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“It’s easy to say that, but how do we know?!” Xiong JiaBao’s words were harsh though he was already persuaded. He was basically dead already and now they had to take different buses?!
He always had no confidence in his observation skills. If he has to find the bus by himself without Dong Xiu’s or Xin Meng’s help, then he might rather go and commit suicide. There’s no way he will survive!
So he stopped right in front of Xin Meng and flashed a smile: “Brother Xin, you have to help your brother. You don’t need to endanger yourself, just help me find out which bus is mine. Your brother’s life is up to you!”
Xin Meng glanced at Xiong JiaBao’s pleading eyes and felt he looked very pathetic. But he really had two lives and in this game and, if he died here, he would be dead forever.
The big boy who knew nothing about the world in the beginning changed greatly after two or three games. Now he knew how to stand by himself and how to push others into danger for protection. Xin Meng couldn’t even remember the last time he heard about “loyalty” since now Xiong JiaBao’s eyes were cloudy and he gradually lost himself due the survival pressure.
He won’t live long.
When he lost himself, he lost his nature and that was his death already.
Xin Meng had an inexplicable feeling that soon he would be obliterated, eliminated to say.
What does eliminated mean?
Xin Meng was surprised by the sudden thought that came out of his mind. That idea seemed so natural inside his mind and, as he thinks about it, he feels like he touched a secret intuition that was hidden in the back of his mind.
Xin Meng was trapped inside his thoughts, but Xiong JiaBao couldn’t wait. He grabbed his arms and begged: “Brother Xin, I was wrong back then! I couldn’t refute them because I was too afraid of dying. I promise it won’t happen again, okay? Brother Xin, I don’t want to die! M-My mother is still at home waiting for her son!”
Xin Meng was touched by the strong emotion on his last words and ended up nodding, “Anyways, I still need to understand this puzzle. When I get it, I’ll tell you.”
He first needs to finds his own. You Yi, him and Qi XiaoKui can manage it with three people so it isn’t a big deal telling Xiong JiaBao anyways. Of course, if the puzzle’s rules are valid for everyone, he won’t waste his efforts on Xiong JiaBao is there’s a different puzzle for everyone.
As for the other two… They need more than a blessing.
Xiong JiaBao was temporarily placed in Xin Meng’s team because he apologized honestly and had a good record in the past. The other two used to betray their teammates since the beginning and could only team up with eachother. However, they now only had one life left. Will Dong Xiu and Li Yougen cooperate with each other due the fear of death?
That’s clear to the two of them too, that’s why they didn’t even dare propose an alliance. Though they moved closer to the group of four so they could hear Xin Meng’s analysis.
Xin Mend didn’t care for them. When another bus arrived, he concentrated on trying to see the characteristics of that bus.
It was a very ordinary bus and it can be said it didn’t have any differences from the other two buses, but there were lots of people inside. Not only the seats were full, there are many people standing, like the bus it’s at peak hour.
However, having too many people inside is a problem. Even though Xin Meng’s memory is not bad, he is not a Superman Level and with photographic memory. There’s no way to remember each face inside the bus in such a short period.
“Observe you guys too” Xin Meng couldn’t do it alone. He turned his head to Xiong JiaBao “Let’s look together. I will look in the first part of the bus, XiaoKui on the end and you in the middle.”
They nodded before they got closer to the bus and carefully looked around.
After a while, Qi XiaoKui pointed to a seat on the last row: “There’s a person sitting there who looks somewhat familiar… Hey, they blocked him!”
Xin Meng looked in the direction she was pointing but couldn’t see the person she was pointing at since there were many people standing in front of him, completely blocking the last row. That person could only be seen a little from the occasional gap.
Fortunately, two people soon moved around and revealed the one behind them
He was too familiar. The clothes, the hairstyle, the glasses on his face…
“Yes, that’s him!”
Xin Meng and Qi XiaoKui quickly looked back at Dong Xiu. Dong Xiu was completely shocked and hurried to look at the last row, but the door closer at the same moment and the bus drove away!
But Dong Xiu is very familiar with his face already. He didn’t need to look for long, only a glance and he already knew it was himself!
“It’s me on that bus!” Dong Xiu was terrified. “Just like me!”
Qi XiaoKui, who was the first one to find it, pondered for a moment. “That’s probably how we know who belongs to which bus.”
“I missed…” Dong Xiu’s face was even uglier and he murmured, “I missed it… Will it come back?”
No one knew the answer and everyone quickly walked back to the platform involuntarily. They all hoped that, in the shortest period of time, they could determine which was their bus. As for whether the bus would come back or not, they didn’t dare say.
Only Xin Meng had doubts. The first two buses were so dangerous that even You Yi lost one life thanks to the traps. How come the last one was so simple?
Soon another bus arrived and the group tightened their nerves and looked around the bus.
Li Yougen, who was called by his name, looked in the direction of Xiong JiaBao’s finger. Sure enough, he saw someone in the front seat that looked exactly like him. Then, the “he” inside the bus seemed to hear his name and looked through the window, directly at Li Yougen.
Li Yougen looked at the other him blankly. It was exactly like looking into a mirror but the other him showed a completely different expression. The other him laughed, eyes full of encouragement as he seemed to be calling him to get into the bus…
Li Yougen took two steps forward but soon stopped.
“What’s wrong?” Xiong JiaBao urged him. “That’s your bus! Get up before it drives away!”
Li Yougen was motionless and suddenly took a dozen steps back, hugged himself and shook his head, “N-no… I don’t dare… I…”
“Why don’t you dare! If you don’t, you will die, do you understand?!” Xiong JiaBao scolded him with little patience. “Coward. I can’t like you no matter how hard I try!”
Li Yougen refused to move until the bus drove away. He squatted in place, bowed his head and blinked constantly.
He was afraid since he just had one life and couldn’t risk it. Though they had clones inside the buses, no one knew for sure that meant it was the right bus. As soon as the bus came and they saw Li Yougen inside, he became the person that would test that theory. But whether he eats food or poison, the others don’t need to worry and can only use him as a lab rat. For him, it’s a matter of life and death, but he needs the others to test it first.
Under the pressure of death, Li Yougen’s thoughts became very clear. He thought about Dong Xiu’s problem just now, about the bus he missed, if it would come back later. He knew it would, since the bus drove away but Dong Xiu was still alive. They were all in the platform, so they still had a chance. As long as they didn’t go into the wrong bus, they wouldn’t die!
However, he kept it to himself and didn’t intent telling anyone.
He needs a lab rat.
“How small is your brain?!” Xiong JiaBao saw how stubborn he was and kept scolding until he was out of breath. He wanted Li Yougen to try it first. If they were correct, great. If not, he could die another time.
As Li Yougen expected, there was someone like him that wanted to have a lab rat.
Another bus arrived and this time… Xin Meng!
Xin Meng clearly heard everyone’s breath becoming one. He knew what was going around him but was too lazy to care.
“You…” Qi XiaoKui hesitated, a little worried.
“It’s okay,” Xin Meng smiled at her. “I have many lives remaining so I can give it a try. If it’s wrong, we can find another way.”
Qi XiaoKui looked at the thin boy in front of her who, at the age of nineteen or eighteen, was soft and puerile like a younger brother. In real life, he was probably not even in college and was just enjoying the happy life of a youngster under his parents care. He was at the age where he may have a first love or might be nervous about college exams. In short, he shouldn’t have to go through so much pain and danger at such young age.
Other boys would have collapsed long ago, like Xiong JiaBao crying for his mother, but he never did.
She heard the others, including Xiong JiaBao, sighing gratefully. Even that Xiong JiaBao who promised his loyalty treated him like that. Qi XiaoKui, a bystander, couldn’t be at ease with that. But when she looked at Xin Meng again, his expression was calm with no resentment not unwillingness for being used like that.
It could be seen from his unwavering eyes when he looked at Xiong JiaBao that he regarded the other person as an insignificant person and that he didn’t intend for such an irrelevant person to destroy his mood or affect his reasoning, thus prevent him from clearing the game.
There was a clear line inside his heart about who’s inside and who’s outside. No matter what the ones outside do, he will never be affected. For example, he never made sacrifices for them even though Li Yougen pleaded and Xiong JiaBao acted pitiful, not was he mad about the lost buses. That’s because he doesn’t act for them, he acts for himself and You Yi, maybe even Qi XiaoKui.
That tenacious mind was completely out of reach for her. Faced with the fatal danger of death, she was impressed by the way he calmly said “I have many lives remaining so I can give it a try.”
She wondered how a teenager with no military value and only brains could keep so calm in such a terrible game.
Is it because of You Yi?
There must be a reason for the way he acts, but You Yi is not all. Ever since she first saw Xin Meng, he seemed to have a strong mind. When he met You Yi, he only began to worry less, but his personality was naturally that way and not because of someone.
It can be said that in the entire team, Xin Meng is the person who she admires the most. You Yi is probably ranked seconds because he belongs on the category ‘strong’ while Xin Meng relies entirely on his psychological qualities and ability to deal with danger, making him the member with fewest deaths after You Yi.
But how far can he go?
She hopes that she can see it with her own eyes. Not Xin Meng’s end, but see him leaving the game and returning to the real world to live a life of a boy his age.
But at that time, Qi XiaoKui didn’t knew her wish would never be realized.
Translator and Editor Notes:
Since I already know the ending of this novel I’m just like “oh well” – Zucci
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