Chapter 525 – Crisis
Xiao Lou took the car keys and smiled at Ye Qi. “Let’s go.”
The man’s smile was gentle and his voice was kind. On the surface, he seemed to be no different from the usual Professor Xiao. If it wasn’t for Xiao Lou leaving a secret code for his teammates in advance, Ye Qi would’ve almost believed that this person was the real Xiao Lou.
Yet after experiencing the cloning incident in the Q secret room, Ye Qi had become much more cautious. He had to use the secret code to determine the identity when meeting but he couldn’t be carried away by his emotions. He pretended to be calm and followed Xiao Lou with a smile. “Okay, let’s go as soon as possible! Perhaps Chief Shao has already arrived.”
Ye Qi knew it was a bit risky to do so but he probably wouldn’t be able to find his teammates if he ran away now and gave up on the key clue of Xiao Lou. Moreover, would it be useful to escape if this Xiao Lou wanted to kill him? He had none of his cards…
Xiao Lou took Ye Qi down the elevator and they came to the school’s parking area. He headed to his white car and Ye Qi consciously sat in the back seat.
After getting in the car, it wasn’t known if it was done out of habit or was intentional but Xiao Lou pressed the door lock button.
Ye Qi’s heart jumped when he heard the sound of the car door locking. He wouldn’t be able to open the car door if the driver didn’t unlock it. In other words, there were only the two of them in this enclosed car space. He would be too wronged if Xiao Lou drove him to the wilderness, killed him and discarded his corpse.
Ye Qi calmly lowered the car window by half and smiled. “It is a bit stuffy in the car. Professor Xiao, can I open the window for a while?” Fortunately, the window of this car could be lowered. If it was really dangerous, he had the option of going out the window to escape.
Xiao Lou smiled from the driver’s seat. “Feel free.”
Ye Qi asked casually, “By the way, have you contacted Group Leader Yu? Do you want to stop by the police station to find him?”
Xiao Lou started the car and said gently, “I haven’t made contact yet. Since we made an appointment to meet at the fountain in the central square, perhaps Group Leader Yu had already rushed over. Let’s go there first.”
Ye Qi’s heart was beating like a drum.
On the surface, this Xiao Lou looked no different from Professor Xiao but he was actually full of loopholes.
First of all, if they really returned to the past then Xiao Lou would definitely contact Yu Hanjiang first. It was because he and Yu Hanjiang already knew each other before entering the Card World. Xiao Lou knew Yu Hanjiang’s real number and it was impossible for him to not contact Group Leader Yu.
Secondly, Xiao Lou had the identity of Professor Xiao of the Jiangzhou Medical University. He would definitely go to the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine to find Liu Qiao. After all, he and Liu Qiao were a teacher and student. It was very convenient to find someone at school yet he didn’t mention a word about Liu Qiao.
There was also the big loophole of the ‘code word error’. The secret code that Xiao Lou whispered in the ears of his teammates would only be known by the real Xiao Lou and his teammates. Fortunately, Xiao Lou and Ye Qi were meticulous and had everyone set a secret code before entering the secret room. This allowed Ye Qi to debunk the ‘fake Xiao Lou’ in front of him.
The thing that puzzled Ye Qi was that this Xiao Lou didn’t seem to have any intention of attacking him.
Was he trying to ‘lure the snake out of the hole’ and use Ye Qi to lure out the other teammates to resolve them together?
The more Ye Qi thought about it, the more he felt that his conjecture was very likely. This was why Xiao Lou heard him say ‘meet at the fountain’ and immediately suggested driving to the fountain in the central square to find their teammates.
Ye Qi pretended to be looking at the scenery outside the window but his mind was quickly thinking of countermeasures.
Christmas was approaching and the streets were full of a festive atmosphere. The familiar city of Jiangzhou always gave him the illusion of returning to reality.
However, Ye Qi was very clear—none of this was real.
The people and things around him were like an incomparably clear dream. He had to leave this dream as soon as possible and find the real Xiao Lou, Liu Qiao and his teammates before discussing the way to pass the instance.
After organizing his thoughts, Ye Qi chatted with Xiao Lou, pretending that he fully trusted Xiao Lou. Xiao Lou drove in the front and cooperated with Ye Qi. After approximately half an hour, they finally reached the central square.
Xiao Lou found a nearby parking lot to park the car. Then he took Ye Qi to the music fountain in the square.
The central square was the most crowded place in Jiangzhou City. There were several shopping malls and film and television studios. Now it was December 24th. It was close to Christmas and there were Christmas-themed posters hanging everywhere. A Christmas tree that was more than two meters tall was standing in front of the mall directly opposite the square that had colorful lights and red socks hanging from it.
There were many children taking photos and playing around the music fountain. Ye Qi looked around and didn’t see a familiar face. He pretended to be confused. “Haven’t they come yet?”
Xiao Lou looked at Ye Qi. “Don’t worry. Every time we enter a secret room, the location where everyone appears is uncertain. It will take them some time to rush over if they are further away from here.”
The calm and gentle Professor Xiao did have a 90% resemblance to himself.
Ye Qi looked away in a complicated manner. “Professor Xiao, have you eaten lunch?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes, I ate at the school cafeteria.”
Ye Qi rubbed his stomach in distress and his stomach ‘grumbled’ in a timely manner. Ye Qi looked embarrassed. “It was already past lunch then when I went to the cafeteria in the afternoon so I rushed to Jiangzhou Medical University to look for you. I found out that you had a public lecture in the afternoon and went to the classroom to wait for you…”
Xiao Lou heard the sound of his stomach grumbling with hunger and couldn’t help smiling. “Are you hungry?”
Ye Qi helplessly scratched his head and explained with a red face, “I have experienced the Nightmare secret room and went hungry for seven consecutive days. Then last time, Chief Shao and I were sent to the famine timeline and had to eat leaves every day to survive. I don’t know if it is due to always being hungry but as long as I don’t eat a meal on time, my stomach will start to protest…”
Xiao Lou nodded in understanding. “You might be suffering from stomach problems due to starvation. Let’s go to eat. In any case, our teammates haven’t arrived yet.”
Ye Qi looked around and pointed to the Western restaurant on the top floor of the shopping mall near the edge of the square. “Can I eat Western food? According to my classmates, the steak and pasta at this restaurant are super delicious.”
“Okay, I will treat you.”
Ye Qi was secretly relieved. He pretended to be excited and led Xiao Lou to the Western restaurant.
The ‘music fountain’ that he mentioned before was naturally a false codeword. The meeting point set by Xiao Lou was the largest Western restaurant in the city and the largest Western restaurant in Jiangzhou City was in the central square area. More importantly, the location of the Western restaurant meant they could completely see the square.
Assuming that there were other teammates in this world, they would definitely come to the assembly point. Xiao Lou and Ye Qi appeared at the fountain in the square and their teammates would be able to see their movements from the windows of the Western restaurant.
Ye Qi’s action of pretending to be hungry and rubbing his stomach was a danger warning!
The ideal situation was that at his time, his teammates were already waiting by the windows on the second floor. After seeing Ye Qi’s password, they would infer that the Xiao Lou with Ye Qi was a hunter and prepare in advance.
Ye Qi used the excuse of being hungry to deceive Xiao Lou to go to the restaurant. This was actually luring him to enter the trap.
Of course, Ye Qi could only face Xiao Lou alone if none of his teammates were present.
Ye Qi was very nervous during the process of taking the elevator upstairs with Xiao Lou. It wasn’t until he heard the ding of the elevator stopping at the top floor that Ye Qi took a deep breath and followed Xiao Lou.
Xiao Lou nodded gently to the reception staff.
The waiter hurried over. “The two of you, this way please.”
The two of them followed the waiter all the way to the window of a private room. Suddenly, Ye Qi saw a familiar figure out of the corner of his eyes. His heartbeat accelerated and his fingers in his pockets clenched excitedly.
—It was Chu Huaying.
She wore dark blue skinny jeans, flat boots and a simple brown turtleneck sweater. Her hair was in a neat ponytail and sunglasses covered most of her face. She looked very handsome.
She might be wearing sunglasses but Ye Qi could recognize her instantly.
Ye Qi pressed his left hand to his stomach and rubbed it twice clockwise and then counterclockwise. Then he pretended to take an excited step forward. “Sister Ying, why are you here?”
Chu Huaying answered casually, “It is too noisy outside. I came here for a cup of coffee while waiting for everyone.”
This code phrase was right.
Chu Huaying’s codeword was set based on the location designated by Xiao Lou. This matched the scene and made the dialogue more natural.
Ye Qi was overjoyed. The hunters shouldn’t know the real place they agreed to meet so the Chu Huaying who appeared in the restaurant was most likely the real one. Now that he recognized her and heard the secret signal, Ye Qi’s wariness alleviated a lot.
He rubbed his stomach clockwise twice before stopping. He said with a smile, “I didn’t eat lunch and I’m starving to death. I brought Professor Xiao over to eat something first.”
Chu Huaying looked at Xiao Lou and politely extended her hand. “Professor Xiao, please take a seat.”
Xiao Lou shook hands with her but the moment their fingers touched, Chu Huaying’s hand reached out like a snake. She quickly clasped Xiao Lou’s wrist and threw him violently over her shoulder. She actually threw the 1.8 meters tall Xiao Lou straight to the ground!
Her movements were extremely quick. In the blink of an eye, she twisted Xiao Lou’s arms behind his back. She took off the rubber band tying her hair and tightly bound Xiao Lou’s wrist with the strong rubber band. She pressed one knee to Xiao Lou’s back and at the same time, her right hand chopped down hard like a knife, accurately hitting Xiao Lou’s neck and causing him to faint.
Xiao Lou probably hadn’t expected Chu Huaying to act as soon as they met. He became dizzy and then lost consciousness.
Ye Qi, “……”
Wasn’t Sister Ying too heroic?
Looking at the unconscious Xiao Lou, Ye Qi was dumbfounded. What did this sister do in reality? The series of neat and clear actions just now were dazzling to Ye Qi. It wasn’t any worse than Group Leader Yu and Brother Jiu.
Could it be that she was also part of the special forces?
Chu Huaying met Ye Qi’s gaze and casually brushed her hair that was messy due to the release of the rubber band behind her head. She dragged the fainted Xiao Lou to the seat and closed the door of the private room with her hand. She softly told Ye Qi, “This is the world of December 24th. I happened to have a car accident that day. The moment I opened my eyes, a large truck rushed toward me. If I hadn’t reacted fast enough, I might’ve died again.”
Ye Qi was frightened when he heard it. “Have you seen any of our other teammates?’
Chu Huaying shook her head. “I called Chief Shao but he didn’t know who I am. I haven’t met any other teammates. I remembered how Professor Xiao said to meet in the Western restaurant and rushed here as soon as possible.” She paused and added, “Just now, you were in the square with Professor Xiao and I saw your movements suggesting that he is a hunter.”
Ye Qi nodded. “Yes, the secret code doesn’t match. In addition, I met Liu Qiao and Group Leader Yu. Neither of them knows me.”
Chu Huaying frowned slightly. “It seems that this time, everyone has been sent to different worlds in groups. We are in Jiangzhou on December 24th. This world’s Chief Shao, Group Leader Yu, Liu Qiao and Professor Xiao aren’t themselves.”
Ye Qi wondered, “Is it another group task? Then what exactly is the mission goal?”
As if his question was heard, some information popped up in the floating boxes of the two people.
[First link of the relay mission: Find all the hunters in the world and live until January 3rd.]
[The first hunter ‘Xiao Lou’ has been found and you have acquired the ‘Ye Qi Card Pack x1’ and Chu Huaying Card Pack x1’.]
Ye Qi and Chu Huaying were both stunned. Then the familiar card packs appeared in their pockets.
Ye Qi’s expression soon turned ugly. “I understand! We are in the world of December 24th and there must be teammates waiting for us in the world of January 3rd. It can be understood that everyone is grouped into different serial instances and must complete the relay tasks to enter the next instance and meet the next batch of teammates. As long as one link is wrong…”
Chu Huaying raised an eyebrow. “All members will be eliminated.”
Everyone understood the meaning of a relay race.
12 people completed the relay tasks. If one of the links went wrong, the task could never be completed.
This was the biggest difficulty of the two jokers secret room.
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten