Friday, 17 March 2023

735 Innocence


The elder in the wheelchair stated it clearly. Han Fei was a crucial witness in capturing Butterfly. Nothing could happen to him before Butterfly was caught.

“No matter how big the loophole in Perfect Life is, that is between those two companies. We can cooperate with them, but if they want us to do things beyond the scope of the law, I’m sorry.” The officer in white surmised everyone’s opinion: before the Butterfly was caught, they would protect Han Fei.

“Then, how are we going to answer the people from Immortal Pharma?” A young officer standing to the side asked. Everyone turned their gazes to Han Fei again.

The elder in the wheelchair asked, “Han Fei, I’ve seen the video from yesterday too. Is that you in the mask?”

“I’ve seen the video as well. Honestly, I don’t get why everyone thinks that person is me.” Han Fei said helplessly. His acting was very natural.

“There’s an online force trying its best to pin the fault on you. You’re now the public enemy after just 12 hours. I refuse to believe there’s no one manipulating this.” The middle-aged officer in white was really rational. “Think. Have you offended anyone recently?”

“The bosses from my previous agency and some crazy murderers.”


“Other than the Butterfly, most of them have been captured already.” Han Fei was telling the truth.

“Then, it looks like this is Butterfly’s doing.” The elder leaned against the back of the wheelchair. “He found someone who had your frame to destroy Perfect Life and then pin the fault on you. That’s how you became the enemy of two giant companies and millions of players. Then, he’ll slowly whittle down your mental defenses. Yes, this does feel like Butterfly’s handiwork. He never kills with his own hands but loves to use tactics like these.”

Li Xue’s teacher fought with the Butterfly for half his life, so he knew him very well.

“To destroy Butterfly’s plan, we first have to clear Han Fei’s name. We can create an alibi for him.” The middle-aged man glanced at Han Fei. “Before the masked man reappears, we’ll monitor you for 24 hours so that you wouldn’t have any outside communication. Then, we’ll broadcast it to the world.” Han Fei didn’t think that was a good idea, so he didn’t agree immediately.

“That’s the simplest method. If you think it’s too inconvenient, we can try something else.” The elder didn’t force Han Fei. His eyes of wisdom looked at Han Fei. It felt like he had seen through many things, but he didn’t point them out.

“What if the masked man doesn’t reappear?”

“Publicizing your private life will temporarily quell the public ire and prove your innocence. However, we will not place our hope on the enemy. While you’re attracting the public’s attention, we’ll launch an investigation to find all the culprits!”

“Okay, I agree.” Han Fei sighed. In actuality, he was preparing for his plan. Bai Xian would play Han Fei in the cryptic world, Huang Yin controlled the players in the surface world, while Han Fei stayed in the real world. They each had their own role to play. Han Fei had just said yes when rapid footsteps came from outside. Soon, someone knocked on the door. The two middle-aged officers seated at the table frowned.

“The representatives from Immortal Pharma and Deep Space Tech are here. They want to talk to Han Fei.”

“How did they know he’s here?”

“Not sure.”

“We’ve confirmed a solution. Get them to cooperate to help our investigation of Butterfly.” The elder whispered something to the officers beside him. He didn’t leave the room but had Li Xue accompany Han Fei. Han Fei was led to the station’s largest conference room. There were seven representatives from the two companies. Six of them were in suits. However, the person who grabbed Han Fei’s attention the most was the young man standing in the middle. He looked a bit similar to Fu Tian. Normally speaking, an experienced person would handle a crisis of this scale, but the two big companies had sent over a young man to handle it. When Han Fei entered the conference room, the young man’s eyes moved to Han Fei too. He might look like Fu Tian, but he didn’t have Fu Tian’s kindness. His eyes were cutting. He was like an eagle, waiting for a chance to strike.

The police and the two companies started to negotiate. The young man sat opposite Han Fei. He didn’t participate in the communication. His job there was only to observe Han Fei. Earlier, the police had reached a consensus, and they believed Han Fei was framed. This was an answer the two companies wouldn’t accept. They requested the police dig up everything about Han Fei. That was the point of conflict. Han Fei had helped the police solve many cases. His background was linked to too many people. Furthermore, Butterfly was still free. If they revealed Han Fei’s info, they would basically lose the chance to capture the supercriminal. Of course, the police were not obliged to help the two companies.

Immortal Pharma’s representatives knew that too. They negotiated for a long time before following the police’s suggestion. They would broadcast Han Fei’s private life on the internet until the masked man in the tunnel appeared. Han Fei was not someone who was easily bullied. He stressed that he was framed and he was being harassed by Immortal Pharma and Deep Space Tech. When the truth was out, he would use legal means to protect himself.

The representatives didn’t care about the threat from Han Fei. They blew Han Fei off by saying that they’d give him compensation. However, the young man was jotting down something on his phone while all these were going on.

After the previous Immortal Pharma director passed away, a few different voices appeared within the company. Fu Tian’s children and trusted aides had differing views. The large company was no longer that united. Han Fei could see that clearly.

Some of them wanted to go along with the flow and use Han Fei as the spokesperson and package this as Perfect Life’s latest update. If Perfect Life were a simple game, this was doable. However, a small portion of people inside Immortal Pharma knew that things were not that simple. They had to capture the culprit and then seal up the path permanently. In the end, the latter voices overwhelmed the former, but it had left a weakness in the company too.

“It is now 11 am. We’ll announce this news to the public around 1 pm.” The police set the time. It was not until then that Han Fei realized he had spent two days and two nights inside the game. Fu Sheng’s inheritance mission was longer than any of the previous missions. No wonder the nutrient cocktail was exhaustion.

“Since you’ve decided the time, then let us provide the equipment and location.” The young man suddenly said. “We’ve created a giant city screen above the Deep Space Tech building in the intelligent city to promote the game. The screen will broadcast everything inside the building. Before the masked man appears, Han Fei can live there. We’ll provide him with the best food and service. We’ll pay him daily too. As for security, the whole world will be watching him, so I don’t think we need to worry.”

The young man looked permissible, but this aroused Han Fei’s suspicion.

“I don’t trust them. I want to stay with the police.” Han Fei stood up and said directly.

“Of course, you’ll have police detail. They’ll protect your safety.” The young man was unfazed. He knew the police wouldn’t reject his proposal. A few minutes later, the leading negotiator from the police received a call. Their superior said that they’d accept this generous arrangement from the two big companies.

“Let us depart.”

Both parties were very effective. The police and the people from the two companies drove to the intelligent city. They arrived at the building with the big screen at 11.40 am. At 50, Han Fei and two officers were welcomed into the building. The building wasn’t that big. It was previously used to show virtual personas in the game, but now it was a hospitable home. The two officers’ rooms were adjacent to Han Fei’s room. Han Fei’s new room was installed with endless cameras. Other than when he was in the bathroom, he had no privacy at all.

“You’re an actor. It’s your job to live before the cameras.” The young man personally led Han Fei out of the car. He had been observing Han Fei like he wanted to confirm something. “You should change first. Other than logging into Perfect Life, you can do anything you like inside the room.”

“What can I do when everyone is watching my every move?” Han Fei sneered. He opened the door and walked in.

“I hope you can get used to living here. You will spend a long time living here.” The young man turned around and locked the door. He handed the key to the police.

“Why would I live here for a long time?” Han Fei looked around, and his pupils shook slightly. The room was decorated as Fu Sheng’s home in Happiness Neighborhood!

‘This used to be a virtual persona showcase room. They have recently upgraded it into a living area… they are testing me. The people at Immortal Pharma have already known something.’ Han Fei stepped into the room like he had seen it for the first time. His masterful acting skills came into play again. In contrast to his calm appearance, his brain was spinning. Immortal Pharma and Deep Space Tech agreed with the police, but in reality, they wanted to use their own method to make Han Fei commit some mistakes. The room was brimming with cameras. Han Fei’s smallest action would be recorded and analyzed by experts. His situation was very dangerous.

At 12 noon, Xin Lu Police and the two companies announced the news. They said that Han Fei was willing to livestream his life for 24 hours to prove his innocence. The rumor mill had been turning. Most netizens had believed that the culprit was Han Fei. However, they didn’t expect this to happen.

Some of them started to defend Han Fei. He was an expert horror movie actor. Where would he find the time to train to become the world’s top hacker?

In any case, the event blew up. Many people were not that reasonable. Some even demanded Han Fei compensate them for their in-game characters who died.

Han Fei ignored these voices and lived as he normally would. His new room was filled with traps. There were many things that only those who had seen the black box and cryptic world would recognize.

All the cameras were activated at 1 pm. Han Fei’s life was shown before the world.

Han Fei glanced at the cameras while lying on the couch. After spacing out for some time, Han Fei did the first time he did after he entered the room. His action was broadcasted all over the world on video platforms. Everyone was looking at this beastly devil, King of Ghosts, and Perfect Life’s biggest cheater.

Han Fei entered the bedroom and grabbed the bedspread. He then crawled into bed and slept.

“Wait. Is he sleeping just like that?”

“It looks like elites like to nap too.”

“I’m watching this on HD?”

Millions logged on to watch Han Fei sleep. Han Fei was very tired. He slept until night fell. When he was asleep, a new change came to Perfect Life. Millions of players moved toward the theme park maze. The first-place player, Huang Yin, also showed up in person for the first time.

This coming night was destined to be one none of the players was going to forget.

1 comment:

ThabithTheYinglet said...

Thank you for the chapter, LonelyTree!

Let's see how Han Fei manages to return to the game before 24 hours pass!