Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 48

Chapter 48.1 New neighbor

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Lin Zhaohe had destroyed his own room, rendering it uninhabitable. Consequently, he opted for a new, luxurious suite and comfortably settled onto the plush bed once again.

Adjacent to the bed stood a grand window, offering a breathtaking view of the endless expanse of the sea and a radiant full moon beyond. The nighttime sea appeared pitch black. Lin Zhaohe retrieved his cellphone and, upon unlocking it, made an unexpected discovery—an entire call log comprising conversations with Zhuang Lao. The last call, lasting a mere minute, had taken place an hour prior, seemingly coinciding with the peculiar incident he had encountered.

Intrigued, Lin Zhaohe pondered for a moment before deciding to dial the number.

“Hello,” Zhuang Lao’s voice resonated on the other end. “What’s the matter?”

Lin Zhaohe hesitated momentarily before speaking, “Boss…” Initially intending to inquire about the call log, he couldn’t help but feel a strange warmth creeping into his ears upon hearing Zhuang Lao’s voice.

Zhuang Lao possessed an attractive appearance and a captivating voice, with a deep and slightly hoarse tone that was strangely alluring.

“What’s the matter?” Zhuang Lao inquired. “Can’t sleep?”

Lin Zhaohe responded, “No, it’s… I discovered a call record on my phone.” Pondering the situation, he analyzed, “I noticed your name on it. Could it be connected to hallucinations? Can it even mimic your call logs?”

Zhuang Lao: “……”

Lin Zhaohe pressed on, “It must be quite remarkable! What should I do now?”

After a brief silence, Zhuang Lao, likely finding Lin Zhaohe’s analysis overwhelming, spoke, “Have you ever considered that I made that call?”

Lin Zhaohe: “?”

Zhuang Lao: “It’s not a hallucination, it was me who called.”

Lin Zhaohe: “???”

Zhuang Lao sighed, a blend of helplessness and amusement in his voice. “Why have you gone silent?”

At a loss for words, Lin Zhaohe’s mind echoed with a single phrase: “Boss invited me to see the moon, boss invited me to see the moon, boss invited me to see the moon…” an endless repetition.

Timidly, Lin Zhaohe cautiously asked, “Should we still go and see it, then?”

Zhuang Lao didn’t expect that immediately after Lin Zhaohe had finished his brutal act, he would still be interested in watching the moon. Pausing for a moment, Zhuang Lao replied, “Alright, how about meeting on the deck?”

“On the deck,” Lin Zhaohe exclaimed, leaping off the bed with a burst of energy. Haphazardly throwing on his clothes, he rushed to the deck.

The tourists who were originally enjoying the moonlight on the deck had diminished in number due to the recent incident. The ones remaining were startled when they saw Lin Zhaohe suddenly return, and hastily retreated.

As a result, the spacious deck was left with vacant tables and chairs in a matter of moments.

Completely oblivious to anything unusual, Lin Zhaohe waited happily for Zhuang Lao.

After a while, Zhuang Lao arrived. He seemed to have just taken a shower, with his soft hair slightly damp. He wore a black t-shirt and beach shorts, resembling a model on an outdoor shoot.

“Boss,” Lin Zhaohe said as he took a seat on a chair. “What made you suddenly think of inviting me to see the moon?”

Zhuang Lao: “After finally getting some rest, I thought of having a chat with you since I had nothing else to do.”

Lin Zhaohe nodded in response, “Hmm…”

Zhuang Lao had someone bring some drinks, taking a sip himself and handing another glass to Lin Zhaohe.

Lin Zhaohe accepted the glass and cautiously observed Zhuang Lao from the corner of his eye. Zhuang Lao sat by the edge of the ship, with a bright full moon behind him. He sat amidst the moonlight, his fair skin seemingly glowing. The black hair, tousled by the sea breeze, gave him a slightly disheveled look, softening his usual air of detachment and revealing a gentleness not often seen.

“Are you still adjusting?” Zhuang Lao asked.

“What?” Lin Zhaohe didn’t understand.

“Are you still adjusting to this world?” Zhuang Lao clarified.

“Ah,” Lin Zhaohe replied, “There’s nothing to adjust or not adjust to. We have to keep living, after all.” He swirled the wine in his glass, watching as it left traces on the glass like freshly spilled blood. Randomly, he added, “…Thank you, Boss.”

Zhuang Lao understood what Lin Zhaohe was thanking him for.

They first met on a rainy night.

Lin Zhaohe, soaked through like an abandoned puppy, sat by the roadside. An umbrella appeared above his head, and as he looked up, he saw Zhuang Lao towering over him.

It was their first encounter, and Zhuang Lao’s face was somewhat blurry in the darkness. However, Lin Zhaohe could still recall the faint, icy fragrance that emanated from him, like snow.

Zhuang Lao remained silent, holding the umbrella quietly by Lin Zhaohe’s side. The silence persisted so long that Lin Zhaohe almost believed he was faced with a suddenly materialized sculpture before Zhuang Lao finally spoke in a calm tone, “Feeling cold?”

Lin Zhaohe forgot how he responded. He vaguely mumbled a “I’m fine.” He had expected the person in front of him to inquire about what had happened and offer some trivial words of comfort. Instead, the person simply asked, “Do you want a job?”

Lin Zhaohe asked what kind of job it was.

“To protect this world,” Zhuang Lao answered, “To fulfill your wishes.”

Wishes, what was his wish? If we were to speak of Lin Zhaohe’s sole wish in his heart at that time, it was just one… He hoped that people wouldn’t have to pay the price for their illusions.

However, wishes seemed more like fantasies, something that could never truly be realized.

Zhuang Lao said, “Dreams should still exist. What if they come true?” He extended his hand towards Lin Zhaohe.

That was the first time Lin Zhaohe touched Zhuang Lao’s fingertips—cold and delicate, just like the man himself.

Like picking up a bedraggled stray dog by the roadside, Zhuang Lao took Lin Zhaohe in.

Time flew by, three years passed in the blink of an eye.

Zhuang Lao finished the wine in his glass, his gaze tenderly fixed on Lin Zhaohe. “Time flies, doesn’t it?” 

Whether it was due to Zhuang Lao’s gaze or the wine in the glass, Lin Zhaohe’s cheeks turned slightly red. He softly replied, “Yes, it does.”

Zhuang Lao: “Has your wish changed?”

Lin Zhaohe: “No, it hasn’t.”

Zhuang Lao raised his glass once again and smiled. “Xiao He is really cute.”

Lin Zhaohe’s mind became a bit muddled. He thought the moon was beautiful, and his boss was beautiful too. If he took advantage of this moment to ask for a raise… well, the boss should… never mind, better just drink.

That night, Lin Zhaohe, in a drunken state, was escorted back to his room by Zhuang Lao.

He vaguely felt his body sinking into the soft bed and soon succumbed to sleep, oblivious to everything.

It wasn’t until the next morning, when the bright sunlight pierced through, that he was awakened from his slumber.

With a slight hangover headache, Lin Zhaohe freshened up quickly and headed to the dining hall, where he saw Lu Xiaotian and the others having breakfast.

“Good morning,” Lu Xiaotian greeted him.

“Morning,” Lin Zhaohe sat down on a chair and took a big gulp of iced Americano, jolting himself awake. “Where’s the boss?” He didn’t see Zhuang Lao.

“Just received a phone call, went out,” Lu Xiaotian said. “Seems like something urgent.”

Lin Zhaohe wondered what could be so urgent for the boss when he noticed Ji Zuoyi, the one who had kidnapped Lu Xiaotian yesterday, appearing not far away. His gaze fell upon their group.

“Juzi!” Lin Zhaohe quickly stood in front of Lu Xiaotian. “Stay calm!”

Ji Zuoyi, expressionless, walked up to them. Lu Xiaotian hid behind Lin Zhaohe, trembling. Just as Lin Zhaohe was about to persuade Ji Zuoyi with a few words, they heard Ji Zuoyi ask expressionlessly, “Sir, do you need any service?”

Lin Zhaohe: “…”

Lu Xiaotian: “…”

Lin Zhaohe took a closer look and realized that Ji Zuoyi was wearing the professional uniform of a cruise ship attendant. After a moment of silence, he whispered, “You found another job here?”

“Yes,” Ji Zuoyi answered calmly, “Otherwise, I won’t have money to eat.”

Lin Zhaohe and Lu Xiaotian both shed tears.

In the original story, Ji Zuoyi was a monster hunter who earned money by hunting monsters. However, in the current world where demons and monsters had become commonplace, the fused Ji Zuoyi ended up unemployed.

With no qualifications and average combat skills, Ji Zuoyi could only do the simplest jobs. During the day, he worked as a server, and at night, he performed as a magician, all while trying to track down the author to exact revenge. Little did he expect Lu Xiaotian to accidentally bump into him like this.

Lu Xiaotian said, “Juzi, don’t suffer here. Come to my house, I’ll take care of you!” Her words were accompanied by tearful eyes. How could she bear to see her own son endure such hardships? Her family was well-off, and taking care of Juzi would not be a burden.

Upon hearing this, Ji Zuoyi rolled his eyes bluntly and said, “I’m only holding back from laying a hand on you. Don’t think I’ve truly let go.”

Lu Xiaotian could only force a smile.

As they were chatting, Zhuang Lao, who had finished his call, returned. Lin Zhaohe noticed and asked if the boss needed a new employee. He felt that Jiuzi was being underutilized as a server here. However, Zhuang Lao didn’t even look up and replied, “Our company doesn’t hire 2D employees.”

Lin Zhaohe was taken aback by this revelation. He had never realized that there were no 2D colleagues in the company. Now that he thought about it, everyone he knew was from the real world. No matter how strong the combat abilities of 2D characters were, Zhuang Lao wasn’t interested. He would rather spend a large sum of money to cultivate fragile real humans than hire overpowered protagonists.

“Why?” Lin Zhaohe asked curiously, “Does the boss have a bias against 2D?”

Zhuang Lao: “Not really.” He smiled and added, “It’s just my personal preference.”

Lin Zhaohe: “Oh…”

Zhuang Lao took out his phone and handed it to Lin Zhaohe. “By the way, take a look at this.”

Lin Zhaohe took the phone and saw a photo of a man. At first glance, he seemed ordinary, but as Lin Zhaohe examined the man’s features more closely, he froze. “Isn’t this Lu Pingping? Where was this photo taken?”

Lu Pingping was the person who had organized the children’s entry into the game called Boundary. He had suddenly died in the game, and Lin Zhaohe had thought the matter ended there. However, it seemed there was more to the story.

“Yes,” Zhuang Lao said. “As I instructed, someone investigated and took this photo a few days ago in the fusion area of another game.”

“He came back to life?” Lin Zhaohe asked incredulously.

“He did,” Zhuang Lao confirmed. “The incident you encountered yesterday may have some connection with him.”

Lin Zhaohe recalled his own experience and thought about the strange illusions that had tried to unveil his mask. They had desperately wanted to expose his true face, but they had failed. Could it be that Lu Pingping’s purpose in entering the border was to obtain his Joseph mask? And how did they manipulate him into the illusion? Could it be some 2D prop as well?

Zhuang Lao tapped his fingers on the table. “They will come again.”

Lin Zhaohe nodded, wondering about the intentions of this group and their ultimate goal.

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