Zong Lizi had been leading her life by the counting days and money day in and day out. Even though her tuition was erased because her father had worked at the Institute of New Era, she still had to eat foods in order to survive. More importantly, she couldn't stop taking the medicine for her illness, and she also had the hopes that her illness might be cured if she would go through the gene modification the third time.
She couldn't make any money through working during her spare time, and it was almost impossible to find a part-time job in the dim and poor neighborhood. She didn't dare take risks on the ground. As such, renting out the apartment was the only option.
She had posted an ad for splitting the rent on the institute network a while ago and was prepared to live in the study room herself if someone was willing to rent her bedroom. However, the students who were qualified to study at the institute were unwilling to live in the neighborhood at the lowest level. She hadn't gotten any response for her ad for days.
A person showed up all of a sudden at the door, and he didn't make a phone call first. This unusual act made her feel uneasy and alarmed. The person who wore a lowered hoodie looked like those deranged assassins in the movies…but…why did his voice sound so nice?
The youth with the hoodie was none other than Jing Jiu.
He didn't expect his knowledge he had accumulated over the last few days to be inadequate; and he didn't anticipate that the door was opened because of nothing but his voice.
He learned how to speak by imitating the anchors and reporters in the news; he could speak in an accurate and appealing voice, in the so-called broadcasting voice.
The broadcasting voice was supposed to convince and persuade the others even if what they said was false information.
"Please come in."
Zong Lizi thought she had made a rash decision after she let the youth in her apartment. She asked him to sit in the chair after calming down forcefully and poured a cup of water for him.
Jing Jiu took out a cushion from underneath his buttock and propped it against the left arm of the chair; he did this very naturally. Then, he pointed at the coffee table, gesturing for her to put the cup there.
Zong Lizi was taken aback, thinking that this person didn't behave like a stranger in the least. "I'd like to see your ID first," said she after clearing her throat.
Though Jing Jiu knew about this basic requirement, he didn't obtain it because he didn't have adequate time to; actually, he was simply too lazy to do it.
Jing Jiu took off the hoodie.
His very face was his traveling permit in Chaotian. Was it also useful here?
The room was deathly quiet. Zong Lizi looked at his face, gasping, and couldn't speak a single word for a while.
"It's not convenient for me to obtain one," said Jing Jiu.
Zong Lizi was a very smart girl. After she returned to her senses, she had guessed something. "I have to raise the rent then," said she, gritting her teeth, after a moment of silence.
Jing Jiu had learned some impressive lessons back when he and Zhao Layue traveled the world, and knew the importance of money, so he had prepared for this ahead of time.
He took out a golden coin from a pocket and put it on the table.
He had checked the rent information in this neighborhood on the computer the night before. Then, he went to an illegal gaming parlor and took the tracksuits, and stole a golden coin from the safe of the owner with a fat belly as well.
The golden coin had a width of about three fingers, with complicated patterns carved by a laser tool on it, which was the common currency among the Federation of the Milky Way. According to the information he found about the exchange rate of the metals, this golden coin was enough for renting the apartment for three years, and yet he merely planned to stay here for nine days, so the golden coin was more than enough to cover the rent.
Zong Lizi was shocked again, and it was not because the value of the coin was too high, but because…the Stargate and other star systems were all using credit for transactions; who would still be using cash? More importantly, the golden coin of this sort was in limited circulation. Besides being circulated in the black market, the golden coins were mostly collected by the people on the upper grounds as artifacts.
This youth looked exceedingly handsome. He showed a noble bearing by sitting casually on the chair; no way he could be someone from the black market.
Zong Lizi was certain that her guess was correct and that he was someone coming down from above. "Have you taken a look at the terms in the Ad for sharing rent?" she asked.
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm".
Zong Lizi thought to herself that the important figures like those in the movies were always reticent. "What questions do you have for me?" she asked.
Jing Jiu had lived in this apartment like a ghost for a few days and was aware of what this girl disliked. "I'll watch the news for an hour at eight o'clock every night," he said. "I don't cook, and I'll use the bathroom only after you are not in the apartment. I can guarantee that the place will be the same every day."
He didn't even mention the terms like how to split the rent, keeping the place neat and not allowed to bring other people to the apartment. Yet, Zong Lizi felt quite satisfied with his answer. It occurred to her that a person like him coming down from above must have no friends, and that his obsessive cleanliness might be even worse than hers. As such, there was nothing she needed to worry about. Besides, he had such a handsome face.
"The deal is done then." She got up and was about to show Jing Jiu the bedroom and bring her stuff out to the study room.
Jing Jiu stood up and walked to the door of the study room, saying, "I'll sleep here."
"This is the study room; it's too small," said Zong Lizi.
Jing Jiu needed to read books, and he could see the remote corner of the universe through the small window in the room to prevent the battleships from employing the small stars to attack him.
He opened the door of the study room discourteously and said after examining the room pretentiously, "I like this room."
Zong Lizi felt a bit uneasy when she found he had chosen the study room. "Then…I'll lower the rent a little?" she offered.
"No need." Jing Jiu's gaze fell on the coffee table and the computer on it. "If you don't mind, please let me use your computer during the day," said Jing Jiu.
The golden coin was enough to buy several brand new civilian computers of the latest model; Zong Lizi of course didn't mind lending him the computer. She gave the computer to him after she made a bed in the study room for him.
This youth was well behaved, though a bit reserved. And he even refused her invitation of eating supper with her.
Zong Lizi thought of all this while gazing at the tightly closed door. She suddenly thought of something and pushed open the door, "The code…"
Neither porn nor any other secretive information was on the computer. All she wanted to tell him was the code for switching on the computer.
Jing Jiu spun his head around and uttered "hmm" to express his bewilderment.
The screen of the computer was lit, many blue digital symbols flashing at high speed.
Shaking her head, Zong Lizi turned around and fled from the study room like a little puppy, and she didn't forget to close the door behind her. Sitting the couch, she looked at the photo on the cabinet while holding a stuffy animal, remaining silent for a long time. "Little Yellow One…he is a skilled hacker of computers," she muttered.
Jing Jiu had merely used the computer for a few days, but he was probably a highly skilled user already; even if he was not at the moment, he would definitely be one in the future.
The fact that he could turn on Zong Lizi's computer without the code had nothing to do with decoding used by the Cloud Ghosts.
He had been using her computer over the last few days. In order to turn it on more quickly, he had copied her fingerprints a few days earlier when she was asleep.
Jing Jiu suddenly thought of an important matter and came out from the study room, holding the computer in his arms. "Can you help me log in the network of the institute? I can pay you more," Jing Jiu said to Zong Lizi.
Before Zong Lizi could respond, he had brought the computer before her eyes.
Zong Lizi felt perplexed, wondering if he was a highly skilled computer hacker or not.
Jing Jiu had actually thought about copying Zong Lizi's pupils. In doing so, he could keep living like a ghost in her apartment. However, copying the pupils was a bit complicated; it would take a longer time to observe them. He couldn't stare at her eyes without being discovered, and it was inelegant to make her fall asleep and then turn her eyelids up…
Well, now that he knew that he would have to participate in the activities of this world to learn everything about it, he had no choice but to change back into human form sooner or later.
He had become familiar with this apartment and the girl with silvery hair, so living with her was the best option.
In the days that ensued, he watched TV during the day and logged into the network of the institute after she came back at night, besides which he did nothing else.
Zong Lizi noticed that the ration of his food hadn't been consumed and that he seldom rested. She couldn't help but feel worried about him.
The first day, Jing Jiu had learned the standard language from the instruction manual of the Federation of the Milky Way and all the courses of the local languages of various star systems.
The second day, he had learned all the courses in astronomy and geography.
The third day, he had learned all the courses in biology and chemistry.
The fourth day, he started learning physics, which was a bit more difficult.
The fifth day, he decided to switch the subject matter up a bit and learned the courses related to arts and music, which he found uninteresting. Then, he read a few hundred books on philosophy and religion, which he found were similar to those in Chaotian.
The sixth day, he resumed studying physics.
The seventh day, he continued studying physics.
On the night of the eighth day, Zong Lizi noticed that his face looked a bit unsightly. "What's the matter with you?" she asked.
Jing Jiu thought one could learn from anyone who had the knowledge; so it was not an embarrassing thing to learn from her. He turned the computer toward her.
Looking at the question on the computer screen, she asked after a moment of pause, "Have you been studying the constant of tiniest forms of energy over the last few days?"
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm" before saying, "The term quantum is quite interesting."
"But it's very difficult…" said Zong Lizi while looking at him like she was watching a weird being. "Are you sure that I, a regular student at the New Era Institute can understand this?"
Jing Jiu had no idea what was the average level of knowledge the people in this world possessed. "I think Astronomical Physics is more interesting than the other subjects; but I have some puzzled issues for now."
Zong Lizi thought there was a saying "Blaming the quantum if one can't understand something" and that it was true that she didn't understand it that much; however, astronomy was simple enough for her. "What part don't you understand?" she asked in excitement.
"What existed before the big bang of the universe?" returned Jing Jiu.
Zong Lizi got up silently and went to fetch a cup of water.
Jing Jiu continued, "According to the theory here, no concept of time existed before the universe came into being. Therefore, asking what existed before it is a question of nonexistence to begin with."
Zong Lizi thought it seemed to be the answer given by the professors. "That's right," she said hastily.
"It's probably the right answer," said Jing Jiu after a long thought, "but I don't like it." He offered his own judgment in the end.
Zong Lizi had almost spat a mouthful of water out, wondering how the laws of physics could change because he did or didn't like them.
She was more concerned that this youth might have some mental problems. "Why didn't you read the manuals on the Cultivation of martial arts and gene modification?" she pressed.
"They're insignificant," replied Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu paid no more heed to her as he turned to the computer screen again.
When he read the theory proposed by a scientist on the high strings, he remembered Nan Wang's sword strings and Chaotian.
He walked to the window and looked up at the corner of the universe, wondering if the Old Tan would turn up soon based on his calculation.
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