CR: Wine and Sugar – Extra Seven

At night, Tang Ci was carrying a black backpack and walking briskly on a dirt road in the suburbs. The bag was full of milk, chocolate, biscuits and mineral water…

This was the fourth day of the Financial Crisis secret room.

Most of the challengers lived in the Shanshui Guesthouse with relatively good conditions. Tang Ci had carefully investigated the surrounding environment on the first day of entering the secret room and found there were no empty rooms in the entire guesthouse when he came to the Shanshui Guesthouse.

Tang Ci’s intuition told him it wasn’t quite right.

The surrounding guesthouses all cost around 150 for a night. Only the Shanshui Guesthouse was 100 per night. It was almost writing a sign that said ‘my house is cheap. I welcome all challengers to stay here.’

Could it be a trap?

He always felt it was too easy for a large number of challengers to gather in one place. Therefore, after learning that the Shanshui Guesthouse was full, Tang Ci immediately turned around and left. He decided that for the seven days he would be in the Financial Crisis world, he wouldn’t look for guesthouses or hotels. It was better to walk around the city and find some safe places to camp. This would save a lot of accommodation costs.

Tang Ci made up his mind. That night, he went to the supermarket to buy a particularly large travel backpack. He stocked up on some essential food and bought a tent to stuff into the bag.

For the next few days, he hid in the streets with the bag on his back during the day and he went camping in the outskirts at night.

The construction site was discovered by him this afternoon. It was empty due to the workers going on strike with no figure to be seen. This made it the best hiding place for challengers

It was just that he obviously couldn’t enter the construction site during the day. He took advantage of the silence of the night to rush to the construction site alone.

He saw that the construction site was right in front of him when two tall men came out of the forest nearby. One of them stopped in front of Tang Ci while the other held a dagger. The sharp blade accurately pressed against Tang Ci’s throat.

A low voice entered his ear. “Put the bag down and we will spare your life.”

Tang Ci was blocked and about to be robbed but he wasn’t flustered. His face was as calm as usual and his voice was cold like it had been washed by ice water. “The two of you are also challengers, right?”

The man behind him pressed the dagger forward, leaving a distinct bloody mark on Tang Ci’s white neck. “Don’t talk nonsense. Leave the bag and get out of here immediately.”

Tang Ci was silent for a few seconds before coldly asking, “The two of you were staying in the Shanshui Guesthouse and had your supplies stolen or robbed, correct?”

The challenger in front of him was stunned. He was apparently surprised that Tang Ci could guess their experience. Tang Ci calmly told them, “Shanshui Guesthouse has a large number of challengers and it is easy to get into trouble. You couldn’t keep your supplies so you wanted to grab other people’s supplies to clear the instance? Unfortunately… even if you snatch my bag, you might not be able to survive until the seventh day.”

The two men glanced at each other, seemingly hesitant.

The man behind Tang Ci was obviously irritable and pushed Tang Ci hard. “We will have supplies and how to pass the level is our business. We won’t bother you.”

He was about to grab Tang Ci’s backpack when a black shadow flashed beside him. The shadow’s actions were as fast as lightning. Before Tang Ci could react to what was going on, he heard a scream from behind him!

The arm joint of the man behind him was twisted and dislocated with a ‘click’. Tang Ci’s neck was released and he immediately broke free from the opponent’s control. The person who stopped in front of Tang Ci noticed that something was wrong and wanted to turn around to run away. As a result, the shadow caught up with the opponent in two or three steps. He grabbed the back of the opponent’s collar like a small animal and swept his long leg violently. The opponent neatly fell to the ground.

It all happened in just three seconds.

By the time Tang Ci’s mind returned, he found that the two people who blocked the way to rob him had fallen to the ground. One of them was holding his arm and screaming in pain while the other had a face full of dust from falling and was in a state of embarrassment.

The black shadow stopped beside Tang Ci. He patted the dust off his body and played with the dagger he had snatched from the robber with a smile. “The two of you are really shameless. You can still rob someone so righteously like this?”

The man’s voice was low and pleasant with a hint of playfulness in the rising final tone.

Tang Ci looked up and saw that the man was nearly 1.9 meters tall with a slender and straight body. He wore simple sportswear and carried a backpack in the same style as Tang Ci on his shoulders.

The dark clouds in the sky dissipated and moonlight sprinkled down softly. The man’s face gradually became clear. It was a very recognizable face with sword-like eyebrows and starry eyes. It had a strong outline and there was a clear smile on his face that made his facial features very vivid and handsome.

Tang Ci’s heartbeat inexplicably accelerated when he saw the handsome side profile of the man next to him. Tang Ci hurriedly and quietly put away the card in his hand.

In fact, if this person hadn’t shown up then he planned to send the S-grade mechanical spiders to deal with the two people blocking the way. Unexpectedly, someone suddenly appeared and performed the ‘hero saving the beauty show’, so Tang Ci hid his card.

The man kicked the two people who had fallen to the ground with disgust. “Get lost. If you lost your supplies, you actually went to rob someone else. Based on your skills, I don’t think you will live long.”

The two men ran away with dark expressions.

The man turned back and looked at Tang Ci with a smile. “Are you Tang Ci?”

Tang Ci was stunned. “How do you know my name?”

The man raised an eyebrow. “I am your teammate Lu Jiuchuan.”

Lu Jiuchuan saw Tang Ci’s slightly wide eyes and pressed a hand against his temple. “Didn’t you see the notification in the floating box when entering the secret room? You were randomly matched with a teammate and the two of us happened to be matched to a team.”

Tang Ci, “……”

It turned out to be teammates. No wonder why this man saved him just now.

Lu Jiuchuan joked, “You can really hide! I’ve been looking for you for the past few days but couldn’t find anyone called Tang Ci at the guesthouses, hotels, streets and alleys. I was wondering if you were eliminated. Just now, I wanted to go to the suburban construction site when I saw you being stopped and robbed. Then there was a notification on my floating box that my teammate was nearby.”

Tang Ci, “……”

He heard that Lu Jiuchuan had been looking for him and couldn’t help feeling ashamed. It was because he never thought about looking for this teammate.

He had seen the notification when entering the secret room and that his randomly matched teammate was called Lu Jiuchuan.

In the novice stage, challengers who hadn’t teamed up with others would be randomly matched with teammates. Tang Ci didn’t know this Lu Jiuchuan and he didn’t know how strong the other person was. If Lu Jiuchuan was a type of person with sinister intentions who could betray his teammate at any time to clear the instance then he was likely to be killed by Lu Jiuchuan. Secondly, Tang Ci had always been cautious and liked to make up his own mind when encountering something. He found it troublesome to suddenly have a teammate and to have to discuss what to do with this teammate.

Therefore, Tang Ci decided to act alone and ignored the teammate that the system had matched him with.

However, Lu Jiuchuan had been looking for him for the past few days.

Lu Jiuchuan saw that Tang Ci didn’t speak so he took the initiative to extend his hand. “Mr Tang, hello. Since we have been matched together, let’s work together to clear the secret room.”

Tang Ci stiffly held out a hand and shook it.

Lu Jiuchuan’s fingers were slender and strong and there was a thin layer of calluses. Tang Ci’s hand was a whole circle smaller than his. When shaking hands, Lu Jiuchuan could wrap around Tang Ci’s hand completely.

The moment his hand was held, Tang Ci’s heartbeat accelerated uncontrollably again. He hurriedly pulled back his hand and asked calmly, “Mr Lu, what do you think about this secret room?”

Lu Jiuchuan was stunned by the title of ‘Mr Lu’ and touched his nose with a smile. “Can you not be so serious? Calling me Mr Lu and asking directly about the secret room is like holding a meeting. We are teammates so we might as well… get to know each other first?”

Tang Ci’s face was slightly red. He really felt that his opening remarks were indeed like a company meeting.

He coughed softly and introduced himself. “My name is Tang Ci and I am 27 years old. I graduated from the Department of Software Engineering at the University of Science of Technology. After graduation, I worked as a programmer of a company that develops AI technology.”

Lu Jiuchuan gave a thumbs up in admiration. “Great. I remember that the admission score of the University of Science and Technology is very high, especially the major of software engineering. It basically only recruits the champions from various provinces. So are you a top student?”

Tang Ci’s ears warmed and he said modestly, “In the eyes of others, I am just a nerd.”

Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “It is better than being a learning scumbag like me.”

Tang Ci wondered, “Mr Lu’s skills look very good. It only took you a few seconds to clean up those two people. Have you learned combat skills? You look very professional.”

“I’m part of the navy special forces and have practiced some close combat skills. It is relatively easy for me to deal with ordinary people.” Lu Jiuchuan looked at Tang Ci with a bright smile. “I am a few years older than you. Why don’t you call me Brother Jiu in the future and I’ll call you Xiao Tang? Calling each other Mr Tang and Mr Lu feels strange. The moment you call me Mr Lu, I can’t help but want to stand at attention and shout ‘here’.”

Tang Ci, “……”

This person was really interesting. Tang Ci’s impression was that soldiers should be more serious but Lu Jiuchuan was always smiling and liked to joke around to adjust the atmosphere.

Tang Ci was more relaxed in his heart. He was a stuffy gourd and wasn’t very talkative. Lu Jiuchuan happened to complement him. If he had such a teammate as his companion then clearing the instance would be less tense.

Under Lu Jiuchuan’s smiling gaze, Tang Ci endured his inexplicably accelerated heartbeat and called out softly, “Brother Jiu.”

Lu Jiuchuan nodded with satisfaction. “Yes, this is much more pleasing to the ears. We happened to be randomly matched as teammates and this could also be regarded as destined.” He looked into the distance. “Let’s go to the construction site to occupy a place first. Weren’t you also planning to go there?”

“Yes, there is no one here and I think it will be safer.” Tang Ci followed him into the construction site.

The two of them headed to the room with the widest view in the northeast corner of the third floor.

Tang Ci took out the tent. Lu Jiuchuan helped and the two of them quickly set up the tent.

Lu Jiuchuan asked casually while sorting out the supplies, “Xiao Tang, you have been acting alone for the past few days and didn’t go to me. Were you afraid you would be matched with a pig teammate that would hinder you?”

Tang Ci, “……”

He asked so directly. Tang Ci couldn’t hide it so he explained seriously, “I have bad luck when playing games. If randomly matched to teammates, they would often go afk or disconnect… therefore, I don’t trust the random matching.”

Lu Jiuchuan wondered, “Then do you think I will be the type of pig teammate to go afk or disconnect?”

Tang Ci turned back and the two of them just looked at each other.

The smile on Lu Jiuchuan’s face was particularly dazzling under the moonlight. Tang Ci had seen many handsome guys over the years but for some reason, his heartbeat accelerated uncontrollably when seeing Lu Jiuchuan’s smiling eyes.

Lu Jiuchuan was handsome, cheerful, talkative and acted quickly. He definitely wasn’t a pig teammate. Tang Ci even thought that teaming up with this man to challenge the future secret rooms was better than breaking through alone.

Tang Ci was thinking wildly in his heart but he had no expression on his face.

Lu Jiuchuan reached out a hand and shook it in front of Tang Ci’s eyes. “Xiao Tang? Are you in a daze?”

Tang Ci’s mind returned. His ears heated up slightly as he looked into Lu Jiuchuan’s eyes and said seriously, “How can that be? If I knew Brother Jiu was so powerful, I would’ve gone to look for you on the first day of the secret room.”

Lu Jiuchuan laughed. “It isn’t too late to find me now!”

The sixth day of the Financial Crisis secret room.

The city became a mess and the fire at the Shanshui Guesthouse wiped out almost all challengers.

The mob team launched a surprise attack on the construction site and Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci, who were hiding at the construction site, weren’t spared either. Lu Jiuchuan guarded Tang Ci to break through the siege in the middle of the night. Tang Ci used the mechanical spiders to control the surrounding thugs while Lu Jiuchuan grabbed the firearms from their hands. He opened fire all the way and suppressed the thugs, forcing the thugs out of the construction site!

After all, these thugs weren’t professionals and many of them just temporarily stole the guns. Their marksmanship couldn’t be comparable with Lu Jiuchuan, a special forces soldier. Lu Jiuchuan was aggressive and shot the entire way as he protected Tang Ci and rushed out of the encirclement with him!

Tang Ci immediately removed the spider swarm and followed Lu Jiuchuan into the forest.

Deep in the forest, the two of them found a cave to hide in.

The cave was very small and could barely accommodate two adults. Tang Ci and Lu Jiuchuan were very close together. Tang Ci’s face was almost pressed against Lu Jiuchuan’s firm chest and he could clearly hear the other person’s breathing and heartbeat.

Tang Ci’s entire body stiffened and he didn’t dare to move.

A strange sense of security rose in his heart. He felt at ease as long as Lu Jiuchuan was by his side.

Perhaps it was the man’s superb skills in taking down two people in three seconds, his sharp marksmanship that swept through the crowd and his identity as a soldier that gave Tang Ci a strong sense of security or perhaps it was another reason. On the night he hid in a cave with Lu Jiuchuan, Tang Ci made the most correct decision of his life.

He looked at Lu Jiuchuan and suggested calmly, “Brother Jiu, our cooperation just now went well. Should we sign a contract and become teammates in the future?”

Lu Jiuchuan nodded readily. “Of course. I am alone now and it is so boring to clear the level. There is no one to talk to about anything. If you are willing, we’ll officially form a team before clearing the secret room.”

Their first collaboration was really smooth.

Lu Jiuchuan found that Tang Ci’s calmness was beyond his imagination. No matter what the situation was, Tang Ci could make the most accurate and rational judgment in the face of danger. Lu Jiuchuan’s fighting ability also made Tang Ci feel admiration. Lu Jiuchuan could kill dozens of people effortlessly. Tang Ci would never forget Lu Jiuchuan’s handsome appearance while holding a gun and shooting.

On the seven day, at 11:30 p.m.

There were only 30 minutes left in this secret room.

Tang Ci took out a contract book and handed it to Lu Jiuchuan. “I bought this contract book a long time ago but haven’t met any suitable teammates. I haven’t signed it. Let’s sign it together.”

Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “In fact, I was also worried in the beginning that I would meet a rookie in the random matching. I didn’t expect my teammate to be a scholar with first-class analytical skills. It seems my luck is very good.”

Tang Ci was a bit embarrassed and lowered his head. “My luck is also good to be able to meet Brother Jiu.”

Lu Jiuchuan simply picked up the quill. “Then what are you waiting for? Sign it!”

He wrote the words ‘Lu Jiuchuan’ on the contract book with a big wave of his hand. Then Tang Ci took the quill and signed his name in a dignified manner after it.

The contract book represented that they would live or die together in the future. They would face countless thrilling problems in the Card World side by side. The moment he officially signed his name and saw the smile on Lu Jiuchuan’s face, Tang Ci felt that this might be the most correct decision he had ever made. He thought about being with Brother Jiu on the future road and… his heartbeat couldn’t help speeding up.

Before meeting Lu Jiuchuan, Tang Ci never believed in love at first sight. He always felt that the relationship between people should be a gradual process. How could anyone fall in love with another person at first sight?

However, he believed it after meeting Lu Jiuchuan.

There didn’t need to be so many reasons for liking a person. Some people spent their whole lives together and didn’t like each other. Meanwhile, some people needed just one glance to identify the person they liked.

Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten

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1 year ago

Ah my heart is warmed! I loved it!
But that reminds me about another thing,i know the novel is long so maybe the author forgot about it.In the later chapters,the author clarified that the hunters were failed challengers and they transmigrated into the bodies of the ppl in secret room for missions.But reading this arc reminded about how the boss in the spades 3 room was a free person instead of a failed challenger,so how did these hunters get the natives to join their side? Similarly that singer goddess who killed a lot of people,wasn’t she a native too?

1 year ago
Reply to  Ritsuka

They get special powers and a LOT of money by passing the challenges. They could’ve offered the singer rewards and she agreed.

1 year ago
Reply to  Ritsuka

It was already mentioned before by the author that the Hunter Association doesn’t necessarily made up by only challengers, there would be natives/free person too and a free person can choose to remain neutral/help/kill the challengers by themselves just like Li Mo who decided to remain neutral or Luo Yan who decided to join the Hunter Association to kill the challengers, the keepers couldn’t decide the actions of a free person except if it was in a fixed scenario like in Hearts Secret Room where they have to follow the plot