Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 35: Golden Finger
At 6 in the morning, the boy woke up.
The soft sunlight shone through the windows of the wooden house, illuminating the fine dust with its beam of light. It was a sunny day outside, with carriages passing by from time to time on the road. In the distance was a towering castle, with birds gathering around the spire.
Not far from him, Ge Tingting was curled up and sleeping soundly.
She claimed to be 16 years old, but based on how slender and thin she was, she appeared to be at most 14. Because of this, Ge Tingting didn’t have the physical oppression of an adult, which made the boy like this companion very much.
Unfortunately, since he came to this world, except for Ge Tingting, he hadn’t met other “fellow citizens”.
Not long after the boy woke up, the waiter in the tavern came over. He stretched out his hand, muttering in a different world language, and looked as if he was asking for money.
The boy—Feng Qi—rummaged in the small bag for a long time, managed to count ten coins, and handed them over carefully. The waiter clicked his tongue and muttered again, looking unhappy.
The young dragon, Ibby, stopped on his shoulder. “Ignore him. We won’t come here again anyway.”
It spit out a small mouthful of fire, causing sparks to appear in its nostrils. In the sun, the white scales of the young dragon’s body shone like pearls.
“Sister, sister.” Feng Qi nudged Ge Tingting’s shoulder. “We should go.”
Ge Tingting sat up first, then opened her eyes in a panic. She looked at Feng Qi for a while, then said slowly, “Go do the task now?”
According to Ibby, Ge Tingting came a few years before him. Her accent was so strangely distorted that Feng Qi had to concentrate hard in order to understand it. He assumed she was probably influenced by the other world’s language.
“Yes,” Feng Qi replied confidently. “Finish sooner, and we can make the wish sooner. We are on a hidden route! If things go well, maybe we can finish within a week.”
Ge Tingting paused for a moment. “A week…?”
“Well, the enemy last time was an ordinary monster, so there’s no special drop. It stands to reason that there’s no need to fight.”
Feng Qi opened the operation bar out of thin air and viewed the task information.
“This time, it’s an elite monster. Ibby said it has a clue—after defeating it, we only need to defeat the ‘black market boss Pepafer’.”
Get Tingting: “The game you mentioned, is it so easy to clear?”
Feng Qi opened his inventory panel. “How is it easy? I came here with the system and an archive.”
“I have been playing <The Legend of Resurrection> for more than two years. Most of the materials required for the mission have been collected, leaving only the scale of the Dragon of Destruction. If we go the traditional route, we’ll have to keep leveling up until we face the Dragon of Destruction Oberskras… That takes a really long time.”
“But our luck is good—the black market boss Pepafer owns a scale. All you have to do is defeat him and take it away,” the young dragon, Ibby, yawned as it added in a crisp voice.
“Ibby, stop talking. She can’t see you.” Feng Qi shook his head helplessly. “In short, as long as we defeat Pepafer, we can get the prop to finally clear the game.”
Ge Tingting closed her eyes for a while before she finally opened them.
“Defeat ‘Pepafer’,” she repeated with some difficulty.
Feng Qi stood up and grabbed his small backpack. “Don’t worry, as long as we upgrade a bit, we have the ability to challenge him. In short, let’s fight that elite monster first today—as long as you and I join forces, there will definitely be no problem.”
“Nn!” Feng Qi stroked the little dragon.
Ibby felt cool and slippery to the touch, giving him a good feeling. It was as light as a feather, so even when perched on his shoulder, Feng Qi could hardly feel any weight.
“Do you know where your abilities came from?” Ge Tingting took out a piece of dry bread and divided it in half, giving Feng Qi the part with jam. “I have never heard of this kind of ‘system’ ability.”
Feng Qi glanced at her and tightened the strap on his bag. “Secret.”
A few hours later, the two returned from the outskirts of the city to the vicinity of Shangguan District.
This time, they didn’t approach no man’s land but walked towards the old town that was still barely functioning.
The terrain in the area was uneven, and various forks splintered off in all directions. The old buildings were extremely dilapidated, looking like living things that were pushing on each other with a nerve-like clothesline attached in the middle.
The anti-theft fence was rusty, and the greenery was wildly growing on it. The doors to some of the courtyards were left open, and from time to time sound of clattering from mahjong and dogs barking would resonate from inside.
This area was full of residences and cameras, but they were a mess. Feng Qi nimbly weaved through the alley, perfectly avoiding each camera—even if it was dirty and integrated with the surroundings, he could distinguish them from a glance.
“Castle Maze! This level is my favorite! You have to avoid the sight of the gargoyles here. It’s one of the basics of the game.”
Feng Qi smiled, seeming to very much enjoy the process of avoiding.
“I’m not sharp enough. My dad is better than me.”
This was the first time she heard of this. Ge Tingting was silent for a while before saying, “Where are your parents?”
“They are waiting for me at home,” Feng Qi said. “I like this world very much, and it’s better than home, but if they can’t find me for too long, mom and dad will definitely be worried…”
The young dragon on his shoulder suddenly “shushed”.
“Don’t just say everything,” Ibby prompted in a low voice. “Don’t you think Miss Ge Tingting is in a bad mood? Maybe she’ll compromise with the Knights.”
Ge Tingting wasn’t able to hear Ibby’s voice. At this moment, she bit her lip and continued hesitantly, “Why don’t you contact the police… the Knights? They are only looking for me. You’re still young. They won’t make things difficult for you, and maybe they can help you.”
Judging by his size and the way he spoke; Feng Qi was probably only in his early teens.
It was reasonable to say that boys of his age weren’t too much different from dogs, but Feng Qi seemed to have a good family upbringing. He didn’t pick up rotten food, didn’t make a fuss because of a bad environment, and paid close attention to manners when talking to others.
Such a well-behaved child suddenly changed his expression at this moment.
“Knights? I’m not going to the Knights! I’m not the kind of person who abandons my companions.” Feng Qi’s expression darkened. “Ibby said that they have been eyeing you recently. If you’re locked up now, you won’t be able to clear the game with me.”
He ran in front of Ge Tingting with a strained face that wasn’t like a child.
“Sister, you don’t understand <The Legend of Resurrection>. You’ll be stuck here forever! And you promised to help me get home—” he said angrily. “Our mission is almost complete. Why do you want to push me out at this time?”
“I just think your ability to ‘defeat’… Uh, maybe it’s better to use it less…” Ge Tingting carefully selected her words.
She was completely taken aback when she saw the child grinning and observing Wu Tao’s corpse pile back then.
Now that she was clearer on the situation, Feng Qi probably had no idea what he “did”.
Sure enough, Feng Qi suddenly laughed when he heard Ge Tingting’s words.
“Ah, so it turns out you care about my ‘defeating’ skills. This matter was originally a secret, but for the sake of our team, I should be more magnanimous as the captain—”
Feng Qi raised his head proudly, and a dimple appeared on his face.
“It’s okay. I can’t hurt you.” His tone was relaxed. “Only bad NPCs with ‘sin value’ can be attacked. The system’s judgment will never be wrong.”
“How do you know there can be no mistakes?”
“Because I am the protagonist, and this is my world.” Feng Qi’s words were full of confidence. “Shh, keep your voice down. A monster is coming!”
Ge Tingting accompanied him to squat behind a trash can, waiting for the so-called “monster”.
Compared to other residential areas, there weren’t many people around their location. There weren’t many residents nearby and the surveillance in this area was damaged, so people seemingly deliberately avoided this place.
In the afternoon, the sunny day turned cloudy, gradually sinking the old neighborhood into the shadows.
With a creak, a huge claw covered in mucus opened an iron door.
Ge Tingting was stunned on the spot. She had to rub her eyes hard.
…That was a genuine “monster” that didn’t exist in reality.
The monster was wearing a tattered black cloth robe, with two half-eaten human hands pinned around its waist. It held a bloody, sharp knife in its claw.
Looking closely, that thing was almost as tall as an average person. Its waist was bent, it was bald, and its body was like a fat sweet potato.
On a face that was similar to a human’s, a pair of protruding eyes slanted in two directions. Its teeth were crooked, and its stinky saliva dripped down from its fangs.
Ge Tingting narrowed her eyes, and for a moment, a faint double image appeared on the monster’s body, but when she looked again, the image disappeared.
The mark on her clavicle became slightly hot, causing her to subconsciously press her hand to her chest. Her heart was beating so fast that she felt it would break her ribs.
Attack? Don’t attack?
Could it be that she was actually crazy—she had really “transmigrated” into a so-called game, and the modern society that was in front of her was just her desperate delusions? Ge Tingting’s scalp was going numb. Her legs went soft, and she almost couldn’t stand still.
Her hearing and language skills had been abnormal for ten years, and her vision was also problematic, so what she was witnessing now didn’t seem unbelievable…
Just as she was entangled, the monster turned its head and roared in the area.
Immediately, a child’s shrill cry came from a stone house, along with an old man’s panicked whispering. Just as in the past ten years, Ge Tingting still didn’t understand what they were saying.
After roaring, the monster contentedly picked up a hand and sniffed it happily. Its eyes were bloodshot, and its mouth was spouting ragged breath, clearly excited.
“That’s the elite ghoul, Jiang Ke.” Feng Qi rushed out. “I’ll attack the monster. Cover me!”
Seeing Feng Qi appear, the monster was slightly startled at first, then laughed. It roared senselessly and lunged towards Feng Qi.
“Watch out!” Ge Tingting raised her hand.
Countless rat bones drilled out from the nooks and crannies and rushed towards the monster, entangling its feet. The monster roared in dissatisfaction and kicked Feng Qi, who was closest to it.
“Three.” Feng Qi gritted his teeth.
There were some movements in the stone house. The ghoul’s bloodshot eyes rolled as it tried to stab Feng Qi again. Under the interference of the rat corpses, Feng Qi barely dodged; his shirt was cut, leaving behind a bloody gash.
“Two,” Feng Qi continued to count.
Seeing that it missed, the ghoul roared again and grabbed Feng Qi by the back of his collar—
“Hostile relations are officially established.” Ibby flew around the ghoul for a while until a suspended HP bar appeared on the ghoul’s head. “The battle is starting! The battle is starting!”
The ghoul paused its movements as it looked dully at its hands. It then scratched frantically at its back using its other hand, which wasn’t holding the knife. After muttering vaguely, those bloodshot eyes turned to Fang Qi again.
“Go!” Feng Qi hurriedly covered his wound and dexterously drilled into the depths of the alley. “The terrain here isn’t good. Quickly lead it to the ‘mass grave’ in front!”
The rat bones moved in response to the sound and assembled into a giant rat with some deformation. Ge Tingting stepped on its back and hugged Feng Qi’s waist. The ghoul roared frantically while stumbling after the two of them.
“Go forward, turn left, avoid the gargoyles… Yes, it’s just a little further. We’re almost there!”
The “mass grave”, as he called it, was the “junkyard” in her eyes.
There was no one around. The stench of decay rushed into her nose all at once. The ghoul was waving its knife from side to side with eyes fixed on the two children.
Ge Tingting gritted her teeth. More insect corpses poured out of the junkyard and covered the bones of the mice, barely transforming it into a skewed half-human form.
The huge humanoid held her in its arms with one hand while the other hand blocked the tip of the knife. Ge Tingting wiped her surging nosebleed, and the soreness all over her body became stronger.
“You, hurry up!” She shouted hoarsely with a mouthful of blood. “I won’t last long!”
Feng Qi took out a plastic sword from his backpack and rushed towards the ghoul. It deftly avoided the attack. As the plastic sword drew across the ghoul’s body from time to time, even without inflicting any horrific wounds, blood was still dripping from it.
The duel between plastic and metal was quite ridiculous.
Feng Qi was cautious. He took advantage of his size to circle around the ghoul and attack, then retreat. After an attack with his plastic sword, Ge Tingting would follow up with her insect corpses, disturbing the ghoul’s movements. While the ghoul dealt with the insect corpse, Feng Qi rushed up and stab with his sword.
This pattern continued, and while it was clumsy, it did work.
Amidst the swirling corpses, the ghoul finally lost enough blood. It was panting heavily on the ground. At this moment, it seemed to realize something and kowtowed to Feng Qi again and again, as if begging for mercy.
Feng Qi struggled to stand up and staggered over.
“Begging for mercy?”
The ghoul slammed its forehead against the ground, wailing silently.
“It’s useless to beg for mercy.” The ghoul’s tearful face was reflected in the boy’s eyes. “I can see your sin value—nine people have died because of you.”
Feng Qi coughed up a mouthful of blood. He was weak and tired, but his voice was still high. Ge Tingting could hear it clearly.
“You are even worse than the previous one. That rogue indirectly killed four people.”
Indeed, in that dark alley in the beginning, Feng Qi had also rushed out with a plastic sword like this, firmly protecting her in front of him.
The same treacherous and bizarre ability, the same solitary wandering. Despite the fact that Feng Qi spoke complete nonsense, Ge Tingting couldn’t let the child go.
As for the reason why, she herself couldn’t figure it out.
Perhaps it was because he saved her back then, or perhaps it was because she hadn’t communicated with the living for so long.
Seeing Feng Qi’s excited look, Ge Tingting finally turned her head and said nothing.
Feng Qi smiled weakly at her as he raised the plastic sword.
“Ding ding ding ding ding ding—”
The music representing victory sounded in both their ears.
Glowing lattice-like cracks appeared on the ghoul’s body. In the next moment, it spread out from head to toe, turning into small squares that were exactly the same size. The small square rolled into a neat corpse pile, just like Wu Tao, and the props on its body exploded around the corpse pile with a “ding” sound.
In addition to clothing, it also exploded a self-locking sword, a string of brass keys, and a pile of crumpled cash. Along with that, there were also several bags of white powder—one of which was open and half empty.
Finally, there was a note with a time and address.
The young dragon Ibby stopped next to the note, which was neatly folded and emitted a distinctive golden glow.
Feng Qi picked up the cash and note and didn’t look at anything else. He took a moment to catch his breath and handed the note to Ge Tingting. “This is the clue to the ‘black market boss Pepafer’. Sister, help me decipher it.”
Ge Tingting lifted her baggy shirt and wiped her face full of blood from her nosebleed. She lightly picked up the note, and a drop of blood dripped onto the paper.
[23:00 on the 23rd, Xizhao District, Jiu’an Road, Ping’an Manor.]
Ge Tingting marked the location on Feng Qi’s map. In her blurred vision, the surrounding garbage gradually became distorted.
For a moment, they looked like a cluster of tombstones of a mass grave.
“The 23rd! Wow!”
Feng Qi didn’t care about the bloodstains and filth all over his face. He held the map next to the minced meat pile as if he had obtained a treasure.
“Today is the 20th. We still have 3 days to prepare—”
The boy had a big smile on his face, and his eyes were full of yearning light.
Ping’an Manor, Room 601, Building 4.
After the outbreak from the day before yesterday, Miss Hu Tao kept to herself in the home next to Zhong Chengshuo’s residence. Yesterday, she came back like a ghost again, with heavy evil qi around her.
As for what she saw that day, she didn’t say, and Yin Ren didn’t plan to ask. If evil things considered privacy, then the love and hate that supported their existence could be regarded as their most private information.
He decided to talk to Hu Tao about another topic.
Hu Tao: “Prepare? For what?”
“Starting today, I’ll teach you some spells that ghosts can use.”
“Ah… I’m good.” Hu Tao leaned against the corner absentmindedly. “I don’t want to be the number one ghost in Haigu. They say that distant relatives are not as good as close neighbors*. If you need it, I’ll definitely help, but—”
*(远亲不如近邻) Idiom referring to in an emergency, distant relatives aren’t as timely as neighbors nearby. It also refers to the fact that there is more contact between neighbors than between distant relatives, which makes the relationship between neighbors stronger.
Yin Ren didn’t smile. “The ability I can exert depends on how strong you are.”
“Ah? Does a ghost master rely on ghosts that much?” Seeing Yin Ren wasn’t joking, Hu Tao became more serious.
“Well, you’re so powerful. You can easily find ambitious ghosts.” Hu Tao patted her stomach. “Didn’t you have some ideas a few days ago? You have the group Coffin Nails, no? Why don’t you pull a few more?”
“It’s better to hold your horses. I’m not in a rush.” Yin Ren raised his arms. “Don’t worry. Ghost art isn’t as difficult as you think. You can do many things after learning it—at least you won’t be confined here.”
“Let me think about it.”
“I can teach you flying skills first. You can only float a little bit off the ground now, right? Do you want to fly higher?”
“Can I do that kind of thing?!” Hu Tao became interested. “Okay, I’ll try it first. Hey, Yin Ren, I—”
A smile suddenly burst onto Yin Ren’s face. Hearing the sound of footsteps, he turned to greet Zhong Chengshuo, who had just opened the door, returning from his night run.
“Did uncle and auntie cook supper today?”
“Chicken stew with shiitake mushrooms.” Zhong Chengshuo put the food on the table. “I’m going to take a shower, then we’ll continue playing <The Legend of Resurrection>. Yesterday, I asked an acquaintance in the industry and found a few quick speedrun strategies.”
“Oh, those always feel kind of bland… Forget it, what did uncle and auntie say about your blind date yesterday?”
“The man complained to the introducer, saying that my private life is too chaotic, and he wasn’t interested.” Zhong Chengshuo wiped his face with a towel, which muffled his voice. “The introducer told my parents—they knew about it but didn’t say much.”
In fact, when she heard this, Cheng Xuehua laughed out loud while she was packing up the chicken stew. “You’re terrible at lying. If you really have the ability to make trouble, your father and I would be happy while beating you.”
Zhong Youde also poked his head in the kitchen. “Huh? Our son isn’t in love? What did Lao Liu say?”
“The young man said that Xiao Zhong was being promiscuous with other men.”
Zhong Youde was immediately overjoyed. “Hahahaha, that’s bullshit! Being promiscuous? Has our son even held a living person’s hand?”
“The kid is still here. Pay attention to what you’re saying.”
Zhong Chengshuo quickly grabbed the chicken stew and fled the scene as if he had sprouted wings.
After thinking about what happened just now, Zhong Chengshuo looked at the packed food with a bit of melancholy.
Yin Ren came to a probable conclusion. He played with the controller in his hand and didn’t continue to ask. “Anyway, this is just a suggestion, but if you need my help blocking a blind date, just let me know.”
“Okay.” Zhong Chengshuo heated up the chicken stew and went to the bathroom to take a shower.
The two played this game yesterday and had already made some progress. On the screen, Yin Ren was manipulating a character that was running around the avatar “Zhong Chengshuo”.
<The Legend of Resurrection> had a high degree of freedom in designing the avatar. The avatar “Yin Ren” on screen also had black hair and red eyes. Yin Ren’s character had long hair, a flowing black robe full of runes, and in the profession column, it said “vampire prince”.
Zhong Chengshuo’s character was stopped at the save point. His character had black hair and eyes and wore a pair of silver round-rimmed glasses. In contrast with Yin Ren, Zhong Chengshuo was wearing a uniform-style white coat, and his profession was “vampire hunter”.
Because there was no friendly fire, Yin Ren ran around Zhong Chengshuo, casting various spells at the tiny Zhong Chengshuo.
“Yin Ren, did you deliberately ignore me just now? I haven’t finished speaking yet.”
When the sound of water coming from the bathroom sounded, Hu Tao spoke again.
She expressionlessly stopped next to a green plant and casually played with the tips of its leaves. The leaf tip of the green plant seemed to become frozen as it shriveled and curled up.
“You seem to know a lot about ghosts—I always suspect that you don’t really have amnesia. Who are you?”
“Who am I… This question is quite difficult to answer,” Yin Ren muttered casually. He stopped teasing Zhong Chengshuo’s avatar.
He stared at the little avatar of himself on the screen and thought seriously for a few seconds.
“Certainly not a good person,” he said softly.
The author has something to say:
The two elders of the Zhong family; your son has forever lost the opportunity to hold hands with the living.
Golden finger refers to cheats you can use. In the context of a novel (usually a transmigration novel), they are basically built-in cheats that help the character. In games, it refers to cheating software. Both meanings are applicable in this context.
Happy Lunar New Year.