Chu Huaying wasn’t surprised by Xiao Lou’s words. She nodded at Xiao Lou. “I marked every fork with the spider dagger when I slipped out of the laboratory just now. I can take everyone back the same way.”
She paused and looked at Lu Jiuchuan with a serious expression. “By the way, are you sure you want to go to the laboratory? There are a large number of advanced bugs over there. The seven of us alone definitely aren’t their opponents. I sneaked out by relying on my invisibility cloak. Is your cloak still available?”
Lu Jiuchuan shook his head helplessly. “It has been used.”
Chu Huaying frowned. “So are you going to force your way through?”
Xiao Lou looked into her eyes and spoke seriously. “Ending the cloning program and destroying the relevant laboratories is the goal of this secret room. We have to go. It is our only chance.” He looked back at Yu Hanjiang and asked softly, “Hanjiang, what do you think?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “The problem of the bug planet must be solved. Huaying, lead the way.”
Chu Huaying didn’t worry about it any longer and simply said, “Okay, come with me.”
She turned and walked forward. The six men quickly followed her.
The underground bug cave was humid and cold. The passage was very narrow and only one adult could pass through at a time. The height was only around 1.7 meters and people who were taller than this had to bend down to walk.
Lu Jiuchuan followed Chu Huaying. Then it was Yu Hanjiang, Xiao Lou, Shao Qingge and Ye Qi. Tang Ci was at the very end and summoned a drone to survey the surrounding environment.
They came to the fork in the road ahead and saw a spider-shaped mark on the wall.
The mark was special. The hard stone was dug out so deeply that it could only be done by Chu Huaying’s S-grade weapon card, the Spider Dagger.
Lu Jiuchuan looked back at Yu Hanjiang and gestured for him to look at the mark on the wall. Yu Hanjiang looked at the spider mark and didn’t say anything.
Chu Huaying reminded, “Be careful and watch your feet. The road here isn’t easy to walk.”
There were countless forks in the corridor and people with a poor sense of direction would become dizzy. This also confirmed Xiao Lou’s previous speculation that the underground bug cave labyrinth was indeed a ‘cobweb’ structure. If no one led the way and they had to find the path themselves, they wouldn’t be able to explore such a huge underground maze in one day.
Chu Huaying said that she escaped from the laboratory and carved a mark with the dagger along the way. Now she returned following the spider mark and she didn’t have to worry about going in the wrong direction.
She turned left and right, taking everyone through a dozen forked paths in a row.
After a moment, she stopped at a fork in the road and whispered, “It is right in front.”
The six people listened carefully. Chu Huaying chose the path on the left at the fork. They followed her for a bit and the cave in front of her suddenly opened up. The narrow corridor that used to allow only one person to pass had become a cave of around 20 square meters. In the wide space, it was so quiet that even the breathing of their teammates could be heard.
A metal door appeared in the cave. Chu Huaying pointed to the door and indicated with her eyes the location of the laboratory. Lu Jiuchuan walked to the door and asked, “How do we open the door?”
Chu Huaying said, “They opened it with a graphical password.”
She walked up to Lu Jiuchuan and reached out with her index finger to draw an image on the door. As expected, the door opened.
Lu Jiuchuan looked inside the door. There was a wide passageway. It was clearly more carefully decorated than the uneven ground of the cave. The ground was paved with flat tiles and the ceiling was lit up. Some sophisticated instruments were placed in the room and it looked like a human laboratory.
Chu Huaying told them, “Those should be the instruments for gene extraction. The laboratory area is very large. There are several rooms inside, which are the experimental areas for soaking the clones. They are kept inside after being anesthetized.”
Lu Jiuchuan looked at Yu Hanjiang and nodded at him. The other teammates went inside quickly.
The moment Tang Ci at the end of the team entered the laboratory, the door behind him suddenly closed. Chu Huaying was just opening her mouth to continue the explanation when there was a sharp pain from her neck.
A white dagger flashed in her vision followed by her field of view spinning. Her head fell to the ground and her eyes happened to see her cut off neck.
Chu Huaying who had her mouth open in horror. “??!!”
Yu Hanjiang held the dagger with cold eyes. The blade reflected Chu Huaying’s horrified face.
He didn’t hesitate to cut off Chu Huaying’s head!
Yu Hanjiang held the dagger in his right hand while his left hand took the card pack from Chu Huaying’s pocket.
At almost the same time, the ceiling of the laboratory suddenly opened and revealed a black hole. Then countless red crystals fell down like a rain of sharp arrows!
If such a dense cluster of crystals hit people, everyone would instantly turn into hedgehogs.
It was an enclosed space and there was nowhere to avoid it.
Xiao Lou shouted ‘withdraw’ and the six people disappeared instantly.
One second later, the six people returned to the place where they had just met Chu Huaying.
The cave was extremely quiet and they could clearly hear their fierce heartbeats. Ye Qi let out a breath with a pale face and spoke while trembling, “It was too dangerous. The clone led us into a trap… Fortunately, Professor Xiao left a path of retreat ahead of time and put down Li Qingzhao’s mark before following her. Otherwise, we would’ve been shot into six hedgehogs.”
The two brothers, Lu Jiuchuan and Yu Hanjiang had a tacit understanding. Brother Jiu just gave one look and Yu Hanjiang knew that this Chu Huaying was fake. Therefore, he and Xiao Lou planned out an act to let the clone relax her vigilance and gain back Chu Huaying’s card pack.
The hunter’s plan to use the clone to lead everyone into a trap had once again failed.
Yu Hanjiang handed the card pack he had just received to Lu Jiuchuan. “Brother Jiu, Huaying’s card pack was snatched by them and the spider dagger was in the hands of the clone. Huaying might be in a lot of danger right now.”
Xiao Lou told them, “My guess is that the real Huaying has escaped.”
Ye Qi wondered, “Why do you say that?”
Xiao Lou analyzed it. “If she is unconscious, the hunters could completely lock her up. We would have to spend a lot of time moving through the labyrinth before finally finding her in the trap laboratory. Since she is unconscious, we wouldn’t be able to determine if she is the real or false one. If the hunters activated the mechanism at that time, we would not only have to avoid the crystal rain but also protect the unconscious Chu Huaying. Our chances of being killed will rise.”
Shao Qingge narrowed his eyes. “Professor Xiao has a point. If we hadn’t discovered this Chu Huaying had a problem, making us put down Li Qingzhao’s mark in advance, maybe we really would’ve been trapped in that laboratory.”
Xiao Lou looked at his teammates. “The hunters chose to send a fake Chu Huaying to lead the way. This approach isn’t safe. It is as Chief Shao said. If we see through the fake Huaying then it is easy to be prepared in advance.”
Yu Hanjiang understood his meaning. “You mean, the real Huaying has escaped and the hunters are worried that we will meet the real one first. Therefore, they sent a fake to guide us into a trap?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t need to send the fake Chu Huaying to lead the way for us. They can let us explore it ourselves. Once we walk through the labyrinth a few times and we are exhausted, they can deal with us. Then won’t there be a higher chance of winning?”
The teammates thought Xiao Lou’s analysis made sense.
If it wasn’t for Chu Huaying’s sudden escape, the hunters really didn’t need to do ‘superfluous’ actions like sending a fake to confuse everyone. Directly controlling the real Chu Huaying and leading everyone to save her would make it easier for Xiao Lou’s group to fall into the trap.
Lu Jiuchuan had a solemn expression. “Huaying is definitely still in this labyrinth. We have to find her as soon as possible.”
Xiao Lou instructed, “Let’s try another direction.”
Just now, the fake Chu Huaying took them into a trap. This meant the real laboratory had to be in another direction. However, there were too many underground passages in the spider cave. Xiao Lou could only go in the opposite direction as much as possible based on memory.
Everyone walked forward for a while.
They had walked around more than a dozen corners in a row when Lu Jiuchuan heard very light footsteps from the other side of the corridor. He held his breath and once the moment came, he reached out suddenly and grabbed the other person’s shoulder decisively, pulling them hard toward him.
The person he dragged over was Chu Huaying.
She paused and raised an eyebrow. “Brother Jiu… Professor Xiao? Why are you here?”
Lu Jiuchuan let go of her with a smile. “It’s actually you?”
He looked back at Yu Hanjiang. The latter walked up to Chu Huaying and asked softly, “Did you escape from the laboratory?”
“I don’t know if it was a laboratory. They put me in a closed room. During the time when they weren’t paying attention, I knocked out the two star thieves guarding me.” She frowned slightly and looked around. “The path in this labyrinth has many twists and turns. I was dizzy and couldn’t find an exit.”
Xiao Lou wondered, “Can you find your way back?”
Chu Huaying thought about it. “It should be possible. After running out, I always went to the left when encountering a fork in the road. If I want to return along the original road, I just have to go to the right.” She looked at Xiao Lou with some surprise. “What? Do you want to go back?”
Xiao Lou explained, “We have to hurry up and find the cloning laboratory. The place where you were detained is probably the laboratory. Can you please lead the way?”
Chu Huaying didn’t hesitate and immediately turned to lead the way.
After walking through several forked roads in a row, a door appeared in front of them. Chu Huaying led everyone to the door and opened it. “It should be here…”
She hadn’t finished speaking when Lu Jiuchuan suddenly screwed her arm behind her back. He pushed her into the room and closed the door with great force.
At almost the same time that the door closed, there was a deafening explosion from the room!
Xiao Lou’s group of six teleported again to the place where they just met Chu Huaying. Ye Qi’s lips were pale and bloodless. He clenched his fists and held back his anger. “Another clone! How many fakes are there?”
Xiao Lou helplessly looked at him. “Xiao Ye, have you ever played minesweeper?”
Ye Qi murmured, “You mean…”
Xiao Lou nodded. “We will use the clones to eliminate traps like the minesweeper game.”
Once all the traps were eliminated, the one that was left was naturally the real laboratory.
Xiao Lou’s expression was heavy as he looked at Lu Jiuchuan. “Brother Jiu, you must not make a mistake.”
Lu Jiuchuan nodded. “Don’t worry. I have known Chu Huaying for so long. In every World Weekly, she would help cover for me. How can I not distinguish between the real and the fake?”
Ye Qi didn’t know how Brother Jiu could distinguish it but the others didn’t have much contact with Chu Huaying. They couldn’t tell between the real or the false one so they could only rely on Brother Jiu’s eyes.
In any case, if Brother Jiu looked back into Yu Hanjiang’s eyes then they all knew what it meant.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath. “Let’s continue. I don’t know how many more Chu Huayings will be sent to interfere with us.”
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten