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NH Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 – Shouhui Street’s Fishpond Izakaya

The neon lights and vintage lanterns of Shouhui Street coloured the light rain that was drizzling in the night sky with a hue of dark red, and the throngs of people walking by were either clutching umbrellas or letting it fall. The signboards reading “Elephant Bar,” “Hell Games,” “Star Plastic Surgery,” and “Gokuraku Rabu” buildings in the distance that are submerged in the darkness are untidy, the rain is messy. Filth is the word to describe the sight.

One of the signboards radiates blue and violet, ” Li Cai Club”.

The images of attractive young males are continually changing on the advertising screen below the signboard. The gorgeous men who wear V-necks, sparkling jewellery, and fur coats with leopard prints are both feminine and macho. Others are dressed in coquettish women’s attire, and even their faces, which have a snake-like appearance, appear to have undergone plastic surgery.

Li Cai 丽彩, a famous cowherd club.

Gu He was dumbfounded as he stood at the club’s entrance.

“Let’s go, follow me.”

Ayane Kumiko led the way in front, and when people entering and leaving the club saw her, they would call out “Mom” respectfully before walking by.

“Can you tell me about your plan for me, Miss Kumiko?”

Gu He observed the different women’s clothing and coquettish haircuts flashing on the advertising screen as he was walking. How he would be positioned made him uneasy and apprehensive….

 “The Cowherd needs to be handsome, strong, eloquent, knowledgeable, empathetic, likeable, and able to sell alcohol. You have to have all these things, but well.”

Ayane Kumiko looked back at him, and once again revealed that mysterious and inexplicable look.

“That’s just a requirement for an ordinary cowherd, but you wanted to become the Night King! That’s a special cowherd.”

“For the time being, all I can say is that this kind of cowherd is distinct from regular cowherds and regular people; he has remarkable extraordinary talents and abilities, and he specialises in hosting special guests.”

The extraordinary special cowherd?

Gu He was a little confused by what she said. Zhuang Ge said before that Miss Kumiko wanted special talents as well

Don’t be like this, the Cowherd is special enough, how can it still be more special…

“However, because of its rarity, common people cannot succeed. Xiaohe, I believe you have talent but you might not be able to realise it.”

Ayane Kumiko was uncertain “I’m going to take you to meet someone who can determine whether you possess that kind of extraordinary talent so that I may take another look. If you are unable to, you can only work as a standard cowherd, which is OK. :)”

The night rain and the falling of neon lights made her smile hypnotic and intoxicating.

“Oh.” Gu He agreed vaguely.

Compared to being returned back to the Arcade Gang,  it should be better here… And if you think about it, being a cowherd is basically being a handsome male psychiatrist with the addition of  selling alcohol, performing arts, and selling his body… 囧

No matter how special it is, where can it be special????

But he was still a little uneasy, “Miss Kumiko, I wanted dto ask, why do you have a director’s viewfinder hanging on your body?”

“This?” “Fashionable adornment is also a symbol, the Cowherd can see the hearts of others,” Ayane Kumiko stated gleefully as she raised the viewfinder and drew out its telescopic zoom lever.

“…” Gu He felt speechless as what she said made sense…

“Come, this way.” She swayed gracefully and continued walking.

He assumed he was entering the club, but instead turned into the tiny shop door marked “open later” in the nearby, narrow alley by the back of the club building.

The old curtains on the door of the store, and the neon signs that flickered out of order by the door all read “Fishpond Izakaya”. 

The living room of the izakaya is not large, with a bar on one side, some small dining tables on the other, and a wooden sofa in the corner. The fiery red curtains and lanterns swayed slowly around, reflecting the colourful paintings on the walls. 

Over there, there is a corridor. A closed metal door is located at the end of the aisle. Behind the door is the Licai Club. The lively voices, singing and dancing, and laughter of women can be vaguely heard here.

“Lao Fan! I may have found the seedling we want!” Ayane Kumiko shouted as soon as she entered the door.

Gu He saw that besides them, there was only one person in the store, mixing wine in the open kitchen behind the bar. If you look past the cowboy door on the side of the bar, you can clearly see that it is a middle-aged man.

Sparsely-haired inch head, short and fat like a barrel, with a big face and a thick neck, a pair of flip-flops, a dark blue chef’s uniform and apron, the chef’s uniform is printed with a line of text: “Heart as wide as my body :)”

“Fan Debao.” Ayane Kumiko solemnly introduced, “The manager of the izakaya, the partner of the Li Cai club.”

 “Lao Fan, what do you think of Xiao He?” She asked immediately after the introduction.

Fan Debao was expressionless, like a large plastic mannequin, and looked at Gu He, “Just this wild dog?”

“Well, I have a sense, he should have extraordinary talent; and he is calm, observant, and can talk, he has the look necessary for being a cowherd..”

Although Ayane Kumiko is very optimistic, Fan Debao is still not happy, “The talent is not obvious, at most ordinary Cowherd.”

“Lao Fan…” She lowered her voice, “I’ve been looking for so long, I can’t keep looking blindly anymore. To find the seedlings, we still have to observe, cultivate, and run in. Things are urgent over there, we don’t have much time left, maybe Xiaohe. Maybe he’s the last puzzle piece.”

“But you casually took in a wild dog, this isn’t just blind, it’s dangerous”

“It’s not casual. There are not many talented wild dogs who have no influence. They don’t come casually if they want to.” She folded her hands and prayed to Lao Fan, as if she was worshipping Buddha, “I really feel like he’s the one, could you please test it?”

“Fine! I’ll give him a chance.” Fan Debao took out an empty wine glass. “The money spent on the materials will be credited to your account.”

“Okay! When did I trade at a loss? Even if he doesn’t have that talent, there is still a way to get the money back.” Ayane Kumiko looked forward to it, “Let’s test it tonight!”

Gu He watched the surroundings while listening to the two of them.

The more I hear it, the more I start to feel a little concerned. I am a little afraid of what the special cowherd they are talking about

“Xiaohe, you can stay in the izakaya for the time being, I will be assisting you to clear your debts from the Arcade Gang, and then I will find a means to give you a legal identity,” Ayane Kumiko turned around and patted him on the shoulder.

“However, this year the city is in a state of unrest, and legal status can’t be rushed, but if you are here, no one will come to arrest you.”

“You don’t have to worry about this, just follow Lao Fan and work hard! Well, I’ll go to the club first.”

After that, Ayane Kumiko, who was in high spirits, walked through the small passage and opened the metal door. As the door opened, various opulent sights of feasting appeared and reflected in front of Gu He’s eyes.

The club’s activity on the opposite side was soon blocked by the door as it quickly closed once more. There were only two males, one short and pudgy and one tall and slender, in the fish pond izakaya.

Fan Debao handed Gu He a bottle of old cork wine and said: “This is for you,” as he proceeded to a large wine cabinet in the kitchen with a glum expression. 

“Drink this glass of wine  all in one breath, and don’t waste a drop.”

“Uh, this is?” Gu He saw that the wine glass was filled with viscous liquid, with bubbles churning in it, sometimes red and sometimes black. He can’t tell how much alcohol was added, was alcohol even added? It smells like vomit, looks like shit… This thing doesn’t look like something that can be used to drink…

“First rule of learning from me, speak when spoken to; otherwise shut. Anyways, this here? Test whether you have extraordinary talent or not.”

Fan Debao suddenly frowned, “Even if you don’t have the talent, you can still drink to replenish your body. Drinking it will help you build muscle,increase hair. From a wild dog to a rising cow!”

Gu He hesitantly glanced at Fan Debao’s sparsely haired round head… Additional hair? Bro you lying to me?

“Actually, what kind of talent is it?” His throat twitched as he held the wine glass in his palm, but he was still unable to control his speech.

“Do you want me to force you to drink?” Fan Debao said solemnly.

Gu He had no options, although Fan Debao’s shirt said “Heart as wide as my body :)”, the old man was obviously violent, and he would be beaten if he said a few more words. ;;;;

Well, what’s the worst that could happen? He held his breath, raised his head and chugged down the suspicion content in the wine glass straight into his stomach. His throat was hot, and his hands were convulsing while trying to scratch his whole body as though he was being burned by fire.

Something’s wrong, Fan Debao, that bastard’s plastic face has a peculiar appearance, as if he anticipated this outcome..

There is an old wooden box TV on the edge of the bar, and there are audio equipment such as karaoke interfaces under the TV box for customers to sing. Fan Debao took the remote control and turned on the TV, broadcasting this year’s “Streamer Supermodel Contest”.

 “Boy, watch the TV show and don’t miss a glance.”

“There seems to be something wrong with this wine…” Gu He was already dizzy. Those bikini supermodels showed perfect body curves, which made him even more uncomfortable…

 “First gear, second gear, third gear, fourth gear, fifth gear, sixth gear, overdrive.” Fan Debao said fiercely, “These are the seven shifts of neural activity.”(1)

“The wine and beauties are all to activate your nerves, to test the nerve speed that is synthesised by your physical talent and spiritual talent. Whatever the limit you reach, is where your extraordinary talent level is.

“Ordinary people, at most, can shift into the second gear; if they can go to the third gear, they have passed the threshold; very few people can shift into overdrive.”

“Only those who reach the fourth gear have stronger nerve speed than ordinary extraordinary talents, and are qualified to become [DOLL] class, also called extraordinary cowherds.” Fan Debao said while watching Gu He, who was burning up inside.

“Unleash your potential and see where you can go.”

 “The talent test, is it legal…” Gu He was flustered, what kind of earthly method is this?

“Beauty is just a natural way to activate and speed up your nerves, primitive, but effective and safe. If you think this is out of style, I have some other tapes here, but they are weird, dangerous, indescribable, and the consequences are unpredictable. ” Gu He was already a little dizzy, but Lao Fan’s mysteries made him even more confused.

More indescribable? What if it was a videotape of brawny wrestling… (2)

“No, just this, just this, I like to be safe…”

  1. Think of the levels as a gear stick for manual cars
  2. Gachi, google it ;[
  3. Regarding: “Xiao” and “Lao”, ‘Xiao’ means small, usually used by senior coworkers/ seniors to refer their juniors/ younger generation. ‘Lao’ means old, mainly used to refer older peers or a close friendship group. In this case, Kumiko arbitrarily call Gu He, Xiao He, which sets the tone that she is a senior/boss

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