Chapter 145: Travelling Together
When the ship arrived at the deserted island, Qin Jiu followed Invigilator A onto the deck and couldn’t help but notice the belt around his waist.
It had been a week since the mathematics examination. According to Wen Yuan, the film stuck on the belt should have destroyed itself by now and during the destruction process, the adhered surface would corrode so there should be a faint trace left behind on the belt.
But there was none.
Qin Jiu looked carefully but he confirmed that there really weren’t any traces left behind.
There was only one possibility; Invigilator A found it before it could destroy itself and had removed it.
For the first time, Qin Jiu started to doubt Invigilator A’s position and it wasn’t just because of subjective factors such as his eyes and his expressions.
There was no denying that he was very pleased.
The few days they spent on the island was one of those rare moments where the atmosphere between them wasn’t tensed. At times, they even had the misconception that they were “fighting side by side”.
But in the end, it was only for a few short moments……
After leaving that examination, many things happened one after another——-
Invigilator A and Chu Yue who was called Invigilator Z at the time was called to the system’s main control centre and they were in there for several days. After coming back out, Invigilator A had become the ‘system’s spokesperson’ who couldn’t be provoked.
And Qin Jiu also noticed that the members of the death squad were declining one by one.
Soon afterwards, he ran into Wen Yuan again in the next exam.
The examination centre was set at a certain military base. The sky in early winter was always gloomy, grey and cold.
They didn’t have any weapons at hand, nor did they have suitable equipment. It was a very dangerous predicament, more dangerous than ever before.
Qin Jiu was thrown into a war zone by a helicopter and it was a massacre scene the moment he landed. There wasn’t even a chance for him to give Wen Yuan his greetings.
When he hijacked a car carrying weaponry and was leaning against the bunker changing the magazine, Wen Yuan sneaked over from the other side.
He climbed into the car and tossed a set of equipment to Qin Jiu, “You’re so amazing. You even dare to do something to the car without having any equipment on you. I just came from over there and for a moment I couldn’t breathe because I was so shocked.”
Please read this from kk translates
Wen Yuan pointed at a certain unloading area in the distance and said, “There are a lot of equipment over there. I brought you a set. It’s not easy meeting in such a big examination centre so you can be considered a friend. What is your name?”
Qin Jiu finished setting up his two gun and was in the process of passing it over to him when he was taken aback by this question.
“What did you say?” He frowned as he asked.
Wen Yuan belatedly let out an ‘ah’ and seemed to have thought that he had said something wrong and had angered the other party, “I didn’t say anything, I just said that you’re amazing. Let’s be friends, what is your name?”
His desire to live induced him into giving Qin Jiu another praise but this only made Qin Jiu’s expression become even darker.
Wen Yuan: “?”
He had one hand on the gun and didn’t know whether he should accept it.
“You don’t know me?” Qin Jiu asked.
“I…..should I know you?” Wen Yuan asked back hesitantly.
Qin Jiu’s feelings when he heard this was difficult to describe.
In an exam, the system is omnipresent. He couldn’t even ask the other party directly what happened; if he encountered something or if he remembered his purpose of coming here or the so-called ‘d-to-d’ death squad.
It took him a lot of effort to understand the whole story.
It turned out that Wen Yuan had also managed to violate a rule just before the end of his previous exam and he was similarly taken to the Twin Towers in the invigilator’s district to undergo three days of ‘cleaning’ but he had unfortunately encountered an accident just as the ‘cleaning’ as about to end.
It was difficult to say whether it was due to the injury or if the system had done something to him under the guise of the injury.
In any case, the result was that Wen Yuna’s hands were no longer as nimble as they were before, and he had also forgotten about who he was.
Qin Jiu recalled the information he had received before entering the system. It had reminded them that those entering the system would have their memories interfered with to varying degrees and would slowly forget about the connection between themselves and reality.
But he didn’t expect the interference to be so thorough.
He had lived for more than twenty years and if he had to say who he regarded as friends; he would definitely name the people in the death squad.
They came with the same purpose and are scattered across this unpredictable environment. Although they are working independently, they are also considered one. This kind of involvement would naturally develop their relationship into more than acquaintances.
But they were different.
This group has never interacted with one another in private so they weren’t very familiar, and, because of the nature of their missions, much of the information shared between them is strictly confidential. The only common thing they shared were their missions and their life or death.
And so, Qin Jiu regarded them as special friends. And amongst them, Wen Yuan was the one he was most familiar with.
But now, this friend had also ‘disappeared’.
All sorts of problems continue to aggravate the poor relationship between the examinees and the system. This kind of rotting stench inevitably spread over to involve the invigilators and it also affected Qin Jiu and Invigilator A.
There existed many types of relationships between them; antagonism, opposition, attraction and also some ambiguity.
Every form of their relationship deepened and intensified as it grew stronger and stronger.
A relationship as dangerous as this should best be avoided but neither of them were peaceful people, they were mad to their bones. The more dangerous it was, the more they wanted to approach it.
The peace that existed between them on the deserted island became a fleeting dream and it quickly flashed by.
From then on, they began a long period of testing and probing each other. Every word and every interaction carried blades in the air.
But this probing didn’t achieve the desired results. It was because in this entire system, there was no place for them to speak seriously.
They hated being tied down, but they couldn’t be free.
This continued until one day, Qin Jiu managed to elicit some information from another invigilator and learnt that the confinement rooms hold a special existence in the examination centre.
It was because the system’s original design concept didn’t include the two factors ‘deprivation of freedom’ and ‘constant monitoring’. The confinement room revealed too much of their inner thoughts and privacy so, in accordance to the system’s original design and its fundamental principles, this is a place the system cannot monitor; a safe haven.
But the system had deliberately ignored this.
It was only until recently, someone had forcibly reopened this safe haven.
That person was Invigilator A.
Please read this from kk translates
This was the reason why he and Chu Yue stayed in the system’s main control centre for such a long time.
The sudden reopening of the safe haven became the turning point for many things——-
After being spied on for more than twenty years, the two invigilators finally had a chance to breath.
All the testing and probing between Qin Jiu and Invigilator A also rendered some results.
Strangely enough, to them, the confirmation of their positions and their revealing of their cards wasn’t something that would smoothen out their relationship. It was because their relationship was too intense, so intense it couldn’t be smoothened out with just a few words.
Qin Jiu even felt that there would never be a ‘calm’ moment between them. Every meeting and every interaction were almost as if they were balancing on a thin line. As long as they went a little over, something was bound to happen.
It wasn’t something as tragic as ‘if you die, I die’. Afterall, they are peers with the same goals. It was far from that.
But what was it?
For a long time, Qin Jiu couldn’t come up with an answer.
This was until the night they finally made their positions clear.
Invigilator A was standing at the door about to leave while he stood behind Invigilator A with his thumb slowly retracting from the other party’s neck. The tip of his thumb still carried residual heat and touch.
He pinched his finger and said, “Your collar is a little damp, is it raining outside?”
The jut in Invigilator A’s throat moved. A moment later, he said, “No, it’s snowing.”
Qin Jiu nodded.
The confinement room at that moment became very quiet.
After a few more seconds, Invigilator A said, “I have something to do. I’ll be going.”
When he turned the door handle, he heard Qin Jiu let out a soft ‘ah’ to indicate that he understood but the slight dragged tone at the end also carried a faint hint of indescribable regret.
Invigilator A’s actions paused.
A moment later, he suddenly released his hold of the handle.
In an instant, the line they were balancing on was gone.
Qin Jiu’s eyes trembled. His finger slid down along Invigilator A’s thin neck.
He lowered his head and kissed Invigilator A on the back of his neck.
Based on the time in the Invigilator’s District, that day was the beginning of the new year.
There were no windows underground, but Qin Jiu knew that it was snowing heavily outside. The cold night wind blew past the buildings, sharply and fiercely.
They kissed in the confinement room. This was the final outcome of those fierce relationships they had.
The exam on the deserted island was probably the moment they were closest to being ‘teammates’.
And for an even longer time after that; whether they remembered or not or were in opposition or were allies, their relationship would forever be intertwined with love.
Just like how their relationship can never be ‘calm’.
If calmness even existed, it must only exist in old age and death.
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