Chapter 104: Realm of Mortals (7)
Tang Cuo, with his heart still full of doubts, could only choose to continue the investigation.
Perhaps in this story revolving around the Xishan Road accident, there were other victims.
Was Pao Qi or another innocent passerby among the crowd going to be killed, or was the murderer eventually brought to justice?
But as the tombstones exploded one after another due to insufficient battery, the act of absorbing the souls’ light balls slowed him down. Fortunately, these souls contained a few memory fragments and emotions of the owner, so he could also obtain some clues from them.
For example, he found the third victim on Xishan Road. It wasn’t a person, but a dog.
The dog owner’s soul was filled with his nostalgia for the dog and the sorrow of losing it, which upset Tang Cuo’s spirit ocean and almost caused a sea storm.
Tang Cuo struggled to suppress him, then he carefully perceived the owner’s soul to arrive at the ins and outs of the matter.
The dog belong to this owner was of Chinese Village Dog breed1. That said, it had been vaccinated and issued an ID card, and its blood was also mixed with a German Shepherd. The dog’s nose was very sensitive. When the owner walked his dog to Xishan Road, he was piqued by the onlookers and wanted to join in the fun, but the dog suddenly barked in the direction of the murderer.
In the heavy rain, a small black-backed, yellow-haired dog whose height only reached a man’s knees desperately barked at the opposite side of the road. No matter how much the master tried to comfort it and pull back the leash, it didn’t stop.
The people around were frightened and asked the owner to take good care of his dog, and even the police looked over. The owner hurriedly explained to everyone that his dog was usually very obedient, and in a split second that he failed to hold the leash tightly, the dog jumped out.
The man in rain boots had a foreboding when he heard the barking, so he firmly grasped the cart’s handle with both hands. At this point, the crowd had dispersed slightly, so he immediately turned and left, continuing to push the cart.
But the dog had already rushed over.
The man in rain boots didn’t dare to let the dog knock down the foam boxes on the cart but was also afraid that it would bite him, so he quickly and fiercely kicked the dog, sending it flying away.
“Woof!” The dog was tossed to the middle of the road. As the red light flashed to green light, a car suddenly braked as soon as its engine was turned on. Because of the slippery road on that rainy day, his car’s rear directly smashed against the car behind.
Many car windows were opened, then a succession of drivers poked their heads out. The loud curses were shattered by the heavy rain in this stuffy air. The honking of horns reverberated everywhere, making people feel even hastier.
“What’s going on over there?! Don’t act impulsively!” The policemen in charge of the Xishan Road incident hurried over here. They were fast, but the dog owner was faster and he recklessly charged to the middle of the road to rescue his dog.
The dog, which had been kicked hard and hit by a car, was groaning in pain on the ground. Blood trickled out from under its body, which quickly blended in with the falling rain, turning the ground into a boggling shade of crimson.
“It ran out on its own. You can’t blame me!” The driver hurriedly defended himself. Since he didn’t carry any umbrella and his face was all drenched in water, it seemed as though he was trying to put up a stubborn front: “It’s because you didn’t tie the leash properly. It even hit my car!”
“Da Mao, Da Mao, Da Mao!” The owner only called the dog’s name over and over again. Seeing that the dog didn’t respond at all, he suddenly turned around and looked in the direction of the man in rain boots.
Where had he gone?!
“Arrest the man with the cart, he killed my dog!” The owner put down Da Mao, pushed the driver away and dashed out. He could still vaguely see a figure of the man in black clothes and rain boots amidst the crowd. The man had left his cart on the spot, probably because he was afraid that he might not be able to escape while pushing it.
How could the owner allow him to escape? He ruined a life!
The intersection was horribly jammed, but the owner desperately chased forward, tears coming out of his eyes as he ran. He gritted his teeth, vowing that he must get hold of the culprit. But the crowd was too chaotic, and a car accident had occurred. The crowd was drowned in a loud commotion, while one after another, black and colourful umbrellas intertwined with each other, blocking his line of sight even more tightly.
“Don’t be impulsive! Stop!”
“Everyone, protect yourself, and be careful not to step on each other! Pay attention to your safety!” The police shouted at the top of his lungs, to the point that his voice almost turned hoarse: “Request support! Request support!”
“Bang!” Amidst the bustle, someone hit the cart left behind by the man in rain boots. The two foam boxes were knocked to the ground, and the contents in the boxes rolled out, mostly covered under the black canvas, but a small part was exposed.
With the crowd running amok, a five- or six-year-old boy wearing a lemon-yellow raincoat was also pushed to the ground. He didn’t feel any pain because he was sitting directly on the things that fell out of the foam box.
It felt soft.
He looked down with curious yet tearful eyes, and his little hand grabbed an object that lay by his feet. The young boy was stunned for a few seconds, as if he was utterly stupefied. He didn’t burst into tears until his family called his name and finally hurried over —
The surrounding crowd was also scared stiff. Some started stepping back and even fell to the ground on their butt. Piqued by the little boy’s cry, the people on the outermost layer of the circle tiptoed to look over.
In the freezing rain, scattered all over the ground were dismembered body parts. The head was still rolling on the ground, and her eyes were open wide, full of horror.
Amidst this terrifying scene, the little boy in the lemon-yellow raincoat became the only bright shade here.
Tang Cuo saw this scene through the memory of the owner. Perhaps his emotions were too intense, or perhaps this sight was too shocking, such that even when the dog owner’s soul had dissipated, Tang Cuo’s brain was still viciously attacked.
He immediately shook his whole body and promptly propped his hand against a tombstone next to him. Only then did he manage to steady himself.
Shaking his head and taking in two deep breaths, Tang Cuo closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down.
In the monitoring room, while waiting for him to recover, Xiao Tong temporarily shifted his gaze to the Third Gate that had been left out in the cold — the ‘Mortal Realm’s Message Forwarding Company’.
There was almost no suspense in this gate.
In Yong Ye City, a spirit’s strength wasn’t the same as that of a soul. The strength of the soul was markedly subject to innate factors. For example, Jin Cheng and Tang Cuo, whom Xiao Tong admired very much, were inherently powerful souls.
After entering Yong Ye City, adding points to Intelligence could help a player increase his mental power, but the enhancement of a soul was actually limited. The soul strength of the players that entered the Third Gate was only that of ordinary people. If their Intelligence points weren’t enough, the only ending awaiting them would be their heads blowing up.
There were a total of 25 players initially, and now only 13 were left. The death toll so far — 12.
In the white room, blood and plasma in red and white was splashed everywhere, and there were headless corpses lying in various empty cubicles, but the people next to them didn’t have the guts to take a closer look.
Just a glance might shake their feeble hearts.
Unwarranted abuse and malice continued to spread from their earphones. The more time went by, the number the players became, but the malice was also getting more and more sinister. There would always be something that could pierce one’s weakest point.
Some broke down and cried, yet some still clenched their teeth, trying to pull themselves through.
Xiao Tong suddenly thought, what kind of scene would this turn into if Tang Cuo was placed in this gate? He might remain expressionless throughout, as if he was simply listening to the college entrance examination.
As for Jin Cheng…
Forget it, I don’t want to think about him.
Xiao Tong wasn’t interested in a man who had repeatedly turned him down. Jin Cheng still being alive now must be because Xiao Tong was too tender-hearted. Moreover, Xiao Tong believed that the Third Gate was actually the simplest, for as long as the players could handle those sounds, everything would be fine.
But obviously, most of the remaining 13 players had reached their limit.
“Ah!!!” Someone finally couldn’t bear it anymore and stood up. He was a metal-type special ability user. The moment he stood up, he conjured a square-based pyramid out of thin air, and with bloodshot eyes, he dangerously aimed it at the person next to him.
“Stop!” The people behind shouted anxiously.
At the moment his life was hanging by a thread, the person next to him stomped on the table, and his whole body fell heavily from the chair to the ground, which helped him successfully dodge the attack. He hurriedly got up from the ground again and asked angrily: “What are you doing?!”
“Didn’t they say that as long as six people are left, we can clear the game? I can’t stand this anymore!” The metal-type ability user wore a frantic look and a metallic luster glimmered in his palm: “You just help me, just help me!”
“You’re crazy!” The man quickly ducked away, but his earphones were connected to the computer in the cubicle. The full length of the earphone cable was only three or four meters, and it couldn’t be removed at all.
The two were fighting in this narrow range while their brains were still suffering from the mental assaults coming out of the earphones.
“Don’t fight, there are only 25 people here. Didn’t they say there are 99 people in this dungeon? Even if we’re all dead, we may not clear the level!”
Some people tried to convince him, while some others were too occupied to be distracted by the scene.
But this person was right, even if all the players here were dead, what about the other gates? Perhaps none of them died!
Then wouldn’t they just sacrifice themselves for a futile cause?
Hearing that, the metal-type ability user finally snapped out of it, but his spirit was already extremely unstable, otherwise he wouldn’t suddenly try to kill. In addition, too many mental attacks had accumulated in his earphones, thus after a few gasps for air, he died with his head exploding.
With a “bang”, his blood flew everywhere. The man next to him managed to escape death, but not even a hint of joy could be seen on his face.
Without even wiping the blood off his face, he gritted his teeth and got up from the ground, stood straight and started typing frantically on the keyboard with all ten fingers.
Fast, faster, he must be fast. He couldn’t die, not like this.
Even if he died, it mustn’t be such a useless death!
Seeing this, Xiao Tong finally found some fun. He raised his eyes and glanced at the clock on the wall — At this point, exactly one hour had lapsed after the dungeon started, and the total death toll was: 25.
13 people died in the Third Gate.
12 people died in the Fourth Gate.
Meanwhile, at ‘This World Is An Asylum’.
Zheng Yingying and Meng Yufei left the consulting room after a short rest, but the other players weren’t so lucky. Some people chose to obey the system’s arrangement and went back to the ward to wait earnestly for the doctors. Some others hid outside in an attempt to survive. There were only a handful who chose to fight back like Zheng Yingying.
No one dared to say that their own decision was the correct one. Even Zheng Yingying was just recklessly fighting for her life.
“What shall we do next?” Meng Yufei asked for her opinion in a low voice. Seven monster doctors had been killed by Zheng Yingying, and four had been killed by other players. Meng Yufei also killed one himself, but there were many more wandering among various floors and wards.
“We can’t go back to the ward.” Zheng Yingying looked resolute. After half a shot of sedatives entered her body, she found that she had been put on a debuff that weakened her agility, and now she was acting a little slower than before.
By going back to the ward, the doctors would treat them, but that meant that they must take medicine too. Depending on the disease, they would get different debuffs. Perhaps the monster doctor wouldn’t kill the players themselves after the injection, but they would make rounds every hour, thus the players would be weakened again and again, which eventually ended with them dying.
More importantly, Zheng Yingying hated this feeling of getting killed without even trying to resist at all.
After a few weak coughs, a ruthless flash gleamed in Zheng Yingying’s eyes: “I’ll continue to pretend to be their ally, snatch the medicine, and you’ll be helping me.”
With Zheng Yingying’s current state, it must be impossible to fight too hard, but she believed she could manage to steal their medicine. Meng Yufei’s heart thudded lightly: “An eye for an eye?”
“Yes, then you distribute the medicine I get to each ward. What to do with it is up to each player.”
Xiao Tong watched her with a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, but he was still not very satisfied. If Zheng Yingying had done this in the first place, she would’ve saved herself a lot of trouble. It was unwise of her to be too merciless and too reckless.
It seemed that she had nothing to do with K. Most of the support that helped her obtain [Infinite Forms] came from Jiang He. But how would Jiang He make his final choice? If Zheng Yingying and he simply parted ways later…
Xiao Tong suddenly narrowed his eyes and said to the void: “What is Jiang He doing? “
Mr. Crow’s proud voice followed: “Do you think that the great Mr. Crow is your servant?”
Xiao Tong smiled: “The omnipotent Mr. Crow, can you please tell me?”
“For the sake of your sincerity, I can tell you reluctantly, but you have to lend me your warden stick to play with.”
“What are you going to do with this stick?”
“How dare you try to control me!” The crow started yelling again.
“Okay.” “Xiao Tong shrugged, putting the stick on the table, then he asked: “Where is Jianghe?”
Mr. Crow appeared, grabbed the stick with his claws and quickly disappeared into thin air. The moment he vanished, a merry voice echoed: “He’s cooking instant noodles at home!” “
Xiao Tong: “…”
Ten minutes later, at the First Gate, ‘Branching of Life’.
The players who had just finished fighting their battle were either lying down or sitting, drenched in sweat and panting hard. But then, another wave of enemies struck.
After graduating from the Ph.D., the two major stages of marriage and choosing a career were in front, followed by having children. This didn’t give them any chance to breathe.
“That, why does that stick look so familiar? It shouldn’t be…” Suddenly, someone pointed at the enemy ahead while staring at the black swinging stick in the hands of the biggest monster in disbelief.
“Isn’t that the warden’s stick!” In an instant, everyone recalled the fear of being oppressed by the warden. The atmosphere suddenly went stiff and everyone’s hearts sank.
Jin Cheng shook the scimitars in his hand and couldn’t help looking back at the road sign that they had just passed by.
A crow was jumping happily on the road sign, switching from the left foot to the right foot, then from the right foot to the left foot. It was very happy. When it saw Jin Cheng look over, it giggled at him.
“Heh, you fight! Mr. Crow is looking forward to your performance!”
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.