Translator: YuYj (Dan)
Zhang Yang; a 21-year-old male; a student at H Province, C City College of Arts and Sciences; a reticent, cowardly male whose perverted thoughts always ran rampant; and who was always too scared to act on them. And apparently, he was occasionally capable of performing earth-shattering miracles.
That’s the kind of person Zhang Yang was.
So, earth-shattering miracles: During the summer, only a month ago, Zhang Yang worked at a provincial cafe. While there, he got caught up in a terrorist attack. Severely injured, Zhang Yang was rushed to the provincial hospital for treatment. For over a month, he received top secret medical treatment. Neither his friends nor his family were notified, and as soon as Zhang Yang woke up, he was cornered by various high-ranking officials. Every couple of hours, these officials interrogated Zhang Yang about the incident, putting him through a lot of shit.
Zhang Yang maintained his silence. Outside of replying with, “I don’t know anything; I don’t remember anything,” he said nothing. For over a month, Zhang Yang said absolutely nothing else. Whether to the police or his doctors, he always presented a straight face and that same exact line—”I don’t know anything.”
Finally, his doctors and the police came to a conclusion: this student really didn’t know anything. Of course, they thought, he’s just an idiot student who’s scared shitless. It seemed they had been using up all their time on a simple student.
They were wrong. Not only was Zhang Yang lying, but he also knew quite a bit more than anyone had been suspecting.
Because after the harrowing terrorist bombing incident, something happened to Zhang Yang. Something odd and otherworldly—something that gave him a little bit more than he’d originally possessed.
Countless memories. They all bombarded Zhang Yang. These memories came from an unknown number of people from innumerable walks of life. These memories stayed with him, merged with him, and waited for him to tap into them.
So, during that entire month of time, he’d continuously ruminated on various topics that had originally been way outside of his own sphere, some of which touched on: firearms, mechanics, mathematics, and boxing. Of course these were all topics that Zhang Yang had never had cause to think about before, let alone consider so thoroughly. He had been the simplest of students, but now his brain contained an enormous amount of expert knowledge and technical jargon, filling his brain to the brim.
Of course, he’d also been afraid to confess what really happened to those officials. Who the hell would willingly split his brain open for all to see—become a lab rat? Not him.
A train tirelessly chugged through the murky night. In the middle of the 7th train car sat a pale-faced youth. His hair was cut short, his eyes stared dully out the window, and his hand clutched a newspaper.
Of course, this youth was Zhang Yang. The newspaper lying limp in his hand catalogued the casualty list of the terrorist attack. He had already read over the casualty list at least a hundred times, and it was precisely this list that allowed him to confirm that he had truly inherited the memories of the deceased. But he still didn’t understand why the world’s brightest minds would gather at a provincial cafe to drink coffee. Furthermore, these experts’ fields of interest had absolutely nothing in common.
He couldn’t think of a reason for a professional singer and a professional fighter to sit together and, what, shoot the shit? Even more ridiculous was the thought of a firearms expert and a psychologist speaking on common ground. The strangest thing was, these eclectic experts and professionals had all been sitting together. Like, were they simply drinking coffee? Or had there been so much more going on?
This became an unsolvable mystery—because they had all died. Of course, Zhang Yang didn’t know why they’d all met up either. Even though he’d inherited their memories, in reality, it was more accurate to say that he’d inherited their knowledge. And it was just fragments of their knowledge. He had been stuck in the hospital for over a month, inundated with incomplete memory fragments and incomprehensible knowledge. Stuck with it all and nowhere to go and nothing to do but think.
Zhang Yang let out a sigh and shook out his stiff limbs that hadn’t moved for hours. After over a month of contemplation, it looked like he wouldn’t be making any breakthroughs. He carefully folded up the newspaper and stuffed it into his pocket.
He glanced over at the little sister student sitting beside him. He hadn’t realized until then, but this little sister was actually quite beautiful. Frustrated at wasting such a good opportunity for “networking,” Zhang Yang narrowed his eyes and thought it over. He would never have the balls to talk to a girl. Even if someone were to lend him ten pairs of balls, he’d never be able to do it. But, that was that and this was this. Shoring up what courage he had, he pretended exhaustion, and, ever so slightly, leaned into the girl.
A faint sweetness emanated from her hair. Zhang Yang really liked this type of scent. He savored her and the feel of the smooth silky skin of her arm.
Even though Zhang Yang was very cowardly, this kind of opportunity with a complete stranger was something he would never pass over. This place wasn’t school, nor was it the city. This was the train. Zhang Yang wasn’t worried at all that someone would see his ugly actions. Of course, his perverted courage only manifested as leaning in and touching the girl. It’s not like he was doing anything more than that. It was just some skin on skin contact. That was all.
They had already entered the county, and the city was only about an hour away. In this entire train car, besides Zhang Yang concentrating on “taking advantage” of a girl, the rest of the people were fast asleep. Even those who were still awake hovered on the edges of sleep.
The most pitiful person was the girl sitting next to Zhang Yang. He didn’t know if she was really sleeping or faking it, but she was squashed into a tight ball next to Zhang Yang. Her tightly closed eyes and long eyelashes fluttered. Her face somehow emitted both a pitiful and a disgusted expression at the same time.
In fact, Zhang Yang had already seen her expression of disgust, but he didn’t care. After getting off the train, they would be complete strangers. Being able to touch even a little counted as a victory. ‘Little sister,’ he thought. ‘What are you afraid of? A little skinship won’t get you pregnant!’
Suddenly, Zhang Yang, whose head was filled with evil thoughts, felt a violent prickle at the base of his ears. His hair stood on end. The feeling and certainty that there was an immense threat spread throughout his entire body and soaked into his every cell.
Zhang Yang’s leaning body immediately righted itself into a perfect sitting posture. His sudden movement startled the girl into opening her large eyes.
Zhang Yang’s dull gaze sharpened. His entire body was like an unsheathed treasure sword—razor sharp. At this time, Zhang Yang could feel that he wasn’t the same Zhang Yang of the past. He had become an entirely different person. Even though his thoughts were his own, his hearing and reflexes no longer belonged to the Zhang Yang of the past.
Zhang Yang tightly fisted his hands then slowly relaxed them. He clenched and relaxed his fists repeated until his shaking fingers finally recovered their calm. He stared toward the source of the danger.
It turned out that Zhang Yang’s judgment wasn’t wrong. Five burly men, wearing nothing above the waist, pushed open the train car door with laughter on their faces. The men’s bodies were ripped with corded muscles, their hands each clutching a serrated dagger that shined coldly under the gloomy train light.
A robbery was underway!
The people inside the train car seemed to sense the danger. The majority of them woke up. Facing the cold light shining off of those sawtoothed knives, no one had the courage to make a sound.
The robbers’ swift and accurate actions emanated professionalism. They first sliced up the face of an uncooperative passenger, setting an example for the rest of the passengers. Then they searched each passenger while blood dripped off of the first passenger’s face, accompanied by the crazed laughter of the robbers and the silver light reflecting off their knives.
The passengers collectively held their breath. The robbers came closer and closer to Zhang Yang. His heartbeat became even more agitated; he couldn’t control his fear.
‘Stay calm, stay calm, deep breaths,’ Zhang Yang told himself.
But even though he continually reminded himself, his intrinsic weak nature didn’t magically become courageous due to the memory fragments of some random idiots. Those sawtoothed daggers glinted with a cold and dangerous light while the entire train compartment reeked of tension and fear. With each flourish of the gleaming knives, Zhang Yang’s courage slowly chipped away.
More importantly, the girl’s soft, shivering body made her terror infectious. This caused Zhang Yang’s originally sharp gaze to regress to a cowardly appearance, his hands and feet trembling.
“No…” he said. “N-No need to be afraid…”
As a man, Zhang Yang believed that he had a responsibility to comfort the girl sitting next to him. Not to mention that he had already taken advantage of her. It was only fair to comfort her a bit. Maybe offering this bit of comfort could even turn into a beautiful future.
Zhang Yang reached over and softly patted the back of her hand, not noticing that the back of his own hand was trembling harder than hers.
The girl’s hand was very soft and warm. Zhang Yang yearned to clasp her hand in his and carefully experience that delicate feeling.
Unfortunately, she didn’t appear grateful at all. The hand that Zhang Yang patted was withdrawn as if pierced by a needle. She violently hid it behind her back, and curled her entire body into a ball. This girl’s actions made Zhang Yang feel very embarrassed. His actions to curry favor seemed to have been wasted.
Of course, Zhang Yang’s embarrassment only lasted for a brief moment. He didn’t have time to waste on embarrassment because those muscular train robbers’ were too efficient at stealing. They had already squeezed out from the crowd of passengers to arrive in front of him. The snake leather bag in one of the robber’s hands was filled to the brim, stuffed with their spoils of war.
One of the robbers stopped in front of him. “Give me your money!” he said with a threatening expression. Then he patted Zhang Yang’s face with the side of his serrated dagger. Zhang Yang could feel the icy coldness from the dagger’s edge. He could even see the few drops of blood coating the teeth of the dagger, clearly remnants from slicing up that passenger’s face.
Zhang Yang didn’t make a sound. He put on a dull expression. No one would guess that his thoughts were currently furiously conflicted as he debated whether or not to make a move. He was 100% sure that he could knock over this robber within a couple of seconds, but his cowardly nature was telling him that he had absolutely no chance in reality. His certainty was mere wishful thinking.
The big, burly man laughed and lifted his dagger away. “Little brother,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. We’re only looking for wealth.” The man could tell the kid was scared silly, which was very understandable as the robber had encountered this kind of situation plenty of times.
Finally, Zhang Yang’s fear won out. “I-I’ll…I’ll give you…” He was certain that although his brain was filled with fighting techniques, his frail body would never be able to overcome these five heavy-built train robbers.
After receiving Zhang Yang’s wallet, he didn’t even glance at it and threw it into burlap bag behind him. “Good, good,” the robber said. “Very good. Is this your girl?” he asked. An evil light appeared in his eyes. He extended his dagger and placed it under the girl’s chin, lifting her face up. The girl’s face was full of fear, but she didn’t dare make a sound. Her eyes tilted toward Zhang Yang as if begging for help.
“Y-yes, I am his girlfriend,” she said.
Before Zhang Yang could say a thing, the girl tightly hugged his arm. Zhang Yang’s brain instantly heated up. His arm felt something round, soft, and full. Because the girl had hugged Zhang Yang’s arm very tightly, her well-developed chest tightly pressed against Zhang Yang’s arm.
“Really?” The man narrowed his gaze at Zhang Yang.