Chapter 23.1 – Dinner Party

Until the image disappeared, Xu Gao remained motionless, his pupils trembling, taking a good while to react. When he finally did, he rubbed his arms and only then realized that goosebumps had appeared on his skin at some point.

This was the first time he had gained a shallow understanding of the Game.

Just by seeing a fragmentary image, he was nearly suffocating. It was hard to imagine how the person inside had endured so many years, and it was equally difficult to fathom the strength of those at the forefront of the Game.

He turned to look at Hu Li. Hu Li kept his head down, displaying an indescribable expression—something Xu Gao had never seen before. He asked, “Who is 001?”

Hu Li carefully collected the fragments, with no intention to say much, only stating, “A polite lunatic.”

He hadn’t seen 001, and the image was incomplete and blurry, but he could still distinctly discern that the person in the image was the other party.

White hair, a strength bordering on brutality.

Before leaving, Xu Gao pondered over the meaning of a polite lunatic.

It wasn’t until he reached the forensic department that he remembered something, turned back, grasped the door frame, and shouted, “Don’t forget to file the report!”


Outside the manor, amidst a fleet of luxury cars, a yellow taxi stood out conspicuously.

Inside, Chen Jing was engrossed in the messages sent by Xiao Pang, while Zhang Xin sat wearing a simple white dress, glancing up at the estate’s walls.

They had finally arrived.

The situation had been quite convoluted. Simply put, the boss’s wine was drunk by a citizen surnamed Jiang. However, the boss was a loyal fan of Xiaofang, and there was still a whole wall of Xiaofang’s wine in the wine cellar. Later, Zhang Xin successfully obtained the wine, using the excuse of buying it for her father, who also liked this type of wine. She managed to get it and received an invitation letter.

Each invitation was for one person, at most with one female companion. Chen Jing and Zhang Xin went inside, leaving Xiao Pang to wander outside the estate.

The taxi left after dropping them at the gate, and Chen Jing and Zhang Xin entered the manor.

Around them, elegance and refinement filled the air. Guests descended the stairs from the second floor for the banquet, receiving applause from others. Though they clapped along, their eyes didn’t glance toward the second floor but rather scanned the crowd.

Zhang Xin murmured, “Lu Dongcheng hasn’t arrived yet.”

Chen Jing nodded.

He hadn’t seen the ostentatious second-generation rich kid; apparently, the latter had no interest in the occasion and simply chose not to come.

Guests arrived gradually, nearing the start of the banquet, yet the hosts remained idle, engaged in lively conversations with others, occasionally glancing toward the entrance.

Lu Dongcheng arrived.

He came alone, dressed in a suit, wearing a faint smile on his face, exuding grace and politeness. It was hard to imagine that this was one of the top players in the gaming world.

The elderly man celebrating his birthday approached him, followed by his own pair of children.

Though tall, Lu Dongcheng didn’t seem haughty when he lowered his head to speak, radiating an inherent nobility.

As the old man conversed with him, his son interjected, “Mr. Lu, why did you come alone today?”

Before he could finish, the old man shot him a stern look.

Lu Dongcheng’s expression remained unchanged; he smiled and replied, “He didn’t agree.”

Meanwhile, Jiang Yujin was still in the kitchen, handling the fish.

He had been waiting for the chef to prepare the meal, so he seized the chance to play a game on his phone. It was a bit regretful that his gaming partner wasn’t here; otherwise, he could have shared his ten consecutive victories.

As the chef finished plating the dishes, someone transferred them onto a small cart. Jiang Yujin hid his phone and pushed the cart towards the lobby.

From a distance, he could already hear the sounds of various instruments playing and people chatting.

When he reached the lobby, the noise abruptly intensified. He didn’t pay much attention to the crowd, focusing solely on placing his dishes.

Among the crowd, Chen Jing seemed to sense something. Through the thick heads, he immediately spotted someone standing by a table.

The person was dressed in a white shirt and black pants, with tidier hair than usual. Despite the view of their back, Chen Jing could recognize them at a glance.


Chen Jing couldn’t fathom why this person would be here. He instinctively moved forward but then realized he should be at a friend’s place right now.

He discreetly moved back into the crowd with Zhang Xin. Looking back, they noticed someone approaching the figure.

It was Lu Dongcheng. He halted his conversation with the old master and walked towards the person who was adjusting the dishes.

Zhang Xin, beside Chen Jing, also noticed the commotion. After identifying the person, her eyes widened slightly. “That’s…”

Chen Jing chose to deeply exhale.

With the dishes adjusted, Jiang Yujin completed his task and clapped his hands. As he turned around, he met the gaze of the person behind him.

Lu Dongcheng smiled at him, and Jiang Yujin followed suit. “What a coincidence, Lu Yi Yi.”

He wondered why the location seemed so familiar; turns out, it was the place mentioned on the invitation he had previously discarded.

He should have asked for a month’s salary in advance.

— It seemed like he had resolved to call this person Lu Yi Yi for the rest of his life.

Lu Dongcheng didn’t seem to mind; he didn’t correct the other person’s way of addressing him.

After exchanging polite greetings with Lu Dongcheng, Jiang Yujin didn’t glance back at the person behind him. He turned his attention to the buttered prawns he had just arranged on the table, pondered for a moment, then took a small plate from the side and added some to it, even considerately providing a fork and spoon.

Before Lu Dongcheng could reach out, he took a bite.

The dish was for himself, the utensils were for himself; he was catering to his own preferences.

Noticing the supervisor’s silhouette at the door, Jiang Yujin, while still chewing, handed the empty plate to Lu Dongcheng for him to take care of, swiftly slipping away by pushing the small cart.

Fortunately, the supervisor’s target wasn’t him, and the supervisor seemed too preoccupied to notice him. Wiping his forehead with a reflective surface, the supervisor briskly walked over to the old master, saying something in a low voice.

The old master’s expression changed slightly. After a few words of advice, the supervisor nodded and quickly departed.

As Jiang Yujin left, there was no one temporarily beside Lu Yi Yi. Chen Jing stepped forward, while Zhang Xin observed from a distance.

Raising an eyebrow at the person in front of him, Lu Dongcheng waited for Chen Jing to speak.


Jiang Yujin, pushing the small cart, returned to the kitchen just as the supervisor arrived. Wiping the sweat from his forehead, the supervisor said, “Everyone can take a break for now.”

Tonight, for some reason, the ground occasionally trembled. Despite it being due to construction work below, the kitchen staff were quite apprehensive. Upon hearing they could leave, they promptly packed their things and departed.

Jiang Yujin blended into the crowd and left. Midway through, he stopped, muttering about needing the restroom, and turned back.

As he retraced his steps past the kitchen, he noticed that the lock on the door of the supposedly restricted storage room had been removed.

Pretending not to notice the sign that read “Special Storage Room,” Jiang Yujin opened the door and stepped inside.

The storage room wasn’t quite a storage room; in fact, there was barely any space. Upon entering, there was a staircase.

The staircase was well-made, akin to the lobby, exuding an expensive aura.

There were lights in the staircase—warm yellow, not too bright, but enough to see the way.


The staircase spiraled downward, and he walked slowly, hearing another set of echoing footsteps from below.

The staircase was unusually long, almost testing Jiang Yujin’s patience. Just before he was about to jump down, he finally saw the end.

Beneath was a vast area resembling a deep basement, much larger and taller than usual. Despite lights on the walls, the space remained quite dim.

At the far end, the supervisor was still slowly moving. Although he had descended quickly down the stairs, he now seemed hesitant and apprehensive.

Just as Jiang Yujin prepared to continue down, he suddenly saw someone appearing in the light, blocking the supervisor’s path.

It was Zhao Liu, his inexplicably absent partner from earlier.

Zhao Liu’s clothes appeared quite dirty, covered in dust. He pulled out a black ID from his pocket and opened it, saying, “I’m Zhao Liu from the Special Investigation Unit. There are reports of storing strange species here, and the situation seems confirmed.”

Suddenly, Jiang Yujin’s previously idle partner gained a flashy identity. Jiang Yujin wasn’t surprised and found it rather amusing, so he found an excellent vantage point to observe from afar.

Despite his partner being good-looking and eloquent, he still chose to stay hidden in the kitchen due to his social anxiety. Someone who had just arrived as a temporary worker wouldn’t typically know about the “strange species” below, clearly not like him, who was just here for work.

He hadn’t expected it to be someone from the Special Investigation Unit. It seemed like the situation had become even more exciting.

The supervisor glanced multiple times at the ID Zhao Liu held, his expression changing constantly. In the end, he couldn’t manage to utter a word.

There had been a leak of information previously, so when he recruited someone this time, he specifically checked their background, selecting someone known for their tight lips, all to prevent any undercover investigations. Yet, it seemed he hadn’t been cautious enough.

The supervisor moved his lips several times, finally managing to squeeze out two words, “Impossible!”

His voice even quivered at the end, sounding oddly high-pitched.

“…” Zhao Liu fell silent for a moment, choosing not to argue further. He said, “The chains have been loosened considerably and need reinforcement as soon as possible.”

The supervisor refused to acknowledge it and tried to push Zhao Liu out. Zhao Liu wanted the supervisor to see the loosened chains, and the two began to push each other.

The situation was becoming increasingly intense. Jiang Yujin watched with great interest, adjusting his position to find the best view. However, in the process, he made a slightly exaggerated movement, catching the attention of the two grappling individuals.

Suddenly, someone else appeared out of nowhere, startling the supervisor, who asked, “How did you get down here?”

“Oh,” Jiang Yujin ruffled his hair, saying, “I came to find the restroom.”

Glancing around, he added dramatically, “There doesn’t seem to be one here.”

His headache intensified, the supervisor still contemplating how to get the two individuals to leave, and the ground started trembling once again.

What they had felt up above was trembling. Until they came down and truly stood in this place, they could distinctly hear the muffled impact of something hitting the ground and the rattling of chains, one after another, as if about to break free at any moment.

Zhao Liu’s expression changed, saying, “The sound is even louder than when I arrived.”

The supervisor was also afraid, but he persisted, still insisting that there was nothing here.


A sound much fainter than the impact echoed.

A very subtle sound, and both who were previously arguing fell silent.

It sounded like the sound of a metal block embedded in the ground being lifted and dropped.

After a brief silence, there was no time to call for reinforcement. Zhao Liu swiftly ran into the room, while the supervisor hesitated for a moment before finally choosing to follow.

Jiang Yujin didn’t run like the others, slowly lagging behind.

On one side of the basement were iron railings, and on the other side was the room. The room was large, almost a replica of the main hall’s area, lit but dimly.

Under the dim light, the undulating body inside could be seen, the skin unexpectedly gleaming. From a conventional aesthetic perspective, the captured strange species inside could be considered beautiful. There were also enormous bone wings not yet unfolded, appearing more delicate in contrast to the other strange species in the game.

Its limbs were all restrained by chains, visibly oozing blood. The chains were originally tightly secured to the ground, but now there was one visibly broken, with a section of the ground lifted. Likely due to the previous action requiring a lot of effort, it now lay quietly on the ground, breathing lightly, as if preparing for the next struggle.

The supervisor couldn’t come up with excuses anymore, watching the chains being snapped, and hurriedly tried to make a call on his phone. His hand trembled, and the phone fell directly to the ground. He hurriedly bent down to pick it up.

In the moment he bent down, a roar erupted behind him. Afraid to continue picking up the phone, he scrambled away on all fours. When he turned his head, he discovered a scratch on the ground where he had just been.

It turned out the creature’s claws had quietly extended without anyone noticing, just enough to reach through the gap in the railing to the outside.

Without a doubt, the supervisor could confirm that if that claw had come down just now, he would have lost half his head.

This time, he didn’t hesitate at all. He chose to stand behind Zhao Liu and said, “Didn’t they say the Special Investigation Unit members all came back from that game? You should have a way to fix the iron chains inside.”

To be frank, this was completely asking for the impossible. The chains couldn’t be fixed, and Zhao Liu had no intention of fixing them. Instead, he pulled out a uniquely shaped gun from his pocket.

Jiang Yujin slightly raised his eyes.

He slowly approached the supervisor and quietly asked, “Where did you buy the pants for these uniforms?” It was remarkable how much it could hold.

The supervisor: “…”

The supervisor didn’t have time to deal with him. When the supervisor saw Zhao Liu raise the gun, he instantly lunged forward, preventing him from attacking whatever was inside.

Zhao Liu easily dodged the supervisor, aiming his gun.

Faced with the dark barrel, the massive body inside the iron railing began to move again, its enormous bone wings spreading open, wildly circling the room, crashing into walls, causing the chains to rattle loudly.

Another chain started to teeter.

Jiang Yujin whispered in surprise, “It can still fly.”

Shooting now might only provoke the creature further, making the situation more complicated. Zhao Liu lowered the gun and turned to look at the supervisor behind him, saying, “Right now, go back immediately and inform everyone upstairs to leave as soon as possible. Also, notify the Special Investigation Unit that this place is very dangerous.”

Concerns about the meticulously prepared banquet made the supervisor hesitate again. He glanced at the iron bars and said weakly, “This place has been specially reinforced. It shouldn’t be able to get out.”

As he spoke, he saw Zhao Liu’s fist clenching tighter.

The supervisor quickly turned and ran back.

Jiang Yujin turned to glance at the long, winding staircase but ultimately chose to stay right there. Finding a spot to casually crouch down, he looked up at Zhao Liu.

Regardless of time or place, if someone wanted to chat, citizen Jiang could always find a way. Even though Zhao Liu mentioned the danger and urged him to head upstairs quickly, Jiang Yujin didn’t budge. Instead, he expressed envy for the other person being paid double for the job.

“…” Zhao Liu didn’t quite understand why someone would chat at a time like this, but he politely responded, saying there was no need to be envious.

Jiang Yujin nodded, glanced once more at the massive creature seemingly settling down behind the railing, and silently took two steps backward.

Then two more steps.

By the time Zhao Liu turned back to look, the other person had already moved a considerable distance away.

The noises from inside the iron railing resumed. Unlike before, the massive body collided with the railing, emitting a sound akin to metal friction, sending shivers down one’s spine.

A piece of iron chain snapped, the flying chain hit the iron railing, generating a tremendous noise.

The entire wall where the iron railing stood vibrated, causing dust to shake loose.

Another iron chain broke free.

The last remaining chain couldn’t restrain the strange species anymore. It swung its body, seemingly oblivious to pain, and crashed into the wall.

The reinforced wall, touted by the supervisor, began to tremble.

From a considerable distance away, Jiang Yujin asked Zhao Liu, “Don’t you guys have handguns?”

Zhao Liu, his gaze fixed on the creature, replied, “Why would we?”

Citizen Jiang, who spent years in front of the television, remarked, “That’s how they do it on TV.”

The reality was that Zhao Liu didn’t have a handgun. Using one might provoke the creature and was not an option. Cut off from the ground, there was no signal for a phone call. For now, they could only wait for the moment the creature emerged and attempt to subdue it.

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