Chapter 112: Peekaboo
“This is a violation of the rules.”
A black cat with a blank expression sat in a small iron cage on the flower rack, with a pot of silver pothos on his left and a pot of monstera on his right, which made his body look even tinier. As for why a black cat could show an expressionless face, of course, it was because there was an expressionless soul inside that body.
Some people called this ‘being cold and distant’. Tang Cuo called this ‘energy-saving mode’.
This was Xiao Tong’s monitoring room. He sat back on the chair, made a new cup of coffee and added a lot of sugar. In response to Tang Cuo’s accusation, Xiao Tong took a sip of coffee and replied with a slightly gleeful tone: “This is my home ground, so obviously, I make the rules. Isn’t Jin Cheng very strong? If you two are truly connected with each other, no matter where you are, he’ll find you.”
At the end, he asked Tang Cuo: “Coffee?”
Isn’t this coffee so sweet that I’ll die from drinking it? Tang Cuo raised his cat paw to express his rejection.
Thereafter, he immediately looked at the four monitoring screens directly opposite him, and the images on the screen made him understand that this might be a space that lay completely outside of the four gates — it was Xiao Tong’s private place.
After Xiao Tong brought him here, the Easter Egg game was triggered, but if this place was really independent of the gates, then Tang Cuo the cat would never be found.
Isn’t this clearly a violation?
At this time, Tang Cuo saw that Jin Cheng had reached the Fourth Gate’s asylum. If nothing went wrong, he should meet Qian Wei here, but he would miss the little girl Zheng Yingying because she had already reached the ‘Branching of Life’.
Tang Cuo was also a tad surprised when he first saw Qian Wei, but his gaze was quickly attracted by Meng Yufei, who was following Zheng Yingying.
Meng Yufei had changed his face. Because there was no need to fight at the moment, he wasn’t carrying his blade, and he was following Zheng Yingying around like a newly recruited henchman. Tang Cuo actually didn’t recognise the man, but he vaguely felt a familiar aura from him.
In Yong Ye City, there were only a few people that managed to leave an impression on Tang Cuo.
Among them, Meng Yufei was both the most likely and the least likely to be with Zheng Yingying, because he once killed her and sent her to jail.
While Tang Cuo thought about it, Jin Cheng and Qian Wei finally met.
When Qian Wei saw Jin Cheng, it felt as though he was seeing a god descending to Earth, only wishing that he could wrap himself around Jin Cheng’s thigh. The clock was ticking and Jin Cheng didn’t have time to stop and listen to him, so they walked and talked about the little girl and Meng Yufei.
At this point, Tang Cuo could conclude that it was Meng Yufei who was with Zheng Yingying. Beside him, who else could be so hostile towards Jin Cheng and also knew Qian Wei?
Jin Cheng was also able to guess that, but he had no time to care about such matters for now. Eleven minutes had passed, yet Tang Cuo didn’t seem to be in this asylum.
Although Qian Wei wasn’t much smarter than he used to be, he only had to know that the purpose of this game was to look for Tang Cuo and he didn’t have to ask about anything else. In any case, the big boss was here.
But Leng Miao raised a sharp question: “Are you sure that Tang Cuo is still in this dungeon?”
Jin Cheng frowned: “Do you think that The Warden has brought him out?”
“That perfectly sounds like his style.”
“Indeed, as long as he takes Tang Cuo away, we’ll never win. But even if he’s The Warden, it’s impossible to change Yong Ye City’s fundamental rules.”
Jin Cheng said very firmly.
Hearing so, Tang Cuo had a few thoughts. He hadn’t been to Yong Ye City for long and hadn’t been able to accurately define the relationship between Mr. Crow and Yong Ye City, and of course, he also had no idea how much authority The Warden had.
Jin Cheng’s words actually woke him up.
Regardless of how this Easter Egg game was triggered, it was Yong Ye City that actually announced the game. Just like the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ that Tang Cuo experienced when he first got here, no matter how angrily Mr. Crow jumped around, he couldn’t hinder the game’s progress.
In the end, Tang Cuo won, and of course, he was also blacklisted by Mr. Crow.
Even Mr. Crow was restricted by the rules, so what about Warden Xiao Tong? Would his authority be so great that he could directly take one of the players away from the dungeon and cause such a huge bug in the game?
After all, The Warden was just a civil-servant player.
Xiao Tong chuckled and raised his eyebrows slightly: “It seems that you all have guessed it.”
Tang Cuo didn’t answer immediately. He looked around and checked the monitoring room that had no doors and no windows again. After a few seconds, he made a decision: “We’re in the asylum.”
If The Warden didn’t have that much authority, this room must be inside the dungeon. Tang Cuo had already seen the details of the four gates through the monitoring screens. Only the asylum could hide such a room.
The question now was how to pass this message to Jin Cheng.
“If you spill the truth, aren’t you afraid that I’ll kill you now? The rules are dead, but the players are alive. Killing a player in the dungeon is, at most, a mistake in my work. At least your corpse will still be here, and they can be considered the winners even if they only find your corpse. Such a victory doesn’t conflict with the rules. In this respect, I have more freedom than Mr. Crow.” Xiao Tong put down his coffee and looked at Tang Cuo with a smile.
Tang Cuo didn’t doubt Xiao Tong’s words. In Xiao Dong’s smiling eyes, he even caught a flash of killing intent that sparked only for a fraction of a second before it disappeared, but that was enough to send chills down his spine. But since the situation had gotten like this, he couldn’t avoid it.
“If you kill me, the game won’t be fun any longer.” Tang Cuo said.
“Really?” The smiling intent in Xiao Tong’s eyes grew stronger and even more petrifying. He just sat lazily on the chair with his legs crossed while his right hand tapped his swinging stick, quietly passing judgment at Tang Cuo. He seemed to be considering whether to do it or not.
Tang Cuo was on full alertness, but still, he didn’t move an inch.
For a moment, the air froze.
Xiao Tong’s speed of tapping the stick was getting slower and slower, as if he was about to make a decision. However, at this point, he seemed to notice something. As he squinted slightly, his gaze was fixed at the front, as though he saw something through the wall.
“It looks like you have pretty good luck.” Saying so, he stood up. After taking a step, he vanished into thin air.
Tang Cuo didn’t act rashly. After waiting for a while to confirm that there was nothing unusual in the room, he lifted his foot to kick the cage — it didn’t move.
This cage seemed to be a special item. It had a rusty look and the size of an ordinary basketball, but it actually weighed a thousand jins1. After Tang Cuo became a cat, not only was he unable to use his sword, but his strength also seemed to be limited by his current tiny body. He kicked for a long time, but the cage didn’t budge even a centimeter.
The expressionless cat turned into a tired cat whose paws were still bleeding.
Tang Cuo didn’t really want Jin Cheng to see him like this, but since it is a PvP game, one side must win and the other must lose.
If Tang Cuo couldn’t get out, Jin Cheng and the other 15 players would have to take the punishment, and there was also the unlucky Qian Wei among them. Tang Cuo didn’t know how he was sent to jail or how long his sentence was left, but it was obviously a more beneficial scenario if Tang Cuo was the losing side.
Because there was no sentence on him, so even if it was doubled, 0 would still be 0.
Thinking of this, Tang Cuo didn’t hesitate. He conjured a fireball and threw it at the monitoring screen that was showing the asylum. Since this ‘Fireball’ skill was called upon by a cat’s paws without the aid of a wand or an enchanted item, it swayed left and right before finally moving close to the screen.
With a “pop”, it actually entered the screen.
“Boom —”, a meteor fell from the top of the asylum, blowing up half of the porch outside the building.
“Huh? What is that? A meteorite???”
“Is it Heaven’s punishment? Isn’t this just a Peekaboo game?!”
“Look at it, look at it!”
One by one, the surviving players poked their heads out of the windows and saw another meteor smash down. Simultaneously, they all withdrew and shut the windows close.
On the other side, Tang Cuo was also stunned when he saw the images on the monitor. The two cat paws that were holding the fireball froze in their spot, feeling that it was right yet also not right to send another fireball to the asylum.
Where is Meng Yufei?
Tang Cuo quickly spotted Zheng Yingying and Meng Yufei, who were still looking for the target in the First Gate. These two probably didn’t know that the target was him, so they likely just followed their feelings.
“Go.” Tang Cuo threw an ice bolt at Meng Yufei.
“F**k —” Meng Yufei was so shocked to see Ding Hai Shen Zhen descending from the sky2. He hurried to avoid it, but with the road being so wide, once the ice bolt hit the ground, it broke into ice shards that flew everywhere and sharply scratched his face.
Zheng Yingying wrapped herself tightly with [Infinite Forms] and stood far away.
The ice bolt also gave Tang Cuo a little inspiration. He quickly conjured a small ice ball, pushed his bloody cat claws up and threw it into Jin Cheng’s monitor.
“Boom!” The ice ball’s impact made the mountain shake and the ground tremble for a long while.
All the players opened the window again and carefully looked at the giant ice meteorite that had fallen on the yard and rammed deep into the ground. The scariest thing was that traces of blood were scattered on the ice ball, making such a terrifying, hideous sight.
“What’s that blood mark? A flower?”
“It must be the footprint of a beast! Or an alien!”
“Is there also a Boss in an Easter Egg game?”
Amidst the loud commotion, Jin Cheng jumped down from the second floor window and steadily landed on the ice meteorite. He squatted down and looked down at the paw-shaped blood mark and determined it was the shape of a cat’s paw.
Tang Cuo… Has he become a giant prehistoric cat? Is Wen Xiaoming’s transformation potion so unreliable?
“Tang Cuo? Where are you?” Jin Cheng shouted at the sky. If Tang Cuo could use this ice meteorite to remind him, then maybe he was watching this side and could hear Jin Cheng.
At this time, there were still 13 minutes before the 30-minute time limit ended.
After making sure that Jin Cheng indeed understood the current situation, Tang Cuo thought for a moment and immediately took out [Dragon Flame] and an RMB banknote. [Dragon Flame] pen was a reward from the dungeon [Forest of The Elves]. When used to write spells, it would give an effect that was ten times that of chanting spells. The banknote was what Tang Cuo had always kept in his Inventory Bar for daily needs.
With the pen held between his two paws, Tang Cuo dipped the tip of the pen in his own blood to write on the banknote, then he rolled it into a ball and threw it at the monitor.
Very soon, Jin Cheng picked up the message.
This time, the banknote didn’t grow larger, probably because it had no attack power. Jin Cheng unfolded the paper ball and saw the crooked characters written in blood. He almost thought that Tang Cuo was kidnapped, and that it was the kidnapper who grabbed his hand and forced him to write this —
There was only a red cross on it, with the notes ‘Window X’ and ‘Door X’ beside the cross. It meant a room without windows and doors in the asylum. It was easy to understand, but the note was also incredibly ugly.
“Big boss, how is it? Is it my Tang ge?!” Qian Wei leaned forward, trying to read the content on the paper. Compared to Jin Cheng, he believed that Tang ge was more reliable and calmer, and that he was a real warrior. He was a man of few words, and his face always screamed ‘a good person’.
“What are you looking at? This is a love letter your Tang ge gave me.” Jin Cheng casually put the paper into his pocket.
Qian Wei: “Huh?”
The other players, who were sneakily following him: “What love? What letter?”
“What the hell is happening?”
“Is the Yong Ye City’s version of a flying letter?”
“What sort of game are we playing?”
Everyone’s doubts were like ocean waves, and each wave was higher than the one that preceded it. But no matter how many waves there were, Jin Cheng couldn’t be bothered. He calculated that there were less than ten minutes left, so he decided to use the fastest method — forced demolition.
“Tell everyone to evacuate.” Jin Cheng told Qian Wei, then turned to look at Leng Miao: “He’s here, but he’s in a room that we can see with the naked eye, otherwise he wouldn’t stay hidden till now. I’ll take down the building, you just perceive the surroundings, and we must act fast.”
Very coolly, Leng Miao didn’t respond; he simply squeezed his staff.
The three of them acted separately. On the other side, Tang Cuo started making another fireball and ice bolt to send a full-fledged thunderstorm to Meng Yufei. From a very tired cat with bleeding paws, he turned into an emotionless killer cat.
Meng Yufei was exhausted from dealing with them, and he had no time to think about why he was suffering all this. As soon as he dodged a huge ice bolt, a fire meteorite flew at his face. He hurriedly ducked away and almost got his front teeth knocked off.
Tang Cuo really didn’t show any mercy. A second later, he summoned the ‘Fireball’ skill rewarded from the dungeon [On A Snowy Night, He Returns].
“Ahhhhhh!” Meng Yufei cried out in anger, drew his blade and slashed it towards the meteor, breaking it entirely apart. But, the meteor’s scorching temperature and sparks blew up on him, giving such an excruciating sensation.
As his HP dropped rapidly, he gasped hard for air, but he couldn’t even see or touch the enemy, not to mention, he was sullen inside out due to the blazing fire.
“Who? Who the hell is it?!” He shouted while swinging his blade.
But the response he got was an even fiercer attack.
Meng Yufei hurriedly summoned a wooden shield, which looked very tattered but actually managed to block this wave of attack. But very soon, the shield burst into pieces, and he was slammed into the air by the shock wave of the explosion. His whole body heavily hit the ground ten meters away and several of his ribs cracked.
At the moment his life was hanging by a thread, a red cloak flew over to cover him. In an instant, the fire meteor and ice bolt rushed down, engulfing him and the cloak.
Tang Cuo narrowed his eyes slightly when he saw the cloak, but at this point, the room he was in shook a little. At the moment where there were only one or two minutes before the time limit was over, a blast came from outside.
I must focus on the main issue here.
Tang Cuo stopped attacking. After using up so much magic power, he was already at his limit and his head was hurting.
In the next second, a loud bang reverberated across the air and the room ceiling, as though hit hard by something from above, suddenly collapsed. Amidst the air full of smoke, dust and the wall’s broken fragments, Jin Cheng leapt down with his bow, nicely facing Tang Cuo.
“The target has been found, and the catching side wins!”
“Congratulations to all players for successfully completing the Easter Egg game — ‘Peekaboo’. Number of participants: 17, Survivors: 17. Because the losing side carries no sentence, the punishment is invalidated, and all players will be released from prison.”
“Welcome back to Yong Ye City!”
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”.