Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang finished lunch and headed to Tang Ci’s room. The other team members had already arrived. After a few hours of rest, they had all recovered their energy. Tang Ci looked at Xiao Lou and wondered, “Next, do you want to stay in the City of the Sun to continue investigating this Bai Jinyu or go directly to the next level?”
Xiao Lou answered, “I suggest going to the next level. Bai Jinyu must be prepared now. Even if we continue to look, we might not be able to find clues. Moreover, Brother Jiu’s identity has been revealed and hunters might come at any time. It isn’t safe to stay.”
Lu Jiuchuan also agreed with Xiao Lou. He walked up to Tang Ci, looking at the pale man in the wheelchair as he said in a low voice, “Let’s go to the next level first and help you heal your legs. Once your legs regain mobility, we will have a better chance of winning if we encounter hunters again.”
Ye Qi heard the words ‘heal your legs’ and interjected. “The Bug King card can only be used in the Spades and Clubs rooms. Shall we go to Q of Spades or Q of Clubs?”
Yu Hanjiang stated, “Let’s go to Spades. In any case, both the survival and challenge rooms aren’t easy.”
They finished the discussion and entered the personal space. All four keepers were present. The little loli was still eating the cake while ignoring their presence. The Clubs teenager spoke with a blank expression. “You are about to face the S-grade secret rooms. Are you ready?”
“Yes.” Xiao Lou took out the Jump a Level card obtained from the World Weekly secret room and said, “We have decided to skip the ‘J’ row of secret rooms.”
A of Clubs wondered, “Are you afraid of encountering J of Clubs cat and mouse game?”
Lu Jiuchuan shrugged and generously admitted it. “Yes, I have experienced the cat and mouse game before and don’t want to do it again. It doesn’t feel good to be a mouse chased by 10 times the number of cats.”
A of Clubs told him, “The S-grade secret rooms aren’t repeated. Your previous team entered J of Clubs and got the 15 vs 150 cat and mouse game. This time it might not be the same.”
Lu Jiuchuan raised an eyebrow. “The game situation has changed but you still want us to directly confront the hunters, right?”
The Clubs teenager didn’t deny it and countered, “It is a challenge secret room. If you don’t want to fight the hunters, do you want to fight us four keepers directly?”
This counter-question made everyone speechless. The strength of the four keepers wasn’t clear to everyone but they could change the flow of time and even monitor the movements of all the challengers. Previously, Lu Jiuchuan casually complained in the labyrinth that the loli was abnormal and it was heard by her. Obviously, nothing in the secret rooms was out of their control.
Fighting against these four people? That was just looking for death!
Xiao Lou skipped this topic. “Next, we will choose Q of Spades.”
A of Spades still wore his sunglasses and the corners of his lips slightly curved up as he looked at Xiao Lou. “In fact, you still have another choice. Do you remember the 10th level?”
Yu Hanjiang remembered the organ trafficking case and couldn’t help frowning. “You mean, the four-in-one hidden secret room?”
A of Spades nodded. “Yes. You performed very well in this week’s World Weekly and you were ranked first among all the challengers in the world. In order to reward you, we have created hidden secret rooms for both the Q and K levels. I shouldn’t need to talk about the benefits of the hidden secret rooms?”
Previously, they had been to the 10th level and there were naturally a lot of benefits.
First of all, the four-in-one secret room saved a lot of time. It had the same background and was equivalent to passing through four levels at one time.
Secondly, the rewards for the hidden room were extremely rich. After passing it, every person would be rewarded with an S-grade card. The total rewards from clearing the Hearts, Spades, Diamonds and Clubs secret room separately definitely weren’t as high as the hidden secret room. The card rewards for Hearts and Diamonds were usually in the range of 2-4 while Spades and Clubs often didn’t give cards as rewards.
They had skipped the J level so it was natural to choose the hidden secret room that gave more rewards.
However, the hidden secret rooms had its own disadvantage—the difficulty would increase. In the 10th level, Shao Qingge’s adoptive mother was actually the final boss. Xiao Lou and the others were also kidnapped and almost had their organs removed. Moreover, the team members were old, weak, sick, disabled or pregnant, with various mobility difficulties. They felt scared thinking about it again.
If the Q level became a hidden secret room, what would the difficulty be?
Xiao Lou walked to his teammates and asked everyone for their opinions softly. “What do you think? Do you want to pass through all the rooms or go straight to the hidden secret room?”
Lu Jiuchuan answered, “I suggest the hidden secret room. Going through the four secret rooms one by one is too troublesome. All the S-grade secret rooms are difficult. We can die at any time in Spades and Clubs, Hearts might be a serial murderer and we can be tossed into a messy labyrinth by Diamonds. It is better to get it done at once then four times in a row.”
Tang Ci told him, “Our previous team hasn’t been to a hidden secret room. The difficulty of the four-in-one room won’t be any lower than the individual Clubs and Spades… are you sure you want to go to the hidden secret room?”
Chu Huaying looked like it didn’t matter. “I can go anywhere.”
Gui Yuanzhang said, “Now Xiao Lou is the captain. Professor Xiao can decide.”
Xiao Lou was silent for a moment before glancing back at A of Spades. “For the four-in-one secret room, our cards won’t be disabled?”
A of Spades nodded. “Of course.”
Their cards weren’t disabled. This meant that Tang Ci’s legs could be treated as soon as possible.
Xiao Lou continued. “What about the rewards? Is it the same as last time? One S-grade card per person?”
A of Spades gently flicked his fingers and 12 golden treasure chests appeared in front of everyone. “This is the custom of the hidden secret room. If you smoothly clear it, you will get one treasure chest per person. The specific card depends on luck. There is also an extra reward: The SS rarity card, Time Reversal. It can turn back time up to 5 hours.”
Reversing time?! Wasn’t this card too much?
Reversing time by five hours meant that if they cleared the Q secret room and came to the K or SS secret room, they could go back five hours and start again if one of their team members died.
It was just like failing a boss fight in the game. They could load the file from five hours ago and try it again? Another scenario was if a team member died. They could go back five hours and let their teammate avoid death. Such a strong card made everyone decide in an instant.
Everyone expressed their opinion. “Go to the hidden secret room.”
“Every person will receive one card and there is the additional reward of Time Reversal. This is much richer than doing the rooms separately!”
”That’s right. It will also save time since we can get it done at once.”
The 10th level was difficult but it wasn’t to the point of being impossible. They succeeded and got 8 S-grade cards as well as the very rare team resurrection card.
This time, there was the addition of Brother Jiu, Mr Tang, Sister Huaying and Senior Gui. The team’s combat effectiveness had greatly improved. In addition to Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou, Mr Tang’s logical thinking ability was very strong and he was a top hacker. If they encountered a modern version of a secret room, Tang Ci could hack someone else’s computer to check information…
Thus, there was no need to worry too much.
Xiao Lou thought of this and said, “Then go to the hidden secret room.”
The four keepers asked simultaneously, “Have you decided?”
The Hearts sister’s royal voice, the Diamonds loli’s childish voice, the youthful, cold voice of the Clubs teenager and the deep, adult male voice of Spades mixed together. Each syllable was in sync and the strange mix made people feel numb. They always felt that the four keepers were asking them with pity, “Are you ready to die?”
Xiao Lou coughed. “We’ve thought about it. We will go to the hidden secret room.”
Four cards flew out at the same time.
Q of Hearts, Q of Diamonds, Q of Clubs and Q of Spades quickly superimposed and merged together in the air.
There was a soft black and red light that intertwined around the cards. Xiao Lou stretched out a finger and lightly touched the card. The next moment, the vision of the team turned black. They woke up again and notifications popped up on their floating boxes.
[Star Calendar Year 3000, the Stellan Federation.]
[This secret room isn’t limited in time and there are no special tasks. You can even stay here forever.]
Xiao Lou couldn’t help feeling startled when he read this.
There was no task or time limit. This sounded easy but it made him more worried.
If there were no special tasks then it showed that the clues on the Hearts side weren’t easy to find in a targeted manner. ‘Stay here forever’. This sentence was simply a big pit, meaning that if they couldn’t get out of this secret room smoothly, don’t even talk about returning to reality. They might die here.
Xiao Lou watched the surroundings warily.
This was an enclosed room with a super large bed that was over 2.5 meters in length and width. The room was very luxuriously decorated with crystal chandeliers, thick carpets, a separate dressing room and a large bathroom over 8 square meters with a round bathtub large enough to accommodate three adults.
Xiao Lou was wearing loose home clothes. He walked into the dressing room and found that all the clothes inside were formal.
Tuxedos, suits… even white evening clothes with gold trim and matching fine boots. There were many ties, bow ties and cuffs on the table in the middle of the dressing room. The size of the clothes matched his body. So what was his identity in this world?
Xiao Lou was sitting next to the bed, intending to use Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings to contact Yu Hanjiang when a notification appeared on the floating box. [You are in a card restricted zone and you can’t use any cards.]
Xiao Lou, “……”
A of Spades was a big liar! Just now, he said there were no restrictions on the cards. Why was there a card restricted zone? It was the same as a test paper being issued. Once he turned to the back, there were additional questions worth a very high amount of points.
It was impossible to use cards so Xiao Lou could only carefully collect clues in the room and sort out his memories.
At the same time.
The moment Lu Jiuchuan opened his eyes, he saw that he was in a place similar to a closed command room. He was sitting on a silver metal chair with a blue holographic screen in front of him with many galaxy symbols on them. A small green dot was flashing rapidly on the map. Along with the dot, there were detailed navigation paths.
Directly behind the holographic screen was a vast starry sky.
Countless stars dotted the dark sky. Occasionally, he could see meteors slipping by. Such a magnificent starry sky scene stunned Lu Jiuchuan. He thought about the ‘Star Calendar Year 3000, Stellan Federation’ that he saw when he entered the secret room and Lu Jiuchuan couldn’t help cursing in a low voice, “F*k, this is the future interstellar time?!”
Just then, the command room door opened automatically.
Tang Ci looked calm as he moved in a wheelchair to Lu Jiuchuan.
He looked up and observed Lu Jiuchuan, who was wearing a black military uniform and hat with several gold stars on his shoulders. The belt was tied tightly around his waist and his legs were straight and long. The army boots on his feet were polished brightly, almost reflecting the cold light of the roof.
The man’s appearance was undoubtedly handsome but there was a 5 cm long scar on the side of his face, ruining this flawless face. The scar wasn’t ugly but it added a bit of fierceness to his face.
The cold eyes melted into a warm color after meeting Tang Ci’s eyes.
Lu Jiuchuan walked quickly in front of Tang Ci and spoke with a gentle gaze, “What are you looking at?”
Tang Ci was startled and his voice was soft. “It seems you haven’t worn a military uniform for a long time…”
Lu Jiuchuan took off the hat that was obstructing him and smiled. “Do you think I look handsome in a military uniform? In fact, our navy uniform is also handsome. This black color actually reduces the value of my appearance.”
Tang Ci ignored this person who was shamelessly showing off his good looks. He moved his wheelchair to the interstellar navigation map and asked, “Did the guards install the memories of your identity?”
The moment he spoke, Lu Jiuchuan’s mind was suddenly filled with many memories of this world. Lu Jiuchuan raised an eyebrow and pressed hard against his temple to relieve the pain from the influx of information into his mind.
Tang Ci spoke lightly. “From what I know, you are the commander of the Arrow Corps and the youngest major general of the Locke Empire. You have just finished a battle and you are flying the warship back. I am your… adjutant. I should be a military commander? In the previous battle, I was attacked by a warship when driving my mecha. I was injured and lost both my legs.”
His voice was calm, like the story he was telling had nothing to do with him.
Lu Jiuchuan gently placed a hand on this person’s shoulder. The keeper had modified the reasons for Tang Ci’s leg injury. In fact, Tang Ci’s legs were directly cut off by someone in the Nightmare Room…
It was a scar deep in Tang Ci’s memories that he didn’t want to uncover.
Lu Jiuchuan didn’t talk about the legs and changed the subject. “How much do you know about the world view?”
Tang Ci took out a bracelet from his pocket, opened the portable communicator and tapped it with his finger. A 50 cm wide holographic screen with a complete interstellar map appeared in front of him. He pointed at the map and said, “The Stellan Federation is the human alliance composed of several countries. The country we are from is called the Locke Empire and it is the largest country in the Stellan Federation.”
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin thoughtfully. “Empire? Is it a constitutional monarchy?”
“To be precise, it should be a dual constitutional monarchy. His Majesty’s power is above the Parliament. All major decrees need to be signed by His Majesty. He can also appoint the prime minister and members of the Parliament, who are the first leaders of the country. Another key message is that His Majesty isn’t in good health. This time, we are urgently called back to the palace.”
Lu Jiuchuan felt helpless. “It shouldn’t be another attempt to usurp the throne, right?”
In 8 of Hearts, they experienced an ancient political fight and palace fighting script. Gui Yuanzhang was the elderly emperor and Lu Jiuchuan was the general who needed to help the emperor quell the rebellion…
He didn’t want to do such a thing again in today’s interstellar world.
Lu Jiuchuan gently rubbed his temples with his fingers. The keepers had instilled a lot of information in his mind. He had to digest it slowly and sort it out one by one. At this time, Tang Ci suddenly spoke. “The interesting thing is that the emperor this time isn’t Old Gui. The royal family of the Locke Empire has the surname of Xiao.”
Lu Jiuchuan’s fingers that pressed to his temples stiffened. “Xiao… Lou?”
A handsome young man in white, exquisite clothing appeared in his mind. It was Xiao Lou from his instilled memories.
However, in this world, Xiao Lou was His Majesty’s only son.
Lu Jiuchuan’s mouth twitched. “Xiao Lou is the only prince of the empire?”
Tang Ci looked calm. “Yes.”
Lu Jiuchuan swore. “Then what about my brother?”
“Yu Hanjiang’s rank is also a major general. He is the captain of the royal guards and protects the crown prince personally.”
“…The keepers are really f*king good at arranging things!”
Meanwhile, Yu Hanjiang was looking at the mirror while wearing a military uniform and frowning.
The royal guards wore a white military uniform. The man in the mirror had wide shoulders, a narrow waist and long legs. His perfect inverted triangle figure made him seem even more upright and he wore a sharp sword at his waist.
He wanted to try and use his cards but a notification appeared that said: [You are in a card restricted zone and you can’t use any cards.]
Card restricted zone?
Yu Hanjiang opened the window and looked out.
This should be the imperial palace. The white castle-like complex of buildings was arranged in an orderly manner. The towering Gothic style looked extremely magnificent and the floor of the palace was covered with spotless, white marble bricks. The square in front was neatly lined with neat lawns, flower beds and there was a circular fountain.
Not far away, there were royal guards in a white uniform like his, patrolling back and forth. The guards were tall, upright and walked neatly. Their expressions revealed the dignity that belonged to those who served royalty.
Yu Hanjiang closed his eyes and carefully recalled the memories that the keepers had instilled in him.
He joined the army at the age of 18, graduated from the Ninth Military Academy with honors at the age of 22 and entered the royal guards. Seven years later, he became the captain and was responsible for ensuring the safety of the only crown prince of the empire.
Long Sen was also a member of the royal guards but his duty was to protect His Majesty. Qu Wanyue was his wife and a dancer. Lu Jiuchuan was Yu Hanjiang’s cousin and he also graduated from the Ninth Military Academy. He was currently the commander of the Arrow Corps. Tang Ci was Lu Jiuchuan’s adjutant, a graduate of the mecha department and a genius at operating mechas.
Apart from them, the information of other people couldn’t be found in his memories. This meant that Yu Hanjiang still didn’t ‘know’ his other teammates for the time being, nor did he know what identity the keepers arranged for everyone. At present, the most important thing was…
His Royal Highness, the crown prince of the empire, was called Xiao Lou. This status was both noble and dangerous. He needed to meet Xiao Lou as soon as possible.
Yu Hanjiang thought of this and immediately turned around to leave. A few of the royal guards who just changed shifts came over. After seeing Yu Hanjiang, they stood at attention and saluted respectfully. “Major General.”
Yu Hanjiang returned the salute and asked, “Where is His Highness?”
A guard answered, “His Highness has just eaten lunch and returned to the Twin Palaces to rest.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. Based on the location in his memories, he turned and walked toward the Twin Palaces where Xiao Lou lived.
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten