That night, the eight people gathered in the villa ate and talked like it was a holiday. They didn’t go to sleep until 11 o’clock.
Xiao Lou gave everyone the day off. They rested all of Tuesday and could lazily sleep.
The group slept until noon before getting up. They were bored in the afternoon and watching TV at home. Liu Qiao had just changed to a news channel when she heard a news flash. “This weekend, the Caribbean and Full Star cruise ships were hit by a typhoon and sank into the open sea. The wreckages of the cruise ships have been salvaged. According to statistics, 386 people died in the shipwreck…”
Xiao Lou immediately looked up when he heard this. The footage showed rescue teams salvaging the wreckage of a cruise ship at sea. It was the Caribbean cruise ship they had been on where 386 people were killed, including locals, challengers and hunters.
There were tens of millions of challengers in this world. There couldn’t be so few people who died in the World Weekly secret room. Xiao Lou looked at Mo Xuemin in a puzzled manner. “Old Mo, there should be many cruise ships who went to the sea at the same time. Why is it only reporting on these two?
Mo Xuemin explained, “Other cruise ships have no locals and are all challengers. They have been pulled into another space and no one knows if they are dead or alive. Our cruise ship is reported on because there were local people.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “You mean, the other World Weekly instances all contain challengers and they were transported to a different space?”
Mo Xuemin nodded. “Yes, every time, 99% of challenges will be transported to a local space and no one knows they have died. The local residents have long been used to the sudden disappearance of foreigners. The probability of encountering a complex instance where hunters and challengers are mixed in is around 1%. If we encounter a hunter then we can be considered unlucky.”
Since he had encountered hunters two weeks in a row, Mo Xuemin felt that his luck was really bad. He had to wash himself from head to toe. There was a 1% probability yet Brother Jiu bought tickets in advance to enter. Was it so coincidental?
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and thought of a possibility. The hacking master of the Intelligence Bureau.
On the afternoon of the same day, Xiao Lou checked the responses on the forum. External forums expressed their condolences over the shipwreck. The challengers’ forum was full of posts. Some people said their ship’s elimination rate was as high as 50% with half the challengers eaten by sharks. Others said that in order to snatch the escape boat when the ship was overturned, the challengers experienced internal fighting and suffered heavy causalities.
There were some World Weekly rooms that encountered the control of a big guild and all of them survived. Taken all together, the average elimination rate of the World Weekly was between 10%~20%. Only Xiao Lou’s instance involving the Caribbean met a team of hunters.
The next day was Wednesday and the Intelligence Bureau would open.
In the afternoon, Xiaolou and Yu Hanjiang drove together to the Intelligence Bureau. Liu Qiao came over and asked Xiao Lou, “Professor Xiao, can I go with you?”
Xiao Lou knew she wanted to continue to check on the whereabouts of her sister so he took her with them. Qu Wanyue was worried that Liu Qiao couldn’t bear the blow and also followed.
Yu Hanjiang drove the black car, Xiao Lou sat in the passenger’s seat while the two girls sat in the back. By the time they arrived at the Intelligence Bureau, there was a long line at the door. They waited for half an hour before it was finally their turn.
The lottery store still had the same woman as last time, looking indifferent with her silver-rimmed glasses. She glanced at the four of them and asked, “What are you going to check this time?”
Liu Qiao stepped forward. “Please continue to help me find our Liu Ying’s whereabouts, thank you.”
The woman’s slender fingers quickly tapped on the keyboard. After a moment, she passed the result of the search query to Liu Qiao. Last time they checked, the result was that there was no such person. Unexpectedly, there was news today! Liu Qiao was very happy and immediately took a look.
The girl in the photo was beautiful. She had an oval face and hair tied back in a high ponytail. This was indeed her sister Liu Ying. Xiao Lou also remembered this girl from 2 of Clubs. She might’ve been wearing a mask but the height, hairstyle and eyes were right.
However, the result of the inquiry under the photo made Xiao Lou scared.
Liu Qiao and her teammate, Zhong Tong came to the main city last Thursday, which was why they hadn’t found her whereabouts on Wednesday. She was one day later than Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao. During the time when Liu Qiao checked her last week, she was still struggling through the fourth level.
It wasn’t easy for the two girls to get out of the fourth level but they made a fatal mistake.
They didn’t collect enough information and were contemptuous of the World Weekly. They didn’t look for a strong team and instead entered the Endless Sea on their own. Their whereabouts after that were unknown…
It was Wednesday, three days after the World Weekly. It was clear what it meant by their location being unaccounted for.
The woman sitting in front of the computer pushed up her glasses and said, “Sorry, your sister wasn’t well prepared when participating in this week’s World Weekly. No news of her has been found in the main city, proving that she died in the World Weekly.”
Liu Qiao clung to the paper. She thought of the sharks at sea and couldn’t help her hands shaking. She followed Group Leader Yu to kill dozens of sharks, turned into a shark to try her light footwork card and under the leadership of Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou, she easily cleared the instance. At the same time, her sister might’ve been torn to pieces by a shark in another area!
The two girls entering the World Weekly secret room, the chances of survival were too low…
Her sister had passed through the first four levels with much difficulty but was eliminated in the World Weekly. Liu Qiao had difficulty accepting this face. The photo on the data sheet gradually blurred in her vision and before she knew it, tears had poured out.
Qu Wanyue gently hugged Liu Qiao and spoke softly, “Xiao Qiao, cry if you’re sad. Don’t bear it.”
Liu Qiao’s body was shaking as she clenched the questionnaire with her sister’s photo and sobbed. “My parents were busy with work. My sister was four years older than me and since childhood, she took care of me, cooking for me and telling stories to make me sleep. Is she really dead?”
Xiao Lou was silent for a moment before suddenly saying, “She just disappeared in this world. She isn’t necessarily dead.”
Liu Qiao looked up at Professor Xiao. “What do you mean?”
“If my guess is correct, after clearing all the secret rooms in this world, the method the keepers will use to let us return to reality is to go back to the past and change history. It is because this is the only way we can survive. Since you were in a car accident with your sister, you will go back to before the accident and can save your sister in reality.”
Liu Qiao’s eyes lit up and she quickly wiped away her tears, asking seriously, “Is it true? Can I go back in time and avoid that car accident?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “The probability is high.”
The woman sitting in front of the computer heard it and smiled. “Your reasoning has no basis in fact.”
Xiao Lou looked back at her. “However, you can’t say that my inference is wrong. It is only once we clear the SS-grade secret room that we will know how to return to reality.”
The woman shrugged. “Yes, after all, no one has cleared the world.”
Yu Hanjiang stepped forward. “Continue to help us find a few people.”
The woman nodded. “Please say it.”
Yu Hanjiang took the questionnaire and quickly wrote down a name: Lu Jiuchuan.
After entering the information, the woman concluded, “This person can’t be found.”
Yu Hanjiang wasn’t surprised by this result. The Intelligence Bureau’s master had completely erased his brother’s information so that no one could find the whereabouts of Brother Jiu.
He followed suit by saying several names. “Gui Yuanzhang, Chu Huaying.”
The woman quickly checked and smiled. “No one.”
Yu Hanjiang raised his eyebrows and glanced at Xiao Lou. “They all can’t be found.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “It seems that the director of the Intelligence Bureau is very strong. Old Gui and the Spider Goddess, the information of these teammates were deleted by him. This is also a way to protect them.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at the woman. “I want to see the director of your Intelligence Bureau.”
The woman kept smiling. “Our director isn’t easy to see. Even I haven’t seen him.”
She glanced at her mobile phone and sent a message before saying, “However, the director has specifically ordered that I should take you to a place if you come to the door.” She glanced over at Liu Qiao and Qu Wanyue. “I can only take the two of you.”
Xiao Lou spoke to Qu Wanyue in a low voice. “Teacher Qu, you and Xiao Liu take the taxi back first. We will go and see Director Tang.”
Qu Wanyue nodded. “Rest assured, I will take Xiao Liu home safely.
He saw the two people get into a taxi before returning to the lottery store.
The woman with glasses closed the lottery store door, hung a ‘closed’ sign and turned to walk toward the wall. The wall was like a security door in a science fiction movie. After scanning her pupils, it suddenly opened to reveal a long narrow corridor where the end couldn’t be seen.
The two of them glanced at each other and followed.
After passing through the corridor and taking the elevator to the underground parking lot, the woman had Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang get into the car and drove out of the parking lot. The scene outside the window passed quickly and after around 30 minutes, she parked the car at the door of an abandoned factory. “Boss asked me to bring you here. The two of you should wait here.”
Xiao Lou took a closer look. The factory had three floors and looked very empty. It should be a rotten building.
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other, wondering why Director Tang took them to such a desolate place.
At this moment, a strange sound was heard from the ground and the ground started to shake. Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang hadn’t reacted yet when the ground at their feet suddenly collapsed. They were heading down!
The feeling of weightlessness made Xiao Lou nervously grasp Yu Hanjiang’s hand. “An earthquake?”
Yu Hanjiang held his hand and whispered comforting words, “Don’t be nervous. It isn’t an earthquake or a card effect. Perhaps… there is an underground city hidden here and the place where we stood is like the elevator to the dungeon.
The man’s slender and powerful fingers gently held his. Xiao Lou perceived this and his ears suddenly turned red. Nothing could be seen in the darkness and the feeling of his hand being held was especially clear. Xiao Lou heard the sound of his heart beating violently.
Yu Hanjiang’s lips were slightly raised. He could detect Professor Xiao’s tension. Xiao Lou’s fingers were smooth and delicate, unlike his fingers that were full of calluses. He held Professor Xiao’s hand and it felt unexpectedly good. He didn’t want to let go.
One person didn’t struggle and the other was unwilling to let go. The two people held hands like this until there was a loud ‘boom’ in their ears. The elevator stopped and bright lights appeared around them. Xiao Lou acted like he received an electric shock and pulled away.
His ears were a bit red and Xiao Lou took a deep breath to stabilize his heartbeat…
He had been in a hurry to grab Yu Hanjiang’s hand. This was really embarrassing. What would Group Leader Yu think of him?
Yu Hanjiang seemed calm like nothing had happened.
An empty corridor appeared in front of them. After glancing at each other, the two of them took a few steps forward and a mechanical voice was heard in their ears. “Pupil scan… authentication was successful. Xiao Lou, Yu Hanjiang, welcome to the Intelligence Bureau.”
A metal door slowly opened in front of them. Xiao Lou looked at the scene in front of him and was so shocked he couldn’t speak.
They saw an underground factory the size of two football fields with countless mechanical equipment running regularly. There were sophisticated instruments, conveyor belts and production tools. However, there weren’t any factory workers. It was an intelligent assembly line full of robots!
A man was sitting at the operator’s desk and turned around when he heard footsteps. The man looked very young. He was dressed in white and was clean and spotless.
He had a beautiful face and delicate facial features, but he was morbidly pale and his body seemed a bit thin. He had the image of a ‘sick beauty.’ In addition, he was in a wheelchair with a thin blanket covering his legs. Was he unable to walk?
There was a large blackboard in front of them with countless drawings full of formulas. The dense data on the computer on the desk gave people a headache. This person’s wheelchair didn’t need to be turned by hand. It seemed to be equipped with special devices and could move by itself.
He moved the wheelchair in front of the two people and said, “Hello, I’m the director of the Intelligence Bureau, Tang Ci.”
His voice was as cold as the winter spring water. His eyes were extremely calm and his seemingly weak facial features showed a bit of coldness.
Before seeing him, Xiao Lou had imagined many things but had never expected the director to be a beautiful man with disabled legs. Xiao Lou smiled and greeted the other person. “Hello, Mr Tang.”
Yu Hanjiang also spoke in a low voice, “Brother Jiu had us come to see you.”
“I know, he told me.” Seemingly aware of the two men’s doubts about the wheelchair, Tang Ci explained lightly, “My leg injury was after escaping from J of Clubs’ secret room. If you are injured in the S-grade secret rooms, the data won’t be cleared and it will be taken out of the secret room with you. The wheelchair is something I developed myself and it uses buttons to control the direction and speed of movement.
Xiao Lou’s eyes slightly widened. In the previous secret rooms, they had automatically recovered from their injuries, which was equivalent to letting players automatically recover full HP. However, injuries in the S-grade secret rooms will be brought out. In the later stages, they would attack the S-grade rooms and if the injuries accumulated, it would become more difficult to break through.
Yu Hanjiang asked incredulously, “Is this an underground factory?”
Tang Ci replied, “It is my research base. I am a software engineer in reality and I’m responsible for the development of smart robots.”
Xiao Lou looked back and saw a cute one meter high robot putting materials on the conveyor belt.
As expected, the master of learning was too arrogant. Not only did he intrude into the official database of the Card World to let the Intelligence Bureau gain the data of challengers, he also created an underground factory for himself in the Card World?
Looking back at his wheelchair, Xiao Lou really felt admiration.
He was physically disabled but he didn’t feel sad and depressed. Instead, he made himself an automatic wheelchair. With such a tough personality, it was no wonder that he could become one of the four survivors of Brother Jiu’s team!