Chapter 34: Don’t Kill Yourself
Wen Xiaoming hurried to East Cross Street. He didn’t manage to see the scene where his boss was brought down by an angry player of Zone F, but he saw a sick Tang Cuo again.
This scene was too similar to their first encounter.
So this was the one who was placed on a debuff by Yong Ye City, indeed worthy of being the newcomer sitting at the bottom of the Blacklist.
Tang Cuo’s symptoms were actually nothing serious. He stood too close so he accidentally inhaled some smoke when it spread out, but he was far from being sent into a coma.
Wen Xiaoming said: “The Chinese name of this BS101 virus translates to One Hundred and One Ways To Die. I think those who have more severe symptoms than yours will soon end up in prison. And a virus of this level isn’t simple. Just putting the infected under quarantine won’t prevent its spread.”
Wen Xiaoming’s claim came down like a shocking thunder.
Chi Yan hastily rushed in from outside: “It’s not good, an infected player just turned into a pool of pus and disappeared! There were also several cases in other places, this is spreading too fast, we don’t have time to react.”
Wen Xiaoming: “Who is this?”
“Hello, I am Chi Yan, ‘Chi’ of ‘chi tang’ and ‘Yan’ of ‘huo yan’1, so the name means water and fire existing in tandem.” As soon as someone asked him who he was, Chi Yan’s social butterfly spirit would burn brightly, but now that wasn’t the point. He quickly stopped himself: “Then, about that, what should I do now?”
Chi Yan blinked, and Wen Xiaoming also blinked, then he turned to look at Jin Cheng: “Boss, is this your new xiao di2?”
Wen Xiaoming was picked up by Jin Cheng from a dungeon when Jin Cheng was punished back to Zone F for the first time. That was why he asked.
But Chi Yan was only counted as, at most, a temporary staff. Jin Cheng avoided this question because he hadn’t decided whether to place him into his team, rather, he asked back: “Is there a vaccine for this virus series?”
Wen Xiaoming replied: “There are 101 of them, some have vaccines, some don’t. There is a vaccine research institute in Zone C, we can check it out first.”
Jin Cheng: “Is it an official institute?”
Wen Xiaoming: “No, a player put it up by himself. That person is very good at making medicine. It’s said that he used to be an independent player, but I don’t know if he has been recruited into any team now.”
Eventually, Wen Xiaoming and Chi Yan headed separate ways. Wen Xiaoming made a trip to Zone C while Chi Yan was dispatched to the Black Hat Miscellaneous Store to try their luck. All sorts of things were sold there, so there might be vaccines for sale.
At the same time, Zone A.
In a luxurious villa of the same model as Jin Cheng’s, a man walked in from outside with a piece of paper and saw another person sitting on the sofa. He announced with a respectful yet excited tone: “Jin Cheng has been struck. This is news from Hummingbird. At East Cross Street, people have already begun to die, and a massive number of them will die soon. When the time comes and everything is chaotic, Jin Cheng will be overwhelmed, and we can take the opportunity to harvest a lot of points!”
A disagreeing voice came from inside the room: “Jin Cheng is a sinister and cunning man. How do you know that this isn’t a trap?”
The man frowned. “We have used up the BS101 and invested all our money on it. How can we go wrong? Don’t think too highly of Jin Cheng. Now he is in Zone F alone, can he be stronger than all of us combined? I think you are all too scared by that Blacklist. Being at the first place doesn’t mean he is the strongest.”
“How many blows do you think you can deal to him?”
“Don’t say such ugly words, do you think I’m like that stupid Meng Yufei?”
The smell of fire and potion became stronger as the two talked, but the man who voiced out his disagreement earlier simply leaned against the window from start to finish, his face cold and his tone indifferent.
There were other people in the room, and they tried to make peace for the two quarreling men.
The tall man sitting on the sofa finally spoke: “BS101 has been used so there is no reason to stop now. Jiang He, you must understand that now is the best time to make a move.”
Jiang He was the man sitting by the window. He heard the words but said nothing.
“I have to get the twelve movements, no matter whether it’s in Jin Cheng or someone else’s hands. Those who stand in my way will have to die.”
Similar conversation took place in various places in the high-ranking zones, and different people came to different conclusions. Even in the low-ranking zones, many people were watching.
For example, within An Ning’s team that had just levelled up to Zone E, someone wondered and couldn’t help but said: “How about we secretly go to East Cross Street to explore the situation? As those big guys fight, we probably can fish in troubled waters.”
An Ning was so annoyed she kicked him: “Even if you get the twelve movements, can you keep them well? Don’t drag us to death with you.”
But however noisy the outside got, Tang Cuo, who was now sitting tight at East Cross Street, couldn’t hear it.
Jin Cheng was peeling an apple again. He peeled the apple with a single cut, keeping the entire skin in one piece and dragging it as long as it had to be. Tang Cuo sat across from him, feeling as though the apple was like his head, always in danger of being cut off.
“Don’t you want to make preparations?” Tang Cuo asked.
“I’m doing it.” Jin Cheng smiled: “I plan to use apples to poison them.”
“Are you scared?”
I sure am scared, Tang Cuo gave him no expression.
Jin Cheng really didn’t get angry. After all, Tang Cuo was hit because of him. He stood up and threw the peeled apple into Tang Cuo’s hand, then finally headed out to do his main business.
At the last second, he turned around and fired a warning at Tang Cuo: “I won’t allow you to throw it away.”
When the door closed, Tang Cuo pursed his lips and took a bite — Sweet.
As time passed by slowly, Tang Cuo collapsed on the chair, leisurely turning from a semi-okay patient into a barely breathing dead man. When Chi Yan got back from the Black Hat Miscellaneous Store in high spirits, he almost jumped as he opened the door.
“Ge, are you okay, ge?!” He was about to probe for Tang Cuo’s breath and Tang Cuo shot him a look, expecting him to interpret it. But Chi Yan hadn’t yet had such a deep understanding of his gege and couldn’t catch the intention.
Chi Yan’s gege then quickly switched from energy saving mode to grumpy mode.
“I’m not dead yet.” Tang Cuo sat up.
“Well, there are no vaccines in the Miscellaneous Store. This store isn’t very good, totally not as awesome as the legend says it is. But it’s quite modern, there are no staff and the boss isn’t there either.” Chi Yan said.
If the boss was there, you might have been dead by now.
Tang Cuo opened the character panel and looked at the upper limit of his HP, which had fallen to 63, but he was still alive. In fact, he wasn’t worried at all, and he refused go to the prison even when he died. He would definitely figure a way out of this situation.
Chi Yan treated him totally like a patient, diligently giving him water and asking if he was uncomfortable. After a while, he went out to check on the situation, then came back and updated Tang Cuo with everything in detail.
“In just over half an hour, all the earliest infected people have died, and dozens of others have been infected afterwards. The number is increasing fast, so terrible.” As Chi Yan described this, his body couldn’t help trembling. Although those people just headed to jail and it wouldn’t be a real death, melting into a pool of pus was more frightening than being killed with a knife.
Many players had been horrified by the reputation of the prison, so they didn’t have the guts to stay in East Cross Street anymore and wanted to leave. But at this time, who would dare to let them out?
At the intersections engulfed in the darkness of East Cross Street, lots of people were waiting, some holding knives that shined brightly in their hands. Whoever had the nerve to leave the street would probably suffer the fate of being killed immediately.
Fear bred itself and multiplied uncontrollably.
“If I knew this, I would have gone to the mission. Isn’t better in the dungeon than here?”
“I can’t stand it anymore, why should I come to such a creepy place? I’d better die!”
“I am a person, not a player or whatever. Someone please tell me this is just a nightmare?”
“I want to go home… I want to go home…”
Amidst countless whimpers, someone eventually jumped down and turned into a pool of blood on the ground with a loud “crash”.
This time, someone really jumped off a building.
“Aaaaaaaaaah!” Someone else screamed with a hand covering his mouth.
The sudden death instantly amplified the panic across the entire East Cross Street. As the players who were on the street caught the scene, their faces turned slightly dark, but they didn’t seem very shocked.
Most new players would find it difficult to keep their sanity here, especially those at East Cross Street. Jumping off the building was normal and often even led to a chain reaction.
Jumping off buildings, cutting wrists, hanging from the ceiling. There were ample ways to die.
But was it really that simple?
Some laughed upon seeing the scene, while some remained silent.
Chi Yan heard the screams and opened the window to look out, shaken to the core to find a bloody corpse on the ground. He suddenly remembered what Jin Cheng told him on the night of the first meeting.
His hands and feet turned cold at the thought.
“Don’t kill yourself! Don’t kill yourself!” He immediately took out the speaker and shouted into, cursing to himself why he couldn’t just fly out of the window: “Suicide is worse than death, trust me, don’t kill yourself!”
Because the first rule of Yong Ye City was ― Survival is justice.
In Yong Ye City, where survival was always stressed on, killing oneself was the most serious among all the serious crimes.
Chi Yan’s shocking voice made the little girl who was about to jump down from the edge of the window stunned. She stared blankly in the direction of the sound, her pale face full of tears.
“Look, his corpse doesn’t disappear.” Chi Yan tried his best to stay calm, but when he saw the transformation of the corpse, his voice still couldn’t help but tremble: “He will become a monster. He can’t go to jail and start over again, and he doesn’t actually die either…”
He couldn’t continue, because the player who had jumped off the building was turning into a monster. His bloody back bulged up and a sickle-shaped claw broke through his flesh, then a second claw followed right after. His face began to twist, his teeth sharpened, his mouth enlarged all the way to the bottom of his ears, and he growled like a wild animal.
In the mere ten seconds that his blood dripped and stained the ground crimson, he completely transformed under everyone’s eyes
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!” The little girl screamed, covering her mouth and shaking her head in desperation. But with one careless move, she fell directly from the window sill.
Everyone stopped breathing.
A figure suddenly jumped from the top of the building, flew to the girl’s side at an even faster speed and caught her mid-air. “Whoosh”, the rope stretched in a flash, then the man slowly let go and brought the little girl to the ground safely.
It was Jin Cheng.
“That’s why I hate you, 79081. Why do you have to save them?” Mr. Crow’s familiar pompous voice came from a distance. Everyone looked up to find him standing on top of a tower, fanning out his two black wings like a person spreading open his arms, a huge illuminating sphere of Yong Ye City shining brightly behind him.
Jin Cheng also looked over and caught his gaze. Mr. Crow tilted his head and suddenly became amused: “Let’s fight the monsters together! Who can kill the monsters of East Cross Street will get big rewards!”
He flew up with a smile and circled around East Cross Street, leisurely admiring the awkward situation that the players below had been thrown into.
“Wow, there is one over there, then there is another over there. Tsk tsk, four monsters, four loots, which of you will get them?”
It was still Jin Cheng who had to make a move.
The hearts of East Cross Street players had been tormented badly but they couldn’t even kill themselves here. Without a doubt, this must be their worst misery. Some people collapsed, some felt utterly hopeless, while some stood up firmly, their eyes burning with killing intent.
Jin Cheng beheaded all the four monsters in a row, as swiftly as any human possibly could, without any pause in between. When a monster perished, a black hole appeared under him and swallowed his whole body.
They disappeared, but their terrifying images remained forever in the hearts of the other players.
Mr. Crow fluttered his wings in boredom and wanted to say something, but seeing the players below look as though their senses had wandered off somewhere else, he lost interest in talking any further and disappeared with an eerie laugh.
The moment he vanished, Jin Cheng’s body shook and he spit out a mouthful of blood. His face turned pale and he looked up with a gaze so cold it had the players around him shaking in their boots.
The little girl took a step back in fright.
Jin Cheng didn’t say a word. He let out a sigh of relief, wiped off the blood on his lips, turned over the window and returned to the room where Tang Cuo was. Of course, whatever he did just now was all an act. He closed the window and turned around to meet Tang Cuo’s bright eyes.
“Did they go to serve their karma?”
“Yes and no. In the usual serving of karma, the player will forget who he used to be and everything that happened to him, even if he was killed over and over again. But for those just now, they are sent to a special dungeon where they will be aware of all their pains but unable to escape. Do you know what it is called?”
Jin Cheng then answered his own question: “It’s a life worse than death.”
Having to hear about it again, Chi Yan was still petrified and a chill crept up from the soles of his feet, making him afraid to look at the four pieces of loots on the table. He couldn’t help thinking about what a brutal scene would be if Jin Cheng didn’t make a move. What if the other players swarmed over to kill them?
The rules of Yong Ye City would gradually wipe out the ‘human’ in its players. Perhaps there were people who would laugh happily if they succeeded in killing those players-turned-monsters and earning loots from the act.
And someone would die in the fights. Then death gave rise to more deaths.
How naive of him.
Chi Yan thought about his former self. This was the kind of place he ended up at ― had he seen it clearly?
“There is no time. If those people want to kill me, they should be coming soon.” Jin Cheng turned around and looked out of the window again, his eyebrows furrowing. Wen Xiaoming hadn’t returned yet, and they wouldn’t know if his trip had gone smoothly.
Jin Cheng didn’t actually want Tang Cuo to end up in prison. If some punishments could be avoided, then let’s not face them.
At this point, the upper limit of Tang Cuo’s HP had fallen to 44, surely not the luckiest number3.
“Huh? Why is it foggy outside?” Chi Yan rubbed his eye and suddenly thought of something. He took a step back: “Isn’t this some kind of poisonous gas again?”
“No.” Jin Cheng said firmly: “This is from the strategist of Heaven’s Will, an elite team from Zone A. He’s Jiang He the Mist Assassin.”
Tang Cuo: “Isn’t he that puppeteer earlier?”
Jin Cheng: “That’s another one.”
Tang Cuo: “Oh.”
Jin Cheng: “I told you before, my enemies are aplenty.”
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”.