Night's Nomenclature - Chapter 11: "Farewell"
The sound of the harmonica was extremely beautiful.
The sound harmonica seemed to be exceeding any conventional music when it mixed with the unexplainable beat,
…much like Qing Chen’s nightmare last night.
Qing Chen couldn’t contain his amazement and shock as all of the inmates were engrossed in the magnificent music.
He was familiar with this song, “Farewell.”1The lyrics were written by Master Hong Yi, whose real name also happened to be… Li Shutong, and the melody is based on the song from “Dreaming of Home and Mother.” The author makes clever and satirical use of names here!! This song is well-known throughout China.
Qing Chen’s pupils gradually shrank as the song went on. Didn’t I get transmigrated? How come the song “Farewell” is still known here?
He had previously assumed that this mechanical universe had nothing to do with the planet from which he had originated.
Now that it appears he was mistaken. Perhaps this is the Earth’s future?
Qing Chen began to sift through the memories that were stored in his mind, attempting to recall every detail that he noted from the books that he read the day before.
Much to his regret, these cheesy philosophical studies could not contribute to his understanding of this world in any way.
As the harmonica faded away, and the noisiness of Prison 18 returned.
Qing Chen felt that this prison was more like a Colosseum at one point.
Sealed behind the metal doors were steel monsters with desires of all kinds.
When the cell door opened, he was no longer as jerky and alert as he was on the first day. Instead, he strolled right past all of the other inmates and down to the open area.
His illicit movements drew no attention from the drones from the ceiling nor the robot guards on the first floor.
As soon as he entered the cafeteria, Lin Xiaoxiao grinned and greeted him, “Good morning… Did you have a restful night of sleep?”
There were dark circles under Qing Chen’s eyes, and he glared at Lin Xiaoxiao coldly, as if to say, shouldn’t you know the best why I didn’t sleep well last night?
Some say that a dream tends to only last for eight minutes, relatively short in comparison to one’s lifetime.
However, after Qing Chen ended his nightmare yesterday, he checked his return countdown on his arm, and to his surprise, he had been locked in the nightmare for more than two hours, even though it only felt like a few minutes.
He didn’t fall asleep immediately after waking up from his nightmare. In fact, he didn’t sleep until late into the night, spending his time sorting through all the recollections from the day.
Although Qing Chen had the ability to remember everything he experienced, he was still an ordinary person, in no way could he be compared to a person like Lin Xiaoxiao, who could still be so energetic after creating a whole nightmare for him last night.
Li Shutong glanced at Qing Chen’s face and said, “Ordinary people will be badly injured spiritually when they come out of these nightmares. You are quite special. Not only did you break free from Xiaoxiao’s control, but you can also stand up this morning. It’s very impressive already.”
Qing Chen sat down in front of Li Shutong and asked very bluntly, “Then how can I become a person like him?”
“I enjoy how straightforward you are,” Li Shutong said with a smile, “but you can’t take his road; instead, mine is better for you.”
Qing Chen could tell that Ye Wan and Lin Xiaoxiao’s expressions had changed after he stated that.
For some reason, he felt the mood shift to a more serious tone than before, and even the enormous cat who was snoozing looked up.
He wanted to ask Li Shutong what his path was like.
However, judging from Lu Guangyi’s attitude towards Li Shutong, Qing Chen thought that this person might be famous even outside of the prison, so if he asked what the path was, the question might expose that he was not from this world.
He was a transmigrator. Regular conversations wouldn’t be a problem, but if he asked stupidly obvious questions, it would be a problem.
Qing Chen ignored the warning signs and asked again, “How may I go your path?”
“Don’t get me wrong,” Li Shutong smiled.
When Li Shutong smiled, the wrinkles left by the passing of them at the corner of his eyes made Qing Chen realize that this man might be older than he thought.
Li Shutong continued, “Because they were a bit late to meet me, Ye Wan and Lin Xiaoxiao couldn’t go my path. In your case, although I admire your talents, it still isn’t enough.”
“Got it,” Qing Chen nodded.
This made more sense.
He felt that if someone saw him and right away passed to him the person’s life achievements, he would think that the person must be very problematic.
He might not only be granted opportunities, but also dangers.
But for Qing Chen, being able to touch the edge of this mysterious world was enough.
It was something that he had never even dreamed about on Earth before.
Now, he was coming closer and closer to this point.
“Well, are we still going to play today?” asked Li Shutong as he looked at Qing Chen, “I think you are not in your best state today. How about taking a day of rest? You can’t rush a game of chess. If I won because you are tired, it would be no fun at all.”
As the prisoners lined up to get their food, more and more people started to wander freely in the cafeteria.
Today, however, was not the same as yesterday. As they ate, several of the prisoners paid close attention to what Qing Chen was doing.
Some even stood at a convenient place with their plates in hand just so that they were able to observe the chessboard.
There weren’t people who knew how to play chess. To them, it was just an alternative way of entertainment that had become obsolete.
But as long as Li Shutong liked it, everyone felt the need to pay attention.
What if I too have the talent to be admired by Li Shutong?
Of course, this was only wishful thinking. Most were watching because they had nothing else better to do.
Li Shutong used to just be staring at an ending by himself in the past. No one dared to look it in the eyes. The atmosphere felt more comfortable now that Qing Chen had arrived, and Ye Wan no longer stared at anyone who dared to approach.
Next to them, even Lu Guangyi watched in excitement. Around him was his large group of followers.
Lu Guangyi enjoyed this very much.
Sitting across from Qing Chen, Li Shutong was waiting for a reply. Qing Chen stood up and said calmly, “There is no need for me to rest. This is the ‘Imperial Court’ endgame. Rook on two, move horizontally to five; rook on five, advance seven; cannon on two, move horizontally to eight; rook on five, move horizontally to six; pawn on four, advance one.”
Chess was designed for two to play, but this time, Qing Chen simply called out every move that he would do all at once as if he could predict where Li Shutong would play.
Qing Chen sacrificed his rook to attract the black King, and with the pawn advancing one step forward, it formed a firm net.
This was a subtle trick that ordinary people could hardly think of.
Others might not understand what Qing Chen was talking about, but Li Shutong did.
There was only one way to break free from this endgame!
Li Shutong raised his head and gave Qing Chen a sidelong glance. He flipped over the black King and said, “I thought you might need some rest, but I guess I was mistaken.”
In the crowd, Lu Guangyi’s followers heard Lu Guangyi murmur, “He won again? That’s got to be really cool, right? No matter how you win, as long as you can win against someone like Li Shutong, it will be worth all your life. I want to learn chess now as well!”
Those who just joined his group might be very confused about why Lu Guangyi suddenly gained interest in such a trivial game like chess.
They knew that although Lu Guangyi’s combat strength was outstanding in Prison 18, his wits were perhaps the poorest among his peers.
At this time, Qing Chen looked at Li Shutong and asked, “May I ask you a question?”
Translated by: Nite
Edited by: Tempest
- 1The lyrics were written by Master Hong Yi, whose real name also happened to be… Li Shutong, and the melody is based on the song from “Dreaming of Home and Mother.” The author makes clever and satirical use of names here!! This song is well-known throughout China.
- 2Lyrics Translated by: China.org.cn 吴瑾