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Mao Lu had such a secret?

Fei Bing Bing, Zhao Detong, Bei Lao and Tanaka were all shocked. A Gatekeeper sounded like an extremely powerful title, how long had Mao Lu possessed such abilities?

They had known he had always been secretive but to think that he was hiding something like this. It was bizarre, but after everything they had seen Chàng Bo do in the last hour, how could they deny it.

“The Emperor of this universe” Bei Lao mused, “That implies that there is more than one universe.”

“You’re correct, there are many other universes, these are what we call realms, there are 400 to be exact. And for every realm, there is only one Gatekeeper.”

“Why didn’t Mao Lu tell us?” Fei Bing Bing asked, “We would have understood no matter how crazy it sound—”

Bei Lao laughed, “Really Bing Bing, you think we would have understood and believed him if he suddenly told us about his magical abilities. You would have called him crazy.”

“And he had no reason to tell us these type of things, it’s not like it involved us, heck this literally is beyond us.” Tanaka chimed in.

Bing Bing wanted to argue but she knew they were right. Mao Lu had no reason to share or confide such a huge secret in them. And if he had told her this secret months ago she probably would have called him crazy.

“He wasn’t always a Gatekeeper was he?” Zhao Detong asked, “I never noticed anything strange when we were children.”

“I don’t know the exact time he became a Gatekeeper but he took on the title and awakened after the previous Gatekeeper of this realm died more than a year ago.” Chàng Bo answered calmly.

Tanaka gasped, “That’s around about the time when he received that inheritance and then he got that new job and bought back his old house!! His fortune changed so suddenly. It was because he became a Gatekeeper.”

It all made sense now.

“I thought you couldn’t awaken if you were above 20?” Bing Bing pointed out.

“Gatekeepers are the exception, Mao Lu’s abilities were simply dormant until he awakened, he was always destined to become one and had the ability inside of him. Gatekeepers are an entirely different race from you and me, he was always different.”

“What does a Gatekeeper do exactly?” Bing Bing asked, she was craving for more information but Chàng Bo put up his hand in a gesture to silence her.

“Enough about Gatekeepers, you can ask Mao Lu these questions when you see him next. For now, tell me what happened to Frank Wang. And what about that Fang Kai fellow, where is he? Mao Lu would be upset if anything happened to his friends.”

“It’s my fault” Bing Bing stated, as she spoke she felt the guilt eating at her, “After the incident in Chaoyang on Christmas Eve we all wanted answers, I thought Mao Lu was involved with terrorists. Everyone else wanted to leave it but I pushed it and coerced Frank into investigating with us. Because of my curiosity, we went looking for Qi Zhou. We didn’t find her at first but then she appeared outside of Frank’s building all beaten and bleeding. There’s no way that was a coincidence. We took her to the hospital and Frank insisted on staying with her that night. During the night someone came to the hospital, they killed Qi Zhou and the officers guarding her and they took Frank. He’s been missing ever since.”

“Hey, now Bing Bing that wasn’t your fault” Detong insisted as he hugged Bing Bing, he hadn’t realised she’d been blaming herself this entire time. “You’re not the cause of any of that. Even if Frank didn’t go with us that day Qi Zhou may have still ended up at his apartment and he probably still would have spent that night with her at the hospital.”

“You say that but I feel so guilty” Bing Bing felt tears form in her eyes. She had been trying to ignore the guilt all this time but she felt responsible.

“Qi Zhou’s your step-sister, right? Then you must know why this happened.” Bei Lao questioned Chàng Bo.

“Sister?” Chàng Bo’s eyes became menacing and dark, the temperature of the room drastically dropped as if all the heat was being sucked towards him, “That pathetic parasite wasn’t my sister. That was just a lie that Mao Lu made up.”

“Huh! Then what is your relationship?” Tanaka demanded.

“We had none, she was just a common Witch at the 9th wall stage. She bewitched Frank and was using him to get close to Mao Lu. She was trying to kiss up to him since she wanted to become a servant of his. The moment she came with you at the Housewarming party I could sense what she was, and I guessed her intentions. Mao Lu also knew what she was doing and gave her a warning that day. He didn’t want you guys involved in any of this and he didn’t like that Qi Zhou was messing with you all.

Honestly, the fool overreached herself thinking she could get close to a Gatekeeper by manipulating his friends, Mao Lu is too lenient, other Gatekeepers would have killed her for her rudeness, but I guess she got what she deserved in the end.” Chàng Bo smirked, they all felt waves of bloodlust and cruelty roll off of him, he didn’t hide it.

Zhao Detong flinched, he had started to think Chàng Bo was okay, but how could Mao Lu be involved with someone so heartless and cruel that smiled at the death of another.

“Even if she was a witch that’s no way to act after someone’s died!” Tanaka yelled, he also didn’t like the way Chàng Bo was behaving.

“You’re right.” Chàng Bo admitted as he reigned in his bloodlust, Mao Lu wouldn’t be happy with him acting like that, and the girl hadn’t been worth a glance from him let alone a reaction.

“Well then, I will find out what happened to Frank! But before that I must check on Fang Kai, it’s possible that they are monitoring him as well.”

Grabbing Fang Kai would likely be more difficult now, Five and Four must know what he was doing after he grabbed Tanaka and Bei Lao. If he went for Fang Kai now, there was a large possibility that they’d be waiting for him.

How would he face them?

“Who’s monitoring Fang Kai? What kind of danger are we in?” Tanaka didn’t want to be kept in the dark.

“They’re after me, but due to my relation with Mao Lu, you are now also targets. Mao Lu is away in the First Realm, so I must protect you.”

“If they’re after you then I doubt we’re targets” Tanaka argued, “And if Mao Lu is the gatekeeper and we’re his friends nobody should mess with us, right?”

“You don’t understand, these creatures aren’t from this realm they’re from beyond and they see mortals like you as less than ants. Your lives are of no regard to them. They could wipe out your existence with a glance if they wanted to. You’re at risk.” Chàng Bo’s no-nonsense tone was heavy.

“So while I sort these things, you should all make yourselves comfortable here. There are some sleeping quarters past that door in the east and don’t touch anything while I’m gone. Some of these items are cursed.”

Before any of them could badger him with more questions Chàng Bo disappeared with a clap of thunder.

“This is all crazy!” Whined Tanaka.

…..

Chàng Bo appeared in the street just outside Tanaka’s home. The moment he stepped on the pavement he could feel the presence of Five and Four lurking nearby, probably trying to sniff him out.

 

He was so thankful for the pendant if they sensed him he was screwed.

His heart thumped as large knots of fear grew tighter within him. He rapidly left that area and began using his clairvoyance skill to track down Fang Kai. He had to act fast.

Fang Kai at that moment was at his Day job, which was working as an assistant tattoo artist. He had been learning the craft for some time, and he was currently observing as his Boss Mu Tan did a full-colour butterfly on the back of their latest client.

It was this young girl’s first tattoo and she was flinching with pain. She was sensitive so they had her lying down on her side with a sick bucket next to her face in case she passed out or puked. It was a normal procedure, people threw up and fainted a lot in the store.

Ever since Christmas Fang Kai hadn’t heard from Mao Lu, and when he heard what happened to Frank Wang he feared for the worst but there was nothing he could do about it. Since he only knew the rest of them through Mao Lu, other than the occasional time when he might run into Fei Bing Bing or Zhao Detong at Roaring Tiger, he hadn’t really interacted with that group in months.

He missed Mao Lu but they had only been close through work, they weren’t best friends. People had to move on. That’s why Fang Kai was surprised when he saw Chàng Bo wander into his shop.

He hadn’t seen him since the Housewarming party months ago, but Chàng Bo had a face that was hard to forget.

Chàng Bo was equally surprised when he walked up to Fang Kai, he realised instantly that there was no lingering aura around him. Five and Four weren’t watching nor had they been near Fang Kai. They probably didn’t even know he was related to Mao Lu.

Fang Kai was about to greet Chàng Bo but in the same second Chàng Bo turned away and seemed to disappear as he exited the store.

Fang Kai’s fate remained unchanged, and he would never know how close he came to having his entire life turned on its head.

Chàng Bo left the tattoo store quickly, there was no reason he should save someone that wasn’t in danger. There was no reason to complicate matters, what he needed to do now was to save Frank Wang.

He used his clairvoyance spell but something was blocking it. That meant he had to investigate the old fashioned way. Since this incident involved Qi Zhou he first needed to find out why she was killed. And since she had been a Witch the best way to gain answers was to go directly to her coven.

 

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Alexia Barrett

Journalism student at Cardiff University. Aspiring Broadcast Journalist, Foreign Correspondent, and Novelist.

January 2020
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