On the other side, Zhang Man, He Lina and her two assistants hid in a humble hut at the horse farm.
He Lina’s expression still had a bit of an arrogance. She carefully poked her head out of the window to observe then forced a smile.
“Good thing that I hid in time. It would have been bad if I was seen.”
Zhang Man raised his eyebrows and answered quietly, “What were you hiding from just now? It was just a bird that flew past us, you didn’t have to react that much right?”
His eyes were golden in color and had a cold elite of feeling to it when looking at people. His voice also sounded a bit condescending.
He set himself up as a self-righteous, gentle beast in this game world. Even though that made it easy to attract hatred, it also made people unconsciously despise him and become unguarded.
His bad persona was still relatively successful. Take for instance now, the eyes of the two men behind He Lina carried words of “you’re a fcking retard” and although He Lina was hiding, her eyes also contained contempt.
She whispered, “Don’t say that Mr. Yang. I’m only just a small woman, a timid one at that. I’m not as cool and collected as you are.”
He Lina have seen so many men who highly think of themselves and the way to deal with them is to hold them up, praise them more, show great admiration for them, then you can get them to follow your lead.
“But doesn’t Mr. Yang want to know why I’m scared?” She ruffled her hair and smiled.
“I’ll listen to you since you want to talk about it.” Zhang man put his hand on his chest, giving a tone of grace.
He Lina didn’t care, “I’m afraid of the ravens because in the legend, they are the guide of a monster. If a raven finds you, that monster will know your location and will come quickly to kill.”
“Monster? You mean like the blaze man in the banquet hall?” Though that’s what Zhang man said in his mouth, he didn’t think so in his mind.
For no other reason than that blaze man in the banquet hall didn’t look powerful in itself even though it looked scary. To say it was a behind-the-scenes boss in a game world with mid-range danger ranking, Zhang man didn’t believe it.
“Of course not.” He Lina shook her head in disapproval. “The real monster is much more powerful than him. If we really are targeted by him, we won’t even have a chance to escape.”
“Miss He seems to know a lot of information, could it be that you have been to the manor before?” Zhang Man asked, straight to the point.
The expression on He Lina’s face instantly changed. This was the first time since they met that she lost control of her emotions, but she was really worthy of being a star, as she immediately adjusted her emotions and answered with a smile.
“I mean of course not. A friend of mine told me all this information. In the early years of the manor before the accident, her mother worked as a maid.”
Hmm, I’m afraid this is one of those “my friend is me” type of stories, right?
Just by looking at her behavior, one could easily find that something is wrong. Zhang Man silently tagged her with a suspicion of having been to the manor.
“Then as you say, since the manor is dangerous, why did you come to the party? You obviously could have chosen to not attend.” He questioned.
“It’s not that simple though,” He Lina gave a wry smile. “I wouldn’t have come here if I could. But you have to come if you received the invitation.”
Zhang man glanced without moving at the golden invitation marked with the “Do not drop” label. He hadn’t looked at it carefully since he got it.
“Mr.____ is cordially invited to attend a banquet on the 15th of July to celebrate the 25th birthday of the owner of Oriel Manor. Best regards, Oriel Manor Personnel Note: We have prepared a surprise for you in the garden. Please be sure to come and see!”
Under his gaze, the blank on the invitation letter was filled by the words ‘Yang Ke’.
The invitation acknowledged that false name and he would always exist as such in this game world.
Zhang man read the invitation carefully, not missing any detail. When he saw the end, his eyes stayed on the note at the bottom.
“Prepared a surprise in the garden?”
Zhang man silently put a big cross for the location of the garden in his mind.
Most of the hints in the game are given with a reason. A little more attention to detail will allow you to escape. The invitation sent by the opposing side said that a surprise was prepared in the garden? The real meaning should be that we are going to kill you in the garden, right?
“You must have received that invitation too, right? The invitation to the birthday party?”
He Lina’s voice snapped him back to reality, then he nodded silently.
He Lina continued.
“I haven’t been able to sleep well since I received this invitation. I planned to run far away and pretend that I wasn’t aware of it, but no matter how far away I fled, I would always see it on my bedside table when I woke up. As the day for the party drew closer, my name on it gradually changed from ink to red blood. I knew then that it was warning me so I didn’t dare anymore to not come.”
“I see. May I have a look at Miss He’s invitation letter?”
Zhang Man wanted to see if there was a difference between his and He Lina’s invitation.
“Oh that.. To tell you the truth, I actually lost my invitation when I was in the banquet hall.” She sighed. “Everything was just so chaotic. I didn’t pay attention and lost it.”
Although he had only known her for such a short period of time, Zhang Man could very well tell from her words and actions that she was a woman with a strong desire to control and take everything into her own own hands. Would such a person lose such an important thing because of carelessness?
Zhang man was just about to speak again when his nose felt itchy.
“Ah chooo!” Zhang Man couldn’t help but touch his arms after a few sneezes.
Weird. Why would I feel a cold sensation? It couldn’t be that someone’s cursing me, right?
He suspected it was the rookie player who disappeared for no reason, leaving no trace of him.
But this time he guessed wrongly. The one who made him feel the ‘cold sensation’ was not the rookie player who was still in the dark but the ‘fake boyfriend’ who took his place.
“What’s wrong? You’re not sick, are you?” He Lina came forward with concern and tried to reach out to his forehead.
Zhang Man quickly took a few steps back and avoided her hand. He stood right behind a simple wooden table so as he backed away, the wooden table was hit. With a bang, the drawers of the table fell off.
The drawers that fell off raised a thick layer of dust considering that no one had lived in this hut for a long time.
He Lina coughed a few times and backed away but sharp-eyed Zhang Man found that a fallen drawer revealed a few yellowed papers. He squatted down and quietly put them into his game storage.
“What’s wrong? Is there something on the floor?” He Lina asked very keenly.
“Nothing, I dropped my keychain.” He spread out his hand and showed her his ‘My Little Pony’ keychain.
“…Mr. Yang is like a child at heart.” The corners of He Lina’s mouth twitched as she gave hollow words of praise.
Zhang Man nodded haughtily and took advantage of the fact that He Lina choked on his words and didn’t want to talk to him for the time being. He turned over in his mind the paper that he picked up.
May 15, 1979. It was cloudy. Today is my first day in the manor. The owner arranged for me to work in the horse farm to take care of the horses. I love these carefree and lovely creatures. They put me instantly in a good mood. May 23, 1979. It was sunny. The owner's daughter came to the horse farm today. She wore a lotus-colored dress and greeted me with a smile. She said her name was Kan Sha. I think it's a beautiful name. Her beautiful figure lingered in my mind until I went to bed. August 3, 1979. It was cloudy. I fled the manor with Shasha. I don't regret this decision. I want to protect our love. July 15, 1980. It was sunny. Shasha gave birth to the fruit of our love. We named him 'Chen'. The word chen stands for treasure, and this child is our precious treasure. July 15, 1985. It rained heavily. The owner of the manor found our hiding place, and he's out to seize us!
The last one was particularly scribbled. It was obvious to see the author’s restless mind. Zhang Man put the paper aside, as if in thought.
It was clear that these papers were part of a diary with incoherent dates in which a total of four characters appeared. The manor owner who wanted to break up the couple, the male protagonist of the story — the horse keeper, the heroine of the story — Kan Sha, and the fruit of their love — X Chen.
Zhang Man didn’t know exactly what the last name of the child was so he could only use ‘X’ instead.