Living Our Lives Well is More Important Than Anything – Chapter 25

Publish Time: 2024-06-08 11:21:51 177 views
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Chapter 25:

After the Sub-dungeon ended, Li Zhexuan obediently stayed in the courtyard on the mountain. Four bound individuals lay on the ground nearby, initially struggling but eventually ceasing their efforts after locking eyes with Li Zhexuan. The courtyard returned to a quiet state.

Li Zhexuan gazed in the direction Li Chunzhou had departed. A pitch-black crow landed on a withered tree beside him, its blood-red eyes fixed on Li Zhexuan. In the eerie atmosphere, the sleek crow spread its wings, preparing to fly off once more.

Suddenly, Li Zhexuan reached out and grabbed the crow by its foot, pulling it down. His dark eyes met the blood-red eyes of the crow, which stiffened like a stone statue. The crow's beak moved, and it spoke in a human voice, "Who are you?"

Expressionless, Li Zhexuan twisted the crow's neck, causing a burst of black and red blood in his hand which quickly disappeared. The crow had no internal organs, its skin seemingly filled entirely with blood.

Droplets of blood splattered on the ground as a cool, damp wind picked up out of nowhere, blowing through the moist forest. The surrounding dense trees grew even more desolate and silent as the sun set. When the dark red blood flowed away, the shriveled crow's corpse could still move. Its head swiveled back and forth, the fish-like eyes gleaming with light as it persistently questioned, "Who...are...you...?"

Li Zhexuan opened his hand, looked down for a moment, feeling hungry burning in his belly, everything around him was silent and boring, deserted, and miserable.

At the same time, a young man dressed as a scholar in the palace opened his eyes and said slowly, "I found it."

But when he tried to remember the appearance of the person he had seen through the puppet's eyes just now, he found his mind blank, unable to recall the specific features of that young man.

Li Zhexuan threw the crow's body into a water tank. Li Chunzhou taught him not to litter, but he still couldn't differentiate well between a water tank and a trash bin.

He waited all afternoon until evening, standing in the courtyard, watching from a distance as the officials walked up the mountain with torches. Expressionless, he turned his gaze away, knowing he could leave now.

Li Zhexuan walked down the mountain at an ordinary pace, heading towards the Spring Flowers Tower.

Li Zhexuan happened to encounter a martial scout from the government going up the mountain. The crowd automatically parted just before crashing into him, like a fast-flowing stream splitting around a rock, with no one noticing him as an intruder.

Li Zhexuan imitated the way humans walk, steadily moving step by step towards his destination.

Behind him, a group of crows landed on the courtyard ground, pecking at the bloodstains, their dozen pairs of dark eyes flashing a hint of dark red light.

Afterwards, they lifted their stiff heads in unison and stared motionlessly at Li Zhexuan's back, swirling upwards suddenly, their shadows on the ground resembling a huge net.

***

By the time Li Zhexuan returned to Spring Flowers Tower, the sky was starting to lighten, and Li Chunzhou was sleeping in the madam's room.

As Li Zhexuan passed by the serving maid who was coming and going, stepping over a faintly cool ice basin, he arrived by Li Chunzhou's side.

A small ray of morning sunlight shone on Li Chunzhou's sleeping face, her breathing steady and audible. Li Zhexuan squatted in front of her, gazing intently at her sleeping face.

The intense hunger made Li Zhexuan unable to bear it, and he murmured softly in a teenager's voice, "So hungry..."

However, the soundly sleeping Li Chunzhou did not respond.

Li Zhexuan leaned in slightly, gently smelling the corner of Li Chunzhou's hair, his expression on his face seeming to be a mixture of greed and fascination.

Just a second before he was about to take a bite of Li Chunzhou's cheek, Li Zhexuan suddenly turned his head slowly towards the north.

In Shengjing City, the three major palace areas are located in the north city, with the most important part being in the northeast corner. It is where high-ranking officials and nobles reside, making the surrounding area the most expensive and prestigious residential area in the whole city.

There is a saying in Shengjing City that goes, "The east is noble, the west is wealthy, the south is poor and humble."

The direction of the palace is towards the north.

He stood up, hesitated between Li Chunzhou and the palace for a moment, licked his lips, feeling excited and eager for the upcoming meal. He slowly walked towards the direction of the Forbidden City.

***

Before going to see Master Qian, Li Chunzhou suddenly remembered something and casually told Mama Li about it.

After she finished speaking, Mama Li's first reaction was confusion, she asked, "What do you need a madman for? Don't you already have three maids by your side?"

Chihong, Hong Dou, Ming Xiang, Li Chunzhou indeed had three people serving by her side now, which was not as extravagant as Gu Lingfan, but still a significant expense.

"I heard Ming Niang used to work in our building," Li Chunzhou patted Li Li in her arms and said with a smile, "She is good at doing hair, let's hire her using my monthly allowance so you don't have to worry, Mom."

When Mama Li saw her like this, she didn't say anything else, she just watched her happily go up the stairs.

Qian Chaoxin was sitting in the elegant room upstairs, feeling nervous. Ever since he first met Li Chunzhou, he had not forgotten about her for several days. He hadn't even prepared for the imperial examination. He had been collecting interesting rumors from the folk, thinking that if they could meet again, he would tell them to Li Chunzhou.

He never expected the opportunity to come so suddenly. It felt like a pie had fallen from the sky for Qian Chaoxin.

Compared to Qian Chaoxin, Li Chunzhou was obviously more relaxed. Even though there were only the two of them in the room, she acted as friendly as she did when Mi Hongbao was there. Not only did she kindly call Qian Chaoxin Boyuan, when the conversation stalled, she also brought up a few new topics herself.

Qian Chaoxin was pleasantly surprised that she still remembered that day. Excitedly, he told the stories he had prepared and got the admired gaze from Li Chunzhou as he had hoped.

Li Chunzhou could feel that Qian Chaoxin seemed to be making a special effort to pursue her. Although his methods were clumsy, his appearance was quite cute, and therefore her smile had a touch of genuine emotion.

They talked until Qian Chaoxin's throat felt dry, almost an hour had passed. It was then that Li Chunzhou casually mentioned, "Boyuan, I remember you mentioned yesterday that among the scholars who came to the autumn examination, there was a young man named Zhao from Yangzhou."

"Yes, what about it?" Qian Chaoxin looked puzzled.

"I have a friend who knows Young Master Zhao, but they haven't met in many years. I was wondering if you could help them reconnect for me, Boyuan...?"

Talking away, Li Chunzhou held hands tightly, looking confused, and said, "Apart from you, I don't know who else to ask for help..."

Qian Chaoxin was suddenly hit, adrenaline rushing, without thinking much, he nodded repeatedly, patting his chest, promising to help her with the matter!

Seeing Qian Chaoxin agree eagerly, Li Chunzhou spoke some polite words, she smiled and handed a bag of heavy silver coins to Qian Chaoxin, whispering, "Boyuan spent a lot of money to see me. I'm so happy to see you, how can I let you spend money? This is my secret money that my mom doesn't know about..."

With a hint of girlishness on her face, she blinked, her smile especially clear and beautiful, "Lady Chun is waiting for your good news at Spring Flowers Tower."

With Li Chunzhou's words, Qian Chaoxin was even more overwhelmed, feeling light on his feet. After Li Chunzhou sent him off, she met a few other guests who had scheduled to meet her in advance.

While Li Chunzhou was busy, Qi Leyuan received a private message from someone with a unfamiliar account ID, indicating they rarely spoke in group chats.

[Jian Hou], "I heard you have cleared a sub-dungeon, can we meet and chat?"

Qi Leyuan silently stretched out his wings, thinking, "As a chicken, why should I meet you? And even if we do meet, what would we talk about?!"

[Qi Leyuan], "Sure, but you tell me first, what information do you have?"

Jian Hou said, "To make a long story short, there is a problem in this Dungeon. None of the previous one hundred and twenty groups of players who entered the Dungeon were able to clear it. Also, the consciousness of all these players died, and their information was erased. That's why I want to investigate where the problem lies."

Qi Leyuan was alarmed by this statement from Jian Hou. The way Jian Hou spoke... didn't seem like a regular player.

Qi Leyuan asked, "What do you mean by your words? What difference will it make to find the problem? Please explain."

Jian Hou revealed, "Actually, I was the Administrator who originally set up this Dungeon. The system detected that the clearance rate of the Dungeon was not satisfactory, so I entered the Dungeon."

Qi Leyuan exclaimed, "Administrator? Who do you think you are, Qin Shi Huang? I will guide you through the Dungeon for 50 times, and once we're out, I can appoint you as the Grand General."

Jian Hou stated, "Qi Leyuan, ranked 17th in the world leaderboard (previously ranked 11th), with skills activated: enhanced physical abilities, S-level character card, all-round passive defense..."

Jian Hou straightforwardly sent a long list of Qi Leyuan's private information.

Qi Leyuan exclaimed, "Wow! Are you really a member of the Main God System staff?!"

Qi Leyuan paused and pondered, "Wait a minute, I have had a question in my mind for a long time... Are you really humans?"

Jian Hou, "It depends on how you define 'people.' If having thoughts and awareness makes one a person, then we are indeed; but if being a carbon-based life form with the same physiological structure as you is your definition of 'people,' then we are not."

Qi Leyuan, "Can you say something that normal people can understand?"

Jian Hou, "...Our perspectives are different, I cannot explain higher-dimensional things to you in lower dimensions."

Qi Leyuan, "Are you saying you are advanced beings from a higher dimension than us? Then why are you asking me? Aren't you the one designing the Dungeon? Shouldn't you have a script in hand?"

Jian Hou, "Because this Dungeon World itself is low-dimensional, we are also limited by the world consciousness inside it. So, I cannot observe what happened yesterday morning from a god's perspective. However, based on the program settings, this Sub-dungeon should eliminate at least five players."

Qi Leyuan didn't expect it to admit so frankly. He was a bit uneasy for a moment, straightened out his thoughts, and asked, "So, how many Sub-dungeons are there in this world? Is the condition to leave the Dungeon to complete all Sub-dungeons or to complete the main quest?"

Jian Hou, "According to the initial setting, there are four Sub-dungeons in total. Indeed as you said, this world was originally a simple B-level Dungeon, and completing the four Sub-dungeons will allow you to successfully leave the world."

After hearing this, Qi Leyuan stopped doubting. In a few words, he detailed what happened in the Sub-dungeon to Jian Hou, but skipped the parts about the Li Chunzhou.

Both intuition and experience told Qi Leyuan that in the Dungeon World, it's best not to reveal everything.

After explaining in detail what happened yesterday morning to Jian Hou, Qi Leyuan asked, "Once you find the bug, will you lead us out of the Dungeon?"

After asking this question, Jian Hou from across the table remained silent for a long time without responding.