After leaving the underground casino, Xiao Lou found a public phone booth nearby, pulled the business card out of his pocket and called Mo Xuemin. “Old Mo, I am the challenge who just asked about the Intelligence Bureau at the railway station. We want to find a hotel to settle in temporarily. Do you have any affordable hotel recommendations?” He added, “Can we transfer the consulting fee to you?”
Mo Xuemin’s warm voice entered his ears. “You can! How many days are you going to stay?”
“First, stay for a week. Then we want to find ways to rent a house.”
Mo Xuemin thought about it and replied, “Then you can take a taxi to the Clear Pool District. It is a suburb of the City of the Moon. The hotels are very cheap and I recommend the New World Restore. The environment is good and the price of a luxury twin room is 15,000 gold coins for one night. I live there so don’t worry. The security there is very strict and it is very safe!”
15,000 gold coins were less than 150 yuan. This was really cheap enough.
Xiao Lou smiled. “Thank you, Old Mo.”
Mo Xuemin told him, “If you have any problems when you arrive then find me. I’m going back.”
“Okay. What room do you live in? I’ll give you the consultation fee then.”
“I live in 507. I’ll see you later!”
After hanging up the phone, Shao Qingge wondered, “Professor Xiao, why did you consult this person?”
Xiao Lou explained, “We met a senior at the railway station who sells information to make money. He is very sincere so I asked him first so that we don’t stay in an unscrupulous place again.”
Ye Qi was alert. “You encountered him at the train station? Would he be a liar?” He used to take a train and every time he got off, some uncles would pull him over and ask, “Stay here?” He was afraid and always felt cheated.
Xiao Lou told him, “We just have to ask a few locals to know if he is a liar or not.” He glanced at the nearby fruits store and went to buy some fruit. As he paid for the fruit, he casually asked the clerk, “Beauty, do you know how to get to the Clear Pool district?”
The clerk packed the fruit and smiled. “Are you foreigners? The Clear Pool district is to the east of the City of the Moon. You are currently in the west of the city. If you take a taxi then you should get there in an hour.”
Xiao Lou wondered, “Are there many foreigners staying there?”
The store clerk said, “Yes, the eastern suburbs have the cheapest prices in the entire city.”
Xiao Lou thanked her and came out with the fruit.
Shao Qingge suggested, “You shouldn’t have eaten yet? Do you want to eat something before finding the hotel?”
Xiao Lou was indeed a bit hungry. They found a fast food restaurant on the road and every person ordered a meal. During the process of eating, they asked the employees about the Clear Pool district. They all said it was a suburb with many foreigners. Obviously, there was no problem with the information given by Old Mo.
Since a taxi could take a maximum of four people, the five of them had to take two taxis to the Clear Pool district. Xiao Lou, Yu Hanjiang and Shao Qingge took one while Ye Qi and Liu Qiao followed in another.
The taxi driver was talkative. Once he heard that everyone was going to the Clear Pool district, he chatted with Xiao Lou about the district. He also recommended Clear Pool’s pedestrian street, saying that there were several cheap barbecue stores there. He also talked about several tourist attractions and shopping centres that foreigners must go to.
Xiao Lou suddenly had the illusion of encountering an enthusiastic driver when travelling to a strange city. “Thank you, Master. Please take us to the New World Resort.”
The taxi stopped near the hotel. Seeing that Ye Qi and Liu Qiao hadn’t got off yet, Shao Qingge whispered in Xiao Lou’s ears. “Professor Xiao, do you want to take in this Liu Qiao?”
“Yes, she lost all her gold coins in 4 of Clubs and we’ll take her for a while.” Xiao Lou turned to Chief Shao. “If she wants to join our team, are you willing to accept her?”
Shao Qingge shrugged. “I have no problem adding her as long as she doesn’t drag us down.”
“She shouldn’t drag us down. Liu Qiao is smart and cautious. She also has three S-grade cards in her hand. The Twin card that can copy anyone, Little Red Riding Hood and the Poison Queen she drew in 4 of Clubs. She is quite strong.”
Shao Qingge spoke with some surprise. “Is that so? She draws fairy tale cards?”
“Perhaps she has a relationship with the fairy tale card. Meanwhile, I draw historical figures and Group Leader Yu draws weapons.”
Shao Qingge touched his nose. “I seem to be the worst in the team? Ye Qi has a few instrument control cards while I haven’t drawn any useful cards.”
Yu Hanjiang interjected. “It is enough for you to make money.”
Shao Qingge, “……”
Okay, he was in charge of making money and lying down to win.
At this time, the taxi with Ye Qi and Liu Qiao arrived. The two people got off the car and walked to Xiao Lou. Xiao Lou smiled at them. “We will go in together to check in.”
The New World Hotel was 20 storeys high. There were two large trees in front of the hotel connected by a canopy, each one forming a beautiful natural shade. After entering the lobby through a long corridor, Xiao Lou’s eyes lit up.
The lobby that was six metres high looked extremely spacious and magnificent. There were many green vines falling from the ceiling and small white and blue flowers hanging from the vines. The white hall was like a romantic wedding scene.
The lights in the room were covered with leaves and soft light sprinkled through the gap between the leaves, adding warmth to the room. There were no sofas in the lobby. They were all wooden chairs and there was the natural aroma of grass. This was much fresher than the inferior perfumes of many hotels.
The hotel’s clock pointed to 23 o’clock.
Xiao Lou took everyone to the front desk. “Are there any rooms available? Please book three double rooms for us.”
The receptionist was a young girl with delicate makeup. She smiled slightly and said, “Sir, there are rooms available. Please show me your identity card.”
Identity card? A hint of doubt flashed in his eyes. Then immediately afterwards, he reacted by looking into his card pack. Sure enough, he had a new card in the pack after entering the City of the Moon.
Name: Xiao Lou
ID card number: 89657741
There was no birthday on the ID card but the height and weight were written. This was probably the characteristics of the Card World? Xiao Lou handed the card over and the female smiled. “How many people do you have? How many days do you want to stay?”
Xiao Lou replied, “Five people for seven days.”
“All guests must give me their ID cards for verification. It is a rule.”
Hearing this, the others followed Xiao Lou’s example, found the identity cards in their bags and handed it to her.
The girl took the five identity cards and operated the computer. Then she gave them three room cards. “Three double rooms for seven days. The room number is 311, 312 and 313. The total price is 315,000 gold coins. How would you like to pay?”
Shao Qingge asked, “Do we have to pay in cash?”
The employee replied, “Sir, you can also swipe your identity card directly.”
Shao Qingge didn’t have much cash and he sighed with relief when he heard this. “Then swipe my identity card. I should have money on the card.”
“Okay.” The receptionist entered the amount on the POS machine and a mechanical tone was heard. “Please verify the fingerprint.” Shao Qingge put his index finger on it and the mechanical voice continued, “The verification has passed. 315,000 gold coins have been deducted.”
Sure enough, all the money he had previously made in the other secret rooms were automatically tied to his identity card.
The receptionist handed them the three room cards and identity cards with a smile. “Done. The rooms have free mineral water and your rooms are on the third floor. Please accept your identity cards and room cards.”
The five people took back their cards and headed to the third floor.
The third floor was a circular corridor and each corridor had 10 rooms. The middle of the hotel was a hollow structure with tree branches hanging from the roof. There were beautiful small lights hanging from the branches and the scene was fantastic.
It was hard to imagine such a beautiful place was so cheap.
Liu Qiao spoke softly, “Chief Shao, I’ll pay you back for the room fee when I have money.” Since they were willing to take her penniless self, Liu Qiao was very grateful. She naturally didn’t want to take advantage of them.
Shao Qingge smiled. “You don’t have to pay me back. Just consider it as me treating you. We have more money and once we sell the bracelets, this money will be nothing.” He had always been generous with money and was embarrassed to ask for the accommodation fee from Liu Qiao alone.
Xiao Lou asked Liu Qiao, “Which room will you stay in?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Xiao Lou looked at the three rooms side by side. “A girl should stay in the middle 312. It is safer.”
Just then, there was the sound of footsteps in the corridor and a couple came over hand in hand.
Yu Hanjiang suddenly suggested, “Everyone, go to 311. There are some things to discuss with you.”
Xiao Lou took out the door card, quickly opened the door and entered the room.
The room was quite large and spotless. Two neat wooden beds were covered with white bedding and there were wooden floorboards.
Next to the floor-to-ceiling windows were two rattan chairs. There was also a light-coloured wooden coffee table that was like a tree. All buildings in the City of the Moon had this style.
There was an LCD TV, desktop computer on the table and broadband Internet connection.
In the real world, this was a homestay that would receive a very good evaluation.
All five people were satisfied with the hotel environment and found a place to sit down.
Yu Hanjiang whispered, “Chief Shao, Little Ye, have you heard of World Weekly?”
Ye Qi and Shao Qingge exchanged blank looks. “What is World Weekly?”
Yu Hanjiang explained, “We were picked up by a challengers organization when we got off the plane. We met their president and the other side revealed that not only do challengers have to clear instances, they also have to participate in the World Weekly every weekend.”
Ye Qi soon responded. “Is it the same as a weekly task in the game? Is this mandatory reporting?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded solemnly. “It is said that all challengers will be forced into the weekly secret room. The secret room is random and might be Hearts, Spades, Diamonds or Clubs. The World Weekly’s task isn’t directly related to the 54 cards on the Card World and is a separate secret rooms. Many challengers are said to have not returned after disappearing on the weekend.”
Shao Qingge frowned slightly when he heard this. “A large number of challenger will participate in the World Weekly. If it is a Spades secret room then it will be very vicious. The killing among challengers will be terrible.”
Yu Hanjiang said, “That’s why I want to discuss with you how to deal with it. If we don’t collect clues as soon as possible and attract fierce teammates, it is likely that we won’t be able to pass the World Weekly, let alone the later secret rooms.”
Shao Qingge looked at Xiao Lou with a puzzled manner. “What is the situation of the challengers association? A guild was looking for you to invite you to join them?”
Xiao Lou replied, “Yes, it is the Distant Guild. Their management saw the world announcement about Group Leader Yu and I refreshing the record of the Hearts secret room. They sent someone to the airport to invite us to join the guild. However, at that time, we haven’t found you and Ye Qi yet. Secondly, we don’t know enough about this guild so we didn’t dare to agree.”
“Yes, once we join a big guild, we’ll be bound to their interests.” Ye Qi agreed. “Their enemies will become our enemies. It is like big guilds in a game. Their relationship is quite complex!”
Shao Qingge frowned. “I personally prefer to be free. A big guild will have huge power but there will be many rules, regulations and internal intrigue. Does this guild have any hostile forces? Let’s find out before we join. Once we join, we will offend them if we quit.”
Xiao Lou stated, “Yes, we aren’t in a hurry to make a decision. Wait until the end of this weekend’s World Weekly.”
Ye Qi was curious. “Apart from the Distant Guild, are there other challenger organizations?”
Xiao Lou replied, “There is a large guild called the Eternal Kingdom. They only want to pass the World Weekly and not challenge the following secret rooms. They want to settle in the Card World. The other is the Luoying Pavilion, which only accepts female players. At present, we only know that their boss is very powerful. I don’t know about others. There should be some smaller and powerful teams.”
Ye Qi spoke up, “I can understand if I treat this world as a game. The Distant Guild, Eternal Kingdom and Luoying Pavilion are large player guilds while the other small groups are groups of friends and relatives.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “You can understand it like that.”
Ye Qi said, “My personal opinion is that we should set up a small team on our own. It is easier to manage and a smaller number is more unified. A big guild is too complicated. Whenever I play a game, I’ve been trapped by the guild many times…”
Xiao Lou smiled. “The president of the Distant Guild, Gui Yuanzhang is a well-known calligrapher. I heard he is very good and shouldn’t be deliberately pitting us. However, Little Ye’s concerns are very reasonable. A guild is very complicated. If there are any conflicts between us and the members or forces hostile to the guild then it will be difficult to deal with.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “It is better to be free. We can make our own decisions. However, I’d like to confirm your thoughts again.” His eyes swept over Liu Qiao, Shao Qingge and Ye Qi. “Professor Xiao and I have agreed to go back a long time ago. How about the three of you? Do you want to stay in the City of the Moon and live here or do you want to go back to the real world?”
Liu Qiao said, “I have to go back.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at her. “Why?”
Liu Qiao’s eyes were very firm. “My sister also came here. If both of us were killed in that car accident, what would our parents do? Our parents are ordinary workers and worked hard in order to let us go to university. I can’t leave them alone.” Liu Qiao took a deep breath and said, “I want to go back and if I find my sister, I want to take her back together.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded and looked at Ye Qi.
Ye Qi scratched the back of his head and spoke with some embarrassment. “I also want to go back. In fact, in the real world, I participated in a singing competition and reached the finales. My dream is to become a singer who can hold countries all over the country. I might be far away from that step but I have learned vocal music and various musical instruments since I was a child. My parents spent a lot of money to learn musical instruments so I just can’t give up.”
Liu Qiao suddenly asked, “Are you the Ye Qi who took part in ‘Chinese Singer’ and made it to the final round? I remember that Ye Qi was also proficient in the piano, guitar, flute and other instruments. No wonder why I always feel you are familiar.”
Ye Qi was proud about being recognized and excitedly turned to see her. “You have watched this program?”
Liu Qiao nodded. “I watched several episodes during the holidays. You sang well and scored in the top three. If you continued then you might’ve been able to win a prize. I remember that after that game, your Weibo fans rose to the hundreds of thousands? You are quite popular.”
Ye Qi’s face was red and he spoke seriously. “I was actually very confident about winning the prize but there was a car accident on the way to the studio.”
Yu Hanjiang never watched variety shoes, Xiao Lou rarely watched it and Shao Qingge was busy making money. All three of them didn’t expect that Ye Qi was actually a small celebrity with hundreds of thousands of fans.
“You made it into the final round of a singing competition?” Shao Qingge looked Ye Qi up and down with a smile. “It seems you have the potential to be a star. You can make it to the finals with your singing, indicating that your singing is good. Your appearance… is also good-looking.”
Ye Qi had bright eyes after being praised and scratched his head with embarrassment. “Hehe, that’s why I must go back. If I can become a singer in the future, perhaps I can really open a concert.”
Shao Qingge told him, “Give me a ticket and I’ll go to your show.”
Ye Qi nodded hard. “Definitely!”
Xiao Lou found that Shao Qingge had been chatting with Ye Qi and couldn’t help asking, “Chief Shao? Do you insist on going back?”
He didn’t know if it was his illusion but after hearing this question, something sharp flashed in Shao Qingge’s eyes. “Of course, I don’t want to die for a dubious reason.”
Xiao Lou wondered, “What? You had an accident… didn’t you have an accident?”
Shao Qingge replied coldly, “I was hit by a car. It was at an intersection and I was waiting for a red light. Suddenly, a big truck turned left at the crossroad and ran into me. I couldn’t escape and was killed. The day before the accident, I had a conflict with two partners. I decided to dismiss them and take back their power. In a few days, I would’ve held a shareholders meeting to discuss this matter…”
Shao Qingge turned to Yu Hanjiang. “Group Leader Yu, you are a policeman. Do you think this is a coincidence?”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “If the brakes of the big truck failed then the car should hit the embankment when turning left instead of hitting you. The driver would’ve needed to make one more turn of the steering wheel to hit you and this sounds more like intentional killing.” He paused and said, “Of course, this is theoretical speculation and can’t be used as evidence. It needs confirmation through an on-site investigation.”
Shao Qingge stated coldly, “I think it is murder.”
His words silenced the room for a moment.
He had always been smiling but expectedly, he had experienced a crisis in the real world. He was very rich but sometimes people did crazy things for money and rights. His speculation wasn’t groundless. Perhaps the mentality of the two people has changed. Once Chief Shao decided to kick them out, they killed Shao Qingge.
Shao Qingge’s eyes narrowed. “It doesn’t matter if it is an accident or murder. I have to go back and find out. I can’t let those two basta*ds embezzle from the company I worked so hard to create.” His eyes narrowed. “In fact, I lied to you in 2 of Clubs. The location of my accident was the eastern suburb of Jiangzhou. Group Leader Yu is a police officer of Jiangzhou City. Are you willing to help me when we go back?”
Yu Hanjiang didn’t hesitate. “Of course, this is within the scope of my responsibility. If we go back then I’ll help you with your investigation.”
Shao Qingge nodded. “You rest assured, I must also go back.”
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Xiao Lou and met Xiao Lou’s eyes.
Xiao Lou had a tacit understanding of his thoughts. He smiled and pulled out the contract book. “Since everyone has the same goal and mutual understanding and trust is sufficient, I have a suggestion. I will upgrade my contract first and you all sign with me. This way, even if we are temporarily separated, we will be transmitted to the same world every time we enter a secret room.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Yes, the World Weekly often produces many identical instances. If we don’t sign a contract then perhaps we will be split up in this weekend’s World Weekly.”
Shao Qingge and Ye Qi had long had a good relationship with Xiao Lou’s team and had no opinions.
Only Liu Qiao…
Xiao Lou looked at Liu Qiao and told her, “Little Liu, it is better for you to sign it temporarily. You are now alone and it is likely you will be transferred to a random secret room separate from us. It would be very troublesome if you want to clear a large weekly instance alone. As for your sister, we can slowly find her. Then after finding her, if you want to leave the team then you can cancel the contract with us at any time.”
After careful consideration, Liu Qiao nodded.
She had known these people less than a week but she worked with them in Liuxi Village and believed her vision wasn’t wrong. Professor Xiao, Group Leader Yu, Chief Shao and Ye Qi were all very principled people. Rather than acting alone, it was better to follow these people and the possibility of clearing the instance would be greater.
Xiao Lou took out the contract book. 40,000 gold coins were needed to upgrade it to an intermediate contract and 170,000 gold coins were needed for a senior contract. At first, he felt this was very expensive when he saw it in 2 of Clubs but now there were millions in Chief Shao’s account. This money was nothing at all.
Xiao Lou opened his mouth. “I remember that the senior contract is 8-15 people. We don’t have enough people and will first upgrade to intermediate.”
He opened the contract and pressed the upgrade button.
There was a soft light and the contract book shone silver. [Congratulations to Xiao Lou for obtaining the intermediate contract book!]
He opened the page and the terms hadn’t changed. There were just additional signature pages. The limit had also changed from two to five.
Xiao Lou picked up the book’s feather pen and handed it to Shao Qingge. “Sign it.”
Shao Qingge and Ye Qi quickly released their contract and signed with Xiao Lou.
Liu Qiao simply signed her name on the last spot. She had a strange hunch. The people in this contract book might have the potential to do wonders and become the first team to step out of the Card World.