Mr. Melancholy Wants to Live a Peaceful Life - Chap 49
Inside the movie theater, You Zhengping held the bag of popcorn with one hand and pinched his thigh with the other to avoid falling asleep because the romance film was too boring.
Remember at all costs, wait for the romantic part, then hug Yu Hua and kiss him warmly, You Zhengping constantly reminded himself inwardly.
Yu Hua knew the approximate plot of this movie. As he watched the movie, he observed You Zhengping’s expression, occasionally taking a couple of pieces of popcorn from the bag You Zhengping was hugging, putting the popcorn in his mouth and letting it slowly dissolve.
He didn’t know what Xiao You’s expression would be when he learned that this wasn’t a romance film but a thriller.
Xiao You’s expression would probably be more worth watching than the movie. Yu Hua frequently put his chin in his hand to watch Xiao You.
At first You Zhengping was still pinching his thigh. When he watched the wife disappear and the husband madly search for her, he nodded to himself, thinking that this time he had finally chosen a romantic movie.
But when the plot went on to the husband having extramarital affairs and all the evidence in the wife’s disappearance pointing to the husband having killed her, You Zhengping released the hand pinching his thigh, sat up straight, and began earnestly guessing the plot.
By the time the plot turned once again to the wife still being alive and having done everything in order to frame her husband, You Zhengping’s eyes popped out of his head.
Just then, a hand reached over and took two pieces of popcorn.
You Zhengping followed the hand, looking at the person next to him. When he saw Yu Hua, like the wife in the film, giving a falsely perfect smile, he couldn’t help hiccuping. He frantically drank a mouthful of coke to keep down his hiccups, but the gas in the coke made him hiccup more violently.
“Hic, I didn’t think, hic, that this movie…” In order not to bother the people around them, You Zhengping spoke and hiccuped quietly into Yu Hua’s ear.
“Have some popcorn to settle your nerves.” Yu Hua fed Xiao You a few pieces of popcorn. “I like this movie very much. Have you forgotten the TV dramas I’ve been watching lately?”
“Hic!” Remembering the dramas about husbands cheating and wives getting revenge or wives cheating and husbands being abused on top of seeing Yu Hua’s increasingly manic smile, You Zhengping hiccuped even more violently.
Yu Hua gently patted his back, took out a bottle of water he had bought ahead of time, and gave it to him to drink so that Xiao You wouldn’t choke from being too startled.
“Hic! Hiç!” After drinking water, You Zhengping hiccuped while he stealthily searched for reviews of Gone Girl on his phone. When he saw the “thriller” label on them, he nearly started to cry.
He quickly remembered Waterloo Bridge, the movie Yu Hua had mentioned before they had gone in to see this one, then searched for reviews of Waterloo Bridge. It was a poignant story of life and death and cutting lovers apart.
“Hic!” Some fucking horror film! You Zhengping really wanted to go back to yesterday and beat himself up.
Yu Hua put the paper cup of coke between them aside, took the bag of popcorn, squeezed You Zhengping’s hands. After kissing the backs of his hands, he laced their fingers together and stressed, “I really do like this movie. You chose well.”
You Zhengping’s hiccups eased considerably after having the back of his hand kissed. He saw that Yu Hua really was smiling faintly and watching the movie with keen interest. He thought, “It’s-it’s all right… At least we can hold hands.”
It was still better than him and Cen Xiao and the rest getting worked up about the plot of the movie while Yu Hua sipped lemonade on his own.
You Zhengping had bought the best seats for viewing, right in the center. Two other people, however, were sitting in a corner in the last row. They had been admitted after the theater lights had been extinguished, not attracting any notice. These two were the mechanical man and the phoenix-eyed man.
The mechanical man kept his eyes fixed on the melancholy husbands, while the phoenix-eyed man had his eyes shut tight, as though dozing.
The two of them were sharing a set of headphones, one earbud on the mechanical man and the other on the phoenix-eyed man. The two of them were sitting right under the movie theater’s security camera.
On the roof, Yu Hua had awakened 20% of his power out of fury. 15% still remained after absorbing the energy of 192’s System. This power was already rather frightening, enough for Yu Hua to discover any lines of sight observing him.
But this time, he hadn’t noticed anything.
The gaze of any thinking person carried ill intent, questioning, and other such notions. When that gaze fell on Yu Hua, he would notice that line of thought and catch the person watching him. But machinery didn’t have emotions, and in modern society, there were security cameras everywhere. Just in the movie theater, there was one in every corner. Yu Hua had gotten used to blocking out security cameras in public places.
But the mechanical man, the Destroyer Feng Kui, had very weak thoughts. Having gone through 199 worlds, his humans emotions were deteriorating day by day, gradually becoming the same as artificial intelligence or mechanical intelligence. His gaze was similar to that of the security cameras. Even for someone as sensitive as Yu Hua, it was still very hard to tell the difference.
Feng Kui used his eyes to collect information and transmitted it through the thought headphones, an item obtained from the System, to the phoenix-eyed man, the Destroyer Huan Zixu, so that Huan Zixu could analyze and consolidate.
Huan Zixu and Feng Kui had been teammates on their first world. They had passed 199 worlds together. The two worked seamlessly together.
Huan Zixu automatically changed the encoded information transmitted by Feng Kui into language:
Target individual: Yu Hua
Current appearance: Social elite, loves his partner, considerate and gentle
Distribution of observation: Within one hour, 90% of his attention was concentrated on his partner You Zhengping, while 10% of his notice and his peripheral glances were given to the movie. While looking directly at the movie theater screen, his peripheral glances were concerned with You Zhengping’s expression.
Eating preferences: Results of analysis of facial muscles and salivary secretions: while consuming popcorn and coke on his own, there were no salivary secretions. He did not appear to like the popcorn. Judging from subtle changes to the facial muscles, he only manifested clear appetite when his partner You Zhengping ate popcorn and drank water. Yu Hua prefers “You Zhengping eating popcorn” to “popcorn.”
Body language: Manifests clear refusal to have physical contact with others. Muscular avoidance very strong. Willing to touch You Zhengping.
Aesthetic preferences: Viewing the actors in the movie and the others people in the theater is no different than regarding chairs and stairs. Viewing You Zhengping, manifests clears desire to possess and control.
Comprehensive analysis: Has antisocial tendencies. Loves You Zhengping. Weak point is You Zhengping.
After consolidating Feng Kui’s intelligence, Huan Zixu slowly opened his eyes, but he didn’t look at Yu Hua. He looked directly at the big screen in front of him.
This was a habit he had formed over many years. His gaze was full of scrutiny, very easy for sensitive people to notice. It would reveal his and Feng Kui’s position.
The movie ended soon. Everyone walked out of the movie making comments about it. Some said that the female protagonist was too vicious, and there were others saying that the male protagonist was also a piece of work. More people said that villains all had other villains coming for them. Though everyone’s view of the movie was that it was a brilliant reversal, including You Zhengping, who had been flabbergasted midway.
You Zhengping thought that the movie was pretty good on the whole. He and Yu Hua had watched it with keen interest. It was just that the category was wrong. He had wanted to watch a sentimental romance movie…
“How about this? After we eat lunch, we can go watch Waterloo Bridge, too,” suggested You Zhengping, who had been unable to attain a long French kiss in the dark movie theater.
“How about another time? Don’t you have a full plan afterwards? I want to experience every item,” Yu Hua said.
“…Fair, I’ve even made reservations,” You Zhengping said. “We’ll see the movie next time. Let’s go eat.”
The Chinese restaurant they went to for lunch was very high quality. You Zhengping had made a reservation ahead of time, and if they were an hour late, the reservation would go to someone else in line. They couldn’t be late.
The two of them arrived in the reserved private room. You Zhengping ordered food and said to Yu Hua, “I’m going to go to the restroom.”
Yu Hua sat in the private room alone, remembering that You Zhengping had already gone to the restroom when they had finished watching the movie. Why did he want to go now? He was looking for an excuse to hide something from him.
Yu Hua considered it, then activated his “super hearing” ability, seeking You Zhengping’s whereabouts among countless noises.
“Super hearing” was an ability he had awakened at the same time as “super vision,” one of the “super senses.” “Super vision” increased the speed of vision so it could capture very fast movements. “Super hearing,” meanwhile, increased the range of hearing and the ability to distinguish sounds. When he had activated “super hearing,” Yu Hua could hear all the voices within a five kilometer range and precisely pick out which one was You Zhengping’s.
This required extremely powerful screening abilities and noise capturing abilities, or else the excessive noise would disturb the mind.
Yu Hua listened to the sounds with his left ear and focused on hunting You Zhengping with his right ear. Very soon, he heard You Zhengping, a few hundred meters away, say to the owner of a small food stand, “Two youtiao jianbing, one potato turnover. Quickly.”
Just then, the server in the Chinese restaurant brought over an exquisitely arranged dish. There were carrot carvings at the four corners of the plate and a cabbage heart at the center. The server poured the clear soup in a small cup over the cabbage heart. The cabbage heart unfolded like a lotus flower, more beautiful than could be imagined. This was the restaurant’s famous boiled cabbage.
Yu Hua was well aware that the process to make this dish was complicated. Both the cabbage heart and the clear soup poured over it went through several steps. The single dish was extremely time-consuming. It was in fact worth its price. But for You Zhengping, no matter what process it went through, a cabbage heart was still a cabbage heart. He couldn’t get full eating it.
But he knew Yu Hua liked this kind of exquisite high quality restaurant, so he was secretly eating jianbing in front of the restaurant to pad out his stomach. Then he could come back and elegantly eat high grade Chinese food with Yu Hua.
While waiting for the jianbing, You Zhengping truly couldn’t resist. He called Cen Xiao. “Let me ask you, do you know what kind of movie Waterloo Bridge is?”
Cen Xiao said, “I played games all night last night. I only went to sleep at nine in the morning. Now…it’s 11:50, I’ve slept less than three hours, and here you are calling and waking me up, and it’s for the sake of asking this garbage? I even thought there was some new Destroyer!”
“Never mind that, what kind of movie do you think Waterloo Bridge is?” You Zhengping asked.
“Of course it’s a horror movie, with a monster that has to do with a bridge? It is a water ghoul?” Cen Xiao said vaguely, being patient. “I can’t do that, I don’t care about water.”
“What about Gone Girl?” You Zhengping asked.
Cen Xiao said, “It must be a romance movie, the kind your Yu Hua likes most. If you go to a movie tonight, go to that one. I’m going to sleep. Unless the sky falls down, don’t call me again, Shi Yongfu and Xiao Ruo will do!”
Cen Xiao quickly hung up the phone and went back to sleep. He had to go back to work tomorrow. He had to enjoy his last day of vacation!
“Like I said! It’s these movie titles that were badly chosen. It wasn’t my fault!” You Zhengping took the first jianbing and quickly started eating.
Hearing his fuming voice, Yu Hua couldn’t resist laughing. He really wanted to abandon the Chinese restaurant and go eat jianbing with Xiao You. The jianbing sounded delicious.
While Yu Hua was using the sound of You Zhengping eating the jianbing to hypnotize himself into thinking the boiled cabbage was delicious, his left ear moved. He thought he had heard someone say Xiao You’s name. It was in the private room next door!
Yu Hua quickly turned his attention to the next door private room and recalled all the voices he had heard within the last five minutes, precisely picking out the conversation next door.
Five minutes ago, Feng Kui and Huan Zixu had arrived at the Chinese restaurant and had wanted to reserve the private room next to Yu Hua’s. When they heard there was no space, Huan Zixu said, “No problem. I can make them give it to me.”
They went to the next door private room and knocked on the door. Huan Zixu took out the ticket with his number in line that he had just received and said to the guests inside the private room, “Hello, I need this room now. Could you please give it to me?”
The family in the private room took the ticket and left the room as though possessed. They went to the restaurant’s waiting area to wait for their number to be called.
The wife in the family seemed to have lost her memory. She grumbled as she poked her husband, “I told you to get a place in advance, and you didn’t reserve it. Look at this number. We’ll be waiting for an hour.”
The husband sighed and said, “It’s my fault. I was too sloppy.”
As if they had lost their memories, the family had given up their room.
Yu Hua, who had recalled up to this point, raised his eyebrows. “False exchange,” what a special power! Weak but practical. In all the worlds he had been through, he had only seen it once or twice, because levelers who chose this ability usually didn’t survive more than fifty worlds.
Because he had activated his “super hearing,” Yu Hua could naturally hear the data in the signal from Feng Kui’s headphones, and he could automatically convert it to speech.
After getting the private room, Feng Kui told Huan Zixu through the headphones, “You Zhengping left the private room. Yu Hua is alone, displaying a terrifying smile.”
Huan Zixu said, “There’s no need to be impatient for now. There are too many people in the restaurant. He had to choose a secluded place to act silently. You accessed the public surveillance images near Zhen Li’s studio before. Transfer any useful information to me.”
In the image, Lian Yufan, Zhen Li, and Yuan Luori were getting into the second-hand Wuling Honghuang1 that Yu Hua had bought with company funds. The large words “Zhen Li Studio” were painted on the car. Lian Yufan was very against getting in the car.
“How much did this car cost?” Lian Yufan asked, his hand trembling.
“Less than twenty thousand.” Zhen Li was pretty cheerful. “Yu Hua made me save the profits from the livestream. When I had finally saved up twenty thousand, he bought a vehicle for the studio. It’s a work car. Everyone can use it.”
“So we have to drive this crappy car to sign the contract with the show group?” Lian Yufan was very opposed to this car. “How far is Yu Hua going to carry his stinginess? Doesn’t he know that during an entrepreneurial period, the entrepreneur has to use a very valuable car to prove to his collaborators that he has abilities and strength? For a person in business, a rather good car isn’t an ostentation, it’s a means of showing the company’s power! I’m going to go rent a car.”
Zhen Li said, “But Yu Hua said that our studio is makeshift to begin with. Everyone in the business world knows that we’re a very unprofessional studio of internet celebrities relying on our faces for popularity. Puffing ourselves to look impressive will only make people think we’re insincere. We’ll become laughingstocks. A second-hand Wuling Honguang is a joke, but so is a car bought with a loan. It’s better to be more comfortable and economize.”
Lian Yufan’s new birthmark was going to fall off from anger. He poked Zhen Li’s head. “Have you been brainwashed by him? All you can say is ‘Yu Hua said!’ Get in!”
After resisting for a time, he still exasperatedly got in the car with Zhen Li and Yuan Luori. The two Destroyers very clearly didn’t have driver’s licenses. It had to be Lian Yufan driving the car.
When he received this image, Huan Zixu said, “However you look at it, Zhen Li and Yuan Luori are still levelers, but Yu Hua has hoodwinked them into obediently doing his work. This person isn’t simple at all.”
“Is he…the mission target?” Feng Kui said in a mechanical voice.
For Feng Kui, using the special headphones to transmit data was a fairly relaxed form of expression, but Huan Zixu insisted on making him express himself with speech, so he spoke haltingly.
“Not necessarily.” Huan Zixu shook his head. “You’ve investigated a large volume of information about him. All of his information in this world for the last ten years and more is true and actual, not falsified by the System. His behavior and bearing are natural. He doesn’t seem like he’s taken the place of a dead person. He seems to be indigenous to this world. We can only say that we can’t underestimate every ordinary person. No matter how many worlds we go through, there are always places where our skills won’t be enough.”
Feng Kui said, “Lian Yufan…”
Huan Zixu nodded. “Judging from his interactions with Zhen Li and Yuan Luori, there’s a feeling that they aren’t very familiar with him, and that he’s in a senior position to them. He obeys the traffic laws… My guess is that he’s one of this world’s super power users. There’s a strictly disciplined organization that has been secretly protecting the world from the System all along. They’re the reason that the System has never been able to open this world.
“Lian Yufan is Zhen and Yuan’s guardian or monitor… It seems that Zhen and Yuan are already under this protection organization’s control. We can’t contact them rashly, or else we’ll fall into a trap.
“I think I understand why the bomb freak fell into such a hole.”
“Zixu…you’re…right.” Feng Kui may or may not have understood; he agreed with Huan Zixu. “What…should…we do?”
Huan Zixu picked up a chopstick, dipped it in water, and wrote “kill by proxy” on the table.
He blew lightly on the water to dry it, wiped away the traces of the words, and said with a light laugh, “On the day the bomb freak died, Zhen Li was performing in the same location. This appears in the records of his studio’s bank account. From this we can conjecture that Zhen and Yuan must be in contact with the mission target.
“We know that the protection organization is very strong, and the mission target is also very strong. The protection organization protects the people of this world. Even if they’re working with the mission target, even if the mission target is one of them, a government organization still can’t completely trust a person with uncontrollable power who is also rather brutal.
“We must sow discord among them. All we have to do is push slightly. Do you know why I decided to follow Yu Hua?”
Feng Kui shook his head.
Huan Zixu said, “Yu Hua is a very special person. He seems to truly be entirely unaware, yet he inexplicably has power over Zhen and Yuan, as well as Lian Yufan. He’s a good penetration point.
“We’re going to kidnap him, attract the mission target behind Zhen and Yuan to come deal with us, wait for the mission target to arrive, kill Yu Hua, and frame the mission target. At the appointed time, the protection organization will deal with the mission target for us. We’ll only have to watch the tigers fight from the next mountain and reap the rewards of the final victory.
“My ‘false exchange’ can provide irrefutable evidence that the mission target is the killer.”
“False exchange” was Huan Zixu’s ability to use the items he gave people as a form of bribery to change their thoughts, make false events become truth in the human mind. With this ability, Huan Zixu could find countless people to provide false testimony.
In the next room, Yu Hua, with his “super hearing” activated, grinned soundlessly with laughter.
These two new levelers were saying that they…wanted to kidnap whom? Kill whom? Frame whom?
Yu Hua: I think this is the funniest joke I’ve heard in my life.