Chapter 269: This Life—The Beginning (X)
“出国了？”尉勋看着视频电话中的人, 冷冷道，“他出国了, 你为什么还在国内？”
“Going abroad?” Wei Xun said coldly, looking at the person on the video call. “If he went abroad, why are you still here?
“Sorry, Master Xun. Mr. Shang secretly booked two plane tickets and got onto another plane while I wasn’t paying attention.”
“Where did he go?”
尉勋参加完商会, 当天晚上便订机票飞往F国，但在追查到的酒店里并没有找到尚可, 线索到这里便中断了，直到他回国，也没有半点消息。
Wei Xun joined the Board of Commerce and booked a plane ticket to F country the same night. Yet, he didn’t find Shang Ke at all in the hotel he investigated. The clues stopped here, and until he returned home, there was not the least bit of information.
起初，尉勋绝对相信尚可不会丢下自己的研发成果一走了之。但是，当他发现戚辰也在差不多时间失踪后, 心中便产生了怀疑。虽然他没有限制尚可的自由，但凭他一己之力，不可能消失得如此彻底, 唯有戚辰有这个能力也有足够的理由送他离开。
At first, Wei Xun was absolutely convinced that Shang Ke wouldn’t abandon his own research results and quit. However, when he realized that Qi Chen also went missing around the same time, doubt arose in his heart. Even though he didn’t restrict Shang Ke’s freedom, it’s still impossible for him to disappear based on his capabilities. Only Qi Chen has the ability and sufficient reasons to send him away.
“Evan, no matter what means you use, help me find him as soon as possible!”
Here, Wei Xun was following false clues to search for Shang Ke in several developed countries. However, he didn’t know that Shang Ke was thrown into an unknown remote village on the other side of the ocean by his own family.
There was no formal public security here, hiding many illegal dens, with a mix of crooks and honest folks. The signal was extremely poor and there was only one dilapidated bus that enters and leaves the village every day.
Shang Ke rolled a few times in the garbage heap, making himself look like a wandering drifter. He spent a day walking the streets and alleys, exploring the terrain and environment to remember them, and in the meantime, “borrowed” some money from a few thieves.
After two days of adapting, Shang Ke stocked up on some living supplies and got on a bus to G city. Before leaving, he used a pocket knife to carve a robot pattern on the alley wall where he woke up. He then added an arrow pointing to G city.
【When I came, I had nothing, and when I left, I was free— 7/2/2020】
Shang Ke wasn’t in a hurry to contact his relatives and friends at all, nor did he plan to return home immediately. The Wei family members were ruthless, and returning now would only give himself more trouble.
G city was some third line city of the lower ranked counties in T country. The population was merely 300,000, and living standards were equivalent to that of the 1980s and 1990s domestically. Shang Ke stayed here for more than a week, mainly to process some relevant evidence. The ID was fake, of course, but he could use his hacking skills to make it real. Although it couldn’t stand in-depth investigations, it was enough to buy tickets, pass traffic, spot checks, work odd jobs, and so on.
During the ID application process, Shang Ke was unable to work and make money. He could only follow an old scavenger everywhere to collect garbage, and learned about local customs here along the way.
Shang Ke didn’t think that scrap collecting was an extremely humiliating thing at all, and he didn’t care about other people’s ridicule and contempt. Every day, he and the old man left early and returned late, picking up bottles and jars, and eating one or two pieces of dry bread. The old man was a great conversationalist, and Shang Ke loved to hear him narrate all kinds of exaggerated anecdotes. Occasionally, they would run into one or two hooligans, but Shang Ke easily finished them off.
T country had a fervent gun culture, so it couldn’t help but be full of conflicts. In addition, there were all kinds of complicated racial conflicts. Public security was even worse especially in relatively poor areas. Therefore, Shang Ke usually kept a low-profile. He never went out after sunset to avoid unnecessary trouble or being shot by people for no reason.
Around ten days passed, but he was still safe and sound. After Shang Ke got his ID, he bid farewell to the old scrap collector and took a bus to the next city. Before he left, he left a message at a spot like before.
He unconsciously walked and stopped around ten towns. During this period, he served plates, distributed leaflets, set up street stalls, and occasionally volunteered. In the end, he finally determined his main occupation— a wandering artist. Carrying a second-hand guitar, he sang and played, performing every day in the city where people gather. Although the pay wasn’t much, it’s still better to be content.
In his spare time, he didn’t forget to pay attention to domestic news. The first thing that surprised him was that old Wei suddenly suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. The higher ups fell into an undercurrent of chaos, but the Wei family has deep roots, and although there was some turbulence, it didn’t affect the overall situation.
From sporadic decorative reports, Shang Ke found out that Wei Xun was still at home managing the Science and Technology Center’s construction. Incidentally, he made an appointment with some female pianists to drink tea.
Shang Ke sat in the Internet cafe, biting a hamburger while glaring at the large image on the web page. Damned guy, he was gnawing grass in a foreign country while Wei Xun was stealing incense from home.
“You’re finished, you know that?” Shang Ke pointed viciously at someone in the photo.
He quickly finished eating the burger, drank a few more mouthfuls of drink, wiped his hands, then began to tap away on the keyboard.
Z country, in a lab.
A group of technicians were analyzing the robot Chu Hao’s program code. However, a month or two passed, but they didn’t reach any major conclusions at all. More precisely, the results of their research were completely different from expectations. The recompiled program based on this code didn’t have Chu Hao’s intelligence at all. It was just a bit better than the current robots on the market, but the difference wasn’t enough to make their products stand out.
Finally, they came up with two possibilities. One was that Chu Hao’s intelligence was exaggerated; the second was that the true core code was never on Chu Hao’s body.
What they didn’t know was that the robot Shang Ke developed has the function of identifying its owner. No one except the owner can tamper with its core program. Once an alarm is triggered, Chu Hao’s main program will go through the Internet and escape to the safe room Shang Ke set aside in the Internet.
When Shang Ke opened the safe room, Chu Hao immediately followed the data flow to find his location. It infiltrated the computer, scanned his face through the surveillance camera, then verified his identity with his voice.
【Keke, long time no see.】 Chu Hao’s voice, with no joy or sadness, came from the headset.
“Long time no see, Chu Hao.”
【Keke, my body was seized by some bad guys. You must help me snatch it back.”
“No problem, I’ll help you teach those bad guys a lesson when I return.”
【When is Keke returning?】
Shang Ke thought for a bit and replied, “When he finds me.”
“Evan, there’s still no news on Keke?” Wei Xun looked gloomily at the view of twinkling lights outside the window.
“Sorry, Master Xun. I still haven’t found him.” Even paused a bit, then said, “But we found Qi Chen.”
Wei Xun’s eyes were cold, “Where is he?”
“He just boarded the plane to T country two hours ago.”
“T country?” T country and F country were hundreds of thousands of miles apart, the exact opposite of the route from their information.
“Qi Chen made me deliver a sentence to you.”
“If I had known earlier, even if I’m risking this life, I won’t let him stay by your side.”
Wei Xun frowned. What did he mean? Keke wasn’t hidden away by him? Could it be that there was another ulterior motive to this?
“Evan, sort through the clues of Keke’s disappearance again. Don’t let go of anyone he came in contact with.” Wei Xun seemed to think of something, and his complexion grew more and more unsightly. “In addition, book me a plane ticket to T country at once. Before I arrive at T country, I hope you can find new results from the investigations.”
Shang Ke carried the guitar and walked over to the riverbank, ready to start a new day of his livelihood as a performer.
The weather gradually turned colder. Shang Ke’s fingers were red from cold, but the expression in his eyes was still as bright as before.
He sat on the bench, softly singing and playing a melodious song, driving away the cold and exhaustion for the people passing by.
Right at this moment, a figure slowly walked over to his side. The familiar aura made Shang Ke’s heart skipped. He lifted up his head with surprise, then caught sight of… Qi Chen?
Why would it be Qi Chen? Why was it Qi Chen? Why was it Qi Chen… those words kept circling in his mind.
Shang Ke stared blankly at him.
“I’m here to take you home.” Qi Chen stretched out his hand towards him, and surprisingly, there was a small mole on his palm.
Shang Ke was puzzled. In his memory, there was no mole on the center of Qi Chen’s palm. Why did a mole suddenly appear now? And the aura on his body also changed, becoming more familiar. If he didn’t look at his face, he almost thought that the man before his eyes was Wei Xun in disguise.
“Keke.” Qi Chen sat at his side and gathered him lightly into his arms.”Sorry, I’m late.”
Shang Ke’s body was stiff. His right eye twitched nonstop, and he was somewhat confused. He allowed Qi Chen to carry him, take him to the cab, and drove him all the way to the hotel.
“Rest here for a few days first. When your ID comes, I’ll take you home.” Qi Chen closed the door, looking at Shang Ke’s straight back, red and swollen fingers, as well as the cold frost falling down his body. Unable to stand the burst of sadness, he stretched his hand to hug him tightly.
“Sorry, sorry.” Qi Chen buried his head on the side of his neck.
Shang Ke’s body was a little feverish. He felt that the person hugging him at the moment was his lover, but he was clearly Qi Chen.
Lost in thought, his lips heated up. Qi Chen kissed him regardless.
Shang Ke hesitated for two seconds. Suddenly, he felt a burst of pain in his head. His mind cleared, and he suddenly pushed Qi Chen away.
“I’m tired, go take a bath first.” Shang Ke quickly entered the bathroom, leaving behind Qi Chen’s grave face.
Leaning against the door, Shang Ke raised his head and gazed at the ceiling. A gleam of realization flashed in his eyes.
At that moment, he finally confirmed it.
He was not his lover.
He was… Wu Du.
He was the culprit that sent Chen Xiao and Shou Mo into the reincarnation curse. The familiar aura on his body should be part of the soul Chen Xiao left behind in the Reincarnation Lamp.
No wonder why the system never pointed it out. It was because it was controlled by the awakened Wu Du.
No wonder why the Reincarnation Lamp was activated in this life. It was because Wu Du also reincarnated in this world. As the original user of the lamp, although he lost most of his power due to the curse, his memory was still enough to allow him to regain control of the lamp.
Facing the Wu Du who had restored his memory and possessed a system, he and Wei Xun couldn’t possibly be his opponent. Even if he has no magic, the system was still his biggest golden finger.
Shang Ke clenched both fists. He saw that there was only one last curse left in this world’s reincarnation. Could it be that he fell short of success? Wouldn’t he be constantly courting death before in vain?
Shang Ke’s eyes lit up, as if he had seized the key.
What was the mission of each reincarnation again? It was for him to die heroically in different worlds.
“Death” was a curse.
But “heroically” was an opportunity.
He was able to obtain the return cards because of the accumulation of heroic points. Therefore, “heroically” was the key to breaking the curse!
After going through so many worlds, Wu Du’s control of the Reincarnation Lamp had long been weakened. As long as he completes the last heroic mission, he should be able to completely break his control and free himself from Wu Du’s curse.
Therefore, he still has to die heroically again.
Shang Ke gazed at himself in the mirror, his vision gradually blurring. In his heart, there was both the existing joy of freedom and the sadness of parting.
Two hours later, Wei Xun boarded the plane with two trusted aides.
After flying for several hours, Wei Xun received Evan’s message just after he walked out of the airport. Although he was already mentally prepared, he was still stung by the truth. He never doubted his family at all. He thought he hid the truth very well, but the result was that they had set a trap for a long time. They used the bodyguard’s family to threaten and cheat Keke’s trust, and waited until he finished research and development to immediately throw him away like garbage.
Thinking about how nonchalant his parents were during this period of time, repeatedly taking advantage of his grandfather’s condition to hinder his footsteps, forcing him to go on blind dates, and creating false clues to obscure the facts. From beginning to end, he didn’t doubt them at all, and he always focused on Shang Ke and Qi Chen’s affair.
“Where is he right now?” Wei Xun coldly asked.
“I only found the original place: Silu Town.”
“Motherfucker!” Which bastard chose that name? He’s never heard of it before!
Wei Xun asked his bodyguard to rent a car. He then immediately hurried over to his destination.
While on the road, Wei Xun already had a general idea of Si Lu town. To put it simply, this was a poor village with poor law enforcement, pronography, gambling, drugs, and violence.
Wei Xun simply couldn’t dare to believe what would happen if Shang Ke was sent to such a place!
“Fuck!” Wei Xun smashed the car window heavily, “Faster, go faster!”
The car traveled continuously for three days until arrival at Si Lu town.
Wei Xun first found the local gang leader, showed them Shang Ke’s photos, then paid them to help the search. At the same time, he contacted his own people and asked them to hurry over as soon as possible.
Shang Ke was a foreigner and although he disguised himself, news still came quickly.
“It’s here?” Wei Xun looked at the dark and damp alley in front of him with an extremely ugly face.
“Yeah, I saw him come out of here.” A local said with a quivering voice.
Wei Xun pursed his lips, stepped forward and entered this alley. An unpleasant stench rushed into his nose, and the ground was littered everywhere with garbage and oily, black, and smelly sewage.
Wei Xun’s imposing body made the narrow alley appear even more cramped.
Shang Ke was thrown away in this kind of filthy place? Alone, penniless, helpless. Could he speak T country’s language? How could he eat without money? Where would he sleep? Would he be bullied?
Wei Xun suddenly slammed a fist at the wall, his eyes full of chagrin and anger. But at that moment, from the corner of his eyes, he unexpectedly caught sight of a mark on the wall by accident.
【When I came, I had nothing, and when I left, I was free— 7/2/2020】
Dear, why don’t you come find me?