglers to becoming clean and tidy.
Especially the mirror- his mirror surface was gleaming. The engine oil shopkeeper also polished his parts a little, helping the mirror adjust his joints and neck so it was easier for him to move.
The mirror chose a long cloak for himself. It covered his large belly and made him look very mysterious and trendy- he was a handsome mirror again!
After tidying themselves up, they split into two groups to search for QR codes under Xing Ye’s orders.
The two opposing fate players were very aware of their own luck and knew there was no way they’d be able to find any, so they divided into groups with one opposing fate player and one following fate player. Cao Qian and Guan Ling formed a group, while the mirror and Xing Ye made up the other.
An afternoon was enough time for the four to search through the whole city.
Xing Ye was in charge of the south of the city while Guan Ling and Cao QIan searched the
The city lord’s manor was south of the city, so Xing Ye wanted to conveniently scout out the place for information. Although there was no blood relationship between the city lord and his son, he had probably taken steps after his son’s mysterious disappearance.
Right now, all their information pointed at the city lord being evil, but Xing Ye didn’t want to make a decision rashly. He wanted to see the city lord with his own eyes before making a judgement.
In front of the city lord’s manor was the biggest plaza in Puppet City. There were often young people holding evening parties here, and it was also where the bumper harvest sacrifice was conducted every year.
In the middle of the plaza was a fountain, spraying water up into the air. It was very pretty.
It’s said that after Master Benedict left, the city lord led the puppets to create the fountain plaza.
Even without Master Benedict, with human nature, they had the ability to learn as well as a slowly growing sense of creativity.
He replenished the primary ore in the mines at set intervals, created the public fountain plaza, set a limit on the mines to prevent exploitation, and kept a tight control over the city gates. From these aspects alone, disregarding his own moral character, his management skills made him a very capable city lord.
When his own creator abandoned Puppet City, he led the inhabitants of the city to work hard and make the city a better place.
“Sure enough, you can’t just look at the surface. There’s no black and white in this world, good and bad go hand in hand.” Xing Ye stood in front of the fountain and said to the mirror.
The mirror observed the base of the fountain carefully before calling to Xing Ye, “Look!”
Xing Ye lowered his head and observed the spray head at the bottom of the fountain with him. It was actually in the shape of a QR code!
With the fountain water gushing out of it, Xing Ye couldn’t see the entire QR code so he wouldn’t be able to remember it. He just directly scanned it onto his phone. After it was scanned, the fountainhead changed, the QR code design disappearing.
Only he could see the wristband’s screen. Xing Ye clicked open on the wristband and a full view of the QR code appeared in the air with a summary: This is the fountain the city lord led the puppets to build. It symbolizes Puppet City’s independence from their creator.
QR codes always had baffling summaries. It didn’t even mention its use.
But in Xing Ye’s experience, such a deeply hidden QR code would definitely have a very special ability.
The first floor of the city lord’s manor was open to the public. The Puppet City’s laws were posted in the grand hall. Puppets could file a lawsuit, but would have to pay a fee of primary ore. Since the fee was so high, puppets would usually settle small issues in between themselves and only find the public security bureau for big issues.
It didn’t seem fair for the puppets, but it was actually a good thing in this era with insufficient productivity and manpower. It lowered the government’s workload, letting the inhabitants of the city mediate issues between themselves and prevented puppets from making trouble out of nothing. Real victims wouldn’t let a fee of two primary ores to hold them up.
Xing Ye looked at the city’s laws. Although he didn’t think they were developed enough, it was already quite carefully made. Furthermore, by posting it somewhere that all puppets could see, all puppets knew about them.
It’s no wonder that despite being a city full of liars, nothing big had ever happened. It was all thanks to the city lord’s policies.
Although he didn’t see the city lord, Xing Ye had collected enough data and how he should act.
There were still five more questions they needed to solve. Where were the last two following fate players? Who was the puppet that would never lie, and why did they need to help that puppet fulfill their wish? Were he and Benedict connected? Could he be the puppet Benedict created for his son?
Xing Ye was about to leave the fountain in search of more QR codes when he spotted Randy and Linda on the other side of the fountain.
They were together?