Chapter 113: Scarlet
The moment those words faded, Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng were teleported out of the dungeon almost immediately and appeared back in their residence at Zone E. The only difference compared to before was that Tang Cuo still remained in the cage, unable to change back into his human form.
One person and one cat stared into each other’s eyes. After about three minutes of silence, Jin Cheng couldn’t help but reach out to touch the cat.
“Hiss.” He was fiercely scratched by the cat’s paw.
“Open it.” Tang Cuo raised his paws and patted the cage with a cold expression, making some clattering sounds. But, it wasn’t that Jin Cheng didn’t want to help; this cage was strange.
The cage had no door, so naturally there was no lock, and it was extremely tough. Jin Cheng tried several weapons but couldn’t budge it.
“This should be a piece of equipment. Since it was brought out, it’s now yours. I’ll ask Wen Xiaoming to come over and have a look later, there must be some tricks in it.” Jin Cheng said with an oh-so-serious tone, but his hand already took out a chocolate bean and hovered it near the edge of the cage, trying to lure Tang Cuo.
Tang Cuo didn’t speak and kept staring at him.
Jin Cheng stroked his nose, finally withdrew his hand and threw the chocolate bean into his mouth, then he got up to go to Wen Xiaoming. But as soon as he stood up, Tang Cuo stopped him.
“For now, don’t go.”
Tang Cuo explained: “I think something strange is going on.”
Jin Cheng sat down again: “What do you mean?”
“The last Easter Egg game, what was the end result?”
“Everyone got out of jail.”
Saying that, Jin Cheng understood at once. In this Easter Egg game, none of the players suffered any loss at all, instead, everyone benefited from it. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, rather, it was too good, so good that people thought that The Warden was doing charity.
Although the game settings weren’t simple, Xiao Tong also purposely locked Tang Cuo up, but it wasn’t like he didn’t know about Leng Miao’s skills. With Leng Miao, plus Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng, wouldn’t it be easy for Xiao Tong to predict the outcome?
Tang Cuo immediately talked about the Cemetery of Souls and Xiao Tong’s sudden departure: “I think Xiao Tong didn’t want to kill me. He also deliberately went easy on us in the Easter Egg game. Now there’s no player in Zone G, right?”
Jin Cheng: “Based on what you said, there’s a problem with Xiao Tong’s sudden departure.”
Tang Cuo: “There are also the [Twelve Movements]. Xiao Tong should really have a movement, but it’s not in my reward box. “
Jin Cheng checked his dungeon rewards, and there was indeed no movement in it. Thinking of this, Jin Cheng thought of the little girl and Meng Yufei again, then asked: “Did you see Meng Yufei through the monitoring screen?”
Tang Cuo: “I attacked him, but he shouldn’t be dead. How did the little girl and he get together? It’s unbelievable.”
“If he really left with the little girl, and the little girl didn’t split up with Jiang He, then don’t worry about him for the time being. With Jiang He around, he won’t be able to make even the slightest disturbance.” As Jin Cheng said so, he narrowed his eyes slightly: “When I was playing the dungeon, I heard other players talk about another interesting thing. Do you remember one of the original reasons why we went to Zone G?”
Tang Cuo: “Chong Yanzhang.”
Jin Cheng snapped his fingers: “Yes. Chong Yanzhang died in Zone G, and Heaven’s Will completely collapsed. According to the information obtained before, Chong Yanzhang was beaten to death during the prison riot. But the players inside told me that Chong Yanzhang brought in BS055 that caused the riot.”
Tang Cuo was slightly surprised: “He caused his own death?”
“It’s incredible, isn’t it? Although Chong Yanzhang isn’t the smartest man, he won’t make such a basic mistake.” When Jin Cheng first heard about this, he was as surprised as Tang Cuo.
Now that they analysed the situation carefully, it felt even more problematic. Concerning Xiao Tong or Chong Yancheng of Zone G, or even Zone A, something that they didn’t know about might be happening.
After this brief exchange, the two of them had learnt what they needed to. Tang Cuo stayed at home and waited for Wen Xiaoming to come, while Jin Cheng went out to inquire about the news.
Before leaving, Jin Cheng poured a glass of honey water for Tang Cuo and even intimately inserted a straw to make sure that he can drink it even from inside the cage. In addition, he folded a small cushion with a towel and stuffed it in. Although Tang Cuo’s wounds could be cured by potions, Jin Cheng looked at his bloody cat paws and still felt that the hard iron cage would injure him again.
Tang Cuo couldn’t change his mind and eventually let him do whatever he wanted.
While waiting, Tang Cuo checked his dungeon rewards. This time, ‘Cemetery of Souls’ gave a very generous amount of Intelligence points. As of the end of the dungeon, his Intelligence points had shot to 141.
In addition, Tang Cuo was the earliest player to clear his gate, so he was awarded the most points. Coupled with the benefits he got from ranking first overall, he got 170 points in total.
After allocating 170 points as appropriate, Tang Cuo’s current stats were as follows —
No. K27216: Tang Cuo
Character points: 50
[Survival is not easy, please never stop trying.]
As for his equipment, the [Horror Doll], the [Gatling Gun] and the ‘Meteor Rain’ card had all been scrapped. He had used one drop of the [Tears of The Secret Lake], while all the other powerful skills were in the cooldown state. All of this could probably be considered a heavy loss for him.
Among them, the equipment that Tang Cuo missed the most was the [Horror Doll]. Although this little item only had the function of screaming, it was very easy to use.
In contrast, although the rewards given by the system weren’t aplenty, the quality wasn’t bad.
Description: A pair of grade-A counterfeit rain boots, with anti-corrosion properties.
[Fidget Cube of Dooms]
Description: The Fidget Cube has six sides, which are all different. Each side of the Fidget Cube represents a type of doom, which can bring a different debuff to the enemy, but each specific side needs to follow the God of Luck’s commands. The six dooms are Defence -30%, Skill blockade, Flying ban, Skill rebound, Halved HP and Poisoning. The first three dooms last for five minutes.
Description: The second of the series of cards [24 Solar Terms]. It can activate the skill ‘Weakening Water’ to strike the enemy with rain within a radius of five meters for 5 seconds. Those who are struck will have their Defence halved within three minutes.
Description: Intimidate the enemy’s soul. The specific effect depends on the difference in strength between the two sides (You need to look directly into the opponent’s eyes when using it).
[Sprint (upgraded version)]
Description: Running speed increased by 40%.
Tang Cuo didn’t expect that the skill ‘Sprint’ was actually upgradeable, and a 40% bonus could increase his speed by one huge jump. This could be described as a pleasant surprise.
After checking all the rewards, Tang Cuo was a little tired, so he simply lay down on the towel cushion to rest.
He slept extremely soundly.
Although Tang Cuo’s shaken soul calmed down after the dungeon, there remained an after-effect that made him more exhausted than before. His whole body seemed to be floating on his spirit ocean without any ability to root down, and he was unable to resist, only able to drift with the flow and wait for the wind and waves to subside.
Through the deep ocean, Tang Cuo saw the images of his previous life. There were many scenes; from when he was a child in the orphanage to when he met Jin Cheng for the first time, then a few more scenes till the point of his death.
Actually, he could have lived. After all, a weed had a weed’s tenacity.
What cut off his last will to live? Perhaps it was the call that was never answered.
There were thousands of words to express what he had to say, but they were eventually condensed into two mere words — Forget it.
His consciousness gradually became blurry, and a very long time later, he leisurely woke up when he smelt the fragrance of cooked rice. He looked around and stopped in the direction of the kitchen, where he saw a happy figure wearing an apron and holding a spatula.
It was Wen Xiaoming.
Tang Cuo was taken aback for a moment, then he remembered that Wen Xiaoming had a universal room card and could freely come and go.
Wen Xiaoming, who was cooking, looked really happy. With a small-built body, the man was nodding his head along with his humming. Bluntly, it would be tough to tell that he was actually older than Jin Cheng.
Tang Cuo scanned the living room again and saw Wen Xiaoming’s large bag in the corner, which was fully bulging up, making him wonder how many things were stuffed inside.
A while later, Wen Xiaoming came out carrying the food and found that the cat in the cage had opened his eyes. He rushed over even before putting down the food in his hands: “You’re awake!”
Pretending to not see that his eyes were beaming super brightly, Tang Cuo asked: “Where is Jin Cheng?”
“Boss hasn’t come back yet.” Wen Xiaoming put down the food, knelt in front of the coffee table and looked at Tang Cuo in the cage: “Tang ge, the effect of your transformation is really good.”
Tang Cuo: “…”
Wen Xiaoming: “Lily will love it when she sees you.”
Tang Cuo: “You don’t have to tell her.”
“Cough… I already told her. She also said she wants to come and see you in person.” Wen Xiaoming scratched his head embarrassedly, then tried to save the situation: “But she can’t come for the time being, something has happened in Zone A.”
Tang Cuo: “What happened?”
Wen Xiaoming: “Lin Yandong is gone. Miao Qi searched all over the place but still hadn’t found him. I don’t know if he has entered a dungeon or anything. Boss said that something must’ve happened in Zone A, so he told Lily to keep watch in Zone A and don’t leave without reasons.”
Lin Yandong went missing?
Tang Cuo immediately thought of the empty prison at Zone G and wondered if it had anything to do with this incident.
“By the way, I checked the cage just now while you were asleep. Judging from its material and characteristics, this should be a black iron cage specially used to hold severe-crime prisoners in Zone G. The cage can change its size based on the prisoner’s size, and it also carries a strong suppressing effect. This is also why the effect of the transformation potion has obviously passed but you haven’t recovered your original body, meanwhile, the cage only stays this size, so you can’t change it even if you want to. But these black iron cages, aren’t they all in the underground underwater cells? How could they be used to lock you up?”
Even Wen Xiaoming was slightly confused when he said this.
“There are underwater cells in Zone G?” Tang Cuo asked.
“Yes, ordinary players don’t know this. There are actually two types of cells in Zone G. One is for ordinary prisoners, and the other is for severe-crime prisoners, both of which hold players who violate the core rules of Yong Ye City. Instead of saying these underwater cells are underground, we might as well say that they exist in an unidentified space. Players locked up there won’t be released until at least three to five years later. There seem to be only 13 black iron cages like this one, each having their own number. Each cell number corresponds to a unique password, which needs to be called out to open the cage. I see that the one you’re in is — No.13! “
The number 13 was written in traditional Chinese, with very tiny characters. Because they were covered by rust, Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng didn’t notice it before.
Wen Xiaoming stroked his chin, stared at the number and continued to mumble: “This is a great item. When locked in this cage, even immortals won’t be able to run away, absolutely impossible. But only The Warden knows the password. But do we have to go back to the prison to find it, you barely just got out of jail…”
“There may be another place.” Tang Cuo said.
“Huh? Where?” Wen Xiaoming leaned in close, his big eyes full of curiosity.
“Infinite Market of Dreams.”
Wen Xiaoming’s mind became active in an instant. Being a technology master, he was very curious about things like black iron cages, so he had to study them.
After pondering for a few seconds, he had an idea: “I can go with Chi Yan, and on the way, I can exchange for a few materials that I like! Let me think, what should I exchange…”
While Wen Xiaoming was daydreaming with enthusiasm, Tang Cuo frowned and fell into deep thought. Since the emergence of the Easter Egg game, he felt that things weren’t simple, and now there was a black iron cage that shouldn’t have appeared.
What exactly did Xiao Tong want to do?
Tang Cuo firmly believed that the appearance of the black iron cage must have a reason, but he still had no idea what this reason was. Wen Xiaoming was familiar with all kinds of equipment and items, but he knew little about other secrets and couldn’t help much.
Luckily, after waiting for about 15 minutes, Jin Cheng finally came back.
Wen Xiaoming took the initiative to tell him about the black iron cage. After hearing this, Jin Cheng’s expression changed slightly, then he asked: “Do you know who was in Cage No.13 before?”
Wen Xiaoming was taken aback: “Who?”
This one name made Wen Xiaoming’s expression change drastically, as if he had heard something extremely terrifying.
Tang Cuo immediately asked who that person was, and Jin Cheng said grimly: “Didn’t you ask me last time, who is the third in the Red List? It’s Scarlet, the only woman in the top ten, we all call her — Scarlet Sorceress. One year ago, when the whole city was besieged, she was No.1 on the Most Wanted List. Lin Yandong personally dealt with her. It took us a lot of effort to send her to prison.”
Tang Cuo didn’t know about Scarlet, but he remembered the siege of the city. Jin Cheng mentioned to him that the siege was to purge some wicked people to prevent Yong Ye City from falling into the worst state of lawlessness. Meng Yufei was also sent to prison during this siege.
In this way, many things were finally connected. Cage No.13 that originally kept Scarlet suddenly appeared, Chong Yanzhang died, and Lin Yandong disappeared. Wouldn’t this mean —
“Scarlet is out of jail?!” Wen Xiaoming almost jumped up on the spot.
“I’m afraid it’s more than that. Scarlet’s sentence hasn’t finished yet, how did she come out? Lin Yandong was able to send Scarlet to jail, his strength is unfathomable, why did he suddenly disappear? Scarlet has been in jail for a year, does she have the ability to just silently kill Lin Yandong? Also, why does Xiao Tong specifically want to bring up this matter?”
Jin Cheng asked four questions in succession, completely stunning Wen Xiaoming. He didn’t know the answer, but he knew one thing: Scarlet mustn’t be allowed to talk freely.
“Lily will go nuts!” Wen Xiaoming looked worried.
“You go to Chi Yan right away. If he comes out of the dungeon, immediately take him to the Infinite Market of Dreams.” With a solemn expression, Jin Cheng quickly and decisively gave his instructions: “If Rong Yi is also there, ask him to go to Leng Miao, and all of them to go to the Ruby Bar and wait for me. As for Lily, don’t tell her for now, she might go berserk.”
“I’ll go right away.” Wen Xiaoming got the order and instantly turned around to leave, but Jin Cheng stopped him: “Wait, give me the [Quantum Stealth Invisibility Cloak] first.”
Without asking much, Wen Xiaoming immediately took it out and gave it to him. Jin Cheng put the cloak on the black iron cage, picked it up and walked out the door.
“This is urgent. Let’s go to the Ruby Bar and I’ll explain to you on the way.”
The author has something to say:
So far, all the top five players on the Red List have appeared.
First place: Zone A, A28377 (Lin Yandong)
Second place: Zone A, D22422 (Rong Yi)
Third place: Zone A, C01724 (Scarlet)
Fourth place: Zone A, E57456 (Leng Miao)
Fifth place : Zone E, G79081 (Jin Cheng)
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”.