Chapter 66.2 Someone with a strong memory
“How much better would it have been if I had refused him back then,” Lin Zhaohe sighed bitterly. “If I had refused him, none of this would have happened. There would be no Lin Yan, no tragedy, and Lu Feihe would still be alive.”
“You’re overthinking it,” Mr. Li saw through his thoughts. “When you were writing, you had no idea what would happen in the future. Do authors of novels know that their stories will become reality? What other kinds of novels have you written before?”
Lin Zhaohe forced a bitter smile. “Too many to count.”
“Have any others merged into reality?” Mr. Li asked. “When they merged, did the protagonists undergo any strange changes, like developing a second personality or something?”
Lin Zhaohe shook his head. “Indeed, there have been other works that merged, but they all remained normal. No strange changes occurred.”
Mr. Li said, “It’s truly strange.”
Why did that Lin Yan, who killed Lu Feihe, appear? Could it be the result of some anime-like item? But what kind of item could create two identical yet distinct personalities? This matter became the biggest enigma after the fusion, and no one could find an answer.
Lin Zhaohe had cried for too long, and weariness showed on his face. Suddenly, he remembered Zhuang Lao, who abruptly appeared in Lin Yan’s memories. He turned to his boss and asked, “Boss, did you ever meet that Lin Yan before the tragedy occurred?”
“No,” Zhuang Lao replied.
“No? Then why did I see you in Lin Yan’s memories?” Lin Zhaohe asked in confusion.
The Zhuang Lao in Lin Yan’s memories was completely different from the person in front of him. Lin Zhaohe even began to doubt if he had seen it wrong.
“What? Lin Yan’s memories included Zhuang Lao?” Lin Yan, who had just finished watching the memories, displayed a puzzled expression. “Why didn’t I see it?”
“You didn’t see it?” Lin Zhaohe was puzzled. “It was right at the beginning.”
Lin Yan shook his head blankly, indicating that he hadn’t seen anything.
Seeing this, Mr. Li took the pearl and watched the memories. After finishing, he shook his head as well. “I didn’t see it either.” Then he teasingly laughed, “Lin Zhaohe, maybe you miss your boss so much that you think everything resembles him.”
Lin Zhaohe blushed instantly and denied, “No, I don’t.” But the upright fluffy ears on his head exposed his true feelings.
With Mr. Li’s teasing, Lin Zhaohe had no choice but to temporarily set aside the matter.
They searched through the remaining pearls and finally found the memory about the potion formula discarded by Qi Mola. Qi Mola took the pearl, read it, and said that the potion would require a day to prepare. They were instructed to come back tomorrow at the same time to collect it.
Zhuang Lao agreed and said that when they come to collect the magic potion, he would give the remaining alcohol to Qi Mola. Although he was a bit reluctant, Qi Mola could only agree.
“Then let’s go find something to eat,” Mr. Li said. “I’m hungry.”
Lin Zhaohe had little appetite. He leaned weakly against Zhuang Lao. Zhuang Lao seemed to feel sorry for him and reached out to touch his forehead. “Do you want to eat something?” They hadn’t had a proper meal for almost a day since they arrived here.
“Are you going to eat? I recommend Nia,” Qi Mola pointed to a nearby stall. “She is a famous culinary witch.”
Mr. Li agreed.
Everyone else had something on their minds and appeared listless, except for Mr. Li, who enthusiastically led the three of them to the nearby stall.
Lin Zhaohe was feeling a bit hungry, but he had little appetite. His mind kept replaying the scenes he had just witnessed. He felt that seeing Zhuang Lao in Lin Yan’s memories was something out of the ordinary. Moreover, he had a gut feeling that it was somehow related to why Lin Yan had transformed into that state.
Compared to the other deep-in-thought individuals, Mr. Li was carefree and only enjoyed good food. He enthusiastically ordered a variety of dishes, and the chef, Nia, upon hearing that they were recommended by Qi Mola, specially served them a custom-made witch’s cuisine, which was said to enhance longevity and maintain smooth and delicate skin.
Mr. Li said that this food was perfect for Lin Zhaohe, considering how he had cried earlier, making everyone think he was about to cry his eyes out. Lin Zhaohe, as an adult male, felt a bit embarrassed to be seen crying like that. Although he maintained a tough exterior, his ears slowly drooped down.
Zhuang Lao pinched his ear, and Lin Zhaohe’s drooping head instantly shot up. “Boss!”
Zhuang Lao said, “Stop thinking about it and eat first.”
Lin Zhaohe said, “Okay…”
Nia brought the dishes, and the four of them started to eat slowly. The food tasted delicious, all made with unique ingredients from this realm. There was a braised red fish that had an excellent flavor. Unlike the usual tender fish meat, this fish had a chewy texture. It was braised in a special sauce, rich in aroma and flavorful broth. Just this dish alone could make one eat several bowls of rice. The other dishes also had their own distinctive features, using plants unique to the wilderness and even insects with abundant protein… They didn’t look appealing, but surprisingly tasted good.
While enjoying the food, Lin Zhaohe’s troubled mood began to settle, and his furry ears, which had been drooping, slowly started swaying again.
“We can only get the potion tomorrow,” Mr. Li yawned. “We need to find a place to stay for the night.”
Lin Yan asked where the witches usually stayed.
Mr. Li: “It seems like they all pitch tents. Should we do the same?”
Lin Yan: “It doesn’t matter. Anywhere is fine.”
Mr. Li: “Alright then.” He quickly finished the remaining food, and if it weren’t for Lin Yan stopping him, he probably wouldn’t have left a single plate. After finishing, he shifted his gaze to the sea behind them, drooling a bit, and expressed his desire to go for a swim in the ocean to catch some small fish and shrimp to satisfy his cravings. He asked Lin Zhaohe if he wanted to join him.
Lin Zhaohe initially wanted to refuse, but unexpectedly, Zhuang Lao readily agreed, saying it was a good idea. Since he couldn’t sleep anyway, he might as well find something to do.
So the group arrived at the seaside. Mr. Li tossed his discarded clothes to Lin Yan and jumped into the sea. Lin Yan scolded him for his lack of manners, always throwing things at him, but he obediently collected Mr. Li’s clothes, showing a hint of a soft side beneath his harsh words.
After a moment, a massive black whale emerged from the sea surface. It let out a sharp cry, a sound that seemed out of place coming from its enormous body. Lin Yan flew onto its back, while Zhuang Lao swiftly lifted Lin Zhaohe in one stride and jumped onto Mr. Li’s back.
It was Lin Zhaohe’s first intimate encounter with such a large whale. He touched here and there, feeling the texture of the whale’s skin. How to describe it? It was somewhat like rubber, neither hard nor soft, but smooth and slippery.
“Hold on tight, here we go,” Mr. Li said, then turned around and sped forward, swimming towards the center of the sea.
The sea breeze tousled their hair, and the rapid speed created splashes of water. Lin Zhaohe lowered his head and, through the crystal-clear azure water, saw countless unfamiliar creatures. There were groups of strange and colorful fish, massive jellyfish floating with bubbles along the waves, and peculiar sea turtles swimming with shells on their backs. His mood became joyful, the ears on his head couldn’t help but shake in response to the wind.
The serious expression on Lin Zhaohe’s face eased significantly. He lay on Mr. Li’s back, looking at the sky and softly said, “I love this world.”
“I love this world too,” Lin Yan said.
“Why did your friend depict me like this?” Lin Yan asked. He had also read his own original story, and compared to the characters in other bestselling novels, the difference was night and day.
People usually prefer protagonists who seek revenge with a free spirit, rather than a saintly character who burdens others. So why create a character like him? If given the chance, Lin Yan really wanted to find his own author and ask. But now, Lu Feihe was dead, and the only one who could answer his questions was Lin Zhaohe.
“Because Lu Feihe wanted to make the world a better place,” Lin Zhaohe replied, gazing at the sky. “We thought, why not create a protagonist who is willing to sacrifice everything? Someone who doesn’t weigh the pros and cons, but cares about every person and every life around them…” He continued, “So Lu Feihe created you.”
Lin Yan said, “I thought I could do it.”
“We all thought we could,” Lin Zhaohe said. “Humans always tend to overestimate themselves.”
Lin Yan: “No matter the outcome, we have to give it a try.”
Lin Zhaohe smiled. Lin Yan, with his current appearance as a cute little girl, looked quite adorable with a serious expression as he said those words. Unable to resist, he reached out and pinched Lin Yan’s cheek, which was soft and innocent, like that of a girl who knew nothing of the world. “Actually, Lu Feihe did consider writing you as a girl at first, but in the end, it didn’t happen.”
“Because…” Lin Zhaohe burst into laughter. “Because neither he nor I have ever been in love! We have no idea about a girl’s true personality, what clothes she likes to wear, or what she enjoys eating! We can’t just write a female protagonist who likes to wear a yellow dress with black stockings, hahaha.”
Lin Yan: “……”
Mr. Li hadn’t had a chance to freely swim in the sea for a long time. Now that he was in the water, he behaved like an excited wild child, not willing to turn back even after swimming far away. It was Zhuang Lao who finally had to scold and warn him, saying that if he didn’t go back, he would become the first whale burned to death in the sea.
Mr. Li’s eyes welled up with tears, reluctantly turning back.
On the way back, he talked about his first time coming to this place, saying that he had been unlucky, encountering powerful witches who either wanted parts of his body or his love. But he was just a poor whale, what love could he offer? His utmost love was reserved for food. If he sold all his love, would eating no longer be enjoyable? Just the thought of that result made Mr. Li resist all temptations, firmly refusing to make any deals with the witches.
He also mentioned that the witches of this level were divided into two factions: the Savage faction and the Mundane faction. True to their names, the witches of the Savage faction were more ruthless. Rather than enjoying interactions with humans, they treated humans as prey rather than equals. On the other hand, the witches of the Mundane faction were different. They preferred to observe the lives of humans from a bystander’s perspective and sometimes even offered assistance. The witches attending the gathering were mostly from the Mundane faction, so there were rarely any disputes.
Mr. Li shared his encounter with a witch from the Savage faction, describing them as terrifying, not only in terms of their strength but also their mindset. They cared about nothing and indulged in their destructive instincts based on their whims. If ordinary people encountered them, the odds of survival were slim. Fortunately, the witches of the Savage faction preferred to live in seclusion, and their numbers were few, so they didn’t pose a significant threat.
Lin Zhaohe sensed the heaviness in his tone and asked if he had encountered them before.
“I encountered one during my last visit,” Mr. Li said. “She directly killed the person who was traveling with me. Luckily, I managed to escape.”
Lin Zhaohe was taken aback. “You couldn’t defeat her?”
“I couldn’t. It was their territory,” Mr. Li replied. “Besides, they would perform sacrifices to summon some ghastly creatures. Oh my, all of it was something I dislike eating. I don’t even want to encounter them in my dreams.”
Lin Zhaohe listened with a mix of laughter and tears, seriously suspecting that the reason Mr. Li couldn’t defeat them was that the witches from the Savage faction didn’t look appetizing.
“Fortunately, these weird people don’t like attending witch gatherings… Wait, what’s that?” Mr. Li, who was swimming back, suddenly halted his movement, his tone filled with a sense of fear and shock.
Lin Zhaohe raised his gaze and saw a gigantic summoning array in the sky by the seaside. Compared to the summoning array Victor had used before, the one before his eyes was several times larger, almost spanning half of the sky. Under the blood-red sun, the array emitted a black radiance. Although he didn’t know what would appear inside it, it exuded an ominous aura no matter how one looked at it.
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