Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
He Yu asked him, “Do you have a place to stay in Beijing?”
Dong Zhi still hasn’t recovered from the blow of being misunderstood by his idol. “I can rent a place.”
He Yu waved his hand. “It’s too troublesome. The lease terms are at least half a year. It’s less than three months before the exam. If you fail the exam, won’t the rest of your deposit be wasted?”
Dong Zhi: “…Do you have the skills of a crow’s mouth*?”
*(乌鸦嘴) Often used to describe someone’s mouth as particularly hateful. The terms derive from crows, who often eat rotten and smelly meat.
He Yu smiled and said, “No, I have tainted milk* skills. Every time, the outcomes of what I say would be the polar opposite. Maybe if I keep saying it a few more times, you really can pass the exam!”
*(毒奶) Buzzword which is the reverse of refueling (jiayou)/dragging down teammates. The term got popular in the e-sports scene and later also became a verbal curse. || Note: Jiayou (加油) is an ubiquitous Chinese expression of encouragement and support. There’s no direct translation but often means, good luck!/you can do it!/don’t give up! ect.
The corner of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “How generous!”
He Yu laughed. “Alrighty, alright. I have a dorm room here. I usually sleep in the office and rarely go back, so why don’t you just sleep with me and save money on rent? By the way, what’s your family situation like? How many brothers and sisters do you have?”
Dong Zhi said, “I’m an only child. My grandparents and parents have passed away. My other grandparents live with my uncle. I usually send some pocket money every New Year’s, but besides that, I have relatively little contact with them.
He Yu said happily, “Great, your background will give you extra points in the interview!”
Dong Zhi looked at him strangely. “…Is the death of both parents a plus?”
He Yu raised his eyebrows. “Of course! In our job, we usually encounter a variety of dangers. If we have family we care too much about, it could affect our decision-making abilities during a critical moment. If the only child is sacrificed, what would happen to the elders at home? This is why the leaders like your kind of family background the most!”
Dong Zhi was speechless. ‘…What he said does make sense.’
He Yu patted him on the shoulder and encouraged. “Don’t worry, as long as you learn your skills well, it won’t be you who will be unlucky, but the enemy! Besides, the nature of our work is special. In addition to five different insurances, you also get housing funds, and the salary and bonus were much higher than ordinary positions. Maybe if you work hard enough, you could buy a house in Beijing in a few years!”
As he was talking, the office phone rang. He Yu looked at the number and yelled, “I almost forgot! The boss told me to go to his office. Here’s your first on-the-spot test in advance to see if you’re resilient enough. Answer this call for me.”
“Who’s calling? What should I say?!” Dong Zhi grabbed onto He Yu, who was in a hurry to leave.
“It’s a call from the Northeast about the sinkhole on Changbai Mountain, complaining that we didn’t inform them in advance and now they want us to help clean up the mess. I have answered no less than ten calls in the past few days from all different departments over there. Anyway, you can help me deal with them. Just say whatever you want!”
After he finished speaking, he refused to answer the phone and disappeared. Feeling helpless, Dong Zhi forced himself to pick up the phone.
On the other end was a call from the Tourism Bureau. Sure enough, they were complaining about the large sinkhole that was left on Changbai Mountain, which caused countless problems for the subsequent tourism development and complained about a lack of funds to fix it. They were hoping to unify both department voices to give an official statement.
As Dong Zhi was spouting nonsense, He Yu was standing in front of the boss being reprimanded. Long Shen didn’t lift his head, as his pen walked like dragons and snakes*.
*(笔走龙蛇) Refers to when the pen moves, it shows the dance of the dragon and snake. Describes penmanship that’s vivid and imposing.
“Why did you bring him in?”
He Yu gave him a dopey smile. “Boss, don’t you think he is quite spiritual and talented? Are you really not considering accepting him? You have never accepted an apprentice before, so Chaosheng and the others are all betting in private.”
Long Shen: “How much did you bet?”
He Yu smiled stiffly.
Long Shen glanced up at him.
He Yu stretched out a finger guiltily. “Just one hundred.”
Long Shen sneered.
He Yu: “…Okay, okay, it’s actually five hundred.”
Long Shen said, “Your vacation is cancelled.”
He Yu wailed, “Don’t, don’t! I confess, it’s five thousand! I used all my private money on it. That’s really the number! Chaosheng said that you would not accept an apprentice this year. Please, boss, just accept one. It doesn’t have to be Dong Zhi! Don’t let my 5,000 yuan fly away! It’s a lot for me! I’ll even pay you some dividends when the time comes. How about 37, no, no 46!”
Long Shen: “73.”
He Yu: “…Will you at least leave me a way to live?”
Long Shen: “82.”
He Yu wanted to cry. He gritted his teeth. “Okay! 73! It’s 73*!”
*Clarity: The percentage cut from the bet’s winnings.
One didn’t need to imagine what kind of sad expression He Yu had on his face. Long Shen wanted to smile. The corner of his mouth was slightly raised, but it quickly disappeared again, returning back to his cold steel face.
“There is news from Japan.”
He Yu abruptly stopped laughing and became solemn.
Long Shen said, “According to reports that came back, Fujikawa Aoi and Kitaichi Eiko have been staying at the Ise Shrine since they returned from China. During this time, there were many dignitaries who visited the shrine, but only one person, named Otowa Hatsuhiko, made contact with Aso Kenzo at that time. On the third day, when Aso Kenzo returned to Japan, he went to visit Otowa Hatsuhiko, the president of the Otowa Consortium.”
“I know that the Otowa Consortium is mainly engaged in heavy industry. Its history can be traced back to after World War II, but the person in charge of this enterprise seems to have always been very low-key. Could it be that he provided Aso with news of dragon corpses? For what purpose?” He Yu was perplexed.
Long Shen said, “Perhaps their purpose isn’t the bone dragon. Fujikawa and Kitaichi were pushed to the forefront to attract our attention, and the capturing of the bone dragon to turn it into a shikigami was just a cover.”
He Yu shouted, “The stone tablet?!”
Long Shen nodded.
He Yu said, “Is there any result on the origin of that monument?”
Long Shen shook his head. “No one can understand the runes1. However, Zong Lao2 said that judging from the technique of the runes and seal carving, it can be traced back to at least before the Ming and Qing Dynasties.”
1Clarity: I’m using runes as the symbols (scripture) of the talismans and talismans as the actual talisman itself.
2When used after a name, signifies great respect for that person (usually older than you). Translated would be like Elder Zong.
Zong Lao that Long Shen spoke of was Zong Ling, one of several consultants of the Special Administration Bureau. Her status was legendary, and she had deeper qualification than anyone in the bureau.
He Yu frowned and said, “It happens to be my uncle’s birthday in a few days. Why don’t I go back to the school and ask? Perhaps some elders will know more about the talismans on the stone tablet.”
Long Shen nodded. “The Hezao Sect has a long history and has many famous masters. Maybe there are some experts who can understand it.”
He Yu smiled and said, “If the elders of my sect hear you praise them so much, they will definitely be happy. Then I will ask Chaosheng to give me a copy of the inscription!”
Before leaving, he didn’t forget to blow Long Shen a kiss. “Boss, remember to accept an apprentice. It’s up to you if I can earn some wife money!”
Reminded by He Yu, Long Shen, who was full of thoughts about the stone tablet, finally took a little time to distribute his mind to other things.
That Dong Zhi did perform well. Despite having no foundation, he didn’t get stage fright at the critical moment. But it’s just good. There are many people who are stronger than him.
Long Shen shook his head and removed that name from his thoughts.
When He Yu returned to the office, Dong Zhi had just hung up the phone. When he saw him coming in, he couldn’t help but say, “I’ve talked so much my mouth is completely dry. Why are you hiding outside the door and eavesdropping as if you were counting the time?”
He Yu laughed. “I’m going back to my school to celebrate my master’s birthday and check on a few things. Would you like to go back with me? Think of it like a sightseeing trip!”
Dong Zhi was excited at the thought, but hesitated. “But I need to review…”
He Yu waved his hand. “You can review on the trip. With your intelligence, I’m optimistic about you. That settles it! Since you just arrived today, we’ll set out in two days. I’ll arrange the itinerary. Now let’s go to an internet café and play a few games of DotA. Then come back after dinner, and in the evening, we’ll play <The Great Wasteland>. You can take me to level up! Doesn’t this sound like fun?”
The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “The barren life of an otaku.”
He Yu wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “Don’t be like this. What did an otaku ever do to you? Don’t say that this brother doesn’t take care of you. I’ll take you to a good place tomorrow that’ll greatly benefit your interview and future training exams! Avoid Chaosheng. That guy’s hand speed is terrible, so it’s not fun teaming up with him. Let’s go quietly and don’t let him catch us…”
It wasn’t the first time that Dong Zhi had visited the capital. The last time was when he was on a high school graduation trip, where he came to have fun with a group of classmates. Although a few years have passed, he still recognized some of the roads.
On the other hand, He Yu, as an otaku who has been outside only a handful of time almost got lost trying to find the roasted duck place he wanted to eat at. The two had wandered around for a long time before Dong Zhi finally found the place. When they entered, the place was almost closed. There were a few tables in the hall, and the late-night food market was already set up.
The two of them were so hungry that after ordering some signature dishes, they both lay on the table, waiting wearily for their food to be served.
Dong Zhi pretended that there was nothing to talk about, casually mentioned, “You went to Boss Long earlier, right? Did he mention anything about me?”
He Yu: “A bit. I said you have talent and recommended he accept you as an apprentice.”
Dong Zhi became excited, and his hunger disappeared instantly. “What did he say?”
“Nothing. Although you performed well, the boss has never accepted an apprentice, so it’s a bit difficult for him to make an exception for you.” He Yu shrugged. When he saw Dong Zhi pricking up his ears to listen, he said strangely, “What? Do you really want to be his apprentice? “
Dong Zhi blinked. “Boss Long is very strong. Isn’t it great to be his disciple?”
“But he is also very strict.” He Yu patted him on the shoulder. “Trust me, you will know when you’re in training. You’ll be tortured to death by him, and all that notion you have of him will go out the window.”
A small voice in Dong Zhi’s heart cried, ‘It will not.’
But this was only a voice for him to hear.
He Yu suddenly remembered something. “By the way, there’s good news. Last time, you performed heroically on Changbai Mountain, and you helped tremendously at a critical moment. I applied for a bonus of 20,000 yuan for you, but if you want to take the exam, the bonus can also be exchanged for extra points. Which one do you want to choose?”
Dong Zhi spirit was invigorated again, and he rejoiced. “How many points can 20,000 yuan be exchanged for? Twenty?”
He Yu: “Two points.”
Dong Zhi: …
After eating, He Yu dragged him to an internet café. In his words, he had been cultivating in the mountains for more than 20 years and was almost isolated from human civilization. When he first went down the mountains, he didn’t even know how to use a cellphone. After being a recluse for so long, he was extremely thirsty1. With just a single contact, he was instantly hooked on online games and turned into one of thousands of single otaku dogs. Unfortunately, the usual working hours are too long, and vacation was too little, and his colleagues were all scums with 5 combat power2. Finally, when he encountered Dong Zhi, he had an outlet to unload all his addiction onto.
2(战五渣) Sometimes refer to as “Fighting the five scum” which is an abbreviation for “the scum with only five combat power” where the number 5 could be change to any number. This comes from Dragon Ball where the guy analyzes the combat power of a farmer and saw it was only 5.
Dong Zhi accompanied him to play games all night, until it was almost dawn, before the two of them returned to the Special Administration Bureau, exhausted. Long Shen probably still thought He Yu’s injuries hadn’t healed yet, so he wanted to take this opportunity to be lazy while he didn’t have to go out in the field. He was so happy that he gave the sofa to Dong Zhi while he pulled out a blanket, rolled it on the ground, hugged a Pikachu pillow and went to sleep.
Although Dong Zhi was also very tired, He Yu’s snoring was so loud that he couldn’t sleep. Eventually, he got up. The dorm He Yu was letting him stay at was a mess and needed to be cleaned first. Dong Zhi planned to stay at a hotel for the time being, at least to get some sleep.
As soon as he opened the door, he saw Long Shen walking past.
Dong Zhi: …
The author has something to say:
Dong Zhi: Twenty thousand yuan for two points. Doesn’t this hurt your conscience?
Long Shen: Not only does it not, but it brings me great joy.
He Yu’s living the life.