“Luckily.” Zhou Yu pulled his maroon sword from the ground and kept it into the scabbard. A roar from afar made them shiver. 

“That’s...Xingtian?” Ye Cang was able to see the enormous creature clearly. 

“Yeap, one of the god-ranked hero spirits. He has the title of the God of War. So, his battle power is undeniable but his rival is unknown.” Zhou Yu turned around to see Liu Bei waving at them at the valley. His escaping speed is totally unbelievable.

“Luckily I ran away earlier…” Liu Bei was still keeping a cigarette in his mouth while giving an arrogant smile. 

“Anyway the only strength you have is this. *sigh*” Ye Cang was speechless at Liu Bei. This Liu Xuande is really… He is still my guardian hero spirit… Why couldn’t Xingtian or something else be my guardian? Xingtian looks undefeatable though.

“Let’s use another route. We have to try our best to avoid any battle with Xingtian! Besides, we would try to get Wen Zhong’s item as soon as we can. Even though Wen Zhong might not be able to defeat Xingtian, we can at least shorten the gap,” Zhou Yu reminded them.

“Actually, this doesn’t mean we have no other solutions. But this solution is the most suitable at the moment.” Liu Bei’s words made Zhou Yu shake his head in disagreement. “The conditions for you and I to activate the After-life Worship’s Mythic Mode. We need specific items too.” 

“What do you mean?” Ye Cang knew that Zhou Yu, Liu Bei, and Guan Yu had their own memorial plate to be worshipped by the future generations. 

“Let’s move. I’ll fill you in as we go.” 

The three of them went running. 

“In the realm of hero spirits, there aren’t only hero spirits that actually existed but also fantasy hero spirits from myth and stories. But after the laws in the realm were changed, in order to prevent more fantasy hero spirits from entering, many real hero spirits joined the so-called Fantasy God Mode as a supplement to the law. Our mode has no weaknesses. Once we have entered the mode, we are peerless but we have certain conditions to fulfill. As compared to fantasy hero spirits, even if they are strong, they still have their taboos. Well, of course, not every rare hero spirit has this mode, only a portion. Or else the world will be in a hell of a mess.”

“And the conditions for the two of you to activate is?”

“Emperor Liu’s brand of self-made sandals or the presence of Second Brother and Third Brother.”

Zhou Yu remained silent for a second. “Xiao Qiao’s… *cough* *cough* Well, just give me her item. That’s all.” 

Ye Cang suddenly recalled something and stopped. “Wait! Your sandal?!”

“Why?! You have it?!” Liu Bei was excited. 

“Damn it! Why didn’t you say earlier?! I thought it was some kind of rubbish so I dumped it !! We need to go back!” Ye Cang quickly turned around and started running. Liu Bei fell on the ground as his legs got soft. He got up while saying angrily, “Why didn’t you tell me about it before throwing it into the dustbin?! When did you get it?!”

“When we killed that witch or whatsoever…”

“The one whom you gave a headshot?! Why didn’t I know about it?!”

“You were busy molesting the other corpse. I thought it was useless so I threw it away…”

“That’s called searching, not molesting! Quickly, let’s head back! You didn’t even throw the empty water bottle away but you actually threw my sandals?! I bet you did it on purpose!”

“Hey, mind your own business! Who knows that that stupid item is the item you needed to activate the God Mode?! It was so smelly and disgusting! So, I thought it’s useless!”

“......” Zhou Yu sighed and followed them. A thought came to his mind due to their quarreling. Kongming, you sure did introduce me two ‘reliable’ fellas. Hope we can find it, or else it would be a pity.
 

A large dustbin outside a random factory.

 

Ye Cang pointed at the dustbin. “It’s inside.”

“......” Liu Bei was frustrated. Being an emperor, I have to resort to searching the dustbin. Helplessly, he started and at last found a pair of broken sandals that looked way worse than when it was thrown out, making him rethink if that was the pair they were looking for. However, one of it was half left and on top of the broken half, there was a cigarette bud. He then remembered his irresponsible act of throwing a cigarette into the dustbin without extinguishing it due to the fact they were rushing for time. 

“What’s wrong?” Ye Cang saw Liu Bei’s expression.

“We can’t use it for now. It has to be fixed.” Liu Bei hugged the sandal with a sigh.

“Quickly, fix it.” Ye Cang and the others started their journey to where they came from. Along the way, Ye Cang saw Liu Bei getting himself some thatch and starting to fix his disgusting-but-precious item

A thought flashed through his mind. “Time flies and Liu Bei still hasn’t made any achievements…”

He saw Liu Bei sigh because he had been losing battles ever since he started the rebel. He had been wandering everywhere, losing his brothers one by one and staying at many different places. He had been wondering: ‘When will I be able to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming an emperor? Not to mention, I’m nowhere close to boarding those royal carriages I see roaming the streets every…’

Not only that, Liu Bei was trembling in the dim lamp, clenching his fists and grinding his teeth with streams of tears running down his cheek. 

Suddenly, the lamp was knocked to the ground and the fire burned the thatch. Staring at it, Liu Bei went over to extinguish the flames and grabbed it up. His childhood memories then flashed through his mind. He had been making floor mats and sandals with his mother to make a living. My skills are excellent. No one can be better than me! The work has to be meticulous. Living here for so many years, I couldn’t find anyone that can be better than me in making sandals. Could it be that my talent is making sandals?! Liu Bei went speechless as he recalled the memories where his talented mother taught him a few skills. With a sigh, he shrugged his shoulders in distress. 

Liu Bei lit the lamp up again and started making sandals. For some reasons, Ye Cang saw Liu Bei’s expression turned relieved. He was even smiling. 

Liu Bei could recall his mother. Since young, his late father had left them and he was brought up by his mother single-handedly. Despite having a tough time when they were impoverished, he had never seen his mother cry but she was always smiling. “My son, we are the descendants of the royal family. You will definitely be a great hero someday! Just like what you’ve said! We will have the chance to board the royal carriage!”

The teenage Liu Bei nodded happily. Though being poverty-stricken, they managed to survive with the support of his uncles. 

Liu Bei again recalled that day when his mother looked tired. It was as if she had turned very old. When he came to his knowledge, that the famous scholar, Lu Zhi was willing to accept him as his apprentice, he went on his journey excitedly.  

Until he had finished his apprenticeship, he remembered what Lu Zhi told him.

“Xuande, don’t you disappoint your mother. If it wasn’t for her begging me for three days… Well, you’re your own in the future.”  

Though unable to achieve anything great after returning, his mother continued to have faith in him as the days went by. 

The scenes of Yunchang and Yide leaving him, his promise, and his mother’s smile appeared in his mind but all of them have already become things of the past. Yeap, I wasn’t able to repay my mother well. If I couldn’t even do the least I can -- to achieve my dreams, it will be shameless of me to meet her again! 

Liu Bei smiled with determination. As tears were rolling in his eyes, he stared at the lamp. I will definitely succeed one day!