The Hero and the Awkward Journey (part 2)
We were halfway there.
The next place we were going to was a major city in the center of the country, Svalundine. Svalundine was the hub of the country, a major road for transportation. Goods flowed through there continuously, and it attracted lots of people. Large-scale carts were loaded and unloaded by workers continuously. While being the center for business, Svalundine was also a center of culture.
Entering a city was not at all like entering a town. There were many and complicated procedures, the most important being that you needed to verify your identity. It was not easy to hide things from the gate guards responsible for questioning. Right now, our team has someone who should be dead, me, and a demon, Elan.
Because this was an extremely important city, the guards were very strict. You couldn’t use a flimsy reason to muddle your way in, and at the very least, you needed to show your face. This was my greatest worry. From my twenty-four years of experience, I understood better than anyone that I had a face that was extremely easy to recognize. Thus, I could not go through the front gates.
“Do you really have a way of getting in?”
Mademoiselle Specter looked at me in doubt.
“It should be ok. It’s not that hard.”
“It is good that we’re going ahead, but if we separate than you will have many inconveniences.
“You just need to wait for me patiently. It will only take me a moment or so to enter.”
I looked over the very tall city gates.
“Time won’t be a problem for me. We will wait for you. Anyway, we will go in first and find an inn. When you enter, than you can come find us.”
Elan and Jinwen turned to look at me. Carolina remained concentrated on driving the cart.
It would be very hard to tell Elan was a demon when she wore her hat. The tiny Jinwen was very easy to hide. Since Carolina had an inspection official’s identification, they could avoid a lot of the questioning during the verification process. The guards would only need to verify that there weren’t any other dangerous goods in the cart.
This is, in fact, a simple problem about limits. About how far you could go and still not attract the guards’ suspicion. You must be able to grasp the limit clearly. We concluded from our discussion that Elan refusing to show her identification would be the most extreme limit. If I refused to show my face, then we would expose the horse’s foot. 
So I needed to think of a way to get in.
Just as we were about to separate, Mademoiselle Phantom whispered to me:
“Leon, you should know that the person we are waiting for in the end is Zhai He.”
I could only nod my head.
Living had no interest for me. This feeling of being unneeded.
Two years ago, I had been the core of the team. I assumed all kinds of responsibilities, from breaking through enemy lines to protecting my comrades. Of course, I never had made a mistake. So I was always surrounded by laughter, surrounded by the respect of many. My reputation was known far and wide. In the Expedition Regiment, I might not have been the strongest, but I was probably the most happy person.
That was when I met Ailee.
Military merit. I read these words in Zhai He’s journals. He wrote a page about his understanding and analysis of the country’s systems. He mentioned that this system was very similar to the system from the Warring States era of his original world. Through achieving military success, ordinary citizens could rise up to nobility. Nobles who did not have an achievements would also decline.
This system was a new development in this world.
That is why Sheng Qiao Yi would let a princess of theirs marry an elite of the First Division of the Expedition Regiment.
To put it bluntly, an elite member of the First Division of the Expedition Regiment isn’t necessarily someone from Sheng Qiao Yi. For example, I am from Duopunuowa. To be able to have reached this situation speaks volumes about how Sheng Qiao Yi’s methods of enticing people.
As a result, the seventeenth princess of Sheng Qiao Yi, Ailee Parkdovich became my fiancée.
But the moment I became a traitor to the humans, I could not return to that life.
Even if I was travelling with companions now, they were merely waiting for me to disappear.
In their eyes, I had stolen their important person.
I had seen their expression before. It was the same expression that the family members of those who had been sacrificed used to look at me when I retired.
There wasn’t any kind of obvious hatred, but it made you unhappy to look at.
The unexpected thing was I was not unhappy because of it. I felt that those expressions were just. I felt ashamed. I didn’t know when I could return Zhai He to them, didn’t know when I would be able to disappear from this world.
I made it to a place with few other people and touched the city wall.
There were a limited number of ways to enter the city.
The first was to be an inspection official like Carolina, which would make the gate guards and other inspection officials feel a bit of camaraderie.
The second way was to counterfeit an identification but that was useless since my face was so recognizable.
The third way was to put on make-up and change my appearance. I could actually use this method because there are many subsidiary cities nearby Svalundine where I could easily enter and buy the appropriate materials.
The fourth way was to climb over. The walls were at least one hundred meters high, so I really did not want to use this method.
So right now there was only one way, something that only I could do.
I couldn’t use it when there were this many people around, so I decided to calmly wait for evening.
I located a thicket nearby. I had only gone two steps when I was overcome with a burst of vertigo. Following that, my heart beat in an irregular rhythm, and it seemed like I split into two. The surrounding trees became blurry, and the sky and earth seemed to have joined together, twisting into a marsh that surrounded me.
My awareness had become fuzzy.
That last thing I thought was confirming something. My name was Leon, the Hero Leon.
I staggered in my steps, and I supported myself with some branches to rest.
This was the first flare up, the first knowledge I had of this vertigo sickness.
Maybe Zhai He was returning. That would be good.
For me, life was a kind of responsibility.
A life without purpose, a life standing on top of a river of dead, a sea of corpses.
So Zhai He, come back. Zhai He.
Ø Ø Ø
My name is Zhai He.
Compared to my identity in my original world, I preferred to call myself a weapon shop uncle.
Right now, I had already died.
What kind of feeling is dying?
For me, it was something that happened in an instant.
When I was close to death, I brushed shoulders with Leon before falling into the boundless darkness.
It was a feeling that was very hard to describe. My consciousness was floating in a limitless void. I could not see anything, I could not hear anything, I could not feel anything. If I were to make an analogy, it was like I was a brain plunged into nutrient broth. I could do nothing but think.
When I laid on my bed at night, I would sometimes imagine a ringing sound, but now there was nothing.
I sensed that the system had been completely sealed. I felt like I was floating in the air, but I also felt like I was falling into ruins. I could have died anywhere. As long as I wanted to, I could have produced a fuzzy feeling.
I had no way of breathing, no way of raising my hands. I could not open my eyelids, I could not part my lips.
I could only be here and think.
I could only wait here. I had no plans left to try. I did not know how long I would wait here, and I didn’t know how long had passed.
In the beginning, I tried to count the elapsed time but I gave up after a day. Trying to count would just make you go crazy faster. I wanted to maintain a thread of awareness, to wait here with a vague hope.
I felt that if people who committed suicide knew that they would end up in this situation, there would probably be no one who chose to kill themselves. I had to remain in this posture for thousands or tens of thousands of years. I was unable to endure even thinking about it. But even if I wanted to cry out, no sound would come out.
In my original world, I read many books pertaining to the world after death.
There were some who believed existing in a ghost world after death. For example, Tu Hua’s Seven Days.
There were some that believed that we would be reincarnated into something else. For example, Ming Yan’s Weariness of Life and Death.
Though I say this, these books hardly constitute a theoretical foundation because the authors were just imagining it.
But I had truly died.
After I died, I was sent to another world. I don’t know if this was an accidental phenomenon or an inevitable phenomenon.
Maybe right now I am in line, waiting to be reincarnated into another world.
Is there someone out there waiting for me?
This question streaked through my brain, and suddenly I felt a slight chill behind me.
1. Give it all away.