Shu Xiaomeng’s group of six sat at the dining table not far away, eating and chatting. Their conversation revolved around Luo Yan, the queen of singing. Some of them had liked Luo Yan since high school. Their phone ringtones and alarm clocks were all songs by the goddess. It could be seen that they were indeed Luo Yan’s diehard fans. On the surface, there was no problem with them going to her 20th anniversary concert.
Ye Qi searched for Luo Yan’s information and whispered to his teammates, “This singing queen has more than 80 million fans. Judging from online evaluations, she isn’t just good at singing. She is also very talented. She has written many popular songs herself and is modest and gentle. Few people can match her status in the music scene. Several well-known singers in today’s music scene are students brought out by her. These people will also act as special guests to help this concert.”
Shao Qingge raised his eyebrow. “Will there be an entertainment circle murder like the 9 of Hearts case?”
They remembered the entertainment circle murders of 9 of Hearts. The complex interpersonal relationship in the entertainment industry opened everyone’s eyes. Three days later, the concert in the City of the Sun would have many singers participating and everyone always felt that something would happen.
Xiao Lou suddenly thought of a question. He looked at everyone and spoke softly, “Luo Yan is a famous singer in this world. The people who are going to her concert should be the natives of this Card World. Surely there won’t be any foreigners going?”
Old Mo answered, “Not necessarily. There are many foreigners who decided to stay in this world and live here. If they are interested in music then going to a concert isn’t a burden for them. The ticket price of Luo Yan’s concert is nothing compared to the concerts of top singers in our world.”
Shao Qingge agreed. “Yes, I remember the current ticket price for VIP seats in celebrity tickets is more than 2,000 yuan. This is equivalent to 200,000 gold coins. Yet for Luo Yan’s concert, the official price of VIP tickets is 50,00 gold. The very expensive scalper ticket is 200,000 gold. This is almost a quarter of what tickets will cost in reality.”
In other words, in this world, they could buy VIP tickets for 500 yuan and ordinary tickets might be 200. The comparatively low price might attract a large number of challengers to the concert.
Ye Qi couldn’t help sighing when he heard this. “This is really cheap. 500 yuan is just a meal with friends in reality. I didn’t know about this concert. If I had known, I would’ve bought a ticket to see it.”
Liu Qiao said, “If one wasn’t in a hurry to break through then such low ticket prices would indeed be very attractive.”
There must be many challengers with the idea of ‘joining the fun’, especially young people who love music. The low ticket price, the gimmick of the 20th anniversary concert and the special guests meant that idle challengers might indeed buy a ticket to go see it.
Xiao Lou wondered, “By the way, what is the day of the concert again?”
Shao Qingge answered, “Tuesday.”
This was strange. Usually concerts were held on weekends which made it convenient for students and office workers to watch. Yet a Tuesday? Xiao Lou thought carefully and realized a key point. “On weekends, all challengers are forced to enter the World Weekly secret room.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly. “If the concert is held on a weekend, the challengers will have to do the weekly task and won’t be able to go to the concert. But if it’s a Tuesday then challengers are idle. Is this arrangement a coincidence? Or is it to deliberately attract challengers to go to the live concert?”
At present, everything was just guesses without any proof. It was just that everyone felt a bit uneasy. After returning to the carriage after breakfast, Xiao Lou casually made small-talk to a few young passengers. He found that in the entire carriage, one-third of the young people were going to the concert. Luo Yan’s influence in this world was definitely at a level that could be called a queen.
At noon, the train stopped at a midpoint station. There were many people who got off the train. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou went to the conductor to buy tickets and they happened to get eight sleeper carriage tickets. They could take their luggage to the sleeper carriage to rest.
Yu Hanjiang urged his teammates in a low voice, “Watch all the passengers around you. If you find anything wrong then tell me and Xiao Lou immediately. It’s best if nothing goes wrong during this journey. Otherwise, we might have to help solve a case again.”
The replacement tickets were scattered around different carriages. The team members found their own beds to sleep in and followed Yu Hanjiang’s instructions to observe the surrounding passengers.
During the journey, no accidents happened. The 72 hour journey was a bit too calm. Apart from the appearance of Shu Xiaomeng’s group of friends that made them nervous for a while, no other acquaintances or suspicious people were found on the train.
Three days later, the train finally arrived in the City of the Sun.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang deliberately followed Shu Xiaomeng’s group off the train. They reached the exit and no one came to pick them up. The six girls directly grabbed two taxis to take them to their hotel. Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang stopped tracking them after seeing the taxis disappear from sight. They also got two taxis and headed to the New Century Hotel booked by Mr Tang.
The hotel was located by the sea and was a five star sea view hotel.
Unlike the mountain and forest scenery of the City of the Moon, the City of the Sun was a seaside city with coconut trees everywhere along the road. People wore swimsuits and walked barefoot on the beach. Some people lay on the beach and enjoyed the sun. Children crouched down to pick up seashells and young people were surfing in the sea. The lives of the people here were really leisurely.
Ye Qi had been fond of the sea since he was a child. He sat in the taxi and exclaimed upon seeing the blue sea and clean and delicate beaches outside the window, “There is sunshine, the beach and the sea! The scenery of this city feels more beautiful than the City of the Moon!”
Shao Qingge joked, “Would you like to move our house here? I still have a lot of money and can buy a sea view villa here.”
Ye Qi hurriedly waved his hand. “There is no need for such trouble. It is important to go back as soon as possible. I think everything in this world is very unreal, just like a dream. The people’s lives are too good to believe in.”
There was no trash on the beautiful beach. It was unlike some tourist attractions in reality where the beach was dirtied by tourists. The water here was clear like it had been purified and everyone had smiles on their faces like they didn’t need to worry about anything. If there really was a Heaven then this place was probably the so-called ‘Heaven’ right? Yet somehow, Ye Qi felt cold looking at the smiles on the faces of people playing on the beach.
The cars soon arrived at the hotel. Tang Ci had booked four double standard rooms for them in advance. Liu Qiao and Qu Wanyue lived in one and the rest were Ye Qi and Chief Shao, Old Mo and Long Sen, and Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang living together.
After completing the formalities, they took the elevator to the 17th floor, entered and put their luggage down in their room.
The room was large and clean. The French windows on one wall gave a sweeping view of the sea. In the bathroom there was also a bathtub that could accommodate two adults. This was a five star hotel and it was luxuriously decorated. The price shouldn’t be too cheap.
Just as Xiao Lou was about to send a message to Tang Ci to thank him, he received a message from him first, “Go to the seventh floor restaurant. Let’s eat first and I’ll meet you there.”
Xiao Lou took everyone to the restaurant on the seventh floor. They followed the waiter to the VIP room and instantly saw Tang Ci sitting in a wheelchair. This man looked young. He wore a short-sleeved shirt and his clothes were clean and spotless. A thin blanket covered his legs. He had a beautiful appearance and exquisite features but his complexion was a bit sickly. However, he didn’t show the slightest ‘weakness’ of a patient. He was full of aura just sitting there and people didn’t dare to underestimate him.
He saw Xiao Lou and politely nodded. “You came.”
Xiao Lou smiled and introduced him to the team members. “This is the director of the Intelligence Bureau, Tang Ci. Mr Tang, these are my teammates. You should already know them well and I shouldn’t need to introduce them to you one by one?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Yes. Everyone, please sit down.”
Apart from Shao Qingge who had seen Tang Ci before, it was the first time for Ye Qi, Liu Qiao and the others to meet the legendary director of the Intelligence Bureau. They were very curious but meeting his cold eyes, they felt it wasn’t good to be too presumptuous. They had to sit quietly around the round table.
Yu Hanjiang asked bluntly, “Where is my brother?”
Tang Ci answered, “He was in a bit of trouble and couldn’t get away. Don’t worry, Huaying went to pick him up.”
Xiao Lou wondered, “What about Teacher?”
“Old Gui has a dinner tonight and can’t come for the time being. I came to receive everyone as well as discuss the next plan. You must be hungry after sitting on the train for so long. Let’s talk while eating.” Tang Ci pressed the service bell and spoke in a low voice. “Room 3 is ready to be served.”
The hearty meal was quickly served. Garlic prawns, spicy crabs, steamed lobsters, clam tofu soup, abalone as well as a variety of shellfish, pipis and prawns, spicy fried clams… this big table of seafood made the hungry group drool.
Tang Ci explained, “The City of the Sun is rich in seafood. I don’t know if everyone can eat it?”
Ye Qi hurriedly answered, “I can eat it! We ate beef and lamb every day in the City of the Moon. I haven’t eaten seafood for such a long time.”
Shao Qingge smiled. “I will let Mr Tang spend money.”
Tang Ci told them, “Don’t be polite. Eat first and then talk.”
At his words, everyone unceremoniously began eating. Rather than peeling the shrimp and crab, Tang Ci just drank a bowl of soup slowly. He said he had already eaten and wasn’t very hungry now.
Once the seafood table was cleaned up, Xiao Lou asked, “Mr Tang, do you plan to join our team now?”
Tang Ci answered indifferently, “Brother Jiu said that after we meet, we will first do one or two of the weekly secret rooms together to get familiar with each other. Otherwise, if we go directly to the S-grade secret rooms and there is no tacit understanding, we will probably drag each other down.”
Xiao Lou also agreed with this decision. “Indeed, we are completely unfamiliar with the cards of the four of you. We need to learn more about each others cards to make it convenient to cooperate in the S-grade secret rooms. I just don’t know what type of secret room the World Weekly will be.”
The World Weekly was randomly generated every time and it was impossible to choose between Hearts, Spades, Diamonds and Clubs. However, Shao Qingge’s Bug King card could only be used in Spades and Clubs. In other words, if the World Weekly’s secret room this week wasn’t Spades or Clubs then Tang Ci’s legs still couldn’t be cured.
Tang Ci read Xiao Lou’s thoughts and calmly said, “My wheelchair can be brought into the World Weekly secret room. I can move around using it. I have already tried it so there is no need to worry if it is a Hearts or Diamonds secret room.”
Xiao Lou sighed with relief and nodded. “The World Weekly starts on Saturday. We will use the remaining few days to get to know each other first. Should I dissolve the contract book? Then once Brother Jiu comes back, everyone will sign Brother Jiu’s book together?”
“Brother Jiu means for you to be the captain. The four of us will release our contract and sign on your side.”
Xiao Lou was startled. “Brother Jiu really said that?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Yes, this time he wants you and Yu Hanjiang to be the leaders. Besides, it is the same no matter where you sign. We are a team as long as we are on the same contract book.”
There was no need to argue too much about this. Since Lu Jiuchuan believed in them so much, Xiao Lou wouldn’t decline. “Okay. We are going to attend the concert of Goddess Luo Yan tonight. Mr Tang, have you received any news about the hunters?”
Tang Ci shook his head. “They are concealing their actions really well this time. Forget myself, even Brother Jiu can’t find the organization’s specific target. Brother Jiu just found out that some hunters came to the City of the Sun so he sent us an alert. Old Gui is using his contacts to investigate and I’m also using my intelligence network. At present, the most likely event is the concert.”
He turned on the laptop he carried and opened a file. It was the floor plan of Luo Yan’s concert. The huge stadium could hold nearly 100,000 spectators and all tickets had been sold out. Each seat was marked either blue or red. Xiao Lou asked in a puzzled manner, “What do the different colors mean?”
Tang Ci’s eyes flashed sharply as he spoke slowly, “The blue are tickets bought by natives. The red tickets are the challengers.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned when he heard this and pointed to the distribution map. “You mean, the red seats are tickets bought by the challengers? Why is it so concentrated? Based on this distribution, areas A, B, E and F are for natives while C and D are for challengers. Didn’t the tickets for the concert go on sale at the same time?”
Tang Ci explained, “I hacked into the ticketing system of the official website and found that they had set up an internal program. The tickets of this concert might’ve been released at the same time for everyone to buy together but the internal program classified the seats. You need to register an ID card when buying. Once it is found that the ID card of the ticket buyer is a foreigner, the other areas will automatically be locked and only tickets for areas C and D can be bought.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang looked at each other, a chill going down their spines at the same time. ID card lock to buy tickets? Wasn’t this forcing challengers to sit in areas C and D?
Xiao Lou couldn’t believe it. “For a 100,000 person concert, the challengers are concentrated in a certain area by secretly classifying the tickets sold. What do they want to do?”
Tang Ci said, “This is what I am also puzzled about.”
In fact, if it wasn’t for Tang Ci being a top hacker who could hack into the ticketing system of the official website to discover this secret, no one would’ve thought that buying tickets for the concert would be based on ID.
The challengers and natives who bought the tickets must have no idea that there would be problems with the location of the tickets they grabbed. 100,000 tickets were released at the same time and all of them were sold within 5 minutes. Those who could get tickets would just feel lucky. Who would care if the location was in area A or area C?
Ye Qi whispered, “If the hunters did this, perhaps they planted a bomb in areas C and D?”
Tang Ci shook his head. “In the main city, explosives and guns are all controlled products and can’t be used freely. Many of our cards will also be banned. Besides, such a large concert will have security checks. It is impossible to plant a bomb.”
Ye Qi blushed. “I’m just guessing. Then what is their reason for concentrating the challengers in one area?”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. The hunters had an extremely strong hatred for these challengers. There might be tens of thousands of challengers gathered together but there were also a large number of natives. Surely they wouldn’t blow up the concert venue, right? Then what was the conspiracy?
Yu Hanjiang saw that the time had reached 6:30 p.m. and stood up. “I will go with the concert in person with Xiao Lou to check it.”
Tang Ci looked at him. “Where did you manage to buy tickets?”
Shao Qingge smiled. “I bought two scalper tickets online for a high price. They’re both in area A and are seated tickets.”
Originally, Shao Qingge wanted to buy a few more. However, the concert was about to begin and the online scalper tickets available were limited. It wasn’t easy to get even two tickets. He sent the redemption code of the e-tickets to Yu Hanjiang’s phone. “You can use this ticket collection code to get the ticket at the door.”
Tang Ci looked at the two of them. “Be careful.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality