Chapter 1223 The Go Game On Mt. Ginkgo
The decision of whether to save Dusk or Luo Lan did not actually matter.
Ren Xiaosu had said humans could live on equal terms with artificial intelligence, so Zero used this question to tell Ren Xiaosu, "Actually, to you, Dusk and Luo Lan are already not equal beings."
In fact, Zero was not expecting to get any answers at all. It only wanted Ren Xiaosu to reflect on the answer he had in mind.
If one day, humans discovered that the artificial intelligence was sapient and had the ability to threaten humans, how would they view it?
But Ren Xiaosu actually did not want to know what the future held. He was only concerned about one thing now, and that was he might not have any more time.
Zero pursued him for a long time using Dusk before suddenly stopping to talk with him.
What worried Ren Xiaosu the most was that Zero was fearless when chatting with him. It was no longer worried he would rush to the Central Plains.
At this moment, Luo Lan was about to arrive at Stronghold 61. They were only a river away from the w.a.n.g Consortium's political center.
Including Luo Lan, Zhou Qi, Xu Man, and Third Brother Qing, there was also a group of 180 elite troops who came along. They decided to take a short rest before crossing the river.
Everyone felt a sense of nervousness. It was as though a tiger's den lay in front of them.
"What's the name of this river?" Luo Lan asked Zhou Qi.
"The Qianling River." Zhou Qi knew the entire river system of the Alliance of Strongholds like the back of his hand. "The upper reaches of the Qianling River are connected to the snowy mountains in the Northwest, so every July, there's flooding here. The waves are like an azure dragon rolling in the river. In the early years, there were even big shots from the Central Plains who came here to watch the tide. About eight or nine years ago, I encountered them when I was exploring the waterways. At that time, I hid in the river and knocked down several of them with a wave!"
At this point, a smug look appeared on Zhou Qi's face.
Luo Lan did not know whether to laugh or cry. Why did it feel like Zhou Qi had just been messing around with his superpower since he awakened? Why was he always making trouble like split-streaming his pee or knocking people down with waves every other day?
Next to them, Third Brother Qing smilingly said with a sigh, "If only I had a superpower too. Sometimes, Zhou Qi, I really envy you guys. There's so many more possibilities in life for people like you."
A steel bridge spanned the Qianling River. The bridge looked very new and was probably built by the w.a.n.g Consortium to facilitate trade with the Northwest.
Standing at this end of the bridge, Luo Lan could vaguely see the towering walls of Stronghold 61.
He suddenly said to Third Brother Qing, "After crossing the bridge, it's hard to say if we can make it back alive. It's still not too late to regret things now."
"Since you guys aren't afraid, why should I be?" Qing Shen said with a smile.
"I've always been a little puzzled. Why did you come to the Southwest?" Luo Lan asked curiously, "At first, I thought you brought with you some kind of conspiracy. But now, you've willingly volunteered to die. What are you really after?"
Qing Shen smiled and said, "Didn't I already say I was won over by Qing Zhen's charm, so I came to seek refuge with him?"
"Who are you trying to fool?" Luo Lan curled his lips. "It's fine if you don't want to tell me. If we really die here this time, you can take your secret with you to the grave. Oh, wait, we might die without a grave."
"Why are you so pessimistic?" Third Brother Qing laughed.
"It's not like you don't know what we're here for." Luo Lan said, "Once the plan is implemented, fate will decide whether we live or die."
This time, Luo Lan and company did not come to Stronghold 61 for any peace talks. Rather, they had other plans.
And from the look of things, the plan was even a very dangerous one.
Third Brother Qing suddenly asked, "How did Qing Zhen become the Qing Consortium's Shadow back then? The Pyro Company investigated for a long time without finding any relevant information, and no one from the Qing Consortium ever revealed anything to the rest of the world."
When Luo Lan heard this, he chuckled. "Of course those old fogeys won't tell anyone the reason, but neither Qing Zhen nor I expected him to become the organization's Shadow."
Third Brother Qing's interest was piqued. "Tell me about it?"
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"You should know that the members of the Qing Consortium have to make a trip up Mt. Ginkgo once they reach the age of 18." Luo Lan said, "Of course, an illegitimate child like me definitely can't go up there."
"That's not how it was." Luo Lan chuckled. "When Qing Zhen came back, he told me the old man's Go skills stunk. The hearsay of him not playing delightful moves yet always being able to win by half a point was only because the people who played Go with him did not dare to win. To think he could still brag about that!"
Luo Lan continued, "After that game of Go, the other party really changed his opinion of Qing Zhen. He welcomed his loss after dominating for so long. It's just that Qing Zhen and I initially only wanted to be in a small position of authority, but we didn't expect that old fogey would actually choose him to be the consortium's Shadow."
No Qing Consortium Shadow had ever met with a good end. It was like a curse. Moreover, the Shadow had to do all the dirty work others were unwilling to do. This was clearly not what Qing Zhen and Luo Lan were expecting.
No matter how powerful the Shadow was, it was not a role Qing Zhen pursued.
A lot of people thought it was a good thing the old fogeys had chosen Qing Zhen as their Shadow. However, only Qing Zhen himself knew it was down to convenience that he was chosen for the role. That was because he and Luo Lan had no roots in the organization anymore and could be cast aside at a whim.
But at that time, Qing Zhen no longer had the option to back down.
At this moment, Xu Man said, "Boss Luo, I'll ask for a fire to be made so we can start cooking. We'll cross the river after we're done eating. There's something I have to warn everyone about. After we enter the stronghold, we must only eat the food we brought with us. We'll even have to drink our own fresh water to prevent the w.a.n.g Consortium from tampering with our food."
"You sure are cautious." Luo Lan chuckled and said, "Don't worry, we're already in the w.a.n.g Consortium's territory. I don't believe w.a.n.g Shengzhi will resort to poisoning us."
Xu Man insisted, "This was instructed by Mr. Qing Zhen. Moreover, the w.a.n.g Consortium has a record of a.s.sa.s.sinating their opponents."
"Alright." Luo Lan smacked his lips. "You people have really learned how to use my younger brother to pressure me. Xu Man, you're really something."
Xu Man said calmly, "I'm just following--"
"Alright, alright, hurry up and go cook." Luo Lan waved him off. "I'm not gonna argue with you on this."
Translated by: Legge
Edited by: weirdo
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