The Record of Unusual Creatures

Chapter 39: Stranger

Chapter 39: Stranger

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

After nearly an hour, Hao Ren finally sussed it out. There were no major problems with the MDT but somehow, it was marred with glitches. A tech noob himself, Hao Ren was nonetheless quick to notice the anomaly. There were many functions which he could not make head or tail of. Plus, information about them was just next to nothing. He had tried his luck with the MDT’s AI but, the AI knew no better than him; after all, the AI would not question Raven 12345’s order.

The problem was, the programs ordered by Raven 12345 were not native to the MDT. Every MDT distributed at the grassroots level went through a process of initialization first. So by right, every MDT should have came out identical right out of the box. However, local management was given the discretion to install locale-specific programs. Such examples were the localized biological encyclopedia, localized interstellar navigation map, antenatal care guide for female agents and the like. The central information vault of the Xi Ling Empire was a master record of everything—no matter how bizarre or small, one could find it there. Due to this, there was an endless list of programs which could be downloaded into the MDT. Clearly, this was the source of the problem. Raven 12345, Hao Ren’s regional chief was one fry short of a happy meal and technologically speaking, she was a dummy. However, she had given orders to download a hell of a lot of programs and had also meddled with the MDT before it was passed on to Hao Ren.

Hao Ren and Vivian were staring at a huge PT-385 Encyclopedia of the Universe in the MDT— a compilation of 2,000 volumes to be exact. They were flabbergasted. Deletion of anything from the MDT required access of higher authorization.

"I suggest you make do with it." The holographic message read. "All functions of the MDT are intact and working fine. You only have to control your compulsion and ignore the spams. And a replacement will be no better as Raven 12345 would certainly toy with the replacement unit again before you get your hands on it. A check with the local network message board has confirmed such incidents and complaints related to this MDT issue have gone through the roof. She’s one hell of a woman."

"Alright, I give up. As long as you get me what I want, I’ll just turn a blind eye to all the nonsense. Ignorance is bliss, right?"

"Dear user, don’t worry. You will be in good hands with me. I am as powerful as you can imagine." The AI was narcissistic.

Hao Ren would someday come to the realization that ignoring it was the best decision he had ever made.

"Let’s go downstairs and grab some bites." Hao Ren tucked the MDT into his pocket before checking out the antique clock standing at the corner. "Lily’s been gone for an hour, is she lost?"

"The hotel serves breakfast, and that big dog’s a gourmand. She must be gorging on the food as we speak. She’s a loser," Vivian quipped.

Hao Ren shrugged without a word and led Vivian out of the room. They entered a restaurant at the first floor of the hotel.

England was a slow-paced country where people lived a laid-back lifestyle. Typical English folk would start their day at nine in the morning and have their first meal of the day. Such a lifestyle was alien to Hao Ren. Plus, he was still plagued by jet lag. There were a few guests at the breakfast buffet section. There was no mistaking that Lily was sitting right there, alone at her table in the middle of the restaurant. Vivian was spot-on about Lily being a gourmand. Lily was seen cleaning up plate after plate of food and there was no sign of her slowing down.

Hao Ren blinked. "It seems the rumor that spices aren’t available in England isn’t true at all considering how much food Lily has gobbled up."

Vivian looked on with disdain. "She’s just an omnivore."

Holding a plate in his hand, Hao Ren proceeded to the long buffet line. He ambled around and noticed that not all English food was unpalatable. At least, he had no difficulty in filling his plate with ‘edible’ items from the choices available. He then lumbered over to Lily and sat next to her, inquiring curiously, "Are you done yet?"

"Ermm, yup!" Lily tried to speak with her mouth full. "The salad isn’t bad, same goes for the fruits. But I’m not really fond of the BBQ meat. They don’t taste like the ones back home..."

Hao Ren stared into her eyes and muttered, "As a werewolf, don’t you feel ashamed of your choice of food?"

It seemed like Lily did not get the message. She exclaimed, "They don’t sell ribs over here!"

Hao Ren felt they were not really on the same wavelength.

He turned over to Vivian and was confounded. "Now, that’s like a pot calling the kettle black."

Vivian almost overfilled her plate and it looked like a small hill. As if it began raining after a long drought, she could not care less about table manners and etiquette. She just wanted to fulfill her long-deprived desire or rather appetite, after living on a budget for so long.

"I’ve never had a life like this!" The vampire girl babbled with her mouth full. "I’d like to enjoy as much as I can while it lasts!"

Hao Ren was relieved at the fact that the English started their day late and also, there were only a handful of waitresses on duty at that time. Otherwise, the scene of the two gobblers trying to out-eat each other would have been too embarrassing to be witnessed.

As they were going at it, a man holding a plate in his hand approached. Hao Ren heard him utter in a soft voice, "Is this seat taken?"

Hao Ren looked up; the stranger was slender, he had short hair and he wore a white top with black pants. He was not particularly handsome by any standard but exuded an air of trustworthiness and aptness in him. The man had an unmistakably oriental face which Hao Ren could almost tell was Chinese.

"Please have a seat, it’s not taken." Hao Ren invited the man to take the vacant seat across the table. He was a little puzzled though; most tables in the restaurant were empty at that time. Why did this stranger choose to sit with them? He heightened his guard and sized the man up carefully.

He was mindful of his so-called covert mission and became alert.

Vivian had also come to notice the presence of the man. As she became self-conscious, she slowed down her pace. Her mannerisms switched to Duchess-of-Cambridge mode—elegant and graceful, save for the oil stain on the corner of her mouth.

"It’s kind of rare to see someone from my home country here." The man was cordial and friendly despite his appearance implying otherwise. "Are you here for holiday?"

"Home country?" Hao Ren did not expect to be so damn right. The translation program had prevented him from recognizing the man’s accent outright until the man divulged his origin. "Oh, you’re from China too?"

"Yup, I’m a native Chinese but I spend most my time globe-trotting." The tall man guffawed. "I’m happy to see my fellow countrymen here. If it’s not too much trouble, do you mind if I join you guys?"

"Not at all!" Hao Ren waved his hands.

"That’s great!" The man nodded and unexpectedly uttered, "Are you searching for a place called Yorkford?"

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