CR: Chapter 398
Regarding the silver mask, all the team members who experienced the Liuxi Village secret room had an impression of it. The first time they met the masked man in Liuxi Village of 4 of Spades, he wore a silver mask. The man’s temperament was very special and the mask on his face was also unique. Some strange black patterns were drawn on the silver mask as decoration.
Shao Qingge carefully recalled the mask in his mind. “No wonder I felt like the masks of the hunters in the labyrinth were a bit familiar. Didn’t we see it in Liuxi Village before?”
Ye Qi walked to Xiao Lou and asked softly, “Professor Xiao, do you think the twins are also hunters? It shouldn’t be a coincidence that they are wearing the same mask as hunters, right?”
Xiao Lou couldn’t give an accurate answer. A mask alone couldn’t explain the problem. This person code-named White Fox was a mystery and he might also have a twin brother. Were these twins allies or enemies? For example, if he was a hunter, why did he have to convene a large number of challengers to gather in the bar after the stampede incident and encourage them to pass the secret rooms to leave this world? Yet if he was on the side of the challengers, how could he wear the same mask?
Xiao Lou was puzzled. He glanced at Tang Ci and asked, “Mr Tang, is there any information from the Intelligence Bureau on this White Fox? Is he still at the bar in the City of the Sun?”
“Wait a minute, I will check it.”
Tang Ci opened his laptop and typed a series of characters which they couldn’t understand, logging into the Intranet of the Intelligence Bureau. This was the information network established by Tang Ci and it had collected more than 90% of the challengers’ information, including when they entered the main city, their residence in the main city, their team formation and part of their information in reality.
White Fox, formerly known as Bai Jinyu. There was very little information about him. Tang Ci only knew that he came to the City of the Sun a year ago and opened the bar in the City of the Sun 6 months ago. He usually lived in the bar and there was no information on his teammates at all.
The Intelligence Bureau had limited information so Tang Ci simply hacked the surveillance system of the City of the Sun. His eyes were fixed on the computer as he checked the surveillance near the bar. Soon, he fixed his mouse on the surveillance screen and pointed to the image on the computer. “His bar is open.”
Everyone entered the World Weekly at midnight on Saturday night and it took them four and a half hours to clear the World Weekly. It was now just 5:00 a.m. Bars were generally open at night so this wasn’t unusual. The strange thing was… during the surveillance, Bai Jinyu appeared at the door of the bar to grab a package of takeout.
Xiao Lou was stunned. “Isn’t he a challenger? If he is a challenger, he should’ve entered the World Weekly like us and he shouldn’t have come out yet.”
Yu Hanjiang analyzed it. “We took 4 hours and 38 minutes to clear the labyrinth, ranking first in the world. If there were no hunters that popped up in the middle, we wouldn’t have rushed to escape using the riskiest method. Other challengers would move through the labyrinth according to the normal thinking and it would take more than five hours.”
In other words, if Bai Jinyu was a challenger, he wouldn’t be able to get back to the main city so quickly. Even if his team was ranked second in the world, the time wouldn’t be so short. 99.9% of challengers would still be stuck in the World Weekly labyrinth at this time.
There were only two explanations for why Bai Jinyu would appear in the bar in the City of the Sun at this time.
One, he wasn’t a challenger. Two, before the World Weekly opened at midnight, he forcibly opened another secret room on the card wall, entering the secret room to avoid this World Weekly.
Tang Ci moved his mouse and quickly retrieved Bai Jinyu’s information. “He came to the City of the Sun a year ago and the ID number used at that time was indeed a challenger number. A challenger’s ID card has the first four digits different from a native’s ID card. This is why I recorded his information. Why didn’t he participate in this World Weekly? Did he open a secret room ahead of time to avoid it?”
Opening the fixed secret room on the ward wall before Saturday to avoid the World Weekly was the method that Lu Jiuchuan taught to Yu Hanjiang in the beginning. Some time ago, Xiao Lou’s team used this technique to avoid several rounds of the World Weekly.
However, even if he opened the secret room before the early hours of Saturday morning, could he clear it so quickly? There were no teammates mentioned in the database. How could he successfully break through the level alone?
The more they thought about it, the stranger they felt.
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin. “This White Fox is suspicious. Should I personally go to meet him?”
Yu Hanjiang immediately objected. “You are now the key monitoring target of the Hunter’s League. You shouldn’t appear easily.”
“It isn’t a problem.” Lu Jiuchuan smiled and took out a card. It was the mask that he used to go undercover in the Hunter’s League. It could immediately change his face.
Yu Hanjiang just wanted to ask his brother what he would change into when Yu Hanjiang saw Lu Jiuchuan transform himself into a fashionable university student in his 20s. His hair was dyed blond and the studs in his ears flashed brightly.
Tang Ci, “……”
Tang Ci saw the chunni version of Lu Jiuchuan in front of him and looked away in disgust.
Lu Jiuchuan smiled and wondered, “Does anyone want to accompany me?”
Ye Qi was interested in the bar and raised his hand. “I want to go.”
Shao Qingge stopped him. “You shouldn’t go. On the night of the stampede incident at the concert, you showed up and played the piano on the stage. You will probably be recognized.”
Ye Qi thought about it and obediently put down his hand. Qu Wanyue smiled and volunteered. “I will go with Long Sen. We haven’t made a public appearance yet and we were also invisible in the labyrinth with the Chameleon card. The monitoring of the Hunter’s League shouldn’t have captured us.”
Long Sen agreed. “Yes, even if they go to the City of the Moon to check our information, it will take time.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang exchanged looks. They also felt that it was more appropriate for Long Sen and Qu Wanyue to go to the bar. Xiao Lou inquired, “Teacher Qu, have you used your invisibility cloaks?”
Qu Wanyue took out the card. “No.”
Xiao Lou explained. “We used them when passing through the 18 hells and the cooldown time hasn’t ended yet. Let us borrow your cards and I will go with Hanjiang. At that time, you and Brother Jiu will act separately at the bar to delay Bai Jinyu. Meanwhile, I will investigate privately with Hanjiang to see what secrets this bar might be hiding.”
Qu Wanyue and Long Sen immediately handed the cards to Xiao Lou.
Tang Ci advised them, “The five of you should act carefully. The rest of us will stay behind.”
His eyes swept over Shao Qingge, Ye Qi and the others. “For safety, don’t disperse for the time being. Rest here tonight, this way we can take care of each other.”
No one complained about the arrangement. Tang Ci’s presidential suite was large enough to rest on the sofa.
Lu Jiuchuan waved his hand and the group of five started to act. Lu Jiuchuan drove Tang Ci’s personal car with his four teammates. The group followed the navigation and soon arrived at the bar beside the sea.
The location of this bar was very good. After opening the French windows, customers could see the white sandy beach and endless sea. It was 5:30 in the morning but there were still many customers at the bar and people on the beach having night barbecues. It was leisurely and romantic. There was a soft guitar playing at the bar, accompanied by the voice of a female singer.
Qu Wanyue listened for a moment. “This song… I’ve never heard of it before. It shouldn’t be a song from our world. Have any of you heard it?”
Everyone said that the melody was unfamiliar.
Yu Hanjiang told them, “After we stop, Xiao Lou and I will put on the invisibility cloaks and explore the bar.” He glanced at Lu Jiuchuan in the front and said, “Brother, you might’ve changed your face and look like a rebellious university student but you should still be careful so as to not be recognized.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “Don’t worry.”
He parked the car in the parking lot, opened the door and got out smoothly. He lit a cigarette and held it to his mouth. The rebellious youth with blond hair, earrings and a cigarette was played vividly by him and Xiao Lou couldn’t help laughing. After spending so much time in the secret rooms, everyone’s acting skills had really improved.
Lu Jiuchuan looked at Qu Wanyue and Long Sen and joked, “The two of you should act as lovers, this will show your true colors.”
Qu Wanyue smiled. “Okay. Brother Jiu, we will pretend not to know you.”
Lu Jiuchuan agreed. “Yes, you get into your roles. I will go first. Hanjiang and Xiao Lou, follow me. The two of you, wait a few minutes before coming in.”
He left the parking lot first and headed toward the bar. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou followed using the invisibility cloaks. They only had 30 minutes.
Lu Jiuchuan opened the door and deliberately held it open for a few seconds without closing it. This made it convenient for Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang to enter. This was a ‘clean’ bar. The melody of the song sung by the resident singer was soft, the lights in the bar were warm and the decorations were stylish. Unlike ordinary bars that were smoky and full of dancing, this one was more suitable for a few friends to meet and chat while drinking.
The moment Lu Jiuchuan entered the bar, he saw a man with an outstanding temperament standing behind the bar. He used his slender fingers to hold two bottles of wine, slowly pouring them into the glass. The two types of wines mixed together and the glass changed into dazzling colors. Bai Jinyu was making cocktails for the guests. The face of the man was hidden by his mask. Only a pair of dark and deep eyes could be seen.
This mask reminded Lu Jiuchuan of the hunters he encountered in the labyrinth. In particular, the black pattern decorations on the silver mask looked like they came from the same batch produced by the manufacturer.
Lu Jiuchuan walked to the bar and tapped his finger on the countertop. “Give me a glass of tequila sunrise.”
Bai Jinyu’s voice was gentle. “Yes, please wait a minute.”
He skillfully prepared a glass of tequila for Lu Jiuchuan. The color was a beautiful orange-red and it had a gradient of light to dark from bottom to top. It was just like the morning glow when the sunrise was going to occur.
Lu Jiuchuan took the cup and sat down to drink. Tequila was a strong alcohol but he drank it without changing his expression. After drinking it, he ordered another glass. Three consecutive glasses later, Bai Jinyu couldn’t help reminding him, “This type of drink has a strong alcohol content. You will be drunk if you drink more.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled and waved his hand. “Don’t worry about me. Give me another one.”
Just then, Qu Wanyue and Long Sen also walked into the bar. They entered the bar arm in arm, as if they were a couple in love. Qu Wanyue wore a strapless dress with her long hair scattered around her shoulders. She looked very sexy and charming. Long Sen wore a shirt and trousers. Combined with his tall and muscular body, the two people matched very well when they walked in.
Long Sen gazed at Qu Wanyue gently and asked in a low voice, “What do you want to drink?”
Qu Wanyue’s face was a bit red. “I don’t drink very much.”
Long Sen glanced at the alcohol list and said, “Give her a glass of white coconut grove.”
This glass of alcohol was similar to the color of coconut milk. Qu Wanyue took a sip from the straw and the rich coconut taste stimulated her taste buds. It was sweet and sour. Long Sen placed his hand on his wife’s shoulder and wondered, “Do you like it?”
Qu Wanyue nodded. “Yes.”
“Would you like to try something else?”
Qu Wanyue thought about it before glancing at Lu Jiuchuan. “I want to drink what he’s having.”
Long Sen questioned it. “Is that tequila? No, it is too strong. You will be drunk.”
Qu Wanyue smiled heartlessly. “If I get drunk then you can carry me on your back.”
The two people started to show affection and many single people in the bar were blinded by this affectionate couple.
Next to them, Lu Jiuchuan drank while speaking in a pained voice. “Xiao Nian, I love you so much… how could you ask to break up? In this world, no one loves you more than me…”
Yu Hanjiang, “……”
Xiao Lou, “……”
Please continue to perform and buy time for the two of them.
The nonsense that Lu Jiuchuan spoke after being ‘drunk’ was extremely realistic and he played the role of a broken-hearted young man well enough. He almost shed two lines of tears from his eyes. Xiao Lou found that Lu Jiuchuan’s eyes were red as if he was about to cry. Then Lu Jiuchuan suddenly grabbed Bai Jinyu’s arm and said affectionately, “Xiao Nian, you came back right?”
Bai Jinyu didn’t push him away, instead there was laughter in his eyes. “Handsome guy, you are drunk. I’m not Xiao Nian…”
Lu Jiuchuan stared at him with red eyes. “I’m not drunk. Xiao Nian, don’t leave me…”
As he held onto Bai Jinyu, he reached out a hand toward the other person’s mask. “What is this on your face?”
Yet just moments before he came into contact with the silver mask, Bai Jinyu suddenly made a move! His hands were as fast as lightning, his fingers grabbing Lu Jiuchuan’s wrist forcefully while the smiling eyes turned extremely cold. Lu Jiuchuan was pinched by the opponent and didn’t dare to move, so he continued to act. “Xiao Nian?”
Bai Jinyu spoke lightly. “You are drunk.”
He sent a look at the security guards around him. Two tall security guards grabbed Lu Jiuchuan and sent him out of the bar.
Qu Wanyue looked frightened as she whispered, “Is this handsome guy lovelorn?”
Long Sen looked sympathetic. “He probably just broke up with his girlfriend and ran to the bar to get drunk.”
Qu Wanyue took a few sips of her drink. Then the boss handed her a glass of tequila sunrise like Lu Jiuchuan. She took a sip but the alcoholic nature was so strong that she coughed. Long Sen laughed and took it. “I said that this alcohol is strong but you still insisted on drinking it…”
The two of them continued to drink at the bar to drag out time.
Currently, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou had already figured out the layout of the bar. The bar had two floors. The upper floor was a small VIP room while the lower floor was the lobby. The middle had a hollow structure, so the upper private room could see the resident singers on the first floor. Yu Hanjiang went around the second floor but found nothing suspicious.
Meanwhile, Xiao Lou came around to the back of the bar on the first floor. In the corner was a door which should lead to the storage room. The strange thing was that the door was locked and could only be opened by using a fingerprint.
Xiao Lou pressed his ear to it and heard a rustling noise from inside. It sounded like a mouse in a hole. It was like… someone struggling?
He looked around. At this time, the eyes of the people at the bar were all on Qu Wanyue and Long Sen. From Xiao Lou’s position, he could only vaguely see Bai Jinyu’s back. Xiao Lou quickly placed the drone monitoring in an inconspicuous place at the crossbeam above the door. Then he went back to the bar and signaled for Long Sen to withdraw first.
The 30 minutes time limit of the invisibility cloak was approaching soon. Long Sen noticed someone touching his back lightly. He knew it was Xiao Lou and downed the remaining alcohol in his glass. “Thank you, Boss. Your mixed drinks are very delicious. I will come again next time.”
He pulled Qu Wanyue out the door and Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou immediately followed.
Outside the door, Lu Jiuchuan hugged a tree and vomited. Of course, he wasn’t really drunk. He was just pretending to be drunk. From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of the other people coming out and he stumbled toward the parking lot. Since there was no one around, Yu Hanjiang unlocked the car and everyone quickly got in.
Qu Wanyue asked, “What did you find?”
Lu Jiuchuan was the first to speak. “This White Fox has very good skills and can react faster than Chu Huaying. Chu Huaying’s physical fitness has been strengthened by many S-grade cards and her reaction ability is very fast. Meanwhile, White Fox gave me a sense of threat that was stronger than Huaying. Just now, I deliberately tested him. If I hadn’t been pretending to be drunk, my wrist probably would’ve been broken the moment he acted.”
As the captain of the naval special forces, Lu Jiuchuan’s fighting skills were already top-notch. Bai Jinyu could actually make him feel threatened so this person must not be underestimated.
Yu Hanjiang nodded solemnly. “I also saw it. His moves should be the result of professional training. Most people can’t reach this level even if they have cards to increase their strength.”
He turned toward Xiao Lou. “What did you find on the first floor?”
“There was a door at the back of the bar with a fingerprint lock. I couldn’t open it. There was also a strange sound from behind the door. It sounded like someone struggling. So I left the drone in an inconspicuous position on the crossbeam for monitoring.”
Lu Jiuchuan praised him. “You are truly careful. Let’s wait and see if the drone captures anything.”
The identity of White Fox was unknown and they couldn’t easily alert the enemy. They could only investigate this way.
Moments later, a picture appeared on Xiao Lou’s surveillance card.
Bai Jinyu used his fingerprint to unlock the door, which was confirmed with a ‘di’ sound and the door opened. He walked inside with a takeout box and closed the door behind him.
Naturally the vision of the drone was now obstructed, but it still faithfully transmitted the sounds coming from behind the door. They heard the leather shoes slowly stepping on the ground and the takeout box being put on a table. At the same time, a conversation started between the people inside the room.
A man asked coldly, “How long do you think you can keep me here?”
Then another similar voice was heard. “You don’t want to stay here? You get something to eat and drink and nobody will disturb your rest. Isn’t that nice?”
The other person spoke mockingly. “Then should I thank you for your hospitality, Brother?”
The footsteps suddenly stopped, only to become clearer again. Then a noise entered their ears as the man opened the door and looked up at the drone. His masked face was magnified on the screen and Xiao Lou saw those eyes curve slightly, as if he was smiling. “Interesting. Someone actually installed monitoring at my place.”
The man in the room was surprised. “Who is checking you?”
Bai Jinyu said, “Just now, the drunk guy who was lovelorn had very good acting skills. I heard that Lu Jiuchuan has a card called ‘Mask’ that can change his face at any time.” Bai Jinyu stared at the drone. “Lu Jiuchuan, is that you?” Then he took down the drone, pointing it at a bottle of wine to let the camera get a good shot.
Lu Jiuchuan, “……”
Xiao Lou squeezed his forehead helplessly and put away the drone card. “I hid the drone in a very inconspicuous corner yet he found it so quickly. He is really cautious.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “Don’t blame yourself. At least we got some gains from the investigation this time.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned and thought about it carefully. “The person locked up by him is his twin brother, right? The voices of the two people are very similar. If it wasn’t for a slight difference in tone, it would sound like he was questioning and answering himself.”
Xiao Lou agreed. “I heard that man call him Brother. Why did he lock up his brother?”
Everyone found it strange. The secrets of those two brothers were truly puzzling. Just then, Yu Hanjiang thought of something and said, “We met the masked man in 4 of Spades, in other words, Bai Jinyu’s twin brother. There were also hunters in 3 of Spades.”
Xiao Lou’s spirit shook. “You mean, the brother we met in 4 of Spades was likely a hunter, not a challenger?!”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “As early as 3 of Spades, there were hunters who killed ‘foreigners’ and took their identity, mixing into the teams. Is this also the case with 4 of Spades? At that time, the masked man used cards and everyone subconsciously regarded him as a challenger. We ignored that he might be a hunter. Each time after killing a challenger, he could have obtained their cards.”
Xiao Lou got a chill at the thought.
Back then, a man wearing a mask suddenly appeared and took everyone’s gems by grabbing things from the air. Later, he joined the team and cleared the secret room with everyone. No one suspected that he was a hunter.
However, it made sense that he was a hunter. Hunters could be found in low level Spades secret rooms. The thieves encountered in 3 of Spades were the evidence. It wasn’t surprising that hunters would also appear in 4 of Spades.
This explained why the twins came to the main city at different times. If the twins were hunters, they could freely enter and exit the low level secret rooms. Therefore, the time when they met the younger brother in 4 of Spades had no reference significance. Perhaps the younger brother, like the older brother, came to the main city half a year ago. Then he happened to receive the mission to kill in 4 of Spades and met Xiao Lou, Yu Hanjiang and their group.
He wasn’t a newcomer who was clearing 4 of Spades. He was a hunter who went to 4 of Spades to kill the newcomers.
He probably became aware that Xiao Lou and the others had teamed up and he couldn’t beat them alone. Thus, he didn’t try to kill them. Instead, he pretended to be a companion of the challengers to pass the level with everyone. The challengers who died in the village might’ve been killed by him.
Qu Wanyue suddenly opened her mouth. “By the way, Long Sen and I escaped the village very early. There were also a few other challengers outside the village. Those who left the village at that time shouldn’t be weak. Yet by the time we met up with Xiao Lou, those challengers had been eaten to the extent where only bones were left. Could it be… the masked man killed them? Then their corpses were eaten by beasts?”
Long Sen added, “In addition, there were the corpses of the challengers found in the village later on. We thought the deaths were caused by infighting among the challengers but we can’t rule out that it was actually done by the masked man.”
The more Xiao Lou thought about it, the more he felt that this speculation was more consistent than their previous conjectures.
By the time they met the younger of the twins, they had already agreed to join forces. In addition to Xiao Lou, Yu Hanjiang, Shao Qingge, Ye Qi, Liu Qiao, Long Sen and Qu Wanyue, there was a team of four who were employees of the same company and had a few cards in their hands.
The temporary alliance formed by the scattered people was large and powerful. The masked man couldn’t easily deal with so many people so he chose to hide his identity and stay with everyone to look for opportunities. However, he never found a chance because Yu Hanjiang was sufficiently alert and didn’t let his teammates act alone. Thus, when they cleared the instance, he went to the City of the Sun when most of the others chose the City of the Moon.
Bai Jinyu and his twin brother might both be members of the Hunter’s League. Tang Ci said that Bai Jinyu’s ID card showed he was a challenger…
It also proved that Xiao Lou’s previous speculation was correct.
There was a large number of challengers among the hunters so they were well aware of the challengers, including the variety of cards and the World Weekly secret rooms. Moreover, they brainwashed the native inhabitants of the world, making people crazily hunt for ‘foreigners’ when they were also ‘foreigners’! This group of people were traitors among the challengers and they were killing their compatriots!
However, this made Xiao Lou wonder. What was the reason that transformed a challenger into a hunter and killer of the opposing camp?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten