Chapter 39: Tokyo Drift IX
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The next day, after the former delivery guy returned to his hometown. Zhang Heng was now able to deliver all the goods before the traffic police showed up for the first time. The moment he achieved that, that familiar voice spoke in his ears:
[Acquired new skill—Driving skills: Level 0]
Zhang Heng took in a deep breath. This period of nocturnality finally paid off, not knowing what the benchmark for skill levels was until now. About instances when his survival skills were recognized in the previous game, Zhang Heng knew that Level 0 meant that he had stepped over the threshold, at the very least.
When it came to time, this wasn’t considered fast, but it was definitely not slow either. It had only been a week since he first touched the steering wheel. Now, even the Takeda Tetsuya, who had been waiting for Zhang Heng to screw up, could only murmur to himself, “Did he throw all the undelivered stuff on the side of the road?”
Zhang Heng simply ignored the remark, returned the keys, and silently took the bus back to school.
He was starting to get used to this kind of life now: go to class, then work, and then to deliver goods for an unkind employer. Whenever he had the time, he would reply to Ameko’s strange everyday messages.
The days went on like this, and in a blink of an eye, two months had passed. It was now drawing close to three months since he’d started this game. At this time, other players would have been removed from the game and had returned to reality, but for Zhang Heng, he wasn’t even a fourth of the journey in.
He was in no hurry to complete the primary mission, and as he was working towards achieving his goal, he unexpectedly completed two small achievements.
One was for visiting ten places of interest in Tokyo, and the other was for tasting thirty Japanese delicacies. Each achievement earned him 3 game points.
These weren’t actually tricky things to do at all. As long as you were willing, you could visit ten of any of Tokyo’s tourist attractions. The only thing to consider was the limited time given to complete the tasks. An exceptionally few people would be willing to spare a few days just to visit non-mission-related places.
Zhang Heng, on the other hand, had Ameko dragging him around places like Skytree, Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Sensoji Temple, and many other sites. He never refused to go on these outings since he had plenty of time, and his daily schedule was so packed that it was nice to take a break and relax every now and then.
Having a cute, snaggleteeth tour guide bringing him around the city was a rare opportunity that somehow earned him 6 points.
Other than that, having learned from his previous games, Zhang Heng kept an eye out to see if anything would be refreshed once the 60-day time limit was up. Lo and behold, he discovered a bug!
Japanese Universities typically had new intakes during March or April every year. Also, with the increasing number of foreign exchange students, the other peak period for club and society recruitments were in September. When Zhang Heng first arrived at the university campus, there were posters and flyers everywhere, but because he was so busy learning Japanese, he did not join any of them.
So, when the 60 days reached its end, these associations began recruiting again. When Zhang Heng asked Ameko about it, she too replied that she had no idea either and that it was probably because they did not have enough club members.
But ever since that unresolved inconsistency with Bell, Zhang Heng became very sensitive about these anomalies. He was almost sure that he knew what secrets these organizations were hiding.
So, Zhang Heng came up with a solution—to collect every club and society’s recruitment flyers. They included the typical football club, swimming club, baseball club, taekwondo club, shogi1 club, and hanafuda club2. The hanafuda club was hugely popular, notably when their brochures featured their president and co-president, both of whom stunningly beautiful girls.
But just to be clear, Zhang Heng’s attention was not on all these. His focus was on car-related clubs. So far, he had found a 4WD club, a racers workshop, and an Autoshow model photography club. After he inquired about the 4WD club, though, he found out that it was not the four-wheel-drive that he thought it was.
This group of people were not racing 4WD cars but instead, the mini 4WD toy cars from ‘Dash! Yonkuro1‘ developed by Tamiya Incorporated—Audley, which was also popular once upon a time, was China’s knockoff version. It was, however, yesterday’s news among today’s generation. Zhang Heng was pleasantly surprised that a group of hardcore fans still existed in the university!
At the moment, Zhang Heng did not feel like collecting dust behind some toy cars while cheering for Shooting Star, Cannonball, Burning Sun1… that would be quite a sight to behold! On the other hand, he thought that the name ‘Autoshow model photography club’ sounded rather dubious. So, in the end, Zhang Heng decided to join the racers workshop.
This one sounded the most legit out of the three.
To his delight, he really did learn quite a lot from this group, which was founded by a senior who started as a racecar fan. He and a group of like-minded friends decided to start this society, and after much self-teaching and practice, he was able to obtain specialized skills. Eventually, a team signed him when he was in his fourth year in university to become a professional racecar driver driving for the GT300 race season.
Three years ago, he put all the discoveries from his training down on paper and shared them with the members of the club. He even shot daily tutorial videos and recorded his experience and opinions in a blog, which he kept up-to-date.
He was extremely generous when compared to Takeda Tetsuya, who only gave Zhang Heng minimal pointers on their way back to the shop whenever they went to the fish market together. Still and all, both of them had very different training and driving styles.
The senior was a feistier, go-all-in kind of competitor who believed in momentum, flooring the pedal all the way, whereas the owner of the seafood store was a positively technical driver. Zhang Heng had found old videos of Takeda Tetsuya’s racing days, and came to learn that this guy was cunning when it came to competitions. His style was to draft, always tailing other cars closely and then only punching it to full-speed in the final two laps.
A line he often repeated was, ‘Racing is a tactical game. It’s not just a competition of skills, but it is also a battle of the mind. An average driver only sees the road ahead, but a great driver must never be fettered by the limitation of the eyes but look at the bigger picture.
But every time after he said this, he would add insultingly, “Sigh, but a green boy like you will never understand this world! You better stick to delivering the seafood first. Thanks to you, business has been pretty good lately. The orders have increased by another 20%! The same rule applies—you will pay me back for whatever you fail to deliver!”
Zhang Heng had already gotten his driver’s license but eventually found out that it was pointless because he had to rush back to school for class before Tokyo was awake anyway. To add, the L300 that Takeda Tetsuya had apparently dug up from the rubbish pile was not insured and nor inspected. To top it all off, the number plate was a fake!
It now made sense why Takeda Tetsuya had turned a blind eye when Zhang Heng broke traffic rules in the earlier days. The police would not be able to catch them anyway, so it did not matter how badly Zhang Heng was driving. Of course, if they were stopped by the police, they would be seriously screwed—they could be thrown into jail.
Owing to that, Zhang Heng could only continue to keep a fast driving pace and lay low whenever he was on the road.
Having said that, he found the notes and tutorial videos provided by the racecar workshop’s founder to be very enlightening—his approach towards racing was the exact opposite of what Zhang Heng had been learning from the seafood store owner.
Eventually, only after three arduous months, did Takeda Tetsuya impart his car tuning knowledge to Zhang Heng.