Gamers Are Fierce - Chapter 28
Translator: Atlas Studios
Editor: Atlas Studios
When all four of his teammates had left, Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles was left alone in the big courtyard. Nightfall arrived with a bright moon and a few stars. The cold wind blew by, swaying the tree shadows as though something in that gloomy, dense forest was peeping at him.
He picked up dead branches and stacked them into piles. Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles, who was holding onto a long sword, took high-concentration alcohol out of his backpack, sprinkled the pile of firewood casually, and then pulled the Swiss Army knife out of his pocket to ignite the firewood with the flint.
The player’s backpack could hold up to 20 items, and the inventory and equipment bar did not overlap. Therefore, each slot in the backpack had to be carefully planned. Highly-concentrated alcohol that could ignite a fire and destroy the corpse. It was eligible to be put in the backpack. On the other hand, the fully-functional Swiss Army knife was carried close to the body and did not occupy inventory space.
When the flame was created, rays of light bloomed and their warmth dispelled the chilliness. The flame was reflected in Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles’ eyes, making his stiff expression ease a lot.
The crackling sound of the firewood covered the sound of the wind and the faint moan coming from outside the temple’s courtyard.
One could tell that this was a woman’s moan, but it had nothing to do with thoughts of love.
If it had to be described, it was like a desperate, hoarse voice produced when the throat was ripped apart and bloody foam gushed out of the respiratory tract.
It was like the sobs of Kayako Saeki in Ju-On.
Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles had completed many quests and reached Level 5. Furthermore, in order to discover danger beforehand, he had added his Agility and Perception to 7 points for the sake of self-defense.
Even though all he heard was the sound of the wind and the crackling firewood, he still heard the strange moan that came from outside the temple’s courtyard.
Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles drew his long sword and held it in front of him. While he wanted to shout for his teammates to come over to assist him, he heard that moaning sound rapidly become louder and get nearer.
The bluestone tiles on the foot of the wall were divided in two. The crack extended from the foot of the wall toward Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles just like the waves stirred on the surface of the water when one was swimming.
Before Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles could shout, he saw a pale arm emerge suddenly from the soil under his feet like a long snake and push the slate brutally.
The arm was two meters long. Its forearms were slim and long and did not seem to be human. Its fingers were slim and smooth, and its top nails were smeared with red nail polish crushed by petals of balsamine. Based on its hands alone, it could become a hand model at Taobao.
Even though Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles was in manual operation, he probably could not operate upon seeing this slim, long, snow-white arm suddenly emerge before him like a python.
While he held the long sword in his hand, his killing intent appeared. Despite swinging his sword with formidable power, Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles saw the snow-white arm twist and squirm as if it did not have bones. It seemed as though it had grown eyes and it easily evaded the sword.
When Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles was about to lift his sword, the weak boneless arm struck and wrapped around his waist, arm, and throat. Like a python killing its prey, it slowly tightened its grip.
The plump snow-white palm, which did not have any warmth, enveloped his face, played with his beard, and blocked his mouth and nose.
It wasn’t gentle at all. It was actually frightening.
In an instant, Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles felt like his ribs were about to be broken, his eyes were filled with redness, and his repressed lung was about to explode.
He moaned hard and relinquished his grasp on the long sword with this last effort.
The long sword dropped to the ground. As it was about to fall, the tip of Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles’ shoes picked it up. Eventually, he held it in his hand.
With a grasp on the long sword, Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles suddenly stabbed at the soil on the ground and that snow-white arm.
The tip of the sword seemed to have stabbed something and the scarlet blood permeated the soil on the ground all of a sudden. A mournful scream was heard before the snake-like arm quickly released its grip and withdrew into the soil.
Crack, crack, crack, crack, crack, crack…
Cracks appeared in the bluestone slab inside the temple again. This time, the cracks moved outside the temple.
The arm that was buried in the ground wanted to escape.
“Where are you going?”
A violent shout was heard in front of the Hall of Great Strength. Xing Hechou, who was holding all kinds of scriptures, threw the Buddhist scriptures and took out his bronze halberd before he leaped on the steps in front of the hall.
The bronze halberd suddenly welled up in a flame, traversed the circular line of fire in the air, and slammed against the bluestone slab hard.
Shattered stones splattered and dust flew up. Another mournful scream was heard under the ground.
When Reverend Hui Bing, who was following Xing Hechou tightly, silently stepped on the ground with his cloth shoes and leaped forward, his weak, delicate skin suddenly expanded and he instantly became a muscular man with glossy, shiny muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Muscular Holy Monk Hui Bing smashed the ground with both hands like a pile driver. Tremors and ripples could be seen on the whole area of soil with the naked eye as he hit the arm buried deeply under the ground.
A clear sound of bones cracking was heard. Monk Hui Bing wanted to launch another attack but realized that the arm had escaped and left the courtyard through the soil, escaping to the dense forest outside the temple.
“Ho… Ho… Ho… Ke… Ke… Ke… Ke… Ke…”
Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles bent his waist and stood on the spot. This suffocating pain caused him to cough involuntarily. Fresh air had never been so lovely and fascinating.
“Are you okay?” Xing Hechou frowned and patted Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles’ back. Monk Hui Bing, who had been restored to his original state from a body full of muscles, also walked over.
“I’m fine.” Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles was red and pale. He had the second-highest level in the team, after all, and had nearly died without knowing why thanks to the slender, long arms that had escaped through the soil.
He forced himself to stand upright. While he pulled his neckline to allow himself to breathe better, he complained angrily. “Who said that it wouldn’t be dangerous for me to collect firewood alone? Where is that Li person? Where is he?”
“Why are you calling me?”
On the west side of the courtyard, Li Ang, who was holding a wooden box, was walking over with Liu Wudai following him. The latter was holding onto a similar wooden box.
Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles carried his long sword and said with a gloomy expression, “I’ve already said that we shouldn’t be splitting up. Did you know that I nearly died?”
“Aren’t you still alive?” Li Ang curled his lips and put down the wooden box. “That ghost can’t even kill you. Now that we’re all gathered here, it definitely can’t kill us. Since we know its attacking technique, our future prevention will be more focused.”
Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles’ expression was gloomy and he even secretly suspected that this ‘companion’, who had feigned his madness, had deliberately made him stay in the courtyard alone to suffer an attack so that he could obtain intelligence from him.
Li Ang ignored him and put down the wooden box in his hand. After taking a few steps, he leaped onto the steps of the Hall of Great Strength and took the piles of Buddhist scriptures left behind by Xing Hechou and the others before he returned to the bonfire.
Śūraṅgama Sūtra, Lotus Sutra, Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, A Trip to the North, Miscellaneous Records From a Hermitage on the Mountains… The scriptures in the sutra depository in Solitary Temple were no different from the ones Hui Bing had read.
When Hui Bing saw Li Ang casually flipping through the Buddhist scriptures, he put his palms together and said, “This is not an unfounded alternate world. It should be ancient history in the real world. The latest period should be the Ming Dynasty.”
“It was during the reign of Jiajing in the Ming Dynasty,” Li Ang added casually. “To be precise, it was the 15th year of the Jiajing reign, the year of Bing Shen. According to the calendar of the afterlife, it was 1536 AD.”
“How did you know?” Xing Hechou asked.
“I looked at the account book.” Li Ang pointed at the wooden box at his feet. “Inside this wooden box are the accounts that Abbot Dao Zhi of Solitary Temple wrote. The last content of the accounts is the tenancy payment list for Buddhist fields on the east side of the village. The last date is 1533, March of the Jiawu Year. If it’s pushed three years later, it is now 1536.”
The Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty…
Both Xing Hechou and Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles were somewhat at a loss. Although both of them had received compulsory education, the latter was also a college student born after the ’90s. However, history was cumbersome for them.
The Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty was not as popular as the Jianyuan reign of the Han Dynasty or the Zhenguan reign of the Tang Dynasty. There were not many TV series about it.
The two of them really didn’t know about this period of history. It would be good enough if they could speak about Wang Shouren, Qi Jiguang, Hai Rui, and the others, let alone about the Palace Plot in the Year Renyin and the Gengxu War.
Upon seeing the dazed expressions of Xing Hechou and Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles, Li Ang gave them a faint sweet smile.
He sat on the ground and took the various books in front of him before he raised an account book next to the flame and read it without caring about the others.
“What are you doing?” Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles said, feeling stupefied. “Shouldn’t we sit in a circle and guard ourselves against the attack of the ghost?”
“You guys can guard against the ghost. Let me read the past accounts of Solitary Temple first,” Li Ang said unhurriedly. “The ghost just launched an attack once earlier and suffered serious injuries. It probably won’t make any moves anytime soon.”
After he said that, Li Ang started to glance through the account book and flip through it very quickly. At the same time, he picked up a Buddhist scripture and threw it to Hui Bing. “Reverend Hui Bing, take a look at it too. After all, this is an ancient Buddhist text from 500 years ago. These are usually placed in museums.”
Hui Bing took the scripture with a bitter smile and sat down as well.
Li Ang looked at the account book and read it out loud.
“Paid the taxes for the imperial funding of the troops in Year Renchen… Sea transport expenses, land transport expenses, food expenses, storehouse expenses, cattail basket expenses, bamboo basket expenses…”
“In March of Year Guisi, the tenant liquidation was settled… The rent is 25 piculs and 5 pecks, the profit is 11 piculs and 3 pecks, and the loan interest is 2 piculs and 5 pecks…”
“Loaned Longyou Bookseller Gong Shisan 20 taels with Chen Zheng as guarantor. Profit of 2% per year…”
Li Ang’s recitation of the account book was unpleasant to the ears, which made Xing Hechou feel muddled. He would rather find the ghost and fight with it for 300 rounds than listen to these inexplicable things.
“Can you stop reciting it?” Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles couldn’t help but say.
“The flowers would wither, the grass would wither, humans would lie, clues would be obliterated, but the words in the account book would not lie. No matter how brilliant the person who recorded the accounts was or how he covered up, the true problem will be revealed through simple numbers.
“The earlier I finish going through all these account books, the faster I will find the anomalies in Solitary Temple and why the ghost is lingering here.”
Li Ang shook the account book and said casually, “The original Longmen accounting method has been adopted by this account book of Solitary Temple.
“All the accounts are divided into four categories: income, expenses, assets, and liability.
“They used the balance method of ‘Income−Expenses=Assets−Liability’ for accounting, set up a General Ledger for classified records, compiled an income-expense statement (profit statement), assets-liability statement (debt statement), and implemented dual rules to calculate profit and loss. This accounting method is called balanced accounting.”
Li Ang looked at his teammates. “It seems complicated but it’s rather simple when it’s calculated. Do any of you major in business administration? Can you help me check the accounts?”
Xing Hechou and Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles looked at each other with ugly expressions.
The Special Affairs Bureau’s training for field staff mainly focused on dealing with demons and ghosts. How could they have taken cultural classes?
Liu Wudai, who sat next to Li Ang, picked up the account book and slowly flipped through it as if she could understand the complicated book with the classical Chinese writing that was hard to pronounce and understand.
Furthermore, she did not recite the account book word by word. Instead, she translated the classical Chinese writing on the spot, used the modern accounting method, and rearranged the accounts.
The Solitary Temple’s Longevity Bank had made many profits by providing loans to tenant farmers, landlords, and businessmen with principal interests, principal amounts, compound interest, and annualized interest.
Li Ang frowned and looked at Liu Wudai. “You also knew this?”
Liu Wudai replied expressionlessly, “MSc, MBA.”
Wow, Master of Science Degree and Master of Business Administration? What a high-end genius!
Li Ang nodded his head and started to verbally tally the accounts with Liu Wudai.
The two of them seemed to be having a comical dialogue. Each of them said a sentence after the other. Xing Hechou and Hanging Sword for Ten Thousand Miles wished they were dead upon hearing that.
Later on, Li Ang and Liu Wudai, who had chemistry, only reported to the other person a series of baffling nouns and numerical values.
This was about the accounting, deposits, inventory, purchases, sales, management fees, fixed asset details, intangible asset details, and liability details of Solitary Temple in the past few years.
Very soon, nearly one hour had passed. Li Ang and Liu Wudai finally finished the entire two big boxes of account books Solitary Temple had kept in the past decade.
“He he he… He he he he… He he he he he.”
Li Ang used his knuckles to knock on the cover of the account book and smiled strangely without any meaning.
Liu Wudai frowned slightly and unhappiness covered her stern, pretty face.
Xing Hechou, who had never felt that an hour could be so long, took a deep breath and asked Li Ang, “What did you find?”
“A blind spot.”
Li Ang faintly answered, “I think I have guessed the identity of the female ghost with the arm we saw just now.”