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The sound of a car’s engine echoed on his ear, waking the sleepy Xin Meng,who opened his eyes and saw stars. ‘Night already?’
He sat up and discovered he was lying on an empty platform, his surroundings were very large, a bit like a train or subway station. He turned around to look at his side where a tall bus stop was standing, with several road and stations written on it. No matter how much he blinked his eyes, his vision appeared to be covered by a thin layer of fog. As if covered with frosted glass, each word could only be seen as fuzzy lines.
“Are you awake?” You Yi’s familiar voice was heard behind him and he immediately turned around, finding out You Yi was also on the ground, a little far from him, with the other four people lying on the ground with their eyes closed.
Their bodies were as good as ever and their clothes were intact.
As if they were never hurt.
“This is our next game?” Xin Meng was too lazy to stand up and crawled towards You Yi. You Yi watched him coming like a kitten who just learned to walk and felt compelled to pet his head, “En.”
Xin Meng looked at the other other four and sighed in relief, “This time we are all here, that’s great!”
“Scared?” You Yi’s hand slid down his shoulder to caress him gently.
Xin Meng had to think for a while, “A bit. Of cannibalism or whatever, it’s disgusting. And the people in our group, for them to die that way is so bad… They also ate… Just because the card was with me, they didn’t know.”
“It has nothing to do with you”, You Yi said softly. “It depends on their individual way of thinking. Even if I didn’t see the card, I didn’t eat their food, so I avoided it. As for the others, if they can’t understand the hidden meaning of the card, or if they can’t resist temptation, even if they get the card, they will repeat their mistake.”
“En” Xin Meng nodded. The food in the backpack was enough for them to eat for two or three days, and they went to a poor mountain village isolated from the world, but there were so many meat dishes, it was very abnormal. Even without the card, he wouldn’t touch it because it felt too weird.
While the two whispered to each other, the other four people woke up. As soon as Xiong JiaBao was awake, he immediately started to cry, tears and snot sliding down his face, and he was unable to speak. Xin Meng patted him on the shoulder to comfort him.
“Brother Xin, your gege is lazy. If I had gone with you at that time, how could I be…. by someone…” Xiong JiaBao cried.
Looking at him like that, it almost looked like he had given away his chrysanthemum*.
“Shut up!” Dong Xiu rubbed his temples and stared angrily at Xiong JiaBao. “You at least were unconscious when you died, I was eaten alive!”
Li Yougen hugged his arms and trembled, teeth shaking, and his eyes were dull.
Qi XiaoKui sat up quietly, fixed her messy hair with her hand, appearing very calm.
Xin Meng hesitated, then approached her and whispered, “You…”
He thought about what exactly he should ask about, but Qi XiaoKui answered before, “I fell into the water as soon as I entered the game. Later, I was rescued by the villagers, drank the water they handed me and then I was eaten.”
Xin Meng shivered, ‘that was terrible. Some players died as soon as they entered the game!’
Those villagers lied to them, Qi XiaoKui didn’t die a year before and the coffin wasn’t that small just because they did a poor job, but because they only buried the bones, since the flesh was…
Xin Meng couldn’t think about it anymore. He couldn’t figure out Qi XiaoKui’s psychological state, but for him, if he encountered such fate himself, he would have gone crazy.
“When I woke up again, I became a ghost and I already knew that I was the key for you to escape. In fact, every time someone was attacked, I was on the scene, but I couldn’t speak or give any hints, I could only act as an NPC. When you found me, I could tell you the conditions to clear the task, which was to call my name. If you don’t know my name or if you don’t call for me, it’s useless. When Li Yougen died, he saw me, but unfortunately, he didn’t finish speaking, he was bitten by a ghost at the time and became unable to speak. Dong Xiu couldn’t remember my name at all, so you and You Yi were the only ones who escaped smoothly.”
“Acting as NPC…” Xin Meng muttered to himself.
“Yes, that’s how I felt back then” Qi XiaoKui’s eyes showed a little surprise. “Although my mind was clear, I couldn’t control my body, I just somehow knew what to do and that I had to do it. It was beyond my control. However, I was not completely out of control. When it had nothing to do with me, I had some freedom. I could talk with ghosts and walk around the village, but since the system gave me the ability to hide, you couldn’t see me.”
“I don’t know how to describe it, this gameis more terrifying than we thought. The NPC’s are highly intelligent and the plot changers according to the player’s behaviors. If you aren’t informed you are in a game, you might think that it’s reality. And back at the grove, if you wanted to escape, originally you needed to summon me and kill all the ghosts including myself, but even if you survived, there was a chance of being killed by the villagers. In the end, since I talked a lot to those ghosts, I ended up in their good side so they didn’t hurt you and just stared whenever I was around, but the system would correct the route and forced me to disappear soon after.”
“But then, you completed the mission and I survived, so I was able to help in the last moment.”
This way, everything was connected together and the details they didn’t know before were now revealed.
Leaving aside how much this game contradicts science, the girl in front of him talked a lot, Xin Meng was a little surprised. He asked Qi XiaoKui, “Why do you look… Not the same as before?”
Qi XiaoKui bowed her head slightly, her fingers playing with her bangs and whispered: “I used to think that my life is a mess, that no one was more pitiful than I, but then I saw those ghosts, it made me realize there are more people in the world suffering as much or more than me. Still, they didn’t give up and still were brave enough to avenge themselves, so why can’t I?”
‘But they are NPC’s…’ thought Xin Meng.
‘It’s good for her to change.’ He doesn’t want to offend her, but Qi XiaoKui seemed to know exactly what he was thinking and says, “Although they are just NPC’s, it felt so real getting along with them. I’ve seen some news online, cannibals like those actually exist. If those who were eaten by them actually became ghosts, would they be that desperate for revenge? If they would want to drink the enemy’s blood, or the enemy’s… meat.”
As Qi XiaoKui spoke, her eyes lit up for the first time, getting brighter, but Xin Meng could only feel scared. ‘Why did out conversation turn to weird topics?’
He quickly interrupted Qi XiaoKui, “Fortunately, that’s all in the past. This time it’s all good, we are all together. At least we won’t die thanks to missing information.”
Then he went around and picked each one’s card, reading it one by one out lout.
His own card reads:
[After three bus stops, you will reach the next game.]
This is obviously the condition for game clearance. ‘As long as we go through three bus stops?’ He and You Yi glanced at each other, then he picked up You Yi’s card, which said:
[Everyone has five chances to resurrect. After five deaths, the player dies in this game.]
“Damn, five chances of resurrection!” Xiong JiaBao immediately slapped his tight when he heard it. “That’s awesome! It’s like having four more lives!”
Xin Meng and Dong Xiu were not so optimistic, Dong Xiu said coldly, “What’s good about it, if they gave us more lives, it means it’s easier to die!”
As soon as Xiong JiaBao heard it, he was like a frosted eggplant.
Xin Meng wanted to comfort him and say that although it might be more dangerous, as long as you pay attention to your surroundings and don’t repeat the same mistakes, a team of six is equivalent to thirty lives, so the possibility of survival is actually very high. Later, remembering Xiong JiaBao’s reckless temper, he swallowed his words, that way he would be more cautions.
He continued to read the cards, the next one was Xiong JiaBao’s:
[In the first bus, there’s a demon hiding in it. Find it before reaching the next stop.]
Li Yougen yelped the moment he heard it, his lips were white, he stuttered his words, “W-We are getting inside a bus with a demon and we have to find it?!”
He rolled around and appeared to want to be far away from the bus stop sign.
The card that belonged to him was originally under his body, so when he rolled over, Xin Meng picked it up:
[In the second bus, there’s a Medusa, please don’t look at it.]
“Is there a hint for the third bus?” Xin Meng asked Qi XiaoKui and Dong Xiu.
Dong Xiu fixed his glasses and passed his card with a smile on his face, Xin Meng didn’t even look at him, only at the card:
[In the third one, find the bus that belongs to you so you can reach the end.]
“It seems that these three cards are the missions, they are much clearer than in the previous game.” After reading, Xin Meng was relieved. Knowing what to do and what they need to be prepared is much more comfortable than the previous cannibal game.
The last was Qi XiaoKui’s. This time, the girl didn’t hide like before, but instead fixed her hair, took the initiative to walk over and handed the card to Xin Meng while bypassing everyone exaggeratedly, avoiding even coming near their clothes…
[It’s human, or it might not be human.]
“Shit! It might not be human!” Xiong JiaBao shouted. “So like, even broken stools can be the demon? No way! How can we find it?!”
“That’s simply the worst, can the demon be anything in the bus?”
‘Even a screw?’
While they were having a collective headache, a horn was heard, accompanied by the hum of an engine. The first bus, from the end of the empty passage, slowly entered the platform…
Translator and Editor Notes:
*chrysanthemum: y’all probably know that by now, but it’s a slag for asshole/anus.
I like the development that Qi XiaoKui has had so far, and is now my favorite character in this novel. None of the other characters have developed as much as her at this point and half the team still sucks a**. At least Qi XiaoKui went from being no character to a protagonist in the span of two arcs where she’s barely mentioned at all. Thanks for reading ~xTechon
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