Chapter 99: Memory Loss
"That was so satisfying!" Yan Hebi exclaimed happily, "That was my first time fighting with such a detailed strategy. Almost every step went just as we planned. Like when we strategized the three scenarios we might encounter after opening the door, the three ways of dealing with each of them, the factors that might change at each point of the battle, what areas to be careful of, and how to approach each change... the purpose of each of our actions, when to use the traps we've set, the consequences if we failed, how to mitigate those consequences..."
"Alright, that's enough." Guan Ling felt his head ringing as he interrupted Yan Hebi, "I haven't studied battle tactics this much since my political science. I'm already dizzy, you don't need to repeat everything again..."
"Yiyi, you're the most amazing woman I've ever met!"
Yan Hebi excitedly opened his arms to give Xing Ye a victory hug, only to easily be sidestepped by Xing Ye.
Embracing empty air, Yan Hebi was about to crash into the wall. Luckily, Cao Qian, who was standing by Xing Ye, caught him in time. She chuckled, "You know, she even predicted you would try to hug her and crash into the wall. Xing Ye said that whether we won or lost, you would likely take the opportunity to initiate physical contact. She's confident she can avoid it, but you might not be able to control yourself, so she asked me to help you out."
Yan Hebi was speechless.
Yiyi was so strong that normal guys might not dare to ask her to be their girlfriend. But when Yan Hebi thought about how Yiyi would be able to predict everything he did, he felt a strange sense of pleasure course through his heart. He couldn't help but wonder, was he actually a masochist?
The three were very happy. Only Xing Ye remained cautious as he warned, "People are most vulnerable the moment after winning a great battle. If we were attacked now, even a small stick would be able to beat us. Until we leave this world, we can't let our guard down for even a moment."
He had barely finished speaking when a dozen parasitic monsters silently crawled down from upstairs. Just as Xing Ye had warned, they had been waiting on the 20th floor. They would attack regardless of whether Xing Ye's group tried to flee through the stairwell or won the battle.
Unfortunately for them, the four had long been prepared. How could Xing Ye not suspect there might be an ambush prepared for them on the 20th floor? After all, the department head had instructed Guan Ling to stay on the 20th floor tonight.
Seeing the group of monsters descend the stairs, Cao Qian faithfully carried out her task. She guarded the large hole in the wall, warily watching the group of people on the 18th floor, who were still panting for breath, in case they attacked.
Guan Ling was the healer. His skill was on cooldown now and his eight bullets had to be preserved. Under Xing Ye's orders, Yan Hebi wasn't to use QR codes until midnight. Right now, his only task was to cheer them on.
"Let me." Xing Ye stood in front of the two, "I can use the rings of fire or batteries-"
He paused halfway through his sentence, suddenly feeling a wave of unsteadiness wash through him. He stumbled down. Yan Hebi reacted quickly, grabbing Xing Ye before he could fall to the floor.
"Yiyi, what happ-" Yan Hebi asked in concern. But before he could finish his sentence, Xing Ye, still clad in his miniskirt, kicked him away.
Xing Ye avoided Yan Hebi and took a step back, but behind him, the parasitic monsters were descending down the stairs. Xing Ye took a step closer to their side, his face cold as he looked at Guan Ling, Yan Hebi, and Cao Qian. "Who are you? Where is this place? And what are those things?"
It was already midnight. Xing Ye had lost his memory.
The three were prepared. Yan Hebi quickly recalled the notes Xing Ye had given them:
Xing Ye looked at the three, his voice solemn. "The reason why I was afraid earlier was because I feared losing my memories during the battle, greatly decreasing our combat strength. I thought about it more and realized if I suddenly lose my memories in an ordinary situation, even if I left behind notes for myself, I'll still be doubtful of their authenticity. I'm suspicious of others by nature. No matter what happens, my approach is always to doubt first and confirm afterward. This is a necessary process for me to trust something.
"We want to go to the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at 2 AM. At that time, I'll still be harboring suspicions and won't understand everything. This might influence our actions in the Gynecology Department. That's why I need to control the timing of the battle so I lose my memories at a specific point in the battle. To be specific, the time right after we've overcome a very dangerous battle and are about to face a dangerous, but not too difficult situation.
"Danger can stimulate a person's potential. People who experience danger together develop trust easier with each other. I want to create a situation that makes it easier for my tomorrow self to trust you all. It might be tricky, but I believe you guys can do it.
"Remember: you must let tomorrow's me go through some dangerous and stressful, but not harmful situations. That way, I can suspend my doubts and choose to accept what you say. After my future self resolves the crisis according to my plan, you can explain what happened the day before. My future self will quickly absorb and digest the information, then take action."
At that moment, the three all had the same thought: Xing Ye was too ruthless. He didn't just plot against the department head and parasitic monsters. He was even more calculating toward himself, going to this extent to scheme against his future self.
Back then, Guan Ling had asked, "Boss, how did you come up with such a ruthless plan for yourself?"
Xing Ye pondered before saying, "I consider my tomorrow's self not as myself, but an evenly matched enemy. By thinking of it from that perspective, it was very easy for me to come up with different strategies. And... somebody actually reminded me about this. He made me feel jealous of my past self and helped me understand my complicated mentality. That's why I consider myself today and my tomorrow's self as two completely different people.
"Although we've only known each other for one day, we're teammates and I hope you'll also be teammates for my tomorrow's self. When we're done with this world, please tell me everything that happened. I don't want to lose these memories. At that time, I'll be relying on all of you."
Thanks to Xing Ye's notes, the three didn't panic when they faced the amnesiac Xing Ye. Yan Hebi raised his phone and said, "Don't ask anything. If you don't want to die, just listen to us. Memorize this QR code and think Redrawing Pen starting ability in your head. Choose the 'activate' button in your head and draw this QR code to attack those monsters."
Just as he finished talking, the monsters had climbed down and were about to reach them. Cao Qian and the others didn't move. Guan Ling didn't even take out his gun. Cao Qian broke apart the emergency exit door and stood in front of the three, using it as a shield against the monsters' acid.
Xing Ye: "..."
Why did they seem so experienced? What should he do? As soon as he opened his eyes, there was a man hugging him. Then after he ducked away, he turned to find a group of monsters attacking them. Should he trust these people?
Time was running tight. There was no time to think it over. It was impossible to grasp what was going on with just what the tall man said about "starting ability" and "Redrawing Pen", yet inexplicitly, his mind had already memorized the QR code. The tall man seemed to know about his strong memory. They seem to understand me well. Xing Ye thought inwardly.
One of the monsters couldn't wait and threw itself at Xing Ye. Faced with the choice of being chased down the stairs and fighting with the group of three strangers, Xing Ye decisively chose the latter. The current situation was still unclear and there might still be more monsters downstairs. Right now, separating from his most likely human teammates was a foolish choice.
Xing Ye kicked at the monster pouncing toward him, surprised to find himself quite strong. The monster was sent flying, but his leg suddenly burned with excruciating pain. The part that made contact with the monster's corrosive slime was being corroded.
Another monster charged at him. A scalpel flew out from behind the door, accurately hitting the monster's head. It fell to the ground with a cry, splashing corrosive acid towards Xing Ye. This time, he managed to dodge, but a few drops still fell on his arm, leaving behind a burning agony.
He hissed in pain. The tall man cried out worriedly, "Yiyi's arm and leg! Oh my poor Yiyi, just looking at it hurts!"
"It's fine, the pain can't kill anyone. I have experience." The only 155 cm tall girl said coldly. The scalpels earlier had been thrown by her.
The average-height man peered out from behind the door and shouted, "Boss, just believe us and think the words starting ability in your head! If you have a desire to fight, you'll be able to unlock your starting abilities!"
What kind of fantasy-like explanation was that? It was completely illogical!!
Xing Ye dodged a few more monsters. Wounds piled on his body, but he managed to duck behind the door where the three cheerleaders hid, narrowly avoiding being hit by more of the monsters' acid.
As a result, the four of them leaned on the wall, the door being their sole line of defense as they faced more than a dozen monsters. The situation was terrible.
Xing Ye didn't run behind the door without a plan. The three's attitudes were very strange. They clearly weren't afraid of the monsters and had ways to defeat them. The scalpel the girl had thrown was proof. Xing Ye spotted more than twenty scalpels hanging from the girl's waist, more than enough to deal with the monsters from a distance.
However, the short girl didn't do anything. She covered the knives on her waist and said, "Before you lost your memory, you told us not to help you."
Xing Ye: ?
"Shoot, that monster's too close." Guan Ling took out Hundred Shot Gun and killed the closest monster without even aiming. He immediately retreated back behind the door, using it to block the splattering acid.
Xing Ye stared at the three. Why were they so relaxed when they were facing such frightening monsters?
The group of monsters saw they could kill them and stopped advancing. Instead, they started merging together, their limbs liquefying and elongating as they slowly transformed into the tentacled creature they had earlier encountered in the department head's office.
Xing Ye's heart sped in fear as he watched this awful scene. But despite that, the tall man just remarked lazily, "Man, they're about to transform. Cao Qian, do you think the tentacle's acid spray can melt through the door?"
The short girl called Cao Qian said, "If it's the same kind as the monster in the department head's office, the first concentrated spray can probably melt through the door and us. We probably only have another minute or two left."
"Time's running out!" The tall man looked at Xing Ye, "Yiyi, are you sure you won't use your starting ability? If you don't use it, I'll use my QR code. You've already memorized it anyways."
Xing Ye fell silent, "... How do you know about my photographic memory? And you guys can clearly beat them, so why do you have to force me to fight?"
"You told us to do so." Guan Ling said, "And I thought the Boss will always be the Boss, so we can just cheer you on from the sidelines."
Cao Qian said, "We have a system bound to us. We can use our thoughts to activate our starting abilities. Imagine the interface to a game and the option to use your starting ability will appear."
She acted very quickly, taking out her phone to show Xing Ye the initial skill interface as she explained. Xing Ye's eyes couldn't even catch her fast hand movements.
After seeing the starting ability interface, Xing Ye followed Cao Qian's instructions and visualized it in his mind. To his surprise, the words "Do you want to activate Redrawing Pen for 50 points? Yes/No" actually appeared in his mind. He controlled his thoughts to choose "Yes".
A transparent pen appeared in his hand. The tall man exclaimed excitedly, "As expected of Yiyi! Yes, that's the way! Quickly, draw and throw it onto those damn monsters! Then draw this one!"
He actually took out another QR code for Xing Ye to memorize and draw!
Xing Ye felt like he must've had a background in drawing before he lost his memory. His hands moved swiftly through the air as he drew. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the tentacle slowly rising and aiming at the four of them. His drawing speed became even faster, as if he had done it countless times before. In just ten seconds, he finished drawing the QR code.
The QR code in the air faded away, turning into a metal box in Xing Ye's hand. He listened to the tall man's instructions and threw it at a monster. It struggled under the unceasing electic currents, releasing a painful howl.
Xing Ye's hands didn't stop moving. He immediately drew the second QR code. Five rings of fire appeared in the air and crashed into the monster. The pitiful creature flailed amidst the sparks and flames.
Using the door as cover, the four walked through the hole into the 18th floor.
The corridor was filled with people twitching on the ground, barely alive. Xing Ye didn't say anything this time. His heart was already much calmer than before.
"What exactly is going on?" Xing Ye asked. He already decided to believe the group for the time being.
"You didn't let us tell you." The average-height man said, "Boss, this is what you said: after solving the crisis, the first thing I must do is take the mirror from my bag and look at my face. Everything else can be said after looking at the mirror."
Xing Ye: "..."
Was I sick before I lost my memory?
Despite his internal roasts, Xing Ye still chose to listen to them. After all, these people were teaching him how to regain his strength so their relationship shouldn't be too bad.
If they wanted to harm him, all they would've had to do was to push him into that group of monsters without another word. He would've certainly died.
Cao Qian said, "We'll protect you while you look in the mirror."
So the three shielded Xing Ye behind them, warily watching the group of people on the ground and the monsters that were barely alive in the staircase.
They didn't protect him while he was in danger earlier, but they're protecting him now so he can look at a mirror?
Xing Ye had a suspicious look on his face as he opened the mirror. He also wanted to see what he looked like, but to his surprise, a row of words replaced where his face should've been. It was neon red and dripping, as if written with fresh blood: You forgot me again!
Xing Ye: "..."
It looked like fresh blood dripping off the mirror. Xing Ye could even smell its pungent, iron scent. But when he touched the mirror with his finger, the words disappeared, leaving just a kiss mark and his own face in the mirror.
He thought as he looked in the mirror, "Am I a woman? Why do I feel like that's wrong? And the kiss mark's color is the same as my own lipstick. The shape is also similar... is it my kiss mark?"
Just as Xing Ye was thinking such, his reflection in the mirror vanished, replaced by another row of words: You kissed me yesterday without saying anything and now you've lost your memories! Did you do that on purpose?! You're using your amnesia as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility, you big liar!