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Chapter 141: Secrets of the Box (Part 1)

Safe and comfortable, Fan Xian lay down on his bed. His face was pale. He looked like a young man yet to recover from a hangover. Next to his bed was a copper basin, but it was clean because the vomit had already been washed out of it.

He had already dismissed Ruoruo from the room; a different servant-girl was looking after him. Fan Xian's pale face was not a pretense, and the vomit was not brought about by drugs - rather, the force of Yan Xiaoyi's arrow really had damaged his organs. His chest and stomach felt heavy, and it would probably be a number of days before he could fully recover.

Thinking of the arrow that had nearly taken his life, Fan Xian still could not help but feel fear. If he had not had a sudden eruption of zhenqi at that life-or-death moment that far outstripped his level, it was possible that he truly could have been killed by that arrow. The arrow still had so much power from so far away. It was truly hard to imagine. It seemed that that commander was a ninth-level fighter and that he could well have risen to the highest rank at any time.

In fact, at the moment that he had smashed the arrow with both hands, his hands had still moved with quite the same violent speed as the arrow, so he had only managed to smash its shaft. It was very dangerous, but it was also extremely fortunate that it had not left any marks on his hands. If they would be been seen by anyone, he did not know how he could have explained them away.

He had taken a great risk in going to Guangxin palace. On one hand, he wanted to see if he could discover anything; on the other hand, he did not want the people in the palace to think that anything might have happened to the key in Hanguang hall because Eunuch Hong had been led outside by Wu Zhu - this was the most important part.

His fingers rested lightly on his waist, slowly stroking that hard object. His heart was at peace: his luck was good, but would his fortune follow him forever? He decided that after this, he would no longer hide things in the secret compartment under his bed, and he would no longer mess about in the palace.

Over the days in which he pretended to be recovering from his heavy drinking, news of Fan Xian's "immortal poetic performance" had spread throughout the capital. Countless scholars and officials came to pay him a visit, but Count Sinan coldly blocked their passage, saying that his son was thoroughly exhausted and needed to rest.

But the visitors of higher and higher ranks began coming. Even some national figures and high-ranking generals came by. Just as Count Sinan was beginning to develop a headache, Fan Xian announced a decision via an intermediary that made the gathering crowds feel great regret and confusion.

Fan Xian would write poetry no more!

Many people still presumed that this was Fan Xian talking nonsense, and did not take it seriously. Only those who had some understanding of Fan Xian's nature, such as Prince Jing and the officials Ren and Xin, realized that this might be true. But as everything was still up in the air, they did not discuss it much.

The summer heat had already gradually dissipated in the capital. A squall of autumn rain was slowly floating across the city.

In fact, it had only been three days since he had entered the palace, but Fan Xian felt that those three days had been the slowest three days in both of his entire lives. The box was under his bed. The key was in his hand. There was nothing more enticing than this, but Fan Xian had still beared it for three days, like a child stealing snacks from the kitchen that his mother had forbidden him to eat, carefully hiding them in his wardrobe, and knowing that the snacks were in there. Then sleeping perfectly contented, looking at the wardrobe every day before going to sleep, but not really wanting to eat, until finally the snacks had gone rotten.

The box could not rot, but Fan Xian had still decided decided that he

would open it in the evening.

The autumn rains fell softly outside his window, falling on the rear courtyard of Fan Manor, falling on the plants that were soon to be covered in autumn frost. Inside, Fan Xian had not lit any lamps. He knew that his eyes could see clearly enough in the darkness. He put the box on a table, and steadily inserted the key into the brass keyhole.

There was a clicking sound. The clamp on the front of the box sprang open and revealed a small black board. On the board were some strange square boxes. Pressing them softly, they sank down. Each check had a unique symbol on it; no one in this world could have recognized what the symbols were. Fan Xian laughed, but his smile was pained.

With a mixture of clear understanding and guesswork, he was finally comforted by the confirmation some time later.

He closed his eyes and could not help from laughing. This world was truly mad. So with his trembling fingers, he lit a clay pipe that Teng Zijing had given him as a present to pacify his mind.

This was the first time he had smoked in this world, and it tasted very fine. The white smoke rose in spirals in the dark room. The autumn rains fell gently on the lonely courtyard.

Fan Xian felt that he would never be alone again.

The people of this world could not have known what these small black boxes were, nor what the strange symbols on them were. But Fan Xian knew.

Because when he opened the box, he had revealed... a keyboard. It was a keyboard that he had been familiar with in his past life. The strange symbols were in fact the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet, as well as numbers, and the F5 key with which Fan Xian had been ever so familiar.

Seeing this thing before him, Fan Xian pondered about it for a long time. He had finally obtained the strongest proof that his birth mother, the woman known as Ye Qingmei, had come from the same place that he had. At that time, he did not consider the conversation between Zhuang Mohan and the Eldest Princess in Guangxin Palace regarding the Tianmai.

The light of his pipe flickered in the dark room. Fan Xian's facial expression had calmed, and his hands ever-so-softly stroked at the keyboard as he began to guess at what the password might be.

"It's a name." Wu Zhu, who had been by his side for who knew how long, stood in the corner of the room. Though his eyes were covered by a length of black cloth, his face, facing the box, revealed an emotion that one might have called sadness. "I remember that it's a name. The Lady said that it only had five strokes."

Fan Xian nodded calmly and began to type. He had not had contact with one of these things in sixteen years, after all; when he started, it inevitably felt a little strange. But after a few tries, that familiar feeling returned to his body, to his hands. His fingers struck the keyboard as if they were dancing.

But after a number of attempts, he suddenly laughed bitterly and raised his head. "What name exists that would only require five strokes to be written?"

As he said this, he realized what the issue was. He took two drags of the pipe, looked at the box in front of him, shook his head, and sighed. "Mom, you really are causing trouble. But the question is, did you really teach Wu Zhu the five-stroke method?" [1]

"Five strokes" did not refer to the strokes of a brush, but to the five-stroke computer input method.

"kfh.lca.nhd." Fan Xian typed in the first name - Ye Qingmei. There was no response. With disbelief, he typed in his own name in five-stroke: "aib.usi".

There was still no response from the box. He laughed bitterly. His own name had only been given to him many years later, how could Ye Qingmei have known it? Suddenly, he had a thought. With something that didn't look quite like a smile on his face, he looked at Wu Zhu in the corner of the room.

Wu Zhu seemed to have sense that something was odd, and cocked his head. "What are you doing?"

Fan Xian did not respond, and instead typed Wu Zhu's name in five-stroke: "gg.ttgh".

The box whirred, and then turned on. Fan Xian looked at Wu Zhu again and laughed. "Uncle, I suspect that you and my mother had some inappropriate secrets."

Fan Xian had taken the box from Danzhou to the capital; of course, he knew its weight, so he was not worried that it was hiding a hydrogen bomb. But after he had seen the box's contents clearly, until he had finally left the room, and somewhat foolishly walked through the rainy night, he still could not stop himself from shaking his head and wondering whether his mother really had any creativity to her at all.

The box was divided into three layers. Because it was limited by its shape, the objects that one could put into every layer had to be long and narrow. The first layer was divided into three sections of metal tools. In one section, they were tubular. In another they seemed suited to one's grasp. Fan Xian frowned as he looked at these metal implements. Although he had also come from that world, he still could not figure out what they were until he placed a finger inside one of the tubular ones.

He lifted it up in front of his eyes to take a proper look, and found that it had something written on it: "M82A1".

"Holy crap." Fan Xian's fingers trembled slightly. Although he wasn't a huge military nut in his previous life, he knew what those letters represented.

It was a sniper rifle. The world's best sniper rifle. If coupled with armor-piercing bullets, it could pierce through a thick wall from a kilometer away.

Fan Xian picked up the rifle barrel with his right hand. He couldn't stop his hand from trembling. He understood deeply what it meant to have a sniper rifle in his hand in a world that still used swords and arrows.

It meant that from this point on, from a long way away, he could kill anyone he wanted, and not have to worry about being discovered.

It meant that - whether it was the frightening arrows of that commander, or Yun Zhilan of the Dongyi diplomatic mission who seemed to have it out for him - if he so wished, he could kill his opponents many times over. But he didn't know whether it would be useful against the grandmasters.

Somewhat nervously, he gently arranged the three sections of the sniper rifle on the table. Having put his pipe to one side, he supported himself on the table with his hands and took a few deep breaths to calm himself. It seemed that he had all the necessary requirements to become some sort of demon.

Of course, the prerequisite was that he needed to have bullets.

Fan Xian looked dumbstruck at the second layer. Aside from a letter, there was nothing else. Not even a handful of bullets, like he had been expecting.

With no bullets, the sniper rifle was about as strong as an iron poker.

[1] The "wubi", or "five-stroke", method is a method of inputting Chinese characters on a keyboard

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